Quotations are an integral part of most essays. Quotes are phrases borrowed from other people, authors, speakers, and texts. Most quotes known today come from prominent people, including celebrities, public figures, and world leaders.

People value such quotes because they are little pieces of knowledge, life experience, wit, and wisdom that can be magnified by the circumstances of the people behind them – and their contributions to the world. It’s easy to see why quotes are such an essential part of writing essays.

Kelly Young, Author at BetterWritingServices.com

With that in mind, it’s worth knowing how to begin your essay with a quotation. Knowing how to start an essay with a quote lets students make the most out of their speeches and other written assignments. Everything from speeches to academic papers can benefit from an appropriate quote.

Some Tips on How to Start an Essay With a Quote

Use Appropriate Quotes

Any quote you use for your essay should be fit for the purpose. There are several reasons to start a paper with a quote, including; inspiring readers, proving a point, inviting action, proving the complex or delicate nature of an issue, and creating a suitable atmosphere. Start by understanding why you’re using a quote first, and then pick a quote that matches that goal. It can be challenging to choose the right quote, so ask yourself if what you’ve chosen adds to your message and delivers on the intended purpose. You don’t want to send mixed messages to your audience. Make sure they understand why you chose the message you did.

Consider the Audience

Your quote should fit your audience as well as it fits the theme of the paper. An excerpt from a professional in a small niche would only resonate with people who have experience in that field. It helps to pick quotes that are neither too complex nor too obvious. Consider other factors as well, such as age, experience, interests, gender, and familiarity with the subject of the audience. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with choosing a controversial source, don’t select one your audience considers offensive.

Connect it to the Point

Ensure that you explain how the quote fits with your argument/thesis and how it relates to the topic at hand. The audience should understand how the quote highlights the problem or offers a potential solution. It’s essential you connect the passage like this because if you don’t, you run the risk of having worthless out-of-context quotes in your paper. Not every quote enhances your paper. Some may even hurt it.

Acknowledge the Source

Please don’t forget that quotes are words borrowed from other people. With that in mind, it is vital that you acknowledge the source of the passage and give credit where it is due. You may need to provide extra information about the quote, depending on the paper format. For example, some structures require you to give the page, line, or paragraph number for the message. The purpose of citing information appropriately like this is to make it easier to locate information and alleviate plagiarism concerns. Plagiarism is when you take someone else’s work without credit. Given the potential penalties for plagiarizing work, you should always be sure to provide proper context – especially if your work is likely to be seen by many people.

How to Choose An Appropriate Quote For Your Essay?

Be sure to prioritize content over authority when choosing a quote for your paper. It would be best if you focused more on the quality, thought, message, and contained message of a quote rather than the name of the person behind it. As well as giving you more freedom to choose quotes, prioritizing quality over source reduces the risk of not being original by quoting the same people that everyone else does.

Please note that it might be beneficial to provide some context for the quote. It would help if you considered explaining the circumstances that led the person to say the things they did. Adding context helps the reader understand what internal struggles must have been facing the person behind the quote, which led them to say the things they did. Describing a quote’s context is most important with quotations from authors who deal with extreme circumstances, events, and dilemmas.

While it can be time-consuming to find the best quotes for your paper, you should know there are several services and methods to help. For example, many books are filled with collections of quotes split into categories and listed in alphabetical order. Such a book would be ideal for a general topic. Online search engines like Google are another fantastic resource. Search for something related to the subject, and you should get plenty of quotes to choose from for your paper. Another option is to determine specific sources and look for passages you can quote in them by yourself.

Essay writing services and other academic assistance programs are other excellent sources of quotes. These services also help with other writing issues you face. Whether you need to write a research paper, editorial, lab report, speech, or piece of coursework, you can get all the help you need.

The Pros and Cons of Starting an Essay With a Quote

There are several pros and cons to starting your essay with a quote.


  • Quotations set the right tone

Quotations can offer a condensed way to say something complicated to readers or appeal to their emotions. There’s nothing like a quote to quickly engage your audience and begin an in-depth discussion on a given subject.

  • Quotes capture attention

A powerful quote is one of the best ways to get a reader’s attention, especially shocking quotes that stand out. Controversial and humorous quotes, and quotes discussing universal truths, are also effective. Every essay needs a good hook, and the right quote can be just the hook you need to generate extra interest in your paper.

  • Quotes allow you to borrow the authority of others

Quotes give your piece an authority it wouldn’t have otherwise. Including renowned sources like Edison or Tesla lend their power to your claims makes it harder for people to dispute them – provided you correctly pair the quote and claim.


  • Quotes are cliché

The cliché nature of quotes isn’t an issue if your chosen quote is short and sharp. However, starting an essay with a quote excludes other methods of beginning the essay. Using quotes means you can’t start by describing remarkable and shocking events and situations that would otherwise portray the issue discussed in the paper.

  • It takes time to find the most appropriate quote

Quotes are presented as they are, word for word. This means it takes time to find an appropriate quote that perfectly fits your paper and conveys the right message.

  • They rush the paper along

Quotes are often the most intense sentence in a paper. As such, you might want to use them at a more opportune time than the start of the paper. Save quotes for when your paper needs some extra momentum to push it along.


Quotations are potent tools in the arsenal of any writer. Using quotes can take your essay to the next level when used correctly. By now, you should have a better idea of how to start your paper using quotes. If you want to quote someone for your paper, make sure you choose an appropriate message. Remember that the message is more important than the speaker, so don’t be afraid to use controversial sources. If anything, the controversy may create more profound interest.

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