How to Cite a Direct Quotation


Sometimes the exact words of your source are important, or there's a portion that you can't paraphrase well. When including a direct quotation, place a citation immediately after the quotation itself. Generally, short quotations are enclosed in double quotation marks, while longer quotations are set off from the rest of the text in block quotes. The specific format you use to cite a direct quotation varies depending on whether you're writing your paper in Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), or Chicago style.

Part 1
MLA

MLA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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The MLA defines a "short" quotation as one that is fewer than 4 lines of text. This refers to 4 lines of your paper, not lines in the original source. Place double quotation marks at the start and the end of the quoted material.[1] Example: It is possible that dreams may express "profound aspects of personality"

MLA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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Start block quotes on a new line. Indent the entire paragraph 5 spaces or one standard paragraph indent from the left margin of the rest of your paper. Maintain double-spaced lines, just as in the rest of your paper.[2] Do not use double quotation marks around the outside of a block quote. If the quoted material crosses a paragraph break, use a block quote even if the quoted material is less than 4 lines. Indent the first line of the second paragraph to indicate that it is the start of a new paragraph.

MLA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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The parenthetical citation includes the last name of the author and the page number (or range) where the quoted material appears in the original source.[3] Cite short quotes after the closing quotation marks, but before the closing punctuation. For example: Dreams may express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184). If a short quote is used in the middle of a sentence of your own words, cite immediately after the quote. For example: According to some, dreams express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184), though others disagree. With block quotes, type the parenthetical citation outside the closing punctuation. MLA Direct Quote CitationShort Quote:Your own words may be "enhancedby quotes from sources, enclosedin double quotation marks" (LastName Page#).Block Quote:If you want to include a longerquotation from a source, start iton a new line:Indent the entire blocked quoteone standard paragraph indentionfrom the rest of your text. MLAstyle requires block quotes forany quotation more than 4 lineslong. Do not use double quotationmarks for block quotes. Placeyour citation outside the closingpunctuation. (Last Name Page#)MLA Direct Quote CitationShort Quote:Your own words may be "enhanced byquotes from sources, enclosed indouble quotation marks" (Last NamePage#).Block Quote:If you want to include a longerquotation from a source, start it on anew line:Indent the entire blocked quote onestandard paragraph indention from therest of your text. MLA style requiresblock quotes for any quotation morethan 4 lines long. Do not use doublequotation marks for block quotes.Place your citation outside theclosing punctuation. (Last Name Page#)MLA Direct Quote CitationShort Quote:Your own words may be "enhanced by quotesfrom sources, enclosed in double quotationmarks" (Last Name Page#).Block Quote:If you want to include a longer quotationfrom a source, start it on a new line:Indent the entire blocked quote onestandard paragraph indention from the restof your text. MLA style requires blockquotes for any quotation more than 4 lineslong. Do not use double quotation marks forblock quotes. Place your citation outsidethe closing punctuation. (Last Name Page#)MLA Direct Quote CitationShort Quote:Your own words may be "enhanced by quotes from sources, enclosed indouble quotation marks" (Last Name Page#).Block Quote:If you want to include a longer quotation from a source, start it on anew line:Indent the entire blocked quote one standard paragraph indention fromthe rest of your text. MLA style requires block quotes for any quotationmore than 4 lines long. Do not use double quotation marks for blockquotes. Place your citation outside the closing punctuation. (Last NamePage#)MLA Direct Quote CitationShort Quote:Your own words may be "enhanced by quotes from sources, enclosed in doublequotation marks" (Last Name Page#).Block Quote:If you want to include a longer quotation from a source, start it on a newline:Indent the entire blocked quote one standard paragraph indention from therest of your text. MLA style requires block quotes for any quotation more than4 lines long. Do not use double quotation marks for block quotes. Place yourcitation outside the closing punctuation. (Last Name Page#)

MLA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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You may need to modify a quotation so that it flows seamlessly into your own writing. Place square brackets around the changed material to show that the original has been altered.[4] Example: Margaret Atwood wants her readers to see that "[r]eading is also a process and it also changes [them]" (30). You may also need to adjust for tense. For example: According to Margaret Atwood, reading can "also change[ ] you" (30). The brackets around the space indicate that the s was removed from the end of the word changes. If you find that you're having to change a significant portion of the quotation, try recasting your own surrounding sentences so that the quotation fits better. You might also want to paraphrase it rather than using a direct quotation.

MLA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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You may find a typographical or grammatical error in a passage that you still want to quote. Place the word sic in square brackets immediately after the error. This indicates that's how the passage appears in the original source, and the error isn't yours. Since sic is a Latin word, it should be italicized.[5] Example: Wang, Koh, Song, and Hou hypothesized that "compared with their Asian American counterparts, European American[s] . . . would endorse more self, social and emotion regulation functions and less [sic] directive functions" (28). Avoid going overboard with your sic notations. Use it only for typographical or grammatical errors, not to make editorial statements about the word choice of your source. If a passage has too many errors, either try to find a more authoritative reference or paraphrase the source.

MLA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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If you only want to quote parts of a sentence, an ellipsis (3 dots or periods separated by spaces) lets your readers know you've left part of it out. MLA recommends putting the ellipsis in brackets, so your readers know the ellipsis itself is not part of the original passage.[6] Example: According to one scholar, "There are many indications that many of Picasso's circle [. . .] already saw Picasso and Matisse as [. . .] the two rival personalities most likely to influence the course of twentieth century painting" (Golding 155).

Part 2
APA

APA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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Only the shortest quotations are kept in line with the body of your paper in APA style. Enclose the directly quoted material in double quotation marks. APA favors embedding brief quoted material within a sentence of your own words.[7] Example: Several commentators have suggested that "business education may have a deleterious effect on the morality and ethics of managers" (Assudani et. al., 2011, p. 104).

APA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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For in-line quotations of fewer than 40 words, include a parenthetical citation inside the closing punctuation. A full parenthetical citation contains the author's last name, year, and page number.[8] Example: In fact, "a flexible mind is a healthy mind" (Palladino & Wade, 2010, p. 147). If you include the names of the authors in your text, don't include them in the parenthetical citation. Place a parenthetical with the year after the authors' names, then include a parenthetical with the page number at the end of the quotation. For example: According to Palladino and Wade (2010), "a flexible mind is a healthy mind" (p. 147). If you include the year and the names of the authors in your text, your parenthetical would only include the page number. For example: In 2010, Palladino and Wade noted that "a flexible mind is a healthy mind" (p. 147).

APA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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If you want to quote a passage of greater than 40 words, APA style requires a block quote. Start the quotation on a new line, and indent the entire block quote a standard paragraph indent from the left margin of the rest of your text.[9] Unlike with in-line quotations, the parenthetical citation at the end of the block quote is placed after the closing punctuation.[10]APA Direct Quote CitationShort Quote:APA style encourages writers toquote "only brief snatches fromsources" (Last Name, Year,Page#), interspersed with theirown writing.Block Quote:For direct quotations of morethan 40 words, APA style requiresa block quote:Start the quote on a new line,indented from the rest of yourtext. Type the quote exactly asit appears in the originalsource. Do not use doublequotation marks for block quotes.Place your citation outside theclosing punctuation. (Last Name,Year, Page#).APA Direct Quote CitationShort Quote:APA style encourages writers to quote"only brief snatches from sources"(Last Name, Year, Page#), interspersedwith their own writing.Block Quote:For direct quotations of more than 40words, APA style requires a blockquote:Start the quote on a new line,indented from the rest of your text.Type the quote exactly as it appearsin the original source. Do not usedouble quotation marks for blockquotes. Place your citation outsidethe closing punctuation. (Last Name,Year, Page#).APA Direct Quote CitationShort Quote:APA style encourages writers to quote "onlybrief snatches from sources" (Last Name,Year, Page#), interspersed with their ownwriting.Block Quote:For direct quotations of more than 40words, APA style requires a block quote:Start the quote on a new line, indentedfrom the rest of your text. Type the quoteexactly as it appears in the originalsource. Do not use double quotation marksfor block quotes. Place your citationoutside the closing punctuation. (Last Name,Year, Page#).APA Direct Quote CitationShort Quote:APA style encourages writers to quote "only brief snatches fromsources" (Last Name, Year, Page#), interspersed with their own writing.Block Quote:For direct quotations of more than 40 words, APA style requires a blockquote:Start the quote on a new line, indented from the rest of your text.Type the quote exactly as it appears in the original source. Do not usedouble quotation marks for block quotes. Place your citation outside theclosing punctuation. (Last Name, Year, Page#).APA Direct Quote CitationShort Quote:APA style encourages writers to quote "only brief snatches from sources"(Last Name, Year, Page#), interspersed with their own writing.Block Quote:For direct quotations of more than 40 words, APA style requires a blockquote:Start the quote on a new line, indented from the rest of your text. Type thequote exactly as it appears in the original source. Do not use doublequotation marks for block quotes. Place your citation outside the closingpunctuation. (Last Name, Year, Page#).

APA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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APA style normally does not permit changing quoted material to fit the flow of your sentence, or to match your writing in tense, subject, or number. However, you can change the first letter of a quote to upper- or lowercase to fit in line with your sentence. You do not have to make note of this change.[11] Format the text exactly as it appears in the original source. However, if you want to emphasize certain words or phrases in the quotation, you can italicize them. Type "emphasis added" in the parenthetical following the quotation. For example: The APA's Publication Manual (2010) states that "the first letter of the first word in a quotation may be changed to an uppercase or a lowercase letter" without noting this change in the citation (p. 172, emphasis added).

APA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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APA style permits the addition of a noun to quoted text if it is necessary to clarify the subject of the quotation. Normally this will be necessary when the original author uses a pronoun after previously naming the subject. Enclose your additions in square brackets.[12] For example, suppose your original source states "when they get the diploma, they'll more likely get the job." You want to use this quotation in your paper, but it's unclear who they are in the quotation. You could use the noun in your sentence, or you could change the first they to the subject noun: "when [students] get the diploma, they'll more likely get the job."

APA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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If you run across a typographical or grammatical error in a source, don't change it. Mark it so your readers know the mistake wasn't yours.[13] Example: The study questioned the effectiveness of the new drug, since "sickness occurred even when reel [sic] drugs were administered" (Miele, 1993, p.124).

APA on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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Three spaced periods indicates the omission of a few words from the middle of a sentence. If your omission crosses more than one sentence, use 4 spaced periods. Include any original punctuation on either side of the omitted material.[14] For example, you could write: To make a high-performing employee visible to the community, “some industries have formal rankings that broadcast the best and brightest workers . . ., and some organizations provide companywide performance results and publicly recognize top performers” (Call et al., 2015, p. 629). Do not place ellipsis points at the beginning or end of a quotation.

Part 3
Chicago

Chicago on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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For shorter quotes that are fewer than 100 words or approximately 5 lines of text, type them in line with the body of your paper, enclosed in double quotation marks. Place a superscript number for the footnote at the end of the quote, outside the closing quotation marks.[15] Text example: Martin Luther King Jr. said of the Emancipation Proclamation, "This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering justice."7 Footnote example: 7. Martin Luther King Jr., "I Have a Dream" (speech, Washington, DC, August 28, 1963), American Rhetoric, http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm.

Chicago on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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Longer quotations start on a new line and are indented the standard paragraph indentation. Indent all lines, not just the first one. Do not enclose the text in quotation marks. Place the superscript number for the footnote at the end of the block quote, outside the closing punctuation.[16] Typically, 100 words are 5 lines or more. If you're unsure, type the quote out and highlight it on your word processing program to get the word count. Also use block quotes if you're quoting a passage that crosses 2 paragraphs, such as the last sentence of one paragraph and the first sentence of the next, even if the quoted portion is less than 100 words.

Chicago on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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Cite the specific page number where the quoted material appears as the last element of your footnote. Place a period after the page number.[17] Example: Salman Rushdie, The Ground beneath Her Feet (New York: Henry Holt, 1999), 25. If the source is not paginated, use a chapter or paragraph number, if available. For example: Mullan, How Novels Work, chap. 2, Recollections.[18]

Chicago on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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Chicago style permits liberal adjustments to allow quotations embedded into your own sentences to match your tense and subject. Just enclose any changes you make in square brackets to indicate they did not appear in the original text.[19] For example: Looking back on her life with multiple sclerosis, Nancy Mairs declares that "[she] was never a beautiful woman, and for that reason [she has] spent most of [her] life . . . suffering from the shame of falling short of an unattainable standard."

Chicago on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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Many other styles suggest using the word sic in brackets after typographical or grammatical errors in a quotation. Chicago style is unique in allowing writers to simply correct the error.[20] For example, if the text of your source said "sickness occurred even when reel drugs were administered," you could change it in your quote to read "sickness occurred even when real drugs were administered."

Chicago on How to Cite a Direct Quotation

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Use 3 ellipsis points to indicate omissions from a single sentence. If the language you're omitting crosses multiple sentences, use a period followed by 3 ellipses points to indicate the sentence break. Include punctuation that occurs before or after the omitted language, if it is necessary for the sentence to remain grammatically correct.[21] For example, suppose you want to quote an original passage from Thoreau that reads "Man’s capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents, so little has been tried." If you wanted to leave out the middle clause, you would write "Man's capacities have never been measured; . . . so little has been tried." The semi-colon is necessary for the sentence to be grammatically correct. The comma is not. Ellipsis points normally are not used to show an omission either at the beginning or the end of the quotation. However, if the start or stop of your quote interrupts a thought, the ellipsis may be necessary for clarification. Use your own best judgment, or ask your instructor or advisor for guidance.