Inserting a Long Direct Quotation
First, the rules
- A “long quotation” is
- Four or more lines of prose or three or more lines of poetry (MLA)
- Forty or more words (APA)
- The long direct quotation is typed as a separate paragraph, indented ½" from the left body of the paper.
- The first line of the quote does not get an extra indent.
- No quotation marks are used around the long indented quote.
- The parenthetical citation goes outside the final punctuation—because it is not part of what your source said.
How to do it
First, type your paper and make the long quotation a separate paragraph. It is probably best to type the paragraph that follows your quotation, then highlight your quote and do this:
- Apple Pages:
- Open the format menu by clicking the format paintbrush on the right hand menu.
- Click on Layout in the menu.
- Under indents, change both first and left to 0.5 in.
- Microsoft Word (online version):
- Click the “Home” menu and choose “More Options.” It’s a box with three dots on the right: | … |
- Click “Paragraph Options…”
- Under Indentation choose
- Before text: 0.5"
- After text: 0"
- Special: (none)
- Google Docs:
- Drop the “Format” menu down. Choose “Align & Indent.”
- Choose “Indentation options.”
- Left: 0.5"
- Right: 0
- Special indent: None
If you have more than a couple of these in a brief paper, you should really ask yourself why—are you simply padding the paper out?
Check very carefully for errors of spelling and copying. If you are working from an online source, copying and pasting is the most secure because a direct quotation is the exact words of the source.
The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Ashland University.
Revised 11/23/21 • Page author: Curtis Allen • e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.