A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Chapter 5. Quoting Passages Using MLA Style

Based on MLA Handbook 7th Edition 2009
To: Quoting Passages Using MLA Style 6th ed. 2003

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1. How to Format a Research Paper in MLA Style, 7th ed
2. How to Format a Research Paper in MLA Style, 6th ed
3. Quoting Passages Using MLA Style, 7th ed.
4. Quoting Passages Using MLA Style, 6th ed.
5. Content Notes and Bibliographic Notes in MLA Style, 7th ed
6. How to Write Footnotes and Endnotes in MLA Style, 6th ed.
7. Footnotes and Endnotes - Examples in MLA Style, 6th ed.
8. Footnotes in MLA Style, 6th ed. - Sample Page
9. Endnotes in MLA Style, 6th ed. - Sample Page
10. How to Write Parenthetical Documentation in MLA Style, 7th ed.
11. How to Write Parenthetical Documentation in MLA Style, 6th ed.
12. Parenthetical Documentation in MLA Style, 7th ed. Sample Page
13. Parenthetical Documentation in MLA Style, 6th ed. Sample Page
14. Works Cited, References, and Bibliography: What's the Difference? MLA Style, 7th ed.
15. Works Cited, References, and Bibliography: What's the Difference? MLA Style, 6th ed.
16. Guidelines on Writing a Bibliography or Works Cited Page in MLA Style, 7th ed
17. Guidelines on Writing a Bibliography or Works Cited Page in MLA Style, 6th ed.
18. How to Write a Bibliography or Works Cited Page - Examples in MLA Style, 7th ed.
19. How to Write a Bibliography or Works Cited Page - Examples in MLA Style, 6th ed.
20. Works Cited in MLA Style, 7th ed. - Sample Page
21. Works Cited in MLA Style, 6th ed. - Sample Page
22. Research, Writing, and Style Guides (MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard, CGOS, CBE)


For a detailed treatment on quoting poetry or prose, please use the official:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: MLA, 2009. Print.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 7th Edition

or MLA Handbook, 6th ed.:

MLA Handbook, 6th ed.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: MLA, 2003. Print.

This Webpage provides only simple illustrations for a few common quotations. For the different placements of sentence periods under varying circumstances, please see sections 3.7.2. Prose, 3.7.3. Poetry, 3.7.4. Drama, 3.7.5. Ellipsis, and 6.3 Readability in the MLA Handbook, 6th ed.


1. If there is an obvious error in the quoted passage, add (sic) (Latin meaning "thus" or "so") after the quotation containing the error, e.g., "The theraputic remarks upset the patient immensely" (sic). (Morley 24).

2. To emphasize a word or a passage you may italicize it, but you must add (emphasis added) in parentheses after the word or passage emphasized, e.g., "My job is the best job there is" (emphasis added) (Gates 147).

For more information on Alteration of Sources, please see MLA Handbook, 7th ed. (ch. 3.7.6).

3. To quote 1 or 2 lines of verse, poem, or poetry, you may use a back slash (/) to mark the end of the first line, e.g., In "Logan Braes," John Mayne writes: "Revered by friends, and far frae faes, / We'd live in bliss on Logan Braes" (363).

4. If you are quoting 3 or more lines of verse but want to omit one or more full lines, indicate the omission by a single line of spaced periods approximately the same length as a completed line of the quoted poem, e.g.,

Who has seen the wind?
      Neither I nor you
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
But when the trees bow down their heads,
      The wind is passing by. (31)

5. To quote 4 or less lines of prose, you can include the passage within quotation marks as part of your text, e.g. Dick Oliver concludes that "all communication industries . . . are moving rapidly toward exclusively digital technology" (24).

6. To quote 5 or more lines of prose, or 3 or more lines of verse, begin on a new line, set the quoted passage off from the text of your essay by indenting 1" (2.5 cm) or about 10 spaces from the left margin, double-space between lines, without using quotation marks.

Example:

                  In their Introduction to Computer Science with C++, Lambert, Nance, and Naps stress that:

                  The key to writing a successful program is planning. Good programs

                  do not just happen: they are the result of careful design and patience . . .

                  Writing a program is like writing an essay: An overall theme is envisioned,

                  an outline of major ideas is developed, each major idea is subdivided into

                  several parts, and each part is developed using individual sentences (15).

7. To omit part of a quoted passage, you need to indicate the omission by the use of 3 spaced periods, e.g., "The local politicians believe welfare . . . should all be paid for through income taxes" (Stewart 1).

8. If your omission is at the end of the sentence, i.e. with an ellipsis at the end, there will be a total of 4 periods (use 3 spaced periods for the omitted material and place the 4th period after the final parenthesis), e.g., "Africa is more than warlords and tyrants . . ." (De Villiers and Hirtle 15).

For more information on Ellipsis (omission of a word or phrase), please see MLA Handbook, 7th ed. (ch. 3.7.5).

9. To add a word or a remark to a quotation, or to replace a word or remark inside the quotation, you must place your word or remark in square brackets [ ], not parentheses ( ), e.g., "The child [Adam] was left miserably abandoned" (Price 206).

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