Q. How do I cite a direct quote?


You must include three things for a direct quote: 

  1. Quotation marks around copied words
  2. Citation (author, year, location of information)

1. Quotation marks around copied words

For short quotations (fewer than 40 words):

Incorporate the quote directly into the text enclosed within double quotation marks ("). Always include an in-text citation at the end of the quoted sentence.


Out of 15,289 wells drilled before 1964, 5,487 have "suspended production but have not been cleaned up" (Morgan, 2019, para. 17).

For long quotations (40 words or more):

Quotations of 40 words or more are formatted as a block quotation. To start a block quotation, start a new line and indent the entire block 0.5 inches from the left margin. If the quote consists of more than one paragraph, indent the first line of each paragraph an additional 0.5 inches. Don't include quotation marks for block quotations. Include the in-text citation at the end of the block quote.


The Financial Post sorted through well data from before 1964, the year the Alberta government started requiring companies to obtain reclamation certificates for cleaning up their oil and gas wells, and found 6,077 wells that are still active today. An additional 5,487 wells have suspended production but have not been cleaned up, and 3,695 wells have been plugged, a state the industry and government calls “abandoned,” but not remediated. (Morgan, 2019, para. 17)

2. Citation

To cite a direct quote, use the author(s) last name, the year of publication, and the location of the words you copied in your source (page number, paragraph number or section header.).

Page number
If your source is a book or an article, look for a page number.


The company "only resumed its manufacturing when given formal approval" (Laurence, 2014, p. 10).

Paragraph number

For source like webpage and eBook with no numbers, use a paragraph number by counting paragraphs down from the beginning of the document.


According to Jones and Smith (2011), "sales increased annually by 20% (para. 2) following the release of the television adaptation.

Section heading 

If the webpage is very long, consider using a heading (i.e., section descriptions that break up content into parts) instead of counting paragraphs


There was little evidence at the crime scene, according to the police, with the exception of "one flashlight, two matches, and a shoe" (Clarke, 2019, "Crime Scene").

Author and date

The date must always follow your author. This information can be provided in two ways:

You may write the author's name into the sentence (narrative citation) with the date following in parenthesis.


According to Williams (2014), the figures from 2008 "increased ten-fold over the following twenty years".

You amy write the author's name and the year at the end of the sentence (parenthetical citation), along with the location information.


The figures from 2008 "increased ten-fold over the following twenty years" (Williams, 2014, p. 3).



Check the APA Style Website for more information on direct quotations.


  • Last Updated Apr 30, 2020
  • Views 58
  • Answered By Gina Brander

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