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- How to Cite a Book | APA, MLA, & Chicago Examples
How to Cite a Book | APA, MLA, & Chicago Examples
Published on February 26, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 23, 2022.
To cite a book, you need a brief in-text citation and a corresponding reference listing the author’s name, the title, the year of publication, and the publisher. The order and format of information depends on the citation style you’re using. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago style .
Use the interactive example generator to explore the format of book citations in MLA and APA.
Table of contents
Citing a book in mla style, citing a book in apa style, citing a book in chicago style, where to find source information in a book, frequently asked questions about citations.
An MLA book citation includes the author’s name , the book title (in italics, capitalized headline-style), the edition (if specified), the publisher, and the year of publication. If it’s an e-book , write “e-book” (or a more specific description, e.g. “Kindle ed.”) before the publisher name.
The corresponding in-text citation lists the author’s last name and the page number of the passage cited.
You can also use our free MLA Citation Generator to create your book citations.
Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr
The Scribbr Citation Generator will automatically create a flawless MLA citation
Citing a book chapter in MLA
To cite a book chapter , first give the author and title (in quotation marks) of the chapter cited, then information about the book as a whole and the page range of the specific chapter.
The in-text citation lists the author of the chapter and the page number of the relevant passage.
An APA Style book citation lists the author’s last name and initials, the year of publication, the title and any subtitle (in italics, capitalizing only the first word), the edition (if specified), and the publisher. Add a DOI or URL to the end of the entry if available (e.g. for e-books or books accessed online ).
In an in-text citation, state the author’s last name and the publication year, and a page number if you need to show the location of a specific quote or paraphrase .
You can also use our free APA Citation Generator to automatically generate your book citations. Search for a title, DOI, or ISBN to retrieve the details.
Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr
The Scribbr Citation Generator will automatically create a flawless APA citation
Citing a book chapter in APA
To cite a book chapter , list information about the chapter first, followed by information about the book, including the book’s editor(s) and the chapter’s page range within the book.
The author of the chapter, not the editor of the book, is listed in the in-text citation.
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Chicago notes and bibliography style uses footnotes to cite sources instead of parenthetical citations. These notes refer to a bibliography at the end giving full source details.
A Chicago bibliography entry for a book includes the author’s name, the book title and subtitle, the edition (if stated), the location and name of the publisher, and the year of publication. For an e-book , add the e-book format (e.g. “Kindle”) at the end.
Chicago also has an alternative style, Chicago author-date . You can see examples of book citations in this style here .
Citing a book chapter in Chicago
To cite a book chapter , start with the author and the title of the chapter (in quotation marks), then give the title (in italics) and editor of the book, the page range of the chapter, the location and name of the publisher, and the year of publication.
All the information you need for a book citation can usually be found on the book’s title page and copyright page. The main things you’re looking for are:
- the title (and subtitle if present)
- name(s) of the author(s)
- year of publication
- place of publication
You should also check if the book specifies an edition (e.g. 2nd edition, revised edition) and if any other contributors are named (e.g. editor, translator).
The image below shows where to find the relevant information on the title and copyright pages of a typical book.
The main elements included in all book citations across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the author, the title, the year of publication, and the name of the publisher. A page number is also included in in-text citations to highlight the specific passage cited.
In Chicago style and in the 6th edition of APA Style , the location of the publisher is also included, e.g. London: Penguin.
When a book’s chapters are written by different authors, you should cite the specific chapter you are referring to.
When all the chapters are written by the same author (or group of authors), you should usually cite the entire book, but some styles include exceptions to this.
- In APA Style , single-author books should always be cited as a whole, even if you only quote or paraphrase from one chapter.
- In MLA Style , if a single-author book is a collection of stand-alone works (e.g. short stories ), you should cite the individual work.
- In Chicago Style , you may choose to cite a single chapter of a single-author book if you feel it is more appropriate than citing the whole book.
Check if your university or course guidelines specify which citation style to use. If the choice is left up to you, consider which style is most commonly used in your field.
- APA Style is the most popular citation style, widely used in the social and behavioral sciences.
- MLA style is the second most popular, used mainly in the humanities.
- Chicago notes and bibliography style is also popular in the humanities, especially history.
- Chicago author-date style tends to be used in the sciences.
Other more specialized styles exist for certain fields, such as Bluebook and OSCOLA for law.
The most important thing is to choose one style and use it consistently throughout your text.
The abbreviation “ et al. ” (Latin for “and others”) is used to shorten citations of sources with multiple authors.
“Et al.” is used in APA in-text citations of sources with 3+ authors, e.g. (Smith et al., 2019). It is not used in APA reference entries .
Use “et al.” for 3+ authors in MLA in-text citations and Works Cited entries.
Use “et al.” for 4+ authors in a Chicago in-text citation , and for 10+ authors in a Chicago bibliography entry.
When you want to cite a specific passage in a source without page numbers (e.g. an e-book or website ), all the main citation styles recommend using an alternate locator in your in-text citation . You might use a heading or chapter number, e.g. (Smith, 2016, ch. 1)
In APA Style , you can count the paragraph numbers in a text to identify a location by paragraph number. MLA and Chicago recommend that you only use paragraph numbers if they’re explicitly marked in the text.
For audiovisual sources (e.g. videos ), all styles recommend using a timestamp to show a specific point in the video when relevant.
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MLA Works Cited Page: Books
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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 (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
When you are gathering book sources, be sure to make note of the following bibliographic items: the author name(s), other contributors such as translators or editors, the book’s title, editions of the book, the publication date, the publisher, and the pagination.
The 8 th edition of the MLA handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.
Please note these changes in the new edition:
- Commas are used instead of periods between Publisher, Publication Date, and Pagination.
- Medium is no longer necessary.
- Containers are now a part of the MLA process. Commas should be used after container titles.
- DOIs should be used instead of URLS when available.
- Use the term “Accessed” instead of listing the date or the abbreviation, “n.d."
Below is the general format for any citation:
Author. Title. Title of container (do not list container for standalone books, e.g. novels), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI). 2 nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).
Basic Book Format
The author’s name or a book with a single author's name appears in last name, first name format. The basic form for a book citation is:
Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.
* Note: the City of Publication should only be used if the book was published before 1900, if the publisher has offices in more than one country, or if the publisher is unknown in North America.
Book with One Author
Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science . Penguin, 1987.
Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House . MacMurray, 1999.
Book with More Than One Author
When a book has two authors, order the authors in the same way they are presented in the book. Start by listing the first name that appears on the book in last name, first name format; subsequent author names appear in normal order (first name last name format).
Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring . Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
If there are three or more authors, list only the first author followed by the phrase et al. (Latin for "and others") in place of the subsequent authors' names. (Note that there is a period after “al” in “et al.” Also note that there is never a period after the “et” in “et al.”).
Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition . Utah State UP, 2004.
Two or More Books by the Same Author
List works alphabetically by title. (Remember to ignore articles like A, An, and The.) Provide the author’s name in last name, first name format for the first entry only. For each subsequent entry by the same author, use three hyphens and a period.
Palmer, William J. Dickens and New Historicism . St. Martin's, 1997.
---. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History . Southern Illinois UP, 1993.
Book by a Corporate Author or Organization
A corporate author may include a commission, a committee, a government agency, or a group that does not identify individual members on the title page.
List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry.
American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children . Random House, 1998.
When the author and publisher are the same, skip the author, and list the title first. Then, list the corporate author only as the publisher.
Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.
Book with No Author
List by title of the book. Incorporate these entries alphabetically just as you would with works that include an author name. For example, the following entry might appear between entries of works written by Dean, Shaun and Forsythe, Jonathan.
Encyclopedia of Indiana . Somerset, 1993.
Remember that for an in-text (parenthetical) citation of a book with no author, you should provide the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. You may also use a shortened version of the title of the book accompanied by the page number. For more information see the In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author section of In-text Citations: The Basics .
A Translated Book
If you want to emphasize the work rather than the translator, cite as you would any other book. Add “translated by” and follow with the name(s) of the translator(s).
Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason . Translated by Richard Howard, Vintage-Random House, 1988.
If you want to focus on the translation, list the translator as the author. In place of the author’s name, the translator’s name appears. His or her name is followed by the label, “translator.” If the author of the book does not appear in the title of the book, include the name, with a “By” after the title of the book and before the publisher. Note that this type of citation is less common and should only be used for papers or writing in which translation plays a central role.
Howard, Richard, translator. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason . By Michel Foucault, Vintage-Random House, 1988.
Books may be republished due to popularity without becoming a new edition. New editions are typically revisions of the original work. For books that originally appeared at an earlier date and that have been republished at a later one, insert the original publication date before the publication information.
For books that are new editions (i.e. different from the first or other editions of the book), see An Edition of a Book below.
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble . 1990. Routledge, 1999.
Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine . 1984. Perennial-Harper, 1993.
An Edition of a Book
There are two types of editions in book publishing: a book that has been published more than once in different editions and a book that is prepared by someone other than the author (typically an editor).
A Subsequent Edition
Cite the book as you normally would, but add the number of the edition after the title.
Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students . 3rd ed., Pearson, 2004.
A Work Prepared by an Editor
Cite the book as you normally would, but add the editor after the title with the label "edited by."
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre, edited by Margaret Smith, Oxford UP, 1998.
Note that the format for citing sources with important contributors with editor-like roles follows the same basic template:
...adapted by John Doe...
Finally, in the event that the source features a contributor that cannot be described with a past-tense verb and the word "by" (e.g., "edited by"), you may instead use a noun followed by a comma, like so:
...guest editor, Jane Smith...
Anthology or Collection (e.g. Collection of Essays)
To cite the entire anthology or collection, list by editor(s) followed by a comma and "editor" or, for multiple editors, "editors." This sort of entry is somewhat rare. If you are citing a particular piece within an anthology or collection (more common), see A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection below.
Hill, Charles A., and Marguerite Helmers, editors. Defining Visual Rhetorics . Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.
Peterson, Nancy J., editor. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches . Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.
A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection
Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:
Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection , edited by Editor's Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.
Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One , edited by Ben Rafoth, Heinemann, 2000, pp. 24-34.
Swanson, Gunnar. "Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art: Design and Knowledge in the University and The 'Real World.'" The Education of a Graphic Designer , edited by Steven Heller, Allworth Press, 1998, pp. 13-24.
Note on Cross-referencing Several Items from One Anthology: If you cite more than one essay from the same edited collection, MLA indicates you may cross-reference within your works cited list in order to avoid writing out the publishing information for each separate essay. You should consider this option if you have several references from a single text. To do so, include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor's name as below:
Rose, Shirley K, and Irwin Weiser, editors. The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher . Heinemann, 1999.
Then, for each individual essay from the collection, list the author's name in last name, first name format, the title of the essay, the editor's last name, and the page range:
L'Eplattenier, Barbara. "Finding Ourselves in the Past: An Argument for Historical Work on WPAs." Rose and Weiser, pp. 131-40.
Peeples, Tim. "'Seeing' the WPA With/Through Postmodern Mapping." Rose and Weiser, pp. 153-67.
Please note: When cross-referencing items in the works cited list, alphabetical order should be maintained for the entire list.
Poem or Short Story Examples :
Burns, Robert. "Red, Red Rose." 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Philip Smith, Dover, 1995, p. 26.
Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories , edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.
If the specific literary work is part of the author's own collection (all of the works have the same author), then there will be no editor to reference:
Whitman, Walt. "I Sing the Body Electric." Selected Poems, Dover, 1991, pp. 12-19.
Carter, Angela. "The Tiger's Bride." Burning Your Boats: The Collected Stories, Penguin, 1995, pp. 154-69.
Article in a Reference Book (e.g. Encyclopedias, Dictionaries)
For entries in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works, cite the entry name as you would any other work in a collection but do not include the publisher information. Also, if the reference book is organized alphabetically, as most are, do not list the volume or the page number of the article or item.
"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary. 3rd ed. 1997.
A Multivolume Work
When citing only one volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number after the work's title, or after the work's editor or translator.
Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria . Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980.
When citing more than one volume of a multivolume work, cite the total number of volumes in the work. Also, be sure in your in-text citation to provide both the volume number and page number(s) ( see "Citing Multivolume Works" on our in-text citations resource .)
Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria . Translated by H. E. Butler, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. 4 vols.
If the volume you are using has its own title, cite the book without referring to the other volumes as if it were an independent publication.
Churchill, Winston S. The Age of Revolution . Dodd, 1957.
An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword
When citing an introduction, a preface, a foreword, or an afterword, write the name of the author(s) of the piece you are citing. Then give the name of the part being cited, which should not be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks; in italics, provide the name of the work and the name of the author of the introduction/preface/foreword/afterword. Finish the citation with the details of publication and page range.
Farrell, Thomas B. Introduction. Norms of Rhetorical Culture , by Farrell, Yale UP, 1993, pp. 1-13.
If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work , then write the full name of the principal work's author after the word "By." For example, if you were to cite Hugh Dalziel Duncan’s introduction of Kenneth Burke’s book Permanence and Change, you would write the entry as follows:
Duncan, Hugh Dalziel. Introduction. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose, by Kenneth Burke, 1935, 3rd ed., U of California P, 1984, pp. xiii-xliv.
Book Published Before 1900
Original copies of books published before 1900 are usually defined by their place of publication rather than the publisher. Unless you are using a newer edition, cite the city of publication where you would normally cite the publisher.
Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions . Boston, 1863.
Italicize “The Bible” and follow it with the version you are using. Remember that your in-text (parenthetical citation) should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). (See Citing the Bible at In-Text Citations: The Basics .)
The Bible. Authorized King James Version , Oxford UP, 1998.
The Bible. The New Oxford Annotated Version , 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2001.
The New Jerusalem Bible. Edited by Susan Jones, Doubleday, 1985.
A Government Publication
Cite the author of the publication if the author is identified. Otherwise, start with the name of the national government, followed by the agency (including any subdivisions or agencies) that serves as the organizational author. For congressional documents, be sure to include the number of the Congress and the session when the hearing was held or resolution passed as well as the report number. US government documents are typically published by the Government Printing Office.
United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearing on the Geopolitics of Oil . Government Printing Office, 2007. 110th Congress, 1st session, Senate Report 111-8.
United States, Government Accountability Office. Climate Change: EPA and DOE Should Do More to Encourage Progress Under Two Voluntary Programs . Government Printing Office, 2006.
Cite the title and publication information for the pamphlet just as you would a book without an author. Pamphlets and promotional materials commonly feature corporate authors (commissions, committees, or other groups that does not provide individual group member names). If the pamphlet you are citing has no author, cite as directed below. If your pamphlet has an author or a corporate author, put the name of the author (last name, first name format) or corporate author in the place where the author name typically appears at the beginning of the entry. (See also Books by a Corporate Author or Organization above.)
Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System . American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006.
Your Rights Under California Welfare Programs . California Department of Social Services, 2007.
Dissertations and Master's Theses
Dissertations and master's theses may be used as sources whether published or not. Unlike previous editions, MLA 8 specifies no difference in style for published/unpublished works.
The main elements of a dissertation citation are the same as those for a book: author name(s), title (italicized) , and publication date. Conclude with an indication of the document type (e.g., "PhD dissertation"). The degree-granting institution may be included before the document type (though this is not required). If the dissertation was accessed through an online repository, include it as the second container after all the other elements.
Bishop, Karen Lynn. Documenting Institutional Identity: Strategic Writing in the IUPUI Comprehensive Campaign . 2002. Purdue University, PhD dissertation.
Bile, Jeffrey. Ecology, Feminism, and a Revised Critical Rhetoric: Toward a Dialectical Partnership . 2005. Ohio University, PhD dissertation.
Mitchell, Mark. The Impact of Product Quality Reducing Events on the Value of Brand-Name Capital: Evidence from Airline Crashes and the 1982 Tylenol Poisonings. 1987. PhD dissertation. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.
List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry if the author and publisher are not the same.
Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.
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How to Put a Quote in an Essay
Last Updated: November 28, 2022 References
This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 2,546,159 times.
Using a direct quote in your essay is a great way to support your ideas with concrete evidence, which you need to support your thesis. To select a good quote , look for a passage that supports your argument and is open to analysis. Then, incorporate that quote into your essay, and make sure you properly cite it based on the style guide you’re using.
Incorporating a Short Quote
- For instance, let's say this is the quote you want to use: "The brown leaves symbolize the death of their relationship, while the green buds suggest new opportunities will soon unfold."
- If you just type that sentence into your essay and put quotes around it, your reader will be disoriented. Instead, you could incorporate it into a sentence like this: "The imagery in the story mirrors what's happening in Lia's love life, as 'The brown leaves symbolize the death of their relationship, while the green buds suggest new opportunities will soon unfold.'"
- "Critic Alex Li says, 'The frequent references to the color blue are used to suggest that the family is struggling to cope with the loss of their matriarch.'"
- "According to McKinney’s research, 'Adults who do yoga at least three times a week have lower blood pressure, better sleeping patterns, and fewer everyday frustrations.'"
- "Based on several recent studies, people are more likely to sit on the park benches when they're shaded by trees."
- You still need to use quotation marks even if you're only quoting a few words.
- If you're in doubt, it's best to be cautious and use quotes.
- For example, let’s say you used the quote, “According to McKinney’s research, ‘Adults who do yoga at least three times a week have lower blood pressure, better sleeping patterns, and fewer everyday frustrations.’” Your commentary might read, “This shows that yoga can have a positive impact on people’s health, so incorporating it into the workplace can help improve employee health outcomes. Since yoga makes employees healthier, they’ll likely have reduced insurance costs.”
- When you use a paraphrase, you still need to provide commentary that links the paraphrased material back to your thesis and ideas.
Using a Long Quote
- The reader will recognize that the material is a direct quote because it's set off from the rest of the text. That's why you don't need to use quotation marks. However, you will include your citation at the bottom.
- "In The Things They Carried , the items carried by soldiers in the Vietnam war are used to both characterize them and burden the readers with the weight they are carrying: The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the necessities or near-necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water." (O'Brien 2)
Variation: When you're citing two or more paragraphs, you must use block quotes, even if the passage you want to quote is less than four lines long. You should indent the first line of each paragraph an extra quarter inch. Then, use ellipses (…) at the end of one paragraph to transition to the next.
- Your block quote will use the same spacing as the rest of your paper, which will likely be double-spacing.
- For example, “According to Li, “Rosa is the first sister to pick a rose because she’s the only one who’s begun to move on after their mother’s death” might become “According to Li, “Rosa is the first sister to pick a rose because she’s … begun to move on after their mother’s death.”
- Don’t eliminate words to change the meaning of the original text. For instance, it’s not appropriate to use an ellipsis to change “plants did not grow faster when exposed to poetry” to “plants did … grow faster when exposed to poetry.”
- For example, let’s say you want to use the quote, “All of them experienced a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.” This doesn’t tell the reader who you’re talking about. You could use brackets to say, “All of [the teachers in the study] experienced a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.”
- However, if you know the study is talking about teachers, you couldn’t use brackets to say, “All of [society experiences] a more relaxed, calmer disposition after doing yoga for 6 months.”
- If you don't explain your quote well, then it's not helping your ideas. You can't expect the reader to connect the quote back to your thesis for you.
- For instance, you may prefer to use a long block quote to present a passage from a literary work that demonstrates the author's style. However, let's say you were using a journal article to provide a critic's perspective on an author's work. You may not need to directly quote an entire paragraph word-for-word to get their point across. Instead, use a paraphrase.
Tip: If you’re unsure about a quote, ask yourself, “Can I paraphrase this in more concise language and not lose any support for my argument?” If the answer is yes, a quote is not necessary.
Citing Your Quote
- An MLA citation will look like this: (Lopez 24)
- For sources with multiple authors, separate their names with the word “and:” (Anderson and Smith 55-56) or (Taylor, Gomez, and Austin 89)
- If you use the author’s name in your lead-in to the quote, you just need to provide the year in parentheses: According to Luz Lopez, “the green grass symbolizes a fresh start for Lia (24).”
- An APA citation for a direct quote looks like this: (Ronan, 2019, p. 10)
- If you’re citing multiple authors, separate their names with the word “and:” (Cruz, Hanks, and Simmons, 2019, p. 85)
- If you incorporated the author’s name into your lead-in, you can just give the year and page number: Based on Ronan’s (2019, p. 10) analysis, “coffee breaks improve productivity.”
- For instance, a Chicago Style citation will look like this: (Alexander 2019, 125)
- If you’re quoting a source with multiple authors, separate them with the word “and:” (Pattinson, Stewart, and Green 2019, 175)
- If you already incorporated the author’s name into your quote, then you can just provide the year and page number: According to Alexander, “the smell of roses increases feelings of happiness” (2019, 125).
- For MLA, you'd cite an article like this: Lopez, Luz. "A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in 'Her Darkest Sunshine.'" Journal of Stories , vol. 2, no. 5, 2019, p. 15-22.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
- In APA, you'd cite an article like this: Lopez, Luz. (2019). A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in "Her Darkest Sunshine." Journal of Stories , 2(5), 15-22.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
- For Chicago Style, your article citation would look like this: Lopez, Luz. "A Fresh Blossom: Imagery in 'Her Darkest Sunshine.'" Journal of Stories 2 no. 4 (2019): 15-22.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
Selecting a Quote
Tip: Quotes are most effective when the original language of the person or text you’re quoting is worth repeating word-for-word.
- If you’re struggling to explain the quote or link it back to your argument, then it’s likely not a good idea to include it in your essay.
- Paraphrases and summaries work just like a direct quote, except that you don’t need to put quotation marks around them because you’re using your own words to restate ideas. However, you still need to cite the sources you used.
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- Always cite your quotes properly. If you don't, it is considered plagiarism. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://www.ursinus.edu/live/files/1160-integrating-quotespdf
- ↑ https://lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduates/writing-guides/how-do-i-incorporate-quotes-.html
- ↑ https://helpfulprofessor.com/quotes/
- ↑ https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/using-sources/quotations/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_quotations.html
- ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
- ↑ https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-2.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_articles_in_periodicals.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/periodicals.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/quotations/
About This Article
The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before starting, changing, or stopping any kind of health treatment.
To put a quote in an essay, incorporate it directly into a sentence if it's shorter than 4 typed lines. For example, you could write "According to researchers," and then insert the quote. If a quote is longer than 4 typed lines, set it off from the rest of the paragraph, and don't put quotes around it. After the quote, include an in-text citation so readers know where it's from. The right way to cite the quote will depend on whether you're using MLA, APA, or Chicago Style formatting. For more tips from our English co-author, like how to omit words from a quote, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Quote a Book in an Essay : Quick Boost Up Tips
How to quote a book in an essay can be a tricky art but for sure is a great way to support the ideas with rock solid proofs, that you require to support the thesis or essay.
To be able select a good quote, try to find a passage that has the argument like yours and is open to go into an analysis. Try to assimilate that quote into the essay written by you, and ensure the proper cite is given to it based on the style guide you opt to use.
Let’s check out some worthy points to be considered while quoting a book in an essay.
How to Quote a Book in an Essay : Incorporating a Short Quote
Incorporate short quotes into a sentence.
A short quote which can be shorter than 4 typed lines. While using a short quote, try to include it without any editing in the paragraph, beside your own words. To help the reader go through the quote and the reason why you’re using it, you may write a full sentence that incorporates the quote than just picking up a sentence from other person’s work and pasting it into your paper.
Use a lead-in to make an introduction to the quote.
The lead-in gives context to the quote. It helps the reader to know that you’re reflecting an evidence and putting it up as a support, as well as acknowledging the quote and its place from where that support comes from. Generally, you will be using the author’s name, but this thing is not at all always necessary.
Put quotation marks around the quote.
You must use quotation marks every time you paste or quote someone else’s words in your own essay. This helps the reader know about your action that you have borrowed from some other writer. As long as you use quotation marks and cite the resource from where you have taken the sentence or matter, you can use other person’s thoughts without any plagiarizing. You still require to put quotation marks although you are only quoting just a few words for the other source. Rather it is the best practice to be cautious and use quotes if you’re in doubt.
Use commentary followed by a quote explaining its support to the essay
A quote must be support your ideas. For this purpose, you are required to analyze it and link it back to the work or thesis. After the quote, write at least 1-3 sentences as an explanation what the quote means, how does it support your essay/topic/sentence, and how it support is providing to your argument in totality.
Paraphrase the quote.
Paraphrasing is done while you restate someone else’s thoughts in your own thoughts and words. It’s the best way to incorporate proofs into the paper without using a direct quote any time. You are not required to use quotes around a paraphrase, you actually require to cite it. Whenever you put a paraphrase, you still require to put commentary that joins the paraphrased thought back to your work, essay and ideas.
How to Quote a Book in an Essay : Using a Long Quote
Introduce a long quote.
A long quote can be anything that goes more than 4 typed lines. You have to put these quotes in a block of text in a separate block from the rest of your essay. Because the quote is separated in a block, you need not put quotation marks around it. The reader will automatically understand that the material is a direct quote from somewhere because it’s separate from the rest of the text. That is the reason why you need not use quotation marks. But, you will definitely write and include the citation at the bottom of the essay.
Always write an introductory lead-in.
To tell the reader that a quote is just going to follow and what the quote is about, it is most necessary to introduce the quote. For a block quote, the lead-in can be a whole sentence explaining what the reader should take as a meaning after reading and understanding the block quote. At the end of the sentence, put a colon. After that put your block quote. While citing two or more paragraphs, you should use block quotes. It dose not depend upon the length of the quote like if the passage you wish to quote is less than four lines long. You must indent the initial line of each paragraph an extra quarter inch and use ellipses (…) at the end of one paragraph to help the transition to the next paragraph.
Indent the block quote.
The perfect indentation can be to indent it by .5 inches (1.3 cm) from the left margin. For this you may use simple steps like, press the tab key to move the lines over. Ensure the entire quote is indented so that the reader can recognize that it’s set off as a separate thing from the rest of the essay. Your block quote should use the same line spacing as the rest of the essay, which is in most cases likely be double-spacing.
Use an ellipsis to cut a word/words from a direct quote.
Sometimes you just wish to shorten a quote to help the reader better understand why it is supporting the argument or you may just wish to delete some words that are non-essential to the quote’s meaning. To delete word/words, you are just required to put an ellipsis (…) instead of the words. But don’t eliminate words to expedite something fishy like changing the meaning of the original text.
Place brackets around words for clarification.
Sometimes you are required to put word/words to a quote in order to help your reader to understand it. This is helpful for you to explain pronouns used in the direct quote or further explaining what a quote is actually referring to. Brackets help you to add or delete or replace words until and unless you don’t portray the quote with a changed meaning of the text.
Give commentary after a quote to explain.
A block quote needs more commentary than a short quote. At least you must write 2-3 sentences explaining and analyzing the quote, trying to link it back to your essay. However, you may require to put longer commentary to fully justify and explain the quote to the reader of your essay. If you don’t clarify the quote well, then it’s not helping the essay or ideas. You must not expect the reader to build a connection to the quote back to your essay for you.
Paraphrase the quote to condense it.
Paraphrasing is a great way to shorten a long quote in your essay. Unless the author’s original words are essential to make your point, you may rewrite the passage in your own set of words. You must try to condense or shorten the original author’s words into 1 or 2 sentences that support your argument. Then, incorporate the paraphrase into the paragraph, without using quotation marks. However, you must include a citation to give your reader a chance know where you got those ideas from.
How to Quote a Book in an Essay : Citing Your Quote
Cite the author’s last name & page number in parentheses in MLA.
Write out the author’s last name, then list the numerical page number. You are not required to set them separate with a comma, and you are required to put “p.” or “page” before the page number. An MLA citation must look like this:
- For sources with multiple authors, separate their names with the word “and:” (Anderson and Smith 55-56) or (Taylor, Gomez, and Austin 89)
- If you use the author’s name in the lead-in to the quote, you are just required to put the year in parentheses: According to Arc Lopez, “the yellow grass gives a feel of a fresh start for Lia (24).”
Include the author’s last name, year, & page number for APA format.
Write the author’s name, then put a comma, add the year and put another comma. Finally, write “p.” followed by the page number. An APA citation for a direct quote looks like this:
- (Tanon, 2019, p. 10)
- If you’re citing multiple authors, separate their names with the word “and:” (Well, Hanks, and Timothy, 2019, p. 85)
- If you incorporated the author’s name into the lead-in, you can just refer to the year and page number: Based on Tanon’s (2019, p. 10) analysis, “coffee improves creativity.”
Use the author’s last name, date, and page number for Chicago Style.
List the author’s last name and then the date, but don’t put a comma between them. After the date, put a comma and then the page numbers. You don’t need to write “p.” or “page.” For instance, a Chicago Style citation will look like this:
- (Alexandra 2016, 125)
- If you’re quoting a source with multiple authors, separate them with the word “and:” (Patrick, Stewart, and Gobble 2016, 175)
- If you have already incorporated the author’s name into the quote, then you may just provide the year and page number: According to Alexander, “the smell of roses deepens happiness” (2016, 125).
Prepare a Works Cited or References page.
Each style guide has its own requirements for listing your reference sources, so make sure you follow the style guide you’re using to format your paper.
- For MLA, you would cite an article like this: Lopez, Reg. “A Fresh Blossom: Symbol of ‘Her Brightest Sunshine.'” Journal of Stories, vol. 2, no. 5, 2014, p. 15-22.
- In APA, you’d cite an article like this: Lopez, Reg. (2014). A Fresh Blossom: Symbol of “Her Brightest Sunshine.” Journal of Stories, 2(5), 15-22.
- For Chicago Style, your article citation would look like this: Lopez, Reg. “A Fresh Blossom: Symbol of ‘Her Brightest Sunshine.'” Journal of Stories 2 no. 4 (2014): 15-22.
How to Quote a Book in an Essay : Selecting a Quote
Select a quote that supports the argument you’re introducing.
The quote should stand as an “evidence” for what you wish the reader to believe. This might can be anything from an expert advice, study inferences or results, or data statistics. If you’re putting something about literature, you can directly quote from the text to explain a point or quote the words of a critic to support the claims about a text.
Ensure the quote is something you can analyze and undertsand.
You would never wish to just drop a quote in the essay and keep writing. This will never going to help you support the arguments, as you link the quote back to your own writings. Without any proper analysis, you can’t make the point that you may explain to the reader. If you are not able to explain the quote or sentence or link it back to your essay, then it will never be a good idea to put it in your essay.
Avoid over usage of direct quotes in your essay.
As you put a lot of direct quotes, the essence of your own thoughts and ideas will be lost somewhere in between those quotes and everything will look more of a copy and paste article. This may be taken as undermining your own argument and losing credibility with the reader. It is advisable not to use more than 1 direct quote in your paragraph. It would rather be advisable to use a paraphrase or a summary to support your thoughts. Paraphrases and summaries work just like a direct quote leaving that you are not required to put quotation marks around them as you prefer using your own words to restate thoughts. However, you still, are required to cite the sources you utilized.
Hope you must have got quick pro tips on how to quote a book in an essay so that you also start writing and improving upon your essays.
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- Suggested Ways to Introduce Quotations
Suggested ways to introduce quotations
When you quote another writer's words, it's best to introduce or contextualize the quote.
How to quote in an essay?
To introduce a quote in an essay, don't forget to include author's last name and page number (MLA) or author, date, and page number (APA) in your citation. Shown below are some possible ways to introduce quotations. The examples use MLA format.
1. Use a full sentence followed by a colon to introduce a quotation.
- The setting emphasizes deception: "Nothing is as it appears" (Smith 1).
- Piercy ends the poem on an ironic note: "To every woman a happy ending" (25).
2. Begin a sentence with your own words, then complete it with quoted words.
Note that in the second example below, a slash with a space on either side ( / ) marks a line break in the original poem.
- Hamlet's task is to avenge a "foul and most unnatural murder" (Shakespeare 925).
- The speaker is mystified by her sleeping baby, whose "moth-breath / flickers among the flat pink roses" (Plath 17).
3. Use an introductory phrase naming the source, followed by a comma to quote a critic or researcher
Note that the first letter after the quotation marks should be upper case. According to MLA guidelines, if you change the case of a letter from the original, you must indicate this with brackets. APA format doesn't require brackets.
- According to Smith, "[W]riting is fun" (215).
- In Smith's words, " . . .
- In Smith's view, " . . .
4. Use a descriptive verb, followed by a comma to introduce a critic's words
Avoid using says unless the words were originally spoken aloud, for instance, during an interview.
- Smith states, "This book is terrific" (102).
- Smith remarks, " . . .
- Smith writes, " . . .
- Smith notes, " . . .
- Smith comments, " . . .
- Smith observes, " . . .
- Smith concludes, " . . .
- Smith reports, " . . .
- Smith maintains, " . . .
- Smith adds, " . . .
5. Don't follow it with a comma if your lead-in to the quotation ends in that or as
The first letter of the quotation should be lower case.
- Smith points out that "millions of students would like to burn this book" (53).
- Smith emphasizes that " . . .
- Smith interprets the hand washing in MacBeth as "an attempt at absolution" (106).
- Smith describes the novel as "a celebration of human experience" (233).
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Using Literary Quotations
Use the guidelines below to learn how to use literary quotations.
Download this Handout PDF
When you’re asked to write a paper analyzing a work of literature, your instructor probably expects you to incorporate quotations from that literary text into your analysis. But how do you do this well? What kind of quotations do you use? How do you seamlessly weave together your ideas with someone else’s words?
On this page we clarify the purpose of using literary quotations in literary analysis papers by exploring why quotations are important to use in your writing and then explaining how to do this. We provide general guidelines and specific suggestions about blending your prose and quoted material as well as information about formatting logistics and various rules for handling outside text.
Although this material is focused on integrating your ideas with quotations from novels, poems, and plays into literary analysis papers, in some genres this advice is equally applicable to incorporating quotations from scholarly essays, reports, or even original research into your work.
For further information, check out our Quoting and Paraphrasing resource, or you may wish to see when the Writing Center is offering its next introductory workshop about the genre of literary analysis. Additionally, our Short Guide to Close Reading for Literary Analysis offers wonderful insight into how you can read a piece of literature in order to analyze it.
Why should I use literary quotations?
Within a literary analysis, your purpose is to develop an argument about what the author of the text is doing—how the text “works.” You use quotations to support this argument. This involves selecting, presenting, and discussing material from the text in order to “prove” your point—to make your case—in much the same way a lawyer brings evidence before a jury.
Quoting for any other purpose is counterproductive. Don’t quote to “tell the story” or otherwise convey basic information about the text; most of the time within this genre you can assume your reader knows the text. And don’t quote just for the sake of quoting or to fill up space.
How do I use literary quotations?
The following paragraph is from a student’s analysis of the relationship between two characters in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse . Notice how statements expressing the writer’s ideas and observations are verified with evidence from the novel in both summarized and quoted form.
We learn about Mrs. Ramsey’s personality by observing her feelings about other characters. For example, Mrs. Ramsey has mixed feelings toward Mr. Tansley, but her feelings seem to grow more positive over time as she comes to know him better. At first Mrs. Ramsey finds Mr. Tansley annoying, as shown especially when he mentions that no one is going to the lighthouse (7). But rather than hating him, she feels pity: “she pitied men always as if they lacked something . . .” (85). Then later, during the gathering, pity turns to empathy as she realizes that Mr. Tansley must feel inferior. He must know, Mrs. Ramsey thinks, that “no woman would look at him with Paul Rayley in the room” (104). Finally, by the end of the dinner scene, she feels some attraction to Mr. Tansley and also a new respect: “She liked his laugh . . . She liked his awkwardness. There was a lot in that man after all” (110). In observing this evolution in her attitude, we learn more about Mrs. Ramsey than we do about Mr. Tansley. The change in Mrs. Ramsey’s attitude is not used by Woolf to show that Mrs. Ramsey is fickle or confused; rather it is used to show her capacity for understanding both the frailty and complexity of human beings. This is a central characteristic of Mrs. Ramsey’s personality.
Your ideas + textual evidence + discussion
Notice that this paragraph includes three basic kinds of materials: (a) statements expressing the student’s own ideas about the relationship Woolf is creating; (b) data or evidence from the text in summarized, paraphrased, and quoted form; and (c) discussion of how the data support the writer’s interpretation. All the quotations are used in accordance with the writer’s purpose, i.e., to show how the development of Mrs. Ramsey’s feelings indicates something about her personality.
Textual evidence options
Quoting is only one of several ways to present textual material as evidence. You can also refer to textual data, summarize, and paraphrase. You will often want merely to refer or point to passages (as in the third sentence in the above example paragraph) that contribute to your argument. In other cases, you will want to paraphrase, i.e., “translate” the original into your own words, again instead of quoting. Summarize or paraphrase when it is not so much the language of the text that justifies your position, but the substance or content.
Similarly, after you have decided that you want to quote material, quote only the portions of the text specifically relevant to your point . Think of the text in terms of units—words, phrases, sentences, and groups of sentences (paragraphs, stanzas)—and use only the units you need. If it is particular words or phrases that “prove” your point, you do not need to quote the full sentences they appear in; rather, incorporate the words and phrases into your own sentences that focus on your own ideas.
Blending your prose and quoted material
It is permissible to quote an entire sentence (between two sentences of your own), but in general you should avoid this method of bringing textual material into your discussion. Instead, use one of the following patterns:
An introducing phrase or orienter plus the quotation:
- In Blake’s poem “The Tyger,” it is creation, not a hypothetical creator, that is supremely awesome. [ argument sentence ]. The speaker asks, “What immortal hand or eye / Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?” [ data sentence; orienter before quote ]
- Gatsby is not to be regarded as a personal failure. [ argument sentence ] “Gatsby turned out all right at the end” (2), according to Nick. [ data sentence; orienter after quote ]
- “Our baby was a boy,” Shukumar tells his wife in the conclusion of Lahiri’s “A Temporary Matter” (22). [ data sentence; orienter after quote ] This admission is a death knell, tolling the end of their failing marriage. [ argument sentence ]
An assertion of your own and a colon plus the quotation:
- In the midst of discussing the fate of the Abame tribe, Uchendu presents his own theory: “There is no story that is not true” (141).
- Fitzgerald gives Nick a muted tribute to the hero: “Gatsby turned out all right at the end” (2).
- Within Othello , Cassio represents not only a political but also a personal threat to Iago: “He hath a daily beauty in his life / That makes me ugly . . .” (5.1.19-20).
An assertion of your own with quoted material worked in:
- For Nick, who remarks that Gatsby “turned out all right” (2), the hero deserves respect but perhaps does not inspire great admiration.
- Satan’s motion is many things; he “strides” through the air (55), arrives like a “rattling” cloud (56), and later explodes—“wandering,” “hovering and blazing” like a fire (270).
- Walking through Geraldine’s house, Pecola “wanted to see everything slowly, slowly” in order to fully appreciate its comparative order and opulence (Morrison 89).
Maintaining clarity and readability
Introduce a quotation either by indicating what it is intended to show, by naming its source, or by doing both. For non-narrative poetry, it’s customary to attribute quotations to “the speaker”; for a story with a narrator, to “the narrator.” For plays, novels, and other works with characters, identify characters as you quote them.
Do not use two quotations in a row without intervening text of your own. You should always be contextualizing all of your outside material with your own ideas, and if you let quotes build up without a break, readers will lose track of your argument.
Using the correct verb tense is a tricky issue. It’s customary in literary analysis to use the present tense; this is because it is at the present time that you (and your reader) are looking at the text. But events in a narrative or drama take place in a time sequence. You will often need to use a past tense to refer to events that took place before the moment you are presently discussing. Consider this example:
When he hears Cordelia’s answer, King Lear seems surprised, but not dumbfounded. He advises her to “mend [her] speech a little.” He had expected her to praise him the most; but compared to her sisters’, her remarks seem almost insulting (1.1.95).
Formatting logistics and guidelines
If for the sake of brevity you wish to omit material from a quoted passage, use ellipsis points (three spaced periods) to indicate the omission. Notice how in the paragraph about To the Lighthouse , above, the writer quoted only those portions of the original sentences that related to the point of the analysis.
When quoting, you may alter grammatical forms such as the tense of a verb or the person of a pronoun so that the quotation conforms grammatically to your own prose; indicate these alterations by placing square brackets around the changed form. In the quotation about King Lear at the end of the previous section, “her” replaces the “your” of the original so that the quote fits the point of view of the paper (third person).
Reproduce the spelling, capitalization, and internal punctuation of the original exactly. Of the following sentences presenting D. H. Lawrence’s maxim, “Books are not life,” the first is not acceptable in some style systems.
- For Lawrence, “books are not life.” [ UNACCEPTABLE ]
- For Lawrence, “[b]ooks are not life.” [ acceptable but awkward ]
- Lawrence wrote, “Books are not life.” [ acceptable ]
- “Books,” Lawrence wrote, “are not life.” [ acceptable ]
- For Lawrence, books “are not life.” [ acceptable ]
You may alter the closing punctuation of a quotation in order to incorporate it into a sentence of your own. For example:
- “Books are not life,” Lawrence emphasized.
Commas and periods go inside the closing quotation marks; the other punctuation marks go outside. For example:
- Lawrence insisted that books “are not life”; however, he wrote exultantly about the power of the novel.
- Why does Lawrence need to point out that “Books are not life”?
When quoting lines of poetry up to three lines long (which are not indented), separate one line of poetry from another with a slash mark with a space on either side (see examples from Blake’s “The Tyger” and Shakespeare’s Othello above).
Prose or verse quotations less than four lines long are not indented. For quotations of this length, use the patterns described above.
“Longer” quotations should be formatted according to the expectations of a block quote. This unit of text should be positioned one half inch from the left margin, and opening and closing quotation marks are not used. The MLA Handbook , 8 th edition (2016) recommends that indented quotations be double-spaced, but many instructors prefer them single-spaced. The meaning of “longer” varies slightly from one style system to another, but a general rule is to indent quotations that are more than two (or three) lines of verse or four lines of prose.
If you’re quoting a series of dialogue dialogue between characters in a play, indent these lines and place the speaker’s name before the speech quoted. For example:
- CAESAR: Et tu, Brute! Then, fall, Caesar! CINNA: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! (3.1.77-78)
Follow your course instructor’s guidelines for documenting sources. If your instructor hasn’t told you which system to use to document sources, ask.
The documentation style used in this handout is that presented in the MLA Handbook , 8 th edition (2016), the most common citation style for literary analysis papers. The Writing Center has information about the rules of documentation within the most common systems .
Achebe, Chinau. Things Fall Apart . 1959. Anchor Books, 1994.
Blake, William. “The Tyger.” Poets.org , American Academy of Poets, https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/tyger. Accessed 1 July 2018.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby . 1925. The Scribner Library, 1953.
Lahiri, Jhumpa. “A Temporary Matter.” Interpreter of Maladies , Mariner Books, 1999, pp. 1-22.
Lawrence, David Herbert. “Why the Novel Matters.” Study of Thomas Hardy and Other Essays , edited by Bruce Steele, Cambridge University Press, 1985, pp. 191-8.
Milton, John. Paradise Lost . Printed for John Bumpus, 1821. Google Books , https://books.google.com/books?id=pO4MAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. Accessed 1 July 2018.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye . 1970. Plume, 1993.
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Wordsworth Editions, pp. 582-610.
–. King Lear. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare . Wordsworth Editions, pp. 885-923.
–. Othello, the Moor of Venice. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare . Wordsworth Editions, pp. 818-57.
Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse . 1927. Harcourt, 1981.
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How to Put a Quote in an Essay
For any essay or other research paper, you always need to offer your opinion on the matter – and support it with evidence. Quotes are among the favorite proofs. By researching any subject, you collect the information for your theories and conclusions. And you always need citations.
A quote in an essay is an excellent tool if used correctly. It supports your thesis and makes your whole text more versatile. Besides, it works in your favor if you introduce interesting and original citations – it shows your ability to work with sources and understand them deeply.
At the same time, you need to know how to put a quote in an essay. Misusing them can do harm to the paper and your reputation.
Understand the Structure of a Quote in an Essay
After the mandatory research stage, you’ve collected enough data and defined some apt phrases. You will include them in your essay, but how will you do it? You can’t just copy and paste them into the text without the context of transitions.
To include a quotation in essay, you need to know the right structure of this text fragment. It is a form with three components:
- The Introductory phrase;
- The quote itself;
- The commentary.
Let’s have a look at these components.
- The Introductory phrase or a lead-in to the quote does the task of building the context. With its help, you inform your audience about the evidence for your statement. You also describe what that evidence is and what its source is. It adds “weight” to the quote if you refer to some authoritative source.
- The quote itself is the exact sentence or phrase that you include in your research paper. When you put it into your text, you need to frame it with quotation marks. This method separates the citation from the rest of the work and marks it as someone else’s words. It also is the best anti-plagiarism defense – you won’t plagiarize if you name the source.
- Commentary. Even if your quote is strong and expressive, you have to connect it with your statement. For that, you comment that citation. Add a short explanation of the quote’s meaning for your paper. It does not mean that you have to paraphrase the quotation, but you should expose its value as evidence. The commentary usually takes a couple of sentences.
e.g., According to Joseph Campbell, “If the deeds of an actual historical figure proclaim him to have been a hero, the builders of his legend will invent for him appropriate adventures.” This statement perfectly relates to the legends about such historical leaders as Cyrus II of Persia.
Things You Should Know Before Quoting Someone
Citations are necessary and useful. But using quotes in an essay has its rules that you have to know to do it in the right way. They are not difficult, and they refer to the logic of using citations and their format. Both of these aspects are essential.
The wrong choice of quotes ruins the overall experience of your essay. As for the form – even the most suitable evidence without the right formatting will do nothing but harm. Unfortunately, the incorrect format is an error as grave as the absence of reference at all. That’s why let’s examine both these aspects.
Logic of usage of quotes in essay papers
If you have a set of citations that you would like to include in your academic paper, you need to evaluate them first. The accurate quote must meet several criteria.
- Relevancy. Never take quotes that don’t relate to your thesis directly. Quotes must be thematic. Besides, you need to consider their authors. If it is a statement of some person not associated with your field professionally – it will be irrelevant. You should not introduce quotes for their form only – target towards their essence.
- Analysis. When you choose quotes for your essay, remember that you have to develop a context for them. Hence, consider your capabilities of analyzing such quotations in essay. You have to understand them precisely, and you need to fit them in your text. Quotes must not be there for their own sake – they have to support your words and serve as reliable evidence of your rightness.
- A reasonable share of quotes in your essay. Don’t overuse them; your job is to offer your ideas and understanding of the subject. If you use direct quotes, their overall volume should not exceed 5-10% of the text – it is the allowed share.
Select the Right Quote for Your Essay
Besides using quotations in essay to support claims, students often refer to these means as hooks for essay beginning. Starting an article with a quote is a popular and effective technique to attract the audience. We’ve already defined most of the criteria, so let’s get them together:
- The citation must correlate with your essay’s subject and support its claims.
- It must come from an authoritative source to be decent support for your statements.
- It should be original. There is no use to refer to the same authority and repeat the same words. You should show your more profound understanding of the context by using more original references.
- Make sure that the meaning of your quote is clear to the audience. Or, you can explain the missing information in commentary.
- It must be impressive. Depending on your goals, you may educate, inspire, entertain, or horrify your audience. Hence, evaluate how each of the citations would serve.
How to Place Quotes in an Essay
In general, it is all about where you insert a quote in an essay precisely and how you mark it. The essential thing here is that the rules of using quotes in an article are different for short and long quotes.
The short quote is a fragment of the source text that is shorter than four lines. This definition is standard. If the quote you want to use in your essay matches the “short” size criteria, you need to insert it in the following way:
- The short quote is a part of your paragraph.
- For a short quote, you need to write a lead-in phrase. It should contain the name of the source (the title of the source and the name of the author). Also, it needs a transition word or phrase like “according to.”
- Insert the quote, put it in quotation marks, and add the reference to your bibliography list.
- No matter if there is a complete sentence from the source or a couple of words, the quotation marks are mandatory. Without them, your direct short quote will be marked as plagiarism, even if you add the name of the source.
- Proceed with your commentary to explain a quote in an essay. You need to stress its value and meaning as support for your ideas.
- You can paraphrase the citation – if you retell the essence of the sentence in your words, you may omit the quotation marks. But the correct reference to the source is still obligatory.
In terms of essay writing, a long quote is any source text fragment that is longer than four lines. For this citation type, you have to separate it from the rest of your text, and format accordingly.
Here is how to put a long quote in an essay and mark it in the right way:
- Choose the quote that suits your needs for a particular case.
- You will also need an introductory phrase for it. For the long quote lead-in, you need a complete introductory sentence explaining what your readers should elicit from the citation. That sentence must be placed before the quote, and it must end with a colon.
- Separate the quoted text from the rest of your essay – it should start from the new line and after an interval. The blockquote must also use the indent of a half-inch from the left margin. This way, your readers will at once understand the text fragment is a quote.
- Don’t use the quotation marks for the long quote, but ensure to put the reference at the end.
- You can edit this quote by removing some words from it or including clarifications. However, your “intrusion” must not change the meaning of the quote!
- To shorten the quote, you can put an ellipsis on the place of the deleted fragment.
- …at the age of six was sent to a cloister to be educated as a priest. But he desired the life of a knightly warrior. To add words (for example, if the fragment you quote does not have the name of the actor, but you would like to include it), you should put the clarification into the square brackets.
- …under the name of Mainet, he [Charlemagne] rendered signal services to the king.
- Add your commentary. Note it must be more substantial than for the short quote – you will need a minimum two sentences, and in most cases – more. Your goal is to explain the meaning of this quote to your audience, and once more stress its importance.
- If needed, you can paraphrase the quote; it is a good practice if you deal with a large text fragment of several paragraphs. Summarizing will let you expose its essence and make your wiring more concise. Again, you won’t need to set the piece off. The reference will be enough.
Citing Your Quotes
With all respect to the choice of citations and their supportive value for your work, the most critical thing is the right format of quotations in an essay. Any academic paper must have a list of works cited. Every quote in your essay, even the shortest one, must have a reference to the source. If you don’t mark the origin, you’ll make the most terrible of all academic sins – plagiarism.
Being a student, you know how dangerous plagiarism is for the work and your reputation. Unfortunately, non-intended plagiarism is a common issue. It can be just carelessness, but it can cost your career.
There is just one solution: mark all your citations and their sources according to the format required.
The MLA format is the default for papers in Humanities.
- The in-text citations include the authors’ last names and the page number in parenthesis:
e.g., (Campbell 297)
- If you mention the author in the lead-in, you can only mark the page number in parenthesis. It must be at the very end of the quote, before the period and the closing quotation mark:
e.g., According to Joseph Campbell, ‘If the deeds of an actual historical figure proclaim him to have been a hero, the builders of his legend will invent for him appropriate adventures (296).’
- For work with several authors, you should separate their names with “and” and commas if there are more than two co-authors:
e.g., (Rivkin and Ryan 85-88) or (Leitch, Cain, and Williams 46)
APA format is the most widely used format in colleges and universities. Works in social studies, educational, and business topics are mostly APA-formatted.
- The in-text quote reference must include the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number, all in parenthesis:
e.g.: (Campbell, 2004, p.297)
- For the work of multiple authors, you write a quote and separate the last names with “and” (two authors) and commas (three and more authors):
e.g., (Rivkin and Ryan, 2017, p.85-88) or (Leitch, Cain, and Williams, 2018, p. 46)
- With the name of the author in the lead-in, you can include the year and the page number in parenthesis right after the author’s name.
e.g., According to Joseph Campbell’s (2004, p.296) study,
One of the academic formatting styles deals with papers in Humanities mostly. It requires that the writer puts the references at the bottom of the page or at the end – the traditional bibliography list.
- The default format is the author’s last name and the date – not separated by the comma. Then you put the page number without “p.” and after a comma:
e.g.: (Campbell 2004, 297)
- Sources with multiple authors: separate their names with “and” for two writers, and with commas for three and more writers:
e.g., (Rivkin and Ryan 2017, 90) or (Leitch, Cain, and Williams 2018, 46)
- If the name of the author is present in the lead-in phrase, you should include the year and the page number in parenthesis after the end of the quote:
e.g., According to Joseph Campbell, “If the deeds of an actual historical figure proclaim him to have been a hero, the builders of his legend will invent for him appropriate adventures” (2004, 296).
The right quote in an essay is an excellent tool to make your work more impressive for the tutor. It is also a chance for you to demonstrate original thinking and understanding of the subject and context. However, using this tool requires knowledge and skills. Use our recommendations, and you will surely master the art of how to cite a quote in an essay.
Or, if you are still struggling with your essays for any reason, our essay writing service will be glad to help you. We can support you with advice or compose exclusive pieces on your demand.
Written by Stephany James
Stephany is an expert with a big number of hobbies. Apart from working at Cornell University (which she graduated five years ago), she loves cooking and jogging. When Stephany is not helping students with their English and French assignments, she is writing a book of her own on the nature of habits and motivation.
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When to Use Quotation Marks for Titles
Do you know when to use quotation marks for titles? Knowing whether to use italics or quotation marks for titles is one of the most common problems students have, especially when it comes to academic writing where you discuss your sources. Luckily, there are consistent themes that can help you pick the right format for each title, no matter what style guide you’re following.
Below, we explain exactly when to use quotation marks in titles (and when to use italics instead). We’ll cover the title rules for the three main style guides—APA, MLA, and Chicago—and give you some guidelines for figuring out which kinds of titles use which format.
How to properly quote a title with quotation marks
Quotation marks (“ ”) are mostly for showing speech or copying passages verbatim from other works, but sometimes they’re used for more than just punctuation . For certain types of works, they’re used to set apart titles.
The general rule is to use quotation marks for titles of short works such as articles, poems, songs, essays, or short stories. By contrast, use italics for larger works such as books, movies, and the names of periodicals. We provide a complete list below.
When to use italics or quotation marks for titles
Some types of work italicize titles , and some use quotation marks, but how do you know which is which? Here’s a quick list of what kinds of works use each.
Works that use quotation marks in titles
- journal articles
- newspaper and magazine articles
- blog and online news articles
- essay titles
- poems (except epic poems)
- short stories
- episode titles of TV shows, podcasts, and other serial works
- page titles for websites
- section or part titles within a larger work
- short-form videos, such as those on YouTube
Works that use italics in titles
- epic poems (not regular poems)
- periodical names (magazines, newspapers, and news websites)
- radio shows
- TV shows (not individual episodes)
- podcasts (not individual episodes)
- music albums
- video games
- operas and long musical compositions
- classic art like paintings and sculptures
- legal cases
- large vehicles such as ships, aircrafts, and spacecrafts
When to use quotation marks for titles for each style guide
While the basics are the same—italics for the titles of long works and quotation marks for the titles of short works—some minor details may vary. Here’s a quick rundown of when to use quotation marks in titles for the APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.
Quotations marks in titles for APA
The APA format follows the list above: It uses quotation marks for all types of work mentioned. The only particular rule they have about quotation marks in titles is that they are not used in the reference list for articles and chapters.
In APA, the reference list is the name of the bibliography, like a works cited page . When writing a full citation that mentions an article or book chapter, simply write the title with neither quotation marks nor italics. However, if the same title is written within the text (or in a copyright attribution), use quotation marks.
Quotations marks in titles for Chicago
In general, Chicago style follows the list above. It does, nevertheless, list a few extra types of works that the other style guides do not.
Quotation marks for titles:
- fairy tales and nursery rhymes
Italics for titles:
- serialized cartoons and comic strips
Quotations marks in titles for MLA
The use of quotation marks in titles for MLA format is very straightforward. Simply use the appropriate format for the type of work, as indicated in the large list above.
When to use single or double quotation marks for titles
There are two types of quotation marks: single quotation marks (‘ ’) and double quotation marks (“ ”).
In general, American English uses double quotation marks. The only time we use single quotation marks for titles is to replace quotation marks within another pair of quotation marks.
For example, if you were writing an article about Langston Hughes’s poems—highlighting “Harlem” in particular—the title of your article might be something like this:
“Reflections on ‘Harlem’ and Other Poems”
Notice how, when we talk about the poem “Harlem” on its own, we use the standard double quotation marks. However, when we mention it within another pair of quotation marks, we use single quotation marks instead.
This is done simply for the sake of clarity. It would be confusing to use double quotation marks within double quotation marks, so this makes reading a bit easier. Let’s look at another example:
EPISODE TITLE: “The Winds of Winter” (episode of Game of Thrones )
ESSAY TITLE: “Why ‘The Winds of Winter’ Is the Best Episode of Game of Thrones ”
Keep in mind that if a title in quotation marks is used within an italicized title, double quotation marks are used. For example, look at how we write the title of a full book that collects Roald Dahl’s short stories:
“The Landlady” and Other Short Stories
It’s also worth noting that this is only the convention in American English. In British English, single quotes and double quotes are switched! That means titles and speech quotes use single quotation marks most of the time and double quotation marks are used only within single quotes. Keep that in mind if you’re ever reading a British piece of writing .
Quotation marks for titles FAQs
Why use quotation marks for titles.
Quotation marks set apart the titles of short works like articles, poems, songs, essays, or short stories. Longer works like books or movies use italics instead.
When do you use quotation marks for titles?
Use quotation marks for the titles of articles, essays, poems, short stories, songs, chapters, lectures, pages for websites, episodes of serial works (such as TV shows or podcasts), names of sections or parts in larger works, and short-form videos such as those on YouTube.
When do you use italics?
Use italics for the titles of books, movies, plays, TV shows, podcasts, video games, apps, classic art (like paintings and sculptures), music albums, legal cases, dissertations, anthologies, reports, periodicals (like magazines or newspapers), operas and long musical compositions, and large vehicles (like ships or aircraft).
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Writing A Book Title In Your Essay – The Right Way
09 Mar 2022
📃APA Style Essay: Book Titles
✒️APA Style: The Name of The Author
📒MLA Style: Citing a Book Title
✏️Chicago Style: Book Title
📑Various Types of Titles
🖊️Underline or Italicize Book Titles
When you are writing an academic essay , the book title and author’s name should be written in italics. However, if the book title is part of a larger work (such as a journal article), then it should be placed underlined instead. So, you’re wondering how to write a book title in an essay?
In this article, we will explore how to write both titles in an essay properly so that you avoid any mistakes!
APA Style: How to Write Book Titles in Essays
When writing an essay, you must follow the style guide provided by your instructor. Some teachers may require you to use APA style and others MLA style. There are some rules on how to quote a book title in an essay. When writing book titles in essays, you should use italics and quotation marks. For example: " The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. "
When writing a book title in APA Style, you should be aware of these rules:
Write the book title in italics and place it after the author's name, which is presented in reverse order (last name first).
Use quotation marks around the headline of a chapter or article.
Capitalize proper names that are not common nouns (names of people, places, organizations), but do not capitalize words such as "and," "or," "to," or "and/or."
Do not capitalize prepositions that appear at the beginning of titles if they are followed by an article (e.g., "A," "An"), but do capitalize prepositions at the beginning of titles if they are not followed by articles ("Of").
The first word of the headline should be capitalized, as well as any other words after a colon or hyphen. For example, "The Elements of Style: Grammar for Everyone" , or "Theories of Personality: Critical Perspectives" .
Capitalize proper names and words derived from them (e.g., the names of people, places, organizations), except proper nouns used generically (e.g., 'a bed').
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APA Style Essay: Writing The Name of The Author
You should always use the full name and surname of the author in your APA essay because this will give proper credit to the writer. If you do not mention the author’s full name, people may not know who wrote what and they will think that you have copied it from somewhere else. This will cause lots of problems for you and your reputation as well.
Make sure that all authors' names appear in the same format in each entry. For example, if one person's surname is Smith and another's is Jones but both have first names starting with "J," then it may seem like they are being cited as different people when they're actually written differently from each other on separate pages in your paper.
In order to write an APA essay without any issues, there are certain rules that you need to follow while writing an author’s name in APA essay:
- Use only one author’s name in your paper unless there are multiple authors
- If there are multiple authors, then use both their last names followed by the initials of their first names
- Only use initials of first names when there are three or more authors; otherwise, use full names with their last names
Example: Johnson, M.C., Carlson, M., Smith, J. N., & Hanover, L. E.
MLA Style Essay: Citing a Book Title
Now let’s discuss how to mention a book in an essay. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, published by the Modern Language Association (2014), contains detailed rules about how to cite a book title in an essay.
The following guidelines will instruct you on how to refer to a book in an essay in MLA style:
- List your sources at the end of your paper, before the works cited page or bibliography.
- Use italics for titles of books, magazines, and newspapers, but not for articles within those publications, which should be placed in quotation marks.
- Include all relevant information about the book under two separate categories: "title" and "author." In the former category, include both the title of the work and its subtitle if there is one; do this even if neither appears on your title page (see below). In the latter category include only primary authors who have written or edited an entire book; if there are multiple contributors you should cite them separately under each.
The general format for citing the title of book in essay is:
Author's last name, first initial (Date). Title of Book with Subtitle if there is one. Publisher Name/Location of Publisher; Year Published
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Chicago style essay: writing the book title.
One of the most important things to remember when writing in Chicago style is how to write the title of a book in an essay. To write a good book title in essay, you should follow these steps:
- Write it at the beginning of your sentence.
- Capitalize it just like any other noun or proper noun.
- Put a comma after the title, unless it's an introductory clause or phrase. For example: "The Firm," by John Grisham (not "by") and "The Catcher in the Rye," by J.D Salinger (not "and").
- In addition to the book's name, punctuation marks should also be italicized
For example: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children's Edition
Writing Various Types of Titles
Now that we covered how to write a book title and author in an essay, it’s time to look at some different types of titles. When you write a book title in an essay, there are several things to consider. Whether it's a book, series or chapter title; editor's name, or author's name, the way you write it depends on where it appears in your paper.
Here are some key rules for writing headings for novels:
- Use capital letters to write the title of the novel. For example The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett .
- Use italics as well as capital letters to write the name of the author and his/her other works mentioned in a book title. For example Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) .
When writing headings of short title poems, articles, and stories, you should put quotation marks.
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Should We Underline or Italicize Book Titles?
It depends on which style guide you use. The Modern Language Association and Chicago Manual of Style both suggest that you use italics, while the American Psychological Association suggests that you use quotation marks with a few exceptions.
The way you write the title of a book in an essay is different depending on the instructions you were given. For example, if you're writing an essay in APA style, use quotation marks around the name of the book. If you're writing for MLA or Chicago style , however, italicize the name of the book instead. If you're writing a handwritten essay instead of using a computer, capitalize and underline the name of the book instead.
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I am a proficient writer from the United States with over five years of experience in academic writing. I comfortably complete given assignments within stipulated deadlines and at the same time deliver high-quality work, which follows the guidelines provided.
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How to Quote a Book in an Essay
Article Published on: 23 Mar 2018
If you want to support your point, a good quote can do it. Quotes allow you to mention an opinion of somebody authoritative, as well as use evidence acquired by other authors. However, if you want your essay to look professional, then you have to know how to use quotes properly. There are several citation formats, such as MLA, Chicago, and APA. Your quotes must be written according to one of such formats, and all authors must be cited properly. Otherwise, these elements of your text will be considered plagiarism. Along with in-text quotes, you must write a separate reference page, which may vary depending on the chosen citation format. Now let’s consider quoting in more details.
The MLA style implies writing the author’s name and the number of the cited page in text. In case you use a quote from poetry, you have to specify the line instead of the page number. This style is different from APA because here you don’t need to provide the year of the source in the body of your paper. However, you must do it in a references section at the end of your essay.
In MLA style, there are two general types of quotes: long ones and short ones. Short quotes are less than four lines (for prose) or less than three lines (for poetry) long. Such quotes are written in quotation marks and followed or preceded by the author’s name. In case the author’s name is placed after the quote, you have to write it in parentheses. Don’t write “p.” or “page” before page numbers. If your source includes some punctuation marks, you have to include them in your quotation.
Introduce your quotes. Write transitional phrases that will help your readers perceive your quotes in the context. For example, start your quote with the phrase “According to…” or “The author states that…”. In case you have mentioned the author’s name in such a transitional phrase, you can write only the page number in parentheses, after the quotation.
If your quote is long, write it as a separate segment of the text, indenting this segment by one inch from the left. If such a quote consists of several paragraphs, each paragraph must be indented by an additional ¼ inch. Don’t forget about double spacing that must be used throughout the entire paper. The author’s name and a page number should be written at the end of the quote, after the period, in parentheses. When citing poetry, separate the lines with this symbol — “/”.
When using several quotes from one source, you have to write them as a separate block, even if each one of them is short. In this case, you have to separate quotes by using ellipses (…). The same method allows you to get rid of unnecessary parts of your quote. if you need to make any notes within a quotation, write your own words in brackets — [like this].
Internet sources are tricky. In this case, some data may be unknown. If you don’t know the year of the article or its author, try to find as much information as you can.
The American Psychological Association provides another citation style . Here you have to specify the author’s name and page numbers, along with the year. This style also requires you to write “p.” before page numbers.
Any quotations that are less than 40 words long are considered short. The author’s name, pages and the year are written in parentheses unless you have mentioned the author in the introductory phrase before the quote.
Long quotations must be written in a separate block which is indented by ½ inch from the left side. In case your long quote includes more than one paragraph, each next paragraph must be indented by an additional ½ of an inch. When paraphrasing some source, you also have to specify the author, page numbers, and the year of publication.
When citing more than one author , use the “&” symbol to combine two names. Please note that the names of two different authors must be written in alphabetical order.
When citing a source from the internet , you don’t need to include page numbers in your quotations. Write the number of the paragraph instead. Sometimes you may not know the date of a certain article from the internet. In this case, use an “n.d.” instead. If you don’t know the name of the author, you are allowed to use the name of the article.
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How to punctuate quotations in an essay
Do you know which book these quotations come from?
- "We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all we’re not savages."
- "I will live in the past, present and the future."
- "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is man with a gun in his hand."
- Lord of the Flies.
- A Christmas Carol.
- To Kill A Mockingbird.
Introduction to punctuating quotations in an essay
A quotation is a phrase taken directly from a text or speech .
- In literature essays, the points you make about a text should be supported by short quotations from the text
- There are different ways of using a quotation within the structure of an essay sentence or paragraph
It’s important to carefully punctuate your quotations, so that the meaning is clear
In a quotation it’s important to make sure you use the exact words from the original text. In most literature essays, it’s better to use shorter quotations in a precise way rather than write out very long quotations. You can use single inverted commas ‘ ’ or double quotation marks “ ” to punctuate the quotation. Just make sure you stick to the same punctuation mark and don’t swap between the two.
These punctuation marks should contain the words taken from the text:
In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens the character of Scrooge is described as being "Hard and sharp as flint".
In the example above, "Hard and sharp as flint" is taken directly from the text.
Remember to close the punctuation marks at the end of the quotation. Only use a capital letter in a quotation if one appears in the original text.
Video about punctuating quotations
Punctuation inside quotations.
Punctuation that appears in the original text should be used in the quotation:
The character of Scrooge is described as "self-contained, and solitary as an oyster."
In this example, the comma and full stop in the phrase "self-contained, and solitary as an oyster." appear in the original text and therefore need to be included with the quotation.
Sometimes a full stop is used outside of the quotation marks, this is because the full stop belongs to the whole sentence, not the original quotation:
In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens the character of Scrooge is described as being "Hard and sharp as flint".
Correctly punctuate the quotation in this sentence.
In an extract from A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is described using the metaphor a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone which tells the reader that he is a tough boss to work for and he probably doesn’t treat his employees fairly.
In an extract from A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is described using the metaphor " a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone ," which tells the reader that he is a tough boss to work for and he probably doesn’t treat his employees fairly.
Using quotations in an essay
There are different ways to use a quotation in an essay. For example, you could embed a quotation into your sentence or separate the quotation with a colon after your point.
An effective way to use quotations is to embed them into your argument. Embedding is when the quotation becomes part of your own sentence:
The reader gains a negative impression of Scrooge, who is described as a "tight-fisted" man and an "old sinner".
This method allows you to use quotations in a precise way and select evidence carefully.
Using quotations at the end of a point
Another common method is to use a quotation at the end of a point. A colon must be used before the quotation.
The reader gains a negative impression of Scrooge: "But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!"
Place the colons
How to separate a longer quotation.
If a much longer quotation is being used, it is appropriate to separate it from the main essay by leaving a line and indenting the text. Indenting means leaving a gap after the left-hand margin. It is not necessary to use quotation marks if the text is separate from the main essay. You could introduce the quotation like this:
In the beginning of the novel Dickens establishes the details of Scrooge’s character for his reader in a collection of negative verbs and powerful similes.
Below the introductory sentence you would leave a line and then indent the quotation.
See it in action
This is how the text currently looks:
In the beginning of the novel Dickens establishes the details of Scrooge’s character for his reader by using a collection of negative verbs and powerful similes. But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
This is how a longer quotation should look:
In the beginning of the novel Dickens establishes the details of Scrooge’s character for his reader by using a collection of negative verbs and powerful similes.
But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
- A line has been missed
- The quote is indented
- There are no quotation marks
Using quotations accurately makes your essay more convincing and shows that you are able to use evidence to support your points. You can show that you understand which parts of the text are relevant to the point you are making if you are able to select the key parts.
Test your knowledge
Writing in response to poetry, how to identify form in poetry, how to understand rhythm in poetry.
How to link ideas in sentences
How to write an Essay about a Quote
Teachers often ask you to write an essay about a quote. It’s a way of getting you to think deeply about the concepts that quotes encompass.
You’ll need to dig deeply into what the quote means and what it reveals about the world.
In this post, I’m going to give you some guidance to get you started on writing that essay about a quote , no matter what quote it is!
Here’s a quick fly-by of what’s in this post. Feel free to navigate to each point, or just scroll through the whole post:
- Select the quote Wisely. Here’s how.
- Do this in the Introduction.
- Place the Quote in Context. Here’s how.
- Explore the Quote’s Contested Meanings. Here’s how.
- Explore the Quote’s Relevance to You or Society. Here’s how.
- A Summarized Checklist of What you Need to Say
Essays about quotes really do vary. Here’s some examples of different types of essays about quotes:
- The teacher provides the quote as a prompt for the analysis of a concept;
- The teacher provides a range of quotes and you have to choose one and discuss its meaning;
- The teacher asks you to find your own quote and discuss its relevance to you.
So, here’s some initial questions I have for you. If you don’t know these questions, you need to ask your teacher:
- Can you use first person?
- Are you supposed to say how the quote impacts you (personal essay) or just critique it (expository essay)?
Keep these questions in mind, because I’ll come back to them in this article and it will influence what you should write.
Here’s my 5 essential tips on how to write an essay about a quote:
1. Select your Quote Wisely (If you get to choose the Quote!)
Okay, so sometimes you’re asked to choose a quote and write an essay about it. Other times your teacher gives you the quote and you have to write about the quote they choose.
Step 1 is for everyone who gets to select their own quote.
Here’s how you should go about selecting your quote:
- Try to find a quote that is said by someone who you have some knowledge about. If it’s a quote from a book, make sure you’ve actually read the book. So, if you get the choice between a quote from Harry Potter (which you’ve read) and The Grapes of Wrath (which you haven’t read), go with the Harry Potter quote. If it’s a quote from a speaker like a US president, try to get a quote from a US president who you admire and who you have the most knowledge about.
- Ensure the quote is well known. You don’t want to get stuck in the situation where you selected a quote but can’t find any information about it! So, the best option is to select a quote that you’ll be able to find a lot of information about. That’s why it’s useful to select a famous quote by someone like Martin Luther King Jr., Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, Atticus Fitch or another figure whose you know you’ll be able to gather a lot of background information on.
- Only select a quote if you know where it’s from. Most people who have to select a quote are going to go straight to google and type in ‘Famous Quote’. No! No, no, no, no, no. This is going to find you one of those random generic quote websites and you probably won’t even be able to find out what speech, book or page number the quote is from! You’re better off looking for a quote from within a specific book or speech so you’ll be able to read it ‘in context’ (i.e. you’ll be able to read the surrounding sentences!)
So, to recap, make sure the quote is from a source you have at least a little knowledge about; is one that you’ve either heard of before or know you can find information about on google; and make sure you can get access to the quote’s original source (the book, play or speech it’s from).
2. Cite the quote, the quote’s author and its origins in the Introduction
The introduction paragraph for any essay on a quote requires you to show a clear understanding of the quote you’re discussing and some of its details. While this isn’t the place to go into depth on how to write an introduction, let me quickly recap for you my I.N.T.R.O method for perfect introductions :
- Interest : provide a hook sentence that grabs the reader’s interest
- Notify : notify the reader of background information
- Translate : paraphrase the essay question
- Report : report on your thesis
- Outline : Outline what will be said in the essay, in order.
Now, let’s apply that formula to an essay about a quote. Here, we could write each sentence like this:
- Interest : say something interesting about the quote
- Notify : explain exactly where the quote comes from
- Translate : while usually you’d paraphrase the essay question in an introduction, you can provide the quote word-for-word in the introduction for an essay about a quote
- Report : say what your interpretation of the quote is, in one or two sentences
- Outline : Outline what you’re planning on saying about the quote in the essay
3. Place the Quote in Context
This is one of the most important parts of your essay. When we say ‘context’ we mean that you need to be able to show a deep understanding of the background information about quote that you have selected. To do this you can select from the following strategies:
a) Explain the theme of the speech, article or book that the quote comes from
How a quote is received and understood has a lot to do with the book or speech that the quote comes from. Have a think of what the key theme is that the quote touches on.
Here’s a quote, for example, that you might not understand until you look at the book the quote comes from:
“Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.”
This quote is from Huckleberry Finn. Therefore, it probably has something to do with his desire to avoid being civilized and tamed by society. Why? Because the central theme of the overall text in which the quote emerges is escaping the civilizing effect of society .
My point here is that you need to focus on the main theme of the text in which the quote emerges: is it about racism, evading the trappings of civilized society, or maybe a theme about love, war, passion, or something else entirely?
Here’s another example:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view….Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
This quote is from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird . You might not know it from just this sentence, but if we place it in context, we know the quote’s about racism. Why? Well, because it’s a quote that builds upon an underlying theme in the book that shows Atticus trying to teach his daughter to fight racial injustice in the deep South of the United States. So, when discussing a quote from this book, you can explain that the quote is in the context of a broader social discussion about race and racism in a nation whose history has been deeply troubled by racial injustice since its origins. By doing this, you will be able to understand the quote far more effectively,
One last example: this quote from Romeo and Juliet:
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet.”
if you’re grabbing this quote from Romeo and Juliet, you’re probably going to want to say that the quote comes from a story that explores themes of forbidden love and family loyalty . By reading the surrounding text, you’ll understand that this quote is about Juliet (symbolized by the rose) having the surname of a family that Romeo despises. Nonetheless, he loves her not for her surname, but indeed despite it: he still sees the sweetness in her.
To find out the themes of key literary texts, try these sources:
b) Explain the story of the person who made the quote
How a quote is received and understood has a lot to do with the person who made the quote in the first place. So, examine the story of the person who made the quote.
Let’s take the example of Dumbledore, say … this quote:
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Dumbledore quotes will automatically be understood as wise, contemplative statements because Dumbledore is a wise and contemplative man ! They have more force and power because of Dumbledore’s age, stature and position as head of Hogwarts!
Similarly, often quotes from jesters in Shakespearian plays are interpreted as gems of truth and wisdom because jesters were some of the few people in middle England who were aloud to speak their minds among kings.
Here’s one last example: a quote from the Pope (any quote from the Pope – pick one!). What makes this quote so powerful? Well, it would be a powerful quote because the Pope is seen by Catholics as someone who is very close to god and therefore what he says should be listened to very closely.
By explaining the story of the person who made the quote, we can understand the quote more deeply.
c) Use who, where, when and why questions
Do you think the previous two points were too hard? No worries. Here’s an easier framework for you to use: the 4 W’s.
This is a very powerful way to dig deep into your contextualization of the quote. Explain the who, where, when and why about the quote.
Let’s take an example of this quote:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
This quote comes from the US Declaration of Independence . What context can we take from this famous quote? Here’s a few ideas to give context to the quote:
- Who: Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin
- Where: United States of America
- Why: This quote was made in the context of a young nation shaking off the oppressive shackles of the British Empire. The US leaders wanted a new society where social class and royalty of the old ‘motherland’ should be discarded and a more equal land created
- Other Points: Today this quote could be seen as sexist. It was written in a time when women lacked many rights. Furthermore, the gendered term ‘men’ is not just semantics: they truly meant all men were equal to one another, and this excluded women’s rights for many centuries. Similarly, you could critique its racist undertones. Lastly, you could also mention that this quote is one of the most famous statements on the principle of classical liberalism which highlights the freedom of the individual.
Once you’ve jotted down some draft of these background / ‘contextual’ details, you can turn them into full paragraphs in your essay.
4. Explore the Quote’s Contested Meanings
Quotes often have multiple contested interpretations. If your quote could be interpreted in different ways, you will need to examine the different ways in which it is interpreted.
Let’s take the example of the quote:
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby!”
This quote comes from Ilhan Omar, a democratic congresswoman. She made this quote to highlight the influence of the Jewish lobby on Republican politicians.
This quote had very contested meanings : for the political left, it highlighted the fact that money is a dark influence on policymaking in Washington. For the political right, it was seen as an anti-Semitic attach on an old stereotype of Jewish people controlling the world’s finances.
If you were to select this quote, you would of course have to present both perspectives on the quote.
My suggestion is that you look up what other people think of the quote and discuss what they’ve had to say about it. Maybe out of 5 people you find online, 4 see it one way and 1 sees it another. Present both ways that a quote can be interpreted to show you’ve thought deeply about it.
Of course, this might not be relevant to everyone: some quotes have a very clear central meaning!
5. Explore the Quote’s Relevance to You and / or Today’s Society
Remember when I said that you should check with your teacher about whether you can use first person in your essay?
Well, if you can use first person in your essay, I recommend in this step to talk about what the quote means to you. Questions you can discuss include:
- Which interpretation of the quote is most convincing, in your mind?
- Has the quote influenced you to think more deeply about something?
- Has the quote changed your mind about something or prompted you to act differently in the future?
If you are writing an expository essay that does not involve first person language, I recommend instead discussing the broader relevance of the quote to broader society today.
For example, let’s say the quote is Winston Churchill’s famous statement:
“Things are not always right because they are hard, but if they are right one must not mind if they are also hard.”
This quote was said in the context of World War II, when Britain and its allies fought gallantly for 4 years against Hitler’s Germany. So, what relevance does that quote have to today’s world?
Well, it might mean that you should follow in Churchill’s footsteps and learn a lesson from him and the brave Brits: to stand up and fight against injustice wherever it may be, even when the enemy seems to be bearing down on you! While once injustice was in Nazi Germany, today that injustice might be in the arena of terrorism or Islamophobia. The quote remains relevant to today’s world, though, because it’s a rallying call to standing up for what you believe is right.
Read Also: 39 Better Ways to Write ‘In Conclusion’ in an Essay
Woah! That’s a lot to take in. Essays about quotes are hard. Hopefully, these strategies have given you something to think about when discussing you quote. Keep in mind these five key points when trying to think of things to write about:
- Select the quote Wisely. Make sure you know a fair bit about the quote you’re using, and if it’s from a book, take a quote from a book you’ve actually read!
- Cite the quote, the quote’s author and its origins in the Introduction. This will show your marker from the very beginning that you understand the quote.
- Place the Quote in Context. Consider the overall theme of the text the quote comes from, the personality of the person who said the quote, and use the 4 W’s to dig deeper into what the quote is all about!
- Explore the Quote’s Contested Meanings. If the quote can be interpreted in many ways, then make sure you present all those possible interpretations in your essay.
- Explore the Quote’s Relevance to You and / or Today’s Society. By discussing the quote’s relevance to you or society, you’ll be showing your maker you understand why on earth it’s worthwhile reflecting on the quote in the first place!
Chris Drew (PhD)
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ What do Portuguese People Look Like? (10 Features & Stereotypes)
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ What do Spanish People Look Like? (Features & Stereotypes)
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 10 Italian People Features & Stereotypes (What They Look Like)
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 10 Polish people Features, Characteristics and Stereotypes
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To cite a direct quote in APA, you must include the author's last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use "p."; if it spans a page range, use "pp." An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative.
To cite a book, you need a brief in-text citation and a corresponding reference listing the author's name, the title, the year of publication, and the publisher. The order and format of information depends on the citation style you're using. The most common styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago style.
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.
Whether your paper is required to be in MLA or APA format, it's easy to quote and cite a book the right way. Method 1 Incorporating Quotations into Your Text 1 Be clear why you are using a quotation. A quotation should provide a new point of view, or bolster a point you are trying to make.
The basic form for a book citation is: Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date. * Note: the City of Publication should only be used if the book was published before 1900, if the publisher has offices in more than one country, or if the publisher is unknown in North America. Book with One Author
When you use a short quote, include it directly in your paragraph, along with your own words. To help the reader understand the quote and why you're using it, write a full sentence that includes the quote, rather than just lifting a sentence from another work and putting it into your paper.
How to Quote a Book in an Essay : Selecting a Quote Select a quote that supports the argument you're introducing. The quote should stand as an "evidence" for what you wish the reader to believe. This might can be anything from an expert advice, study inferences or results, or data statistics.
Let's say you need to quote a book for an essay, and the passage you have in mind contains a quote from some other source. Imagine the original passage from the book looks like this: I remember our father having strong opinions about many things.
The Best Paper Writing Service. We provide essay help by creating highly customized papers for you. Our writers do not borrow content and always work hard to guarantee 100% unique texts. In addition, they complete extensive research and investigations on the topic. We never write two identical papers - everything is unique. Our skilled essay ...
How to quote in an essay? To introduce a quote in an essay, don't forget to include author's last name and page number (MLA) or author, date, and page number (APA) in your citation. Shown below are some possible ways to introduce quotations. The examples use MLA format. 1. Use a full sentence followed by a colon to introduce a quotation. Examples:
Within a literary analysis, your purpose is to develop an argument about what the author of the text is doing—how the text "works.". You use quotations to support this argument. This involves selecting, presenting, and discussing material from the text in order to "prove" your point—to make your case—in much the same way a lawyer ...
For a short quote, you need to write a lead-in phrase. It should contain the name of the source (the title of the source and the name of the author). Also, it needs a transition word or phrase like "according to." Insert the quote, put it in quotation marks, and add the reference to your bibliography list.
When writing a full citation that mentions an article or book chapter, simply write the title with neither quotation marks nor italics. However, if the same title is written within the text (or in a copyright attribution), use quotation marks. Quotations marks in titles for Chicago In general, Chicago style follows the list above.
Example 1: Sample essay introduction for a book In the Essay on the Novel: The Color Purple by Alice Walkerthe writer digests the book to help readers understand it better. ... Then, this approach helps readers to understand the significance of quotes in strengthening essays. Besides, a satisfactory explanation enhances the clarity and ...
To write a good book title in essay, you should follow these steps: Write it at the beginning of your sentence. Capitalize it just like any other noun or proper noun. Put a comma after the title, unless it's an introductory clause or phrase.
Short quotes are less than four lines (for prose) or less than three lines (for poetry) long. Such quotes are written in quotation marks and followed or preceded by the author's name. In case the author's name is placed after the quote, you have to write it in parentheses. Don't write "p." or "page" before page numbers.
Using quotations in an essay There are different ways to use a quotation in an essay. For example, you could embed a quotation into your sentence or separate the quotation with a colon after...
1. Select your Quote Wisely (If you get to choose the Quote!) Okay, so sometimes you're asked to choose a quote and write an essay about it. Other times your teacher gives you the quote and you have to write about the quote they choose. Step 1 is for everyone who gets to select their own quote.