Commas or colons How to cite a quote How to quote Quotation marks Quote a quote Quote within a quote Quoting dialogue Quoting poetry Travel Writing

How to Quote – Grammar & Writing Tips

How to Quote - Grammar & Writing Tips

how to quote

One of many hardest writing methods to study and keep in mind is how to quote a quote—sure, quote is a type of phrases that’s each a verb (“Can I quote you on that?”) and a noun (“I’m learning how to correctly punctuate quotes.”). There are such a lot of guidelines for quoting quotes that it may be arduous to maintain monitor of all of them. How do you “run in” a quote? What’s a block citation? When does punctuation go inside citation marks, and when ought to it’s positioned outdoors? Do quotes ever not want citation marks? What are the principles for a way to cite a quote? On this publish, we’ll reply these questions and extra, so you’ll be able to quote quotes with confidence.

How to Quote a Temporary Passage

Should you intend to quote a brief passage in your writing, you’ll need to format it as a run-in citation. Run-in quotes are all the time enclosed in citation marks, and whether or not punctuation seems inside or outdoors the citation marks will depend on the punctuation: durations and commas go contained in the citation marks, and query marks and exclamation factors that aren’t unique to the quoted materials seem outdoors the citation marks.

  • Virginia Woolf says that when studying to write, “it is impossible to read too much.”
  • Probably the most well-known strains in trendy theater is from A Streetcar Named Want, when Stanley yells, “Stella! Stella!”
  • Who was it who stated, “A stitch in time saves nine”?

how to quoteHow to Quote a Longer Passage

Longer quotes, often six to eight or extra full sentences, are referred to as block quotations. To set them off from the remainder of the textual content, it is best to start block quotations on their very own line and indent them half an inch. In contrast to run-in quotations, block quotations will not be enclosed in citation marks. When you’re questioning whether or not you must quote a quote as a run-in or block citation, an excellent rule of thumb is that if the quote is longer than 100 phrases (or multiple paragraph or stanza), you need to in all probability set it off as a block citation.

Right here’s an instance:

In his essay “Why I Write,” George Orwell describes the troublesome course of each author faces when writing a e-book:

Writing a ebook is a horrible, exhausting wrestle, like an extended bout with some painful sickness. One would by no means undertake such a factor if one weren’t pushed on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor perceive. For all one is aware of that demon is just the identical intuition that makes a child squall for consideration. And but it’s also true that one can write nothing readable until one always struggles to efface one’s personal character. Good prose is sort of a windowpane. I can’t say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, however I do know which ones deserve to be adopted.

Different Varieties of Quotes and How to Format Them

How to format run-in and block quotes is straightforward to study with follow, however throw several types of quotes into the combination, and issues get difficult once more.

Quoting poetry

Whenever you’re quoting poetry, it’s greatest to set off a quote of two or extra strains as a block citation (keep in mind that block quotations don’t take citation marks).

Billy Collins’s poem “Introduction to Poetry” begins

I ask them to take a poem

and maintain it up to the sunshine

like a colour slide.

For those who run a brief poetry citation of not more than two strains into the textual content, the quote ought to be enclosed in citation marks, and the road break must be indicated with a slash with an area on all sides.

A number of strains later, Collins’s poem continues with “I say drop a mouse into a poem / and watch him probe his way out,” an fascinating use of images to describe the expertise of learning poetry.

quote a quoteQuote inside a quote

There are totally different guidelines for quotes inside run-in quotations and quotes inside block quotations.

As a result of run-in quotes are enclosed in double citation marks, a quote inside a quote takes single citation marks.

  • The humor in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland thrives on statements of the apparent, similar to this quote from chapter 12: “‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’”

In distinction, as a result of block quotes will not be enclosed in citation marks, a quote inside a quote takes double citation marks.

  • The humor in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland thrives on statements of the apparent, akin to this passage from chapter 12:

The White Rabbit placed on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?” he requested.

“Begin at the beginning,” the King stated gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Quoting dialogue

Quoting dialogue could be tough, however because it often includes multiple paragraph, it’s greatest formatted as a block citation. When block quotations include a number of paragraphs, the paragraphs ought to retain the paragraph indents of the unique materials. As defined above, although block quotations don’t take citation marks, dialogue inside the block quote ought to be enclosed in double citation marks.

  • In Delight and Prejudice, Jane Austen successfully implies Elizabeth’s preliminary dislike for Mr. Darcy by means of conversations comparable to the next, which takes place throughout a dance:

“What think you of books?” stated he, smiling.

“Books—oh! no. I am sure we never read the same, or not with the same feelings.”

“I am sorry you think so; but if that be the case, there can at least be no want of subject. We may compare our different opinions.”

“No—I cannot talk of books in a ball-room; my head is always full of something else.”

Likewise, once you’re quoting dialogue from performs, corresponding to Shakespeare’s verse dialogue, quotes ought to be formatted equally to poetry.

Romeo’s unfailing optimism is incessantly emphasised in his conversations with Juliet.

JULIET.     O assume’st thou we will ever meet once more?

ROMEO.    I doubt it not; and all these woes shall serve

     For candy discourses in our time to come.

commas and quotesCommas or Colons?

Do you have to introduce quotes with commas or colons? As you’ve in all probability already observed in our examples, it is dependent upon the sentence’s construction.

If the introductory phrase is just not an entire sentence, use a comma earlier than the quote.

  • Firstly of Moby-Dick, the narrator says, “Call me Ishmael.”

If the quote follows an unbiased clause (an entire sentence), use a colon.

  • That is how Moby-Dick begins: “Call me Ishmael.”

If the quote matches into the sentence syntactically, don’t use a comma or a colon.

  • Within the first line of Moby-Dick, the narrator tells us to name him “Ishmael.”

Quotations and Capitalization

Comparable to utilizing commas or colons with quotes, whether or not a quote begins with a capital or lowercase letter will depend on the sentence construction, whatever the capitalization within the unique quote.

When to begin a quote with a lowercase letter

For each run-in and block quotations, when a quote features as a syntactical a part of the sentence, it ought to start with a lowercase letter.

  • In A Story of Two Cities, Dickens’s assertion that the story takes place throughout each “the best of times” and “the worst of times” establishes a theme of distinction that may seem all through the guide.

When to begin a quote with a capital letter

For each run-in and block quotations, when the quote shouldn’t be syntactically important, the primary letter could also be capitalized.

  • The opening line of Charles Dickens’s A Story of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” alerts readers to look ahead to contrasts within the e-book.

Utilizing Sq. Brackets in Quotes

When you’re making an attempt to quote a quote however it doesn’t match into the syntax of your sentence, what do you do? That is the place sq. brackets come to the rescue: they permit you to change a phrase or two to make the quote match right into a sentence.

  • Within the first line of Moby-Dick, the narrator tells us to “call [him] Ishmael.”

quotes and ellipsisQuotes and Ellipses

An ellipsis usually signifies a phrase or a number of phrases have been faraway from quoted materials. How to quote a quote utilizing ellipses is a sophisticated dialogue, and totally different fashion guides have fairly totally different guidelines. We at Elite most frequently use Chicago type once we’re modifying, in order that’s what we’ll use right here to clarify when, the place, and if ellipses ought to seem in quotes.

At the start

You must virtually by no means use an ellipsis firstly of a quote, even should you’ve eliminated the complete starting of the sentence.

On the finish

Equally, an ellipsis on the finish of a quote is never mandatory, even for those who’ve eliminated a lot of the finish of the sentence. Solely use an ellipsis is the sentence is intentionally grammatically incomplete.

Within the center

Whenever you take away phrases from the center of sentences or paragraphs, that’s once you’ll use an ellipsis.

Professional Tip! We at Elite recommend that you simply use the ellipsis character (…) quite than three spaced durations in a row ( . . . ). This ensures that your ellipsis will stay correctly formatted on any pc or in any font.

If you take away a number of phrases from the center of a sentence, use a 3-dot ellipsis; whenever you take away the top of a sentence or the start of the subsequent sentence, use a 3-dot ellipsis after a interval. The next passage is from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Nice Gatsby:

  • There was a lot to learn for one factor and a lot nice well being to be pulled down out of the younger breath-giving air. I purchased a dozen volumes on banking and credit score and funding securities they usually stood on my shelf in purple and gold like new cash from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets and techniques that solely Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew. And I had the excessive intention of studying many different books in addition to.

Right here’s how to use ellipses to shorten the above passage:

  • There was a lot to learn.…I purchased a dozen volumes…they usually stood on my shelf in pink and gold like new cash from the mint.…And I had the excessive intention of studying many different books in addition to.

In poetry

If you take away phrases in poetry, the ellipsis guidelines are a bit totally different. When you take away a couple of phrases, comply with the ellipsis tips above. For those who take away a whole line or a number of strains from a poem, use a line of extensively spaced dots roughly the identical size because the previous line. Right here’s an instance from Robert Frost’s poem “Birches”:

  •      Once I see birches bend…

Throughout the strains of straighter darker timber,

I like to assume some boy’s been swinging them.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

One might do worse than be a swinger of birches.

How to Cite a Quote

Comparable to the principles for ellipses, how to cite a quote relies upon largely on which type information you’re utilizing. So once you’re deciding how to cite a quote in your writing, you must use the quotation type that’s most related to your subject (or, for those who’re a scholar, the fashion information your instructor stipulates). No matter type information you employ, crucial factor is to cite your sources as clearly and completely as potential.

Parenthetical citations and punctuation

One facet of quotation that’s largely constant throughout quotation types is the place parenthetical citations seem in a quote. Understand that in run-in quotes, the sentence’s terminal punctuation ought to seem after the parenthetical quotation, however in block quotes, that is reversed, and the parenthetical quotation ought to seem outdoors the terminal punctuation.

Straight or Curly Quotes?

We’ve talked about every part from how to quote brief and lengthy passages to how to cite a quote to how to punctuate quotes in numerous contexts, however you’ve got yet one more punctuation choice to make: Do you have to use straight or curly quotes together with your quotations? Often, both is ok, and all we will actually say right here is that one of many keys to wonderful writing is consistency—so whichever sort of citation marks you employ, keep it up all through your piece!


As we’ve talked about all through this submit, studying how to format quotations takes apply. However when you’ve discovered the principles, you’ll give you the chance to use quotations successfully to help and make clear your writing.