Quick Questions: On Strange Quotes

Part of our work at the Writing Center includes responding to questions asked by writers from within and beyond the DePaul community. By posting the questions from writers and answers crafted by our tutors, we hope you just might discover the answer to a question you have always wanted (or never thought) to ask!


When quoting an author in a research paper, do I duplicate it exactly as it shows up in the book, i.e., leaving the capitalized words in this quote (or do I not capitalize them?): “For this reason, people stayed close to home or, if forced to walk in the darkness, carried IRON or SALT or turned there clothing inside out (SEE PROTECTION AGAINST FAIRIES). Fairies rode forth on the WILD HUNT, hordes of them pouring out of their FAIRY MOUNDS and riding through the night, kidnapping people they encountered on the road. For this reason it was considered ill-advised to walk near a fairy mound on Samhain night, even more so than on ordinary nights.” (Mongahan, 407)


Thanks for submitting your question. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using a direct quote like this.

The first thing to know is that whenever you use quotation marks, everything must be identical to the author’s original words. That means that all capitalizations, punctuation marks, and grammatical/spelling errors must be included in your work.

However, to make it clear to the reader that the exact wording are the original author’s (and not yours), most writers add [sic] right after the quote. It’s just a way to indicate that the quote is exactly how it appeared in the original text.

I hope this helps and good luck with your paper!

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