How to Shorten Long Quotes in Essays

There is a lot of information that is readily available to us, and it is quite easy to get lost when sifting through this information. I've been sucked into hours of online reading about whether the BigFoot is real. You have to agree that it is quite impressive, to have access to almost any type of information you could ever ask for. 

But just like any newfound freedom, challenges are bound to crop up. When writing a paper, you try your best so that it is not marked as plagiarized. 

So why should you care about long quotes in custom essay papers? For starters, lengthy quotes make it hard for your readers to grasp the true meaning of your message. 

So, are you wondering how many quotes you can put in any given essay? How do you shorten them while maintaining the original purpose of the message? Well, that's what I'm here to help you figure out today!



Use your paper-editing software to shorten sentences, words, and phrases that don't add anything 

If you find that your quote is running longer than four lines, ask yourself if the quote is actually needed. If it is, rephrase it, i.e. use your own words rather than a quote. For example, if you have a quote with one main idea, consider removing the rest of the wordings from the sentence and inserting the main idea in brackets after the quote.

There is paper-editing software that can be used to shorten sentences, words, and phrases that do not add meaning. Software like Grammarly can help you weed out unnecessary words and phrases.

There are several things you can do with this software: 

  • Cut out filler words and phrases. These include things like "in other words," "to put it differently," or "that is to say." There are also some more subtle ones that you may not recognize, such as "the fact of the matter is…" or "in any case…"
  • Cut out cliché quotes from well-known people. If you have a quote from someone like Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett, the odds are that the reader has read it before and doesn't need to reread it in your story.
  • Replace overly formal language with simpler words and phrases. For example, instead of saying "utilize," just say "use."

Don't start a sentence with "And" or "But."

Avoid starting a sentence with "And" or "But when using a long quote. Instead of beginning with the conjunction, use it to join two independent clauses. We have had this rule since elementary school. This rule has always been contentious. Most writers, bloggers, and journalists start their sentences with ‘and’ or ‘but’. It is okay to start a sentence with them if you know how to use them correctly. 

Cut excess words used to fill in the blanks or set off the main point of view

If there is something important in a long quote (e.g., Evidence in support of an argument), you use ellipses (...) to shorten it while keeping the most important part intact.

To avoid confusion, make sure you provide additional context if you remove words from the middle of a quoted sentence. If you use ellipses, make sure that the ellipses do not take out material that could alter the quoted sentence's meaning. 

Quotation marks should always be used

Many students overuse direct speech in academic papers. The use of quotations is quite common in essays in humanities disciplines, but they are used less in the social sciences and rarely in scientific papers.

It is better not to use too many direct quotations. Instead, paraphrase as much material as possible. Put a passage from the source material into your own words, but remember that the paraphrased material is to be attributed to the source.

Paraphrases allow you to incorporate information from sources into your papers without relying too heavily on direct quotes. It's usually credited to the source by citing in-text rather than including an indirect quote. For example:

 According to Smith (2019), "Facts don't care about your feelings" (p. 23)

{The paraphrase above has been cited using MLA style.}

If possible, divide long quotes into two or shorter ones

If you have multiple long quotes in your paper, consider making them shorter. To do this, divide the quote into two or more separate quotes. 

If you have many long quotes in your paper, you might also want to consider formatting them differently than the rest of your text. Consider using hanging indents and double-spacing.

Make sure that you do not write varied attributes for similar quotes. 


When quoting something, you control your language (by making it shorter and straight to the point). Long quotes can start to look like filler words. Sometimes they may be necessary, but you risk alienating your readers if you use them indiscriminately without discretion.

Shorter quotes are meaningful because they help grab a reader's attention and direct them towards a theme or feeling. Essays can be more concise and focused than longer ones through shorter quotes.

Readers may also perceive you as a lazy writer if you use too many quotes. It's a good idea to limit your quotes to a few words. If you're having trouble with this, some great tools will help.

You can look for a professional essay writer to hold your hand as you write your essay. They will give you tips on how to shorten long quotes in essays and ensure your essays are of the highest quality. Professionally written custom essays by academic experts will help mold your essay to fit your exact needs.

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