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MLA Style Guide

Quotations: The basics

A quotation is when you use another person’s word-for-word narrative in your own writing. Citation rules for quotations are similar to the rules for paraphrased or summarized content from another source, but there are some extra things you need to do to give proper credit to the original author; how you treat the quote depends on whether you are more than 3 lines worth of text from the resource.

With a direct quote, proper citation includes the Author and Page. The standard parenthetical format is (Author Page) though portions of the citation can still be placed in the narrative rather than the parentheses.


Purdue OWL. “MLA Formatting Quotations.” Purdue Online Writing Lab, Purdue University, owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_quotations.html. Accessed 28 Mar. 2022.

Short quotations: fewer than 4 lines of text

SHORT QUOTATIONS (less than 4 lines)

Short quotations are placed into the standard sentence structure of your narrative and set apart from your words by quotation marks. In-text citations for direct quotations require the Author and Page number. If you introduce the Author’s name in the narrative,, place the Page number/s immediately before the closing punctuation of the sentence.

  • According to Smythe, "students often found librarian assistance and library tutorials helpful when learning about citation styles" (48).

If you do not include the Author’s name in the narrative, place the Author and the Page number/s in parentheses at the end of the sentence, before the terminal punctuation.

  • She stated, "Students often found librarian assistance and library tutorials helpful" (Smythe 48); she did not offer an explanation as to why students sometimes did not use assistance when offered.

Purdue OWL. “MLA Formatting Quotations.” Purdue Online Writing Lab, Purdue University, owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_quotations.html. Accessed 28 Mar. 2022.

Long quotations: 4+ lines of text

Long quotations are set apart from the narrative into what is called a block quote. A block quote is a double-spaced section of text that begins a new on a new line, is indented ½” from your narrative text at the left margin, and is cited by a parenthetical reference AFTER the closing punctuation mark; you do not use quotation marks for a block quote, nor do you add an extra blank line before or after the block quote. Here is an example of a block quote:

 


Purdue OWL. “MLA Formatting Quotations.” Purdue Online Writing Lab, Purdue University, owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_quotations.html. Accessed 28 Mar. 2022.

Identifying the Part: Quotations without Page numbers

Direct quotation or duplication of information from a source that does not contain original pages should not reference a Page number; the purpose of the Page number is to help your reader find the quote within the larger resource, so the source of the Page/Part identifier should be universal to the format or access method for that resource.

Instead, you may need to use another logical, universal identifying element:  a table number or name, verse number, or act/scene/line designations for literary works that are often reprinted such as religious works, plays, poetry, or literature.

In short: pick a substitute for Page numbers that makes sense for your source and that is universally the same for anyone else who may access that resource.

Parts of electronic resources

Many of the electronic resources that you will access through the library databases DO have Page numbers; you should use Page numbers when they are available! When you access the full text of a journal article online, the PDF format has the same Page numbers as the print version of the journal!


Purdue OWL. “MLA Formatting Quotations.” Purdue Online Writing Lab, Purdue University, owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_quotations.html. Accessed 28 Mar. 2022.