I truly hope I am posting in the right place; I had originally posted within the English Language forum but they told me to come here.

Before you go over the questions, I understand that APA states that any quote longer than 40 words must be separated.

I have two related questions: 1) In an APA paper, When you quote an example that is longer than 40 words, is it appropriate to indent it and bring it to size 10 font (from your essay's size 12 font)? For example:

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blay; Bob(2008), an astrophysicist from the University of Boston, gives a perfect example:

"blah blah blah blah blah blah" [imagine this part is in 10 font]

2) If the first question is: yes, it is appropriate, then: is it appropriate to do that with your own examples? Examples that you, yourself have made?

Thank you for any help you can provide :)

  • Hi, and welcome to Writers. We generally like one question per post, as it makes it easier to answer each one. Stack Exchange has an Accept mechanism, and if someone answers Q2 correctly but not Q1 or Q3, you can't accept more than one "right" answer. Could you split this into three separate questions? (or at least Q1/Q2 as one, since they're closely related, and Q3 as a second question) Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 19:41
  • Ah, of course! :). Thank you for that suggestion.
    – Spartan
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 19:48
  • The APA manual says nothing about making longer quotes a smaller font than the regular body of text, it only says that I must indent it. I essentially want to know if one ought to make the quoted text smaller so it distinguishes itself more easily and well, it looks nicer (in my opinion).
    – Spartan
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 20:09
  • honestly, I hate smaller text. why would you want to punish your readers by making them squint and altering your "interface" with the text? Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 20:29
  • @LaurenIpsum You have a very valid and practical point! Thanks :)
    – Spartan
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 0:29

1 Answer 1


There seems to be a widespread ignorance about the intended scope of application of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Assossiation, so I want to clarify that the APA Manual is a guide on how to write, structure and format an academic manuscript for submission to a publisher. It is NOT a guide on how to style publications. Printed journal articles differ hugely in appearance from journal to journal, even if they all adhere to the rules set forth by the APA.

Manuscripts formatted following the APA Manual have only a bare minimum of styling. Throughout the manuscript, for all of the text – including headings, footnotes, figure captions and blockquotes –, the same typeface (Times New Roman), the same font size (12 pt) and the same line spacing (double) must be used (APA, 2009, p. 228-229).

I am irritated and confused that no one employing the APA style seems to have ever held the actual publishesd manual in his hands, because it clearly answers all of the questions that have ever been asked on this site. The Manual even illustrates its principles with many pages of sample papers that show what a manuscript should look like, and if you had ever seen those illustrations you would never in your dreams have thought that a block quote might be styled in a different font size.

Having said this, in the hopes that maybe someone reading this will wake up from his googling stupor, and equip himself with this one indispensable resource for scientific writing, the answer to your question is that:

In APA stye block quotes are indented from the left margin about half an inch (in the same position as the first line of a new paragraph), and no more — no smaller font size, no spacing above or below, no identation on the right (APA, 2009, p. 171).

As for your own examples, no, block quotes are reserved for styling long citations. I don't know what you mean with "examples", but if you need to separate parts of your own writing, use paragraphs, if you want to append materials, use an appendix, or if you want to show a sample, use illustrations (illustrations can also be text), depending on what the status and purpose of those examples is.


  • American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication Manual of the Americal Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
  • Thank you for your help :). "I am irritated and confused that no one employing the APA style seems to have ever held the actual publishesd manual in his hands." To be honest, this is the first time I have used APA, so I have never had the need to read the book myself; I always use Chicago. I agree with you that I should take a look at the manual. Would you recommend this manual? "amazon.ca/Publication-Manual-American-Psychological-Association/…." Thanks :) @What
    – Spartan
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 0:37
  • @Spartan I didn't mean you in particular. My irritation grew from the onslaught of APA styling questions on this site, and it is of course inappropriate to vent it on any individual. Yes, that is the Manual. If you have access to an academic library, they probably have a copy there which you can spend an afternoon with and then come back to every now and then. The Manual explains in depth the purpose of academic publications and the writing that must naturally follow from this purpose. It is very useful even if you actually use another style (e.g. MLA).
    – user5645
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 6:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.