Voltaire once said ‘A witty saying proves nothing’ and he couldn’t have been more right.
Too often we are content utilizing quotations to seem witty or wise, but in the pursuit of smugness we forget to understand the quote in question…
Let’s look at this quote ‘Copy from one, it’s plagiarism, copy from two, it’s research.’ What does the author actually mean or is it up to our discretion? Could the author simply be saying ‘never copy from one source’ or is the author just trying to be witty? Or, do we even care?
The problem we face is that there is an over supply of quotes from brilliant people but a vast lack of appropriate usage of these quotes. When you read articles or essays and other documents, a successful utilization of a quote will show a smooth movement from the source information to a reader’s own thoughts because, if quotations are simply ‘dropped’ a reader might miss out on the meaning and the quote therefore becomes misleading and, quite frankly, irrelevant.
A sceptic college professor might quote another sceptic college professor in saying ‘ if a student submits a paper that is good enough to be published, maybe it has.’ Next time you want to use a quote, parody Hamlet and ask; ‘to quote or to not quote, that is the question?’