Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory. Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book 10 Chapter 2.
Quintilian contends that imitation in writing and speaking is very important. This is the way we learn in all areas of life (Quintilian X.2.2). However, we do not rely entirely on imitation. Creativity always goes beyond pure imitation (Quintilian X.2.4). The patterns of those we imitation my be very well mastered. The actual details of the subject show our ability to use patterns well (Quintilian X.2.13). Quintilian concludes that the good teacher will strive to cultivate the ability of students to work with the good qualities of others, and to build on them (Quintilian X.2.20). Finding the different expressive quality appropriate to the task is also important. Quintilian urges students to seek out the needed tone in all their work (Quintilian X.2.25).