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The Subtleties of Starting an Introduction With a Quote (Example and Tips)

An essay is the strongest and the most effective way to express the opinion, explain the viewpoint, or demonstrate the knowledge related to the particular problem or topic. Professors and teachers all over the globe use it as an academic assignment to evaluate the students’ studying progress. It can be applied to any academic term.

By its nature, an essay reflects not only the knowledge of students, but also their abilities to formulate their thoughts, conduct research, and stick to the general rules of writing an essay. The diversity of essays and the format requirements allow creating unique essays instead of copy pasting.

Starting an essay with a quote is a common practice. It demonstrates the relationship between the writing paper and the former works of other people. However, citations borrowed from other works have to be marked properly. Otherwise, it is a pure plagiarism. So, how to use citations in your essay and how to choose the citations that will harmoniously match your writing? Let us see the details about using citations in your essay properly.

How to use a quote in an introduction paragraph

An essay introduction is a very important part. It is the only chance to state the topic or the question that the whole writing is going to be about and to show the conflict or position that is going to be discussed below. The properly written introduction encourages the readers to continue reading your essay. Thus, it has to be strong and capturing.

If you are going to use a quote in your essay, you must be sure that there is a direct connection between it and tour thesis. You can support it in your essay or contradict. Otherwise, it will be something that distracts the readers’ attention.

When starting a paragraph with a quote, make sure that you stick to several basic rules.

  1. The quote has to fit perfectly into the topic. If you choose some general statement, cliché or random citation, your essay will look meaningless. Sometimes, it may take a long time to find the proper quote, but it will pay off. However, is it really necessary? If you do not have a corresponding citation that could support your essay, think about writing an essay without it. It is far better than using the indirect and confusing quote.
  2. The citation has to be from the reliable source. Try to avoid using quotes from the forums, internet sites, celebrities’ speeches or other sources that are not trustworthy. Most likely, they will not persuade the readers or prove that some statement is right or wrong.
  3. Use the words that catch the attention. The readers will be more attentive to the citation if you use the words like “according to…”, “as the famous scientist states…” or something like that at the beginning of the sentence. Such trick really works.

Let us look at the intro paragraph essay example that starts with a quote (the information is fictional).

  • Even though, according to the Smith research, 65% of the adults in the USA believe that “adolescents should be prohibited to play video games that contain violence scenes” (Smith, 365), the direct connection between video games’ influence and the gamers’ behavior is not proven yet.

Another example of the essay introduction with a quote is:

  • As Johnson states, “The best way to forget something is to replace it with something better” (2010, p.42), and many people would agree with it.

Both examples use the signal words to start an essay introduction convincingly. They both highlight the position of the essay’s author. In the first case, an author is going to argue the position of the people from the Smith’s research; in the second one, an author is prone to support the statement of Johnson.

When putting the citation into your essay, make sure that the audience (the majority of the readers) is familiar with an author or the work you use. Sometimes, it is expedient to add some short background. You can write several words about the context of that quote to prove that it relates to the topic and thesis you discover in your paper.

The punctuation of the quotes in an essay

The way you punctuate the quote depends on the format you use. There are two the most popular styles: MLA and APA. They both require the double quotation marks (for short quotes) and the references to the source in parentheses. However, there are some differences between them.

  1. In MLA style, you should provide the last name of the author and the number of page with the quote you use. APA format requires providing the last name, the number of page, and the year of edition.
  2. When using APA, you have to write p. for the page number.
  3. The short quote in MLA is less than four lines long if it is taken from the prose or three lines or shorter for the poetry. In APA, the quote is considered as a short if it consists of less than 40 words.
  4. In both formatting styles, to provide the long citation it has to be written as a separate paragraph. Nevertheless, in APA you should write the whole quote at least ½ inch away from the left side when in MLA you have to indent only the first line.

The proper quotes may contribute to your essay noticeably. Feel free to use them to strengthen your descriptive, narrative, expository or any other essay. Can you start an argumentative essay with a quote? Yes, you can. Moreover, by using a quote, you demonstrate the depth of the research you conducted.

If you face some difficulties with including quotes in your essay, the writing service can help you to do that professionally. You will benefit from it at least twice. First, you will get a perfectly written essay with a quote. Secondly, you will have a “live” example to learn from.

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