“Annoying Ways People Use Sources” – notes

(summary)

This essay, which is actually a chapter in an open textbook (Readings On Writing by Kyle Stedman) is an instruction manual of sorts on how to properly cite your writing. In a rather humorous way, Mr. Stedman gives us step-by-step instructions on some of the more commonly fumbled citing techniques. He uses actual examples from some former students to educate us newer students on the finer do’s and don’ts of quoting sources, and even gives specific instructions on how to fix and prevent these mistakes. He explains that even though some of these things aren’t rules, per se, they are still important and depending on who is reading them, could be more important than some might think, and he also does his best to explain if and when we should bend some of these unspoken (that are now officially spoken) rules.

(some key points and main ideas)

  • “Armadillo Roadkill” – Dropping in a quotation without introducing it first. FIX – Return to each quote and make sure you set it up first
  • “Dating Spiderman” – Starting/ending a paragraph with a quote. FIX – Similarly, return to each quote and make sure you lead away from it as well
  • “Uncle Barry and his encyclopedia of useless information” – Using too many questions in a row FIX  –  Return to each quote, decide why it is there and massage it in accordingly
  • “Am I in the right movie?“- Failing to integrate a quotation into the grammar of the preceding sentence. FIX – Read out loud to yourself or to someone else and if you stumble as you enter into a quotation, see if there is something you can adjust to make the transition smoother.
  • “I can’t find the stupid link!” – No connection between the parenthetical citation and the first letter of a works cited entry. FIX – Make sure that the first word of the works cited entry is the word you use in your text citation, every time.
  • “I swear I did some research” – Dropping in a citation without making it clear what information came from what source. FIX – Write the sentences preceding the citation with specific words and phrases that will tell the readers what information came from where.

(commentary)

It might have been slightly beneficial before my reading of this article to know exactly what citing was and how it is normally used, but per my usual nature I am about to try and talk about something as if I actually know what the fuck I am talking about, and although I am relieved to finally know, I will be sure to inquire more as soon as the opportunity presents itself. I do, however, like the fact the she not only gives specific instructions, but also examples, so I was able to gather the gist fairly quickly. One thing I will say to the contrary is that I wish it was a little clearer, but he does explain the most common mistakes that college students make when quoting sources, as well as how to fix them. I will say, the best part about the way it was written, as well as the perspective, is that it followed a specific subject matter. The couple of times I tried to research it before (less than I would like to admit) it jumped around a lot.

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