Begin the quotation on a new line, with the full quotation indented 1 inch from the left margin and double spaced. Your parenthetical citation should come after the final period. Maintain the original line breaks when citing verse. Include page numbers in the front of each chapter or section for reference.
An exact quote should be in quotation marks (""), or a block quotation should be used if the quotation is 40 words or more. Then, just after the quotation, you include an In-Text Citation to identify where the quote originated from.
Extensive quotations Place quotes longer than four lines of prose or three lines of verse in a free-standing block of text and avoid quotation marks. Begin the quotation on a new line, with the full quotation indented 1/2 inch from the left margin and double spaced. End the quotation on its own line, but still within the quotation mark pair.
Examples: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." - Robert Frost
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
"We can't solve our problems with the same kind of thinking that created them in the first place." - Albert Einstein
Quotes within quotes Within a single essay, include several quotations, each in its own paragraph. Start every quotation with a capital letter and end it with a period. Avoid using quotation marks when including excerpts in your writing.
Example: "Curing cancer requires more than just medicine; it also needs support from society at large. Medicine cannot cure cancer by itself, because it is not a magic bullet. Cancer is a complex disease and its treatment involves many disciplines including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.
When include a long quotation in an MLA document, it must be formatted as a block quote. In MLA, format a block quotation as follows:
To cite a specific quotation from a play in MLA format, enclose the quotation in quotation marks (using slashes to denote line breaks) and follow with a parenthetical citation of the author, title of play, and page/act (for prose plays) or act/scene/line (s).
Examples: "To be or not to be... that is the question." - Hamlet, Act I, Scene III. This quotation appears on page 15 of the first edition of The Oxford Shakespeare. It can be cited in an essay about the themes in the play.
Alternatively, if the quotation is well-known it may be sufficient to identify it by its first lines ("To be or not to be..."), without quoting the entire passage. In this case, only a parenthetical citation is needed for the work referenced.
It is acceptable to refer back to information presented earlier in the paper when explaining or interpreting quotations. For example, if we were writing about the theme of choice present in Hamlet, we might say that "Glory and shame are like two horses who pull at opposite ends of a rope. We have no control over which one wins, but we can decide which direction to ride." Here, the choice quoted is seen as part of the overall theme of the play, rather than as an independent statement.
When citing dialogue from a novel, separate the quote as a block from your text if each character's speaking begins on a new line in the source. As with any block quotation, indent the extract half an inch from the left margin. A horizontal rule above the quotation and another below it are optional but recommended.
If the quoted material is a paragraph or more, start with "A person said..." and give the speaker's name followed by a comma and the date. If the passage comes from a newspaper article, include the name of the newspaper along with its date; if the work is older than 100 years, search for it using the bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Guide to Literary Fiction or consult other reliable sources. Include page numbers for quotations taken directly from books.
Use italics for titles, names, and other words that need special attention from the reader. This includes terms used by the characters in their conversations. In addition, put titles in quotation marks when they're part of the excerpt being quoted.
To create a mood in your writing, use adjectives to describe people and places. These descriptions can be given as direct quotes or paraphrases. Use descriptive language to bring life to your narrative.
Direct quotations are often used in the midst of a paragraph. Use quotation marks at the beginning and end of each quote, use the exact words from the original text, and identify your source, otherwise your work may be deemed plagiarism. Quotations can also be included in paragraphs without using quotation marks if the sentence containing the quotation is independent of other sentences in the paragraph. For example, "The president was quoted as saying..." could be found in a paragraph discussing many different statements made by presidents over time.
Indirect quotations are also used in academic writing but they require more work to create sound evidence for them. With indirect quotations, the writer takes information or ideas from one source and repeats them with additional information related to the first source. For example, if I were looking at women in science throughout history, an article would be an excellent source from which to take information. Then I could begin my own piece by stating that there have been few women in science and explaining that this is because they have been discouraged from pursuing careers in science. This would be an indirect quotation.
Finally, paraphrases are quotes that contain only slightly altered words from the original text. They are easy to create and use but might not always accurately represent what the author meant to say.