I was wondering how we use the noun "quote" in a sentence. Specifically, what verbs should we use after it? Can we use the verb say as in:

A quote says, "Gender equality is more than a goal in itself."

  • That seems perfectly acceptable to me. You can also use contains, but that suggests that there's significantly more to the quote, and this is just part of it. – Barmar Feb 22 '17 at 21:29
  • IMHO, a quote does not say. A person may say something, and you may quote it. – michael.hor257k Feb 22 '17 at 22:39
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    For what it's worth (and it's not likely worth much), "quote" is a verb, whereas " quotation" is a noun. You can quote a person, but the words you quote comprise a quotation. – rhetorician Feb 22 '17 at 23:36
  • @rhetorician Quote is both a verb and a noun. – michael.hor257k Feb 23 '17 at 0:23
  • @Michael.hor257k: That may be so, but I'll continue to introduce the words of a famous (or otherwise) person as a quotation. So there! (Just kidding--about the "so there," that is). Don – rhetorician Feb 23 '17 at 3:14

I feel it would sound more correct and specific to write who said the quote.

[Person] (once) [wrote/said], "Gender equality is more than a goal in itself."

As a side note: I would shy away from the use of "once" here- "[Person] once said" sounds cliché.


Strictly speaking you can't use that, because a quote doesn't literally speak, but is passive. Figuratively speaking, you have the poetic freedom to use metaphors. Simpler (not better) to say is: to be.

The problem is however easily avoided, because quotes are already identified as such from an attribution, that has to be in context of the quote; otherwise direct speech quotation would be a mistake. I mean, I would try to conjoin your given example and the declaration which you would have linked back to from your example.

  • -1 Articles, books, magazines, newspapers, etc don't "literally speak" either, yet it's fine to say that any of them says.... – Arm the good guys in America Feb 23 '17 at 3:04
  • @Clare, as I said, that's perfectly fine. I understand it as a contraction of a longer text that should include the acting person, who literally speaks. I've also heard: "the quote reads". – Hector von Vector Feb 23 '17 at 14:12

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