Direct Quote Citation

Direct quotes or citation is important. Whether you write for the web, or publish in traditional books and magazines, you'll be using other people's ideas, phrases and information. That's unavoidable: you can't personally have done all the spadework that lies behind your words. Unless the material is for a general and/or popular audience, you should quote sources whenever you:

Use quotes


Use an idea that lacks general currency

Make specific reference to another's work

Develop someone else's ideas further

Academic publications have strict rules to avoid plagiarism, but citation also helps to:

Give credit where credit is due

Make your own contributions more obvious

Show the research you have done

Provide support for your ideas

Citation should include information about: the author, the title of the work, the name and location of the company that published your copy of the source, the date your copy was published, the page numbers of the material you are borrowing, the date you accessed the material (in the case of websites). How this information is presented depends on the publication: use other articles as a template if there's not a 'guide to authors' in the publication concerned.

Unfortunately, publishers also have their own house rules, and there are marked differences between countries and languages.

If you write for many outlets, it may pay you to:

Use citation software and

Buy a proper handbook.

Detailed citation can be complicated. Make a habit of recording citations properly at the time, of course, and at least use the APA or MLA systems, failing all else. You'll find much material on the Internet, but these may help:


Research Paper Checklist. Answers.

APA Citation Guide. Purdue Online Writing Lab.

MLA Citation Style. Cornell University Library.

Comparison of reference management software. Wikipedia. Detailed: many programs are free.

New Hart's Rules: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors by R. M. Ritter (O.U.P., 2005).

A Handbook for Scholars by Mary-Claire van Leunen O.U.P. Thorough and entertaining.

Butcher's Rules: The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Copy-editors and Proofreaders. C.U.P. Indian editions are cheaper.

Toward Clarity and Grace: Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing by Joseph M. Williams.


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