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Citation and Writing

Integrating Quotations

Introduce the quotation or paraphrase by setting it in context. For a nonfiction source, identify the author the first time you cite the source. For a literary source, identify the speaker or writer and the position of the quoted piece in its work for every quotation. There are three ways to introduce quotations or paraphrases:

1. You can use a full sentence followed by a colon to introduce a quotation.

Educator Dr. Calvin Cutter stresses that stools should not be used in schools: “chairs need to be substituted because they help posture by supporting the back.”¹

2. You can use a lead-in naming the author or character, followed by a comma.

Southworth announces, “Alas for weakness, willfulness and passion! They, and not wise counsels gained the day.”²

3. You can also begin a sentence with your own words and complete it with quoted words. In this case, do not use a comma before the quotation.

Again, whether such agreement is possible can be found out only by a “full and frank expression of opinion on points of faith and conscience, before marriage as well as after.”³

1. If you quote words that are in quotation marks in the original, such as character dialogue in a novel, then use double quote marks enclosing single quote marks.

 Talking to Wickham about Darcy, Elizabeth says, “’He is a man of very large property in Derbyshire, I understand.’”¹


2. Quotations must match the source exactly.  Indicate omissions with three dots (ellipsis), and indicate insertions with square brackets.

Ralph and the other boys realize the horror of their actions: “The tears began to flow and sobs shook him… [T]he other little boys began to shake and sob too.”²

Set off a long quotation (“block quotation”) by beginning a new line and indenting the body of the quotation in from the left margin of your text. Block quotations are not surrounded by quotation marks.

A prose or poetry (line breaks for poetry) quotation of five or more lines should be single-spaced and indented by ½ inch:

In the beginning, however, she admires him, as Graves describes:

The loved one then appears as he never will again, for we see him not as he is, but as imagination has fondly pictured him. We worship a creation of our own fancy, and forget the one we idolize is a being of earth and must share the frailties and errors of mortality. We vainly dream that every virtue and gift of character and intellect are centered in him and regard him as the living prototype of every favorite hero of history or romance.⁴