I am writing an essay for my English class. At one point I make a statement about the book and end the sentence. Afterwards I've inserted a direct quote from the book on its own. Here's an example:

Jake is in love with Kate. "Jake looked at Kate and his heart began to race..." (Johnson 102)

That is exactly how I have it written. Is this correct, or should the quote be within a sentence? Also, is it all right to use the ellipsis there because I left out the end of the quote? Should there be a period after the citation? Ugh!!

  • Whatever you add to a quotation that wasn't there in the original text should be within square or round brackets: [ ] or ( ). The three dots should be therefore written like (...) if you want to keep them, but they aren't necessary—and shouldn't be there, really. On the other hand, there isn't any rule against quoting only a fragment of a sentence, so just write: "Jake looked at Kate and his heart began to race" followed by a properly-formatted reference.
    – Yay
    Jan 24, 2016 at 19:03
  • When you leave something out in the middle of a quotation, you need the three-dot thing, called ellipsis; but the act of quoting almost always involves leaving out what came before and what followed in the original context, so there is seldom good reason to put it an ellipsis at either end. Incorporating the quotation within a sentence of your own is often a good thing, as here Clearly he is in love with her, for "Jake looked at Kate and his heart began to race" (Johnson 102). And that's a yes on the period after and only after the parenthetical citation. Jan 24, 2016 at 20:33

2 Answers 2


The main thing to keep in mind is that even though you are quoting someone else, it is you who is writing this sentence and this essay. You have the same responsibility to make it readable as any sentence that you write.

And I suggest you block quote. Why mash everything together? If you are working in a word processor it likely has a blockquote style, just like this little text box I’m currently typing into. You might think of a quote as equivalent to a photo (it’s like a photo of the text from the book) that deserves to be in its own separate block.

An em dash is also a very readable and very common way to separate the quote from the author of the quotation. If you are cutting a sentence short in the quotation, then put in an ellipsis. Learn to type these characters in your writing tool (as well as real quotes) either by using text substitutions (e.g. you type three periods and an ellipsis is put in for you) or learning the key shortcuts (e.g. you type Option+semi-colon to insert an ellipsis.)

If that is a page number, I suggest you say so.

Also, you might want to include the title of the book, especially if it has not been mentioned already on that page of your essay.

So you might replace this:

Jake is in love with Kate. "Jake looked at Kate and his heart began to race..." (Johnson 102)

… with this:

Jake is in love with Kate.
“Jake looked at Kate and his heart began to race …” — Johnson, page 102 “The Title of the Book”

Assuming you want an embedded quote, you may wish to try

Jake is in love with Kate, as evidenced by the fact that "Jake looked at Kate, and his heart began to race." (Johnson 102).

See https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/ for more info.

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