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3 Tutorials that teach Omitting Words from Quotations
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Omitting Words from Quotations
Common Core: 8.L.2b

Omitting Words from Quotations

Author: Sydney Bauer

This lesson goes over how to alter a quotation by removing word or lines.

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Whenever a writer removes words, phrases, or sentences from a direct quote without changing the meaning, he or she will use an ellipsis to show that information has been removed.

Why would a writer remove anything from a quote?
Writers remove information from a quote to keep the quoted material short and concise. A writer might also remove information from a quote to direct the reader’s attention towards the aspects of the source that support his or her claims.
To avoid changing the meaning of the quote you need to understand the quote. Make sure you think about what the quote meant in its context (the original source). Think about how you can convey that meaning when you introduce and explain the quote in your paper.
When omitting words from the quote, make sure you do not omit anything that is important to the meaning of the quote. If you omit too many words or phrases, you can alter the meaning of the quote, which in turn misrepresents the ideas in the original source.  
  • If you are only removing a part of a sentence, whatever is left on the page must be grammatically correct.
    • Incorrect: “For just as it is true that our response to color… the impressionist painters put their minds to canvas."
    • Correct: “For just as it is true that our response to color… was forever altered once the impressionist painters put their minds to canvas."
  • If you remove a full sentence or more from the quoted passage, use a period to end the sentence before the ellipsis and begin the sentence following the ellipsis with a capital letter.
    • Example: “Bob and Margaret didn’t need to go to the store. … It wasn’t their turn to make dinner that night.”
  • There is no need to use an ellipsis at the beginning or end of a quote because the reader can assume that the quote is only a part of the whole source.
    • Incorrect: “…Bob and Margaret didn’t need to go to the store.”
    • Incorrect: “Bob and Margaret didn’t need to go to the store. …” 

Omitting Words from Quotations