Knowing how to quote a book in an essay is one of the must-know stuff when writing any type of academic paper. Including direct quotes is a great way to reinforce your ideas with strong, factual evidence. However, improper quotes can mean exposing yourself to the risk of being accused of plagiarism. That is why any quote needs to be applied properly and following a certain format. Here I explain the best way to quote a book without the risk of being accused of plagiarism.
The Definition Of A Quote
A quote is a restatement of some other writers words, derived from a text or a book, and giving appropriate credits to her or his name.
Before You Use A Quote
Make sure that the quote reads like a normal sentence and fits nicely into the text. To this end, you can use a signal phrase such as “According to the author”. If you are having second doubt and not sure about it, just read it aloud to yourself. That way you can tell if the quote sits nicely into the text. Other examples of signal phrases are: argues, observes, implies, concludes, admits, points out, asserts, confirms, and writes.
Use Ellipses or Brackets to Subtract Or Add Words
In some cases, you will need to make some changes to the original quote to make it more effective to prove your argument. For that, you need to use ellipses or brackets. You can remove any word and replace it with an ellipsis. Or if you want to insert an additional word, just use brackets to insert anything you like.
How To Quote A Book In An Essay (MLA Format)
- Short Quotations.
Any quotation that is shorter than three lines of verse or four lines of prose is considered a short one. Short quotes don’t require their own freestanding text block. All you need to do is to surround it with double quotation marks.
- Long Quotations.
For a quotation to be considered a long one needs to be longer than three lines of verse or four lines of prose. You begin the long quotation with a signal phrase (according to the author, argues, observes, etc), on a new line, indent the quote one inch from the left, and double space it. There is no need to use double quotation marks.
Create A Works Cited Page
This should be done at the end of the essay. There you will have all the citations listed alphabetically according to the name of the author’s last names. The basic MLA format suggests the following order:
- First name
- Book’s title
- Where the book was published
- The year when it was published
- The publisher of the book.
That’s how to quote a book in an essay following the MLA format. Stick to it and there is no chance that anyone will accuse you of plagiarism. At the same time, both search engines will recognize the quotes and won’t penalize you for using someone else’s work.