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I've encountered this grammar several times while proofreading academic papers. There is a tendency among authors to use inline quotes with multiple sentences quoted. For example,

John cited Powell's belief that the search for 'life on other planets has been a disaster. Now is the time to cut funding to the programme.'

My question is two-fold. (1) Is it even possible to have two sentences within this kind of inline quote? And (2) if you can, how do you treat the punctuation in British English. In other words, should the full stop go inside or outside the quote marks.

I consulted the Chicago, APA and MLA handbooks/guides, as well as the punctuation guide and Butcher's copyediting book. None of these seem to address this issue, always showing how to quote for one sentence quotations or block quotes. This leads me to believe you can't quote multiple sentences in a inline quote couched in a sentence. But if this is the case (3) how does one punctuate/rewrite a sentence like this to convey the meaning of the author correctly?

The three options I've thought of is (1) an ellipsis and putting the final full stop outside of the quote marks

John cited Powell's belief that the search for 'life on other planets has been a disaster . . . now is the time to cut funding to the programme'.

or breaking the quote apart

John cited Powell's belief that the search for 'life on other planets has been a disaster'. 'Now is the time to cut funding to the programme.'

or, a third re-written option

John cited that the search for 'life on other planets has been a disaster', part of Powell's belief that 'now is the time to cut funding to the programme'

I don't feel the third option really reflects what was intended, and moreover, my question is more general and is intended to reflect multiple examples where this occurs.

Any help is appreciated.

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    If this is for a professional journal, consult with the editors. Otherwise, do whatever makes the most sense. I see no problem with the way it was originally done. – Barmar Jan 8 '20 at 23:34
  • It's not that unusual for a multi-sentence quote to begin in the middle of a sentence. In general, the assumption would be that the introduction to the quote provides the same context as the omitted part of the starting sentence. – Hot Licks Jan 9 '20 at 1:47
  • For some reason the second sentence feels out of place. I can find it done in newsprint, for example. But I can accept that it is normal. I do find it odd that it isn't mentioned in the style guides as far as I can find though. And still, if this is the case then I'm curious as to how to punctuate in British, inside or outside the quotation marks. I think this is where I found it odd in the first place. – freeform23 Jan 9 '20 at 2:36
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It does feel a bit awkward to me. I don't remember seeing one and a half sentences being quoted. And I've never seen citing that [something], as in your third suggestion. 'Cite' always takes a direct object.

I think your suspicion that "you can't quote multiple sentences in an inline quote couched in a sentence" is probably correct, and the answer to 'how does one punctuate/rewrite a sentence like this to convey the meaning of the author correctly?' is probably different in each case.

In this particular case I don't think much is gained by quoting Powell's words rather than reporting them: the meaning may be important but the wording itself is unmemorable.

By which I mean -

Attenborough said, "I am an agnostic"

is no improvement on

Attenborough said he was an agnostic

On the other hand,

Attenborough described humans as a "plague on the Earth"

contains such a striking image that it merits quoting.

I don't think we lose anything by not using the quotation. And the slight mish-mash of tenses becomes easier to sort out.

John cited Powell's belief that the search for life on other planets had been a 'disaster' and that now was the time to cut funding to the programme.

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