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10 Great Essay Writing Tips
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.
Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable
You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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21 Killer GRE Essay Quotes You Should Be Using Right Now
By Jitta Raghavender Rao • GRE Writing
“[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.” – A.A. Milne
Chances are you too know a few famous quotes, but you probably don’t use them. I know so, because I’m guilty of neglecting quotes on the GRE.
So, why should you use essay quotes on the GRE? To start with, the right use of quotes in essays augments the power of your arguments and makes your essays appear more convincing. Plus, essays with quotes tend to score better than essays without them, because of the initial impact the use of quotes create on the reader, and help strengthen your point.
But we need to exercise prudence. Only use quotes as is, if you are convinced that paraphrasing would lower the impact or change the meaning of the original author’s words or when the argument could not be better expressed or said more succinctly.
Here is how you make sure you are doing it right.
How do I incorporate quotes into my essay?
At times, an essay can appear painfully discorded if the quotations are out of place or if the essay is too stuffed with quotes.
So, what should you do to avoid this?
A great quote plays one or more roles from the following:
- creates the initial impact on the essay grader
- makes your essay look more promising and interesting
- establishes credibility
- concludes the essay with a point to contemplate
If the quote doesn’t serve any of the above then you are forcing it into the essay and this could do more harm than good.
You should start writing your essay with a quote that lays foundation to the main idea behind the essay. This can have a major impact on the evaluator. You can also comment on the quotation in this introductory paragraph if you wish. Either way, to get a perfect score on the GRE essay, use a relevant quote strategically but don’t force it into the essay.
Can I alter the structure of the quotation?
Using the exact words from the original source is called quoting. You should quote when you believe that the way the original author expresses an idea is the most effective way to communicate the point you wish to make. If you want to borrow an idea from the author but don’t put the idea in their exact words, then it’s called paraphrasing. (but remember that you still have to cite the original author even when you are paraphrasing)
For example, Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” You can alter the quotation on your own according to the passage, by saying: ‘To paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s famous quote, “It is easier to trust when you can verify.”‘ By doing this, you are not only citing the original author, but also gaining extra points for using your own version of the quote.
How many quotes should I use?
If you deploy a lot of quotations in your essay, it appears as though several people are talking about the topic apart from yourself. This would downplay your own voice and leaves little room for your own ideas. It is your essay and it should be your voice that needs to be heard, not some notable/famous person’s. Quote as infrequently as possible. So, don’t cram every quote you know into the essay. As a rule of thumb, refrain from using more than 2 quotes in any essay. (One in the introductory paragraph and the other if necessary in the conclusion)
How do I introduce the quote in my own words?
The last thing you would want is get your score cancelled on account of plagiarism. It’s highly recommended that you cite the author of the quotation. If you don’t cite, you may give the impression that you claim to be the original author and that could result in plagiarism. You should place the quote in double quotation marks. Here is an example usage citing the author:
Thomas Jefferson once said “The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.”
Categorization of GRE Essay Topics
The fascinating thing about the GRE essay topics is that they’re already published on the official ETS website. This may sound crazy because giving out the questions in advance is not normal. Now, use this to your advantage. You can find all the GRE essay topics on the official ETS website .
But there’s a catch! You were expecting a few, right?
Well, there are close to 200 topics in all – far too many to practice responses in advance. Also, practicing each of these topics is not advisable as it is going to take a lot of time and effort and there is no point in mugging them up. You could as well spend this time on learning some math. However, there’s a good news. Just scanning through these two lists will give you an excellent idea of the types of issues and arguments that show up on test day.
I just made things a bit easy for you, though. Most of the topics that show up on the GRE essay section can be broadly grouped into five categories.
- Sciences and Technology
So, next time when you practice writing an essay response, make sure you write at least one essay from each of these categories. And memorize a few quotes related to each one of these topics, as they will be handy.
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List of most useful essay quotes
I’ve compiled a list of easy-to-digest quotes that should help you write the perfect essay. Bookmark this page NOW for future reference.
The following quotes from great thinkers have been selected based on their relevance to common GRE essay topics and for their ease of usage.
- The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance – Socrates
- A people that value its privileges above its principles soon loses both – Dwight D. Eisenhower
- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is – Yogi Berra
- A little inaccuracy can sometimes save a ton of explanation – H.H Munro
- Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction – E. F. Schumacher
- A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually – Abba Eban
- Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good – Mohandas Gandhi
- Whatever government is not a government of laws, is a despotism, let it be called what it may – Daniel Webster
- Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws – Plato
- Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing – Theodore Roosevelt
- It is dangerous to be right, when the government is wrong – Voltaire
- The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object – Thomas Jefferson
- No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation – Woodrow Wilson (28th U.S President)
- The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work – Emile Zola
- The world is full of educated derelicts – Calvin Coolidge
- A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a change to get its pants on – Winston Churchill
- It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog – Mark Twain
- Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire, the other is to get it – Socrates
- If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning – Aristotle Onasis
- Men are not disturbed by things, but the view they take of things – Epictetus
- As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can – Julius Caesar
Now, these are a handful of quotes. The goal is to memorize 5 or 6 of your favorite quotes so you’ll be able to contextually fit one into the essay on the test day. While practicing, you may look at the list of quotes found above however, if you can remember a specific quote apposite to your essay topic, try to use it – one quote for every essay.
For those avid writers, who believe the number of quotes above are too low, we have the right tool for you. Ellipsoid created a random quote generator tool that draws 5 famous quotes from Goodreads every time you reload the page. The good news is these 5 quotes are always theme based so you know where to use them.
Writing essays isn’t all about the substance. It’s the basics that many of us forget. If you are going to put in the time to practice writing essays, might as well maximize the score you could get by deploying a quote in your essays.
So, what’s your favorite quote?
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20 Comments to “21 Killer GRE Essay Quotes You Should Be Using Right Now”
i think it is difficult to remember even these 21 quotes in the exam. any tips to remember them will be helpful. thanks
Yes, it is rather difficult to remember all the 21 quotes, which is why we asked you to pick a few of your favorite ones from the list. Plus, the only way you can remember these quotes is by using them while you practice AWA essays.
Happy Studying! 🙂
I personally memorize the ones that can be useful in more than one topic, and as said learn the ones you like most.
Quote number 5… oh, Albert. You make my bricks fall off. As to you, Mr. Kaundinya, I might win a brand spankin’ new tablet thanks to your quotes. I’m sure my D.A.R.E essay will be awesome.
I found that they are advantageous,but i don’t think that i can get used of them in a short time.
thnx for these awesome quotes guys.i’m damn sure that the’ll help a looooooooot in improving my skills.
Super glad to know they helped you, Bhavya! Hope you’ll kill some essays with these quotes now. 🙂
It is really helpful
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I must say you have high quality content here. Your content can go viral.
Thanks for your updates. I love your all status updates. Can you please update more for facebook . I am a big fan of you. I am waiting for your reply.
Wow! This is the fantastic technique to use quotes in essay, because this think bring something new in essay writing. I’m big fan of your after reading this article.
I liked those quotes
Those quotes are amazing….. I’m sure that it it will help in writting essays
Glad it helped, Merin! Feel free to message us if you have any questions! 🙂
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Inspirational Quotes for Essay Writing
The following is a list of inspirational quotes from famous people. If any student want to make an impact on the reader, the effective use of quotations can augment the power of your arguments and makes your essays more interesting and stand out from the rest.
A note of caution though. Make sure the quotation you have chosen is helping your essay and not hurting it. In other words, make sure it is used in the right context.
You may also be interested in “ Composition Writing Guide for primary school “.
Inspirational Quotes By Famous People
- Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napoleon Hill
- Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. – Albert Einstein
- A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein
- Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost
- I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. – Florence Nightingale
- You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky
- I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan
- The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. – Amelia Earhart
- Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. – Babe Ruth
- Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. – W. Clement Stone
- We must balance conspicuous consumption with conscious capitalism. – Kevin Kruse
- Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. – Kevin Kruse
- We become what we think about. – Earl Nightingale
- Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. – Charles Swindoll
- The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. – Alice Walker
- The mind is everything. What you think you become. – Buddha
- The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb
- An unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates
- Eighty percent of success is showing up. – Woody Allen
- Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. – Vince Lombardi
- I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. – Stephen Covey
- Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. – Pablo Picasso
- You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. – Christopher Columbus
- Either you run the day, or the day runs you. – Jim Rohn
- When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. – Henry Ford
- Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford
- The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. – Mark Twain
- Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. – Mark Twain
- Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- The best revenge is massive success. – Frank Sinatra
- People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar
- If you can dream it, you can achieve it. – Zig Ziglar
- Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. – Anais Nin
- There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. – Aristotle
- First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end. – Aristotle
- Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. – Jesus
- The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. – Henry David Thoreau
- When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me. – Erma Bombeck
- Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart. – Ancient Indian Proverb
- Believe you can and you’re halfway there. – Theodore Roosevelt
- Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. – George Addair
- We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. – Plato
- Teach thy tongue to say, “I do not know,” and thous shalt progress. – Maimonides
- Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. – Arthur Ashe
- When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. – John Lennon
- Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. – John Lennon
- Fall seven times and stand up eight. – Japanese Proverb
- When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. – Helen Keller
- Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see. – Confucius
- It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius
- How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank
- When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. – Lao Tzu
- Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. – Maya Angelou
- I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
- You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. – Maya Angelou
- If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on. – Sheryl Sandberg
- If the wind will not serve, take to the oars. – Latin Proverb
- You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground. – Unknown
- We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained. – Marie Curie
- Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. – Les Brown
- Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. – Joshua J. Marine
- If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. – Booker T. Washington
- Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him. – Booker T. Washington
- I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. – Leonardo da Vinci
- Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless. – Jamie Paolinetti
- You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing, no one to blame. – Erica Jong
- What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. – Bob Dylan
- I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong. – Benjamin Franklin
- In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. – Bill Cosby
- The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it. – Chinese Proverb
- There are no traffic jams along the extra mile. – Roger Staubach
- It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot
- You become what you believe. – Oprah Winfrey
- If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough. – Oprah Winfrey
- If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. – Vincent Van Gogh
- I would rather die of passion than of boredom. – Vincent van Gogh
- A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. – Unknown
- It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings. – Ann Landers
- If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money. – Abigail Van Buren
- Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. – Farrah Gray
- The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself–the invisible battles inside all of us–that’s where it’s at. – Jesse Owens
- Education costs money. But then so does ignorance. – Sir Claus Moser
- I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear. – Rosa Parks
- Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. – Dalai Lama
- Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. – Dalai Lama
- Dream big and dare to fail. – Norman Vaughan
- Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. – Martin Luther King Jr.
- Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. – Teddy Roosevelt
- If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. – Tony Robbins
- Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. – Gloria Steinem
- It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live. – Mae Jemison
- You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try. – Beverly Sills
- Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt
- Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. – Grandma Moses
- The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. – Ayn Rand
- It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln
- Change your thoughts and you change your world. – Norman Vincent Peale
- Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin
- Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” – Audrey Hepburn
- The only way to do great work is to love what you do. – Steve Jobs
- Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. – Steve Jobs
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Everyday Power ⋅ Inspirational Quotes ⋅ Essay Quotes to Express Your Ideas and Opinion
Essay Quotes to Express Your Ideas and Opinion
Get your creative juices flowing with these awesome essay quotes.
When most people hear the word essay, their minds take them back to school.
Students write essays in elementary school.
By high school, essays grow to express high-level ideas and passion.
Tell us your favorite essay quote in the comment section below.
What are the benefits of reading these essay quotes?
Everyone can remember being asked to write an essay on a standardized test or high-stakes exam. For some, essays cause stress.
For others, they are an opportunity for expression.
But where do essays come from?
The idea of composing written passages to express ideas is an old concept.
The “essay” that we are familiar with traces its roots back to 1571, when a French philosopher named Montaigne began writing short, philosophical writings.
He was attempting to convince others of specific observations and beliefs.
In French, the word “assai” means “attempt,” and this is where we get the word “essay” as we have applied it to the writing that Montaigne attempted.
Essay quotes about life
1. “An essay is a thing of the imagination.” — Cynthia Ozick
2. “The point of the essay is to change things.” — Edward Tufte
3. “I wrote an essay about leaf blowers and the evil they do.” — Julie Newmar
4. “I am careful about fiction. A novel is not a tract or an essay.” — Vikram Seth
5. “I was uncomfortable writing fiction. My love was the personal essay, rather than the novel.” — Alain de Botton
6. “If you’re writing an essay, keep it in the lines and in the margins so you don’t have to do it over.” — Gary Oldman
7. “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery.” — Mao Zedong
8. “Fiction and poetry are my first loves, but the really beautiful lyrical essay can do so much that other forms cannot.” — Chris Abani
9. “If there is information in an essay, it is by-the-by, and if there is an opinion, one need not trust it for the long run.” — Cynthia Ozick
10. “A good essay must have this permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in not out.” — Virginia Woolf
Essay quotes on education
11. “But the things that are great for an essay are unbearable in narrative writing.” — Tara Westover
12. “Honestly, the life of a serial character on television, I’d love to write an essay about it.” — Zawe Ashton
13. “To love is to believe, to hope, to know; Tis an essay, a taste of Heaven below!” — Edmund Waller
14. “Why, in such a case, should the performer essay any sort of considered approach at all?” — Brian Ferneyhough
15. “I knew how to write like an academic, so I knew how to write academic papers and essays and things.” — Tara Westover
16. “Trust the student to write the essay, but verify that it gets done. Gentle editing and proofreading are allowed.” — Kate Klise
17. “I could only write about issues specifically through essays. But I’ll do that only if I have something worthwhile to say.” — Vikram Seth
18. “We’d had books in my house growing up, but we had never had anything like lectures. I had never written an essay for my mother.” — Tara Westover
19. “Perhaps I abandoned criticism because I am full of contradictions, and when you write an essay, you are not supposed to contradict yourself.” — Eugene Ionesco
20. “When I was ten, I wrote an essay on what I would be when I grew up and said I would be a professional soccer player and a comedian in off season.” — Will Ferrell
Essay quotes examples
21. “The most important thing when starting out with essay writing is to find a voice with which you’re comfortable.” — Anne Fadiman
22. “The tagline at Westin hotels is that they strive to surprise and delight their guests. This is exactly what a college essay should do.” — Kate Klise
23. “In high school, I won a prize for an essay on tuberculosis. When I got through writing the essay, I was sure I had the disease.” — Constance Baker Motley
24. “I wrote my senior essay on the Santa Fe Writer’s Colony and my dissertation on sacred landscapes – the Grand Canyon, the Dakota Badlands.” — Elise Broach
25. “You give some kind of an exam – maybe it’s one of those standardized tests all kids hate, maybe it’s some kind of essay, but whatever it is, it’ll measure the results, and the kids will hate it.” — Mike Gallagher
Essay quotes to consider
26. “I would be writing an essay that was due in the next day until about 1 A.M., and then I would be up at 6 A.M. and on a train to Birmingham to record ‘The Archers’. It was pretty intense.” — Felicity Jones
27. “The great American food writer M. F. K. Fisher once wrote an essay called ‘The Anatomy of a Recipe.’ To have a good anatomy, in her view, a recipe should have a sense of logical progression.” — Bee Wilson
28. “I went on all over the States, ranting poems to enthusiastic audiences that, the week before, had been equally enthusiastic about lectures on Railway Development or the Modern Turkish Essay.” — Dylan Thomas
29. “Criticism is, for me, like essay writing, a wonderful way of relaxation; it doesn’t require a heightened and mediated voice, like prose fiction, but rather a calm, rational, even conversational voice.” — Joyce Carol Oates
30. “Our job as friends, mentors, parents, and writing coaches is not to write anyone’s college essay. That’s cheating. Plus, it sends a discouraging message to the teenager that he or she can’t be trusted with this important assignment.” — Kate Klise
Essay quotes in English
31. “I’d always try to get a C, maybe a B. Other girls would trot off a brilliant essay and go off to Oxford.” — Romola Garai
32. “Philosophy wasn’t about facts, it was about ideas. My first essay title was something like: ‘How can you know what other people are thinking?’” — Sophie Kinsella
33. “I kind of got more interested in writing after I turned in my last college essay and nobody was going to tell me what kind of academic papers to write anymore.” — Dan Millman
34. “Consider the Essay as a political pamphlet on the Revolution side, and the fact that it was the Whig gospel for a century, and you will see its working merit.” — Frederick Pollock
35. “What I’m exploring right now is the subject of my own mortality. It’s an area that I’m curious about, and I’m researching it to see if there’s a photographic essay in it for me..” — Leonard Nimoy
36. “To me, having ‘material’ for an essay means not only having something to write about but also having something interesting and original to say about whatever that might be.” — Meghan Daum
37. “It started when I got locked out of two apartments in one day and I told the story to some friends, one of whom worked in the ’Village Voice’ and asked me to turn it into an essay.” — Sloane Crosley
38. “One would think that in writing about literary men and matters there would be no difficulty in finding a title for one’s essay, or that any embarrassment which might arise would be from excess of material.” — James Payn
39. “For me, playwriting is and has always been like making a chair. Your concerns are balance, form, timing, lights, space, music. If you don’t have these essentials, you might as well be writing a theoretical essay, not a play.” — Sam Shepard
Essay quotes on the environment
40. “I’m trying to put more elements of the essay into my writing.” — Ryszard Kapuscinski
41. “Can we call the essay its own genre if it’s so promiscuously versatile?” — John D’Agata
42. “The United States has been turned into a mindless true-false test, instead of the complex essay exam, it should be.” — Charlie Kirk
43. “A genuine essay rarely has an educational, polemical, or sociopolitical use; it is the movement of a free mind at play.” — Cynthia Ozick
44. “What a writer can do, what a fiction writer or a poet or an essay writer can do is re-engage people with their own humanity.” — Barbara Kingsolver
45. “The work of art far more than an essay or a tract involves the reader, challenges him directly and brings him into the argument.” — George Steiner
More essay quotes to motivate you to write
46. “The essay is one of my favorite forms of writing, and I feel like what’s inside is really personal, more so than with shorter pieces.” — Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
47. “The way a story makes an argument is quite different from the way a persuasive essay does it. Emotional truth and the logic of metaphors dominate.” — Ken Liu
48. “It takes me forever to actually finish something like a ten-page essay. But, when I do, I usually love what they are. It’s a complicated relationship.” — Chris Abani
49. “I inherited Mom’s verbal skills, and participated in forensics and essay contests in elementary school – and won every essay contest I ever entered.” — Joel Salatin
50. “One time, I was given an essay topic: to describe a perfect horse, whom the mere sight of the rider’s whip would make obedient. I depicted this perfect horse throwing his rider at the sight of the whip.” — Marquis de Lafayette
Where does the material for an essay come from?
Writer Meghan Daum once reflected, “To me, having ‘material’ for an essay means not only having something to write about but also having something interesting and original to say about whatever that might be.”
Having material and an opinion about something is one thing.
But what makes an essay an essay?
The word essay can refer to pretty much any short piece of nonfiction writing.
It can be an editorial, critical analysis, feature study, or even an excerpt from a book.
Today, the essay manifests in graphic memoirs, blogs, and even on radio programs.
Essays give us a glimpse into the times.
Throughout history, the social circumstances of the time have significantly impacted essay writing.
We find that essay writing increases when revolutions occur.
Across the globe, thinkers, philosophers, poets, and politicians have used the essay to invoke passion, empathy, and awareness among people.
Check out this book if you need tips for writing a great essay.
Don’t forget to share this article on social media if you found it helpful!
December 29, 2022 8:00 AM EST
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500+ Short Inspirational Quotes to Lift Your Spirit
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25 Inspiring Quotes about Writing
Writing may be one of the most rewarding – and most frustrating – activities in the history of mankind. Few other callings result in as much crumpled paper, snapped pencils, frayed nerves and all-nighters. Writing has also given us some of the most inspirational quotes imaginable. Here, we’ve collected 25 quotes to give you the motivation and inspiration you need to finish your project, even if it takes all night.
Every writer has dealt with writer’s block and new writers can find the process of simply starting to be difficult. Since beginning can be difficult for even seasoned writers, much advice has been given on how to take the plunge and begin telling your story.
- “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” (Ernest Hemingway)
- “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” (Stephen King)
- “The first draft of anything is shit.” (Ernest Hemingway)
- “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” (Mark Twain)
- “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” (Lewis Carroll)
- “You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” (Les Brown)
As we can see, the best authors in the world understand that beginning to write is as simple as it is difficult – one must simply begin.
Choosing the Right Words
Another common theme in writing is the eternal struggle to find just the right words and phrases. Many times writers throw around a number of words, searching for the one that fits like a missing puzzle piece. Rough drafts were made to be reworked and this is where a writer’s vocabulary and talent really come into play. Writing a scene requires the same dexterity and skilled hand as paining a picture, creating a sculpture or any other creative endeavor.
- “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” (Mark Twain)
- “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” (Jack Kerouac)
- “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” (Anton Chekhov)
- “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” (Aldous Huxley)
- “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” (Elmore Leonard)
- “There is no great writing, only great rewriting.” (Justice Brandeis)
Creative inspiration is perhaps one of the most ephemeral things in the world. Inspiration can come from anywhere and creativity is, at best, a fickle mistress. This interest in creativity and the creative process has been with man since the earliest times. The ancient Greeks had dozens of Muses dedicated to various forms of the arts and science. The Muses are goddesses representing different arts and sciences in Greek mythology. They are the daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus.
- Kalliope – the muse of epic poetry
- Euterpe – the muse of music and lyric poetry
- Erato – the muse of lyric/love poetry
- Melpomene – the muse of tragedy
- Thalia – the muse of comedy
Although established Muses of the past are rarely referred to now, their spirit lives on. Today, the creative process may be seen differently, but the inspiration and frustration remain the same.
- “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” (Saul Bellow)
- “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” (Scott Adams)
- “Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.” (Pyotr Tchaikovsky)
- “Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources” (Albert Einstein)
- “Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time.” (Leonard Bernstein)
- “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” (William Wordsworth)
- “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” (Ray Bradbury)
- “I don’t know where my ideas come from, but I know where they come to. They come to my desk, and if I’m not there, they go away again.” (Philip Pullman)
On the Writing Life
It’s often said that artists are a special breed, and writers are no different. The writing life isn’t for everyone and, for those who feel the calling, taking the journey is sometimes difficult. Writers have discussed their methods, their inspirations and their styles, but here we get a glimpse into what truly drives them to follow the writer’s life.
- “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” (Ray Bradbury)
- “I know some people might think it odd – unworthy even – for me to have written a cookbook, but I make no apologies. The U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins thought I had demeaned myself by writing poetry for Hallmark Cards, but I am the people’s poet so I write for the people.” (Maya Angelou)
- “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” (Ernest Hemingway)
- “I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” (Isaac Asimov)
- “You fail only if you stop writing.” (Ray Bradbury)
- IAS Preparation
- UPSC Preparation Strategy
- Useful Quotes For UPSC Mains Exam Gs And Essay Papers
Important Quotes for UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam General Studies and Essay Papers
Using quotes from revered personalities to emphasise your point adds a lot of value to your answers in the IAS exam. With the introduction of the GS 4 paper (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) and the changing nature of the Essay paper (UPSC mains 2018 Essay paper had four topics related to quotes/philosophy/character), it has become quite necessary to include some relevant quotes in the answers.
For the UPSC Exam , selecting quotes is important as quoting some celebrity/non-entity is likely to do more harm than good. During the preparation phase, an IAS aspirant can either classify quotes based on the source or organise them under broad pertinent categories such as education, Justice, etc.
Explore The Ultimate Guide to IAS Exam Preparation
Download The E-Book Now!
In this article, we have compiled a list of quotes which are important from the UPSC syllabus point of view. Also, the two ways to categorise the quotes for quick revision are illustrated below. Candidates are advised to use the approach that suits their study process.
Important Quotes for UPSC GS and Essay
- Issue-based categories
The list given above is just a brief example. Aspirants should identify issues/keywords and make their list of UPSC relevant quotes.
- Quotes categorised by author/personality
Although comprehensive, the table of odd quotes above is by no means exhaustive. IAS aspirants should go through UPSC mains GS and essay papers from past years to understand how these quotes can come in handy and then compile and categorise their own lists.
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Home — Blog — Literature — Inspiring Quotes from Books for College Students
Inspiring Quotes from Books for College Students
Why Do People Love Quotes?
The importance of quotes from the books cannot be underestimated as we are dealing with college essays, blog posts, or even postcards that provide something meaningful. The quotes can be inspiring, helpful, fun, controversial, or educational as they help to shape an opinion. The quotes from the books inspire people to read and form special role models. We also learn more about literary devices as we look through quotations that fit our objectives. Even if we do something for fun or quote Shakespeare as we talk about love, we go beyond the basic phrases and add something special to our speech or writing.
Dealing with essay writing, the use of quotes helps to support our opinions with the classic sayings. The most important is to provide due credit as it helps to avoid plagiarism. You may use short quotes from books if you are worried about similarity levels as these won’t be lengthy in terms of what you paraphrase or use in your essay writing. Ensure that your citation is used wisely and fits within the context because it must be there for a reason! Think about the main message, introduce it before you use some quotes, and your writing will become even more meaningful and concise.
Inspiring Book Quotes For College Students
Always think about your writing objectives before you choose a suitable quote . Provide some background information about the author of the citation if it can help make things clearer to your readers. It’s always important to give such credit, especially if you are turning to a quotation that is not belonging to the classics.
💖 Quotes About Love
The quotes about love hold an immortal power as these are always applicable even when your essay is dealing with serious subjects. Here are some book quotes about love that you may explore:
“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.” – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. “He sweeps her hair back from her ears; he swings her above his head. He says she is his émerveillement. He says he will never leave her, not in a million years.” – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. “We’ve loved each other so long I’ve never been a man and not loved her.” – The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” – Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. “One hour of right-down love is worth an age of dully living on.” – The Rover by Aphra Benn. “Her love was entire as a child’s, and though warm as summer it was fresh as spring.” – Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. “Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear.” – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
🌟 Inspirational Book Quotes
When you are dealing with the quotes from the books, seek something that inspires you and pushes you forward to overcome the challenges. Here are some great books worth reading because of these quotes alone:
“Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human.” – Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” – Autumn Leaves by André Gide.
“She decided long ago that life was a long journey. She would be strong, and she would be weak, and both would be okay.” – Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.” – An Autobiography by Agatha Christie.
“We all require devotion to something more than ourselves for our lives to be endurable.” – Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.
💪 Motivational Quotes
If you are looking for meaningful inspirational quotes from books , this section will fit the bill. Make sure that you do not change the original meaning if you cite and mention the author!
“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” – Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. “‘What day is it?’, asked Winnie the Pooh. ‘It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet. ‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.” – The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne. “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. “And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four.
🔥 Best Book Quotes
While the “best” is always subjective, you will remain safe if you choose classic books that represent a part of your curriculum. Here are some examples worth checking as you are looking for the best book quotes:
Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.” – Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. “Tomorrow I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” – Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind. “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” – J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye. “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms. “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey. My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” – Charles Dickens, David Copperfield.
🤓 Knowledge Quotes
Some quotes that you may encounter are dealing with the knowledge or a piece of advice. As you are looking through the books, take notes and write down the words that inspire you.
“So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.” – Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth. “The same substance composes us — the tree overhead, the stone beneath us, the bird, the beast, the star — we are all one, all moving to the same end.” – P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins. “All human wisdom is summed up in these two words – ‘Wait and hope.’” – Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo. “But man is not made for defeat,’ he said. ‘A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” – Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea. “All we can know is that we know nothing. And that’s the height of human wisdom.” – Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace. “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” – Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark. “You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.” – Cormac McCarthy, The Road.
The Book Quotes Make Your Writing More Meaningful
As you are looking for the best quotes from books , think about the introduction for your quote as it must play the role of culmination in your writing. Although it can be used at the start of some paragraphs, it’s much better if you can lead your readers to the point where the quote becomes absolutely necessary. Unlike those quotes that contain some statistical data or references to newspapers in academic writing, quotes from the books that are used for creative purposes help to add an emotional impact to what you explore and portray in your essay. Even if you are working on a literary review and use detailed quotations to support your thoughts, these are paramount for the clarity and flashbacks (creative references) to the original text.
The quotes also help to implement various literary devices like metaphors and useful allegories since you can explain something complex with relevant sayings . Some college students tend to use Latin as a way to deliver an important message, while others will happily quote motivational sayings from autobiography books of their favorite celebrities. As long as you provide references and keep things accurate, these will help to make your writing more meaningful and to the point.
How to write an Essay about a Quote
Teachers often ask you to write an essay about a quote. It’s a way of getting you to think deeply about the concepts that quotes encompass.
You’ll need to dig deeply into what the quote means and what it reveals about the world.
In this post, I’m going to give you some guidance to get you started on writing that essay about a quote , no matter what quote it is!
Here’s a quick fly-by of what’s in this post. Feel free to navigate to each point, or just scroll through the whole post:
- Select the quote Wisely. Here’s how.
- Do this in the Introduction.
- Place the Quote in Context. Here’s how.
- Explore the Quote’s Contested Meanings. Here’s how.
- Explore the Quote’s Relevance to You or Society. Here’s how.
- A Summarized Checklist of What you Need to Say
Essays about quotes really do vary. Here’s some examples of different types of essays about quotes:
- The teacher provides the quote as a prompt for the analysis of a concept;
- The teacher provides a range of quotes and you have to choose one and discuss its meaning;
- The teacher asks you to find your own quote and discuss its relevance to you.
So, here’s some initial questions I have for you. If you don’t know these questions, you need to ask your teacher:
- Can you use first person?
- Are you supposed to say how the quote impacts you (personal essay) or just critique it (expository essay)?
Keep these questions in mind, because I’ll come back to them in this article and it will influence what you should write.
Here’s my 5 essential tips on how to write an essay about a quote:
1. Select your Quote Wisely (If you get to choose the Quote!)
Okay, so sometimes you’re asked to choose a quote and write an essay about it. Other times your teacher gives you the quote and you have to write about the quote they choose.
Step 1 is for everyone who gets to select their own quote.
Here’s how you should go about selecting your quote:
- Try to find a quote that is said by someone who you have some knowledge about. If it’s a quote from a book, make sure you’ve actually read the book. So, if you get the choice between a quote from Harry Potter (which you’ve read) and The Grapes of Wrath (which you haven’t read), go with the Harry Potter quote. If it’s a quote from a speaker like a US president, try to get a quote from a US president who you admire and who you have the most knowledge about.
- Ensure the quote is well known. You don’t want to get stuck in the situation where you selected a quote but can’t find any information about it! So, the best option is to select a quote that you’ll be able to find a lot of information about. That’s why it’s useful to select a famous quote by someone like Martin Luther King Jr., Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, Atticus Fitch or another figure whose you know you’ll be able to gather a lot of background information on.
- Only select a quote if you know where it’s from. Most people who have to select a quote are going to go straight to google and type in ‘Famous Quote’. No! No, no, no, no, no. This is going to find you one of those random generic quote websites and you probably won’t even be able to find out what speech, book or page number the quote is from! You’re better off looking for a quote from within a specific book or speech so you’ll be able to read it ‘in context’ (i.e. you’ll be able to read the surrounding sentences!)
So, to recap, make sure the quote is from a source you have at least a little knowledge about; is one that you’ve either heard of before or know you can find information about on google; and make sure you can get access to the quote’s original source (the book, play or speech it’s from).
2. Cite the quote, the quote’s author and its origins in the Introduction
The introduction paragraph for any essay on a quote requires you to show a clear understanding of the quote you’re discussing and some of its details. While this isn’t the place to go into depth on how to write an introduction, let me quickly recap for you my I.N.T.R.O method for perfect introductions :
- Interest : provide a hook sentence that grabs the reader’s interest
- Notify : notify the reader of background information
- Translate : paraphrase the essay question
- Report : report on your thesis
- Outline : Outline what will be said in the essay, in order.
Now, let’s apply that formula to an essay about a quote. Here, we could write each sentence like this:
- Interest : say something interesting about the quote
- Notify : explain exactly where the quote comes from
- Translate : while usually you’d paraphrase the essay question in an introduction, you can provide the quote word-for-word in the introduction for an essay about a quote
- Report : say what your interpretation of the quote is, in one or two sentences
- Outline : Outline what you’re planning on saying about the quote in the essay
3. Place the Quote in Context
This is one of the most important parts of your essay. When we say ‘context’ we mean that you need to be able to show a deep understanding of the background information about quote that you have selected. To do this you can select from the following strategies:
a) Explain the theme of the speech, article or book that the quote comes from
How a quote is received and understood has a lot to do with the book or speech that the quote comes from. Have a think of what the key theme is that the quote touches on.
Here’s a quote, for example, that you might not understand until you look at the book the quote comes from:
“Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.”
This quote is from Huckleberry Finn. Therefore, it probably has something to do with his desire to avoid being civilized and tamed by society. Why? Because the central theme of the overall text in which the quote emerges is escaping the civilizing effect of society .
My point here is that you need to focus on the main theme of the text in which the quote emerges: is it about racism, evading the trappings of civilized society, or maybe a theme about love, war, passion, or something else entirely?
Here’s another example:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view….Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
This quote is from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird . You might not know it from just this sentence, but if we place it in context, we know the quote’s about racism. Why? Well, because it’s a quote that builds upon an underlying theme in the book that shows Atticus trying to teach his daughter to fight racial injustice in the deep South of the United States. So, when discussing a quote from this book, you can explain that the quote is in the context of a broader social discussion about race and racism in a nation whose history has been deeply troubled by racial injustice since its origins. By doing this, you will be able to understand the quote far more effectively,
One last example: this quote from Romeo and Juliet:
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet.”
if you’re grabbing this quote from Romeo and Juliet, you’re probably going to want to say that the quote comes from a story that explores themes of forbidden love and family loyalty . By reading the surrounding text, you’ll understand that this quote is about Juliet (symbolized by the rose) having the surname of a family that Romeo despises. Nonetheless, he loves her not for her surname, but indeed despite it: he still sees the sweetness in her.
To find out the themes of key literary texts, try these sources:
b) Explain the story of the person who made the quote
How a quote is received and understood has a lot to do with the person who made the quote in the first place. So, examine the story of the person who made the quote.
Let’s take the example of Dumbledore, say … this quote:
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Dumbledore quotes will automatically be understood as wise, contemplative statements because Dumbledore is a wise and contemplative man ! They have more force and power because of Dumbledore’s age, stature and position as head of Hogwarts!
Similarly, often quotes from jesters in Shakespearian plays are interpreted as gems of truth and wisdom because jesters were some of the few people in middle England who were aloud to speak their minds among kings.
Here’s one last example: a quote from the Pope (any quote from the Pope – pick one!). What makes this quote so powerful? Well, it would be a powerful quote because the Pope is seen by Catholics as someone who is very close to god and therefore what he says should be listened to very closely.
By explaining the story of the person who made the quote, we can understand the quote more deeply.
c) Use who, where, when and why questions
Do you think the previous two points were too hard? No worries. Here’s an easier framework for you to use: the 4 W’s.
This is a very powerful way to dig deep into your contextualization of the quote. Explain the who, where, when and why about the quote.
Let’s take an example of this quote:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
This quote comes from the US Declaration of Independence . What context can we take from this famous quote? Here’s a few ideas to give context to the quote:
- Who: Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin
- Where: United States of America
- Why: This quote was made in the context of a young nation shaking off the oppressive shackles of the British Empire. The US leaders wanted a new society where social class and royalty of the old ‘motherland’ should be discarded and a more equal land created
- Other Points: Today this quote could be seen as sexist. It was written in a time when women lacked many rights. Furthermore, the gendered term ‘men’ is not just semantics: they truly meant all men were equal to one another, and this excluded women’s rights for many centuries. Similarly, you could critique its racist undertones. Lastly, you could also mention that this quote is one of the most famous statements on the principle of classical liberalism which highlights the freedom of the individual.
Once you’ve jotted down some draft of these background / ‘contextual’ details, you can turn them into full paragraphs in your essay.
4. Explore the Quote’s Contested Meanings
Quotes often have multiple contested interpretations. If your quote could be interpreted in different ways, you will need to examine the different ways in which it is interpreted.
Let’s take the example of the quote:
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby!”
This quote comes from Ilhan Omar, a democratic congresswoman. She made this quote to highlight the influence of the Jewish lobby on Republican politicians.
This quote had very contested meanings : for the political left, it highlighted the fact that money is a dark influence on policymaking in Washington. For the political right, it was seen as an anti-Semitic attach on an old stereotype of Jewish people controlling the world’s finances.
If you were to select this quote, you would of course have to present both perspectives on the quote.
My suggestion is that you look up what other people think of the quote and discuss what they’ve had to say about it. Maybe out of 5 people you find online, 4 see it one way and 1 sees it another. Present both ways that a quote can be interpreted to show you’ve thought deeply about it.
Of course, this might not be relevant to everyone: some quotes have a very clear central meaning!
5. Explore the Quote’s Relevance to You and / or Today’s Society
Remember when I said that you should check with your teacher about whether you can use first person in your essay?
Well, if you can use first person in your essay, I recommend in this step to talk about what the quote means to you. Questions you can discuss include:
- Which interpretation of the quote is most convincing, in your mind?
- Has the quote influenced you to think more deeply about something?
- Has the quote changed your mind about something or prompted you to act differently in the future?
If you are writing an expository essay that does not involve first person language, I recommend instead discussing the broader relevance of the quote to broader society today.
For example, let’s say the quote is Winston Churchill’s famous statement:
“Things are not always right because they are hard, but if they are right one must not mind if they are also hard.”
This quote was said in the context of World War II, when Britain and its allies fought gallantly for 4 years against Hitler’s Germany. So, what relevance does that quote have to today’s world?
Well, it might mean that you should follow in Churchill’s footsteps and learn a lesson from him and the brave Brits: to stand up and fight against injustice wherever it may be, even when the enemy seems to be bearing down on you! While once injustice was in Nazi Germany, today that injustice might be in the arena of terrorism or Islamophobia. The quote remains relevant to today’s world, though, because it’s a rallying call to standing up for what you believe is right.
Read Also: 39 Better Ways to Write ‘In Conclusion’ in an Essay
Woah! That’s a lot to take in. Essays about quotes are hard. Hopefully, these strategies have given you something to think about when discussing you quote. Keep in mind these five key points when trying to think of things to write about:
- Select the quote Wisely. Make sure you know a fair bit about the quote you’re using, and if it’s from a book, take a quote from a book you’ve actually read!
- Cite the quote, the quote’s author and its origins in the Introduction. This will show your marker from the very beginning that you understand the quote.
- Place the Quote in Context. Consider the overall theme of the text the quote comes from, the personality of the person who said the quote, and use the 4 W’s to dig deeper into what the quote is all about!
- Explore the Quote’s Contested Meanings. If the quote can be interpreted in many ways, then make sure you present all those possible interpretations in your essay.
- Explore the Quote’s Relevance to You and / or Today’s Society. By discussing the quote’s relevance to you or society, you’ll be showing your maker you understand why on earth it’s worthwhile reflecting on the quote in the first place!
Chris Drew (PhD)
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 60 Inspirational Role Model Examples
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 12 Deindividuation Examples
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ What do Portuguese People Look Like? (10 Features & Stereotypes)
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ What do Spanish People Look Like? (Features & Stereotypes)
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