ENG 1101 English Composition I, section OL 0110


Special quoting assignment  (suggested time: 75 minutes after you read these three pages)

Starting an essay with an interesting quote that is relevant to your topic is an interesting “attention grabber” and it shows that you are intelligent, making intellectual connections between well-know quotes and your essay topic.

Such quotes are not documented like internal quotes need to be.  In a few days we will start practicing those kinds that you need for research papers.

By “well-known” quotes, we are talking about quotes you know, that you read or learned or heard and found memorable.  The implication is you did not have to Google it; you knew it.

Here is an example.  There was a real doctor, named Kevorkian, who offered to euthanize people who had incurable illnesses.  He was later arrested.

The Man Who Offered to Kill

                         “To be or not to be, that is the question.”   –William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Now you write the introduction, here represented by nonsense typing sjsdhjfejekfpe jdfowjwsjfwj  adjjdsjdsj jdj.  djkdsjdso woosjdsod sosksksk skskpspspsusgsdflgflos sdofododo ojh eopoefkfpdk sjsdhjfejekfpe jdfowjwsjfwj  adjjdsjdsj jdj.  djkdsjdso woosjdsod sosksksk skskpspspsusgsdflgflos sdofododo ojh eopoefkfpdk sjsdhjfejekfpe jdfowjwsjfwj  adjjdsjdsj jdj  djkdsjdso woosjdsod sosksksk skskpspspsusgsdflgflos sdofododo ojh eopoefkfpdk  sjsdhjfejekfpe. jdfowjwsjfwj  adjjdsjdsj jdj  djkdsjdso woosjdsod sosksksk skskpspspsusgsdflgflos sdofododo ojh eopoefkfpdk.

Everyone probably knows the quote, “To be or not to be.”   You do not have to have read Hamlet by William Shakespeare to know this.  But…do you know what it is about?   In the play Hamlet, Hamlet–the Prince of Denmark, whose father the King  has already died before the play even starts–is depressed and morose.  His mother, the Queen, has married his uncle, who is the new King.   That is bad enough, but later Hamlet is visited by his father’s Ghost, who explains that the other man, his own brother, schemed with his wife to murder him.  Hamlet is so distraught, he thinks about doing something…no, not revenge.  He contemplates his own suicide.  The famous words are about suicide:  being alive or not.

Now, if you were going to write an essay on euthanasia, assisted suicide, or suicide (or even being vaccinated!) and you start your essay with this quote, you would impress your reader of your scope of knowledge.

Such an opening quote is not actually part of your introduction paragraph.  It is on a separate line between your original title (that you created for your essay) and paragraph one.  You may want to make it look different by using italics, maybe even a slightly smaller font.  Please remember:  normally you must underline or italicize a published title of a play, a novel, a film, so…if you italicize (or underline) the quote, this time, you do not italicize or underline the title.  It is opposite what you would treat a published title in an essay.

Oh, one more thing:  when you create a title of your own, and you should, your title is just centered and most of the words are capitalized.  You can find out on your own which title words do not get capitalized.



Now let’s see which quotes you already know.

  1. Think of famous quotes or quote you like. Where do they come from?  Think of any quotes you know from the following sources and write them down:
  • from the Bible
  • from history (That which was news when it happened if it lasts become history and, of course,  it could be from hundreds of years ago)
  • from literature (a play, a novel, a poem, a short story)
  • from movies
  • from music (probably some lyrics, not merely a song title)
  • from commercials

Go ahead, think of some and actually write them down and post them on Moodle (or send them to me in an email).  Some of them may be just for fun, not useful for any future essay, but you get the point.


I suggest you lean more to sources in movies and music that your teachers might have knowledge of, for example if you like a particular movie from another country that none of your readers ever heard of, that is not necessarily a good choice.  If you want to quote a new recording artist who is not right now a “household name” then at least explain who he or she is.

Now comes the rest of the assignment which you should also write down and send in OR BETTER STILL POST ON MOODLE:

  1. B) Please look for good quotes ABOUT the following, one quote for each:






Please do not just write down the first one you see. Rather, look for one that

inspires or amuses you.

  1. Separately, please look for quotes BY the following about any subject, not just

the ones above:

Abraham Lincoln           (different from B;  you are not looking for what these people said about the      above topics)

Mike Tyson

John Lennon

Marilyn Monroe

Mahatma Gandhi

Then write them down or copy and paste according to this style:


“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your

Country.”–John F. Kennedy


Explanation:  we all know who Kennedy was, so just his name is sufficient.

If for numbers 1 though 5, you never heard of the writer or speaker, research

what that person is or was, like poet, politician, philosopher, etc.


“After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it

backwards and in high heels.”–Ann Richards, the 45th governor of Texas


Explanation:  most do not know who Richards was, so you add more about her (above).

Most students probably do not know who Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were:  a dance team, two actors who made several movies together in the 1930s.  A beautiful scene of theirs is in the prison drama The Green Mile  (the main sequence start at the 2 minute mark):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSo5dDoXYAM

Separately, here is a YouTube sampling of their work:


(Reread the quote about them.  The point is that the woman did everything the man did but for her it was harder because of her shoes and the fact that usually men take the lead in dancing, so the women do the steps backwards…)

One last thing:  for such quotes to be effective, they must be accurate, and here is where you should Google to make sure.

JFK did not say “Don’t ask,”  he said “Ask not.”