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How to Quote a Book

Last Updated: December 25, 2023 References

This article was reviewed by Gerald Posner . Gerald Posner is an Author & Journalist based in Miami, Florida. With over 35 years of experience, he specializes in investigative journalism, nonfiction books, and editorials. He holds a law degree from UC College of the Law, San Francisco, and a BA in Political Science from the University of California-Berkeley. He’s the author of thirteen books, including several New York Times bestsellers, the winner of the Florida Book Award for General Nonfiction, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History. He was also shortlisted for the Best Business Book of 2020 by the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 511,544 times.

When you’re writing an essay, using a quote can help validate your argument and make your writing stronger. Whether your paper is required to be in MLA or APA format, it’s easy to quote and cite a book the right way.

Incorporating Quotations into Your Text

Step 1 Be clear why you are using a quotation.

  • Quotations are often used to support ideas that might be disputed or are not common knowledge. An idea like, “Most people never live to see 100,” doesn’t need to be backed up by a quotation, but something like, “Many writers have described the power of fiction,” should probably be supported with quotations.
  • One can sometimes emphasize a particular point by backing it up with a quotation from a particularly impressive author.
  • Quotations can also add stylistic flare to your prose. For example, a sentence like, “When Shakespeare “shuffled off this mortal coil,” he likely had no idea the impact his work would make on Western culture” is a bit more interesting than if the same sentence started simply, “When Shakespeare died…”

Step 2 Work them into your text so they read like normal sentences.

  • If you are having trouble deciding if you’ve incorporated a quotation correctly, try reading it aloud to yourself. It can be easier to tell if a sentence works when you speak it.
  • Some examples of verbs used in signal phrases are claims, adds, writes, argues, asserts, confirms, points out, admits, concludes, observes, and implies. [3] X Research source

Step 3 Use brackets and ellipses to add or subtract words.

  • Insert new words into quotations by putting them inside brackets.
  • Remove existing words by replacing them with an ellipsis.
  • Note that this is only appropriate if you maintain the basic meaning of the quotation. It should not be used to twist an author’s words into something other than what she intended.
  • As an example, one could change the Nabokov quotation, “…art--not an "escape" (which is only a cleaner cell on a quieter floor), but relief from the itch of being,” into the sentence, “…art [is] not an “escape”…but relief from the itch of being.”

Quoting Books in MLA Format

Step 1 Insert short quotations into the body of the paragraph.

  • Indent the whole quotation one inch from the left.
  • Double-space it (in an MLA style research paper, everything should be double spaced).
  • Do not use quotation marks.

Step 3 Include an in-text citation after the quotation.

  • For example: "Maybe the best definition of art is simply “beauty plus pity” (Nabokov 251)."
  • If you reference the author’s name before the quotation, you don’t need to repeat it in the parenthesis following the quote. For example: "Nabokov defined art as “beauty plus pity” (251)."

Step 4 Make a Works Cited page.

  • Double-space the page, but do not skip spaces between citations.
  • Do not indent the first line of each citation, but indent all subsequent lines by 0.5 inches from the left.

Step 5 Put the full citation in your Works Cited page.

  • There are many variations on this basic format based on factors like how many authors the book has, and whether it is something like anthology, an ebook, or a self-published book. If the book you are quoting does not fit neatly into this formula, consult a resource like The Purdue Online Writing Lab. [10] X Research source

Quoting Books in APA Format

Step 1 Insert short quotations into the body of the paragraph.

  • Indent the whole quotation 1/2 inch from the left.
  • Double-space it (in an APA style paper, everything should be double spaced).

Step 3 Use a parenthetical citation.

  • If the author’s name is not included in the signal phrase, include the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number (all separated by commas) in the parenthetical citation following the quotation. For example: “He insists that “Quoting books is not difficult, but it can take time to get the hang of” (Smith, 2011, p. 15).”

Step 4 Make a reference list.

  • Double-space the page, like the rest of the paper, but do not skip spaces between citations.

Step 5 Put the full citation in your reference list.

  • There are many variations on this basic format based on factors like how many authors the book has, and whether it is something like anthology, an ebook, or a self-published book. If the book you are quoting does not fit neatly into this formula, consult a resource like The Purdue Online Writing Lab. [16] X Research source

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Community Answer

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Cite a Book

  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/quotations
  • ↑ http://department.monm.edu/english/mew/signal_phrases.htm
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/03
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/05
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/06
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/05
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/08

About This Article

Gerald Posner

If you want to use a quotation from a book when you’re writing an essay, try to work the quotation into the text as naturally as possible so it reads like a normal sentence. Connect the quote to the point you’re making by saying something like “Thoreau summed this up by saying…” or “Mark Twain once argued…” To make the quote as concise and relevant as possible, replace unnecessary passages with ellipses or use brackets to add or change words if necessary. For tips on citing your sources, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How To Properly Quote A Book: Citing Quotes From A Book The Right Way

December 6, 2023 By Training Authors Leave a Comment Click here for FREE training for Christian writers

how do you quote a book in a essay

How to properly quote a book? Moreover, citing a quote can be a mark of respect for the original author’s eloquent expression—adopting their words to enrich your own work. Furthermore, done with attention to proper attribution, it acknowledges the value of their contribution to your narrative. However, are you confident you’re doing it with the integrity it deserves?

How to properly quote a book – Key Takeaways

  • Understand the importance of accurate quoting
  • Learn the proper techniques for citation
  • Gain access to resources that streamline quoting practices

Understanding How to Accurately Attribute Quotations from Books

The significance of quoting with precision.

Respecting copyright and intellectual property, you enhance both the legal and ethical standing of your work. In addition, as you acknowledge others’ contributions, you also bolster the reliability of your own content. Moreover, a careful citation is more than a formality; it reinforces your commitment to academic honesty and the golden rule of treating others’ work as you would wish yours to be treated.

You strengthen your arguments when you incorporate authoritative voices from relevant literature. Furthermore, incorporating the insights of others shows you’ve engaged deeply with the topic and are presenting a well-considered perspective.

Citing A Book: Principles For Accurate Attribution

Choosing a Quotation Style

Select a citation style according to your field of study or the publication’s requirements. Whether it’s APA for the social sciences, MLA for humanities, or the Chicago style for a variety of purposes, each format has precise rules for quoting sources effectively.

APA Style Direct Quote Example: “Here’s a direct quote” (Johnson, 2016, p. 52).

MLA Style Direct Quote Example: “Here’s a direct quote” (Johnson 52).

Chicago Style Direct Quote Example: “Here’s a direct quote” (Johnson, 2016, 52).

Formatting Quotes and Citations

Depending on the length and format of quotes use quotation marks for shorter excerpts or indented blocks for longer passages. Also, Remember to include relevant details like the author’s last name, publication year, and page numbers, as detailed by the citation style you’re using.

Paraphrasing and Summarizing

When you reword an author’s ideas in your own style, that’s paraphrasing. Similarly, summarizing condenses the main points into a brief overview. Both require citations, as the ideas originate from another person’s work.

Steering Clear of Quoting and Citation Errors

Remain vigilant about punctuation when quoting; periods and commas should be inside the quotation marks. In addition, accuracy in quoting demands that every comma, period, and citation appears in its rightful place to maintain readability and prevent miscommunication.

Maintain the integrity of quotes by verifying their sources before inclusion. Moreover, misattribution can undermine your credibility. Additionally, use digital tools like Google Books or Wikiquote to confirm quotations and attribute them correctly.

Always attribute quotes to avoid accidental plagiarism. Furthermore, using someone else’s words without proper credit can have serious consequences and impugn your integrity. Moreover, remember to employ a consistent format for in-text citations and full references in the bibliography to comply with academic standards.

Quoting from literature enriches your work, imbuing it with depth and authority. Therefore, follow these guidelines to cite with confidence and navigate the nuances of academic integrity with ease.

How to properly quote a book: Guides on Correctly Citing Literature (MLA and Chicago Style)

Recognized Styles :

  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Chicago Manual of Style (CMS)

Notable Differences :

  • MLA primarily used for humanities.
  • APA preferred for sciences.
  • CMS suitable for broad range of subjects.
  • MLA or APA? Humanities often use MLA, while APA is for sciences.
  • CMS relevance? Offers flexibility across various subjects.

Formatting Essentials :

  • MLA : Author’s last name and first name. Book Title, Publisher, and Year Published.
  • APA : Author’s last nameand initials. (Year Published), Book Title, and Publisher.
  • CMS : Author’s last name and first name. Book Title, City of publication: Publisher, and Year Published.

How to properly quote a book: Suggested Literature

For Nonfiction Authors:

  • Navigating Common Errors in Drafting
  • Mastering Self-Review Techniques

Enhance Your Editing Skills:

  • Recognize and Fix Typical Writing Slip-ups
  • Implement Effective DIY Revision Strategies

How to properly quote a book: Common Inquiries Regarding Book Quotations

Apa style book quotation formatting.

When quoting from a book in APA style, include the author’s last name, publication year, and page number in parentheses after the quote. For example, (Smith, 2020, p. 152).

Incorporating Book Quotes into Essays

To integrate a direct quote, introduce it with a signal phrase, such as “According to Smith (2020),” followed by the quotation and a parenthetical citation.

Citing Book Titles in Text

Italicize the title of the book within the essay text. Also, capitalize the major words of the title, for instance, The Great Gatsby .

Referencing Direct Quotes from Individuals in Scholarly Writing

For a direct quote from a person, include their name, the year, and the page number if available, and much like a book citation. Example: (Doe, 2021, p. 45).

In-Text Citation Example

When citing within the body of an essay, you might write, “It is noted that ‘the data reflects…’ (Smith, 2020, p. 152).”

Attributing Quotes from Books in Academic Work

To correctly attribute a quote from a book:

  • Introduce the quote with the author’s name
  • Include a citation after the quote
  • Add the full citation in the reference list at the end of your paper

Resources for How to Properly Quote a Book

  • American Psychological Association
  • Chicago Manual of Style
  • APA vs MLA – The Key Differences in Format and Citation

Recommended Reading

  • 5 Editing Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Nonfiction Book
  • 5 Steps to Self-Editing Your Writing

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Writing A Book Title In Your Essay – The Right Way

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Table of contents

  • 1 APA Style: How to Write Book Titles in Essays
  • 2 APA Style Essay: Writing The Name of The Author
  • 3 MLA Style Essay: Citing a Book Title
  • 4 Chicago Style Essay: Writing the Book Title
  • 5 Writing Various Types of Titles
  • 6 Should We Underline or Italicize Book Titles?

When you are writing an academic essay , the book title and author’s name should be written in italics. However, if the book title is part of a larger work (such as a journal article), it should be underlined instead. So, you’re wondering how to write a book title in an essay?

Writing an essay with a book title can be tricky, particularly because each style guide has its own formatting rules for including titles in the main text. Whether you are using MLA, APA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles, you will need to consider how to properly format the book title. For more complicated literature-based assignments, seeking assistance from an admission essay writing service may be wise, as they specialize in writing essays that incorporate academic sources.

In this article, we will explore how to write both titles in an essay properly so that you avoid any mistakes!

APA Style: How to Write Book Titles in Essays

When writing an essay, you must follow the style guide provided by your professor. Some teachers may require you to use APA style and others MLA style. There are some rules on how to quote a book title in an essay. You should use italics and quotation marks when writing book titles in essays. For example: “ The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. “

When writing a book title in APA Style , you should be aware of these rules:

Write the book title in italics and place it after the author’s name, which is presented in reverse order (last name first).

Use quotation marks around the headline of a chapter or article.

Capitalize proper names that are not common nouns (names of people, places, organizations), but do not capitalize words such as “and,” “or,” “to,” or “and/or.”

Do not capitalize prepositions that appear at the beginning of titles if they are followed by an article (e.g., “A,” “An”), but do capitalize prepositions at the beginning of titles if they are not followed by articles (“Of”).

The first word of the headline should be capitalized, as well as any other words after a colon or hyphen. For example, “The Elements of Style: Grammar for Everyone”  or “Theories of Personality: Critical Perspectives.”

Capitalize proper names and words derived from them (e.g., the names of people, places, organizations), except proper nouns used generically (e.g., ‘a bed’).

APA Style Essay: Writing The Name of The Author

You should always use the full name and surname of the author in your APA essay because this will give proper credit to the writer. If you do not mention the author’s full name, people may not know who wrote what and will think you copied it from somewhere else. This will cause lots of problems for you and your reputation as well.

Make sure that all authors’ names appear in the same format in each entry. For example, if one person’s surname is Smith and another’s is Jones, both have first names starting with “J.” It may seem like they are being cited as different people when they’re actually written differently from each other on separate pages in your paper.

To write an APA essay without any issues, there are certain rules that you need to follow while writing an author’s name in APA essay:

  • Use only one author’s name in your paper unless there are multiple authors
  • If there are multiple authors, then use both their last names followed by the initials of their first names
  • Only use initials of first names when there are three or more authors; otherwise, use full names with their last names
Example: Johnson, M.C., Carlson, M., Smith, J. N., & Hanover, L. E.

MLA Style Essay: Citing a Book Title

Now let’s discuss how to mention a book in an essay. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, published by the Modern Language Association (2014), contains detailed rules about how to cite a book title in an essay.

The following guidelines will instruct you on how to refer to a book in an essay in MLA style :

  • List your sources at the end of your paper, before the works cited page or bibliography.
  • Use italics for titles of books, magazines, and newspapers, but not for articles within those publications, which should be placed in quotation marks.
  • Include all relevant book information under two categories: “title” and “author.” In the former category, include the work’s title and its subtitle if there is one; do this even if neither appears on your title page (see below). In the latter category, include only primary authors who have written or edited an entire book; if there are multiple contributors, you should cite them separately under each.

The general format for citing the title of the book in an essay is as follows:

Author’s last name, first initial (Date). Title of Book with Subtitle if there is one. Publisher Name/Location of Publisher; Year Published

Chicago Style Essay: Writing the Book Title

One of the most important things to remember when writing in Chicago style is how to write the title of a book in an essay. To write a good book title in an essay, you should follow these steps:

  • Write it at the beginning of your sentence.
  • Capitalize it just like any other noun or proper noun.
  • Put a comma after the title unless it’s an introductory clause or phrase. For example: “The Firm,” by John Grisham (not “by”) and “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D Salinger (not “and”).
  • In addition to the book’s name, punctuation marks should also be italicized.
For example: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children’s Edition

Writing Various Types of Titles

Now that we covered how to write a book title and author in an essay, it’s time to look at some different types of titles. When you write a book title in an essay, several things must be considered. Whether it’s a book, series, chapter title, editor’s name, or author’s name, how you write it depends on where it appears in your paper.

Here are some key rules for writing headings for novels:

  •  Use capital letters to write the title of the novel. For example,  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett .
  • Use italics and capital letters to write the name of the author and his/her other works mentioned in a book title—for example,  Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) .

You should use quotation marks when writing headings of short title poems, articles, and stories.

However, before deciding which format to use, it is important to understand the main idea you want to express in your essay. Additionally, you could use essay papers for sale to help you accomplish your goal of writing an essay effectively.

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Should We Underline or Italicize Book Titles?

It depends on which style guide you use. The Modern Language Association and Chicago Manual of Style both suggest using italics, while the American Psychological Association suggests using quotation marks with a few exceptions.

The way you write the title of a book in an essay is different depending on the instructions you were given. For example, if you’re writing an essay in APA style, use quotation marks around the book’s name. If you’re writing for MLA or Chicago style , however, italicize the book’s name instead. If you’re writing a handwritten essay instead of using a computer, capitalize and underline the book’s name.

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Q. How do I refer to a book by title in-text in APA format?

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Answered By: Gabe Gossett Last Updated: Jun 22, 2023     Views: 638363

The basic format for an in-text citation is: Title of the Book (Author Last Name, year).

One author: Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak, 1963) is a depiction of a child coping with his anger towards his mom.

Two authors (cite both names every time): Brabant and Mooney (1986) have used the comic strip to examine evidence of sex role stereotyping. OR The comic strip has been used to examine evidence of sex role stereotyping (Brabant & Mooney, 1986).

Three or more authors (cite the first author plus et al.): Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy (Clare et al., 2016) depicts a young man's experience at the Shadowhunter Academy, a place where being a former vampire is looked down upon.OR Clare et al. (2016) have crafted a unique story about a young man's journey to find himself.

No author: Cite the first few words of the reference entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title of an article or chapter, and italicize the title of a periodical, book, brochure, or report. Examples: From the book Study Guide (2000) ... or ("Reading," 1999).

Note: Titles of periodicals, books, brochures, or reports should be in italics and use normal title capitalization rules.

If you are citing multiple sources by multiple authors in-text, you can list all of them by the author's last name and year of publication within the same set of parentheses, separated by semicolons.

Example: (Adams, 1999; Jones & James, 2000; Miller, 1999)

For more information on how to cite books in-text and as a reference entry, see the APA Publication Manual (7th edition) Section 10.2 on pages 321-325 .

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Comments (13)

  • This was very useful for me! I was having a really hard time finding information on how to mention an article title AND the author in text in APA so this was very helpful!!! by Ryan Waddell on Jun 27, 2019
  • If I just mention that I used a book to teach a topic do I have to include it in the reference list? by Franw on Oct 17, 2019
  • @Franw, if it is a source that informs your paper in any way, or if your reader would have reason to look it up, then you should include a full reference list entry for the book. by Gabe [Research & Writing Studio] on Oct 18, 2019
  • Maybe I'm misunderstanding the question, but I think the OP is asking how to refer to a book title, not how to cite one. I believe APA uses quotation marks around book titles and MLA uses italics. by AB on Dec 12, 2019
  • @AB: The first sentence has been tweaked to clarify title of book usage, reflecting the examples given. For APA style you should use italics for book titles. It would be quotation marks. by Gabe [Research & Writing Studio] on Dec 12, 2019
  • Hi, can any one help me with in-text-citation of this, how can i cite it in the text Panel, I. L. (2002). Digital transformation: A framework for ICT literacy. Educational Testing Service, 1-53. by Milad on Aug 20, 2021
  • @Milad: In that case it would be (Panel, 2002). If you are quoting, or otherwise choosing to include page numbers, put a comma after the year, then p. and the page number(s). by Gabe Gossett on Aug 20, 2021
  • Hey, I'm a little bit curious, what if I'm mentioning a book and paraphrasing it but still want to give credit. Would I put the information into parenthesis instead? Like: Paraphrased info. ("Title in Italics" Author, year) by Kai on Sep 14, 2023
  • @Kai: Apologies for not seeing your question sooner! (Our academic year has not started yet). If I am understanding your question correctly, what I suggest is referring to the book title in the narrative of your writing, rather than in the in-text citation. I do not see an examples of using a book title in an in-text citation except for rare circumstances including citing a classic religious text or using the title when there is no author information because it is the start of your reference list entry. Basically, APA's in-text convention is supposed to make it easy for your reader to locate the source being cited in the reference list. So the first part of the in-text citation, usually authors, comes first to locate it alphabetically. Putting the book title first when you have an author name can throw that off. by Gabe Gossett on Sep 21, 2023
  • Perhaps this is along the lines of the response to Kai - Can you reference a book title as a common point of social understanding to demonstrate a common concept? Is official citing required if you use widely known titles such as "Where's Waldo" and "Who Moved My Cheese?" to make a point of illustration? by Chez Renee on Sep 30, 2023
  • @Chez: Aside from some classical religious texts, if it is a published book, I'd try to make sure that it is appropriately cited for APA style. That said, I think I understand where it gets tricky with things like Where's Waldo, since that is a series of books and stating "Where's Waldo" is a cultural reference many people would understand, though you can't reasonably cite the entire series. I don't believe that APA gives guidance for this particular issue. If it is being referred to in order to back up a claim, it would help to cite a particular book. If not, then it might work to use a statement such as, "Hanford's Where's Waldo series . . ." by Gabe Gossett on Oct 02, 2023
  • How to cite a dissertation thesis in apa form? by Elizabeth on Feb 05, 2024
  • @Elizabeth: For citing a dissertation or thesis you can check out our page answering that here https://askus.library.wwu.edu/faq/153308 by Gabe Gossett on Feb 05, 2024

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How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

3-minute read

  • 26th May 2023

When writing an essay, you’re likely to mention other authors’ works, such as books, papers, and articles. Formatting the titles of these works usually involves using quotation marks or italics.

So how do you write a book title in an essay? Most style guides have a standard for this – be sure to check that first. If you’re unsure, though, check out our guide below.

Italics or Quotation Marks?

As a general rule, you should set titles of longer works in italics , and titles of shorter works go in quotation marks . Longer works include books, journals, TV shows, albums, plays, etc. Here’s an example of a book mention:

Shorter works include poems, articles, chapters of books, episodes of TV shows, songs, etc. If it’s a piece that’s part of a biggHow to Write Book Titles in Your Essayser work, the piece considered a short work:

Exceptions to the Rule

The rule for writing book titles in italics applies specifically to running text . If the book title is standing on its own, as in a heading, there’s no need to italicize it.

Additionally, if the book is part of a larger series and you’re mentioning both the title of the series and that of the individual book, you can consider the book a shorter work. You would set the title of the series in italics and place the book title in quotation marks:

Punctuation in Book Titles

Do you need to apply italics to the punctuation in a book title? The short answer is yes – but only if the punctuation is part of the title:

If the punctuation isn’t part of the title (i.e., the punctuation is part of the sentence containing the title), you shouldn’t include in the italics:

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Summary: Writing Book Titles in Essays

We hope you’ll now feel confident when you’re writing and formatting book titles in your essays. Generally, you should set the title in italics when it’s in running text. Remember, though, to check your style guide. While the standards we’ve covered are the most common, some style guides have different requirements.

And once you finish writing your paper, make sure you send it our way! We’ll make sure any titles are formatted correctly as well as checking your work for grammar, spelling, punctuation, referencing, and more. Submit a free sample to try our service today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write the title of a book in a sentence.

Set the title of the book in italics unless the book is part of a larger work (e.g., a book that’s part of a series):

When do you use quotation marks for titles?

Place titles of shorter works or pieces that are contained in a larger work in quotation marks:

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How to Write a Book Title and Author in an Essay?

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So, you’re writing an essay, and you’re referencing a book. But how on earth do you write and cite the title and the author’s name correctly?

Do you use quotation marks? Italics? Punctuation? And what about capitalization?

The answer is a little more complicated than you might think. It all depends on the style of essay you’re writing, but once you’ve familiarized yourself with the rules for each one, it’s easy to mention and cite any book title and author’s name correctly, so you can get top marks from your instructor, each and every time.

Table of Contents

The Correct Way to Write a Book’s Title And Author in an Essay

In this post, we’ll look at the three most common essay formats used in the US and learn how to properly display book titles and author names in each one.

The Most Popular Essay Formats

The three most commonly used essay formats found in schools, universities, and higher education institutions across America are known as APA, MLA, and Chicago style.

The format your professor assigns will depend on the subject matter, the department, the purpose of the essay, and the instructor’s individual preferences.

APA stands for the American Psychological Association. This is the go-to format for scientific essays, including many social and behavioural sciences.

MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is the most frequently used format in humanities and liberal arts subjects, such as literature and history.

Chicago format, also known as Turabian after its creator, Kate L. Turabian, is commonly used in the publishing world and also in subjects such as anthropology, history, and selected social sciences.

Why is Using The Correct Format so Important?

The short answer is that you’ll receive a lower grade if you don’t.

But of course, there are many good reasons why proper formatting is important when writing papers and essays.

1. Consistency

Formats like APA, MLA, and Chicago provide a strict set of criteria to stick to throughout an essay, ensuring consistency.

Consistency avoids confusion for the reader and helps them to quickly and easily identify what the writer is trying to say.

2. References And Research

Sticking with one style or format makes it easier for readers to check citations and conduct further research into the chosen topic.

3. Demonstrating Understanding

In academic settings, adhering to a particular style guide, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, demonstrates your understanding of the rules and principles of written material within that field.

This shows that you don’t just understand the subject; you also know how to write about it.

4. Preparation For Future Studies

Suppose you’re a high school student or a college undergrad, familiarizing yourself with the basic principles of essay formatting. In that case, it is a great way to prepare yourself for your future academic pursuits, especially if you plan to progress onto a graduate or postgraduate program.

How to Write a Book’s Title in The Main Body of an APA Style Essay?

Here are the key rules to remember when writing book titles in the main body of an APA-style essay:

  • Use quotation marks (not italics) on either side of the book’s title (with the exception of the holy texts like the Bible and reference works like dictionaries and almanacs).
  • The first word of the title should be capitalized.
  • All words and terms containing more than four letters or symbols should be capitalized.
  • Any two-part words containing a hyphen should be capitalized.
  • Words placed directly after a colon or dash should also be capitalized.

For example, “Slaughterhouse-Five”

How to Write a Book’s Title in The Main Body of an MLA or Chicago Style Essay?

MLA and Chicago-style essays use similar rules when it comes to mentioning book titles in the main body of an essay. Here are the key things to remember when using either of these formats:

  • The book’s title should be displayed in italics (not quotation marks), with the exception of holy texts like the Bible.
  • If the title contains punctuation, this should be italicized, too.
  • All verbs, nouns, and adjectives should be capitalized.
  • If you’re referring to a chapter or mentioning a book alongside the series it belongs to, use quotation marks, not italics.

For example,

O ne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, or “A Clash of Kings” from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

1. Avoid Capitalizing Minor Words

Unless they appear as the first word in a title, the following words should be displayed in lowercase.

  • Prepositions , such as on, in, at, and from.
  • Articles , such as the, a, and an.
  • Coordinating conjunctions , such as so, and, yet, but, and for.

This might sound a little complex at first, but it’s pretty simple and intuitive once you get the hang of it.

99% of the time, the book’s title as it is displayed on the front cover is correct for both MLA and Chicago-style essays.

How to Write a Book’s Title in The Main Body of a Handwritten Essay?

Handwritten essays used to be the norm, but these days, they’re most definitely the exception.

Still, there may be some instances where you’re asked to handwrite an essay rather than type it, in which case, you should follow the rules below.

1. Capitalization

The capitalization rules for writing book titles in the main body of a handwritten essay are the same as with typed essays.

So, if you’re handwriting an APA-style essay, make sure to capitalize the first letter of the first word in the title and do the same for every word containing more than four letters.

And when handwriting an MLA or Chicago-style essay, capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title and do the same for every word except for articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions.

2. Underlining

No matter the format, book titles should always be underlined when handwriting an essay

  • Underline the complete title, including any words that come after a colon or dash
  • Underline any punctuation that appears in the book’s title
  • Avoid underlining each word separately; always use one continuous line
  • Make your line as straight as possible by using a ruler or following the line on the paper

How to Cite a Book And its Author in a References or Works Cited Page?

So, now you know how to write the title of a book mentioned in the body of an essay.

But what do you do when you need to cite a book and its author in your references or works cited page?

To keep it simple, I’ll use Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 classic children’s novel , Anne of Green Gables, as an example for each essay style.

1. Book Citations in APA Style

Here’s the proper format for citing authors and their book titles in APA:

Last Name, First Names. (Year the book was published). Book title .

For example, Montgomery, Lucy Maud. (1908). Anne of Green Gables.

2. Book Citations in MLA Style

Here’s the proper format for citing authors and their book titles in MLA:

Last Name, First Names. Book title . City of Publication, Publisher, Year the book was published.

Note: You only need to include the city of publication if the book was published before 1900 or if the publisher is not based in the US.

For example, Montgomery, Lucy Maud. Anne of Green Gables. L.C. Page & Co., 1908.

3. Book Citations in Chicago Style

Here’s the proper format for citing authors and their book titles in Chicago style:

Last Name, First Names. Book Title: Subtitle . City of publication: Publisher, Year the book was published.

Note: Just like with MLA style, you only need to include the city of publication if the book was published before 1900 or if the publisher is not based in the US.

For example, Montgomery, Lucy Maud. Anne of Green Gables . L.C. Page & Co., 1908.

4. Book Citations in a Hand Written Essay

If you’re handwriting an essay, you’ll no doubt be handwriting your references or works cited page, too.

In this case, you should still follow the appropriate formatting rules above in relation to the chosen essay style.

But where a title appears in italics in a printed essay, in a handwritten essay, it should be neatly underlined instead.

Missing Information

If you’ve searched high and low for a book’s publisher, publication date, or the city in which it was published, but you still can’t find the information, it’s generally acceptable to leave it out.

Essay writing is a skill that takes practice, and at first, the rules and principles of the different formats can seem complex. This is especially true when you’re writing about books and their authors or citing other people’s work.

But hopefully, this post has helped explain the structures used in each of the most commonly used formats so that next time you write an essay, you can be confident that you’re doing it right.

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Using Literary Quotations

Use the guidelines below to learn how to use literary quotations.

Download this Handout PDF

Introduction

When you’re asked to write a paper analyzing a work of literature, your instructor probably expects you to incorporate quotations from that literary text into your analysis. But how do you do this well? What kind of quotations do you use? How do you seamlessly weave together your ideas with someone else’s words?

On this page we clarify the purpose of using literary quotations in literary analysis papers by exploring why quotations are important to use in your writing and then explaining how to do this. We provide general guidelines and specific suggestions about blending your prose and quoted material as well as information about formatting logistics and various rules for handling outside text.

Although this material is focused on integrating your ideas with quotations from novels, poems, and plays into literary analysis papers, in some genres this advice is equally applicable to incorporating quotations from scholarly essays, reports, or even original research into your work.

For further information, check out our Quoting and Paraphrasing resource, or you may wish to see when the Writing Center is offering its next introductory workshop about the genre of literary analysis. Additionally, our Short Guide to Close Reading for Literary Analysis offers wonderful insight into how you can read a piece of literature in order to analyze it.

Why should I use literary quotations?

Within a literary analysis, your purpose is to develop an argument about what the author of the text is doing—how the text “works.” You use quotations to support this argument. This involves selecting, presenting, and discussing material from the text in order to “prove” your point—to make your case—in much the same way a lawyer brings evidence before a jury.

Quoting for any other purpose is counterproductive. Don’t quote to “tell the story” or otherwise convey basic information about the text; most of the time within this genre you can assume your reader knows the text. And don’t quote just for the sake of quoting or to fill up space.

How do I use literary quotations?

General guidelines.

The following paragraph is from a student’s analysis of the relationship between two characters in Woolf’s To the Lighthouse . Notice how statements expressing the writer’s ideas and observations are verified with evidence from the novel in both summarized and quoted form.

We learn about Mrs. Ramsey’s personality by observing her feelings about other characters. For example, Mrs. Ramsey has mixed feelings toward Mr. Tansley, but her feelings seem to grow more positive over time as she comes to know him better. At first Mrs. Ramsey finds Mr. Tansley annoying, as shown especially when he mentions that no one is going to the lighthouse (7). But rather than hating him, she feels pity: “she pitied men always as if they lacked something . . .” (85). Then later, during the gathering, pity turns to empathy as she realizes that Mr. Tansley must feel inferior. He must know, Mrs. Ramsey thinks, that “no woman would look at him with Paul Rayley in the room” (104). Finally, by the end of the dinner scene, she feels some attraction to Mr. Tansley and also a new respect: “She liked his laugh . . . She liked his awkwardness. There was a lot in that man after all” (110). In observing this evolution in her attitude, we learn more about Mrs. Ramsey than we do about Mr. Tansley. The change in Mrs. Ramsey’s attitude is not used by Woolf to show that Mrs. Ramsey is fickle or confused; rather it is used to show her capacity for understanding both the frailty and complexity of human beings. This is a central characteristic of Mrs. Ramsey’s personality.

Your ideas + textual evidence + discussion

Notice that this paragraph includes three basic kinds of materials: (a) statements expressing the student’s own ideas about the relationship Woolf is creating; (b) data or evidence from the text in summarized, paraphrased, and quoted form; and (c) discussion of how the data support the writer’s interpretation. All the quotations are used in accordance with the writer’s purpose, i.e., to show how the development of Mrs. Ramsey’s feelings indicates something about her personality.

Textual evidence options

Quoting is only one of several ways to present textual material as evidence. You can also refer to textual data, summarize, and paraphrase. You will often want merely to refer or point to passages (as in the third sentence in the above example paragraph) that contribute to your argument. In other cases, you will want to paraphrase, i.e., “translate” the original into your own words, again instead of quoting. Summarize or paraphrase when it is not so much the language of the text that justifies your position, but the substance or content.

Quoting selectively

Similarly, after you have decided that you want to quote material, quote only the portions of the text specifically relevant to your point . Think of the text in terms of units—words, phrases, sentences, and groups of sentences (paragraphs, stanzas)—and use only the units you need. If it is particular words or phrases that “prove” your point, you do not need to quote the full sentences they appear in; rather, incorporate the words and phrases into your own sentences that focus on your own ideas.

Blending your prose and quoted material

It is permissible to quote an entire sentence (between two sentences of your own), but in general you should avoid this method of bringing textual material into your discussion. Instead, use one of the following patterns:

An introducing phrase or orienter plus the quotation:

  • In Blake’s poem “The Tyger,” it is creation, not a hypothetical creator, that is supremely awesome. [ argument sentence ]. The speaker asks, “What immortal hand or eye / Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?” [ data sentence; orienter before quote ]
  • Gatsby is not to be regarded as a personal failure. [ argument sentence ] “Gatsby turned out all right at the end” (2), according to Nick. [ data sentence; orienter after quote ]
  • “Our baby was a boy,” Shukumar tells his wife in the conclusion of Lahiri’s “A Temporary Matter” (22). [ data sentence; orienter after quote ] This admission is a death knell, tolling the end of their failing marriage. [ argument sentence ]

An assertion of your own and a colon plus the quotation:

  • In the midst of discussing the fate of the Abame tribe, Uchendu presents his own theory: “There is no story that is not true” (141).
  • Fitzgerald gives Nick a muted tribute to the hero: “Gatsby turned out all right at the end” (2).
  • Within Othello , Cassio represents not only a political but also a personal threat to Iago: “He hath a daily beauty in his life / That makes me ugly . . .” (5.1.19-20).

An assertion of your own with quoted material worked in:

  • For Nick, who remarks that Gatsby “turned out all right” (2), the hero deserves respect but perhaps does not inspire great admiration.
  • Satan’s motion is many things; he “strides” through the air (55), arrives like a “rattling” cloud (56), and later explodes—“wandering,” “hovering and blazing” like a fire (270).
  • Walking through Geraldine’s house, Pecola “wanted to see everything slowly, slowly” in order to fully appreciate its comparative order and opulence (Morrison 89).

Maintaining clarity and readability

Introduce a quotation either by indicating what it is intended to show, by naming its source, or by doing both. For non-narrative poetry, it’s customary to attribute quotations to “the speaker”; for a story with a narrator, to “the narrator.” For plays, novels, and other works with characters, identify characters as you quote them.

Do not use two quotations in a row without intervening text of your own. You should always be contextualizing all of your outside material with your own ideas, and if you let quotes build up without a break, readers will lose track of your argument.

Using the correct verb tense is a tricky issue. It’s customary in literary analysis to use the present tense; this is because it is at the present time that you (and your reader) are looking at the text. But events in a narrative or drama take place in a time sequence. You will often need to use a past tense to refer to events that took place before the moment you are presently discussing. Consider this example:

When he hears Cordelia’s answer, King Lear seems surprised, but not dumbfounded. He advises her to “mend [her] speech a little.” He had expected her to praise him the most; but compared to her sisters’, her remarks seem almost insulting (1.1.95).

Formatting logistics and guidelines

If for the sake of brevity you wish to omit material from a quoted passage, use ellipsis points (three spaced periods) to indicate the omission. Notice how in the paragraph about To the Lighthouse , above, the writer quoted only those portions of the original sentences that related to the point of the analysis.

When quoting, you may alter grammatical forms such as the tense of a verb or the person of a pronoun so that the quotation conforms grammatically to your own prose; indicate these alterations by placing square brackets around the changed form. In the quotation about King Lear at the end of the previous section, “her” replaces the “your” of the original so that the quote fits the point of view of the paper (third person).

Reproduce the spelling, capitalization, and internal punctuation of the original exactly. Of the following sentences presenting D. H. Lawrence’s maxim, “Books are not life,” the first is not acceptable in some style systems.

  • For Lawrence, “books are not life.” [ UNACCEPTABLE ]
  • For Lawrence, “[b]ooks are not life.” [ acceptable but awkward ]
  • Lawrence wrote, “Books are not life.” [ acceptable ]
  • “Books,” Lawrence wrote, “are not life.” [ acceptable ]
  • For Lawrence, books “are not life.” [ acceptable ]

Punctuation

You may alter the closing punctuation of a quotation in order to incorporate it into a sentence of your own. For example:

  • “Books are not life,” Lawrence emphasized.

Commas and periods go inside the closing quotation marks; the other punctuation marks go outside. For example:

  • Lawrence insisted that books “are not life”; however, he wrote exultantly about the power of the novel.
  • Why does Lawrence need to point out that “Books are not life”?

When quoting lines of poetry up to three lines long (which are not indented), separate one line of poetry from another with a slash mark with a space on either side (see examples from Blake’s “The Tyger” and Shakespeare’s Othello above).

Indentation

Prose or verse quotations less than four lines long are not indented. For quotations of this length, use the patterns described above.

“Longer” quotations should be formatted according to the expectations of a block quote. This unit of text should be positioned one half inch from the left margin, and opening and closing quotation marks are not used. The MLA Handbook , 8 th edition (2016) recommends that indented quotations be double-spaced, but many instructors prefer them single-spaced. The meaning of “longer” varies slightly from one style system to another, but a general rule is to indent quotations that are more than two (or three) lines of verse or four lines of prose.

If you’re quoting a series of dialogue dialogue between characters in a play, indent these lines and place the speaker’s name before the speech quoted. For example:

  • CAESAR: Et tu, Brute! Then, fall, Caesar! CINNA: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! (3.1.77-78)

Documentation

Follow your course instructor’s guidelines for documenting sources. If your instructor hasn’t told you which system to use to document sources, ask.

The documentation style used in this handout is that presented in the MLA Handbook , 8 th edition (2016), the most common citation style for literary analysis papers. The Writing Center has information about the rules of documentation within the most common systems .

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinau. Things Fall Apart . 1959. Anchor Books, 1994.

Blake, William. “The Tyger.” Poets.org , American Academy of Poets, https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/tyger. Accessed 1 July 2018.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby . 1925. The Scribner Library, 1953.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. “A Temporary Matter.” Interpreter of Maladies , Mariner Books, 1999, pp. 1-22.

Lawrence, David Herbert. “Why the Novel Matters.” Study of Thomas Hardy and Other Essays , edited by Bruce Steele, Cambridge University Press, 1985, pp. 191-8.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost . Printed for John Bumpus, 1821. Google Books , https://books.google.com/books?id=pO4MAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. Accessed 1 July 2018.

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye . 1970. Plume, 1993.

Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Wordsworth Editions, pp. 582-610.

–. King Lear. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare . Wordsworth Editions, pp. 885-923.

–. Othello, the Moor of Venice. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare . Wordsworth Editions, pp. 818-57.

Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse . 1927. Harcourt, 1981.

how do you quote a book in a essay

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  • How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA

How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA

Published on 15 April 2022 by Shona McCombes and Jack Caulfield. Revised on 3 September 2022.

Quoting means copying a passage of someone else’s words and crediting the source. To quote a source, you must ensure:

  • The quoted text is enclosed in quotation marks (usually single quotation marks in UK English, though double is acceptable as long as you’re consistent) or formatted as a block quote
  • The original author is correctly cited
  • The text is identical to the original

The exact format of a quote depends on its length and on which citation style you are using. Quoting and citing correctly is essential to avoid plagiarism , which is easy to detect with a good plagiarism checker .

How to Quote

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Table of contents

How to cite a quote in harvard and apa style, introducing quotes, quotes within quotes, shortening or altering a quote, block quotes, when should i use quotes, frequently asked questions about quoting sources.

Every time you quote, you must cite the source correctly . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style you’re using.

Citing a quote in Harvard style

When you include a quote in Harvard style, you must add a Harvard in-text citation giving the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number if available. Any full stop or comma appears after the citation, not within the quotation marks.

Citations can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in brackets after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.

  • Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) . Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .

Complete guide to Harvard style

Citing a quote in APA Style

To cite a direct quote in APA , you must include the author’s last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use ‘p.’; if it spans a page range, use ‘pp.’

An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in parentheses after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.

Punctuation marks such as full stops and commas are placed after the citation, not within the quotation marks.

  • Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) .
  • Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .

Complete guide to APA

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how do you quote a book in a essay

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Make sure you integrate quotes properly into your text by introducing them in your own words, showing the reader why you’re including the quote and providing any context necessary to understand it.  Don’t  present quotations as stand-alone sentences.

There are three main strategies you can use to introduce quotes in a grammatically correct way:

  • Add an introductory sentence
  • Use an introductory signal phrase
  • Integrate the quote into your own sentence

The following examples use APA Style citations, but these strategies can be used in all styles.

Introductory sentence

Introduce the quote with a full sentence ending in a colon . Don’t use a colon if the text before the quote isn’t a full sentence.

If you name the author in your sentence, you may use present-tense verbs, such as “states’, ‘argues’, ‘explains’, ‘writes’, or ‘reports’, to describe the content of the quote.

  • In Denmark, a recent poll shows that: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • In Denmark, a recent poll shows that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • Levring (2018) reports that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).

Introductory signal phrase

You can also use a signal phrase that mentions the author or source but doesn’t form a full sentence. In this case, you follow the phrase with a comma instead of a colon.

  • According to a recent poll, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • As Levring (2018) explains, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).

Integrated into your own sentence

To quote a phrase that doesn’t form a full sentence, you can also integrate it as part of your sentence, without any extra punctuation.

  • A recent poll suggests that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • Levring (2018) reports that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (p. 3).

When you quote text that itself contains another quote, this is called a nested quotation or a quote within a quote. It may occur, for example, when quoting dialogue from a novel.

To distinguish this quote from the surrounding quote, you enclose it in double (instead of single) quotation marks (even if this involves changing the punctuation from the original text). Make sure to close both sets of quotation marks at the appropriate moments.

Note that if you only quote the nested quotation itself, and not the surrounding text, you can just use single quotation marks.

  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘ ‘ Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, ‘ he told me, ‘ just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had ‘ ‘ (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘”Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had “  (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”’ (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway begins by quoting his father’s invocation to ‘remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’ (Fitzgerald 1).

Note:  When the quoted text in the source comes from another source, it’s best to just find that original source in order to quote it directly. If you can’t find the original source, you can instead cite it indirectly .

Often, incorporating a quote smoothly into your text requires you to make some changes to the original text. It’s fine to do this, as long as you clearly mark the changes you’ve made to the quote.

Shortening a quote

If some parts of a passage are redundant or irrelevant, you can shorten the quote by removing words, phrases, or sentences and replacing them with an ellipsis (…). Put a space before and after the ellipsis.

Be careful that removing the words doesn’t change the meaning. The ellipsis indicates that some text has been removed, but the shortened quote should still accurately represent the author’s point.

Altering a quote

You can add or replace words in a quote when necessary. This might be because the original text doesn’t fit grammatically with your sentence (e.g., it’s in a different tense), or because extra information is needed to clarify the quote’s meaning.

Use brackets to distinguish words that you have added from words that were present in the original text.

The Latin term ‘ sic ‘ is used to indicate a (factual or grammatical) mistake in a quotation. It shows the reader that the mistake is from the quoted material, not a typo of your own.

In some cases, it can be useful to italicise part of a quotation to add emphasis, showing the reader that this is the key part to pay attention to. Use the phrase ’emphasis added’ to show that the italics were not part of the original text.

You usually don’t need to use brackets to indicate minor changes to punctuation or capitalisation made to ensure the quote fits the style of your text.

If you quote more than a few lines from a source, you must format it as a block quote . Instead of using quotation marks, you set the quote on a new line and indent it so that it forms a separate block of text.

Block quotes are cited just like regular quotes, except that if the quote ends with a full stop, the citation appears after the full stop.

To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out; leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite unwashed-up, pushing his keys into Gandalf’s hands, and running as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water, and then on for a mile or more. (16)

Avoid relying too heavily on quotes in academic writing . To integrate a source , it’s often best to paraphrase , which means putting the passage into your own words. This helps you integrate information smoothly and keeps your own voice dominant.

However, there are some situations in which quotes are more appropriate.

When focusing on language

If you want to comment on how the author uses language (for example, in literary analysis ), it’s necessary to quote so that the reader can see the exact passage you are referring to.

When giving evidence

To convince the reader of your argument, interpretation or position on a topic, it’s often helpful to include quotes that support your point. Quotes from primary sources (for example, interview transcripts or historical documents) are especially credible as evidence.

When presenting an author’s position or definition

When you’re referring to secondary sources such as scholarly books and journal articles, try to put others’ ideas in your own words when possible.

But if a passage does a great job at expressing, explaining, or defining something, and it would be very difficult to paraphrase without changing the meaning or losing the weakening the idea’s impact, it’s worth quoting directly.

A quote is an exact copy of someone else’s words, usually enclosed in quotation marks and credited to the original author or speaker.

To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.

It’s appropriate to quote when:

  • Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
  • You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
  • You’re presenting a precise definition
  • You’re looking in depth at a specific claim

Every time you quote a source , you must include a correctly formatted in-text citation . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style .

For example, a direct quote in APA is cited like this: ‘This is a quote’ (Streefkerk, 2020, p. 5).

Every in-text citation should also correspond to a full reference at the end of your paper.

In scientific subjects, the information itself is more important than how it was expressed, so quoting should generally be kept to a minimum. In the arts and humanities, however, well-chosen quotes are often essential to a good paper.

In social sciences, it varies. If your research is mainly quantitative , you won’t include many quotes, but if it’s more qualitative , you may need to quote from the data you collected .

As a general guideline, quotes should take up no more than 5–10% of your paper. If in doubt, check with your instructor or supervisor how much quoting is appropriate in your field.

If you’re quoting from a text that paraphrases or summarises other sources and cites them in parentheses , APA  recommends retaining the citations as part of the quote:

  • Smith states that ‘the literature on this topic (Jones, 2015; Sill, 2019; Paulson, 2020) shows no clear consensus’ (Smith, 2019, p. 4).

Footnote or endnote numbers that appear within quoted text should be omitted.

If you want to cite an indirect source (one you’ve only seen quoted in another source), either locate the original source or use the phrase ‘as cited in’ in your citation.

A block quote is a long quote formatted as a separate ‘block’ of text. Instead of using quotation marks , you place the quote on a new line, and indent the entire quote to mark it apart from your own words.

APA uses block quotes for quotes that are 40 words or longer.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. & Caulfield, J. (2022, September 03). How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA. Scribbr. Retrieved 3 June 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/working-sources/quoting/

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In-Text Citations: The Basics

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Note:  This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style  can be found here .

Reference citations in text are covered on pages 261-268 of the Publication Manual. What follows are some general guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay.

Note:  On pages 117-118, the Publication Manual suggests that authors of research papers should use the past tense or present perfect tense for signal phrases that occur in the literature review and procedure descriptions (for example, Jones (1998)  found  or Jones (1998)  has found ...). Contexts other than traditionally-structured research writing may permit the simple present tense (for example, Jones (1998)  finds ).

APA Citation Basics

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, like, for example, (Jones, 1998). One complete reference for each source should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

If you are referring to an idea from another work but  NOT  directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference.

On the other hand, if you are directly quoting or borrowing from another work, you should include the page number at the end of the parenthetical citation. Use the abbreviation “p.” (for one page) or “pp.” (for multiple pages) before listing the page number(s). Use an en dash for page ranges. For example, you might write (Jones, 1998, p. 199) or (Jones, 1998, pp. 199–201). This information is reiterated below.

Regardless of how they are referenced, all sources that are cited in the text must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

In-text citation capitalization, quotes, and italics/underlining

  • Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials: D. Jones.
  • If you refer to the title of a source within your paper, capitalize all words that are four letters long or greater within the title of a source:  Permanence and Change . Exceptions apply to short words that are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs:  Writing New Media ,  There Is Nothing Left to Lose .

( Note:  in your References list, only the first word of a title will be capitalized:  Writing new media .)

  • When capitalizing titles, capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound word:  Natural-Born Cyborgs .
  • Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon: "Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock's  Vertigo ."
  • If the title of the work is italicized in your reference list, italicize it and use title case capitalization in the text:  The Closing of the American Mind ;  The Wizard of Oz ;  Friends .
  • If the title of the work is not italicized in your reference list, use double quotation marks and title case capitalization (even though the reference list uses sentence case): "Multimedia Narration: Constructing Possible Worlds;" "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry."

Short quotations

If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and page number for the reference (preceded by "p." for a single page and “pp.” for a span of multiple pages, with the page numbers separated by an en dash).

You can introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.

If you do not include the author’s name in the text of the sentence, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.

Long quotations

Place direct quotations that are 40 words or longer in a free-standing block of typewritten lines and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation 1/2 inch from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout, but do not add an extra blank line before or after it. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.

Because block quotation formatting is difficult for us to replicate in the OWL's content management system, we have simply provided a screenshot of a generic example below.

This image shows how to format a long quotation in an APA seventh edition paper.

Formatting example for block quotations in APA 7 style.

Quotations from sources without pages

Direct quotations from sources that do not contain pages should not reference a page number. Instead, you may reference another logical identifying element: a paragraph, a chapter number, a section number, a table number, or something else. Older works (like religious texts) can also incorporate special location identifiers like verse numbers. In short: pick a substitute for page numbers that makes sense for your source.

Summary or paraphrase

If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference and may omit the page numbers. APA guidelines, however, do encourage including a page range for a summary or paraphrase when it will help the reader find the information in a longer work. 

IMAGES

  1. Citing A Quote From A Book In An Essay

    how do you quote a book in a essay

  2. How To Cite A Book In A Paper Example

    how do you quote a book in a essay

  3. 3 Ways to Cite a Book in MLA Style

    how do you quote a book in a essay

  4. How to use Quotes in an Essay in 7 Simple Steps (2024)

    how do you quote a book in a essay

  5. Research Paper Citing Help

    how do you quote a book in a essay

  6. How to properly cite a book in an essay using mla

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COMMENTS

  1. 3 Ways to Quote a Book

    3. Use a parenthetical citation. You need to cite the author, year of publication, and page number (preceded by "p.") The best way to do this is to use a signal phrase with the author's name in it, followed by the date of publication and the page number in parenthesis.

  2. How to Cite a Book

    To cite a book chapter, first give the author and title (in quotation marks) of the chapter cited, then information about the book as a whole and the page range of the specific chapter. The in-text citation lists the author of the chapter and the page number of the relevant passage. MLA format. Author last name, First name.

  3. How to Cite a Book in APA Style

    In the reference list, start with the author's last name and initials, followed by the year. The book title is written in sentence case (only capitalize the first word and any proper nouns ). Include any other contributors (e.g. editors and translators) and the edition if specified (e.g. "2nd ed."). APA format. Last name, Initials.

  4. How to Quote

    Citing a quote in APA Style. To cite a direct quote in APA, you must include the author's last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use "p."; if it spans a page range, use "pp.". An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative.

  5. Quotations

    when reproducing an exact definition (see Section 6.22 of the Publication Manual ), when an author has said something memorably or succinctly, or. when you want to respond to exact wording (e.g., something someone said). Instructors, programs, editors, and publishers may establish limits on the use of direct quotations.

  6. How to Properly Quote a Book

    To correctly attribute a quote from a book: Introduce the quote with the author's name. Include a citation after the quote. Add the full citation in the reference list at the end of your paper. Step. Description. Introduction. Mention the author's last name and the work's year.

  7. How to Write a Book Title in Essay [Examples]

    Write it at the beginning of your sentence. Capitalize it just like any other noun or proper noun. Put a comma after the title unless it's an introductory clause or phrase. For example: "The Firm," by John Grisham (not "by") and "The Catcher in the Rye," by J.D Salinger (not "and"). In addition to the book's name ...

  8. Q. How do I refer to a book by title in-text in APA format?

    Jun 22, 2023 637572. The basic format for an in-text citation is: Title of the Book (Author Last Name, year). Examples. One author: Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak, 1963) is a depiction of a child coping with his anger towards his mom. Two authors (cite both names every time): Brabant and Mooney (1986) have used the comic strip to examine ...

  9. How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

    Exceptions to the Rule. The rule for writing book titles in italics applies specifically to running text. If the book title is standing on its own, as in a heading, there's no need to italicize it. Additionally, if the book is part of a larger series and you're mentioning both the title of the series and that of the individual book, you can ...

  10. How to Write a Book Title and Author in an Essay?

    Underline the complete title, including any words that come after a colon or dash. Underline any punctuation that appears in the book's title. Avoid underlining each word separately; always use one continuous line. Make your line as straight as possible by using a ruler or following the line on the paper.

  11. Using Literary Quotations

    Within a literary analysis, your purpose is to develop an argument about what the author of the text is doing—how the text "works.". You use quotations to support this argument. This involves selecting, presenting, and discussing material from the text in order to "prove" your point—to make your case—in much the same way a lawyer ...

  12. How to Quote

    Citing a quote in APA Style. To cite a direct quote in APA, you must include the author's last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use 'p.'; if it spans a page range, use 'pp.'. An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative.

  13. How to Write a Book Title in an Essay: Rules and Tips

    Capitalize the first word of titles of books in papers, the first word after a colon, and all major words. Avoid capitalizing minor words (e.g., articles, prepositions, conjunctions) unless they are the first word of the name or longer than four letters. Always place the book title after the author's name.

  14. MLA Formatting Quotations

    For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2 inch from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing ...

  15. How to Cite a Book in MLA

    Citing a book chapter. Use this format if the book's chapters are written by different authors, or if the book is a collection of self-contained works (such as stories, essays, poems or plays).A similar format can be used to cite images from books or dictionary entries.If you cite several chapters from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each one.

  16. In-Text Citations: The Basics

    When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, like, for example, (Jones, 1998). One complete reference for each source should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

  17. MLA In-text Citations

    Revised on March 5, 2024. An MLA in-text citation provides the author's last name and a page number in parentheses. If a source has two authors, name both. If a source has more than two authors, name only the first author, followed by " et al. ". If the part you're citing spans multiple pages, include the full page range.