Econ 479

The Art of Writing, the Science of Economics

Direct and indirect quotation

As I have commented in some of your papers, one rule of good writing is to use quotation marks only in direct quotations—that is, only when you are using another person’s words verbatim. When you are reporting the gist of another person’s thoughts but putting them in your own words, then the quotation marks are not used, even though you will still be careful to cite your source. In the examples below, look at the differences in how the quotations are constructed.

DIRECT: “Arizona averages more than 320 days a year of sunshine,” observes Brett Day, a research climatologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

INDIRECT: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Arizona averages more than 320 sunny days each year.

* * *

DIRECT: “Just because Arizona is sunny doesn’t mean we should fund solar energy research,” says Snidely Whiplash, a member of Governor Jan Brewer’s economic advisory board.

INDIRECT: Even though Arizona is sunny, Snidely Whiplash, a member of Jan Brewer’s economic advisory board, argues that the state is under no obligation to invest in renewable solar energy research.

* * *

DIRECT: In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith writes, “The whole quantity of industry annually employed in order to bring any commodity to market, naturally suits itself in this manner to the effectual demand. It naturally aims at bringing always that precise quantity thither which may be sufficient to supply, and no more than supply, that demand.”

INDIRECT: In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith ventures an early formulation of the law of supply and the law of demand, arguing that the market seeks to find ways to satisfy demand without producing wasted surplus.

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Written by gregorymcnamee

February 25, 2012 at 11:40 pm

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