How to Write a Quote in a Paper: Common Tips

There are several ways to put a quote into a text. The method you’ll need to choose will depend on the required format of the paper. Consult your supervisor about it and look up official regulations for the format.

The most common methods of adding a quote in a text are:

  • Short direct prose quotations should be incorporated directly in the text using double quotation marks.
  • Long prose quotations (more than 40 words) must be written on a new line without any quotation marks.
  • However, they must be indented by several spaces. The number of spaces will be determined by the paper format.
  • Poetry quotations that are less than three lines long must be incorporated directly in the text. Use double quotation marks before and after the quote and slashes between the lines.
  • Poetry quotations that are over three lines long must be indented. They will not require quotation marks if you aren’t using a quote inside another quote.
  • When you need to use a parenthetical citation with a short quote, put it after the actual quotation that must be indicated by double quotation marks.
  • Please note that general punctuation rules apply to these sentences.
  • You will need to place commas and periods before the closing quotation mark if there is no parenthetical citation after a quote.
  • Colons and semicolons should always be placed outside the closing quotation mark.
  • If the quote you are using is either a question or an exclamation, the corresponding mark should be placed inside the quotation marks.
  • These marks should be placed outside if the whole sentence is a question or an exclamation.
  • When putting a quote within a quote, you will need to use single quotation marks for the “inner” part.
  • Sometimes, you may need to cut out a part of the original text in your quotation. To do this, you will need to use ellipsis points to replace the words that need to be cut out. Bear in mind that they can only be used in the middle of a quotation.
  • When you need to clarify some point or add a comment within a quotation, you need to use square brackets. If you want to indicate that there is a mistake in the original text, use [sic].

Please remember that despite the fact that quotations are necessary, they shouldn’t be the centerpiece of your paper. Use them to enhance or prove your arguments. They should prove that you understand the subject well enough to pick the best quotes and put them in all the right places.

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