Quotations of over 20 words should be formatted to show clearly that these words are not those of the student writing the essay. This is shown by:
- indentation (set the margin further to the right than your main text)
- single spacing (the rest of your essay should be double spaced)
- smaller font (optional)
Quotation marks (“....”) are not needed. The source (that is, the author’s surname, a comma, the date of publication, a colon and the page number in brackets) is given at the end of the quotation. In cases where the author’s name has been mentioned clearly as part of your text (as in the following example), simply the year of publication and page number are needed.
Shorter quotations may be written as part of the essay text without changing the size or formatting of the text. Quotation marks are used at the beginning and end of the words which come from another source. The source is given immediately after the quotation. In cases where the author’s name has been mentioned clearly as part of your text (as in example 2), simply the year of publication and page number are needed in brackets.
If the quotation you have used was not from the original text but from a quotation in another text, you must show this by quoting both the author of the citation and the author and date of the book it came from.
The original text must be quoted exactly without any change to the verb tense or subject - verb agreement. All the formatting of the original (punctuation, underlining, italics or other form of emphasis) must be retained. If the original contains a spelling, grammar or factual mistake you must copy it exactly but you may write “sic” (meaning ‘as in the original’) in brackets after the awkward word or phrase to show that this mistake is not your own.
According to Jones: “Translators all need the support of their wives (sic)” (1997:55)
If you find that some part of the original is superfluous to the point you wish to make, you may omit it, showing the gap with three dots (...):
Occasionally it is necessary to add a word to make the referencing of the original clear. In this case you put the added word in square brackets [ ]. It is important to retain the meaning of the original when adding or omitting words.
All ideas or facts that have an identifiable source must have that source acknowledged otherwise it is considered plagiarism. This is true whether you are paraphrasing (rewriting in your own words but keeping all the ideas of the original) or whether you are summarising (giving only a shortened version in your own words).
If something is considered common knowledge then there may be no need to give a reference, for example you would not need to give a reference for a well-known fact such as 'Paris is the capital of France'.
There are certain abbreviations from Latin which are sometimes found in academic texts. Although the use of these is decreasing and it is not recommended that you use them extensively, it may be useful to know what they mean and how they are used in case you find them while reading.