QUOTING

If you quote a “short” passage, that is, one less than four lines of text, enclose it in double quotation marks. The punctuation for the sentence will come after your parenthetical reference:


One of the requirements is that “Each bid must be accompanied by a certified check or cash to the amount of nine housand dollars” (Brantwurst 1989, 46).

If you quote a “long” passage, that is, one which contains more than four lines of text, do not enclose it in quotation marks, but offset it from the rest of your text by beginning on a new line and indenting the entire quotation:


Eric Brantwurst notes the following requirement:


Each bid must be accompanied by a certified check or cash to the amount of nine thousand dollars. All certified checks must be drawn on some responsible bank doing business in the city of Vancouver, and shall be made payable to the City of Vancouver. (1989, 45)

Note that if your document is double spaced, a long quotation is usually single spaced. Also note that the punctuation mark precedes the parenthetical reference if the quotation is indented.


If you quote a passage that itself contains a quotation, indicate the quotation within the quotation in one of two forms, depending on whether your quotation is short or long. If your quotation is short, your source’s quotation will be reformatted in single quotation marks:


Dagwood Brunster recalls an extraordinary engineering feat: “Sam Williams, the chief engineer, shrieked at all of the layabouts who were drinking coffee laced with rum, ‘Get off your duffs, or I’ll recall your engineering licenses, and throw you overboard to boot!’” (1989, 47).

If your quotation is long, your source’s quotation will remain as is, in double quotation marks:


Dagwood Brunster recalls an extraordinary engineering feat:


Sam Williams, the chief engineer, shrieked at all of the layabouts who were drinking coffee laced with rum, “Get off your duffs, or I’ll recall your engineering licenses, and throw you overboard to boot. Move it before you lose it!” Shortly, they were all back at work, sweating profusely under the warm Arctic summer sun. (1989, 47-48)

In the latter example, note the quotation comes from two consecutive pages. The parenthetical reference (1989, 47-48) indicates that your quotation consists of a passage on page 47 that is continued on page 48.


Another issue to consider when quoting is that the syntax of the quotation must agree with the syntax of your text. You must therefore check the tense of the quotation and if it is plural or singular. You should adapt your sentence to match the syntax of the quotation. If you must change a verb in the quotation to ensure that it agrees with the syntax of your sentence or change a pronoun to a noun for clarity, enclose the addition in square brackets: [were] or [the President].


Finally, you should also ensure that the quotation is grammatically correct. If the quotation contains a grammatical, spelling, or other error, you can indicate that you are aware of the mistake in the quoted text by placing [sic] after the error.


Authors: Steve Whitmore & Mike Sjoerdsma                         Website Design: Claret Ramos & Jeff Priest                         Photos: Simon Fraser University                         Last Updated: February 11, 2016