Working with texts

Always write about a text, a movie, a play … in the present

✅ Correct ❌ Wrong
“The author writes” …“The author wrote …”
“Joe speaks very quietly in this scene.”“Joe spoke very quietly in this scene.”
“The two characters argue with each other …”“The two charaters argued with each other …”
“The writer questions if …”“The writer questioned if …”

This is called the literary present — check out some more details about it.

Always give line references to support your argument

Example text

Source: “The real lessons from 9/11”, The Economist, 11.09.2021

Reference in your own text

✅ Correct⭕️ OK, but not ideal ❌ Wrong
The author writes that many US citizens are in a “mood of fatigue and apathy” (l. 7).

▶ Best option because the line reference is clear and still as unobtrusive [unaufdringlich] as possible. The literal quote [wörtliches Zitat] at the end is marked by quotation marks [Anführungszeichen]
The author writes in line 7 that many US citizens are in a “mood of fatigue and apathy”.

▶ Not ideal because the line reference has too much weight by making it part of the sentence structure, the literal quote does have quotation marks – so this option is not wrong but also not as good as the first one
The author writes that many US citizens are in a mood of fatigue and apathy.

▶ Wrong because
(a) there is no line reference at all and
(b) the last couple of words are a literal quote that is not marked by quotation marks

How to write line references

There are some abbreviations [Abkürzungen] for writing line references that you should know:

What you writeWhat it meansFurther explanation
l. 7line 7refers to [bezieht sich auf] just that one line
l. 7 fline 7 and exactly one following line refers to lines 7 and 8
l. 7 ffline 7 and the following linesrefers to lines 7 and some lines after it
ll. 7 – 10lines 7 to 10refers to exactly those four lines, the double “l” is for the plural “lines”, it’s usually not used with the “ff” abbreviation
englisch/working-with-texts.txt · Zuletzt geändert: 21.11.2021 (13:00) von retemirabile

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