When quoting, wait for a striking phrase or
summary of a key point. Use quotes in a speech story to
give the flavor of the speakers talk. With quotes you
can convey to the reader what the talk was like. To do
this, the writer need not quote whole paragraphs because
they make the copy dull. A few good quotes scattered
throughout the story are enough.
To use quotes, you must understand the basics of
quoting. A quotation must consist of the speakers exact
words. The writer should not change one word. You
must use quotation marks at the beginning and end of
the quote as in the next example: I think, therefore, I
am. You must use a comma to set off the quoted part
of the following sentence: He said, That did it. To add
the words he said at the end of the sentence, put the
comma after the quoted matter and before the quote
marks: That did it, he said.
When quoted matter does not make a sentence, use
no comma and no capital letter to introduce the quote as
in the following example: He did not purge them. Note
the periods and commas are always inside the quotation
marks. No comma is needed after a quote if it asks a
question such as in the following: Did you go? he
asked. Also, no comma is needed with a quoted
exclamation point as in the next example: What a
view! yelled the astronaut.
On occasion, a speaker may make an error he does
not acknowledge during a speech or news conference.
If you must use this particular quoted material, insert
[sic] immediately after the error. This shows, for the
record, that the speaker made the error and not the writer.
Consider the following example:
said the following: Considering all factors, and my
speaker's sentence, leave four dots three for the
NASA has experienced a very
good safety record since the Challenger
disaster in early January [sic] 1986.
During this time frame. ...
Handling Long Quotes
Consecutive paragraphs of quotations do not
require quotation marks at the end of each paragraph.
These are required only when the entire quote ends. You
do, however, begin each new paragraph with quotes.
Nevertheless, as stated earlier, you can write more
effectively by not using long quotes.
The ellipsis is a device of punctuation used in
quoting. It consists of three spaced periods ( . . . ) used to
show omission of a word or words necessary to
complete a statement or quotation. If a quote is long and
a writer wants to use it, the writer can delete the
unnecessary words by using the ellipsis. However, too
many beginners go wild with the ellipsis. They overuse
it, sticking the three dots in every sentence. If you must
use several ellipses to convey the message, it is better
that you paraphrase the sentence.
If the writer starts a quote in the middle of a
speakers sentence, the ellipsis need not be used before
the quoted words. For example, the speaker may have
staff has done that for many months, I feel the trainee
would be ready for duty in a combat zone after 20 weeks
of basic training instead of the present eight. A JOs
sentence may read like the following: General Needam
said, The trainee would be ready for duty in a combat
zone after 20 weeks of basic training instead of the
Then, if you want to end a quote in the middle of the
ellipsis and one for the regular period as follows: The
trainee would be ready for duty in a combat zone after
20 weeks of basic training. ...
Quoting is only a part of writing the speech story.
The writer must still identify the speaker no later than
the second paragraph. Many times the speaker will be
identified in the lead.
Even when you think a person is well-known, you
must still include a frill name and full title in the story.
That way the reader will know exactly who you are
quoting and will not confuse that person with someone
else with the same name or similar position.
If someone is relatively unknown, you may use a
general job title for the first identification, such as a
college president or a city administrate. Include the
speakers name in the second paragraph.
Combining the guidelines concerning quotes and
the material covered earlier about identification, a lead
and the second paragraph for a typical speech story
should read in the following way:
President Roland Coaster has
asked the Defense Department to
revise its training and education
systems so every man and woman in
service will come out with a skill
marketable in the civilian economy.
In his annual manpower report to
Congress, the president said, There
are some military specialists whose
training does not lead directly to
civilian employment. To help them, I