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Introducing and referencing quotes

Introducing and referencing quotes

Author: Ben Creagh
  1.   Explain how to introduce and reference short quotes in MLA style.

  2.   Explain how to introduce and reference longer block quotes in MLA style.

  3. Explain how to introduce and reference short quotes in APA style.

  4.   Explain how to introduce and reference longer block quotes in APA style.

This packet should help a learner seeking to understand English documentation and who is confused about how to incorporate quotes. It will explain the different formatting for short and long quotes in both MLA and APA styles.

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Why Use MLA or APA Citation?

MLA and APA are two styles of citation allowing you to take information from published sources, give them credit and use it to support your thesis. 

In both styles the author and year of publication will appear.  However there are slight differences in the formatting.


Source: Ben Creagh

MLA Citation Demo

Here we take a quote and put together a sample sentence, then create the works cited page.

Using a Long Quote with MLA Formatting

If you are quoting something that has more than four lines, a block quote is necessary, and the actual quoted material will not have quotation marks(") around the text.

The quote will begin on an entirely new line, one inch from the left margin, and should keep with the spacing of the rest of the paper.

The parenthetical citation(Ex (Heller 17)) should come after the final punctuation mark of the quote.



The colonel was painted in a non-traditional manner as her was described early in the tale:

The colonel was in Communications, and he was kept busy day and night transmitting glutinous messages from the interior into the square pads of gauze which he sealed meticulously and delivered to a covered white pail that stood on the night table beside his bed. The colonel was gorgeous. (Heller 17)


After the citation, continue writing with normal indentation and formatting.

Other circumstances

When citing long sets of poetry, maintain the author's formatting as close as possible:



Bob Dylan often used his lyrics to appeal to many different levels beyond his personal thoughts as shown in his "Shelter From The Storm" lyrics:

I was in another lifetime one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness a creature void of form
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm". (Dylan)


APA Citation

Short Quotation

If using APA citation, the author, year of publication and page number all need to be included in the reference.

One way to use APA formatting is to incorporate the author into the text by introducion. 

Here's an example:

As Ben Creagh (2011), an avid nordic skier stated, "the more preparation done before the snow flies, the better the season will be" (p. 2).

Another way to write this if the author is not named in the statement, is to place the author, year of publication, and page number in the parenthetical statement.

He commented, "the more preparation done before the snow flies, the better the season will be" (Creagh, 2011, p. 2), and prepartion can be in the form of many excersise.

Key points

Notice the page number is indicated by a "p."

The final punctuation occurs after the parenthetical citation as in:  (p. 210).


Long Quotation

If looking to put a direct quote that is longer than 40 words, then a different structure is needed. 

The quotation should begin on a new line.

It should be indented 1/2 inch from the left margin(which is where a normally place indentation is found)

The parenthetical citation will come after the final punctuation mark.


Ben Creagh's (2011) reflection on the team's ski season focused on training:

We knew going into the season that training in the summer months would help us when the season finally arrived, but we were quite surprised by the amount of gains we saw with our skiers immediately from the first race.  It just goes to show that the more preparation done before the snow flies, the better the season will be whether it's rollerskiing, biking, running, or swimming. (p. 2)

Key Points:

Final punctuation occurs before the parenthetical citation.