ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

How to Quote: a Guide to Citations

Updated on June 4, 2015

Overview: How to Properly Quote

Citations are used to show credibility for the information presented. They are also important for giving due credit to the ideas of others. Therefore, they're a a critical aspect of academic and scholarly work and are used whenever a writer wants their ideas to be taken seriously.

Any time information is gathered from a source and presented in the text of a document (whether it be print or electronic), the author must cite the origin of that information. The clearest method of referencing and citing a source is done by placing the pertinent information in quotations within the context of the document.

The following article will provide a basic overview of when and how to cite a source in a written work.

Basic Citation Examples

Below are examples that show how to reference a book in a research paper. Please keep in mind that the information presented here is fictional and provided for use as example only.

Citing a Credible Source:

Imagine you are writing a report on diets. You have a book by John Smith, MD called Cut the Fat: American Successes at Losing Weight. On page five, Dr. Smith writes, "Chances are, every American has known someone who can be described as physically overweight. According to the latest research, at least 40% of Americans have weight problems during their lifetime and 50% of them seek medical help."

You want your first paragraph to introduce the American weight problem. You could write:

Citing a source (M.D.)
Citing a source (M.D.)
  • The source is cited in that the reader knows that the assertion "Many Americans are overweight" is backed up by a credible source (someone with an M.D. is reliably credible).
  • Also, the name of the author and book are provided, and the appropriated text is presented in quotations marks to show that that portion of the text is from a different source.

Parenthetical Citations:

Let's now tinker a bit and add what is called a parenthetical citation:

An example of a parenthetical citation.
An example of a parenthetical citation.

Notice that the book title, author, and page number were taken out of the text. This is still correct, because by adding the parenthetical documentation at the end of the quote, the author and page number are provided.

References or Works Cited:

Assuming that you have more than one source for this paper, there will be a list of references (commonly called a Works Cited page) at the end of the document that list, in alphabetical order, the author's full name, full title of the book, date published, and other publication information is provided so the curious reader may refer to that book on her own. The reference may look similar to this:

An example of a work cited.
An example of a work cited.
  • All works cited in the text of the document must have a reference at the end of the paper.
  • When referencing a whole book, page numbers are generally not needed and are only necessary near the quoted or paraphrased information in the text in order to show the reader precisely which page the information appeared on.
  • There is enough information about the source given contextually, or in the text in the first example to steer the reader to the correct Works Cited listing and no parenthetical documentation is needed.

In the next example, the author's name has been reintroduced into the text. It is therefore only necessary to provide the page number parenthetically:

Using Phrases:

When taking information from a source and adding it into your own text, you may find that you only need phrases. See below:

Paraphrasing and Removing Quotes:

It is also possible to paraphrase—or summarize—the information, thereby making quotes unnecessary:

  • Although quotes are not used here above, it still remains especially important to provide a reference so that the reader does not have to wonder how the author knew that bit of information.

Basic Tips

  • Such "borrowed" information should be used to further the writer's own argument and should be presented in context.
  • The information appropriated or "borrowed" from an outside source should be seamlessly placed within the context of the text.
  • The writer should take care to present the "borrowed" ideas as the original author intended. They should not be taken out of context or misconstrued to meet the writer's needs.
  • It is important to provide as much information about the source as necessary in the citation.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • cursedempath profile image

      Amber Slater 2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you! Great information and I will definitely be applying these going forward :)

    • profile image

      gepeTooRs 2 years ago

      I feel this is among the such a lot important information for me. And i am happy studying your article. But wanna commentary on few general issues, The web site taste is perfect, the articles is really excellent : D. Just right task, cheers

    • profile image

      Nomnikelo 2 years ago

      I would love to write in short-terms , improve my grammer ,Straight answer short with all information , to film ''Sometime in April''

    • profile image

      Jerry 3 years ago

      I would like to use words from a prison slang dictionary on a website. Do I need to cite the source whenever I use a word or definition and how do I document the source to avoid plagiarism concerns?

    • profile image

      jamesalamo 4 years ago

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago


    • profile image

      IDK hates grammar 5 years ago

      I didn't get my answer from this site. you should fix it so it can answer your question better!!!

    • profile image

      Liboppova 5 years ago

      I accustomed to obtain on top of lifestyle yet these days We have developed any amount of resistance.

    • profile image

      Confused 5 years ago

      How do you cite a quote from a website with a known author but no page number?

    • profile image

      Mega rosmawati 5 years ago

      how do we quote a text that does not have the source?

      it's just a short text with its title.


    • profile image

      Lilean 5 years ago

      what if you want to interuppt a quote then pick it up were you left off?

    • profile image

      quoteciter 6 years ago

      @Need help in an hour?: for example, the book is called "Unseen" by Paul Jennings and the info you need is on page 5. The book is published by Penguin Group in Sydney in 1998. This is your quote: Jennings, Paul. Unseen. Sydney, Penguin Group Inc., 1998

    • profile image

      One who knows 6 years ago

      useful but it would be helpful to respond to comments.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 6 years ago

      So you do not need an author's permission? Just wondering


    • profile image

      Anonymous 6 years ago

      What about special cases, such as manga?

    • profile image

      J Dawg 6 years ago

      What if you are quoting a book and that quote ends in a question mark?

    • profile image

      Need help in an hour? 6 years ago


      I'm writing a paper due tomorrow(eep!) and i need to quote something from a textbook. I have the page number (12) and the name of the book, but how do i quote it?

    • profile image

      Rosalind 6 years ago

      dear bob,

      Indeed you can. You use a ". . ." as a substitute for the missing information to show that you have skipped the info.

      For instance,

      “He was sorry for the birds, especially the small delicate dark terns. . . the birds have a harder life than we do except for the robber birds and the heavy strong ones. Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel? She is kind and very beautiful. But she can be so cruel and it comes so suddenly and such birds that fly, dipping and hunting, with their small sad voices are made too delicately for the sea” (29).

      However, you mmust put a space between the dots.

      Hope this helps

    • profile image

      bob 6 years ago

      can you quote something and skip info in the middle of a quote

    • profile image

      Ruth Marie  7 years ago

      How do you quote from a PDF link that has no page numbers?

      Thank you

    • profile image

      some dude 7 years ago

      "... in the same way the interpretant becoming a sign, and so on ad infinitum" (2.303)

      dear "Help"

      this is probably from the bible ofr some other religious book.

    • qwidjib0 profile image

      qwidjib0 7 years ago from IL

      Very useful indeed :)

    • profile image

      Gabrielle 7 years ago

      How do you cite a quote from a book if it streaches from the bottom of one page to the top of annother?

    • balthasarcontent profile image

      balthasarcontent 7 years ago from San Diego, CA, USA

      helpful hub on an eternally confusing topic

    • profile image

      Riley 7 years ago

      What if you are quoting from a book, and the sentence ends in a question mark?

    • profile image

      Help 8 years ago

      What do the numbers that appear after a quote mean, these numbers are not page numbers but some kind of reference. however, they are not mentioned in the reference or bibliography. An example:

      "... in the same way the interpretant becoming a sign, and so on ad infinitum" (2.303)

    • profile image

      reginald j. symington 8 years ago

      "Nato's muddled expansion is so fraught with competing strategies that is has simultanieously threatened Moscow and made overtures to Russia to join the alliance itself."


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)