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Direct and Indirect Quotes

Converting direct quotes to indirect quotes

Many students use direct quotes when, in fact, they could be paraphrasing or summarising and impressing their lecturer with their ability to understand and interpret information. Strict rules about how many indirect and direct quotations to use in your writing do not exist, but it is generally agreed that the use of indirect quotation (summaries and paraphrases) indicates a higher level of understanding. You should, therefore, try to paraphrase and summarise where possible.

In the drafting stages of your essay, if you find you have quite a few direct quotations, try to convert them to a summary or a paraphrase. The example below illustrates how a direct quote can be converted to an indirect one.

An example of converting a direct quotation to an indirect one.

Direct quotation
Indirect quotation
Communication is of extreme importance in the workplace; without communication, nothing would get done. However, communication breakdowns are not uncommon. Bilkey (1980: 68) says on communication between the worker and the supervisor that
    Not many people listen properly to the workers' complaints. When the worker is making a complaint, the supervisor must listen and keep listening. He should say only those things that underline what the worker is saying.
The advice given here directly relates to the situation described in the incident, the female worker is complaining to her supervisor, yet he is not listening. The solution to this communication breakdown lies in better management.
Communication is of extreme importance in the workplace; without communication, nothin would get done. However, communication breakdowns are not uncommon. Bilkey (1980: 68) argues that the greatest communication problem in the workplace is that many managers are unwilling to really listen to the complaints of their workers, and yet this is what is required of a good manager. If Bilkey is correct, then the manager in the case study is displaying symptoms of poor management techniques, despite the employees insulting and disrespectful tone in her complaints. Thus, better management techniques could result in better communication.



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Direct and Indirect Quotes Example Recommended Strategies Introduction