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APA – Citing Sources

Tags: English

Quotations

About quotations

A direct quotation reproduces words from another work verbatim. Use direct quotations:

  • when reproducing an exact definition 
  • when an author has said something memorably or succinctly
  • when you want to respond to exact wording (e.g., something someone said)

Short quotations

Short quotations contain less than 40 words. For short quotations, write quotation marks ("...") around the words and incorporate the quote into your own text. Include page numbers in the text citation.

Examples:

  • "There are no grand narratives that can adequately represent the complexity of human perception and understanding. Even so, human beings are compelled to try to interpret experience" (Sumara, 2002, p. 4).
  • Sumara (2002) explains that "There are no grand narratives that can adequately represent the complexity of human perception and understanding. Even so, human beings are compelled to try to interpret experience" (p. 4). 

Block quotations

Quotes consisting of 40 words or more are referred to as block quotations. The quotation is then presented as a separate paragraph, without quotation marks, and with indented 1.3 cm (five spaces) from the left margin. The quotation ends with a full stop and the citations within parentheses.

Example:

The author explains her point of view:

I have abandoned the idea that universal truths exist. What is considered true about experience is not foundational to experience, nor does it exist outside experience. There are no grand narratives that can adequately represent the complexity of human perception and understanding. Even so, human beings are compelled to try to interpret experience. (Sumara, 2002, p. 4)

Quotations of material without page numbers

Some sources do not include page numberings, such as websites and some ebooks. You then need to use other ways to show the reader where you found the quoted text. Use the way that makes it easiest for the reader to understand!

Provide a heading or section name

Example:

  • "After having had an agnatic (male) order of succession in Sweden, it was changed into an order of full cognatic succession from 1980" (Swedish Royal Court, n.d., Full cognatic succession).

If a heading is very long, you can abbreviate it.

Provide a paragraph number (count paragraphs if needed)

Example:

  • "After having had an agnatic (male) order of succession in Sweden, it was changed into an order of full cognatic succession from 1980" (Swedish Royal Court, n.d., para. 11).

Provide a heading or a section name and a paragraph number

Example:

  • "After having had an agnatic (male) order of succession in Sweden, it was changed into an order of full cognatic succession from 1980" (Swedish Royal Court, n.d., Full cognatic succession, para. 11).

Read more about quotations of material without page numbers on APA Style: Direct Quotation of Material Without Page Numbers

Quotations that include errors

If the quotation contains a spelling mistake, type it as it says but enter the word sic in italics in brackets: [sic] In this way, you show the reader that the spelling error comes from the original source.

Example:

  • Nowak (2019) wrote that “people have an obligation to care for there [sic] pets” (p. 52).

Example from APA Style: Quotations that include errors

Changes to quotations

If you quote something but want to omit parts of the original text, use exclusion marks (ellipses) which consist of three periods with spaces between each  (. . .). Use a space between the last letter and the exclusion characters. If you exclude text between two sentences in the quote, use four periods (. ...) where one of the periods indicates a sentence break.

Example:

  • "At coronations and religious ceremonies at the royal court . . .  the crown, sceptre, orb and key are placed on a special regalia table to highlight the importance of the event" (Royal Court, n.d., Regal symbols).

Read more about changes to quotations on APA Style: Changes to quotations

Quotations in foreign languages

The first thing you have to think about when you consider having a quote in a foreign language in your text is whether it is important that it is precisely those words in that particular word order. Quoting in foreign languages ​​is most common in subjects such as literary studies, philosophy and the like, where it can be decisive how something was expressed in the original language.

If you choose to use the quote, you should preferably leave it as it is and not translate it. If you translate, it is no longer a quote. If you still want to go ahead with a translation of the quote, you must make it clear that it is your own translation. This is done in parentheses: (Author, 2007, p.126, my translation).

It is usually better to paraphrase instead, ie write the spirit of the quote in your own words. You do not usually have a page reference when paraphrasing.

 

Quotations within quotations

If you are going to write a quotation that contains another quotation, you do it differently depending on whether it is a short quote or block quote:

Short quotations

Write double quotation marks around the entire quotation and single quotation marks around the quotation inside the quotation:

  • Bliese et al. (2017) noted that "mobile devices enabled employees in many jobs to work 'anywhere, anytime' and stay electronically tethered to work outside formal working hours" (p. 391).

Block quotations

For block quotations, quotation marks are not used around the entire quotation and then you use regular double quotation marks around the quotation inside the block quotation.