Quote Citation

Every time you use a quote, you MUST indicate where the quote came from; otherwise it might seem like you just “put quotes around your own words to suggest that you found them elsewhere” (Thomas 45). And do you see what else I just did? I cited this fake quote correctly. The two things that you must include in a citation (I am referring to book citations here, not interviews, websites, etc) are the author’s name and the page number. The easiest way to do this is to include these two things in a set of parentheses at the end of the line. Notice in the above example, the citation is AFTER the quote, BEFORE the period, and I did not write the first name, “pg. 45,” “p. 45,” “found on page 45” or any such nonsense. Only the last name and number. NO COMMA!

Since the important parts are the name and page number, if you mention either of those things in the sentence leading up to the quote, you do not need to repeat them in the citation. For example:

Mr. Thomas says, “you people are crazy” (56).

On page 56, “you people are crazy” stands out (Thomas).

On the very first page, Thomas says, “You people are crazy.”


Periods and commas go inside the quotation marks; other punctuation — semicolons, question marks, dashes, and exclamation points — goes outside unless it directly pertains to the material within the quotes.

“I don’t want to go skiing this weekend,” said Justin. “Is anyone up for some snowboarding instead?” he asked the group.

In the next example, the question mark goes outside the quotation marks because it is not part of the material being quoted:

Did he say, “We should all go to the movies”?

Also note that the sentence ends with only one mark of punctuation: the question mark. In general, don’t use double punctuation marks, but go with the stronger punctuation. (Question marks and exclamation points are stronger than commas and periods.)

ALSO: Use a comma to lead into a quote, or get out of a quote if you are still mid-sentence.

“I would like to go to the beach this weekend,” she told him as they left the apartment.

“That is,” Wesley said, “that neither you nor I is her boy…”


Don’t forget – if you change any of the exact wording within the quote (e.g. changing the verb tense, identifying the antecedent of a pronoun in the quote), you MUST do so by putting the new wording within brackets. For example, if you were quoting the line “I never much liked him anyway,” but your essay would be clearer if you indicated who those people are, it would look like this:

“[Claire] never liked [Wallace] much anyway”

If you are ever writing a paper and the same name keeps popping up at the beginning of consecutive quotes, you can write “Ibid” (short for the Latin ibidem, or “in the same place”) to indicate that the quote is from the same source as the one you cited last.

If your quote falls in the middle of your sentence, put the citation at the end, regardless.

Thomas’s first words, “you are crazy,” begin his book (45).

Any time you have a book written by more than one author (more common for textbooks than fiction), you only need to provide the FIRST author’s last name.

When you provide a quote FROM A PLAY, you should provide the ACT, SCENE and LINE numbers in place of the page number. For example, Hamlet defines the purpose of theater as “to hold, as ‘twere, the mirror up to nature” (3.2.21-23).

Sic” in a quote means that the mistake within the quote is the author’s and not the essayist’s. The manager screamed “We was [sic] robbed!” when his boxer lost the fight.