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According to the MLA Handbook , if you must omit a word, phrase, or sentence from a quoted passage, mark the omission with ellipsis points.

June 14, 2013

If you omit an entire sentence, use ellipses points, and retain rules for end punctuation always place a period at the end of a declarative sentence. In other words, use four periods, with no space before the first or after the last. Follow this rule for a quotation with an ellipses at the end as well, except when a parenthetical citation follows the ellipses.


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We can only read what is present in a novel, play, or film. Pointing out that readers can only read what is actually present in a particular text is illustrative, but this assertion can be omitted without changing the meaning of the passage.

How to Use Quotes in Essays (+ Example)

A Word of Caution : Never present a quote in a way that could cause a reader to misunderstand the original quote There may be some occasions when you need to alter a quote in order to prevent the audience from becoming confused. When you formally introduce a quote, such as with a complete sentence, precede it with a colon When you informally introduce a quote, such as when you make the quote an integral part of the sentence structure, precede it with a comma or no punctuation Required commas and periods follow the citations, except when the quote is a block quote All other punctuation marks—semicolons, colons, question marks, and exclamation points—go outside a closing quotation mark, except when they are part of the quoted material The question mark is not part of the quoted material, so it should be placed outside the closing quotation mark.

Quoting prose in MLA format can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, the MLA has offered clear guidelines for doing so. Foster, Thomas. Revised Edition.

Harper Perennial, Frankfurt, Harry. Cambridge UP, Mlodinow, Leonard. Vintage Books, The Modern Language Association of America, , pp.

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Smith, James Jr. These punctuation marks should contain the words taken from the text:. Remember to close the punctuation marks at the end of the quotation.


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Only use a capital letter in a quotation, if one appears in the original text. Punctuation that appears in the original text should be used in the quotation:.

How to Use Quotation Marks Correctly (with Cheat Sheet)

Sometimes a full stop is used outside of the quotation marks, this is because the full stop belongs to the whole sentence, not the original quotation:. There are different ways to use a quotation in an essay. For example, you could embed a quotation into your sentence or separate the quotation with a colon after your point. The most effective way to use quotations is to embed them into your argument. Embedding is when the quotation becomes part of your own sentence :.

This method allows you to use quotations in a precise way and select evidence carefully.

Quotation Marks and Direct Quotations

Another common method is to use a quotation at the end of a point. A colon must be used before the quotation:. If a much longer quotation is being used, it is appropriate to separate it from the main essay by leaving a line and indenting the text. Indenting means leaving a gap after the left-hand margin. It is not necessary to use quotation marks if the text is separate from the main essay. You could introduce the quotation like this:. Below the introductory sentence you would leave a line and then indent the quotation. An ellipsis is a punctuation mark of three dots in a row that shows something is missing from the sentence.

An ellipsis in a quotation can be used if you want to leave out a section.