Formatting Guides

APA Direct Quote: Requirements + Examples

APA direct quote
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A direct quote in APA style involves transcribing a piece of text word-for-word from a source. It requires appropriate in-text citation.

When using a direct quote in your paper, you need to include the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number(s) from where the quote was taken, all within parentheses. This is typically placed at the end of the sentence where the quote is used. For example:

Researchers state that "direct quotes must always provide the page number" (Brown, 2023, p.86).

But as always, there are different varioations. So today we will talk about making an APA direct quote in every specific instance. After all, the key element of a formal style is citing your sources properly. This includes taking some piece of text from your source. That's how you could strengthen your own argument and add a proper reference after it. Stay with us and you will learn everything you should know about direct quotation!

APA Format Direct Quote: Basics

Direct quote in APA style contains an exact copy of some other author’s text. You should use direct quotations when it is necessary to display the previous researcher’s exact wording. This citation method will help you describe some situation, trend or phenomenon you are discussing. It sounds like good way of supporting your point or providing valid counterarguments. 

Direct quotation should not be too long: from one phrase to one sentence or two. It should be no more than 40 words. It should be included into your paragraph, where it fits your own narrative best. However you must make it clearly distinguishable from your own text. Read on and we’ll tell you how it is done.

How to Cite a Direct Quote: APA

Now let us explore general rules of citing direct quotes (APA format style). Such a quotation must be enclosed into double quotation marks. A reference to an original source must be provided for it. This includes its author’s last name, year it was published and number of page this quotation can be found on. There are two types of referring to this source:

  • Parenthetical citation Provide reference information after quotation itself, putting it into parentheses just like in this sample:
Example of APA direct quote parenthetical citation
  • Narrative citation Reference information is included into your own sentence. Explain what an author has said in their work. The author’s name should not be put into parentheses. Do it only for publication year which goes right after an author’s name. The page number should also be enclosed into parentheses. Place it after your direct quotation as shown in this example:
Example of APA direct quote narrative citation

APA Direct Quote Example

Here are several APA direct quote examples so you could better understand these rules:

  • Quoting your source by a single author:
Example of APA direct quote with single authors
  • Quoting your source by two authors. Use ‘&’ to separate their names in a parenthetical citation. Use ‘and’ in a narrative citation:
Example of APA direct quote with two authors
  • Quoting your source by multiple authors (3 and more). Put ‘et al.’ after the first author’s name to replace all others:
Example of APA direct quote with multiple authors

APA Direct Quote: No Page Number

Nowadays you often have to include an APA direct quote from some website, since more and more important works get published online. If there is no page number to easily locate material you have used, you must find some other available locator for such publication and include it into parentheses. For a website, the best way is by providing paragraph number:

Example of APA direct quote with No page number

Other locator kinds that could be used for sources without pages:

  • Section or heading
  • Timestamp for an audio or video
  • Act or scene for a play.

In case you have some questions about APA website citation, read one more of our blogs.

Citing Direct Quotes (40 Words or More)

Sometimes you might need to use an APA direct quotation longer than 40 words. In this case you have to make it a block quotation. Such blocks are not to be included into your paragraphs. On the contrary, you should use special formatting to make them differ from an entire body of your paper:

  • Do not enclose a block quote into quotation marks
  • Start it on a new line
  • Indent an entire block quotation, 0.5 in
  • Double-space the entire block.

Like regular quotations, block quotations can be cited with a parenthetical or narrative citation. If you use the parenthetical type, insert your whole citation into the block. If you use the narrative type, you will need to include reference to an author into your regular sentence and only put page number into block.

How to Modify Direct Quotes in APA

Changing or omitting words from a direct quotation APA is allowed in case a word-for-word quotation from the original source does not fit well into your narrative. APA has some clear guidelines on how to do it.

Some changes are allowed without any special formatting:

  • changing the first letter to uppercase or lowercase.
  • adding or omitting some punctuation marks, like periods.

Other changes require extra formatting:

  • In order to cut down some words or phrases within a quotation, just replace them with three dots: e.g. “Quotes are … helpful”.
  • In order to add your own information to a quotation, enclose these additional words into square brackets: e.g. “[quotes are] very helpful!”
  • You can highlight some key points in your quotation by putting the selected fragment in italics. Also, add a comment within square brackets stating that this emphasis is yours: e.g. “Quotes are very [emphasis added] helpful”.
  • You can point out a mistake in a quotation: add “[sic]” after it to show that it was made by the author: e.g. “Quotes are [sic] very helpful”.

If you have any questions about citing an interview APA, use one more blog we prepared for students. 

Direct APA Quotation: Bottom Line

In this article we have explored the general rules of making a direct quotation in APA style. All necessary details of formatting have been provided in accordance with the 7th edition of APA. We have covered the following important elements:

  • General format
  • Quotations without a page number
  • Block quotes
  • Modifying direct quotes.

Hopefully this knowledge helps you with your work. We have a lot more useful content related to essay writing and paper formatting so feel free to explore it! You can also send us a message if you have any feedback or request for more help.


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Frequently Asked Questions About Direct Quotation in APA Style

1. What is the difference between direct and indirect quotes in APA style?

The difference between APA direct quotes and indirect quotes is that direct quotations consist of the exact words taken from a source, while indirect quotations do not repeat original source word-to-word. Instead, you can use your own words to express the idea of the source you are quoting, just make sure you convey it correctly, without adding your own information that could twist its meaning.

2. When should I use "et al." when quoting in APA?

When quoting in APA style, you should use the “et al.” phrase to make a proper reference to a source by multiple authors. “Et al.” stands for the Roman phrase “et alia” which means “and others” in English. “Et al.” should be placed after the first author’s last name and before the publication year. E.g.: (Doe et al., 2020, p. 22).

3. How to cite a direct quote from a website in APA?

Citing a direct quote from website in APA can be tricky as articles posted on websites typically don’t have pages. Therefore you cannot specify any page in your quotation to locate in your source. Instead, you can use the number of a paragraph which contains this piece of text. So, your citation should contain the website’s author's name, the date when this article was published and the paragraph number. E.g., (Doe, 2020, para. 6).

4. How do you cite a direct quote from video in APA style?

A direct quote from video in APA cannot include any page number to locate the scene you are quoting. Therefore, you need to specify an exact timestamp as a locator of your quote. The same rules apply to quoting an audio material. In both cases you still need to provide the author’s name and the year of publication as well. E.g., (Doe, 2020, 1:15:30).

Article posted on:Sep 19, 2022
Article updated on:May 12, 2023


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