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How to Use Block Quotes in MLA Format

Every student should know how to do a block quote MLA to successfully complete an assignment that follows this formatting style. It might be a big deal for someone, while others find it an easy breeze. This article will describe the main rules of using such citations in MLA 9th edition. You will also find some practical examples here.

When to Use a Block Quote MLA?

MLA block quote is generally used to include a long quotation. According to the requirements of MLA 9th edition, one should use this quotation method for citing poetry (if it's more than 3 lines) or prose (longer than 4 lines). You should also use it while citing dialogues or several lines from a play.

How to Block Quote MLA?

There are some simple rules of using an MLA block quote citation in text correctly.

  1. Prepare some background. Before directly citing your chosen source, make sure you prepare your readers for it. Write a couple of sentences in your own words first. It will make them understand how the quotation supports your argument and why its usage is relevant.
  2. Apply proper formatting. Remember that your citation should match your paper in terms of spacing. It should be double-spaced. As you insert a quotation, start it from the new line and indent it 0.5 inches from the left margin. Use the same punctuation and capitalization as it appears in your source.
  3. Cite your source. Include an in-text citation to avoid plagiarism! Add it right after the end of your quotation. An in-text citation should consist of author's name and page numbers. Make sure you also mention your reference in your works cited list.
  4. Wrap up the quote. Don't end your paragraph with a block quote. Write something that emphasizes the significance of the mentioned citation. So use your own words before including the quotation and after you put it in.

MLA Block Quote Format

There are some more MLA format block quote rules worth mentioning:

  • Nested quotation. If there is a quotation inside a quote, wrap it up with quotation marks just like the regular inner one.
  • Omitted passage.
    • If you shorten your citation, do that with the help of ellipses (...). However, make sure you don't put aside relevant content since it might change the original meaning.
    • If you omit a poetry line, do that by typing a line of periods that is equal to its length.

When using block quotes, always consider using a colon after a sentence leading to the quotation. And remember about proper indentation and spacing. Make sure you divide your main text using proper MLA heading format.

Prose MLA Block Quote Example

Here is an example of prose quotation:

Prose MLA block quote example

Example of MLA Block Quote: Poetry

And here is how you cite lines of poem in an MLA paper:

Example of MLA block quote in poetry


As you see, MLA block quote formatting is not that hard if you know all details. Following writing style requirements is one step to getting a good grade for doing hard work. We hope that information presented in this article was helpful.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to insert a block quote MLA?

Here is what you need to do to insert an MLA block quote in Microsoft Word:

  1. Press "Enter" at the beginning and end of your citation.
  2. Highlight your quotation and choose Layout menu.
  3. Change left indent to 0.5" on the Indent tab.

How long can a block quote be in MLA?

Usually, an MLA block quote is used when you cite more than 4 lines of prose or 3 lines of poetry. Although there is no specific requirement to its length, don't make it way too long. Use common sense, and don't include a whole chapter as your citation.

Emma Flores knows all about formatting standards. She shares with StudyCrumb readers tips on creating academic papers that will meet high-quality standards.

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