Can You Use A Quote Twice In An Essay

Deciding on the location of footnotes or references in the text (Readability)

An awkwardly placed footnote or reference obstructs the flow of your paper. The non- binding guidelines below are intended to maximize your paper's readability. They are optional, so use your own judgment as to whether to follow them or not. Most likely, your decision will vary from case to case.

Note: In the examples below, we use MLA-style parenthetical in-text references. However, the same recommendations hold true for Chicago-style footnotes.

Optional Rule # 1

As a rule, place footnotes or references at the end of sentences. Avoid placing them in the middle of sentences if possible.

Avoid:

The claim that "the Rape of Nanking surpasses much of the worst barbarism of the ages" (Chang 5) has been a source of disagreement between Western and Japanese scholars.

Preferable:

The claim that "the Rape of Nanking surpasses much of the worst barbarism of the ages" has been a source of disagreement between Western and Japanese scholars (Chang 5).

Optional Rule # 2:

If, in one paragraph, you list multiple quotes from the same page of a source, there is no need to cite that source anew each time. Use just one reference instead, placed after the last of your quotes (or perhaps at the end of the paragraph) to sum up the shared source of all your quotes.

Avoid:

The claim that "the Rape of Nanking surpasses much of the worst barbarism of the ages" has been a source of disagreement between Western and Japanese scholars (Chang 5). Chinese-American scholar Iris Chang argues that "the Rape of Nanking represents one of the worst instances of mass extermination" ever (Chang 5). In fact, she notes, "the death toll of Nanking-one Chinese city alone-exceeds the number of civilian casualties of some European countries for the entire war (Chang 5).

Preferable:

The claim that "the Rape of Nanking surpasses much of the worst barbarism of the ages" has been a source of disagreement between Western and Japanese scholars. Chinese-American scholar Iris Chang argues that "the Rape of Nanking represents one of the worst instances of mass extermination" ever. In fact, she notes, "the death toll of Nanking-one Chinese city alone-exceeds the number of civilian casualties of some European countries for the entire war (Chang 5).

Optional Rule # 3:

Even if multiple quotes from one source are not from the same exact page, as above, you can still summarize them in one reference placed after the last of your quotes or at the end of the paragraph. In this case, the individual page numbers cited are separated by commas, in both MLA and Chicago.

Example:

Some Western historians claim that "the Rape of Nanking surpasses much of the worst barbarism of the ages." Iris Chang, for example, describes "Corpses piled up outside the city walls, along the river (which had turned red with blood), ponds and lakes, and on hills and mountains" (Chang 5, 46).

Note: when summarizing multiple quotes from the same source in one reference, the order of the page numbers listed in the reference reflects the order in which the quotes are listed in your text. The above reference (Chang 5, 46) indicates that the first-cited quote is from p. 5, while the second is from p. 46.

Optional Rule # 4

Even if a paragraph lists quotes from more than one source, you can still summarize them into one reference placed after the last quote or at the end of the paragraph. In this case, separate the different authors listed in your reference by a semicolon, in both MLA and Chicago.

Example:

Writing on the Rape of Nanking, Iris Chang describes "Corpses piled up outside the city walls, along the river (which had turned red with blood), ponds and lakes, and on hills and mountains." Japanese scholars, however, dispute this version of events, suggesting that Chang describes "'mountains of dead bodies' that no one saw" (Chang 46; Masaaki Ch. 4).

Note: The order in which the citations are listed in the reference reflects the order in which the quotes themselves are listed in the text. The above reference (Chang 46; Masaaki Ch. 4) indicates that the first quote is from Chang, p. 46; followed by a quote from Masaaki (a website), Chapter Four.

Final Note: Don't go overboard when summarizing multiple sources in one reference. Excessively lengthy references can become confusing to your reader. MLA recommends listing no more than three sources, maximum, in any one reference. As ever, use your own judgment. It's your paper, you decide; and don't worry if your decisions vary from case to case. The most important thing is that the source of each of your quotes is clearly identified in your references, and that the placement of your references does not obstruct the flow of your paper.

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The use of single quotation marks (quotes within quotes)

All quotes are placed in double quotation marks with one exception:

Binding Rule:

If a passage you are citing contains a quote, the quote within your quote is placed in single quotation marks.

Consider the following passage from the fourth chapter of Tanaka Masaaki's website What Really Happened in Nanking: The Refutation of a Common Myth. This is the original passage, as printed in the website, word for word, down to the punctuation:

No one saw "mountains of dead bodies" or "rivers of blood".

When quoting this passage, the quotes within the quote ("mountains of dead bodies" and "rivers of blood") are placed in single quotation marks:

According to Japanese scholar Tanaka Masaaki, "No one saw 'mountains of dead bodies' or 'rivers of blood'" (Masaaki Ch. 4).

The rule, again: when quoting a passage that contains a quote, the quote within the quote is placed in single quotation marks, as above; notice that the larger quote within which the quote-within-the-quote is embedded, is placed in double quotation marks, as ever.

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Block quotes (lengthy quotes)

Although we generally recommend using quotes strategically and (therefore) sparingly, there may be times when you need to quote lengthy passages to illustrate or prove your claims. Such lengthy quotes are formatted as block quotes.

What is a lengthy quote?

There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes a "lengthy quote" - some teachers say a quote is lengthy if it exceeds four or five typed lines; others, if it exceeds forty words or four sentences. The point is: once a quote becomes unusually lengthy it is formatted as a block quote.

Whatis a block quote; how is it formatted?

A block quote is a lengthy quote that is visually set off from the rest of your paper. It is single-spaced (rather than double-spaced, like the rest of your paper) and indented an additional half inch so that it visually draws attention to itself on the page. The objective is to signal to the reader, even from a distance, that what follows is a lengthy quote.

A block quote is not placed in quotation marks.

Example:

Chinese-American historian Iris Chang offers the following statistics in her effort to illustrate the full scope of the Nanking massacre:

One historian has estimated that if the dead from Nanking were to link hands they would stretch from Nanking to the city of Hangchow, spanning a distance of some two hundred miles. Their blood would weigh twelve hundred tons, and their bodies would fill twenty-five hundred railroad cars. Stacked on top of each other, they would reach the height of a seventy-four-story building. (Chang 5)

Note that, in MLA, as shown above,the final punctuation of a block quote - unlike the punctuation for a regular short quote - is placed immediately after the end of the last sentence, preceding (not following) the parenthetical reference.

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Modifying the wording of a quote without changing its meaning

Sometimes it is necessary to modify the wording of a quote in order to make it flow more smoothly, to add relevant information, to change its tense to suit the point you are trying to make, or to ensure that its transition in or out of your prose is grammatically correct.

As long as you do not alter the fundamental meaning of the original passage, it is permissible to make such grammatical and stylistic changes. To signal to the reader that your modifications are not part of the original passage quoted, such changes and additions are placed in square brackets.

Example:

Consider the following passage from Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking:

"Any attempt to set the record straight must shed light on how the Japanese, as a people, manage, nurture, and sustain their collective amnesia-even denial-when confronted with the record of their behavior through that period" (Chang 15).

Now consider the following quote from the above passage:

Writing in 1997, Iris Chang was undoubtedly correct that Japan's version of the Nanking Massacre exemplified "how the Japanese, as a people [once] manage[d], nurture[d], and sustain[ed] their collective amnesia-even denial-when confronted with the record of their behavior through [the] period [of World War II]." Today, more than ten years after the publication of Chang's work, those few Japanese scholars who still continue to deny the events that occurred at Nanking in 1937 are unlikely to ever come around to share her view (Chang 15).

Notice that the material added is placed in square brackets, visually indicating to the reader that it is not part of the original text.

Notice also that, although we have altered the tense of the quote (from present to past and through the addition of the word "once"), changed an article (from "that" to "the"), and added information (to specify the World War II period) we have not fundamentally altered the original meaning of the quote, which remains clearly discernible.

The rule, again: any modifications to a quote must be placed within square brackets. You can modify, as long as you do not change a quote's meaning. (On this, see also The Ethics of Quoting.)

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Ellipses

Another way in which you can modify a quote is by skipping material. Perhaps the quote is too long, or perhaps it contains unnecessarily detailed information: there are many reasons why you may wish to skip part of a quote, and as long as you do not alter the original meaning of the passage, you are free to do so.

The rule: Indicate that you have skipped material within a quote by placing three periods (an ellipsis) in place of the missing material. Do not place an ellipsis at the beginning or end of a quote, ever: only to indicate skipped material in the middle of a quote.

Example:

Consider the following sentence from Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking:

"Corpses piled up outside the city walls, along the river (which had turned red with blood), ponds and lakes, and on hills and mountains" (Chang 46).

If you wish to skip part of this quote (the parenthetical comment, for example) indicate its omission through the use of an ellipsis:

Writing of the Nanking massacre in 1937, Iris Chang describes "Corpses piled up outside the city walls, along the river ... [in] ponds and lakes, and on hills and mountains" (Chang 46).

Two important reminders:

  1. Remember that you can skip material in a quote only if your doing so does not change the meaning of the original passage (see The Ethics of Quoting on this); and
  2. Do not place ellipses at the beginning or end of quotes, ever: only in the middle, to indicate skipped material.
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Works Cited

  • Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. New York: BasicBooks, 1997.
  • Masaaki, Tanaka. "'Mountains of Bodies' that No One Saw." N.d. What Really Happened in Nanking: The Refutation of a Common Myth. July 1, 2007 <http://www.ne.jp/asahi/unko/tamezou/nankin/whatreally/index.html>.
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If you are citing the same source multiple times in a text within the same paragraph, be sure to use the following APA guidelines:

 

Sentence-level in-text citation guidelines

1. The first time you use the source in the paragraph as part of the sentence, give the citation of the author’s name and year (even if you already used a parenthetical citation).

        Example: Grammer (2013) explained how practicing APA helped improve students’ writing skills.

2. The second and subsequent time you use that source in a sentence, you do not need to include the year.

        Example: Grammer also mentioned that scholarly writing fostered critical thinking skills.

 

Parenthetical citation guidelines

 

1. The first time you use the source in the paragraph, you will give the full parenthetical in-text citation (Author’s last name, year).

        Example: Writing is a learned form of communication (Grammer, 2013).

2. The second and subsequent time you use a parenthetical citation, you will still give the full in-text citation (Author’s last name, year).

        Example: Using APA allows students to have consistency with other writings in their field of study (Grammer, 2013).

Note: You will never see only the author’s last name in a parenthetical citation—the parenthetical citation must always include the year.

 

A few tips to remember when citing within a paragraph:

  • The guidelines are different for citations that are part of the sentence and citations that are parenthetical.
  • With each new author, you must follow these guidelines.
  • With each new paragraph, you must follow these guidelines.

 

Additional Resources:

 

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