Posted on

Can I help you in any way? Quoting sources

“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real”. Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well.

In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’re highlighting some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions. In this post, we’re focused on a question about properly quoting source information.

Recently someone came on the chat with a very specific question about punctuation in quoted material. They said, “I was looking for a reference on how to properly alter punctuation to end a quote when using portions as multiple choice answers… i.e., can I switch a comma to a period rather than leaving the quote open?”

They gave the following example:

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.”

They asked, “If I wanted to use first line of this quote as an answer, can I write ‘Nature’s first green is gold.’?”. My first question was whether they adhered to a particular style (i.e. APA or MLA). They happen to use the Chicago style.

Although my expertise is not in English, nor in the various style manuals, we do have links to wonderful resources, and I provided the following three from Citation Machine for potential sources of answers to their question.

As an additional thought, I advised that, to avoid the issue, they could possibly move the period out of the quote in the multiple choice option like “Nature’s first green is gold”.

Do you have any resources or ways that you address punctuation concerns when quoting sources? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Can we help you in other ways? Check out the previous series posts on learning objectivesessay writingcourses and workshopspublishing strategies, and software tools for writers.

Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.