What is a quotation?
Below is a list of some useful eBooks that help you locate famous quotations. Read the brief description provided and click on the link to access the eBook.
We often see catchy quotes on social media. Many times these quirky turns of phrase are attributed to Mark Twain. But Joseph Wallace, writing for the MLA Style blog, recently uncovered the true source of five commonly misattributed quotes and gives some insight as to why and how we see many errors in quotations. Here's what he had to say about determining the source of a quotation in the blog post, "Five Commonly Misattributed Quotations'::
I’ll conclude by offering some guidelines for evaluating the attributions of quotations. If you’re reading sources that are generally trusted and well regarded for their fact-checking or scholarly rigor, such as The New York Times or PMLA, you can usually assume that all quotations have been accurately attributed and checked. Large newspapers like The New York Times employ teams of fact-checkers, for instance, and scholarly journals like PMLA have thorough processes of peer review and copyediting.
But smaller, nonscholarly publications might not have the resources to check quotations. And while some social media platforms might moderate their content to some degree, they do not check the accuracy of the vast majority of quotations posted on them. So if you see a quotation reposted by someone on Twitter, even someone you know and trust, it’s best to check it yourself. I would consider a quotation that does not mention the work it came from or context in which it was said to be especially suspect. If you want to use any quotation from an untrusted or dubious source in something you’re writing, perhaps a speech or an essay, it’s always a good idea to find and verify the original quotation.
So, be sure to check your sources! Ask a librarian for assistance if you're struggling.
All guides are available under the CC-BY-NC-SA license.