“[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.” – A.A. Milne
Chances are you too know a few famous quotes, but you probably don’t use them. I know so, because I’m guilty of neglecting quotes on the GRE.
So, why should you use essay quotes on the GRE? To start with, the right use of quotes in essays augments the power of your arguments and makes your essays appear more convincing. Plus, essays with quotes tend to score better than essays without them, because of the initial impact the use of quotes create on the reader, and help strengthen your point.
But we need to exercise prudence. Only use quotes as is, if you are convinced that paraphrasing would lower the impact or change the meaning of the original author’s words or when the argument could not be better expressed or said more succinctly.
Here is how you make sure you are doing it right.
How do I incorporate quotes into my essay?
At times, an essay can appear painfully discorded if the quotations are out of place or if the essay is too stuffed with quotes.
So, what should you do to avoid this?
A great quote plays one or more roles from the following:
- creates the initial impact on the essay grader
- makes your essay look more promising and interesting
- establishes credibility
- concludes the essay with a point to contemplate
If the quote doesn’t serve any of the above then you are forcing it into the essay and this could do more harm than good.
You should start writing your essay with a quote that lays foundation to the main idea behind the essay. This can have a major impact on the evaluator. You can also comment on the quotation in this introductory paragraph if you wish. Either way, to get a perfect score on the GRE essay, use a relevant quote strategically but don’t force it into the essay.
Can I alter the structure of the quotation?
Using the exact words from the original source is called quoting. You should quote when you believe that the way the original author expresses an idea is the most effective way to communicate the point you wish to make. If you want to borrow an idea from the author but don’t put the idea in their exact words, then it’s called paraphrasing. (but remember that you still have to cite the original author even when you are paraphrasing)
For example, Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” You can alter the quotation on your own according to the passage, by saying: ‘To paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s famous quote, “It is easier to trust when you can verify.”‘ By doing this, you are not only citing the original author, but also gaining extra points for using your own version of the quote.
How many quotes should I use?
If you deploy a lot of quotations in your essay, it appears as though several people are talking about the topic apart from yourself. This would downplay your own voice and leaves little room for your own ideas. It is your essay and it should be your voice that needs to be heard, not some notable/famous person’s. Quote as infrequently as possible. So, don’t cram every quote you know into the essay. As a rule of thumb, refrain from using more than 2 quotes in any essay. (One in the introductory paragraph and the other if necessary in the conclusion)
How do I introduce the quote in my own words?
The last thing you would want is get your score cancelled on account of plagiarism. It’s highly recommended that you cite the author of the quotation. If you don’t cite, you may give the impression that you claim to be the original author and that could result in plagiarism. You should place the quote in double quotation marks. Here is an example usage citing the author:
Thomas Jefferson once said “The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.”
Categorization of GRE Essay Topics
The fascinating thing about the GRE essay topics is that they’re already published on the official ETS website. This may sound crazy because giving out the questions in advance is not normal. Now, use this to your advantage. You can find all the GRE essay topics on the official ETS website.
But there’s a catch! You were expecting a few, right?
Well, there are close to 200 topics in all – far too many to practice responses in advance. Also, practicing each of these topics is not advisable as it is going to take a lot of time and effort and there is no point in mugging them up. You could as well spend this time on learning some math. However, there’s a good news. Just scanning through these two lists will give you an excellent idea of the types of issues and arguments that show up on test day.
I just made things a bit easy for you, though. Most of the topics that show up on the GRE essay section can be broadly grouped into five categories.
- Sciences and Technology
So, next time when you practice writing an essay response, make sure you write at least one essay from each of these categories. And memorize a few quotes related to each one of these topics, as they will be handy.
List of most useful essay quotes
I’ve compiled a list of easy-to-digest quotes that should help you write the perfect essay. Bookmark this page NOW for future reference.
The following quotes from great thinkers have been selected based on their relevance to common GRE essay topics and for their ease of usage.
- The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance – Socrates
- A people that value its privileges above its principles soon loses both – Dwight D. Eisenhower
- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is – Yogi Berra
- A little inaccuracy can sometimes save a ton of explanation – H.H Munro
- Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction – E. F. Schumacher
- A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually – Abba Eban
- Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good – Mohandas Gandhi
- Whatever government is not a government of laws, is a despotism, let it be called what it may – Daniel Webster
- Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws – Plato
- Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing – Theodore Roosevelt
- It is dangerous to be right, when the government is wrong – Voltaire
- The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object – Thomas Jefferson
- No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation – Woodrow Wilson (28th U.S President)
- The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work – Emile Zola
- The world is full of educated derelicts – Calvin Coolidge
- A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a change to get its pants on – Winston Churchill
- It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog – Mark Twain
- Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire, the other is to get it – Socrates
- If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning – Aristotle Onasis
- Men are not disturbed by things, but the view they take of things – Epictetus
- As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can – Julius Caesar
Now, these are a handful of quotes. The goal is to memorize 5 or 6 of your favorite quotes so you’ll be able to contextually fit one into the essay on the test day. While practicing, you may look at the list of quotes found above however, if you can remember a specific quote apposite to your essay topic, try to use it – one quote for every essay.
For those avid writers, who believe the number of quotes above are too low, we have the right tool for you. Ellipsoid created a random quote generator tool that draws 5 famous quotes from Goodreads every time you reload the page. The good news is these 5 quotes are always theme based so you know where to use them.
Writing essays isn’t all about the substance. It’s the basics that many of us forget. If you are going to put in the time to practice writing essays, might as well maximize the score you could get by deploying a quote in your essays.
So, what’s your favorite quote?
Formatting direct quotations is an entire art when it comes to writing a school or college essay. MLA writing style is the simplest, but you still have to know how to add citations properly, especially when talking about the poem. The poem is something different from prose by its nature. Thus, the formatting rules are a bit different. We recommend citing a poem in MLA style.
First, a student has to realize why it is crucial to quote a poetry. Often, various essays are assigned to the students of English Literature or Arts class:
- Critical thinking
- Compare & contrast
You may first read about the best ways to get ready with your homework as fast as possible.
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Reasons to Cite Quotes from Poem
To prove your words and the fact that you have read the story, it is critical to insert direct and indirect quotes from the selected MLA poem. To cite means to apply exact words of the discussed authors in your academic essay. Under the MLA writing style, a student should develop quotations in various ways. It all depends on the length.
- Short quotations from poetry include less than 3 lines (for prose, 4 lines are used). Example from Edgar Allan Poe is:
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more
- Long quotations have to be more than 3 lines of the literary piece (or 4 lines of prose). You will have to cite multiple paragraph quotes. The example of such quote to cite may be the lines by DeFord:
The broken hearts of yesterday
But wait, be still, don't lose this way
Affection now, for what you guess
May be something more, could be less
Accept my love, live for today.
Moreover, students may sometimes need to insert in-text direct citations to explain or omit words that play no role. Thus, students are not encouraged to cite unnecessary parts.
Without proper research skills, you won't be able to choose the most proper texts to quote, so perfect your research capabilities using these tips.
Format Your Title Properly
Sure thing, it is necessary to start citing a poem correctly from its title. Sometimes quotation marks are used instead of italics. But which way should you choose?
Well, this decision depends on the size of the piece. If you need to cite a short poem, do it this way:
- "Be Proud of Who You Are"
- "Our Brothers"
- "Life's Own Battle"
Longer poems have to be cited in italics. Let's have a look at several examples:
- Tape for the Turn of the Year
- The Sea and the Mirror
- The Age of Anxiety
The titles of short literary pieces are always put in quotation marks. As for the long poems, as you have noticed, their titles are written in italics.
For more ideas on writing an essay, turn to this article.
How to Cite a Poem in MLA?
Working on MLA poem is the simplest task you can picture as it does not require too much time. Instead of reading lengthy manuals, keep to these short guidelines.
- Each time you cite a quotation from a poetry (it can be several words or the whole paragraph), place the citations off with quotation marks around them. Insert parentheses to quote exact words of the author. Always leave punctuation marks like period or comma outside the end parenthesis. The number next to the citation corresponds to the number of the specific line.
"According the lyrics of the author, "and every fair from fair sometime declines" (7).
- If you decide to quote lines that follow each other, type in a virgule (/) to define where the chosen lines "divide". In parenthesis, provide the first and last name of the author, breaking them apart with the help of a hyphen.
- In case you should include more than 4 consecutive lines, apply "long quotation"; or so-called blockquote. Print a short signal phrase in the introduction of your quote; indent it two times; double space; leave punctuation marks the way they appear in the original text.
- Other elements of formatting appear the way you would cite a prose with the rights reserved.
- Whatever you quote, always proofread and edit the way you cited quotations if necessary.
How to Cite Short Direct Quotations from Poems in MLA?
Before writing, one has to learn the basic rules of the corresponding format when citing a poem. You may have a look at the valuable example or find a good book dedicated to academic writing styles. Sure thing, you must read the poetry as well. Otherwise, you won't know which parts have to be chosen for your essay and quoted properly.
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Before you cite a poem, pay attention to how long the selected quotes are to identify their type. As it was said above, short quotes from poetry are those that involve less than three lines of text. Make sure you obey these rules when you decide to cite a quotation from poetry in English paper:
- Apply quotation marks to the direct quote from the chosen literary piece
- Mention the author's initial name, full title (in case of missing author), and page number or line number
- Locate punctuation after the parenthetical quotation
- Add questions or exclamation marks that belong to the citation inside the quotation marks. Leave them outside in case it does not belong to the original writer's words.
- Don't forget about the full reference to the source on the Bibliography page at the end of your MLA essay.
Let's Have a Look at a Sample
Replace breaks with a "/," insert a space before and after the slash mark. Mind that the line of the poem is applied instead of the page number for the parenthetical quotation. The only exception is a work being cited in a secondary source. Capitalize every line of verse intact after the slash mark.
In Adrienne Rich's "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers," Rich says that"Uncle's wedding
band / Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand" (7-8). The band evidently is a
sign of the oppression.
Another example is:As he mentioned, "till the leaves went whirling with him / Till the dust and wind together / Swept in eddies round about him" (10-12).
When you cite a poem, you should provide the line numbers only in case your source shares them, in parentheses, just after the ending quotation marks and before the final punctuation.
You can find even more poem's quotations samples online!
How to Cite Long Direct Quotations from Poems in MLA?
If you need to quote a longer part (more than three lines of verse), here are the steps to applying MLA style properly in such case.
- It is recommended to use a free-standing block of text (k.a. block quote)
- Skip quotation marks
- Begin to quote directly from a new line
- Indent the first word of each paragraph only if you have to quote several paragraphs
- Apply double-space in the quote
- Involve parenthetical citation which will follow after the final punctuation
Emily Dickinson concludes "I'm Nobody! Who Are You?" with a characteristically bittersweet stanza:
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong June
To an admiring bog! (5-8)
He celebrated his triumph as quoted in these lines of the poem:
he brought in triumph back the beauteous dame,
With whom her sister, fair Emilia, came.
With honour to his home let Theseus ride,
With Love to friend, and Fortune for his guide (9-12).
Other Rules of Citing Poems
The Golden Rule number one states: if the students quote a poem, they must add valuable feedback or comments to explain why particular lines were chosen to share. It is necessary to inform the reader what you make of this specific quote and why it is important in the context of your essay topic.
You can mix quotations into the sentences of your own. They don't have to be added unless you get your reader ready for them. The best way to do so is shown in the example below:
Alexander Pope's pastoral episode is determined by grief and deep depression, due to the fact that spectator, who is asked to "see gloomy clouds obscure the cheerful day' (5), is present at the funeral.
Make in-text citations of MLA poem using ellipses to point the space which included words you decided to skip. There are many examples like 'on the... different shores of the Dream" (23). Each time you make tiny adjustments to grammar, type in brackets (example: The speaker states that "Darkling [he listens]" (51).).
How to Cite a Poem - Final Recommendations
Apply 3-spaced period to highlight omissions. It does not matter whether the quote is long or really short, a student has to modify some of the given information in it to fit the sentence requirements. Skip anything from the poem quotation which sounds insignificant for your main idea. It is simple to exclude unnecessary parts: indicate such parts with 3-spaced periods (...).
Add square brackets in order to include your own interpretations within citations. If you insert words of your authorship to integrate the cited part into your train of discourse or to interpret words that might be ambiguous, paste square-shaped brackets around these words.
Remember: you should not overload your text with quotations from the discussed poem. Quote the words of others without getting too enthusiastic. Direct citations have to occupy only a small part of your entire essay. Paraphrasing or rewriting some words from the poem is a better way to recall certain episodes. Still, poem quotation is one of the best methods to prove you've really read the text.
If you experience difficulties when you add quotes from the chosen poems, you may find something even more effective than examples found on the web. No more need to read thick manuals with guidelines on specific formats with our professional academic writing and formatting website by your side. We can handle any poetry to win an A+ mark for you - just place your order today!
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