71 Pack Snacks: Use The “Quotation Sandwich”

Pack Snacks: Using the “Quotation Sandwich”

A graphic shows a sub sandwich with four text boxes around it saying, "The quotation sandwich," "Introduce the quote," "Quote the quote," "Explain what the quote means"

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.

An all-text image says, "Reading a quotation that isn't sandwiched by an introduction and explanation is as troubling as eating a sandwich without the bread! No one wants mayonnaise and pickle juice on their fingers."

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:

Lamott uses ethos as she establishes herself as a writer who knows about writing. Of course, Lamott is the author of the book, Bird by Bird, in which her essay appeared. Being a published writer ostensibly gives her some credibility to talk about writing. Lamott continues to establish her ethos as she shares her connections to other writers. She says, “I know some very great writers…who have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic or confident” (21). Here, Lamott tells her readers she knows successful writers and those writers don’t write great first drafts. By showing her readers that it’s not just her practice of writing a terrible first draft, but it’s also other famous(and rich!) writers, Lamott builds her audience’s confidence in her knowledge and her subsequent advice to let go of perfectionism in first drafts.

Here’s a play-by-play recap of how the quotation sandwich works:

Topic sentence (following the order given in the thesis):

Lamott uses ethos as she establishes herself as a writer who knows about writing.

Analysis and ideas about the essay from the writer of the rhetorical analysis:

Lamott is the author of the book Bird by Bird, in which her essay appears. Being a published writer ostensibly gives her some credibility to talk about writing.

The introduction―the bread on the top of the sandwich:

Lamott continues to establish her ethos as she shares her connections to other writers. She says,

The quote―the fixings between the bread:

“I know some very great writers …* who have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic or confident” (21)**.

*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 explanation―the bread on the bottom of the sandwich:

Here, Lamott tells her readers she knows successful writers and those writers don’t write great first drafts. By showing her readers that it’s not just her practice of writing a terrible first draft, but it’s also the practice of other famous (and rich!) writers, Lamott builds her audience’s confidence in her and her subsequent advice to let go of perfectionism in first drafts.
An all-text graphic reminds readers to introduce, quote, explain

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:

Lamott again uses ethos as she explains her process of writing first drafts that no one will see, saying there might be something on page six that is useful, but you’ll never know until you write (23).*** Lamott’s essay shows it is clear she has been through this process of writing without self-judgment, and shows the reader her advice of writing bad first drafts works.

***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.

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Pack Snacks: Use The “Quotation Sandwich” by Liza Long, Amy Minervini, and Joel Gladd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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