Why Use Quotes in Your Essay? The essay you write for class must be your essay. It should be your own ideas and in your own words. However, many essay assignments will ask that you use sources or quotes. So why would you use quotes in an essay that is supposed to be your own work? 1. To prove that your ideas are correct 2. To illustrate your point of view 3. To demonstrate how you arrived at an original idea of your own When to Use Quotes in Your Essay Usually, you will not use any quotes in your essay’s introduction. An introduction should be entirely in your own words. The paragraphs in the body of your essay will begin with your topic sentence (the statement that tells the readers what the rest of the paragraph will be talking about). Again, these will be in your own words. Do not start a paragraph with a quote. After you have given the topic sentence and explained what you will be writing about in your paragraph, you can consider using a quote that proves or illustrates what you claimed in your topic sentence. After the quote, show how it supports your point or idea; this will be in your own words and will demonstrate the connection between your idea and the quote you’ve used. It will explain to the reader why you chose the quote that you did and why it is relevant to your main point; the quote does not make your point for you. Do not end a paragraph with a quote. Quotations can never stand by themselves. They must be introduced and explained. Topic Sentence
O’Brien’s character in his novel, The Things They Carried, is able to sort through his emotions by writing about what he experienced in Vietnam.
The method of story-telling is effective for him, because “by telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths” (158). His stories thus become a type of therapy for him where O’Brien can discover the lessons he learned without feeling directly involved.