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Formatting Long/Block Quotes
MLA Format: Long Quotations (9th Edition)
When citing more than four lines of a source (or three lines of verse), the quote should be formatted as a free-standing quotation, omitting the quotation marks. Introduce your quote, then on a new line, indent the entire quotation ½ inch from the left margin. The in-text citation follows the ending punctuation of the quotation. Remember to maintain double spacing in the essay.
Laura K. Miller concludes that both a tutor’s and student’s mindset shape an academic session:
Embedded-tutoring programs are worthwhile investments. This research has broken ground in linking mindset changes to writing center work. I hope writing center researchers will continue to explore ways to advance interdisciplinary understanding of the power of mindsets, particularly as they relate to writing improvement. (122-123)
APA Format: Block Quotations (7th Edition)
When citing a quotation that is 40 words or longer, the quote should be formatted as a free-standing block without quotation marks. Begin with a signal phrase that introduces the quote, then on a new line with a ½ inch indent from the left, add your quotation. Each line additional line of the block is indented ½ inch from the left. Maintain double spacing for the whole quote. The quote’s parenthetical citation follows the ending punctuation of the quotation.
Example 1: (Narrative Format)
Miller (2020) concludes that both a tutor’s and student’s mindset shape an academic session:
Embedded-tutoring programs are worthwhile investments. This research has broken ground in linking mindset changes to writing center work. I hope writing center researchers will continue to explore ways to advance interdisciplinary understanding of the power of mindsets, particularly as they relate to writing improvement. (pp. 122-123)
Example 2: (Parenthetical Format)
Researchers suggest that both a tutor’s and student’s mindset shape an academic session: Embedded-tutoring programs are worthwhile investments. This research has broken ground in linking mindset changes to writing center work. I hope writing center researchers will continue to explore ways to advance interdisciplinary understanding of the power of mindsets, particularly as they relate to writing improvement. (Miller, 2020, pp. 122-123)
Remember to interpret/analyze the relevance of the quote.
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MLA Formatting Quotations
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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
When you directly quote the works of others in your paper, you will format quotations differently depending on their length. Below are some basic guidelines for incorporating quotations into your paper. Please note that all pages in MLA should be double-spaced .
To indicate short quotations (four typed lines or fewer of prose or three lines of verse) in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the author and specific page number (in the case of verse, provide line numbers) in the in-text citation, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation.
Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage, but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.
For example, when quoting short passages of prose, use the following examples:
When using short (fewer than three lines of verse) quotations from poetry, mark breaks in verse with a slash, ( / ), at the end of each line of verse (a space should precede and follow the slash). If a stanza break occurs during the quotation, use a double slash ( // ).
For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2 inch from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark . When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)
For example, when citing more than four lines of prose, use the following examples :
Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration: They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte 78)
When citing long sections of poetry (four lines of verse or more), keep formatting as close to the original as possible.
In his poem "My Papa's Waltz," Theodore Roethke explores his childhood with his father:
The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We Romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. (qtd. in Shrodes, Finestone, Shugrue 202)
When citing two or more paragraphs, use block quotation format, even if the passage from the paragraphs is less than four lines. If you cite more than one paragraph, the first line of the second paragraph should be indented an extra 1/4 inch to denote a new paragraph:
In "American Origins of the Writing-across-the-Curriculum Movement," David Russell argues,
Writing has been an issue in American secondary and higher education since papers and examinations came into wide use in the 1870s, eventually driving out formal recitation and oral examination. . . .
From its birth in the late nineteenth century, progressive education has wrestled with the conflict within industrial society between pressure to increase specialization of knowledge and of professional work (upholding disciplinary standards) and pressure to integrate more fully an ever-widening number of citizens into intellectually meaningful activity within mass society (promoting social equity). . . . (3)
Adding or omitting words in quotations
If you add a word or words in a quotation, you should put brackets around the words to indicate that they are not part of the original text:
If you omit a word or words from a quotation, you should indicate the deleted word or words by using ellipses, which are three periods ( . . . ) preceded and followed by a space. For example:
Please note that brackets are not needed around ellipses unless they would add clarity.
When omitting words from poetry quotations, use a standard three-period ellipses; however, when omitting one or more full lines of poetry, space several periods to about the length of a complete line in the poem:
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How to Put a Quote in an Essay
Last Updated: November 28, 2022 References
This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 2,587,020 times.
Using a direct quote in your essay is a great way to support your ideas with concrete evidence, which you need to support your thesis. To select a good quote , look for a passage that supports your argument and is open to analysis. Then, incorporate that quote into your essay, and make sure you properly cite it based on the style guide you’re using.
Incorporating a Short Quote
- For instance, let's say this is the quote you want to use: "The brown leaves symbolize the death of their relationship, while the green buds suggest new opportunities will soon unfold."
- If you just type that sentence into your essay and put quotes around it, your reader will be disoriented. Instead, you could incorporate it into a sentence like this: "The imagery in the story mirrors what's happening in Lia's love life, as 'The brown leaves symbolize the death of their relationship, while the green buds suggest new opportunities will soon unfold.'"
- "Critic Alex Li says, 'The frequent references to the color blue are used to suggest that the family is struggling to cope with the loss of their matriarch.'"
- "According to McKinney’s research, 'Adults who do yoga at least three times a week have lower blood pressure, better sleeping patterns, and fewer everyday frustrations.'"
- "Based on several recent studies, people are more likely to sit on the park benches when they're shaded by trees."
- You still need to use quotation marks even if you're only quoting a few words.
- If you're in doubt, it's best to be cautious and use quotes.
- For example, let’s say you used the quote, “According to McKinney’s research, ‘Adults who do yoga at least three times a week have lower blood pressure, better sleeping patterns, and fewer everyday frustrations.’” Your commentary might read, “This shows that yoga can have a positive impact on people’s health, so incorporating it into the workplace can help improve employee health outcomes. Since yoga makes employees healthier, they’ll likely have reduced insurance costs.”
- When you use a paraphrase, you still need to provide commentary that links the paraphrased material back to your thesis and ideas.
Using a Long Quote
- The reader will recognize that the material is a direct quote because it's set off from the rest of the text. That's why you don't need to use quotation marks. However, you will include your citation at the bottom.
- "In The Things They Carried , the items carried by soldiers in the Vietnam war are used to both characterize them and burden the readers with the weight they are carrying: The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the necessities or near-necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water." (O'Brien 2)
Variation: When you're citing two or more paragraphs, you must use block quotes, even if the passage you want to quote is less than four lines long. You should indent the first line of each paragraph an extra quarter inch. Then, use ellipses (…) at the end of one paragraph to transition to the next.
- Your block quote will use the same spacing as the rest of your paper, which will likely be double-spacing.
- For example, “According to Li, “Rosa is the first sister to pick a rose because she’s the only one who’s begun to move on after their mother’s death” might become “According to Li, “Rosa is the first sister to pick a rose because she’s … begun to move on after their mother’s death.”
- Don’t eliminate words to change the meaning of the original text. For instance, it’s not appropriate to use an ellipsis to change “plants did not grow faster when exposed to poetry” to “plants did … grow faster when exposed to poetry.”
- For example, let’s say you want to use the quote, “All of them experienced a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.” This doesn’t tell the reader who you’re talking about. You could use brackets to say, “All of [the teachers in the study] experienced a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.”
- However, if you know the study is talking about teachers, you couldn’t use brackets to say, “All of [society experiences] a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.”
- If you don't explain your quote well, then it's not helping your ideas. You can't expect the reader to connect the quote back to your thesis for you.
- For instance, you may prefer to use a long block quote to present a passage from a literary work that demonstrates the author's style. However, let's say you were using a journal article to provide a critic's perspective on an author's work. You may not need to directly quote an entire paragraph word-for-word to get their point across. Instead, use a paraphrase.
Tip: If you’re unsure about a quote, ask yourself, “Can I paraphrase this in more concise language and not lose any support for my argument?” If the answer is yes, a quote is not necessary.
Citing Your Quote
- An MLA citation will look like this: (Lopez 24)
- For sources with multiple authors, separate their names with the word “and:” (Anderson and Smith 55-56) or (Taylor, Gomez, and Austin 89)
- If you use the author’s name in your lead-in to the quote, you just need to provide the year in parentheses: According to Luz Lopez, “the green grass symbolizes a fresh start for Lia (24).”
- An APA citation for a direct quote looks like this: (Ronan, 2019, p. 10)
- If you’re citing multiple authors, separate their names with the word “and:” (Cruz, Hanks, and Simmons, 2019, p. 85)
- If you incorporated the author’s name into your lead-in, you can just give the year and page number: Based on Ronan’s (2019, p. 10) analysis, “coffee breaks improve productivity.”
- For instance, a Chicago Style citation will look like this: (Alexander 2019, 125)
- If you’re quoting a source with multiple authors, separate them with the word “and:” (Pattinson, Stewart, and Green 2019, 175)
- If you already incorporated the author’s name into your quote, then you can just provide the year and page number: According to Alexander, “the smell of roses increases feelings of happiness” (2019, 125).
- For MLA, you'd cite an article like this: Lopez, Luz. "A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in 'Her Darkest Sunshine.'" Journal of Stories , vol. 2, no. 5, 2019, p. 15-22.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
- In APA, you'd cite an article like this: Lopez, Luz. (2019). A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in "Her Darkest Sunshine." Journal of Stories , 2(5), 15-22.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
- For Chicago Style, your article citation would look like this: Lopez, Luz. "A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in 'Her Darkest Sunshine.'" Journal of Stories 2 no. 4 (2019): 15-22.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
Selecting a Quote
Tip: Quotes are most effective when the original language of the person or text you’re quoting is worth repeating word-for-word.
- If you’re struggling to explain the quote or link it back to your argument, then it’s likely not a good idea to include it in your essay.
- Paraphrases and summaries work just like a direct quote, except that you don’t need to put quotation marks around them because you’re using your own words to restate ideas. However, you still need to cite the sources you used.
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- Always cite your quotes properly. If you don't, it is considered plagiarism. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://www.ursinus.edu/live/files/1160-integrating-quotespdf
- ↑ https://lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduates/writing-guides/how-do-i-incorporate-quotes-.html
- ↑ https://helpfulprofessor.com/quotes/
- ↑ https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/using-sources/quotations/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_quotations.html
- ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
- ↑ https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-2.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_articles_in_periodicals.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/periodicals.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/quotations/
About This Article
The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before starting, changing, or stopping any kind of health treatment.
To put a quote in an essay, incorporate it directly into a sentence if it's shorter than 4 typed lines. For example, you could write "According to researchers," and then insert the quote. If a quote is longer than 4 typed lines, set it off from the rest of the paragraph, and don't put quotes around it. After the quote, include an in-text citation so readers know where it's from. The right way to cite the quote will depend on whether you're using MLA, APA, or Chicago Style formatting. For more tips from our English co-author, like how to omit words from a quote, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Block Quote | Length, Format and Examples
Published on April 25, 2018 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on May 31, 2023.
A block quote is a long quotation, set on a new line and indented to create a separate block of text. No quotation marks are used. You have to use a block quote when quoting more than around 40 words from a source.
In APA and MLA styles, you indent block quotes 0.5 inches from the left, and add an in-text citation after the period. Some other citation styles have additional rules.
Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you – haunt me, then! The murdered DO haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts HAVE wandered on earth. Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I CANNOT live without my life! I CANNOT live without my soul! (Brontë, 1847, 268)
Table of contents
How long is a block quote, step 1: introduce the quote, step 2: format and cite the quote, step 3: comment on the quote, when to use block quotes, other interesting articles.
The minimum length of a block quote varies between citation styles . Some styles require block quote formatting based on the number of words, while others require it based on the number of lines.
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The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:
- Missing commas and periods
- Incorrect usage of “et al.”
- Ampersands (&) in narrative citations
- Missing reference entries
Every time you quote a source , it’s essential to show the reader exactly what purpose the quote serves. A block quote must be introduced in your own words to show how it fits into your argument or analysis.
If the text preceding the block quote is a complete sentence, use a colon to introduce the quote . If the quote is a continuation of the sentence that precedes it, you don’t need to add any extra punctuation .
lawmakers and regulators need to stop pharmaceutical companies from marketing drugs like OxyContin and establish stronger guidelines about how and when doctors can prescribe them. These drugs are often the last resort for people with cancer and other terminal conditions who experience excruciating pain. But they pose a great risk when used to treat the kinds of pain for which there are numerous non-addictive therapies available. (The Editorial Board, 2018)
Block quotes are not enclosed in quotation marks . Instead, they must be formatted to stand out from the rest of the text, signalling to the reader that the words are taken directly from a source. Each citation style has specific formatting rules.
APA and MLA format both require an indent of 0.5 inches on the left side. Block quotes are double spaced, the same as the rest of the document. Some other citation styles also require indentation on the right side, different spacing, or a smaller font.
To format a block quote in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:
- Hit Enter at the beginning and end of the quote.
- Highlight the quote and select the Layout menu.
- On the Indent tab, change the left indent to 0.5″.
Block quotes of more than one paragraph
If you quote more than one paragraph, indent the first line of the new paragraph as you would in the main text.
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.
Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere. (Rowling 1)
Citing block quotes
All block quotes must end with a citation that directs the reader to the correct source. How the citation looks depends on the citation style. In most styles, including APA and MLA , the parenthetical citation comes after the period at the end of a block quote.
A paragraph should never end with a block quote. Directly after the quote, you need to comment on it in your own words. Depending on the purpose of the block quote, your comment might involve:
- Analyzing the language of the quoted text
- Explaining how the quote relates to your argument
- Giving further context
- Summarizing the overall point you want to make
Block quotes should be used when the specific wording or style of the quoted text is essential to your point. How often you use them depends partly on your field of study.
- In the arts and humanities, block quotes are frequently used to conduct in-depth textual analysis .
- In social science research involving interviews or focus groups , block quotes are often necessary when analyzing participants’ responses.
- In scientific writing, block quotes are very rarely used.
Avoid relying on block quotes from academic sources to explain ideas or make your points for you. In general, quotes should be used as sparingly as possible, as your own voice should be dominant. When you use another author’s ideas or refer to previous research, it’s often better to integrate the source by paraphrasing .
If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.
- ChatGPT vs human editor
- ChatGPT citations
- Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
- Using ChatGPT for your studies
- What is ChatGPT?
- Chicago style
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- Consequences of plagiarism
- Common knowledge
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Quoting APA quotations MLA quotations Chicago quotations ACS quotations
Effective use of quotations
In general, use direct quotations sparingly and only for good reason. Remember that most of your writing should be in your own words. However, incorporating the exact words of others into your text can enrich your argument. You can use quotations to:
- Show support for your own ideas.
- Present a statement to comment on.
- Include an especially significant piece of information or detail.
- Present a well-stated passage whose meaning would be lost or changed if paraphrased or summarised.
Direct quotations should exactly match the original source in terms of spelling and punctuation; Where alterations or corrections are required, these can be indicated by the use of square brackets.
- Three ellipsis points [...] indicate material that has been omitted from the original. Use four ellipsis points to indicate any omission between sentences.
- An error can be indicated by [sic] ( Latin for thus ) directly following the incorrect material.
- Anything added or changed in order to render the directly quoted material grammatically compatible with your text must be contained in square brackets.
Short quotations - Quotations of fewer than 40 words should be incorporated into the text and enclosed with double quotation marks. The format varies depending on whether the source is in print or electronic form.
Print sources - for all print sources you must include the page number.
For example: ... the results show that "sleepiness seems to be a very underrated factor in accidents" (Leger, 1994, p. 91). OR Smith (1983) stated that "sales people with high need for achievement sell the most kitchen appliances, whereas those with low need for achievement are better at selling garden tools" (p. 25).
Electronic sources - many electronic sources e.g., webpages, some ebooks and electronic articles have no page numbers.
If available, use heading or section names. Otherwise count the number or paragraphs and include the abbreviation para. in front of the number. You can also use both the heading/section name and the paragraph number.
For example: … “product and services exports are a valuable addition to New Zealand's food and fibre exports” (New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, n.d., Agribusiness section). Maltin (2015) reported that young viewers thought “that the men who made it must have been stoned” (para. 2). How to obtain additional support for yourself or the person you’re “looking after would help you to juggle work and care” (Carers UK, n.d., “Getting support for you" section, para. 1). Note: To indicate that you have abbreviated a long heading/section name use quotation marks.
Long quotations - Quotations of 40 words or more should be placed in a double-spaced block of typewritten lines indented 1.27cm from the left margin. Omit the quotation marks.
Block quote with parenthetical citation (Author's name and publication date in brackets) On the topic of necessary and sufficient conditions, ... detecting the exact conclusion is of the first importance. But that is often a complex task. If you are serving on the jury during a breaking or entering case, it is easy enough to state the conclusion that the prosecution is attempting to prove: The defendant is guilty of breaking or entering. That's right as far as it goes, but it doesn't go very far. (Waller, 1998, p. 82) Block quote with narrative citation (Author's names as part of the sentence, publication date in brackets) Sumpter (2013) points out the following: The fact that it is now what the public thinks, rather than trade opinion, is a change from the previous law and puts New Zealand out of step with Australia and the United Kingdom. It moves our law much closer to that of the United States, whose case law may become relevant in this jurisdiction. (p. 330) Block quote of two paragraphs Research on post war defence showed that the sytsem would not adequately defend our shores: After WWII ended, defending New Zealand changed so much and so quickly that within 10 or so years it was clear that the system of gun defence the country's ports had relied on was completely useless. Most coast defence equipment had been stepped down by 1944, and the permanent guns were mothballed until the Cold War. (Cooke, 2000, p. 817) Note: If there is more than one paragraph, indent the first line of each paragraph by 1.27cm.
The format varies depending on whether the source is in print or electronic form. Print sources - for all print sources you must include the page number.
According to Smith, "sales people with high need for achievement sell the most kitchen appliances, whereas those with low need for achievement are better at selling garden tools" (25).
Electronic sources - many electronic sources (other than PDF documents) have no page numbers. If available, cite relevant section number (sec.) or paragraph number (par.).
As Thompson suggests, "sales performance is based on unmitigated bloody-minded determination" (sec. 2 par. 4).
Short quotations - Prose quotations of fewer than four lines and requiring no special emphasis should be placed within double quotation marks and incorporated into the text. (see examples above) Long quotations - Quotations of more than four lines should be introduced by a colon, off-set from the text, begin on a new line, be indented one inch or ten spaces from the left margin, be double-spaced, and be without quotation marks. A parenthetical reference follows the last line of the quotation.
Eoin Mac Neill's observation that simplicity is a significant structural trait of Irish literature is applicable to the Corca Laidhe. He writes: One of the most striking characteristics of Irish literature is the absence of comprehensive design. Large design appears to be associated most with the complex life of cities or the complex order of great states. Ancient Ireland had neither [...]. A cognate characteristic of Irish literature is a certain carelessness of proportion and symmetry [...] (Neill, 16).
A footnote number follows directly after the quotation. This number directs the reader to a footnote at the bottom of the page. The footnote provides detailed information about the work being cited, including the page number where the quoted material can be found.
According to Smith, "sales people with high need for achievement sell the most kitchen appliances, whereas those with low need for achievement are better at selling garden tools." 1
Short quotations - Prose quotations of fewer than five lines should be placed within double quotation marks and incorporated into the text (see examples above). Long quotations - Prose quotations of more than five lines should be presented as a single-spaced block quotation. Leave a blank line before and after the quote and indent the whole quote from the left margin. Do not add quotation marks. Introduce the quote using your own words followed by : a colon – if you have written a complete sentence – or a comma if you use a phrase such as 'according to' along with the authors name. End the quote with a fullstop and the footnote number.
John Miles Foley addresses the issue of meaning in orally-derived narrative in "The Implications of Oral Tradition": In the modern, literary work of art, we place the highest priority on a writer's personal manipulation of original or inherited materials, rewarding the work that strikes out boldly in a new direction by providing a perspective uniquely its own, memorable because it is new, fresh, or, best of all, inimitable. In such a case the work is praised for the finesse with which an author (not a tradition) confers meaning on his creation ... In contrast, a traditional work depends primarily on elements and strategies that were in place long before the execution of the present version or text, long before the present nominal author learned the inherited craft. Because the idiom is metonymic, summoning conventional connotations to conventional structures, we may say that the meaning it conveys is principally inherent. 1 This distinction between 'conferred' and 'inherent' meaning ...
An endnote number follows directly after the quotation. This number directs the reader to an endnote at the bottom of the page. The endnote provides detailed information about the work being cited, including the page number where the quoted material can be found.
According to Chew and Maibach, "barrier creams should be tested against a variety of substances, and should only be marketed for protection against those specific substances." 1
Short quotations - Prose quotations of fewer than 50 words should be placed within quotation marks and incorporated into the text (see examples above). Long quotations - Prose quotations of more than 50 words should be presented as a single-spaced block quotation. Leave a blank line before and after the quote and indent the whole quote from the left margin. Do not add quotation marks. Introduce the quote using your own words follow by : a colon – if you have written a complete sentence – or a comma if you use a phrase such as 'according to' along with the authors name. End the quote with a fullstop and the footnote number.
According to Linus Pauling, it is useful to apply the concept of resonance to chemical bonds in terms of pendulums and springs, but we must remember that the concept is problematic in the quantum-mechanical sense: The convenience and value of the concept of resonance in discussing the problems of chemistry are so great as to make the disadvantage of the element of arbitrariness of little significance. This element occurs in the classical resonance phenomenon also—it is arbitrary to discuss the behaviour of a system of pendulums with connecting springs in terms of the motion of independent pendulums, since the motion can be described in a way that is mathematically simpler by use of the normal coordinates of the system—but the convenience and usefulness of the concept have nevertheless caused it to be widely applied. 1 This concept is useful for developing ...
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How to use Quotes in an Essay in 7 Simple Steps
A quote can be an effective and powerful literary tool in an essay, but it needs to be done well. To use quotes in an essay, you need to make sure your quotes are short, backed up with explanations, and used rarely. The best essays use a maximum of 2 quotes for every 1500 words.
Rules for using quotes in essays:
- Avoid Long Quotes.
- Quotes should be less than 1 sentence long.
- Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples.
- Use Max. 2 Quotes for 1500 words.
- Use page numbers when Citing Quotes.
- Don’t Italicize Quotes.
- Avoid quotes inside quotes.
Once you have mastered these quotation writing rules you’ll be on your way to growing your marks in your next paper.
How to use Quotes in an Essay
1. avoid long quotes.
There’s a simple rule to follow here: don’t use a quote that is longer than one line. In fact, four word quotes are usually best.
Long quotes in essays are red flags for teachers. It doesn’t matter if it is an amazing quote. Many, many teachers don’t like long quotes, so it’s best to avoid them.
Too many students provide quotes that take up half of a paragraph. This will lose you marks – big time.
If you follow my perfect paragraph formula , you know that most paragraphs should be about six sentences long, which comes out to about six or seven typed lines on paper. That means that your quote will be a maximum of one-sixth (1/6) of your paragraph. This leaves plenty of space for discussion in your own words.
One reason teachers don’t like long quotes is that they suck up your word count. It can start to look like you didn’t have enough to say, so you inserted quotes to pad out your essay. Even if this is only your teacher’s perception, it’s something that you need to be aware of.
Here’s an example of over-use of quotes in paragraphs:
Avoid Quotes that are Too Long
Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults. “Many adult Americans believe that hard work and drive are important factors on economic mobility. When statistics show that roughly 42% of children born into the bottom level of the income distribution will likely stay there (Isaacs, 2007), this Is a consequence of structural and social barriers.” (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761). Therefore poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.
This student made the fatal mistake of having the quote overtake the paragraph.
Simply put, don’t use a quote that is longer than one line long. Ever. It’s just too risky.
Personally, I like to use a 4-word quote in my essays. Four-word quotes are long enough to constitute an actual quote but short enough that I have to think about how I will fit that quote around my own writing. This forces me to write quotations that both show:
- I have read the original source, but also:
- I know how to paraphrase
2. Do not use a Quote to that takes up a full Sentence, Starts a Sentence, or Ends a Paragraph
These are three common but fatal mistakes.
Essay quotes that start sentences or end paragraphs make you appear passive.
If you use a quotation in an essay to start a sentence or end a paragraph, your teacher automatically thinks that your quote is replacing analysis, rather than supporting it.
You should instead start the sentence that contains the quote with your own writing. This makes it appear that you have an active voice .
Similarly, you should end a paragraph with your own analysis, not a quote.
Let’s look at some examples of quotes that start sentences and end paragraphs. These examples are poor examples of using quotes:
Avoid Quotes that Start Sentences The theorist Louis Malaguzzi was the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Education. “Children have the ability to learn through play and exploration. Play helps children to learn about their surroundings” (Malaguzzi, 1949, p. 10). Play is better than learning through repetition of drills or reading. Play is good for all children.
Avoid Quotes that End Paragraphs Before Judith Butler gender was seen as being a binary linked to sex, men were masculine and women were feminine. Butler came up with this new idea that gender is just something society has made up over time. “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990, p. 136).
Both these quotes are from essays that were shared with me by colleagues. My colleagues marked these students down for these quotes because of the quotes:
- took up full sentences;
- started sentences; and
- were used to end paragraphs.
It didn’t appear as if the students were analyzing the quotes. Instead, the quotes were doing the talking for the students.
There are some easy strategies to use in order to make it appear that you are actively discussing and analyzing quotes.
One is that you should make sure the essay sentences with quotes in them don’t start with the quote . Here are some examples of how we can change the quotes:
Example 1: Start Quote Sentences with an Active Voice The theorist Louis Malaguzzi was the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Education. According to Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10), “children have the ability to learn through play and exploration.” Here, Malaguzzi is highlighting how to play is linked to finding things out about the world. Play is important for children to develop. Play is better than learning through repetition of drills or reading. Play is good for all children.
Here, the sentence with the quote was amended so that the student has an active voice. They start the sentence with According to Malaguzzi, ….
Similarly, in the second example, we can also insert an active voice by ensuring that our quote sentence does not start with a quote:
Example 2: Start Quote Sentences with an Active Voice In 1990, Judith Butler revolutionized Feminist understandings of gender by arguing that “gender is a fluid concept” (p. 136). Before Butler’s 1990 book Gender Trouble , gender was seen as being a binary linked to sex. Men were masculine and women were feminine. Butler came up with this new idea that gender is just something society has made up over time.
In this example, the quote is not at the start of a sentence or end of a paragraph – tick!
How to Start Sentences containing Quotes using an Active Voice
- According to Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10), “…”
- Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10) argues that “…”
- In 1949, Malaguzzi (p. 10) highlighted that “…”
- The argument of Malaguzzi (1949, p. 10) that “…” provides compelling insight into the issue.
3. Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples
Earlier on, I stated that one key reason to use quotes in essays is so that you can analyze them.
Quotes shouldn’t stand alone as explanations. Quotes should be there to be analyzed, not to do the analysis.
Let’s look again at the quote used in Point 1:
Example: A Quote that is Too Long Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults. “Many adult Americans believe that hard work and drive are important factors in economic mobility. When statistics show that roughly 42% of children born into the bottom level of the income distribution will likely stay there (Isaacs, 2007), this Is a consequence of structural and social barriers.” (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761). Therefore poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.
This student has included the facts, figures, citations and key details in the quote. Essentially, this student has been lazy. They failed to paraphrase.
Instead, this student could have selected the most striking phrase from the quote and kept it. Then, the rest should be paraphrased. The most striking phrase in this quote was “[poverty] is a consequence of structural and social barriers.” (Mistry et al., 2016, p. 761).
So, take that one key phrase, then paraphrase the rest:
Example: Paraphrasing Long Quotes Children who grow up in poverty often end up being poor as adults. In their analysis, Mistry et al. (2016) highlight that there is a misconception in American society that hard work is enough to escape poverty. Instead, they argue, there is evidence that over 40% of people born in poverty remain in poverty. For Mistry et al. (2016, p. 761), this data shows that poverty is not a matter of being lazy alone, but more importantly “a consequence of structural and social barriers.” This implies that poverty in childhood needs to be addressed by the government.
To recap, quotes shouldn’t do the talking for you . Provide a brief quote in your essay, and then show you understand it with surrounding explanation and analysis.
4. Know how many Quotes to use in an Essay
There’s a simple rule for how many quotes should be in an essay.
Here’s a good rule to follow: one quote for every five paragraphs. A paragraph is usually 150 words long, so you’re looking at one quote in every 750 words, maximum .
To extrapolate that out, you’ll want a maximum of about:
- 2 quotes for a 1500-word paper;
- 3 quotes for a 2000-word paper;
- 4 quotes for a 3000-word paper.
That’s the maximum , not a target. There’s no harm in writing a paper that has absolutely zero quotes in it, so long as it’s still clear that you’ve closely read and paraphrased your readings.
The reason you don’t want to use more quotes than this in your essay is that teachers want to see you saying things in your own words. When you over-use quotes, it is a sign to your teacher that you don’t know how to paraphrase well.
5. Always use page numbers when Citing Quotes in Essays
One biggest problem with quotes are that many students don’t know how to cite quotes in essays.
Nearly every referencing format requires you to include a page number in your citation. This includes the three most common referencing formats: Harvard, APA, and MLA. All of them require you to provide page numbers with quotes.
Citing a Quote in Chicago Style – Include Page Numbers
- Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 1990).
- Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 1990, 136).
Citing a Quote in APA and Harvard Styles – Include Page Numbers
- Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990).
- Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler, 1990, p. 136).
Citing a Quote in MLA Style – Include Page Numbers
- Incorrect: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler).
- Correct: “Gender is a fluid concept” (Butler 136).
Including a page number in your quotation makes a huge difference when a marker is trying to determine how high your grade should be.
This is especially true when you’re already up in the higher marks range. These little editing points can mean the difference between placing first in the class and third. Don’t underestimate the importance of attention to detail.
6. Don’t Italicize Quotes
For some reason, students love to use italics for quotes. This is wrong in absolutely every major referencing format, yet it happens all the time.
I don’t know where this started, but please don’t do it. It looks sloppy, and teachers notice. A nice, clean, well-formatted essay should not contain these minor but not insignificant errors. If you want to be a top student, you need to pay attention to minor details.
7. Avoid quotes inside quotes
Have you ever found a great quote and thought, “I want to quote that quote!” Quoting a quote is a tempting thing to do, but not worth your while.
I’ll often see students write something like this:
Poor Quotation Example: Quotes Inside Quotes Rousseau “favored a civil religion because it would be more tolerant of diversity than Christianity. Indeed ‘no state has ever been founded without religion as its base’ (Rousseau, 1913: 180).” (Durkheim, 1947, p. 19).
Here, there are quotes on top of quotes. The student has quoted Durkheim quoting Rousseau. This quote has become a complete mess and hard to read. The minute something’s hard to read, it loses marks.
Here are two solutions:
- Cite the original source. If you really want the Rousseau quote, just cite Rousseau. Stop messing around with quotes on top of quotes.
- Learn the ‘as cited in’ method. Frankly, that method’s too complicated to discuss here. But if you google it, you’ll be able to teach yourself.
When Should I use Quotes in Essays?
1. to highlight an important statement.
One main reason to use quotes in essays is to emphasize a famous statement by a top thinker in your field.
The statement must be important. It can’t be just any random comment.
Here are some examples of when to use quotes in essays to emphasize the words of top thinkers:
- The words of Stephen Hawking go a long way in Physics ;
- The words of JK Rowling go a long way in Creative Writing ;
- The words of Michel Foucault go a long way in Cultural Studies ;
- The words of Jean Piaget go a long way in Education Studies .
2. To analyze an Important Statement.
Another reason to use quotes in essays is when you want to analyze a statement by a specific author. This author might not be famous, but they might have said something that requires unpacking and analyzing. You can provide a quote, then unpack it by explaining your interpretation of it in the following sentences.
Quotes usually need an explanation and example. You can unpack the quote by asking:
- What did they mean,
- Why is it relevant, and
- Why did they say this?
You want to always follow up quotes by top thinkers or specific authors with discussion and analysis.
Quotes should be accompanied by:
- Explanations of the quote;
- Analysis of the ideas presented in the quote; or
- Real-world examples that show you understand what the quote means.
Remember: A quote should be a stimulus for a discussion, not a replacement for discussion.
What Bad Quotes Look Like
Many teachers I have worked with don’t like when students use quotes in essays. In fact, some teachers absolutely hate essay quotes. The teachers I have met tend to hate these sorts of quotes:
- When you use too many quotes.
- When you use the wrong citation format.
- When you don’t provide follow-up explanations of quotes.
- When you used quotes because you don’t know how to paraphrase .
Be a minimalist when it comes to using quotes. Here are the seven approaches I recommend for using quotes in essays:
- Avoid Long Quotes in Essays
- Do not use a Quote that takes up a full Sentence, Starts a Sentence, or Ends a Paragraph
- Match Quotes with Explanations and Examples
- Use a Maximum of 2 Quotes for every 1500 words
- Always use page numbers when Citing Quotes in Essays
- Don’t Italicize Quotes
- Avoid quotes inside quotes
Chris Drew (PhD)
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 27 Reasoning Examples
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 27 Types of Reasoning
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ Economic Globalization – Pros and Cons (with Examples)
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 29 Genetic Fallacy Examples
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Suggested ways to introduce quotations
When you quote another writer's words, it's best to introduce or contextualize the quote.
How to quote in an essay?
To introduce a quote in an essay, don't forget to include author's last name and page number (MLA) or author, date, and page number (APA) in your citation. Shown below are some possible ways to introduce quotations. The examples use MLA format.
1. Use a full sentence followed by a colon to introduce a quotation.
- The setting emphasizes deception: "Nothing is as it appears" (Smith 1).
- Piercy ends the poem on an ironic note: "To every woman a happy ending" (25).
2. Begin a sentence with your own words, then complete it with quoted words.
Note that in the second example below, a slash with a space on either side ( / ) marks a line break in the original poem.
- Hamlet's task is to avenge a "foul and most unnatural murder" (Shakespeare 925).
- The speaker is mystified by her sleeping baby, whose "moth-breath / flickers among the flat pink roses" (Plath 17).
3. Use an introductory phrase naming the source, followed by a comma to quote a critic or researcher
Note that the first letter after the quotation marks should be upper case. According to MLA guidelines, if you change the case of a letter from the original, you must indicate this with brackets. APA format doesn't require brackets.
- According to Smith, "[W]riting is fun" (215).
- In Smith's words, " . . .
- In Smith's view, " . . .
4. Use a descriptive verb, followed by a comma to introduce a critic's words
Avoid using says unless the words were originally spoken aloud, for instance, during an interview.
- Smith states, "This book is terrific" (102).
- Smith remarks, " . . .
- Smith writes, " . . .
- Smith notes, " . . .
- Smith comments, " . . .
- Smith observes, " . . .
- Smith concludes, " . . .
- Smith reports, " . . .
- Smith maintains, " . . .
- Smith adds, " . . .
5. Don't follow it with a comma if your lead-in to the quotation ends in that or as
The first letter of the quotation should be lower case.
- Smith points out that "millions of students would like to burn this book" (53).
- Smith emphasizes that " . . .
- Smith interprets the hand washing in MacBeth as "an attempt at absolution" (106).
- Smith describes the novel as "a celebration of human experience" (233).
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