Direct Quotations

Direct quotations involve incorporating another person's exact words into your own writing.

Quotation marks always come in pairs. Do not open a quotation and fail to close it at the end of the quoted material.

Capitalize the first letter of a direct quote when the quoted material is a complete sentence.

Do not use a capital letter when the quoted material is a fragment or only a piece of the original material's complete sentence.

If a direct quotation is interrupted mid-sentence, do not capitalize the second part of the quotation.

When quoting text with a spelling or grammar error, you should transcribe the error exactly in your own text. However, also insert the term sic in italics directly after the mistake, and enclose it in brackets.

Quotations are most effective if you use them sparingly and keep them relatively short. Too many quotations in a research paper will get you accused of not producing original thought or material (they may also bore a reader who wants to know primarily what YOU have to say on the subject).

If the original quote is too long and you feel not all the words are necessary in your own paper, you may omit part of the quote. Replace the missing words with an ellipsis.

If the context of your quote might be unclear, you may add a few words to provide clarity. Enclose the added material in brackets.

Use single quotation marks to enclose quotes within another quotation.

Quotation marks may additionally be used to indicate words used ironically or with some reservation.

Do not use quotation marks for words used as words themselves. In this case, you should use italics.

Use a comma to introduce a quotation after a standard dialogue tag, a brief introductory phrase, or a dependent clause. The detective said, "I am sure who performed the murder."

Put commas and periods within quotation marks, except when a parenthetical reference follows. He said, "I may forget your name, but I never forget a face."

Place colons and semicolons outside closed quotation marks.

Place a question mark or exclamation point within closing quotation marks if the punctuation applies to the quotation itself. Place the punctuation outside the closing quotation marks if the punctuation applies to the whole sentence.

Block Quotations

You should use a block quotation when the quotation extends more than four typed lines on the page. Although they are allowed in any type of writing, you will likely most often use them when quoting from fiction or literature. A block quotation is removed from the main body of your text. Indent one inch from the main margin (the equivalent of two half-inch paragraph indentations) and begin your quote. Maintain double spacing throughout, but you do not need to use quotation marks.

Quoting Poetry

Quoting Poetry: When you quote a single line of poetry, write it like any other short quotation. If the piece of poetry you are quoting crosses multiple lines of the poem itself, you may still type them in your text run together. Show the reader where the poem's line breaks fall by using slash marks. In his poem, "Mending Wall," Robert Frost writes: "Something there is that doesn't love a wall,/ that send the frozen-ground-swell under it" (42-44).

Quoting Poetry: If the quotation is three lines or longer, set it off like a block quotation (see above). Some writers prefer to set off two-line verse quotations for emphasis. Quote the poem line by line as it appears on the original page. Do not use quotation marks, and indent one inch from the left margin.

In his poem "Mending Wall," Robert Frost questions the building of barriers and walls:

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offense.

Writing Dialogue: Write each person's spoken words, however brief, as a separate paragraph. Use commas to set off dialogue tags such as "she said" or "he explained." If one person's speech goes on for more than one paragraph, use quotation marks to open the dialogue at the beginning of each paragraph. However, do not use closing quotation marks until the end of the final paragraph where that character is speaking.

Quotation Marks with Titles

• Titles of short or minor works

• Songs

• Short Stories

• Essays

• Short Poems

• One-Act Plays

• Other literary works shorter than a three act play or complete book

• Titles of sections from longer works

• Chapters in books

• Articles in newspapers, magazines, or journals

• Episodes of television and radio series

Use underlining or italics are used for the titles of long pieces or works that contain smaller sections.