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MLA Style: Quoting Sources

Short Quotations

Enclose short quotations (fewer than 4 typed lines of prose or 3 lines of verse) within double quotation marks within your text. Provide the author's last name and the specific page number (or line number for verse). Include a complete reference in your Works Cited list.

Punctuation: Insert periods, commas, and semicolons after the parenthetical citation. Insert question marks and exclamation points within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.

Examples:

According to some, dreams express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184).

According to Foulkes, dreams may express "profound aspects of personality" (184).

Is it possible that dreams express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184)?

Long Quotations

Enclose long quotations (longer than 4 typed lines) in a free-standing block of typewritten lines. Omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1" from the left margin; maintain double-spacing. Insert the parenthetical citation for the quotation after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, insert line breaks as in the original.

 Long Quotations - Examples

Adding Words to Quotations

Sometimes, when you include a quotation, especially if it is a portion of a sentence, within your text, you might choose to add a word or words to the quotation to make sure the quotation makes sense in the context in which it is used. Enclose any words you add to a quotation in brackets to indicate that they are not part of the original text.

Example:

Jan Harold Brunvand, in an essay on urban legends, states: "some individuals [who retell urban legends] make a point of learning every rumor or tale" (78).

Omitting Words from Quotations

If you omit a word or words from a quotation to make sure that the quotation makes sense in the context in which you are using it, indicate the deletion by using three spaced dots (an ellipsis) surrounded by brackets.

Example:

In an essay on urban legends, Jan Harold Brunvand notes that "some individuals make a point of learning every recent rumor or tale [...] and in a short time a lively exchange of details occurs" (78).

NOTE: If there are spaced dots in the quoted author's work, do not put brackets around them; only use brackets around dots to distinguish them from dots in the quoted author's work