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A Practical Guides for Quoting in Academic Writing


As described in Citing and Referencing in Academic Writing, quoting or using direct quotes is one of the three ways for including someone else's ideas to back up your ideas, arguments, and claims in academic writing. A quotation is an exact copy of someone else’s words which can be simply a  word, a phrase, a sentence, a group of sentences, or a longer passage.

Since the text you are writing is your own work, most of it should be in your own words. Thus, use only a limited number of direct quotations in your text. As a general rule of thumb, direct quotations should not exceed ten percent of your paper. Consequently, when you can express the idea just as effectively in your own words, just paraphrase or summarize it. Use a direct quotation only (1) if the wording of the original author is expressed in a particularly cogent way so that it might be misinterpreted if expressed in other words; (2) if the quote is particularly well-known; (3) when the exact words of the original author would lend support to your own ideas; or (4) when you want to give the author’s exact position.

The followings are guidelines to quote using the APA Style. For more details, see APA Format Citation Guide  

1. Rules for All Quotes, (1) Use the exact words and ideas of the source; (2) make sure the quote blend with your sentence; (3) integrate the quotation with your writing using reporting words or phrases; (4) Reference the source using the author’s last name, date, and the page (p.)  or paragraph (para.) number. Paragraph number is used for quotes from electronic sources e.g., webpages, some e-books, and electronic articles that have no page numbers.

2. Rules for Short Quotes (less than 40 words), (1) include the exact words and ideas of the source within the main body of your own text; (2) encase the quote between quotation marks.

Look at the following examples

Example 1

Both quotations in Example 1 above are short. Quotation 1.a consists of 37 words, and quotation 1.b includes 28 words. They are integrated into the writer's paragraph. To smoothly blend the material in example b with the paragraph, the writer omitted some initial words and put three dots in an ellipsis […] to indicate the omission (see Rules for Modifying Quotes below). The material in Example 1.a above was quoted by introducing the author’s name and year of publication before putting down the quotation. The quotation in Example 1.b is referenced by putting the author’s last name, date, and page number at the end.

Example 2

The material in Example 2 was taken from a webpage that has no page number. It is ended with the number of the paragraph from which it was quoted.

3. Rules for Long Quotes (40 words or more), (1) set the quote apart, in an indented paragraph, from your main text (block quotation); (2) make the text size the same as the essay text size; (3) omit the quotation marks; (4) if you quote more than one paragraph, indent the first line of each paragraph; and (5) use a colon (:) or a comma (,) after the reporting words or phrases, before the quotes.

Example 3

Example 4

Rules for Modifying Quotes: (1) if you do not need all of the words of the source, leave out the unnecessary words and replace them with three dots in an ellipsis […]; (2) to help you build smooth transitions between your ideas and those in the original sources, you can add or delete a letter, a word, or a phrase; (3) Do not correct typographical or grammatical error in the original source—if you find any. Instead, reproduce the original and add (sic). after the error. The word “sic” (Latin) means “such; so,” which tells the reader that the original author wrote it that way, and you are simply quoting it as it was written. 

Example 5


Christensen, C.M., Horn, M.B. & Staker, H. (2013). Is K–12 Blended Learning Disruptive? An introduction to the theory of hybrids. Clayton Christensen Institute.

Friesen, N., 2012. Defining blended learning. Learning Spaces, [online] (August), p.10. Available at: NF.pdf. [Accessed 10 January 2021]

Pardede, P. (2020). Blended Learning: The Best Solution for Learning in the New Normal Era. Available at [Accessed 10 January 2021]

Pardede, P. (2019). Print vs Digital Reading Comprehension in EFL Journal of English Teaching, 5 (2), pp. 77-90

Pardede, P. (2019). Pre-Service EFL Teachers’ Perception of Blended Learning. Journal of English Teaching, 5 (1), pp. 1-14



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