Quoting Multiple Sentences
First, you need to determine if you actually NEED to use a lengthy quotation. Use the following questions to check if you are unnecessarily using a long quotation:
- Where does the helpful part of the quotation begin and end?
- Is there an extra sentence, clause, or phrase that could be cut?
If you definitely need to use a longer quotation, be sure to use the proper format. Quotations over three lines in length should be organized in what’s called a “block quotation” format. It is called a “block quotation” because the quotation is separated from the rest of your text and forms the shape of a block. Look at the example below (the argument is in green, and the block quotation is in blue):
Note how block quotations are different than normal quotations.
- Block quotations don’t have quotation marks. The separation from the rest of the text is a signal that these are someone else’s words, making quotation marks unnecessary.
- Block quotations are indented. Again, this acts as a signal to the reader. You should indent 0.5″ from the left and 0.5″ from the right.
- Block quotations are in a smaller font. Again, it’s another signal that this text is not made up of your words. We recommend using 10 point font.