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MLA Style (7th Ed.): Quotations



Short Quotations

·         If a quotation runs no more than four lines, put it in double quotation marks and incorporate it into the text.  Put single quotation marks around quotations that appear within those quotations.

·         Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical reference.  Other punctuation such as question marks and exclamation marks should appear within the quotation marks if they are part of the quoted passage, but after the parentheses if they are part of your text.


Shelley thought poets “the unacknowledged legislators of the World” (794).

Dorothea responds to her sister, “what a wonderful little almanac you are, Celia!” (7).

Long Quotations

·         If a quotation runs to more than four lines in your paper, set it off from your text by beginning a new line, indenting one inch from the left margin, and typing the block quotation double-spaced.  For a single paragraph or part of a paragraph, do not indent the first line more than the rest of the quotation.

·         Do not use opening and closing quotation marks.

·         For long quotations, a period at the end of a quotation is placed before the parentheses.


      At the conclusion of Lord of the Flies, Ralph and the other boys realize the horror of their actions:

            The tears began to flow and sobs shook him.  He gave himself up to them now for

the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench

his whole body.  His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage

of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and

sob too. (186)