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Formatting quotations

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How to format quotations in MLA style

How to format quotations in MLA style

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  • 1. Formatting Quotations By Maiana Minahal Laney College, Oakland CA
  • 2. Properly cite the author and page number of your quotation
    • After each quotation you use, include an MLA style parenthetical citation: the author’s last name, a space, then the page number of the quotation, all in parentheses.
    • Example: (Williams 289)
    • This example means that the exact quote in parentheses can be found on page 289 of the book written by the author with the last name Williams.
  • 3. Use the correct number of quotation marks
    • Remember: quotation marks always come in pairs.
    • If you quote lines that are not in quotation marks in the book, then you only have to use a pair of double quotation marks. “ “
    • If you quote lines that are in quotation marks in the book, then you have to use a pair of single quotation marks inside a pair of double quotation marks. “‘ ’”
  • 4.
    • Note: Always introduce quotations with your own words. Don’t just put an entire quoted sentence in your essay without any of your own words in the sentence.
  • 5. Formatting quotations with a speaking verb ( says, states, proclaims, demands, etc )
    • Quotation at the end of a sentence example:
    • In prison, Tookie Williams tells counselor Hammond, “‘I’ve undergone a personal transformation’” (Williams 289).
    • Quotation at the beginning of a sentence example:
    • “‘I’ve undergone a personal transformation,’” Tookie Williams tells counselor Hammond in prison (Williams 289).
  • 6. Formatting quotations with a speaking verb ( says, states, proclaims, demands, etc )
    • Quotation divided by your own words example:
    • “‘ I’ve undergone,’” Tookie Williams tells counselor Hammond, “‘a personal transformation’” (Williams 289).
    • Quotation in the middle of a sentence example:
    • After Tookie Williams tells counselor Hammond, “‘I’ve undergone a personal transformation’” (Williams 289), Barbara Becnel helps Tookie get transferred to a different part of the prison.
  • 7. Formatting a quotation without a speaking verb before the quote
    • After getting to know her better, Tookie Williams “marveled at Barbara’s trustworthiness and her dedication to follow through in a pinch” (Williams 291).
  • 8. Formatting a quotation that is introduced by an entire sentence
    • Use a colon and quotation marks.
    • Example: Tookie Williams is impressed by Barbara Becnel’s integrity: “I marveled at Barbara’s trustworthiness and her dedication to follow through in a pinch” (Williams 291).
  • 9. Omitting words
    • If you decide to leave out words or phrases from a quoted sentence, use an ellipsis (…).
    • Example: Tookie Williams is impressed by Barbara Becnel’s integrity: “… I found myself trusting this woman … I marveled at Barbara’s trustworthiness and her dedication …” (Williams 291).
  • 10. Adding or changing words (or letters of words)
    • If you need to add or change words (or letters of words) in order to make a pronoun or verb tense consistent, then use a pair of brackets, [ ].
    • Example: Tookie Williams is impressed by Barbara Becnel’s integrity: “I marveled at [her] trustworthiness …” (Williams 291).

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