Working with Quotations

    Quotations that constitute fewer than five lines in your paper should be set off with quotation marks [ “ quotation ” ] and be incorporated within the normal flow of your text. For material exceeding that length, omit the quotation marks and indent the quoted language one inch from your left-hand margin. If an indented quotation is taken entirely from one paragraph, the first line should be even with all the other lines in that quotation; however, if an indented quotation comes from two or more paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph an additional one-quarter inch.

    If quotation marks appear within the text of a quotation that already has the usual double-quote marks [ “ quotation ” ] around it (a quote-within-a-quote), set off that inner quotation with single-quote marks [ ‘ quotation ’ ] . Such a quote-within-a-quote within an indented quotation is marked with double-quote marks.

    In the United States, the usual practice is to place periods and commas inside quotation marks, regardless of logic. Other punctuation marks — question marks, exclamation marks, semicolons, and colons — go where logic would dictate. Thus, we might see the following sentences in a paper about Robert Frost:

    The first two lines of this stanza, "My little horse must think it queer / To stop without a farmhouse near," remind us of a nursery rhyme.

        (Note, also, the slash mark / (with a space on either side) to denote the poem's line-break.) But observe the placement of this semicolon:

    There is a hint of the nursery rhyme in the line "My little horse must think it queer"; however, the poem then quickly turns darkly serious.

    Pay close attention to the placement of commas and periods in the use of citations.

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