There are several ways to cite quotations in an MLA-style paper. The first is simply to include your in-text citation, which is the author’s name and page number, in parentheses, at the end of the quote, as in this example: “Some boys taught me to play football. This was fine sport” (Dillard 23). Notice that the quote is first introduced, then given, and then explained. Notice also that the period at the end of the sentence doesn’t appear until after the citation.
Another way to use an in-text citation is to put the citation before the quote. For instance, if I want to talk about something that Dillard says in her story, I’d say the author’s name and then use a quote such as, “Boys welcomed me at baseball, too, for I had, through enthusiastic practice, what was weirdly known as a boy’s arm” (23). Notice again how I first introduce the quote, give the quote, and then explain the quote. You should avoid beginning or ending a paragraph with a quote from a source. Notice also that because I stated the author’s name first, I only need to state the page number at the end of the quote.
Another type of quote which you can use in your essay is what we call a “block quote.” These are most useful for longer papers – 4 pages and longer – and are for when you need to use a large section of the text to get your point across. Block quotes are for quotes that are forty words or longer, and should look like this:
I had just embarked on the iceball project when we heard tire chains come clanking from afar. A black Buick was moving toward us down the street. We all spread out, banged together some regular snowballs, took aim, and, when the Buick drew nigh, fired. (Dillard 24)
Note that unlike my other in-text citations, there are no quotation marks around this quote. Also, notice that I put the quote’s punctuation