How to Quote a Quote

Wondering how to quote a quote? Let the English Forward team show you an easy way. A quote is...

Victoria Mac Callum Written by Victoria Mac Callum · 5 min read >
how to quote a quote

Wondering how to quote a quote? Let the English Forward team show you an easy way. A quote is a group of words or a piece of writing repeated exactly as said by someone else. It is presented by use of quotation marks. There are two types: Single quotation marks and double quotation marks

Single quotation marks vs double quotation marks

How to quote a quote

British English puts to use single quotation marks while American English uses double quotation marks

Today, the American English style is commonly used than the British English style.

However, we can also differentiate the double and single quotation marks in other multiple ways. For instance, some writers use single quotation marks for thoughts and double quotation marks for speeches.

How to quote a quote within a quote

1. For a quote within a quote, there are certain rules we follow when using British English and the American English quotes:

If you begin the quote with single quotation marks, then for the quote within a quote you will use double quotation marks.

Similarly, if you begin with double quotation marks, use single quotes for the quote within a quote.


  • Beginning with single quotation marks

‘Who called  the girl a “liar”?’

  • Beginning with double quotation marks

“When I say ‘maybe,’  I mean I will think about it,” said my mother.

2. For a block quote, quotation within the block will have double or single quotes, depending on the language being used (British English or American English).

There are different types of quotes:

  • Direct quotes
  • Indirect quotes
  • In-text quotes

What is a direct quote?

A direct quote involves the repetition of the exact word to word said by another person. A direct quote uses double quotation marks.

There are rules we should follow when writing direct quotes:

1. If you start the sentence by mentioning who said it, use a comma after the speaker, then the first quotation mark.

  • Carol said, “I am ready for the baby”.

2. If you start with the quoted words followed by the person who said these words, use a comma at the end of the sentence, then the quotation mark.

  • “I had no idea class had started,” said Michael.

3. In direct quotes, if a sentence has a punctuation mark, it should be inside the quotation marks. If there is an exclamation point or a question mark, do not add a comma after either of the punctuation marks.

  • “This is wonderful!” they exclaimed.
  • She asked her daughter slowly, “Did you eat the muffin?”

4. When writing a conversation, every time a new speaker is talking, start a new paragraph.

  • “How are you?” I said as I walked into the room
  • “Fine how are you?” replied my mother.
  • “It is so quiet in here,” I said
  • “Yes, I am home alone,” she answered.

Indirect Quotations

An indirect quotation refers to when you’re reporting what someone said without using their exact words -paraphrasing. There is no need to put quotation marks in indirect quotations. A paraphrase preserves information from a source without using the exact wording.


 I looked at my child and said, “No, you can’t go swimming in the cold.”

I looked at my child and told him he could not go swimming in the cold.

What is a block quote?

It refers to a direct quotation in which the words quoted exceed a specific length. The length of every single quote varies depending on the writing style:

  • In APA style, a block quote exceeds 40 words
  • In MLA style, a block quote exceeds 4 lines.
  • In Chicago Manual style, the quoted material exceeds 5 lines.

We format block quotations differently using  the following ways:

  • They start on their own line.
  • The entire block quotation is moved to the right 0.5 inches – the same as for a new paragraph – and is double spaced.
  • They are not surrounded by any quotation marks.
  • The punctuation at the end goes before the citation.
  • The ending citation is on the last line of the block quotation.
  • The text after the block quotation begins on its own line, with paragraph spacing.
  • The quote needs an introduction.


A computer expert explained by saying that Macs are often the best option for users who wish to work with video or picture manipulation. Macs are also very user friendly, which may benefit consumers who are new to computers. PCs, however, run Microsoft Office Suite the best. Therefore, students might find that a PC is their best option because it can run Microsoft Word and PowerPoint the smoothest. (Osler, 2010, p. 48)

How to introduce a quote

1. Use a single complete sentence followed by a colon.


  • A number of writers have pointed out that graduate school is a unique experience: “Graduate school is unlike previous schooling in many ways.”

2. Begin a sentence with your own words, then complete it with quoted words.


  • The phrase “a quote within a quote” is used in grammar.

3. When quoting a researcher, use an introductory phrase to name the source, then follow with a comma.

The first letter after the quotation marks should be upper case.


  • In Dan’s words, ” Education is now the pathway to success.”

4. You can also use a reporting verb, followed by a comma.

Using ‘says’ should be avoided unless the words were originally spoken aloud, for instance, during an interview.


  • Karen states, “. . .
  • Anne remarks, ” . . . .

5. With a ‘that’ clause such as ‘in that’, we do not add a comma after the clause.

The first letter of the quotation should be in lower case.


  • Malcolm points out that “millions of students would fight for abroad scholarships.”

In-text quotes

In-text quotes point readers to the source that a writer is using in their own essay. They are placed inside paragraphs hence the name “in-text.” They are also called parenthetical citations because information identifying the source will be placed inside parentheses ( ).

How to cite a quote

Citation refers to quoting from a book, paper or author.

We often use a citation when we quote a book.


When quoting books in MLA format, we follow the author-page method of in-text citation.

The author’s last name and the page number from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear.

Rule #1: When quoting books in MLA, the page number should always appear in the brackets, not in the sentence.

Example: Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (263).

Rule #2: If the author is unknown, a shortened title of the work is incorporated instead of an author’s name.

Example: These regions have “more readily accessible climatic data and more comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change . . .” (“Impact of Global Warming”).

Rule #3: If two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors’ first initials (or even the authors’ full name if different authors share initials) in your citation.

Example: (R. Miller 12), (A. Miller 46).

Rule #4: For a source with two authors, list the authors’ last names in the text /quote or in the parenthetical citation.

Example: The authors claim that surface reading looks at what is “evident, perceptible, apprehensible in texts” (Best and Marcus 9).

Rule #5: For more than one work by an author, include a shortened title for the particular work. Put short titles of articles in quotation marks. (British English)

Example: The authors state, “citing quotes can be annoying.” (Hu, Koller, and Shier 45).

Rule #6: Citing the Bible

Make clear which Bible you’re using (and underline or italicize the title), as each version varies, followed by book (not italicized or underlined), chapter, and verse.

Example: Ezekiel saw “what seemed to be four living creatures,” each with faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 1.5-10).

Rule #7: For quotations within a website, use the following guidelines:

  • Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the citation (e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
  • Do not add paragraph or page numbers based on your browser’s print preview function.
  • Unless you must list the website’s name in the signal phrase, do not include URLs in-text. Only provide partial URLs such as when the name of the site includes, for example, a domain name, like  as opposed to writing out


  • When quoting a book or in an essay, APA format follows the author-date method of in-text citation.


History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. (Marx, 1998).

  • When making reference to an entire book or article, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number.
  • When directly quoting another work,  include the page number at the end of the citation in parentheses. Add “p.” (for one page) or “pp.” (for multiple pages).

Example: (Marx, 1998, p. 199) or (Marx, 1998, pp. 199–201).

Written by Victoria Mac Callum
Victoria honed up her English language skills in the Media Industry working at a campus radio station in 2014. Since then, she has upgraded to more demanding roles of English teacher on Preply and course creator. She's also a radio presenter, news anchor, voice-over artist, writer and editor. Profile

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