Block Quote Example Essay

Integrating the words or ideas from another source is a big part of academic writing. Students must be careful not only to avoid plagiarism, but also to enable readers to fully understand your use of a quote or a paraphrase from a source.

Never insert a quote or a paraphrase abruptly into your writing without first introducing the quote (or paraphrase), citing it, and explaining it This means that you will never begin or end a paragraph with a quote. This method is often referred to as the ICE method of integrating quotes: Introduce, Cite, and then Explain.

  • Introduce. When introducing your quote, you will provide the context of this quote as well as show the source of the quote. The quote cannot do the work for you; you must provide your reader with some idea of why you have chosen to use this quote. You should also tell your reader who is speaking or where this quote came from and the relationship this person or source has to the point you are making. That is, why should your reader take this quote seriously? Is the speaker or the source an authority on the topic?

    Here is an example:

    In the beginning stages of the juvenile justice system, it operated in accordance to a paternalistic philosophy.   This can be understood through the published words of Judge Julian Mack, who had a hand in the establishment of the juvenile justice system. In 1909, he stated...

    This provides the reader with some context, or the points that you are making by including this quote.

    This part provides the reader with who this quote is coming from as well as his relationship or authority on the topic.


    After including the source of the quote, be sure that you use a signal verb to indicate that the source’s words are next. In the example above, you can see that "he stated" has been used to signal the source’s words. Other signal verbs include:


    addsremarksexclaimsannouncesrepliesclaims
    commentsrespondsestimateswritespoints outpredicts
    arguessuggestsproposesdeclarescriticizesproclaims
    notescomplainsobservesthinkspresentsconcludes

    For other options, see our list of signal verbs.


    Templates for introducing quotations:

    X states, "...."
    As the prominent philosophy X puts it, "...."
    According to X, "...."
    X himself writes, "...."
    In her book,...., X maintains that "...."
    In the article,....., X claims that "...."
    In X's view, "...."
    X agrees when she writes, "...."
    X disagrees when he writes, "...."
    X complicates matters further when she writes, "...."

  • Cite. Directly after your quote, you will need to provide the in-text citation. For APA format, this includes the author’s last name only, the year of the publication, and the page number (or paragraph number if there is no page number listed).

    Here is an example:
    In 1909, he stated that this system should treat juveniles “as a wise and merciful father handles his own child” (as quoted in Scott and Steinberg, 2008, p. 16).

  • Explain. After the quote, you will need to explain the significance of the quote. How might it relate to your thesis? Your reader should not have to interpret the quote and what it means or how it helps to support the point you are trying to make. Never leave any room for interpretation. It is your responsibility as the writer to interpret the quote for your reader and provide the significance.

    Using the same quote as above, here is an example of the ICE method: Judge Mack viewed juveniles as children first. He envisioned a system that would protect and give treatment to these young offenders so that they could become productive adults, and saw no place for criminal responsibility and punishment within this system.

    Now, if we look at each step together, this is what we see:

    In the beginning stages of the juvenile justice system, it operated in accordance to a paternalistic philosophy. This can be understood through the published words of Judge Julian Mack, who had a hand in the establishment of the juvenile justice system. In 1909, he stated that this system should treat juveniles “as a wise and merciful father handles his own child” (Scott and Steinberg, 2008, p.16). Judge Mack viewed juveniles as children first. He envisioned a system that would protect and give treatment to these young offenders so that they could become productive adults, and saw no place for criminal responsibility and punishment within this system.

    Context

    Whose words these are and why he is an authority on this topic.

    Quoted material along with citation.

    This part provides the reader with who this quote is coming from as well as his relationship or authority on the topic.

  • Quote the Good Stuff. Beware of using quotations that do not mean anything or add substance to your essay.

    If a source says something so well that you couldn't possibly change it, use it!

    If a source backs up a point you made, use it!

    If you understand what a source is saying, use it! You will have to analyze it later, so understanding it will help you.

  • Avoid Over-quoting. Remember "less is more." Do not pad your essay with other people's ideas.

  • Keep Quotations Short. Keep your quotations 1–2 sentences long or use a few key words/phrases. If you need it all, turn the quotation into a "block quotation," but use them sparingly! "Block" the quotation if it's more than 40 words long. Block the quotation by having it start on a new line and in the same position as a new paragraph.

    Example (Note: Block quotations should not be double–spaced):

    In the chapter "Chicken Man," McBride (1997) narrated his rebellion as a teenager with honesty but without remorse:

    I was obviously hiding, and angry as well, but I would never admit that to myself. The marvelous orchestrated chaos that Mommy had so painstakingly constructed to make her house run smoothly broke down when Daddy died, and Mommy was in no fixing mood. (p. 140)

  • Copy Quotations Correctly. Misspellings and use of incorrect grammar when it's obvious that the source couldn't have made those mistakes affects your own credibility as a writer. Accuracy indicates care for one's work.

    Use brackets when you alter a word or phrase from the quotation. Example: Picciano (2001) stated, "[Distance learning] technologies [have] certain benefits and certain limitations and, as indicated earlier, a best technology does not yet exist" (p. 61).

    Use an ellipsis when you omit words or phrases from the quotation. Use an ellipsis with brackets [...] when you omit an entire sentence. Example: When Fuller (2005) returns home, she explained, "...I was dislocated and depressed" (p. 72).

  • Do Not Start a Paragraph with a Quotation. A paragraph should begin with your ideas. The first sentence of a paragraph is known as the topic sentence or assertion, both of which support the focus of the essay. In turn, the quotation supports the topic sentence.

  • Do Not End a Paragraph with a Quotation. Always conclude the paragraph with your ideas. The last sentence should be part of your analysis of the quotation.

  • Formatting Direct Quotations Properly in MLA Format

    View Worksheet

    Using direct quotations involves using the exact words of others in your paper, and under the MLA format, you must format quotations differently depending on their length.

    Short quotations are less than four lines of prose or three lines of verse (poetry)
    Long quotations are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse (poetry) and include multi-paragraph quotes.

    In addition, you might sometimes need to add words to direct quotations for clarity, or omit words that are unnecessary from the quotation. In MLA format, certain formatting rules apply in these situations.

    Short direct quotations in MLA format

    Short direct quotations include prose that is no more than four lines or verse that is no more than three lines. To format these correctly in MLA format, there are a few rules you must follow.

    • Enclose the direct quotation in quotation marks.
    • Reference the original author or title (if no author) and page number or line number (verse).
    • Place punctuation after the parenthetical citation.
    • Place questions marks or exclamation points that are part of the quote inside the quotation marks; place them outside if not part of the original author’s words.
    • Include complete reference to the source on Works Cited page.

    Examples:

    • According to Spools, sustainable weight loss is only possible through “continued dieting, regular exercising and vigilant monitoring of body weight” (289).
    • Sustainable weight loss is only possible through “continued dieting, regular exercising and vigilant monitoring of body weight” (Spools 289).
    • Some say that sustainable weight loss is only possible through “continued dieting, regular exercising and vigilant monitoring of body weight” (Spools 289), but other researchers disagree that this level of vigilance is necessary.
    • Is sustainable weight loss possible without engaging in “continued dieting, regular exercising and vigilant monitoring of body weight” (Spools 289)?

    Short quotations that consist of verses from poetry are handled a little differently.

    Breaks are notated with a “/,” and a space appears before and after the slash mark. In addition, the line of the verse is used instead of a page number for the parenthetical citation (unless the poem is quoted in a secondary source). Keep the capitalization of each line of verse intact after the slash mark.

    Example:

    • Silverstein ends with “For the children, they mark, and the children, they know / The place where the sidewalk ends” (15-16).

    Long direct quotations in MLA format

    Long direct quotations consists of quotations that are longer than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, and the MLA format dictates how these are presented.

    • Use a free-standing block of text (block quote).
    • Omit the quotation marks.
    • Start the direct quotation on a new line.
    • Indent one inch from the left margin.
    • Indent the first word of paragraphs ONLY if quoting multiple paragraphs.
    • Use double spacing in the quotation.
    • Include parenthetical citation after the ending punctuation.

    Examples:

    Fitness and health guru Jillian Michaels stresses the importance of believing in yourself.

    If you are citing poetry, maintain the original formatting to the best of your ability. Use poetry line numbers unless you are quoting something quoted in another source.

    In his poem “The Sphinx,” Ralph Waldo Emerson personifies the sphinx as many different pieces of nature, and this shows the transcendental ideals Emerson often touted.

    Uprose the merry Sphynx,

    And crouched no more in stone,

    She melted into purple cloud,

    She silvered in the moon,

    She spired into a yellow flame,

    She flowered in blossoms red,

    She flowed into a foaming wave,

    She stood Monadnoc’s head. (120-128)

    Showing changes to direct quotations in MLA format

    Sometimes when you use direct quotations, you might need to add a word or words for clarity or omit portions of the quotation to shorten it or make it work within the context of your words. When this is necessary, you must show changes with brackets [ ], and show omissions of text with an ellipsis […].

    When using brackets, place the words you add between the brackets.

    • According to Putz, “Some people [who are trying to lose weight] try one fad diet after another with little success because these diets do not promote sustainable or ongoing weight loss” (98).

    When using an ellipsis to show the omission of words, put a space before and after it.

    • According to Jillian Michaels, success is within reach when you “Have establishment in yourself; trust in the significance of your life … [because] destiny is awaiting you (285).

    Direct quotations should stay a small part of your research paper. Paraphrasing and summarizing information into your words is a larger part of including information from your sources. Understanding [URL]direct quotations versus indirect quotations[/writing-resources/punctuation/direct-versus-indirect-quotations] is important in presenting information.

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