It isn't always easy (or desirable) to summarize or paraphrase an author's ideas, and sometimes, the author really does say it best! You may decide that using a quote is better than your own words if you want to discuss the actual language the author used or if the essence of the author's idea will be lost if you use your own words. If you decide that you do want to use quote, here are some pointers.
If you are introducing a quote using an explanatory phrase but not a complete sentence, you should use a comma. The phrase will likely end with a verb such as “says,” “thinks,” “believes,” “explains,” “recalls,” or “questions.” The explanatory phrase might begin or end with the tag “according to.”
In this example, the quote is required to complete the sentence. This is why a comma is used before the quote.
If you use a complete sentence to introduce a quotation, place a colon (not a comma) after the sentence and before the quote.
In this example, that which comes before the colon is a complete idea that can stand alone as a complete sentence.
Incorporating quoted material into a sentence is often difficult, but it is a great way of integrating secondary sources when you are writing an essay. This method creates flow and avoids awkward pauses and marked divisions between your writing and the quoted material.
Unlike the previous methods, there is no punctuation between your own words and the quotation.
The introduction to the quote is structured so that the quote is required to complete the sentence. However, no punctuation is needed before the quote.
NOTE: It would be grammatically incorrect to place a comma after the word “because.”
It is not always necessary to use an entire quote or passage. Selecting a few important words is sometimes just as effective and results in more clear and concise communication.
If you have decided that using a long quotation (anything over 40 words) is necessary, remember to indent the entire passage, maintain double-spacing and omit the quotation marks. Also keep in mind that you must consider the punctuation that you use to introduce the long quotation usually a colon is used in this case.
You may need to alter a quote in some way so that it can be effectively integrated into your essay. While minor alterations are permitted, you should try to keep them to a minimum.
When using the method that involves blending quoted material with your own words, you may need to change a verb tense or omit a few words so that the blended sentence makes sense grammatically.