English Department Form for Quotations

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If the quotation is two lines or less, incorporate it into your own text with quotation marks around it.

example: Lust is “past reason hunted; and no sooner had, / Past reason  
             hated,” according to Shakespeare's Sonnet 129 (6-7).

If the quotation is three or more lines, omit the quotation marks and indent the quotation five spaces from both the left and right margins. example: In Sonnet 97, Shakespeare uses metaphors of human fertility to describe the seasons:
                  And yet this time removed was summer’s time,
                  The teeming autumn big with rich increase,
                  Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime,
                  Like widowed wombs after their lords’ decease.

If your quotation is poetry, preserve the integrity of the lines; do not run them together as if they were prose.  If the quotation is too short to be indented, use a slash (leaving a space on both sides) to mark the line break, as in the first example above.

Cite poetry by line numbers (also by book, canto, or stanza where appropriate); cite prose by page numbers; and cite drama by act, scene and line numbers (using page numbers only when there are no line numbers).

If you have only one source, identify it at your first citation, and for subsequent citations merely cite page or line, as explained and exemplified above.  If you have more than one source, list your sources in a bibliography at the end of your essay, and cite them in your text by a simple reference.

Example:  Willson argues that Dryden’s key error in the design of this character was his “failure . . . to see the impracticality of translating the imaginary realm of heroic poetry into the idiom of the stage” (Willson 83).

Works Cited

Willson, Robert F., Jr.  “Their Form Confounded”: Studies in the Burlesque Play from Udall to Sheridan.  Paris: Mouton, 1975.

Contact Information

Writing Center

Kirner-Johnson 152
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