How to Quote a Source
Introducing a quotation
One of your jobs as a writer is to guide your reader through your text. Don't simply drop quotations into your paper and leave it to the reader to make connections.
Integrating a quotation into your text usually involves two elements:
A signal that a quotation is coming--generally the author's name and/or a reference to the work
An assertion that indicates the relationship of the quotation to your text
Often both the signal and the assertion appear in a single introductory statement, as in the example below. Notice how a transitional phrase also serves to connect the quotation smoothly to the introductory statement.
Ross (1993), in her study of poor and working-class mothers in London from 1870-1918 [signal], makes it clear that economic status to a large extent determined the meaning of motherhood [assertion]. Among this population [connection], "To mother was to work for and organize household subsistence" (p. 9).
The signal can also come after the assertion, again with a connecting word or phrase:
Illness was rarely a routine matter in the nineteenth century [assertion]. As [connection] Ross observes [signal], "Maternal thinking about children's health revolved around the possibility of a child's maiming or death" (p. 166).
Short direct prose
Incorporate short direct prose quotations into the text of your paper and enclose them in double quotation marks:
According to Jonathan Clarke, "Professional diplomats often say that trying to think diplomatically about foreign policy is a waste of time." 1
Longer prose quotations
Begin longer quotations (for instance, in the APA system, 40 words or more) on a new line and indent the entire quotation (i.e., put in block form), with no quotation marks at beginning or end, as in the quoted passage from our Successful vs. Unsucessful Paraphrases page.
Rules about the minimum length of block quotations, how many spaces to indent, and whether to single- or double-space extended quotations vary with different documentation systems; check the guidelines for the system you're using.
Quotation of Up to 3 Lines of Poetry
Quotations of up to 3 lines of poetry should be integrated into your sentence. For example:
In Julius Caesar, Antony begins his famous speech with "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears; / I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him" (III.ii.75-76).
Notice that a slash (/) with a space on either side is used to separate lines.
Quotation of More than 3 Lines of Poetry
More than 3 lines of poetry should be indented. As with any extended (indented) quotation, do not use quotation marks unless you need to indicate a quotation within your quotation.
Punctuating with Quotation Marks
With short quotations, place citations outside of closing quotation marks, followed by sentence punctuation (period, question mark, comma, semi-colon, colon):
Menand (2002) characterizes language as "a social weapon" (p. 115).
With block quotations, check the guidelines for the documentation system you are using.
Commas and periods
Place inside closing quotation marks when no parenthetical citation follows:
Hertzberg (2002) notes that "treating the Constitution as imperfect is not new," but because of Dahl's credentials, his "apostasy merits attention" (p. 85).
Semicolons and colons
Place outside of closing quotation marks (or after a parenthetical citation).
Question marks and exclamation points
Place inside closing quotation marks if the quotation is a question/exclamation:
Menand (2001) acknowledges that H. W. Fowler's Modern English Usage is "a classic of the language," but he asks, "Is it a dead classic?" (p. 114).
[Note that a period still follows the closing parenthesis.]
Place outside of closing quotation marks if the entire sentence containing the quotation is a question or exclamation:
How many students actually read the guide to find out what is meant by "academic misconduct"?
Quotation within a quotation
Use single quotation marks for the embedded quotation:
According to Hertzberg (2002), Dahl gives the U. S. Constitution "bad marks in 'democratic fairness' and 'encouraging consensus'" (p. 90).
[The phrases "democratic fairness" and "encouraging consensus" are already in quotation marks in Dahl's sentence.]
Indicating Changes in Quotations
Quoting Only a Portion of the Whole
Use ellipsis points (. . .) to indicate an omission within a quotation--but not at the beginning or end unless it's not obvious that you're quoting only a portion of the whole.
Adding Clarification, Comment, or Correction
Within quotations, use square brackets [ ] (not parentheses) to add your own clarification, comment, or correction.
Use [sic] (meaning "so" or "thus") to indicate that a mistake is in the source you're quoting and is not your own.
Notes1. "The Conceptual Poverty of U.S. Foreign Policy," Atlantic, September 1993, 55.
Remember that you are required to cite your sources for paraphrases and direct quotes. For more information on MLA Style, APA style, Chicago Style, ASA Style, CSE Style, and I-Search Format, refer to our Gallaudet TIP Citations and Referenceslink.
Words that introduce Quotes or Paraphrases are basically three keys verbs:
- Neutral Verbs(here)
- Stronger Verbs(here)
- Inference Verbs(here)
Neutral Verbs: When used to introduce a quote, the following verbs basically mean "says"
Examples of Neutral Verbs
The authorsays. The authornotes. The authorbelieves. The authorobserves. The authorcomments. The authorrelates. The authordeclares. The authorremarks. The authordiscusses. The authorreports. The authorexplains. The authorreveals. The authorexpresses. The authorstates. The authormentions. The authoracknowledges. The authorsuggests. The authorthinks. The authorpoints out. The authorresponds. The authorshows. The authorconfirms.
- Dr. Billowsaysthat being exposed to television violence at a young age desensitizes children to violence in real life (author's last name p.##).
- As the authornotes, "In an ideal classroom, both gifted children and learning disabled children should feel challenged" (p.##).
- Burdowbelievesthat being able to write using proper English grammar is an important skill (author's last name p.##).
- Dr. Patelobservesthat "most people tend to respond well to hypnotherapy" (p. ##).
- We see this self doubt again in the second scene, when Agatha comments, "Oh, times like this I just don't know whether I am right or wrong, good or bad" (p. ##).
- Goeff then relatesthat his childhood was "the time he learned to live on less than bread alone" (p. ##).
- The author declares, "All people, rich or poor, should pay the same taxes to the government" (p. ##).
- Godfried remarks, "Ignorance is a skill learned by many of the greatest fools" (author's last name p.##).
- The article discusses the qualities of a good American housewife in the 1950s (author's last name p.##).
- After the war is over, the General reports that "It seemed a useless battle to fight even from the start" (p.##).
- Danelli explains, "All mammals have hair" (p.##).
- The author reveals his true feelings with his ironic remark that we should "just resort to cannibalism to defeat world hunger" (p. ##).
- Forton expresses disapproval of the American welfare system (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- The author states that "More than fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce" (p. ##).
- He also mentions, "Many children grow up feeling responsible for their parents' mistakes" (p. ##).
- Jones acknowledges that although the divorce rate is increasing, most young children still dream of getting married (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- The author suggests that we hone our English skills before venturing into the work force (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- The author thinks that the recent weather has been too hot (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- Folsh points out that there were hundreds of people from varying backgrounds at the convention (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- Julia Hertz responded to allegations that her company was aware of the faulty tires on their cars (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- His research shows that 7% of Americans suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- Jostin's research confirmed his earlier hypothesis: mice really are smarter than rats (author's last, year, name p. ##).
Stronger Verbs: These verbs indicate that there is some kind of argument, and that the quote shows either support of or disagreement with one side of the argument.
Examples of Stronger Verbs
The author agrees . . .The author rejects. The author argues. The author compares. (the two studies)The author asserts.The author admits.The author cautions.The author disputes. The author emphasizes. The author contends. The author insists. The author denies. The author maintains. The author refutes. The author claims. The author endorses.
- Despite criticism, Johnston agrees that smoking should be banned in all public places (author's last name p.##).
- The author argues that "subjecting non-smokers to toxic second-hand smoke is not only unfair, but a violation of their right to a safe environment" (p.##).
- Vick asserts that "cigarette smoke is unpleasant, and dangerous" (p.##).
- The author cautions that "people who subject themselves to smoky bars night after night could develop illnesses such as emphysema or lung cancer" (p.##).
- Rosentrhaw emphasizes that "second-hand smoke can kill" (p.##).
- Still, tobacco company executives insist that they "were not fully aware of the long term damages caused by smoking" when they launched their nationwide advertising campaign (author's last name p.##).
- Though bar owners disagree, Johnston maintains that banning smoking in all public places will not negatively affect bar business (author's last name p.##).
- Jefferson claims that banning smoking in public places will hurt America's economy (author's last name p.##).
- Johnson refutes allegations that his personal finances have been in trouble for the past five years (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- Whiley rejects the idea that the earth could have been formed by a massive explosion in space (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- Lucci compares the house prices in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- Although they have stopped short of admitting that smoking causes cancer in humans, tobacco companies have admitted that "smoking causes cancer in laboratory rats" (p. ##).
- For years, local residents have been disputing the plans to build a new highway right through the center of town (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- Residents contend that the new highway will lower property values (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- The Department of Transportation denies claims that the new bridge will damage the fragile ecosystem of the Potomac River (author's last name, year, p. ##).
- Joley endorses the bridge, saying "our goal is to make this city more accessible to those who live outside of it" (p. ##).
Inference Verbs: These verbs indicate that there is some kind of argument, and that the quote shows either support of or disagreement with one side of the argument.
Examples of Inference Verbs
The author implies.The author suggests.The author thinks.
- By calling them ignorant, the author implies that they were unschooled and narrow minded (author's last name p.##).
- Her preoccupation with her looks suggests that she is too superficial to make her a believable character (author's last name p.##).
- Based on his research, we can assume Hatfield thinks that our treatment of our environment has been careless (author's last name p.##).
One phrase that is often used to introduce a quotation is:
According to the author, . . .
- According to the author, children with ADD have a shorter attention span than children without ADD (author's last name, year, p. ##).