Using Quotations to Enhance Your Articles

Writing comes more easily if you have something to say – Sholem Asch

Quotations add credibility, humor, interest and power to articles. They can be used in many ways. Some article writers use quotations as the above to introduce an article and to draw the readers attention to it. Sometimes this introductory quotation can apply to the theme of the article or just be of interest. Since this article has to do with both writing and quotations, I’ve made use of a quotation which is on the theme of writing. It is also, of course, a humorous quotation.

Writers can find quotations via quotation books compiled on different subjects and/or they can be found easily online at numerous quotations websites. However, writers can also keep their own quotations journals, with those quotations that are of special interest to themselves and on the subjects they usually write about. These can be subject-oriented or author-oriented or general. Authors can also compile their own new quotations from newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, etc. When reading newspapers or magazines jot down interesting quotations. When watching television, if anyone says anything that can be quotable, jot it down. In fact, you can be a compiler of new quotations adding to the store of the great quotations. Also be sure to be accurate, and jot down the author of the quotation and if necessary the source. Some quotations are so familiar and/or by such famous people that you only need the author, for the author is the source, as with the magnificent quotations of Mohammad Ali:

Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.

Mohammad Ali

Some compilers include when and where this quotation was said, however, many just include the quotation itself and the author. Most general and theme-oriented quotations listings are like this. Some however are more specific. If you are yourself compiling the list, you should try to be more specific, including the date of the quotation.

Albert Einstein is also great for cogent and “famous quotations” in which the author himself is the source:

Politics is more difficult than physics.

Albert Einstein

When using or selecting quotations, the writer should think first of the subject or theme. Is the quotation pertinent to the article? When deciding on a subject or theme, make a list of quotations on that subject from a variety of sources. However, when you write your article, select the best of the best and the most pertinent. Don’t use too many quotations and don’t allow them to overpower your own writing. For example, if you’re writing about politics (or physics) you might use the Einstein quotation and perhaps a couple of other quotations, and then use your own most powerful writing. The quotations are to add interest and spice.

When making a point or expressing an opinion a fine quotation can also add to credibility and power. Of course your point is the point, but adding someone like Aristotle or Harry S. Truman helps to focus the thought and gives the reader something to ponder. In this, quotations are excellent for motivational and inspirational articles, whether on sports or music or travel or science or even the art of using quotations. And readers often like to hear the quotations of famous figures in Sports, Politics, Science, and Cinema, etc. However, there are often quotes from little known people, the so-called ordinary (but extraordinary) people and from anonymous that can also become the great quotations and the famous quotations. For example, when watching television, if you hear quotations from from anyone that you think are great quotations, including from children, you can also make use of these. Sometimes “Anonymous” has given us the best and most enduring quotations of all. And the sayings and proverbs of the ages. Biblical quotations and quotations from the great holy texts are also quite notable.

Reading and collecting quotations can also help authors to get ideas for articles. Maybe you don’t know what to write about and then you read a quotation by Ursula K. LeGuin or Nicholaus Copernicus or Victor Hugo or Mark Twain or Mae West or Chief Josef, Isaac Disraeli or Arthur C. Clarke, you read the words of Jesus Christ or the Buddha or Moses or Mohammad, etc. and then you know exactly what to write about. Now begins your article. And maybe it’s your best article. And perhaps you yourself might find yourself a quotable author.

Make sure that the reader knows that these are quotations, that the reader can tell your words from the author you are quoting. You can either use quotation marks and/or present the quotations as presented in this article, so that the quotations are distinguished from the ideas of the article writer. Quotations can also be presented in bold print or italics. Make sure that the quotations are accurate and that you include again the sources/authors.

Quotations should be easy to understand and fit the theme and style of the article.

An article on giving advice to children might quote from the very quotable Harry S. Truman:

I have found out the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.

Harry S. Truman

Of course, the real article about giving advice to children might contradict this witticism, but this quotation nevertheless adds power and wit and meaning..

So whether an article is on chocolate or politics or science or philosophy or “getting new ideas” or mathematics or money or music or movies or travel or wisdom or television or writing or zen, there are numerous quotations that can help to enhance any article. To add to its interest, power, sense of humor, credibility or readability.

I don’t know anything about music. In my line, you don’t have to.

Elvis Presley

Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.

Groucho Marx

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