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How to Insert Quotations in a Research Paper MLA Style


The style of the Modern Language Association is used in many academic and business forums on things such as research and thesis papers. Inserting quotations using MLA format requires some rules of punctuation and accreditation. Knowing the rules of quotations in MLA style writing is important in making sure that you are not only keeping with the format of MLA requirements, but also giving credit to the right sources you are quoting.

Four Lines or Less

Write a precedent to the quote that includes the author or the work it is from. For example, “Jane Jones states in her book that,” is a phrase you could use, or “In the paper Science Daily the author stipulates that,” is another example.

Place the quote in between double quotation marks and don’t include a comma or any other grammar following the quote in the quotation marks. For example if this sentence were part of a paper a quote would look “like this in quotation marks” and then follow it with further MLA formatting.

Follow your quotation with parentheses that include the author’s last name if it wasn’t included in the quote’s preceding clause, as well as the page number or location of the quote in the author’s work. For example, if I were quoting someone in this sentence I would “write the quote like this in quotations and follow it with” (Jones 98).

Create a works cited page to cite the author and his work. Basic MLA format lists work starting with the author’s last name followed by a comma, his first name followed by a period, and the work you are citing from in italics followed by a period. Space and indent the second line under the author‘s name, then include where the work was published followed by a colon, then the publisher and date of copyright.

Longer Than Four Lines

Include a preceding statement to introduce the quote into the paper including a short statement with a colon. For example, “Jones said that the information was factually based and could be proven with research. She states:” Since the quote is long, you can not include it with the introductory statement as you can a short quote and you must precede the initial quote with a colon.

Follow your preceding statement with a line space down and begin writing the quote on the next line, indenting every line of the quote. Since the lines of the quote are indented you will not need to use quotation marks.

Follow the quote with a period, exclamation point or question mark then with parentheses that include the author’s name and location of the quote in his work. For example, you would have your indented quote and follow it with (Jones 98) and no period following the second parenthesis.

Continue writing your paper with the margins you used prior to inserting the quote into your paper. Include the author and the work you quoted from in your works cited page as you did in the first example.

About the Author

Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.

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