Learn How to Quote a Quote (Lots of Examples)

Hey there, dear reader! You might be here right now because you need help in learning how to quote.

Image for post
Image for post

There’s no need to be afraid of quotation marks. You’ve got to be a… “perfectionist” when it comes to quoting.

To mentally prepare you, here’s what you need to know:

I hope I’ve given you enough time to muster enough mental strength to handle a heavy topic. Are you ready? Then let’s get started!

How to Use Quotation Marks?

Allow me to give you some pointers in using quotation marks. Generally speaking, you can place punctuation marks inside the quotation marks. Interestingly, this is the American English way of doing it. Let me give you two examples:

I coaxed, “Come on! I know you can do it!”

The child begged, “Mom, Can I have one last scoop of ice cream? Please?”

As for British English, punctuations are placed outside the quotation marks. The quotation is enclosed using single quotation marks or inverted commas. Here are some examples:

His father thundered, ‘Get over here’!

My friend told me, ‘I deactivated my social media account’.

How to Quote a Quote within a Quote?

When you quote a quote in American style, enclose the initial quotation with the double quotation marks. Then, use single quotation marks for the quote within the quote.

Someone told me, “You have to get out of here because a stranger once whispered, ‘Watch out for the man who knocks at the door at 6 PM’”.

For quoting a quote, you have to use single quotation marks for the initial quotes followed by double quotation marks for quotations within the quote:

Someone told me, ‘You have to get out of here because a stranger warns “Watch out for the man who knocks at the door at 6 PM”’.

The only punctuation marks allowed outside the quotation marks are Colons, dashes, and semicolons. This applies to both British and American styles.

My friend is a fan of “My Hero Academia”; she updates herself with the latest chapters of the manga.

Let me tell you some awesome traits of the “Great Cats”: Fierce, fascinating, and powerful.

He tells her, “Take a bite of this cupcake” — it was the sweetest cupcake she has ever tasted.

Note: Be consistent! If you are studying in the United States, then it is best to follow the American style of using quotation marks. Of course, follow the same protocol if you are studying in the United Kingdom.

Tired of struggling with homework? Text Nerdify — finding a right Expert Nerd is fast and free.

Image for post
Image for post

Extended Rules

Add an ellipses in place of the omitted words.

Original text: Philosophy has to do with ideas or realised thoughts, and hence not with what we have been accustomed to call mere conceptions” (Hegel, 1820, p. 13).

Omitted text: Philosophy has to do with ideas or realised thoughts … not with what we have been accustomed to call mere conceptions” (Hegel, 1820, p. 13).

How come the period is written after the citation? I will answer your question in a while.

Add brackets if you think that the context is unclear to the reader. Write a word (or a few words) to clarify the meaning of your quotation.

Original text: “They are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions as well as the two largest economies to tackle climate change and finance.”

Text with brackets: “They [China and the United States] are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions as well as the two largest economies to tackle climate change and finance.”

Does Punctuation Go Inside the Quotation Marks In MLA?

It varies actually.

The reason why I gave you a basic foundation of using quotation marks is because the Associated Press (AP), APA, Chicago, and MLA follow the American way of placing punctuations.

The MLA Handbook states, “By convention, commas and periods that directly follow quotations go inside the closing quotation marks.”

  1. Thomas Hobbes wrote the “Leviathan.”
  2. It was a “success.”

It applies when there is no parenthetical citation. The same rule applies for titles. Now, if we’re going to add an in-text citation, this is how the quote will look like:

It is interesting to note “THAT when a thing lies still, unless somewhat else stir it, it will lie still for ever, is a truth that no man doubts of” (Hobbes).

According to Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, “The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part” (15).

From this example, the punctuation would have to be placed AFTER the citation. It is important to take note of these differences when writing your paper.

How to Quote a Quote?

This is when things turn a little trickier. Sure, quoting is easier than you think. All you have to do is to follow some basic rules. Don’t worry, I will explain the basics of quoting a quote.

Image for post
Image for post

Before quoting a text from an author, you would need to find out the following:

  1. Author’s last name
  2. Page number (if needed)
  3. Year published

Important! Citation should be placed after the quotation

Quote a short quote!

You can begin by using the author as a signal phrase.

According to Karl Marx and Frederick Engels (1848), “Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way” (p. 15).

If you don’t want to introduce your quote using a signal phrase/transition word, you cans say:

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels (1848) states that “Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way” (p. 15).

Now, if the author/s is/are not named, enclose the last name/s, year published, and page number in one parenthesis. It will look something like:

They noted, “Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way” (Marx & Engels, 1848, p. 15).

Note: Always remember to place the page number after the quotation mark. On the other hand, the year published should be written after the author/authors.

Tired of struggling with homework? Text Nerdify — finding a right Expert Nerd is fast and free.

Image for post
Image for post

Quote a long quote!

In APA, quotations that are more than 40 words should be written in a separate block. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Omission of quotation marks
  2. ½ Inch margin from the left margin (It’s where you usually begin a paragraph)
  3. Sentences after the first sentence should be indented at ½ inch
  4. Parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.

This is the first example:

John Stuart Mill (1859) mentions:

Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. (p. 9)

If the author is not mentioned, the citation would look like:

Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. (Mill, 1859, p. 9)

Here’s what you need when you are quoting in MLA style:

  1. Year published
  2. Author’s last name
  3. Page number

Quote a short quote!

In MLA, a short quote is when the text amounts to four lines and below. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and colons come after the citation.

In the case of question marks and exclamation points, they should be placed within the quotation marks if they are part of the quote. However, if they are part of your sentence, place them instead after the citation.

Example #1:

“And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises?” (Marx and Engels 17)

Example #2:

Tocqueville point out that “In France the kings have always been the most active and the most constant of levelers” (14).

Quote a long quote!

Type the quote separately if it exceeds four lines. Please take note of the following:

  1. ½ Inch from the left margin
  2. Citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.

Example:

Tocqueville narrates,

Amongst the novel objects that attracted my attention during my stay in the United States, nothing struck me more forcibly than the general equality of conditions. I readily discovered the prodigious influence which this primary fact exercises on the whole course of society, by giving a certain direction to public opinion, and a certain tenor to the laws; by imparting new maxims to the governing powers, and peculiar habits to the governed. (12)

If you are citing two paragraphs, the second paragraph has to be indented at ¼ Inch. This would make your reader understand that the next block of text is the next paragraph.

Example:

Tocqueville recounts,

I then turned my thoughts to our own hemisphere, where I imagined that I discerned something analogous to the spectacle which the New World presented to me. I observed that the equality of conditions is daily progressing towards those extreme limits which it seems to have reached in the United States, and that the democracy which governs the American communities appears to be rapidly rising into power in Europe. I hence conceived the idea of the book which is now before the reader.

It is evident to all alike that a great democratic revolution is going on amongst us; but there are two opinions as to its nature and consequences. To some it appears to be a novel accident, which as such may still be checked; to others it seems irresistible, because it is the most uniform, the most ancient, and the most permanent tendency which is to be found in history…. (12–13)

How to Quote a Quote From a Book?

  • Figure out!

Why do you want to add a quote in the first place? Do you think the quote I’m going to place will help the reader understand my topic more? Ask yourself first.

  • Incorporate!

Once you have reflected, find out how you are going to incorporate the quote in your sentence. If you do, read it if it flows naturally or grammatically correct. Use brackets or ellipses if you need to.

Use signal words such as according to, points out, narrates, states/says, hypothesizes, conjectures, observes, concludes, affirms, and etc.

Do not forget to follow your instructor’s preferred citation style!

Example in MLA:

It is said that “…the contention that the unemployment which characterises a depression is due to a refusal by labour to accept a reduction of money-wages is not clearly supported by the facts” (Keynes).

Example in APA:

It is said that “…the contention that the unemployment which characterises a depression is due to a refusal by labour to accept a reduction of money-wages is not clearly supported by the facts” (Keynes, 1936).

How to Cite Movie Quotes?

What if you want to write your favorite movie quote in your essay? Simple — it is similar to citing a quote from a book! For MLA, all you have to do is to indicate the title of the movie.

Example in MLA:

My favorite movie quote is said by Major Motoko Kusanagi,

There are countless ingredients that make up the human body and mind, like all the components that make up me as an individual with my own personality. Sure I have a face and voice to distinguish myself from others, but my thoughts and memories are unique only to me, and I carry a sense of my own destiny. Each of those things are just a small part of it. I collect information to use in my own way. All of that blends to create a mixture that forms me and gives rise to my conscience. I feel confined, only free to expand myself within boundaries (Ghost in the Shell).

Note: Movie titles are in italics.

For APA in-text citations, you have to write the producer or the director’s name and the year it was produced.

Example in APA:

Batou says, “There’s nothing sadder than a puppet without a ghost, especially the kind with red blood running through them” (Oshii & Mizuo, 1995).

Note: I only listed the primary producers and directors in the in-text citation considering that there are four producers in the movie. If I will place the Ghost in the Shell movie on the References page, then I will have to list all the names of the directors and producers.

The Joker said a mind-opening quote in The Dark Knight, “Madness, as you know, is like gravity, all it takes is a little push” (Nolan, 2008).

How to Quote a Conversation/Dialogue?

What if I want to cite a dialogue from a book? Don’t worry, I also got you covered there. It’s a lot simpler actually. All you have to do is to format it like a block quotation like the examples below.

Example in MLA:

In the first part of Kafka on the Shore, Crow comments on the amount of money that Kafka Tamura will bring with him:

“Not bad,” the boy named Crow says.

“For the time being.” I give him another nod.

“I’m guessing this isn’t Christmas money from Santa Claus.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” I reply. (Murakami 3)

Example in APA:

In Norwegian Wood, Toru Watanabe is bothered by Storm Trooper’s jumping:

“Hey, can you do that on the roof or somewhere?” I said.

“I can’t sleep.”

“But it’s already 6.30!” he said, open-mouthed.

“Yeah, I know it’s 6.30. I’m still supposed to be asleep. I don’t know how to explain it exactly, but that’s how it works for me.”

“Anyway, I can’t do it on the roof. Somebody on the third floor would complain. Here, we’re over a storeroom.”

“So go out on the quad. On the lawn.”

“That’s no good, either. I don’t have a transistor radio. I need to plug it in. And you can’t do radio callisthenics without music.” (Murakami, 1987/2000, p. 21)

Tired of struggling with homework? Text Nerdify — finding a right Expert Nerd is fast and free.

Image for post
Image for post

I hope you learned something today. Quoting is somehow a “perfectionist” task because of the grammatical and formatting rules you have to follow. However, following the protocols down to the letter (to a degree) makes your work appear more credible and professional.

Good luck in your academic essay!

Study smarter, not harder. Learn more from Nerdify today:

Written by

Articles, guidelines, examples and samples to improve your writing skills. We share — you learn. https://gonerdify.com/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store