I want to use a short quote as an opener to a chapter in a university homework.

  • Is there a literary term for this?
  • How would I typeset the proverb shown most correctly for American English?
    • Quotes: “ ” or ‘ ’ or none?
    • A dash between question and answer, or before the attribution?

This is what it looks like now:

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Yours is one sense of 'epigraph':

3. A short quotation or pithy sentence placed at the commencement of a work, a chapter, etc. to indicate the leading idea or sentiment; a motto.

["epigraph, n.". OED Online. March 2016. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/63381?rskey=pDnNCK&result=1&isAdvanced=false (accessed March 31, 2016).]

The epigraph is usually not surrounded with quote marks, but rather set off with formatting (centered, italic, etc.), and dropped down a space from the title. Attribution of the epigraph is often dropped one line from the epigraph and preceded by an em dash which is itself separated from the attribution by a single or a thin space.

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