Quote vs quotation

Quote and quotation are words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often misused or confused; there are many confusing words in the English language that may be easily confused for each other in spoken English and written English. Two words or more than two words, even if they are common words, may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, homographs, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Sometimes, confusables are word constructions that are not proper English words. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words that have a different meaning from one another and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure to learn new words and commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study to understand the difference in spelling and meaning. To learn new words in the English language, one must not only study a spelling words list, one must know the meaning of words in one’s vocabulary word list. It is also helpful to memorize how to correctly pronounce words and to know the etymology of new words or where they are derived from. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables quote and quotation, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Quote is a transitive verb that means to repeat speech or text that was first uttered or written by another author. A transitive verb is a verb that takes an object. One may quote a written work or quote something another person has said. People rarely quote themselves. Strictly speaking, quote should only be used as a verb; however, common usage has made the word quote interchangeable with the word quotation. Quote is also used to mean to give someone an estimate for providing a service or goods or the actual estimate that is given. Related words are quotes, quoted, quoting. The word quote is derived from the Latin word, quotare, which means to count how many. Originally, this referred to citing page numbers and chapters.

A quotation is a passage from text or speech that is repeated by someone other than the original author. Strictly speaking, quotation should be used as the noun form, not quote. Quotation is derived from the Latin word, quotationem.


While many have used this last line as a plea for unity— as quoted by Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who argued, “our place in history depends on whether we call on our better angels” in a statement against impeaching Trump again—it might not have been the whole of Lincoln’s intention. (Time Magazine)

“I always knew she would not only accurately quote me, but would also be fair and balanced in her reporting.” (Orange County Register)

The Vice President’s deputy press secretary confirmed that Kamala Harris did not make these remarks; Reuters could find no evidence of the quotation being legitimate. (Reuters)

Sokwali was also asked to obtain a quotation from another service provider, for an amount more than Victory Ticket’s quotation. (South African)

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