Cleaning up quotes? - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 4 Old 07-02-2008, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
puddle's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 896
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
How much is it okay to "clean up" verbal quotes? Do you have to leave in all the ums, uhs and false starts?
puddle is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 4 Old 07-02-2008, 04:16 PM
Herausgeber's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 1,610
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm a professional journalist, and I don't use the ums, uhs, etc. Unless there's something remarkable about it.

But I also use quotes very sparingly. If I can write it better than they said it, which is the case 95 percent of the time, I paraphrase.
Herausgeber is offline  
#3 of 4 Old 07-03-2008, 12:42 AM
momofmine's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3,046
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree. I would paraphrase if you can't get a quote that sounds good. Sometimes you can talk to someone for an hour and only get one or two sentences that you'd actually use!

If you are directly quoting, I would not change anything about their exact words, but I would definitely leave out the umms, etc.
momofmine is offline  
#4 of 4 Old 07-03-2008, 05:24 PM
*MamaJen*'s Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 5,267
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm a reporter, and I don't quote the ums or uhs. Very rarely, I'll use ellipses or brackets to clean up quotes, but I try to avoid it. Of course, and this goes without saying, actually changing what someone said to make it sound better is unethical. If they didn't say anything directly quotable, you can fall back on the "she said that ... " construct.
My rule of thumb for quotes is that I only use them to express things that I can't state as fact. It drives me crazy when reporters use quotes like, "The meeting starts at 9 p.m.," Smith said.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
*MamaJen* is offline  

Recommended Reading
User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off