My last post, “Block Quotations, Part 1: How to Introduce Block Quotations,” discussed the purpose of block quotations, how long they should be, and how to introduce them in your content. Today’s follow-up explains how to format block quotations by answering the following questions:
How much should block quotations be indented?
Block quotations are normally indented from the left side of the surrounding text. Each style guide has its own guideline for indentations. Here are a few examples:
- The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago style) suggests using your document software’s preset indentation function.1
- The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA style) recommends using half-inch indentations.2
- The MLA Handbook (MLA style) recommends using half-inch indentations.3
How do you write quotations within block quotations?
Block quotations should not be enclosed in quotation marks. However, quotations within block quotations should appear in double quotation marks.
What is the format for multi-paragraph block quotations?
If your block quotation includes more than one paragraph, Chicago style, APA style, and MLA style recommend using a first-line indentation for the second paragraph and beyond.4
In addition, Chicago style permits line spaces between paragraphs instead of indentations.5 (Whichever format you choose, stay consistent throughout your text!)
Where do the citations go for block quotations?
Block quotation citations, whether parenthetical or superscripted numbers for footnotes or endnotes, appear after the final punctuation. If a parenthetical citation runs onto the next line, it should maintain the same indentation as the rest of the block quotation.
The final installment of this block quotation series, “Block Quotations, Part 3: Block Quotation Issues and Concerns,” discusses special considerations such as copyright issues, reader expectations, and alternative options.
Keep on blockin’!
1. The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 2.19.
2. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2020), 8.27.
3. MLA Handbook, 8th ed. (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2016), 1.3.2.
4. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 8.27; The Chicago Manual of Style, 13.22; MLA Handbook, 1.3.2.
5. The Chicago Manual of Style, 13.22.