And I quote…


I was just visiting one of my favorite quotations websites.  I adore those strings of words said/written by famous people.  I’ve been collecting them for years–10 maybe?–and doubt that I will ever stop.  Quotes spark thought, and if you allow them to, trigger deeper thinking. 

Sometimes these deep ruminations formulate your own “catchy thoughts” (my description of quotes).  So, one person’s talent fueled your own.  One must be careful, however, to avoid–oh, the hypocrisy of what I’m about to do–simply citing another as replacement for your own ideas: 

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.
Dorothy L. Sayers (1893 – 1957), Lord Peter Wimsey in “Gaudy Night”

Of course, there are times when writing calls for direct quotation.  I’m generally not a fan of letting a quotation be your introductory sentence to an essay.  The exceptions are when the quote is either extremely pertinent to your argument, completely sums up your thesis, or is so appropriately gripping that you cannot help but read the rest of the piece.  The error punishable by death is when quotes are used willy-nilly because you could simply think of nothing better to say.  Or, on a misdemeanor level, the quote does not flow nor is supported by its context.  Quotes are best used when they flow effortlessly into your work, preferably within your own sentence.

Enough of the irate writing teacher.  🙂  Just thoughts…

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