Using your own selection of material from the "I Have a Dream" speech, create properly documented quotation following each 4 formats: Quote style A (signal phrase + comma “complete quote), quote style B (signal sentence + colon “complete quote”), embedded quote (work the quoted words into your own sentence), block quotation (set up for an indented quote of more than two sentences with a signal sentence + colon and do not use quotation marks around the indented quotation). Be sure you set up the quotes with the correct signal phrase or sentence, punctuate appropriately, use a correct parenthetical citation, follow your quote with analysis, and provide "Works Cited" entry for the parenthetical citations at the end of the page.

Using a signal phrase before a direct quotation from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech might look like the following. "He asserts, 'We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation' (King)."

Expert Answers

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It looks like your instructor is helping you learn how to format a research paper using MLA format. This is my assumption based on the need for a "Works Cited" page; there is another format called APA which uses a "References" page instead. Here are some notes to help you get started.

A signal phrase is a short phrase that introduces your quote. For your topic, you might use one of the following:

  • King asserts,
  • According to King,
  • King emphasizes,
  • King points out,

The overall goal is to avoid using "says" repetitively.

I am using an online version of this speech, so my Works Cited entry would look like this:

King, Martin Luther. “‘I Have a Dream," Address Delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, 25 Jan. 2019.

(Of course, in MLA formatting, any line after the first line will be indented.)

If you are using a print version of the speech for your teacher, be sure to check out the formatting guidelines at the Purdue OWL website, linked below.

Because this is an online speech, parenthetical citations only need the last name of the speaker, which is King. In a print source, you would also need to add a page number, so it would look something like this: (King 425). Note that there is not a comma between the author and page number.

With all that in mind, here is how Quote A might look:

He asserts, "We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation" (King).

You can use a colon to introduce a quotation if the signal phrase is a complete sentence itself and if you don't use it after a verb or preposition. Therefore, an example for Quote B might look like this:

He has an incredible dream for the future of America: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" (King).

According to MLA rules, you don't need to include the parenthetical citation for this speech if you directly reference King in your sentence. An embedded quotation means that you work part of King's speech into your own phrasing. An example might look something like this:

As King opens the speech, he recalls the promises of the Emancipation Proclamation, which "came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of … slaves" nearly a century earlier.

A block quotation will begin on a new line, and your teacher wants you to introduce it with a colon. I'm attaching formatting guidelines for MLA below, but you can also do a quick online search for further formatting guidelines. In general, the block quote might look like this (not sure the formatting will come through exactly right, so be sure to take a look at this):

King asserts that the promises guaranteed to all Americans in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence have proven to be a metaphorical "bad check" for Black people in our country:

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. (King)

Your teacher also wants you to analyze the quotes you've chosen, so be sure to provide some commentary on the meaning of each.

I hope this helps you get started, but be sure to double check the rules for formatting if you are using a print source. Good luck!

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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