MLA 8th Edition: Quotations

Quotations are most effective when used selectively; they should simply help to explain or illustrate your own ideas. The accuracy of quotations is crucial, and unless indicated in square brackets or parentheses, changes must not be made in the spelling, capitalization, or interior punctuation of the source.

If a quotation runs no more than four lines and requires no special emphasis, put it in quotation marks and incorporate it into your text.

If a quotation ending a sentence requires parenthetical reference, place the sentence period after the reference.

If a quote extends to more than four lines when run into your text, set it off from the text as a block indented half an inch from the left margin. A parenthetical reference for a prose quotation set off from the text follows the last line of quotation, place the sentence period before the reference.

If the fact that you omitted material from a sentence or series of sentences is not obvious, you must mark the omission with ellipsis points (…).

When you quote only a word or phrase, no ellipsis points are needed before or after the quotation.

However, an omission in the middle of a quotation always requires ellipsis.

If you believe that a significant portion of your audience will not understand the language of a quote you present, you should add a translation. Give the source of translation in addition to the source of the quote.

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