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Plagiarism & Academic Integrity

When to Use a Direct Quote

Sometimes, you will want to include a direct quote from a source in your paper. However, you should use direct quotes sparingly, and instead paraphrase or summarize whenever possible. You should use direct quotes when:

  1. The meaning of the original statement will be lost if you reword it.
  2. The original statement uses especially strong or vivid language.
  3. You are quoting an original term or phrase.


There may be other situations where you feel a direct quote is appropriate. Using direct quotes is fine, and sometimes preferable - just remember that your professor wants to primarily hear YOUR voice in the paper.

We cite short quotes and long quotes differently. See below to learn how to cite both types of quotes.

How to Cite Short Quotes

When citing short quotations, remember:

  1. Quotation marks
  2. Author(s) name
  3. Page number
  4. Date (for APA)


 Let's look at an example of how to cite direct quotes for short quotations.


 Here is our sample text, from the article "Instructional Design for Best Practice in the Synchronous Cyber Classroom," by Megan Hastie, Nian-Shing Chen, & Yen-Hung Kuo, which appeared in volume 10, issue 4, of the journal Educational Technology & Society, published in 2007.

The interaction between the teacher and student in the initial phase of the trial can best be described as teacher-directed learning.


Correct In-Text Citation, MLA:


Correct In-Text Citation, APA:


This is an especially good example, because the student quotes the unique phrase used by the authors ("teacher-directed learning"), but puts the rest of the information into their own words (this is called paraphrasing).

How to Cite Long Quotations

You may also wish to sometimes use longer quotes. A long quote is more than 4 lines (MLA), or more than 40 words (APA).


When you include a long quote in your paper, the format is different than for a short quote:


  • DO NOT use quotation marks.
  • The text is set off as a block quote - that is, the text you are quoting is all indented (1 inch for MLA, 1/2 inch for APA).
  • For both APA and MLA, maintain double spacing.


However, as with a short quote, you still need to include the author(s), the page number, and the date (for APA).


Here's an example:


Our sample text is from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous First Inaugural Address, retrieved from


I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.


Correct In-Text Citation, MLA:



Correct In-Text Citation, APA:



**Notice that the page number goes in parentheses after the period for a long quote.** 

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