Citations: Efficient In-text Quotations
When writing a paper in MLA style, use brief quotations from your sources, in order to emphasize the complex connections you can make between the sources, and to emphasize how the quotes you choose support your original argument.
|In the essay "The Full Title of an Essay Fills Lots of Space" by Maxwell Wordsworth Fuller, it talks about how easy it is to bury your own thoughts when you introduce quotes in inefficient ways. In a passage on page 128, Fuller writes, "Keep in mind that your instructor wants to evaluate your own thoughts, not your ability to quote somebody else's thoughts, so quote just the juiciest, most meaning-laden passages from your sources, and use the brief MLA style parenthetic citation, rather than spelling out the full title and the full name of your source." This quote shows how important it is to cite your sources efficiently.|
The author of the above passage uses a wordy, wasteful formula that includes
|Citing your sources in proper MLA style can help you focus tightly on making an argument. Because "your instructor wants to evaluate your own thoughts," you can "quote just the juiciest, most meaning-laden passages from your sources" (Fuller 128). Efficient citations will let you "spread your intellectual wings a little wider" (Jones 213), because you'll have more room to make "the kind of connections your instructor expects to see in successful academic writing" (Lee 43). While learning the details of MLA style may feel like a pain, the space it saves gives you room to demonstrate your true strengths as a writer.|
In about 102 words, the author of the above passage has introduced brief quotes from three different sources, using those brief quotations to help present a claim about MLA style. The quotations exist in order to support a claim that is related to the readings. Even though the author's claim draws on those readings, the author's point cannot be found, in its full form, in any one source; therefore, this revision highlights the author's ability to draw connections between sources, in order to support an original argument.
The second passage uses sources to support an argument, while the first passage simply cites sources mechanically, as part of a formula that produces a lot of words.