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Chapter Ten. Wisdom of the Ages > Credit where credit is due

Credit where credit is due

If you use a quotation word-for-word, or substantially word-forword, you must give full credit to the originator. Not to give credit is to be dishonest and to hold yourself up for well-deserved criticism. Of course, you can and should also give credit for a closely paraphrased quotation. For example, if a speaker said something like, ''We have nothing to be afraid of except the consequences of being afraid,'' most audiences would recognize that as a clumsy knockoff of FDR's ''We have nothing to fear but fear itself.'' If for some reason the speaker did not want to use Roosevelt's exact words, it would be appropriate to say, ''As Franklin D. Roosevelt once observed, fear is the only thing we have to fear.''

When you use a well-selected quotation, you put authority on your side and give credibility to your words. If you're speaking on, say, women's rights, what could be better than to have Susan B. Anthony join you at the lectern and help you make your points? You can have her, though she has been long a-moldering in her grave, by using her words to reinforce your own. It was she who pricked the nation's conscience by saying:


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