Framing / Integrating Quotations

Think of Framing and Integrating Quotations into your paper as removing something from somewhere and then comfortably making it feel at home in a new environment.


Another way to look at it is like a sandwich:

—First, you have to introduce the quote. This is your top piece of bread.
—Second, use the quote. This is the “good stuff” in the middle of your sandwich.
—Third, analyze the quote. This is your bottom piece of bread.

Step 1:

Introduce the author, book, and general overview of work

Title of Book: The Compadre

Author: Dr. Jose Torres

Here is an example of how we might introduce this:

In his book The Compadre, Dr. Torres explores the complexities of relationships.

Never assume that your audience already knows the work that you referring to even if the audience is your professor. Instead, imagine your audience is anyone on campus who may come across your work.

Here are some simple templates to help:

Dr. Torres explains in his article “Bad Dude Syndrome” that ______________.

Writing in the journal Ethics & Society, Dr. Torres argues that _____

In his book _______, X explores ____________.

Step 2:

Provide a few sentences of background/context leading up to the quote

More templates here:

________ tend to believe that____________

Conventional wisdom has it that___________

Society often thinks that ______________

__________ celebrates the fact that

___________emphasizes that

Here is the example continued:

In his book The Compadre, Dr. Torres explores the complexities of relationships. He emphasizes that friendships can be very difficult to keep up. Although intentions may be sincere, life can get in the way. One of the challenges can be communication.

Step Three:

Chose a meaningful quote and introduce it by using a signal phrase

A signal phrase is group of words that signals that a quote will be introduced in more templates:

According to Dr. Torres, “____________________” (50).

Dr. Torres states, “__________________________” (35).

Dr. Torres complicates matters further when he writes that “__________” (56).

The author demonstrates this concept “________” (4).

Notice that the page number goes in parentheses followed by punctuation

Choose different signal phrases to add variety:


Here is the example continued again:

In his book The Compadre, Dr. Torres explores the complexities of relationships. He emphasizes that friendships can be very difficult to keep up. Although intentions may be sincere, life can get in the way. One of the challenges can be communication. The author demonstrates this when the character “Joe, in a fit of rage, screams at his friend Sue” (Torres 4).

Step 4: 

Provide commentary/analysis after the quote

More templates:

In other words, __________________

To put it another way,_________________

____________ is important because_____________

Although ______________ may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial in terms of today’s concern over____________.

Ultimately, what is at stake here is___________________

Here is the example completed:

In his book The Compadre, Dr. Torres emphasizes the complexities of relationships. He suggests that friendships can be very difficult to keep up. Although intentions may be sincere, life can get in the way. One of the challenges can be communication. The author shows this when the character “Joe, in a fit of rage, screams at his friend Sue” (Torres 4). Ultimately what is at stake here is the relationship. When arguments turn into screaming matches, friendships can be damaged. Rather than screaming, friends should calmly explain their problems, which can perhaps preserve a friendship.


Using the completed example immediately above, let’s address some questions about “why” we do things this way.

1. Why do I need to introduce the quotation?

Keep in mind that you are bringing the quotation over from another work and by doing this giving the audience the voice of another author, not your own. You want to signal this to your audience. Its about the audience. Its letting them clearly know who is speaking, not you, and “blending” that into what your writing. It removes ambiguity and helps “integrate” the quotation into the flow of your paper.

2. Why do I need to explain the quotation?

Introducing and integrating a quotation is just the beginning. Once you have done this you need to keep in mind that when you finish, your audience may still be confused. Of course, you know why you used that quotation, but your audience may not. So, to make sure, as well as elaborate and connect, you want to follow up by tying your quotation back into the argument or thesis/claim you are making. This shows the audience, clearly, the connection you want them to see.

3. Why do I have to end the quotation, give the citation, and then give the punctuation?

This may seem trivial, but it is all too often a simple mistake. However, this simple mistake can cause a lot of confusion. When you reach the end of the quotation you are using, you need to simply close the quotations. Don’t worry, you can leave off any internal punctuation from the quotation. Then give us a properly formatted, paranthetical (in-text) citation so that we can connect this quotation to its proper MLA formatted, full citation in the Works Cited page. Finally, then you place the punctuation after the citation.

This last part is crucial because a period or punctuation (commonly a period) represents the end of a thought. If you put the citation after the period, it tells the reader that the citation then belongs to the next sentence, rather then where it actually belongs, with the quotation you just ended.

Some Mistakes to Avoid

—Failing to introduce the title of the work and the author.

—Starting a sentence or (paragraph) with a quote. Remember, you need to introduce the quote using a signal phrase.

—Ending a paragraph with a quote. Remember, you need to follow every quote with some of your own commentary or analysis. (This is the bottom piece of bread to your sandwich!)


In MLA, this is something that one has to deal with from time to time. When one goes over three-four lines of prose text, one needs to be able to properly format it as a Long or Block Quotation. This requires some different approaches from what one deals with in short quotations.

The formatting of short quotations is all about putting or setting the quotation apart, to stand out from your “your words” so that the audience can clearly see its someone else’s words but also to allow it to fit within the framework of your writing and not allowing it to “interrupt” to flow of your narrative.

Long or Block Quotations follow a different set of rules:

1. They are set apart from your narrative in their own formatting. Usually, this means you drop them down, and tab them over so that the quotations are “in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks” (“MLA Formatting Quotations”).

2. Once you have set the quotation off by itself and “omit quotation marks” one does NOT need to change the spacing to single space, in fact, one should maintain double-spacing. Only indent the first line of the quotation by an additional quarter inch if you are citing multiple paragraphs” (“MLA Formatting Quotations”).

3. Unlike your rule about punctuation coming after the MLA in-text citation/parenthetical citation. The citation “should come after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks (“MLA Formatting Quotations”).

Here is an example of how it should look:

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 10.04.50 PM

4. We do NOT need to have quotation marks or punctuation after the citation like we do in short quotations because the reasoning for those rules is to make sure the audience recognizes the use or insertion of someone else’s words into our own text and notes the inclusion of proper in-text citation to lead us to full citation in the Works Cited page. Long or Block quotations can ignore these rules because they are already set apart, removing the need for quotation marks and punctuation to follow in-text citation.

Works Cited
“MLA Formatting Quotations.” OWL at Purdue. 18 Nov. 2014. Web. 2 July 2015.