Pack Snacks: Using the “Quotation Sandwich”
A sandwich, as you are well aware, has bread surrounding meat, cheese, veggies, or PB&J. The bread makes it easy to eat. It’s the same when adding sources to your paper: you want the information you give to be easily digestible for the reader. You want it to make sense. Gerald Garff and Kathy Blinkenstein give a solution for integrating sources. In their book, They Say I Say, Garff and Blinkenstein tell readers to use “the quotation sandwich” (46). Sandwiching quotes between an introduction—which includes an attributive tag naming the author(s)—and an explanation helps the reader see how the quote you included supports your overall thesis and the immediate point you’re trying to make.
Readers find it disconcerting to have a quotation appear out of nowhere with no introduction or attributive tag and no explanation. It’s like being handed a wad of ham, pickle, tomato, lettuce, and cheese dripping with mayonnaise and mustard. It’s going to run uncomfortably down your riders’ arm and most likely make a mess on your car’s upholstery. The solution for eating sandwich fixings is bread (or lettuce or flatbread, if you’re going for a wrap; you get the idea.) In writing, sandwich your sources in between an introduction and an explanation.
Here’s what a quotation sandwich might look like:
Here’s a play-by-play recap of how the quotation sandwich works:
*I’ve shortened the quote. The ellipses (…) show readers I omitted some parts of the original essay.
**This quote came from a printed book, so this number is the page where I found the quote. If you are writing from a source that doesn’t have page numbers, you will not include page numbers. It then becomes even more essential to include the attributive tag to let your readers know where the quote or information came from.
The quotation sandwich isn’t just for direct quotes. It is not only helpful but also avoids plagiarism to use this same pattern when discussing any information you get from sources:
***The ideas in the sentence are Lamott’s. Even though I didn’t directly quote her, I need to use an attributive tag to properly credit her as my source, and, since there is a page number available, I use it. When we are clear about attributing quotes and ideas, we also make it clear to our readers that the sentences without an attributive tag are our own brilliant analysis of the text and subject.