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Citations: Block Quotations

Basics

According to the APA manual, quotations that are 40 words or more are considered block quotations and are formatted differently than regular quotations.

The following is a list of the unique formatting that is needed for block quotations:

  1. Block quotations start on their own line.
  2. The entire block quotation is indented 0.5 inches, the same as the indentation for a new paragraph, and is double spaced.
  3. Block quotations are not surrounded by any quotation marks.
  4. The punctuation at the end of the block quotation goes before the citation.
  5. The ending citation is included on the last line of the block quotation.
  6. The text after the block quotation begins on its own line, with no indentation. You should not end a paragraph with a block quotation because any quotation you use as evidence in your writing should be followed by analysis in your own words as part of the same paragraph.

Additional paragraphs within a block quotation should be indented an additional 0.5” (1” from the left margin). Quoted material within the block quotation should be in double quotation marks.

Note that block quotations should be used sparingly. Block quotations tend to take over the voice of the paper, often overshadowing the voice of the author with that source’s voice. Instead, if at all possible, try to quote smaller portions of the piece of text and incorporate these into your own voice. This practice will not only allow you to establish your voice as the author but also show the way you are engaging with the information, not just reporting it.

Block Quotation Examples

Example #1

Today, digital cameras have practically taken over photography. As Johnson (2010) explained,

Digital cameras now make up 90% of all camera sales at the leading electronic stores. This increase in sales can be partially attributed to the widespread use of email and social networking, which has encouraged the sharing of digital photos. (p. 23)

Johnson further noted that, even more than with the shift to digital cameras, the increasing use of phones and iPods that have built-in cameras has replaced the use of film cameras.

Example #2

Computer users often disagree about which operating system is best: Mac or PC. Oyler (2010) stated that one operating system is not better than the other, but that one may be better suited for different purposes than the other. Oyler explained,

Macs are often the best option for users who wish to work with video or picture manipulation. Macs are also very user friendly, which may benefit consumers who are new to computers. PCs, however, run Microsoft Office Suite the best. Therefore, students might find that a PC is their best option because it can run Microsoft Word and PowerPoint the smoothest. (p. 48)

Conversely, Jones (2010) disagreed with the statement that Macs work with graphics such as video and pictures better than PCs, stating that PCs can be modified to work as well as Macs.

Block Quotations and Punctuation

CORRECT (version using an independent clause before the colon):

Participant 3 shared the following:

I believe that all employees need to be challenged in order to reach their full potential. Employees who are not challenged become stagnant in their performance and in their overall careers. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to push oneself to make these changes. This is when it’s important to have a manager who checks in frequently and gives the employee feedback.

 

CORRECT (alternative version using a comma):

Participant 3 shared,

I believe that all employees need to be challenged in order to reach their full potential. Employees who are not challenged become stagnant in their performance and in their overall careers. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to push oneself to make these changes. This is when it’s important to have a manager who checks in frequently and gives the employee feedback. 

 

CORRECT (alternative version using a that-clause):

Participant 3 shared that

All employees need to be challenged in order to reach their full potential. Employees who are not challenged become stagnant in their performance and in their overall careers. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to push oneself to make these changes. This is when it’s important to have a manager who checks in frequently and gives the employee feedback.

 

INCORRECT (there is a sentence fragment before the colon here):

Participant 3 shared:

I believe that all employees need to be challenged in order to reach their full potential. Employees who are not challenged become stagnant in their performance and in their overall careers. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to push oneself to make these changes. This is when it’s important to have a manager who checks in frequently and gives the employee feedback.