SUMMARY:

  • The figure paragraphs are where you present your paper’s main points.
  • Your figure paragraphs should contain ample textual evidence, be correctly formatted, and have seamless transitions.

The bod is the meat and potatoes of your essay. As such, it needs to contain lots of succulent textual evidence and meaty support, not fluff.

Each assets paragraph contains one main idea, backed up by textual evidence and your own analysis. Your analysis should make up the majority of your paragraph.

Recall that (unless your teacher specifically says so), there’s nothing magic about having three bod paragraphs. Have as many as you need to get your ideas across. The topic sentences of your assets paragraphs should be determined by how you grouped your notes when you were outlining.

With your outline in forearm, it’s time to draft your essay.

1) What makes a good quote

SUMMARY:

  • The best quotes contain in-depth analysis, opinion, or interpretation, not facts.
  • LINKS:

    When choosing quotes to put in your final paper, keep in mind that some information works better in quote form and some is better as an indirect quote (paraphrased).

    Take the following example: According to the CIA Factbook, «all of China falls within one time zone» (CIA Factbook).

    How arousing of a quote is that? Not very.

    The best quotes contain analysis, opinion, or interpretation. When quoting directly from a source, be sure that the quote is interesting. Take the following example:

    According to Lina Song, a professor of economic sociology and social policy at the University of Nottingham, «Local government debt in China is a time bomb waiting to go off» (A Time Bomb, NY Times). In China, local government debt has swelled to 14 trillion yuan (People’s Bank of China).

    The opinion part-that local debts in China are a time bomb-is a direct quotation from a credible source (a professor). This makes a good quote since her opinion paints an interesting picture of China’s current economic situation. The fact-that debt is now 14 trillion yuan-is not quoted, since it would be a boring quote. But it does provide substantial factual support to Song’s opinion.

    When looking for quotes, look for the most concise parts of the text that explain the author’s points. You don’t want to devote too much of your paper’s length to quoting from your sources.

    Attempt to embed quotes into your writing slickly by placing them in a sentence of your own, rather than just plopping them in your paper. These ‘lead up’ sentences should contain transitions that give your reader the context behind the quote.

    Two) Making good points

  • Good points go after a formula: introduction of evidence + evidence + analysis.
  • The above structure can be modified based on the paper you are writing.
  • RESOURCES:

  • They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing – Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
  • Your paper should contain a number of points that make your argument. These points should be substantiated by data-either in the form of direct quotes or paraphrasing. Good points are usually written with the following framework: introduction of evidence + evidence + analysis.
    Let’s break down each part:

    Introduction of evidence

    – The very first part of your point should be a sentence or two that transitions into your quote and explains the topic your quote addresses. Why are you citing this particular evidence? What is the quote adding to your paper?

    For humanities papers, you’ll very likely be introducing the work you’re analyzing at the beginning (introductory paragraph) of your essay. Therefore, when you bring up quotes, your ‘introduction of evidence’ will usually contain a transition telling how your quote relates to the rest of your paper.

    Examples:
    «Another example of Healthcliff’s indifference is seen in…»
    «Also, Rowling uses scenic detail to add drama to the book. For example…»
    «Finally, Venus’ frustration comes to a crescendo when the queen…»
    Notice how each of these examples contains transition words that prepare the reader to hear the quote.

    For social science papers and research papers, you’ll very likely be using a lot of sources for support, and as such, you’ll want to introduce each before you quote directly from it. When you bring up a source for the very first time, you will want to state its credentials to demonstrate that you are citing an authoritative source (and not just a random person).

    Examples:
    «Further insight into income inequality is provided by Dr. Delaney, an economist at Stanford, who is of the opinion that…» «Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. writes that our preconceived notions influence our perceptions…»

    Keep in mind that if you are paraphrasing from a source, it may not be necessary to introduce it. Use your own discretion.

    Example: It sounds funny to say, «The CIA World Factbook, an authority on world statistics, states that «Mali is a landlocked country very dependent on gold mining and agricultural exports for revenue» (CIA World Factbook).

    Instead, you can just weave the facts about Mali into your essay and provide a parenthetical citation for the Factbook.

  • Evidence

    – Here is where you substantiate your claim with a direct quote or text that is paraphrased. If you are quoting, be sure to transcribe from your source exactly, word-for-word. If you are paraphrasing, be sure you are doing the citations decently (See our guide to Parenthetical Citations ).

  • Analysis

    – It is significant that your evidence isn’t just plopped in your paper. The quote’s relevance to the rest of your paper may seem visible to you, but you cannot assume that your reader will make the connection. You need to make it explicit. Your analysis should explain why the stated quote helps further an idea promoted in your essay.

    «…This unique rhyming scheme, made famous by Shakespeare, makes the text lighthearted albeit the poem’s themes of love and timelessness are weighty.» «…The fearful closing lines juxtapose the joyful opening lines, heightening the reader’s sense of unease.»

    «…Abraham Lincoln’s gracious words in this passage indicate his gratitude toward Americans and thankfulness to God.»

    Keep in mind that the above formula can be modified to fit the flow of your paper. For example, if you are comparing two passages of text, you may want to quote them both very first before analyzing them. Your analysis might be a discussion of the similarities/differences inbetween the passages.

    Let’s take a look at how this point-making formula works within a paper, provided by George Mason University’s Department of English:

    The opening lines of «The Cask of Amontillado» are cunningly crafted to both entice the reader and instantaneously situate the narrative: «The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed vengeance. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged…» (123). With incredible economy we are introduced with a troubled relationship inbetween the narrator and Fortunato, which has reached its cracking point. It is also made clear that we are not the intended audience of this narrative. The «you» addressed knows the narrator well; we do not. This and the epistolary tone would suggest that we are looking upon some long forgotten lump of correspondence, which only heightens the atmosphere of mystery and fear already created by this sparse introduction.

    Here the writer introduces the work, «The Case of Amontillado» and provides a topic sentence. We know what to expect: a discussion on how the opening lines of the text grab the reader and set up the rest of the work.

    The quote is introduced. It is cited correctly.

    Here, the writer analyzes the the quote. He discusses how the troubled relationship inbetween two people helps framework the book. Notice how he’s building this using this textual evidence to support his topic sentence.

    But the writer goes further. He analyzes how details in the text grab the reader through use of literary technology. We are told that this adds to the «atmosphere of mystery and dread» of the brief story.

    E. Trio) Formatting quotes and parenthetical citations MLA/APA

  • Format your quotes decently, and cite them correctly.
  • You have done a lot of hard work gathering your sources and selecting quotes. You want to make sure that your quotes are beautifully integrated into your paper. You want the text of the quote to be formatted correctly, and you want your citations to be correct. For that, check out our site for Parenthetical Citations

    Four) Transitioning

  • Transitions provide links inbetween ideas of your paper.
  • Transitions are key to a kick-butt paper. They provide the connections inbetween the major ideas in your paper, and they give the reader cues to tell him where you are going. Reminisce (from when you researched and outlined) that your transitions should reflect how your notes are grouped. Now is the time to forge your transitions into words!

    There should be a transition inbetween each paragraph of the paper that introduces what the fresh paragraph is about and how it relates to the previous one. An effective way to transition is by using the following format: clause that references the claim in the previous paragraph (making a slick transition inbetween one claim and the next) + comma + topic sentence of next paragraph:

  • «In contrast to Marsha’s heartfelt feelings toward her sister in the very first half of the book, in the 2nd half they dissolve, only to be substituted by anger…»
    Here the words «in contrast» tell the reader that the text after the comma will be in juxtaposition to the text in front of the comma. Marsha’s relationship with her sister has switched, and this transition cues the reader that the next paragraph will be about anger in their relationship.
  • «Similar to how Tom dealt with the dragon the very first time, he…»
    The words «similar to» indicate that Tom treated the dragon using the same mechanism twice Here, the reader is ready to learn about how Tom dealt with the dragon the 2nd time around, and how that was similar to the very first time.
  • «Despite all that Tony did for Robin, she…»
    «Despite» indicates that there will be a shift in the 2nd part of the sentence. The reader is ready to hear about how Robin vocally manhandled Tom (or some other negative act) in the latter paragraph despite the fact that Tony did a lot for her.
  • Transitions should be used within paragraphs too. They help lead your reader down your intended path. Here’s a list of useful transitions (provided by UNC):

    Here are a duo examples:

  • «Jay Gatsby spares no expense at his extravagant Saturday night parties, as seen when…»
    Here, the phrase «as seen when» transitions your reader from your statement at the beginning of the sentence to a quote that will fit nicely at the end.
  • Steven’s behavior towards his family members is generally affable, but he treats only his parents with utmost respect.
    Here, the use of the world «but» indicates that the 2nd half of the sentence will modify the very first half. In this example, «but» helps the author refine the argument. Steven doesn’t treat everyone in his as best as he can. He treats his parents with his best behavior.
  • Peak: The transitions can also be used to transition inbetween paragraphs.

    Five) Avoiding plagiarism

  • Make sure that the sources you cite in your paper are quoted or paraphrased correctly.
  • Don’t have too much of your paper’s text be from a source other than yourself.
  • Your essay should be well supported with credible sources, but you don’t want too much of your paper to be written by another person. Your teacher wants to hear your own insight. The sources you reference in your paper should be cited correctly (paraphrased or directly quoted). If an idea is not your own, don’t take credit for it!

    According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary plagiarizing means to:

  • Steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one’s own
  • Use another’s production without crediting the source
  • Commit literary theft
  • Present as fresh and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
  • All of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • Turning in someone else’s work as your own
  • Copying words or ideas from someone else without providing credit
  • Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • Providing incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • Switching words but copying the sentence structure of a source without providing credit
  • Copying so many ideas or words from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not
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