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New Mexico State University

FAQ's for Quoting and Citing

Q: What if I have a great quote, but it leaves out essential information?

A: You can insert additional information by using the square parenthesis marks: [ ] This lets the reader know that you have added some part to a quote.

"According to [New York Attorney General Eliot] Spitzer's findings, AOL customer representatives received bonuses of thousands of dollars if they managed to retain about half of the people who called trying to cancel service -- and that led some employees to fail to process such requests. Workers who did not meet that quota were overlooked for promotions or sent for additional training, Spitzer's office said."

Noguchi, Yuki, "AOL to Pay $1.25 Million Fine; Dulles Company to Change Customer Service Practices," The Washington Post, August 25, 2005, D05.

Q: What if I want to use a quote but it contains a lot of extra stuff I don't want?

A: You can drop the unwanted part, using ellipsis [….] to mark the omission. This lets you cut pieces off the beginning or end, or from the middle.

Picacho Mountain is "…a Spanish-English double-generic, like Rio River or Laguna Lake." Robert Julyan, Place Names of New Mexico, Revised edition, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1998, p. 266.

Q: What if I just want to use a fact from a source, but say it in different words?>

A: Say it in your own words, and then provide a footnote.

In the early days of Las Cruces, riders would race their horses on Alameda Street every Sunday afternoon (ftnt. 1).

1. Hunner, Jon, et al., Las Cruces, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston SC, 2003, p. 21.

Q. What if I want to use words that were quoted in another source?

One of the points that Malcom Gladwell makes in Blink is that more thinking does not mean better thinking: talking or explaining can actually impede good judgment. He points to what the psychologist Jonathan W. Schooler calls "verbal overshadowing," when an accurate perceptual judgment is overridden by a misleading verbalization.

Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Little, Brown, and Company, New York and Boston, 2005, p. 119-121. Citing Jonathan W. Schooler, Stellan Ohlson, and Kevin Brooks, "Thoughts Beyond Words: When Language Overshadows Insight," Journal of Experimental Psychology 122, no. 2 (1993),166-183.

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