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Integrating Quotations with Style

26 Feb

Whiskey_Chocolate_CakeImagine one day I walk into class and say, “Happy Birthday! I brought you a chocolate cake.” Then, I take out a bag of flour, a bottle of milk, a cup of sugar, a few eggs, and a few bars of chocolate…handing all of them to you separately. You would be unimpressed. I wouldn’t have made much effort to present you with a nice gift.

I should have taken the time to combine all the ingredients together in an effective, appealing way. Well, your readers can feel the same way when you just DUMP a direct quotation from the text into the middle of your writing without any set-up.

To add sophistication and style to your writing, you should work to integrate (or blend) direct quotations from a text into your own sentence structure. In this post I hope to give you some tools that will help you combine other people’s words with your own in a grammatically correct and appealing manner. The only real way to master this skill is to practice in your own writing, but these resources are a good place to begin developing your understanding of this ability.

Integrating Quotations with Style Handout

Blending Quotations (with a self-quiz)


More Video Explanations of how to BLEND quotations successfully (pick a few to view):

Blending Quotations and Avoiding Quote Dumps @PressEnglish

Mr. Cowan Explains Blending Quotations

Blending Quotations by Colin Welch

Choosing and Using Quotations by Schmoop

Using Quotes Effectively by Schmoop

Blending Quotations @MrBruff (advanced explanation)

Embedding Quotes like a boss (advanced explanation)

Fragments, Run-ons, and Sentences: Resources for Students

9 Feb

FragmentsandRun-onsKnowing how to identify and correct run-on sentences is one of the best skills any young writer can develop and this ability allows apprentice scribes to write more clearly and writing more clearly will raise any ordinary Joe or Jane to rock-star status, leading to wealth, celebrity, and fame. I know. I am hilarious. I just made a grammar joke. If you didn’t get it, read on.

Google defines a run-on sentence as: A grammatically faulty sentence in which two or more main or independent clauses are joined without a word to connect them or a punctuation mark to separate them: “The fog was thick he could not find his way home.”

Do you understand that definition? If so, you probably don’t need me. Go and teach yourself how to avoid this all-too-common sentence construction error. There’s this handy thing known as Google that will come in handy.

But, you’re here, so you’re probably interested in some help. Allow me.

Now that you’ve watched the video, you will understand this simpler definition of a run-on sentence: two or more sentences incorrectly joined together.

In English, you may never join more than two sentences together. The opening sentence of this post, then, is a run-on sentence because it tries (and fails) to join three sentences together:

Knowing how to identify and correct run-on sentences is one of the best skills any young writer can develop.

This ability allows novice scribes to write more clearly.

Writing more clearly will raise any ordinary Joe or Jane to rock-star status, leading to wealth, celebrity, and fame.

That joke was not very good at all. I know that, yet I also know the following resources are good. They will no doubt help you master this concept:

More Explanations of Fragments & Run-ons:

Run-on Sentences Explained @

Fixing Run-on Sentences @ HowCast

How to Avoid Run-on Sentences @HowCast

Run-on Sentences Explained @

Sentence Fragments @grammardoctor

Sentence Fragments @smrtenglish

Run-on Sentences @ smrtenglish

What are run-ons? (Grammar Girl)

Run-on Sentences Video @BrainPop…at home you need to log on. Check Haiku for details.)

Run-on Sentences Explained (Again…with a quick quiz at the end)

The Most Common Comma Error in the World (Mr. Neal explains)



Online Quizzes

Check your own understanding of fragments, run-ons, and sentences by taking some of these online quizzes:

Run-ons and Fragments Explained (with quizzes)

Fragments and Run-ons Self Quiz #1

Fragments and Run-ons Self Quiz #2 (answers at the bottom of the page)

Fragments and Run-ons Self Quiz #3

Identifying Run-on Sentences: The OWL

Identifying Run-on Sentences: University of Bristol

Fixing Run-on Sentences

Repairing Run-on Sentences

Parts of Speech Tutorials: Sheppard Software




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