How to Format a Block Quote

Four Methods:Sample QuotesUsing MLA StyleUsing APA StyleUsing CMS

Block quotes are designed to set apart lengthy quoted material to make it easier to read. Block quotes should be formatted according to the style manual you're using to write your paper, whether it's The Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), or the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). Read on to learn more about how to format a block quote.

Sample Quotes

Sample Block Quotes

Method 1
Using MLA Style

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    Use a block quote if the text is 4 lines or longer. For fewer than 4 lines, do not use a block quote, but instead follow the usual rules on quotation marks and punctuation. If you're quoting verse, you may use a block quote for verse 3 lines or longer.[1]
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    Place a colon after the text that immediately precedes the block quote. This sets up the block quote and helps to introduce the material.
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    Start the block quote on a new line. Create a new paragraph when you make a block quote.
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    Maintain double spacing. Don't single space the block quote.[2]
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    Don't use quote marks around the block quote. Since you're setting it apart from the main text with special formatting, there's no need to use quote marks as well.
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    Indent the block quote to 1 inch (2.5 cm). Highlight the block quote and use your toolbar to shift the indentation to the equivalent of 1 inch (2.5 cm), which is a larger indent than that used for a regular paragraph.
    • If you are using Microsoft Word, Wordpad or other word processors, you may go to Format on the pulldown menu at the top and click on Paragraph. Change the left indent from 0" to 1".
    • If the block quote includes more than one paragraph, each new paragraph should be indented .25 inch (0.6 cm).
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    Include a parenthetical citation after the closing punctuation. This means the reference you cite should come after the last period or question mark of the quote.
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    Format the next paragraph without an indent. When the block quote is complete, go back to the pulldown menu and click on Format, then Paragraph. Change the left indentation back from 1" to 0" and continue typing with the regular left margin.

Method 2
Using APA Style

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    Use a block quote for a quotation 40 words or longer.[3]
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    Place a colon after the text that immediately precedes the block quote.
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    Start the block quote on its own line.
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    Do not use quote marks around the block quote.
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    Indent the block quote to .5 inch (1.3 cm). This is the same as a regular paragraph tab.
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    Double-space the block quote.
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    Include a parenthetical citation after the closing punctuation. This means the reference you cite should come after the last period or question mark of the quote.
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    Start the next paragraph on its own line. It should not have an indentation.[4]

Method 3
Using CMS

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    Use a block quote for a quotation five sentences or longer.
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    Place a colon after the text that immediately precedes the block quote.
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    Start the block quotation on its own line.
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    Do not use quote marks around the block quote.
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    Indent the block quote to .5 inch (1.3 cm). This is the same as a regular paragraph tab.[5]
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    Single-space the block quote. This sets the CMS block quote style apart from the others.
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    Include a parenthetical citation after the closing punctuation.
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    Start the next paragraph on its own line. Return to double spacing for the new paragraph.

Tips

  • It is not possible to make the block quote flush right in some Internet documents. Flush right is the style for the MLA, which provides protocols for formatting academic papers and essays.
  • Do not put quotation marks around text in block quotes.

Article Info

Categories: Learning Techniques and Student Skills