Formatting Block Quotations in APA Style

APA Editing

Block quotations are a nuance of APA style that you will want to be aware of before you begin writing your dissertation. But have no fear—if this is a rule you’ve overlooked, you can quickly refer to the following list when editing your dissertation to make sure you have formatted long quotations correctly.

Reserve using block quotations only for direct quotes of 40 words or more.

    • Indent the entire quotation .5” from the left margin.
    • Double space the quotation. However, make sure you have checked the paragraph option in Word that says, “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style.”
    • Omit quotation marks from block quotations. Because the quotation is set apart on its own line, it will be clear it is direct and no quotation marks are necessary.
    • If you have not yet cited the author and year in the preceding sentence, do so after the sentence-ending punctuation mark of the block quotation. This varies from citations in running text, which are placed before the sentence-ending punctuation mark. Do not make a hard return before writing the citation—just include it on the same line.
    • Don’t forget to include the page number in parentheses from which your block quotation was pulled. This rule applies to all direct quotations when editing dissertation copy. If you’ve cited the author and year in the preceding sentence, only the page number is necessary here.
    • If you quote two or more paragraphs, indent the beginning of each new paragraph (but not the first) by another .5”.

Keep in mind these rules adhere to APA style for dissertation writing and editing. Many schools now require a variation, which is to single space the block quotation itself, so make sure to carefully review your college’s guidelines before getting started.  Be sure to provide your school’s guidelines to your editor as well so they may refer to them when editing your dissertation.

Also, block quotations should be used only when absolutely necessary. It is more desirable to break down long quotations into shorter chunks with your personal writing interspersed in order to make the points you wish to in your paper. However, when doing this is not an option, format your block quotation like so, and you will be good to go!