APA Format for Citing a Quote of Less Than 40 Words

Hone your skill at using quotes effectively.
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Summarizing and paraphrasing have their places in research papers, but when you really want to call attention to someone’s words, a direct quote is the technique of choice. Even short quotes of less than 40 words can imbue your paper with color and personality, so choose them to accentuate key points. If your paper must follow the 6th edition stylebook of the American Psychological Association, then you also know that you must couple your quote with a “signal phrase,” a courtesy that alerts your reader that the forthcoming information comes from a source and not from you.

1 Direct Quotes

APA style requires you to introduce the last name of the source and the year the information entered the public domain. If the information has been published, the page number should directly follow the short quotation. Such a passage would look like this: Anderson (2009) made no attempt to hide his frustration with the survey findings when he revealed, “Now that I know they’ve been using their cell phones to look up test information on the Internet, I will heretofore confiscate cell phones at my classroom door” (p. 34).

2 Quotes with Added Information

The page number should appear immediately after the quote, even if you insert a parenthetical statement or one that is set off with dashes, a semi-colon or a comma. Such a passage would look like this: Anderson (2009) pledged to “heretofore confiscate cell phones at my classroom door” (p. 34), though it’s unclear whether this move violated university policies.

With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.