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Quote Different Opinions Essays

“[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.” – A.A. Milne

Chances are you too know a few famous quotes, but you probably don’t use them. I know so, because I’m guilty of neglecting quotes on the GRE.

So, why should you use essay quotes on the GRE? To start with, the right use of quotes in essays augments the power of your arguments and makes your essays appear more convincing. Plus, essays with quotes tend to score better than essays without them, because of the initial impact the use of quotes create on the reader, and help strengthen your point.

But we need to exercise prudence. Only use quotes as is, if you are convinced that paraphrasing would lower the impact or change the meaning of the original author’s words or when the argument could not be better expressed or said more succinctly.

Here is how you make sure you are doing it right.

How do I incorporate quotes into my essay?

At times, an essay can appear painfully discorded if the quotations are out of place or if the essay is too stuffed with quotes.

So, what should you do to avoid this?

A great quote plays one or more roles from the following:

  • creates the initial impact on the essay grader
  • makes your essay look more promising and interesting
  • establishes credibility
  • concludes the essay with a point to contemplate

If the quote doesn’t serve any of the above then you are forcing it into the essay and this could do more harm than good.

You should start writing your essay with a quote that lays foundation to the main idea behind the essay. This can have a major impact on the evaluator. You can also comment on the quotation in this introductory paragraph if you wish. Either way, to get a perfect score on the GRE essay, use a relevant quote strategically but don’t force it into the essay.

Can I alter the structure of the quotation?

Using the exact words from the original source is called quoting. You should quote when you believe that the way the original author expresses an idea is the most effective way to communicate the point you wish to make. If you want to borrow an idea from the author but don’t put the idea in their exact words, then it’s called paraphrasing. (but remember that you still have to cite the original author even when you are paraphrasing)

For example, Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” You can alter the quotation on your own according to the passage, by saying: ‘To paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s famous quote, “It is easier to trust when you can verify.”‘ By doing this, you are not only citing the original author, but also gaining extra points for using your own version of the quote.

How many quotes should I use?

If you deploy a lot of quotations in your essay, it appears as though several people are talking about the topic apart from yourself. This would downplay your own voice and leaves little room for your own ideas. It is your essay and it should be your voice that needs to be heard, not some notable/famous person’s. Quote as infrequently as possible. So, don’t cram every quote you know into the essay. As a rule of thumb, refrain from using more than 2 quotes in any essay. (One in the introductory paragraph and the other if necessary in the conclusion)

How do I introduce the quote in my own words?

The last thing you would want is get your score cancelled on account of plagiarism. It’s highly recommended that you cite the author of the quotation. If you don’t cite, you may give the impression that you claim to be the original author and that could result in plagiarism. You should place the quote in double quotation marks. Here is an example usage citing the author:

Thomas Jefferson once said “The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.”

Categorization of GRE Essay Topics

The fascinating thing about the GRE essay topics is that they’re already published on the official ETS website. This may sound crazy because giving out the questions in advance is not normal. Now, use this to your advantage. You can find all the GRE essay topics on the official ETS website.

But there’s a catch! You were expecting a few, right?

Well, there are close to 200 topics in all – far too many to practice responses in advance. Also, practicing each of these topics is not advisable as it is going to take a lot of time and effort and there is no point in mugging them up. You could as well spend this time on learning some math. However, there’s a good news. Just scanning through these two lists will give you an excellent idea of the types of issues and arguments that show up on test day.

I just made things a bit easy for you, though. Most of the topics that show up on the GRE essay section can be broadly grouped into five categories.

  • Education
  • Arts
  • Government/Politics
  • Philosophy
  • Sciences and Technology

So, next time when you practice writing an essay response, make sure you write at least one essay from each of these categories. And memorize a few quotes related to each one of these topics, as they will be handy.

List of most useful essay quotes

I’ve compiled a list of easy-to-digest quotes that should help you write the perfect essay. Bookmark this page NOW for future reference.

The following quotes from great thinkers have been selected based on their relevance to common GRE essay topics and for their ease of usage.

  1. The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance – Socrates
  2. A people that value its privileges above its principles soon loses both – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  3. In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is – Yogi Berra
  4. A little inaccuracy can sometimes save a ton of explanation – H.H Munro
  5. Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction – E. F. Schumacher
  6. A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually – Abba Eban
  7. Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good – Mohandas Gandhi
  8. Whatever government is not a government of laws, is a despotism, let it be called what it may – Daniel Webster
  9. Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws – Plato
  10. Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing – Theodore Roosevelt
  11. It is dangerous to be right, when the government is wrong – Voltaire
  12. The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object – Thomas Jefferson
  13. No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation – Woodrow Wilson (28th U.S President)
  14. The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work – Emile Zola
  15. The world is full of educated derelicts – Calvin Coolidge
  16. A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a change to get its pants on – Winston Churchill
  17. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog – Mark Twain
  18. Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire, the other is to get it – Socrates
  19. If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning – Aristotle Onasis
  20. Men are not disturbed by things, but the view they take of things – Epictetus
  21. As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can – Julius Caesar

Now, these are a handful of quotes. The goal is to memorize 5 or 6 of your favorite quotes so you’ll be able to contextually fit one into the essay on the test day. While practicing, you may look at the list of quotes found above however, if you can remember a specific quote apposite to your essay topic, try to use it – one quote for every essay.

For those avid writers, who believe the number of quotes above are too low, we have the right tool for you. Ellipsoid created a random quote generator tool that draws 5 famous quotes from Goodreads every time you reload the page. The good news is these 5 quotes are always theme based so you know where to use them.

Conclusion

Writing essays isn’t all about the substance. It’s the basics that many of us forget. If you are going to put in the time to practice writing essays, might as well maximize the score you could get by deploying a quote in your essays.

So, what’s your favorite quote?

Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Writing Tips: Quotations

A quotation is an exact reproduction of another speaker's or writer’s words. A quotation is different from a paraphrase, which is a restatement of someone else’s ideas entirely in your own words. Quotation and paraphrase, along with summary (which is a brief restatement of the main points of a longer work), are three ways of incorporating information from other sources into your own writing.

The Uses of Quotation

In most writing, you should use quotations for one or more of the following specific purposes:

Use quotation to reproduce distinctive, admirable, or felicitous phrasing--that is, when a paraphrase would be an inadequate representation.

  • In his Introduction to Lysistrata, Douglass Parker denies that the play is a "hoard of applied lubricity."

Use quotation when your source uses words in a specialized or unorthodox way.

  • Both Calidorus and Pseudolus agree that Phoenicium's letter is "terrible," but they mean different things.

Use quotation when the speaker or writer is an expert on the subject or an otherwise famous person whose specific words might be newsworthy, of general interest, or add credibility to your paper.

  • Samuel Pepys called Twelfth Night "one of the weakest plays that ever I saw on the stage."

Use quotation to reproduce important statements of information, opinion, or policy.

  • According to the Code on Campus Affairs, "No absence from class is excused."

Use quotation to reproduce exactly a passage that you are explaining or interpreting.

  • Corrigan refers to the world of comedy as a "protected realm."

The ultimate test of whether a quotation is necessary or not is this question: does it help support your thesis?

The Mechanics of Quotation

Any handbook used in Rhetoric or English courses will give you an acceptable format for incorporating quotations into your writing and punctuating them correctly. The MLA and APA handbooks provide guidance as well.

Punctuating quotations is simple, but the rules change slightly, depending on whether the quotation is documented or not. All of your quotations should be documented (usually by just a line or page number in parentheses), but it's important for you to know how documentation affects punctuation, so all the rules are given below.

Punctuating Quotations without Documentation

Periods and commas, whether or not they are part of the quoted material, always go inside the closing quotation marks:

  • "The comic mask," says Aristotle, "is ugly and distorted, but does not imply pain."

Colons and semicolons at the end of independent clauses which end with a quotation go outside the closing quotation marks:

  • Pseudolus calls Phoenicium's letter "terrible" he means it is badly written.

Question marks and exclamation points go inside or outside the closing quotation marks, depending on whether they are part of your sentence or the quoted sentence:

  • Malvolio asks, "My masters, are you mad?"
  • Why does Olivia call Malvolio "poor fool"?

An ellipsis (three spaced periods) goes in the middle of a quotation or at the end--never at the beginning. To indicate words omitted from inside a quotation, use three spaced periods:

  • "Some are born great . . . and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em."

If the quotation goes on where your sentence ends, you can mark the missing material with 4 spaced periods, the first following the last word of the quotation with no space:

  • Cesario’s most impressive speech begins, "Make me a willow cabin at your gate. . . ."

Verse (i.e., poetry) quotations of 3 lines or fewer should be incorporated directly into your paragraph, with a slash marking the division between lines:

  • Lysistrata ends with a religious invocation, "sing to honor her-- / Athene of the Bronze House! / Sing Athene!"

Prose quotations that are longer than 4 lines or verse quotations of more than 3 lines should be set off in block format. The text remains double-spaced, with no extra lines before or after the quotation. The left margin is indented one inch and the right margin remains the same. Poetry quoted in this format should have the same line divisions that you see in your book. Block quotations are commonly introduced by a clause ending with a colon. The block format itself takes the place of quotation marks.

Punctuating Quotations with MLA Documentation

Once the reader knows which edition of a text you are using, the only information necessary to document a quotation is a line or page number; the format varies slightly depending on the kind of work you are quoting:

For poems whose lines are numbered consecutively, from beginning to end, just use line numbers:

  • In "The Reeve’s Tale," the miller’s daughter has "eyen as greye as glas" (120).

For plays whose lines are numbered from the beginning of each scene, indicate act, scene, and line number:

  • Posing as Cesario, Viola tells Olivia, "I am not that I play" (1.5.187) .

Give page numbers for plays without line numbers and for prose works:

  • Aristotle defines comedy as "an imitation of characters of a lower type" (51).

Note too that since the parenthetical documentation must be considered part of the sentence containing the quoted material to which it refers, it must come after quotation marks but before terminal punctuation (commas, periods, and such at the end of clauses). Thus:

  • "My masters, are you mad?" becomes "My masters, are you mad?" (2.3.87).
  • "Make me a willow cabin at your gate . . ." (1.5.273).
  • Although the women of Greece swear to "withhold all rights of access or entrance" (32), they soon find their oath difficult to keep.

The exception to this general rule is for block quotations the parentheses come after the final period of the quotation, with no additional punctuation:

  • Lysistrata ends with a prayer to the patron goddess of Athens:

    Sing the greatest,
    sing the mightiest,
    sing the conqueror,
    sing to honor her--
    Athene of the Bronze House!
    Sing Athene! (113)

The Stylistics of Quotation

Besides mechanical correctness, you should strive for two other goals in your use of quotations: efficiency and grace.

As a rule, introduce quotations with a specific reference to their context--either events in the story, or ideas in the paragraph. Never introduce a quotation with just a line or page number:

  • Weak: On page 219, Pseudolus says he has "eyes like pumice stones."
  • Better: When Calidorus asks Pseudolus why Phoenicium's letter doesn't make him weep, Pseudolus responds that he has "eyes like pumice stones" (219).

Quote only as much of the text as is necessary to make your point. Don't quote several lines to establish the context of a single important line. Don't quote big chunks of the text to make your paper look long.

Select your quotations and build your sentences around them so that the whole is a grammatically correct unit. Don't quote complete sentences inside your own sentences.

  • Weak: Feste's statement that "Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun; it shines everywhere" (3.1.40-41) is an appropriate comment on the other characters in the play.
  • Better: Feste's comment that foolishness, like sunlight, "shines everywhere" (3.1.41) could be taken as the theme of Twelfth Night.

You can edit quotations to clarify them, or to make them fit the structure of your sentences, so long as you do not misrepresent the context of the quotation.

  • You can leave words out, marked by an ellipsis.
  • You can insert words, enclosed in square brackets.
  • You can replace words with others, enclosed in square brackets.

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