MLA Formatting Quotations: A Guide to Properly Citing Quotes in MLA Format

MLA Formatting Quotations: A Guide to Properly Citing Quotes in MLA Format

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on MLA formatting quotations! In this article, we will walk you through the correct way to cite quotes in MLA format without any confusion. Whether you are quoting lines from a poem, an essay, or a book, we have got you covered.

MLA format, also known as Modern Language Association format, is widely used in academic writing, particularly in the fields of literature and language. This formatting style provides guidelines for citing sources, including how to properly quote texts. It is important to follow these guidelines consistently to ensure accurate and clear citation.



In MLA format, when you are quoting lines of poetry or prose, you need to pay close attention to the structure of the original text to cite it correctly. Whether the quote occurs within a sentence or as a standalone paragraph, there are specific rules to follow. This article will explain how to format and cite quotations, whether they are within the body of your own writing or listed in a works cited page.

You may be wondering how to cite quotes that are already quoted in the text you are referencing. This is known as an indirect or secondary quotation. When quoting from a source that quotes another source, you should indicate this by using the abbreviation “qtd. in” (short for “quoted in”) followed by the author’s last name and the page number of the original source. This ensures that proper credit is given to both authors.

Overview of MLA Formatting Quotations

Quoting Single Lines of Poetry or a Poem

If you are quoting a single line of poetry or a short poem, enclose the quoted text in quotation marks within your paragraph. For example:

“O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!” (Shakespeare 2.3.73)



Note that the author’s name is followed by the act, scene, and line numbers of the play. If you are quoting more than one line of poetry, separate the lines with a slash (/) and indicate line breaks with a space forward slash ( / ). For example:

“The men in green all forsook I ween,

And the women seem’d to dream



Of the shadows in the moonlight that shine,

Sweet virgins, make answer to mine.” (Keats 2–3)

Quoting Multiple Lines of Poetry or a Block Quotation

If you are quoting multiple lines of poetry or a longer quotation, set the quoted text as a block, indented 1 inch from the left margin. Do not enclose the block quotation in quotation marks. For example:

In the poem “Medusa,” the poet describes…

“…And still she sits, young while the earth is old,

And, subtly of herself contemplative,

Draws men to watch the bright net she can weave,

Till heart and body and life are in its hold.” (Smith 4+

Referencing Quoted Material

When citing a quotation within the same paragraph where the quote is mentioned, you do not need to include the author’s name again in the citation. Simply provide the page number(s) in parentheses after the quotation. For example:

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In his book on urban legends, Brunvand states that “some individuals make a point of learning every recent rumor or tale… and in a short time a lively exchange of details occurs” (78).

If the quote is cited in a subsequent paragraph, however, you need to include the author’s name again in the citation. For example:

Brunvand’s research found that “some individuals make a point of learning every recent rumor or tale… and in a short time a lively exchange of details occurs” (78).

Formatting Quotations from Online Sources

When quoting from online sources such as a website or an online book, use the same format as for printed sources, but include the URL at the end of the citation. For example:

“This is a quote from an online article” (Author). Website Title, Publisher, Date, URL.

Citing Quotations from Anthology or Poetry Collection

If you are citing a quotation from an anthology or poetry collection, include the author’s name, the title of the poem in quotation marks, the title of the book or anthology in italics, the editor’s name (if applicable), the edition (if specified), the publisher, and the publication year. For example:

Smith, John. “Medusa.” A Collection of Poems, edited by Jane Brown, 2nd ed., Penguin, 2015, pp. 10-15.

These are just a few examples of how to correctly format and cite quotations in MLA style. If you have any more questions about MLA formatting or need further guidance, refer to the official MLA guide or consult with your instructor. Remember that formatting quotations is an important aspect of academic writing, so make sure to get it right!

Understanding Proper Citation of Quotes in MLA Format

Quoting in MLA Format

When quoting a source in MLA format, the citation should include the author’s last name and the page number(s) where the quote can be found. For example, a quote from a book written by David Brunvand would be cited as follows: (Brunvand 4+). If the source does not have page numbers, such as an online article or website, you can use the paragraph number or section heading instead.

For shorter quotes that are less than four lines, you can incorporate them directly into your paragraph and enclose them in double quotation marks. However, for longer quotes that are four lines or more, you should create a block quote by starting a new line and indenting the entire quote one inch from the left margin. No quotation marks are needed for block quotes.

Citing Works with Multiple Authors

If the source has two authors, include both last names in the citation, separated by the word “and.” For example: (Smith and Johnson 45). If the source has more than two authors, use the last name of the first author followed by “et al.” For example: (Johnson et al. 56).

Citing Poems and Anthologies

When citing a poem, the format differs slightly. Include the author’s name, the title of the poem (in quotation marks), the title of the book or anthology (in italics), the editor’s name (if applicable), the edition (if specified), the publisher, the year, and the page numbers. For example: (Frost “Stopping by Woods” 45).

Referencing Online Sources

When citing online sources, include the author’s name (if available), the title of the webpage or article, the title of the website or online publication, the version or edition if specified, the publisher or sponsor of the site, the date of publication or last update, the URL, and the date of access. For example: (Smith, “MLA Formatting” MLA Style Center).

Learning More

TermDefinition
MLAModern Language Association, a citation style used in humanities fields
CitationA reference to a source used in a written work
QuotingUsing the exact words from a source in your own writing
Works CitedA list of sources cited in your work, placed at the end of the document
Block QuoteA quote that is four lines or more, indented and set apart from the main text

By understanding the proper structure and formatting of citations in MLA format, you can ensure that your work is accurately referenced and avoids plagiarism. Always refer to the MLA guidelines for specific citation rules based on the type of source you are citing, and welcome feedback from your instructors to improve your citation skills.

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Importance of Citing Quotes in MLA Format

MLA format, or Modern Language Association format, is a widely used citation style in the humanities. It provides a consistent and standardized way to document sources and give credit to authors. By following the MLA guidelines for quoting, you show that you respect the intellectual property of others and that you have conducted thorough research.

In MLA format, quotes are usually introduced with a signal phrase and enclosed in double quotation marks. The author’s last name and the page number of the source should be included in parentheses at the end of the quote. For example: “In her book ‘Medusa’s Gaze and the Stone of Philosophy,’ Martha K. Sims explores the myth of Medusa and its significance in society” (Sims 42).

MLA formatting guidelines require a list of works cited at the end of the document, where all the sources used in the essay or research paper are listed. Each entry in the list should be formatted according to MLA guidelines, including the author’s name, the title of the work, the publisher, and the publication date. For example:

Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Study of American Folklore. W.W. Norton, 1986.

Throughout your essay, you may need to cite quotes from multiple sources, such as books, poems, or anthologies. In such cases, you need to ensure that the citations are correctly formatted and consistently follow the MLA guidelines. If you have any questions, the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a reliable and free resource that provides examples and explanations for proper MLA formatting.

Using MLA format to cite quotes also helps you to avoid plagiarism, which is a serious offense in academic writing. Plagiarism occurs when you use someone else’s words or ideas without giving proper credit. By properly citing quotes in MLA format, you clearly differentiate between your own words and someone else’s, ensuring that you are respecting the original author’s voice.

Steps to Setting Up a Quote in MLA Format

Step 1: Introduce the Quote

The quote should be introduced in your own words before it appears in the text. This serves to provide context for the quote and helps the reader understand its relevance to your argument or discussion.

Step 2: Use Quotation Marks

Place quotation marks around the quoted text to indicate that it comes directly from the source. Single quotation marks (‘ ‘) are used for quotations within quotations.

Step 3: Include the Author’s Name

Immediately after the quote, include the author’s last name and page number in parentheses. For example: (Smith 123). If the author’s name is already mentioned in the sentence, you can simply include the page number in parentheses after the quote.

Step 4: Cite the Source

At the end of your essay or research paper, include a Works Cited page that lists all the sources referenced in your paper. Each source should be formatted according to MLA guidelines, including the author’s name, title of the work, publisher, year published, and page numbers.

Step 5: Referencing Examples

When referencing examples or quotes from online sources such as websites or online articles, include the author’s name (if available), title of the article or webpage, publication date (if available), and the URL. If the source is from an online database, include the name of the database and the accession number.

Step 6: Citing Poems and Anthologies

When quoting a poem, include the line numbers instead of the page number in parentheses. For example: (Keats lines 2–3). If quoting from an anthology, include the author’s name, poem title, anthology title, editor’s name (if applicable), publisher, year, and page numbers.

Step 7: Formatting In-Text Citations

In MLA format, in-text citations are placed within the sentence that contains the quote. The citation is enclosed in parentheses and includes the author’s last name and page number. If there are multiple authors, list all their last names separated by commas. If the source has no author, use a shortened version of the title in the citation.

Source TypeFormat
BookLast Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Year Published.
WebsiteLast Name, First Name. “Title of Webpage.” Title of Website, Publisher, Publication Date, URL.
Journal ArticleLast Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Year of Publication, pp. Page Numbers.
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By following these steps and referencing the examples provided, you can ensure that your quotes are properly cited in MLA format. Remember to always use accurate and original citations, and ask for feedback or clarification if you have any questions. Happy citing!

Tips for Properly Formatting Quotations in MLA Style

Setting the Stage

In MLA style, quotations are typically set off from the rest of the text in a block. This means that the quoted text appears in a separate paragraph, indented 1 inch from the left margin. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if the quotation is less than 4 lines of text, it can be incorporated into your own paragraph without indentation.

In-Text Citations

When including a quotation in your paper, it is important to provide an in-text citation to reference the original source. In MLA style, this is done by including the author’s last name and the page number(s) where the quotation occurs within parentheses at the end of the sentence. For example: (Brunvand 42).

Citing Quoted Material from Different Sources

If you are quoting material from multiple sources in the same paragraph, you can use a single in-text citation at the end of the paragraph. When citing a source with multiple authors, list all of the authors’ last names in the citation. For example: (Smith, Johnson, and Williams 74).

Referencing Quotations from Anthologies or Websites

If the quotation you are using comes from an anthology or a website with numbered pages, you should include the page number(s) in your in-text citation. For example: (Medusa 28).

Styling Quotations with More Than Four Lines of Text

If your quotation is longer than four lines of text, you should create a block quotation. In MLA style, block quotations should be indented 1 inch from the left margin and do not require quotation marks. The in-text citation should appear after the final punctuation mark. For example:

This is an example of a block quotation. It is indented 1 inch from the left margin and does not use quotation marks. The in-text citation appears after the final punctuation mark.

Additional Formatting Tips

Here are a few additional tips to help you properly format your quotations in MLA style:

  1. Make sure to use double quotation marks around the quoted material.
  2. Use a slash (/) to indicate line breaks in poetry or plays.
  3. Italicize the titles of books, websites, and other published works.
  4. Include the full citation for the source in your list of Works Cited.

Remember, proper formatting of quotations is important for both the readability of your paper and for giving credit to the original authors. If you have any questions or need feedback, feel free to ask your instructor or refer to the MLA handbook for further guidance.

FAQ

How do I cite a short quote in MLA format?

To cite a short quote in MLA format, enclose the quote within double quotation marks and include the author’s last name and the page number of the source in parentheses after the quote. For example, if you are quoting a sentence from a book by John Smith on page 15, the citation would look like this: “This is a short quote” (Smith 15).

How do I cite a quote from a website in MLA format if there is no page number?

If there is no page number available for a quote from a website, you can use a section heading or paragraph number instead. Simply include the author’s last name and the section heading or paragraph number in parentheses after the quote. For example: “This is a quote from a website” (Smith, section 2).

Do I need to include the author’s name in the citation if I have already mentioned it in the text?

If you have already mentioned the author’s name in the text, you do not need to include it again in the citation. Simply include the page number of the source in parentheses after the quote. For example, if you have mentioned John Smith as the author in your sentence, the citation would look like this: “This is a quote” (15).

How do I cite a quote from a source with multiple authors in MLA format?

If a source has two authors, include both authors’ last names in the citation, separated by the word “and.” If a source has three or more authors, include the first author’s last name followed by et al. For example, if you are quoting a sentence from a book by John Smith and Jane Doe, the citation would look like this: “This is a quote” (Smith and Doe 25). If the book has more than three authors, the citation would look like this: “This is a quote” (Smith et al. 25).

How do I properly cite a quotation in MLA format?

To properly cite a quotation in MLA format, you need to include the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence where the quotation is used. For example, if you are quoting a passage from a book written by John Smith and the quote is on page 50, you would write (Smith 50) at the end of the sentence.

What do I do if the quotation is longer than four lines?

If the quotation is longer than four lines, you need to use a block quotation format. This means that you should start the quotation on a new line, indent it 1 inch from the left margin, and the entire quotation should be double-spaced. You should not use quotation marks for block quotations. At the end of the quotation, you still need to include the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses.

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