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Lesson 23: Quoted In

The abbreviation "qtd. in" (quoted in) was covered in the MLA tutorial, but let's review it again.

When you copy a sentence from a website and you put it into your own paper, you are "quoting" the author of that website.

However, if the sentence you copied already had quotation marks around it, then you are not quoting the author of the website; you are quoting an an author who is quoting someone else. It's a case of "John said that Susan said that . . . "

Imagine, for example, that you have found an article written by a journalist called George Jones, and in this article you find the following sentence:

 
The President of France said, "I hate monkeys."
 

 

You decide that this is an important piece of evidence, so you incorporate it into your own paper like this.

 

French politicians are growing concerned about the monkey problem in Paris. In fact, French President Jacques Chirac recently stated, "I hate monkeys" (Jones).

 

 

You have made a mistake! You cannot cite Jones (the author of the article) because Jones didn't say the words "I hate monkeys." Nor can you cite President Chirac, because Chirac isn't the author of the article. (You do not have an article written by Chirac on your Works Cited page).

What you can do it this: You can turn the quote into an indirect quote, like this:

 

The president of France hates monkeys (Jones).

 

 

You can do this because the evidence is now in your own words (and therefore you removed the quotation marks). And where did you learn this interesting fact? You learned it in an article by Jones, so you correctly identified Jones in your parenthetical citation.

Alternatively, you could handle it like this:

 

French politicians are growing concerned about the monkey problem in Paris. In fact, French President Jacques Chirac recently stated, "I hate monkeys" (qtd. in Jones).

 

 

Wait! Isn't that the same as the first example? The one that you said was wrong?

No. The difference is in the parenthetical citation. By using the abbreviation "qtd. in", I am letting the reader know that it was Jones who heard the president say, "I hate monkeys," and if the reader wants to verify this fact, he can see this quote for himself in the article by Jones. And if it turns out that the quote is a lie—that Chirac never said those words—well, now it's mostly Jones' problem (and just a little bit your problem, because you should have used a more reliable source).

Problematic Block Quotes

Problems often arise when students take a long paragraph from an article to use as their block quote, and the paragraph contans a mix of the author's words and someone else's words. Here is an example:

 
The monkey problem in France has gotten worse, according to many government ministers. "I hate monkeys" said the president at a recent news conference. "They throw poop at the tourists and they eat all the bananas." This sentiment is shared by many. In fact, the Tourism Bureau of Paris released a statement saying that unless the monkey problem is solved soon, tourism in France may decline by as much as 10%.
 

 

If you use that paragraph as a block quote, how are you going to cite it? It's going to be a nightmare! Are you going to cite Jones? That wouldn't make sense because Jones didn't say the words "I hate monkeys" and Jones didn't say that tourism might decline by 10%—(it was the Tourism Bureau that said that).

It would be much better to sort this quote out—to tease out the words of the president of France, like this:

 

Third, many cities in France are experiencing a growing "monkey problem." In fact, the president of France recently said, "I hate monkeys. They throw poop at the tourists and they eat all the bananas" (qtd. in Jones). Clearly, the monkey problem has gotten out of hand.

 

 

Lesson Steps

 
1.

Take another look at your quotes (and especially your block quote).

Does each quote contain the words of only one person or one author?

2.

Did any of your quotes already have quotation marks around it when you found it? In that case, did you cite it properly, by using the abbreviation "qtd. in"?

3.

Do any of your quotes contain a of mix of words said or written by different people?

  • Throw the entire quote out, or else extract the words of a single person and use that as your quote instead.
  • Mixed quotes are confusing to the reader and a hassle to try to cite properly.
 

If your paper includes an instance of "qtd. in", did you punctuate it properly? Study these examples:

  • Correct: (qtd. in Jones)
  • Incorrect (quoted in Jones)
  • Incorrect (Qtd. in Jones)
2.

Congratulations! You're done with this lesson.