Writing Center at College of San Mateo - MLA: Handling Quotations in Your Text
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MLA: Handling Quotations in Your Text
Handling Quotations in Your Text
    • Author's Name

      MLA format follows the author-page method of ciation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) fom which the quotation is taken must appear in the text, and complete reference should appear in your works-cited list (see Your Works Cited Page, below). The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence.

      Examples:

      • Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).
      • Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).
      • Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).

      For nonprint (films, TV, series, etc.) or electronic sources, try to include the name that begins the entry in the Works Cited page.

      Sometimes you may have to use an indirect quotation, that is, a quotation that you found in another source that was quoting from the original. For such indirect quotations, use "qtd in" to indicate the source:

      • Ravitch argues that high schools are pressured to act as "social service centers, and they don't do that well"

      Sometimes more information is necessary to identify the source form which a quotation is taken. For instance , if two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors' first initials (or even her or his full name is different authors share initials) in your ciation. If you cite more than one work by a particular author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it form the other works by that same person.

      Examples:

    • Two authors with the same last name:

      • Although some medical ethicists claim that cloning will lead to designer children (R. Miller 12), others note that the advantages for medical research outweigh this consideration (A. Miller 46).

    • Two works by the same author:

      • Lightenor has argued that computers are not useful tools for small children ("Too Soon" 38), though he has acknowledged that early exposure to computer games does not lead to better small motor skill development in a child's second and third year (Hand-Eye Development" 17).

    • Short Quotations

      To indicate short quotations (fewer than four typed lines of prose or three lines of verse) in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks and incorporate it into your text. Provide the author and specific page citation (in the case of verse, provide line numbers) in the text, and include a complete reference in the works-cited list.

      Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.

      Examples:

      • According to some, dreams express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184), though others disagree.
      • According to Foulke's study, dreams may express "profound aspects of personality" (184).
      • Is it possible that dreams may express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184)?
      • Cullen concludes, "of all the things that happened there / That's all I remember" (11-12).

  • Long Quotations

    Place quotations longer than four typed lines in a free standing block of typewritten lines, and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented one-inch from the left margin, and maintain double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)

    Examples:

    Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration:

    • They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and i had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent our of the house. (Bronte 78).

    In "Sources", Adrienne Rich explores the roles of women in shaping their world:

    • The faithful drudging child the child at the oak desk whose penmanship, hard work, style will win her prizes becomes the woman with a mission, not to win but to change the laws of history. (23)