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direct quotation

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Definition:

A report of the exact words of an author or speaker. Unlike an indirect quotation, a direct quotation is placed inside quotation marks.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "She quoted from a letter [E.B.] White wrote in 1981: 'You might be amused to know that Strunk and White was adapted for a ballet production recently. I didn't get to the show, but I'm sure Will Strunk, had he been alive, would have lost no time in reaching the scene, to watch dancers move gracefully to his rules of grammar.'"
    (Jeremy Eichler, "Style Gets New Elements," The New York Times, October 19, 2005)


  • "Never alter quotations even to correct minor grammatical errors or word usage. Casual minor tongue slips may be removed by using ellipses but even that should be done with extreme caution."
    ("Quotations in the News," The Associated Press Stylebook, 2008)


  • When Are Quotes Worth Quoting?

    1. when they put words before the reader for close analysis
    2. when they are crucial evidence
    3. when they say something so well it can't be said better.
    (Bill Stott, Write to the Point. Anchor Press, 1984)


  • "The black evangelist--whom Time magazine called 'one of religion's most prodigious polymaths'--had been invited to be the speaker at a plenary session of the National Association of Black Journalists."
    (DeWayne Wickham, "A Religious Man--Not Right, Not Left," USA Today, August 8, 2005)


  • "In the first place, the general convention in the sciences and social sciences is that we use direct quotations as little as possible. Whenever possible, paraphrase your source. The exception is when the source is so eloquent or so peculiar that you really need to share the original language with your readers. (In the humanities, direct quoting is more important--certainly where you are talking about a literary source. There the original language IS the object of study very often.)"
    (Becky Reed Rosenberg, "Using Direct Quotations," Writing Center at the University of Washington, Bothell)
Also Known As: pure quotation, direct speech
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