MLA style of formatting is one of the most commonly used styles for writing and formatting papers. The present article on ‘Formatting Quotations in MLA Style’ presents some effective tips to help you learn the ways and techniques essential for formatting quotations in MLA style.

Some useful tips for formatting quotations in MLA style are discussed below.

Tips for Formatting Quotations in MLA Style

Short Quotations

  • Quotations that are shorter than three or four lines should be placed in double quotation marks (“ ”) and included in the text of the document.
  • Give the parenthetical citation right away after the quotation.
  • Every punctuation mark, except question (?) and exclamation marks (!), should be inserted after the parenthetical citation.
  • Question and exclamation marks, which appear in the original source, should be placed inside the quotation marks.

Long Quotations

  • Quotations that are longer than four lines should be typed in block quotations.
  • These quotations should be indented one inch from the margin, double-spaced, and devoid of any quotation marks.
  • Block quotations are usually initiated by a colon.
  • Insert the parenthetical citation following the final punctuation mark of the quotation.

Poetry Quotes

  • While quoting a single line of verse, ensure to put it in quotation marks and fit it into the text.
  • While quoting two or three lines of verse, ensure to separate each line with a forward slash [/]. Insert the passage in quotation marks and include it in the text.
  • While using slashes for separating lines of quoted verse, ensure to put a space before and after the slash.
  • Add a parenthetical citation to the author and to the line number(s) of the poem.
  • While quoting more than three lines of verse, ensure to type them in block quotations. Indent them one inch from the left margin.
  • Block quotations of poetry must precisely reproduce the line breaks, spacing and punctuation as set up in the original text.
  • Avoid using quotation marks for block quotations unless they appear in the original.
  • The parenthetical citation should appear at the end of the last line of poetry.
  • In case, the parenthetical citation does not fit into the last line of poetry, insert it in the subsequent line, flushing it with the right margin of the essay.

Drama Quotes

  • For quoting the words of a particular character in a prose play, follow the procedure for a standard prose quotation.
  • For quoting the words of a particular character in a verse play, follow the guidelines of MLA-style for quoting poetry.
  • For quoting a dialogue between two or more characters, type the passage into a block quotation.
  • Name of characters should be in capital letters followed by a period and then the text as it appears in the original text.
  • Succeeding lines of the dialogue of the characters should be indented an additional three spaces.
  • When a dialogue changes to another character, start it in a new line, which should be indented one inch from the left margin.

Inserting or Changing Words in Quotations

  • While adding or changing words in a quotation, ensure to indicate this by inserting square brackets around the words, which are not part of the original text.

Excluding Words in Quotations

  • While excluding or omitting words from a quotation, ensure to indicate this by employing ellipsis marks, i.e., three spaced periods.
  • Ellipses should be used every time you leave out some material from a quotation that appears to be a sentence or a series of sentences.

By following the given tips you can learn the basic techniques for formatting quotations in MLA style without any major error or fault. The above mentioned strategies will help you to learn and get familiar with formatting quotations in MLA style in the most proper way.


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