How to Cite a Quotation

Introducing Your Quotation

A quotation should never be a sentence by itself.

Some options for introducing your quotation:

1. Tell the reader who is saying/writing the quotation.

Atticus asks, “‘Do you really think so?’” (195).

Lee writes, “There was a murmur among the group of men, made more ominous when Atticus moved back to the bottom front step and the men drew nearer to him” (195).

2. Set the scene.

While Scout and Jem watch their father guard the jailhouse door, “Shadows became substance as lights revealed solid shapes moving toward the jail door” (202).

When Scout charges into the group of men, she “discovered that these men were strangers.  They were not the people [she] saw last night” (203).

Citing Your Quotation

Cite a quotation with the page number in parentheses after the quotation.  Notice that the page number is outside the quotation marks but before the period.  Also notice that “page” and “pg” don’t appear anywhere.

The author writes, “Quotation” (78).

If a quotation ends with ? or !, leave it inside the quotation marks.  Still end your sentence with a period.

Someone asks, “Question?” (40).
Someone shouts, “Exclamation!” (40).

Use single quotes for dialogue within your quotation.

Lee writes, “Jem and I went to the front door, but Atticus called, ‘Go back in the house'” (193).

Use [ ] to change pronouns or other words in the quotation, often for clarification.

Original: “Four Negroes rose and gave us their front-row seats” (219).

My quotation: When Scout and Jem enter the balcony, “Four Negroes rose and gave [them] their front-row seats” (219).

Original: “He did a fair job, only one spring and two pieces left over” (81).

My quotation: Scout comments that “[Jem] did a fair job, only one spring and two pieces left over.”

Use . . . to leave out words

Original:

“As Atticus’s fists went to his hips, so did Jem’s, and as they faced each other I could see little resemblance between them: Jem’s soft brown hair and eyes, his oval face and snug-fitting ears were our mother’s, contrasting oddly with Atticus’s graying black hair and square-cut features, but they were somehow alike” (203).

My quotation:

“As Atticus’s fists went to his hips, so did Jem’s, and as they faced each other I could see little resemblance between them . . . but they were somehow alike” (203).

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One thought on “How to Cite a Quotation

  1. Pingback: American Literature Character Essay « Miss Roberts BHS

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