A quote from an official source can be a powerful tool when creating a piece of content. When used correctly, quotations enhance the legitimacy of a post, add authority, and increase a writer’s credibility. When used incorrectly, however, quotes can result in content losing originality, create punctual faux pas, and even violate plagiarism laws. For the know-how on using quotes to boost a piece’s quality rather than diminish it, follow these rules:


Nathalie and Jackson quote a couple of their favorite people.

Be Original
When creating a piece of content, the ideas that are used to generate that piece of content should be the writer’s, and a quote should not be used to make a point. Rather, quotes or other forms of sources should be used to support points made by the writer. Therefore, originality is key in content writing. If this rule is followed and quotes are used only to reinforce points, there should never be a problem with plagiarism or creativity.

Know when to Use a Quote
There are three circumstances in which using a quotation is appropriate: the first is in the case in which the material that needs to be cited cannot be summarized in a succinct and accurate manner; the second is in the situation is which the insertion of a quote would make the post or statement more authoritative; and the third case is when the quote is just too good to resist—language that is strong, moving, poetic, or novel can be quoted, as long as its relevant to the post.

If the situation is which a writer wants to use a quote doesn’t fall into one of these three categories, paraphrasing the material is a better idea.

Punctuate Correctly
Nothing’s worse than a piece of content that doesn’t correctly use punctuation. If quotes are used to enhance the piece’s quality, the following rules should be adhered to:

Periods and commas always go within quotation marks. For example, quotes should look like this:

He said, “John ran to the store.”

“Wait,” said Sally, “I want to come, too.”

Semicolons and dashes always go outside of the quotation marks.

“It has started to rain”—murmured John, “but of course you already know that.”

He said that he “still loved Sally”; however, his actions would say otherwise.

Questions marks and exclamations points can be inside or outside of quotation marks, depending on where the emphasis is.

“I want to go to the park!” exclaimed Sally.

Did Sally exclaim, “I want to go to the park”?

I can’t believe Sally said, “I want to go to the park”! Can you?

Sally said, “Do you want to go to the park?”

If the quote is within the middle of a sentence, use a comma to end it.

“Let’s go to the store,” said John

Cite Sources Correctly
Citations can be done by either naming the source from the start, i.e, According to Doctor Brown…or they can be cited by using an in text citation, such as photosensitivity in children is increasing (Brown, 45). If using in text citations, the period goes after the citation, not before. If sources aren’t cited, then using the quotation is considered a form of plagiarism and can have legal repercussions.

Keep in mind that it’s also important to use official sources, i.e, .edu, .gov, or a media outlet. When quoting, official public figures or experts in the field are the appropriate sources to turn to. Avoid quoting consumer reviews or unfounded opinions. Rather, keep posts professional, educational, and information, using only high-quality information.

Don’t Over-Quote
Remember, originality is key. The writer is in charge of creating content, and there should never be more than two quotes for every 500 words. If quotations are occurring more frequently than that, the writing loses its originality and authenticity. When in doubt, summarize or paraphrase instead.