The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison

MLA Documentation Guide

Formatting quotations according to the MLA guidelines


Parenthetical citations appear at the end of the sentence in which the direct reference, summary, paraphrase, or quote appears.

For quotations that are shorter than four lines, include the citation after the final quotation marks and before the sentence's concluding punctuation.


Use the block quotation format for quotations more than four lines long:

  • In most cases, use a colon to introduce the quotation.
  • Indent the quotation one half inch from the left margin.
  • Double space the quotation.
  • Do not use quotation marks.

Place the parenthetical citation (author and page number) after the period (or other mark of punctuation) that closes the block quotation.