Open question: Do you capitalize quotes that fall in the middle of sentences?

I run into this all the time, yet I've never found a definitive usage rule.

Here's an example:

Let's say I have a sentence that goes on a bit, and then, in the middle, I drop a quote that says something like "We were tired and angry, but we persevered," and then I continue on with the rest of my sentence.

Should that quote be capitalized if it falls in the middle of the sentence?

Specifically, should I do this?

... I drop a quote that says something like "We were tired and angry, but we persevered," and then I continue ...

Or should I do this?

... I drop a quote that says something like "we were tired and angry, but we persevered," and then I continue ...

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) recommends the fragment guideline: Capitalize the first letter if the mid-sentence quote is a full sentence and make the first letter lowercase when the quote is a fragment.

I'm inclined to trust OWL, but I'd also like to know how others handle this.

  • chris

    Sounds sound to me. It looks correct if the quotations lead to a fragment to have the quote begun in lowercase. And certainly it would feel funny to begin a full sentence within a quote without uppercasing it. That being said, “looks” and “feels” aren’t the most fundamental principles on which to base any real answer to your question.
    If the quote is a fragment from the beginning of a sentence then the argument for capitalizing could hold even if the the quote itself is a fragment. It speaks to the context of the quote.
    My question is how do you punctuate a quote ending in “and so on and so forth” by using the periods within a sentence? And what is the protocol if the sentence ends with multiple punctuations? For Example if it ends in a “question mark (with unnecessary parentheses), etc…”?