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How to Write an Epigraph in APA Format


An epigraph is a short quotation at the beginning of a text, traditionally used to set the tone for the text or focus the reader’s attention on a particular element. The APA suggests treating epigraphs as block quotes when formatting.

Formatting an Epigraph

Like block quotes, epigraphs should be indented one-half inch from the left margin of the page and double-spaced. Each subsequent line should be left-side aligned as well. The right side of the quotation should not be indented or formatted. The conclusion of the quote should be marked by a period. Epigraphs do not require quotation marks.

Citing an Epigraph's Source

The source should be right-side aligned on the line below the quotation and proceeded by an em dash. If the source is literary, rather than academic, the author’s name, the work’s title and publication year, separated by commas, should follow the em dash. If the citation is academic, however, the author’s name(s), publication year and page numbers, also separated by commas, should follow the em dash. No period is necessary after referencing the source.

About the Author

Based in West Palm Beach, Fla., Emily Layfield has been writing and editing education-related work since 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in English and English/ language arts education and a Master of Arts in secondary English education from Auburn University.

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