How to use block quotations in APA style

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.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.