Citing a Long Direct Quotation in APA Style

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 11773

"Quotation marks surround direct quotations, right? Easy enough, correct?" Not in all cases! APA style distinguishes between short and long quotations. "Block" out some time to learn the differences!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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"This is a long quotation according to the APA style guidelines. However, although it looks correct, it is not formatted properly, according to the APA style guidelines. What is the criterion for a quotation to be considered a long direct quotation by the APA?"

In the previous Related Lesson in our APA In-text Citations series, found in the right-hand sidebar, you learned that a short direct quotation consisted of fewer than 40 words from an outside source, while a long direct quotation contained 40 or more of another writer's exact words in your paper or project.

Therefore, the word count determines whether a quotation is defined as short or long.

The in-text parenthetical citation for a long direct quotation is not different from the one used for a short direct quotation, because both are quotations. Do you remember what three pieces of information are needed in the in-text parenthetical citation for a quotation? Tell your parent or teacher.

The three items needed in the citation for any quotation are the author's last name, the year of the source's publication, and the page number where the quotation was used in the original source. If you need to refresh your knowledge of the information used in the parenthetical citation for a quotation, or need to look at what to do when there are multiple authors or missing pieces of information, refer back to the previous Related Lesson on short quotations.

Even though the in-text parenthetical citation information is the same for both short and long quotations, the format of the long quotation is different from a short quotation. A long quotation is sometimes referred to as a block quotation. This is because the formatting of a long quotation makes it look like a block of text. Print the Citing a Long Direct Quotation in APA Style handout from Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar to learn the rules for how to format a long direct quotation.

Long direct quotations should not begin or end any paragraph in a paper or project, because it is the role of the writer to set up and explain concepts in every paragraph in his or her own words. Another author's words should be used to support your own ideas and claims. Also, remember to use long direct quotations sparingly — not more than one or two in a long paper and rarely, if ever, in a short paper!

How many words must a quotation have to be considered a long quotation in APA? Tell your parent or teacher, then move on to the Got It? section to practice working with long quotations on your own.

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