1. To cite a short passage, make the quoted material part of a sentence.
Introduce it with either a comma or a colon.
If the quoted material is short and fits naturally into the sentence, use a comma.
After Uri tells Misha about his made-up life, Misha says, “And
so, thanks to Uri…in autumn of the year nineteen thirty-nine,
I was born, you might say” (31).
If the quoted material is longer or doesn’t fit as neatly into the rest of the sentence,
introduce it with a colon.
After Uri tells Misha about his made-up life, Misha feels as
if he is reborn: “And so, thanks to Uri…in autumn of the year
nineteen thirty-nine, I was born, you might say” (31).
The above examples come from a review of Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli.
Notice the parenthetical documentation in the two examples above. The parentheses come after
the quotation marks, but before the period or comma. For your book review, you do not need the
author’s name in the parentheses, because you are only referring to one work by one author.
2. To cite a long passage, use a “block” style.
Place quotations longer than four typed lines in a free-standing block of text, and omit
quotation marks. Be sure to only include information that is essential to your main point. If
there is extraneous information, use an ellipses, which you can see after “Uri” in the example
Start the block quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented one inch from the
left margin; do maintain double-spacing (it’s not double spaced here, to conserve paper). Indent
the first line of the quotation by an additional half inch only if you are citing multiple paragraphs.
The parenthetical citation comes after the closing punctuation mark. Here’s an example from
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Also note that after the quoted material, you must
clinch the paragraph with your own opinion, or re-statement of what it means.
Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him
throughout her narration:
They entirely refused to have it in bed with
them, or even in their room, and I had no more
sense, so … Inquiries were made as to how it got
there; I was obliged to confess, and in
recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was
sent out of the house. (78)
Clearly, Nelly sees Heathcliff as something less than worthy.
3. Provide a context for each quotation.
Do not rely on quotations to tell prove your point. It is your responsibility to provide your reader
with a context for the quotation. The context should set the basic scene for when, possibly where,
and under what circumstances the quotation was spoken or written. You also want to explain
why the quote is important for your argument. In other words, make your point first. The main
point of your essay is to prove your point. The quote serves as evidence for your point. So, from
a book review of The Catcher in the Rye, a block quote might look like this:
After hearing a child singing, “If a body catch a body
coming through the rye,” Holden has a realization. As he
explains to his sister Phoebe, hearing these words gives
him a sense of what he wants to do with his life:
There’s thousands of little kids, and nobody’s
around—nobody big, I mean—except me.
And I’m
standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I
have to do, I have to catch everybody if they
start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re
running and they don’t look where they’re going I
have to come out from somewhere and catch them.
That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the
catcher in the rye and all. (224-225)
Even though Holden has misheard the lyrics (it’s actually
“if a body meet a body”), and even though his idea of a
“job” is not very realistic, Holden’s vision of his future
life shows how desperately he longs for innocence and
In a social studies research paper, providing a context for our above example might look like
When Franklin Roosevelt gave his inaugural speech on March 4, 1933, he addressed a
nation weakened and demoralized by economic depression. He used his rhetorical skill
to both calm and inspire citizens who were afraid of the future. By addressing their
fears directly, he was able to give people hope: “The only thing we have to fear is fear
itself ”(11).
3. List your novel in a Works Cited section.
For research papers you must always include a works cited section. For your book review this marking
period, please include one that follows the format below. Put this section at the bottom of your last typed
Use a capital “W” and “C.” “Work” is singular. Do
not underline. Do center.
Work Cited
Last Name, First. Underline the title.
Find publisher info on title page. Put
a period after each item.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner Books, 1960.