How to Use Quotes in Your IB English Paper 2

How to Use Quotes in Your IB English Paper 2

As an IB English tutor , I often get asked about the role of quotations in Paper 2 essays. While the IB Language and Literature course does not explicitly require the use of supporting quotations in your Paper 2 essay, integrating them effectively can significantly enhance the quality of your analysis and argumentation. Here's how you can use quotations to your advantage:

Understand the Role of Quotations: Quotations are not mandatory in Paper 2, but they can be powerful tools. They serve to provide evidence for your arguments, illustrate your points, and demonstrate your understanding of the text. Remember, though, that quotations should support your argument, not replace it.

2. Selecting Quotations: Choose quotations that are relevant and add value to your argument. Avoid overusing quotations or selecting ones that are too long or complex. Instead, look for quotations that succinctly capture the essence of a character, theme, or stylistic feature relevant to your discussion.

3. Embedding Quotations: Quotations should not stand alone but be integrated into your essay. The 'quotation sandwich' method is an effective way to do this:

  • Introduce the Quotation: Before presenting a quotation, set it up. Explain the context or the point you are about to illustrate.
  • The Quotation: Insert the quotation, ensuring it's correctly attributed and cited.
  • Explain the Quotation: Follow up with an explanation of how this quotation supports your argument or analysis.

4. Accuracy and Attribution: It's crucial to quote accurately. While slight deviations might be forgiven, completely misquoting or misattributing can undermine your essay's credibility. If you’re unsure about a quotation, it's often better to paraphrase.

5. Paraphrasing as an Alternative: If you find it challenging to remember exact quotations, paraphrasing is a good alternative. It involves rewriting the author's ideas in your own words and is perfectly acceptable as long as it’s relevant and supports your argument.

6. Balancing Quotations and Original Thought: Your essay should not be a mere collection of quotations. The examiners are interested in your analysis, interpretation, and original thought. Use quotations to bolster your points, not to make them for you.

7. Practice with Purpose: As part of your preparation, practice embedding quotations into your essays. This practice will not only help you remember significant quotes but also teach you how to use them effectively to build a strong argument.

8. Quotations and Comparative Analysis: In Paper 2, where you often compare two texts, quotations can help highlight similarities or differences in themes, styles, or characters. Use them to draw parallels or to contrast the authorial choices in the texts you have studied.

In summary, while quotations are not the be-all and end-all of your Paper 2 essay, they are valuable tools that, when used judiciously, can significantly enhance the quality of your analysis and argument. As an IB English tutor, I encourage students to use quotations wisely – to illustrate, support, and enrich their essays, not to overshadow their original thoughts. Happy quoting!