It’s one of our too-many-to-count pet peeves. Though we do have a lot of those so we understand if you’re having trouble remembering all of them. This one though? This one drives us nutso. Starting an essay with a quote is wasted words, and it’s NEVER – yes that’s right NEVER – appropriate to the darned essay question.
Apparently we haven’t stated it directly this season. We’re starting to think that we should just regurgitate all of last year’s posts – “On this day in a prior year we said…” – instead of bothering to write anything new. It’s all here on the blahg. But we get it, nobody is reading last year’s stuff. It’s so passe.
This quote-in-an-essay thing? Yeah. Don’t do it.
There’s a bunch of reasons (check out the prior post for some) and we’ll offer a few more today.
First: Where did you get that quote? Consider what Teddy Roosevelt said:
"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they are genuine." – Theodore Roosevelt
— David Eagleman (@davideagleman) December 9, 2013
Sure, the quote you found is juicy, but what if the Internet got it wrong? You might inadvertently misattribute it, or… something. And how embarrassing would that be?
And what about this? More proof that it’s practically illegal – J-School students (that’s “Journalism School” in case you’re unaware) are taught this rule on Day One of their studies:
@heyprofbow my mentor at Berkeley's J-School said, "Never start a story with a quote unless the Pope says 'shit.'" It was in his syllabus
— Brad King (@thebradking) October 21, 2013
While this new Pope is apparently on the radical side – as far as popes go – we haven’t yet heard of him swearing.
If he does, then by all means, you’re given full permission to use that in an essay!
We can just see it now:
“What matters most to me is …”