How to Cite a Quote of More Than Four Lines

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Using block quotes add an air of authority to your paper,but too many can cause the reader to question your credibility. Block quotes should be used sparingly and formatted correctly. Social sciences employ the American Psychological Association or APA citation style. Humanities use the Modern Language Association or MLA style. In APA style, quotes of 40 words or more must be placed in a separate block of text without quotation marks. In MLA style, quotes of four lines or more must be formatted into in a separate block of text without quotation marks. Both styles should be double-spaced unless otherwise indicated by your professor.

APA Format

  • Type an introductory phrase with the author's last name followed by the year in parentheses. End the introductory phrase with a colon. For example, "Doe (2011) noted:" without the quotation marks.

  • Press "Enter" to start a new paragraph and type the exact quote. Do not add quotation marks.

  • Indent the quotation a half inch from the left margin. There are several ways to indent your material. Highlight the entire text of the quote then move the indent markers on the horizontal ruler over to the half inch mark five spaces before "1" or click the "Increase Indent" icon once. You may also place the cursor in front of each line in the quote and press the tab key once.

  • End the quotation with the appropriate punctuation mark followed by "p." and the page number all in parentheses.

MLA Format

  • Press "Enter" to start a new paragraph.

  • Type the material you want to quote in your paper without quotation marks. Do not change the spacing of your quote unless instructed to do so by your professor.

  • Indent the entire quotation 1 inch from the left margin. There are several ways to indent your material. Highlight the entire text of the quote then move the indent markers on the horizontal ruler over to the "1" or click the "Increase Indent" icon twice. You may also place the cursor in front of each line in the quote and press the tab key twice. Indent only the first line a half inch when citing more than one paragraph in your paper.

  • Close the quote with the appropriate punctuation mark and add the author's last name and page number in parenthetical citation. If the author and title are included in an introductory phrase preceding the quote, add the page number in a parenthesis after the closing punctuation mark.

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