Discussion: Examining Quotes in Informational Writing

 Read the informative editorial titled “How to Fast” (Links to an external site.)

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 Read the informative editorial titled How to Hold a Venomous Snake (Links to an external site.)

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1. Who does the writer quoted in each of these columns? Why do you think the author chose them? Do you think they were good sources of information? 

2.  Look closely at when the author chooses to quote the experts and when she paraphrases the information they gave her. What is the difference? Why do you think she chose to quote the lines she did? Give some examples from the pieces to explain your reasoning. 

3.  What do you notice about how she works in quotations? How does she introduce them so they make sense and add a little color? For instance, the second paragraph of “How to Hold a Venomous Snake” begins this way: “Unless you’re a trained venom extractor, don’t pick up a snake with your hands. Even zookeepers and herpetologists keep out of striking distance by scooping speci­mens up with a pole called a snake hook. ‘Everybody thinks they know what they’re doing because they saw it on YouTube,’ Harrison says.” How do the first two sentences give practical information that leads us into the YouTube quote? How does that quote add a bit of humor to the piece? 

4.  Finally, look closely at the quotes that begin and end each piece. How would you describe the differences? Would the quotes work if they were flipped? What about any quotes you find in the middle paragraphs of these pieces? What observations can you make in general about the structure of a Tip column and how quotations work to build that structure? 

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