A direct quotation reproduces words verbatim from another work or from your own previously published work. It is best to paraphrase sources rather than directly quoting them because paraphrasing allows you to fit material to the context of your paper and writing style.
Use direct quotations rather than paraphrasing:
- when reproducing an exact definition (see Section 6.22 of the Publication Manual),
- when an author has said something memorably or succinctly, or
- when you want to respond to exact wording (e.g., something someone said).
Instructors, programs, editors, and publishers may establish limits on the use of direct quotations. Consult your instructor or editor if you are concerned that you may have too much quoted material in your paper.
This page addresses how to format short quotations and block quotations. Additional information is available below about how to:
Direct Quotation of Material Without Page Numbers
To directly quote from written material that does not contain page numbers (e.g., webpages and websites, some ebooks), provide readers with another way of locating the quoted passage. Any of the following approaches is acceptable; use the approach that will best help readers find the quotation.
Quotations That Include Errors
A quotation that includes an error may be distracting, so consider paraphrasing instead. When quoting, always check your paper against the source to ensure that there are no discrepancies.
Except as noted under changes made to direct quotations, the quotation must match the wording, spelling, and interior punctuation of the original source, even if the source is incorrect.
Changes to Quotations
You can change direct quotations under certain circumstances. Some changes require you to explain the change, and others you can make without indicating the change to readers.
Quotations From Research Participants
Because quotations from research participants are part of your original research, do not include them in the reference list or treat them as personal communications. Instead, state in the text that the quotations are from participants.
Use the same formatting as for other quotations:
Short Quotations (Fewer Than 40 Words)
For quotations of fewer than 40 words, add quotation marks around the words and incorporate the quote into your own text—there is no additional formatting needed. Do not insert an ellipsis at the beginning and/or end of a quotation unless the original source includes an ellipsis.
Effective teams can be difficult to describe because “high performance along one domain does not translate to high performance along another” (Ervin et al., 2018, p. 470).
For a direct quotation, always include a full citation (parenthetical or narrative) in the same sentence as the quotation, including the page number (or other location information, e.g., paragraph number).
- Place a parenthetical citation either immediately after the quotation or at the end of the sentence.
- For a narrative citation, include the author and year in the sentence and then place the page number or other location information in parentheses after the quotation.
- If the quotation precedes the narrative citation, put the page number or location information after the year and a comma.
- If the citation appears at the end of a sentence, put the end punctuation after the closing parenthesis for the citation.
- If the quotation includes citations, see Section 8.32 of the Publication Manual.
- If the quotation includes material already in quotation marks, see Section 8.33 of the Publication Manual.
- Place periods and commas within closing single or double quotation marks. Place other punctuation marks inside quotation marks only when they are part of the quoted material.
Block Quotations (40 Words or More)
Format quotations of 40 words or more as block quotations:
- Do not use quotation marks to enclose a block quotation.
- Start a block quotation on a new line and indent the whole block 0.5 in. from the left margin.
- Double-space the entire block quotation.
- Do not add extra space before or after it.
- If there are additional paragraphs within the quotation, indent the first line of each subsequent paragraph an additional 0.5 in. See an example in Section 8.27 of the Publication Manual.
- Either (a) cite the source in parentheses after the quotation’s final punctuation or (b) cite the author and year in the narrative before the quotation and place only the page number in parentheses after the quotation’s final punctuation.
- Do not add a period after the closing parenthesis in either case.