Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. MLA Modern Language Association style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities.
This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook 8 th ed. When you directly quote the works of others in your paper, you will format quotations differently depending on their length.
Below are some basic guidelines for incorporating quotations into your paper. Please note that all pages in MLA should be double-spaced.
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To indicate short quotations four typed lines or fewer of prose or three lines of verse in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the author and specific page number in the case of verse, provide line numbers in the in-text citation, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation. Question marks and exclamation points should appear 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.
For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks.
You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay. Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration:.
They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house.
Quoting and Paraphrasing
Bronte Of course, you should do some quoting. There are three reasons why you might prefer quotation over paraphrase for a piece of source material:. Y ou might think these three qualities could pertain to most borrowed material, but in practice how often is a statement so authoritative that paraphrasing it would cause it to be less persuasive?
How many sentences would lose something important if they were rephrased? How often is a statement so vivid that its vividness would be lost if rephrased?
A Short Explanation and Example of Using Long Quotes
Not often. Most material can and should be paraphrased, but there are instances in which the original carries a weight that paraphrasing cannot capture. Those are the times when you should quote. A paper without any direct quotations would seem remiss. For rare long quotes that are four lines of text or longer , use block quote format:. Whether paraphrasing or quoting, remember to cite.
Also remember to introduce sources. The first time you use a source in a paper, it can be helpful to the reader if you identify the source and not just in parenthetical citation. In some cases the source that should be identified is someone other than the author. In the example below, the expert is not the author but the person about whom the author is writing:.
Bob Brown, the police chief, stated that every lead was being investigated Williams 5. To introduce the author in this case would miss the point:.
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Jessica Williams, a writer, reports that, according to Bob Brown, every lead was being investigated 5.