Note: If there are no page numbers, as in a website, cite the author name only.
What Is a Long Quotation?
A quotation of 4 lines or more.
Rules for Long Quotations
There are 4 rules that apply to long quotations that are different from regular quotations:
Example of a Long Quotation
At the end of Lord of the Flies the boys are struck with the realization of their behaviour:
The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. (Golding 186)
Sometimes you may want to make some modifications to the quote to fit your writing. Here are some MLA rules when changing quotes:
If you would like to exclude some words from a quotation, replace the words you are not including with an ellipsis - ...
If you are adding words that are not part of the original quote, enclose the additional words in square brackets - [XYZ]
When you write information from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion as follows:
If you refer to the author's name in a sentence you do not have to include the name again as part of your in-text citation, instead include the page number if there is one:
Note: MLA encourages including the page number when paraphrasing if it will help the reader locate the information in a long text and distinguish between the information that is coming from you and the source. If the information is from multiple pages, include them. E.g. (65, 88-89).
Homeless individuals commonly come from families who are riddled with problems and marital disharmony, and are alienated from their parents. They have often been physically and even sexually abused, have relocated frequently, and many of them may be asked to leave home or are actually thrown out, or alternatively are placed in group homes or in foster care. They often have no one to care for them and no one knows them intimately.
Rokach, Ami. "The Causes of Loneliness in Homeless Youth." The Journal of Psychology, 139, 2005, pp. 469-480. Academic Search Premier.
Example: Incorrect Paraphrasing
Example: Correct Paraphrasing
If your paraphrase is longer than one sentence, provide an in-text citation for the source at the beginning of the paraphrase. As long as it's clear that the paraphrase continues to the following sentences, you don't have to include in-text citations for the following sentences.Including the author's name in the prose may provide clarity as well.
This is the first sentence of my paraphrase (Smith). I continue to describe the author's idea. This is the last sentence of my paraphrase (65-66).
Smith states that this is the first sentence of my paraphrase. I continue to describe the author's idea. This is the last sentence of my paraphrase (65-66).
If you're using information from a single source more than once in succession (i.e., no other sources referred to in between), you can use a simplified in-text citation.
Cell biology is an area of science that focuses on the structure and function of cells (Smith 15). It revolves around the idea that the cell is a "fundamental unit of life" (17). Many important scientists have contributed to the evolution of cell biology. Mattias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, for example, were scientists who formulated cell theory in 1838 (20).
Note: If using this simplified in-text citation creates ambiguity regarding the source being referred to, use the full in-text citation format.
When you are citing two different sources that share the same author, for the Works Cited List list the first title only, and for any subsequent titles by the same author list three dashes in place of the author name.
Example Works Cited List entries:
Haynes, Stephen R. Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery. Oxford University Press, 2007.
---. The Last Segregated Hour: The Memphis Kneel-Ins and the Campaign for Southern Church Desegregation. Oxford University Press, 2012.
For in-text citations, include a shortened version of the source title following the author name.
(Haynes, Noah's Curse 84)
(Haynes, The Last Segregated Hour 57)
If you would like to cite more than one source within the same in-text citation, simply record the in-text citations as normal and separate them with a semi-colon.
(Smith 42; Bennett 71).
(It Takes Two; Brock 43).
Note: The sources within the in-text citation do not need to be in alphabetical order for MLA style.