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Chicago Style Guide - 17th Edition


A quotation is a collection spoken or written words repeated in speech or text by someone other than the original speaker or author. Quoting the work and ideas of others in your assignments helps to demonstrate that you have undertaken some scholarly research as well as helps establish credibility for your topic or position. In order to avoid plagiarism, you must acknowledge all the resources (oral, print, and electronic) that you used in your research. 

Short Quotations

A quotation of four or less lines should be cited within quotation marks (appearing at the beginning and end of the quote). The end punctuation of the quotation (e.g., period, question mark, exclamation mark) should be contained within the quotation marks. The footnote should be inserted after the closing quotation mark



Formatted short quotation

Block Quotations

Quotations of five or more lines should be put into “blocked” formatting. Blocked quotations require no quotation marks; however, to properly format the quotation you need to:

  • Single-space the quotation (this will visually contrast with the double-spacing of the rest of your paper);
  • Indent each line of the quotation ½ inch from the left margin;
  • Create an extra line of space immediately before and after the quotation;
  • Add the footnote at the end of the quote.



Formatted block quotation

Quoting and Paraphrasing – Signal Phrases

Signal Phrases

Signal phrases are ways to lead into or introduce a source or quote.

When introducing your sources, Chicago style uses verbs in the present tense (for details, see sec. 5.129 of The Chicago Manual of Style. 17th ed. and Chicago Style Q & A).  

A signal phrase often names the author of the source and provides context. Include:

  • the full name of the author the first time you refer to them – (Jean Barman says " . . . "14).
  • the author's last name only in subsequent references – (Barman emphasizes " . . . "16).

Examples of Signal Phrases

Try one of these signal phrases to create a smooth transition in your text:

  • Historian Sylvia Van Kirk insists that ". . ."1
  • Andrew Mclaughlin suggests ". . ."6
  • Van Kirk points out ". . ."9
  • Mclaughlin reports ". . ."12

Other signal words include:

  • demonstrates
  • contends
  • implies
  • argues
  • shows that
  • supports

This information on signal phrases has been adapted from:
Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers.  A Canadian Writer's Reference. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Avoiding Plagiarism

When writing an academic paper, you must acknowledge all the resources (oral, print, or web) that you used in your research. Not only does this allow your instructor to locate the sources you mention, it prevents you from being accused of plagiarism. In most instances, plagiarism is unintentional; it can be confusing to know what to cite. In general, it is better to be safe than sorry.

  • Have you taken an exact quote from your original source?  

If yes, then you need to quote the source and provide a page number in your in-text citation. You must give them credit.

  • Have you paraphrased from your original source?

If yes, then you still must provide citation information. In Chicago and MLA styles you must provide a page number. In APA, you don't have to provide page numbers though it is recommended.

  • You include information that you think is “common knowledge” such as: Victoria is the Capital of British Columbia. Do you need to cite this information?

No, you do not need to cite information that is considered "common knowledge."

  • Is it plagiarism to cut and paste from an electronic document without acknowledging the source?  

Absolutely. Just because it is easy to do, doesn't make it right. Cite the source!

  • You’ve added a statistic found on the Statistics Canada website. Since it is a government site, you do not need to cite the source. Is that correct?

No, it is not. Even government information must be cited.