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APA 6th Edition: Basics: Citing Direct Quotations

Basic examples for citing sources in APA style for undergraduates or those with little experience using APA.

Short Direct Quotes

When you quote from another source, you must ensure that your writing reads fluently and that the quotation fits in the new context. When you use a direct quote,  (a) the quote must be relevant to your argument, (b) it needs to smoothly transition between what comes first and move to what comes later, (c), it must fit logically and make grammatical sense, and (d) it should be no longer than absolutely necessary.

See APA manual (6th ed.), pp. 170-173 and APA Style Blog

A short direct quotation (less than 40 words) is inserted directly into the text without separating it from the rest of the paragraph. The exact words of the author needs opening and closing quotation marks without separating the quote from the rest of the paragraph as is done with longer block quotes. Last but not least, you must include the page number or other information with the section and paragraph numbers for electronic sources that is not paginated. Be sure to include the exact spelling and interior punctuation of the borrowed words.  The author, year of publication, and page number(s) or paragraph number for non-paginated materials are always included in the text and a reference citation is included in the reference list. See APA manual (6th ed.),  pp. 170-172.

       McPherson (2007) coined the phrase “goblet of motivation” (p. 71).

• Keep the author and year of publication together.
• Use quotation marks to identify the exact words of the author.
• Include the page number in parentheses immediately after the direct quote.
• Place the period after the parentheses.

- Author and quote together

Students needed "parental permission” (Abbott, 2005, p. 25).

The research found that the training built "sequentially and developmentally" (Jones & Ifill, 2010, Conclusions section, para. 6).

- Author and quote separated

Yi (2004) stated that the “IL Model needed to be implemented” (p. 34).

 Lee (2007) stated, “The data is unreliable” (Methods section, para. 4). 

Jonasen (2010) coined the term "frankenreference" (p. 22) to refer to scary reference citations.

Bischoff (2009) used the concept of "fair use" (Encyclopedia Britanicca, p. 3250) in the context of the new geopolitical order. 

Ex.: E-book reader See APA Style Blog

    According to Freud (1900/2004), "Dreams can be interpreted" (Chapter 2, Section 6, para. 7).

Ex.: Article retrieved online See APA (6th ed.), p. 173, section 6.05

   The author coined the phrase "goblet of motivation" (Macias, 2008, para. 22).

Ex.: Article that has section headings retrieved online

   The research concluded that "the charges were unfounded" (McKay, 2009, Conclusion, para. 3).

Citations embedded in quotes  See APA (6th ed.), p. 173, section 6.09
Do not deleted citations embedded in cited materials.

Examples of Long, Block Quotes

Block Quotes –  Block quotes are used when there are 40 or more words when the author's exact words are being provided word for word.

Here is an example of an essay paragraph which has a long direct quote with 40 or more words inserted as a block quote:

Students at Nova Southeastern University have faced challenges in learning how to use APA formatting. When
discussing the challenges, Strunk (1922) stated:

      Use quotes around an article title or book chapter, but italicize the title of a book, journal, brochure,
      or report when  used in the body of the   paper.  Use a short title in the parenthetical citation or
      complete title if the title is short.  NOTE Non-periodical titles like books and book titles have all
      the important words capitalized in the text citations, but these same book titles do not have all the
      important words capitalized in the reference list. (p. 342)

Callahan (2001), however, says ….

• Indent the block quote five spaces or half an inch.
• Do not use quotation marks.
• Double space the quote unless your school has a rule about single spacing block quotes.
• Do not include any additional lines or spaces before or after the block quote.
• Notice that in block quotes, the period goes before the parentheses, not after.

Making Changes to Direct Quotes

Making changes to direct quotations

You may want to make minor changes to a direct quotation. This is possible (as long as you don't change the meaning), but you must follow the rules.

    * If you omit parts in the middle of the quotation, use an ellipsis. An ellipsis consists of three dots (...)   For example, the student stated that "the computer lab ... was useful."
    * If you want to insert your own words, or different words, into a quotation, put them in square brackets ( [ ] ).  "The computer lab [in the science buidling] was well designed."
    * If you want to draw attention to an error in a quotation, for example a spelling mistake or wrong date, don't correct it; write [sic] in square brackets.
    * If you want to emphasise something in a quotation which is particularly relevant to your essay, put the emphasised words in italics, and state that the emphasis is your own.  "The writing tools in Moodle was very [emphasis added] helpful!"

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