Anytime you write an academic paper or a nonfiction book, you likely will need to quote your sources, especially when they make their point in a powerful, evocative way. Should the quote be lengthy, you may need to typographically set it apart as a block quotation so that it is easy to read.
A block quotation is a lengthy, free-standing direct quotation that is separated from the rest of the text. Sometimes it’s also called a long quotation.
If using APA style for your academic paper, use the block quotation style when the direct quotation is at least 40 words or longer.
The rules for formatting a block quotations include:
• Indent a half-inch from the left margin
• Omit quotation marks
• Double space
• Indent first line of a second and subsequent paragraph a half-inch from the new margin (or a full inch from the original left margin)
• Parenthetical citation comes after the closing punctuation mark
Here’s how a block quotation should look in APA style…
Bignell (2013) states that developed characters make for better
That’s because successful stories involve drama, which
arises from tension between characters and the situation
in which they’ve been placed. That situation is your
story’s plot. The more developed the character, the
greater the drama, for more tension can arise as your
hero can interact with the situation in more varied
ways. (p. 40)
An excellent example of this in literature is Hamlet, who suffers
from indecision and psychic torment.