Quotation Format Techniques

5 Quotation Format Techniques

  • Tagging
  • Blending
  • Modifying
  • Omitting
  • Block quoting



  • Rules:
    • Comma after the tag
    • Capital letter to start the quotation
  • Examples:
  • Kingsnorth said, “But religions do not own the sacred.”
  • The author argues, “Serial killing is glam killing” (Klosterman).



  • Rules:
    • No comma after the tag
    • No capital letter to start the quotation
  • Examples:
  • A skilled writer must first “see a choice wherever there is one” (Barzun 11).
  • Klosterman wonders whether displaying Gacy’s paintings “perpetuates the gothic glamour of mass murder.”



  • Rules:
    • Brackets around changes
    • Parenthetical explanations as needed
  • Examples:
  • Lovecraft said, “The appeal of the spectrally macabre [in literature] is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from everyday life.”
  • There are valid criticisms of de-extinction, but Kingsnorth cares “about the invalid criticisms” (emphasis added).
  • “[T]he invalid criticisms” of de-extinction interest Kingsnorth the most.



  • Rules:
    • Ellipsis marks (…) for what you skip over (space on either side)
    • Not needed for obvious omissions before and after quotations
    • Period plus ellipses when needed (four dots)
  • Examples:
  • Orwell says, “The wretched prisoners … oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt.”
  • “I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. … I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear” (Orwell).


Block Quoting

  • Rules:
    • For more than four lines
    • No quotation marks
    • Parenthetical outside the period
    • Indent all lines
    • Example:



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The Writing Textbook by Josh Woods, editor and contributor, as well as an unnamed author (by request from the original publisher), and other authors named separately is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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