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Using Quotes


Embedding Quotations

The ability to embed a quotation seamlessly into your essay is one of the most important skills you can demonstrate; It is important you master this skill.

Look at the examples below then complete the worksheet: 

Example 1. In his poem, London William Blake highlights the misery life in the city can cause: ‘Marks of weakness, marks of woe’.          The Colon Quotation

Example 2. In his poem, London William Blake highlights the misery life in the city can cause, ‘Marks of weakness, marks of woe’.          The Comma Quotation

Example 3. In his poem, London William Blake highlights the misery the city can cause when he explains that it produces ‘marks of weakness, marks of woe’.   The That Quotation

This is the best way to embed quotations. They are short and snappy and read as though they are part of the original sentence. There is no obvious difference between you and the writer. 

Quotes are an essential part of the reading questions in both papers. They show the examiner that you understand the source and have evidence for your points. Learn how to use them effectively and efficiently by embedding your quotes and using ellipsis.

Embedding quotations

The best way to use quotes is to embed them. To embed is to put something into something else. So when you embed a quote, you put it into your own sentence. Compare these two examples 

Example 1

I agree that the toy is portrayed as scary because the children try to get rid of it every time the adults display it. I know this because it says 'the children would pluck up their courage and, later, hide it away once more in the darkness'.

Example 2

I agree that the toy is portrayed as scary as the children need to 'pluck up courage' to approach the toy and always try to 'hide it away' after the adults have displayed it.

In example 1 the long quote is added after in a separate sentence. In example 2 the most relevant parts of the quote are embedded into the first sentence. The result is much clearer sentence that is actually quicker to write (as the student hasn't had to copy the whole long quote) and is not repetitive.

Top Tips!

  • Try to avoid using phrases such as I know this because it says.../ We see this in the quote... to introduce your quotes.

  • Pick out the keywords that are relevant to your point and only quote those (as shown in example 2 above).

Further help on embedding quotes:

Mr Bruff video

BBC Bitesize

Using ellipsis

There are times when you might need to quote a long part of the text, e.g. to show the writer's use of a list. Don't waste time copying out the whole thing; use ellipsis instead. 

Example 1

The writer uses a list to describe the box, 'the Jack-in-the-box was buried beneath dolls and trains, clowns and paper stars and old conjuring tricks, and crippled marionettes with their strings irrevocably tangled, with dressing up clothes (here the tatters of a long-ago wedding dress, there a black silk hat, crusted with age and time) and costume jewellery, broken hoops and tops and hobbyhorses.'

Example 2


The writer uses a list to describe the box as 'buried beneath dolls ... and hobbyhorses'.

You can see how much time is saved by doing this. This leaves you more time to get onto the important skills of analysis and explanation.

Top Tips!

  • Think carefully before quoting long parts of the text. Is it relevant to your point?

  • An ellipsis is always three dots.

  • You could also use line numbers to refer to a large part of the text.

Further help on using ellipses in quotations:

The Punctuation Guide

BBC Bitesize

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