© Damen, 2002


"Of all the devices that can add humanity to your writing, the direct quotation is the most overused. A newspaper sports story or a traditional news feature may contain a direct quote in every other paragraph, a practice that usually produces a parade of inane or merely dull utterances."
--Jack Hart, A Writer's Coach (2006)

Do not quote someone else's work extensively. One sentence (ten to twenty words) drawn from a book or article is usually enough to show your idea has general merit and is grounded in scholarly consensus. Beyond that, paraphrase others' words. That is, restate their words in your own. It is important that you maintain ownership of the thoughts you express in your papers, even if they are built upon someone else's (see Plagiarism, below).

Understand this, too, please. If you quote another's words at length, I won't subtract points from your paper, but I won't give you credit for them either. I'll attribute what's good in your paper to Benjamin Franklin or whomever you quote. And, believe me, people like Benjamin Franklin don't need any more credit on their papers and you do. The point here is, formulate your own ideas and do your own work.

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