How to cite an entire paragraph taken from a book? Is it just writing the paragraph as a separate one and adding (Author, Year) in the end? Will it not imply that only the last sentence in the paragraph is written by that reference?

  • I'm having the same issue... he's talking about how the whole paragraph (every sentence) contains info that wasnt common knowledge, but also wasnt a quote. Am I right? like 70% is all my own words, but 30% are facts I didn't get on my own. But theyre ALL from the same source, same author, and same article. '_______________________ _______________________ ____________________ _________________________' (blahblah, 17). is that ok? Because Im not gonna go (blahblah, 17) after EVERY sentence, but its also not a quote. I will NOT indent, because my entire paper is like that. So what do i do
    – user3591
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 11:17
  • @Reallypissedthatno-oneknowshow: Original poster seems to have meant a direct quote - see his comment to Kate Sherwood's answer. But what you're asking might be a new question...
    – Standback
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 11:38
  • Are you using APA or MLA? Commented May 4, 2012 at 16:54

3 Answers 3


When citing large blocks of text like a paragraph, you're probably better off indenting the paragraph, and introducing the text.

For example:

As How to Indent notes (Billy Bob, 2011):

It's better to indent long pieces of text, because then it makes clear that you're quoting a lengthy piece of work. By introducing it with a sentence, you also make clear exactly what you are referencing.

Edit: As noted in the comments, different style guides will have different rules regarding this, as none of them agree on how block indentation should be done. For example, MLA states that text of more than four lines should be indented, while Chicago rules recommend indentation with 8 or more lines, or at least 100 words or more, and APA put the cut-off at around 40 words or more. While the original question didn't mention a particular style guide, you should always check your guide for its rules regarding block indentation first.

  • 4
    The rule in MLA formatting is that text of more than four lines is indented. Not sure about other academic citation formats.
    – justkt
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 12:43
  • I posted the APA guidelines below in another answer, the APA guide I have says word count Commented May 4, 2012 at 19:18
  • You seem to have overlooked the variations in different style guides. The OP has not stated any. This answer cannot be taken as canonical: There's the hazard of readers in future presuming this style can be applied uniformly in all writing.
    – Kris
    Commented May 13, 2012 at 18:35
  • @Kris - You're right, I wasn't aware of the different variations when I answered this. I answered it as best I could based on what I did know. If you know of the variations, then add them in the comments, or post your own answer to help others. Commented May 14, 2012 at 18:25
  • Rather, you should qualify your answer by editing in the note/ caveat, which in fact, is what was expected.
    – Kris
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 18:35

I know this has an accepted answer, but it's from Billy Bob. The APA Guide has the following to say:

When writing an entire paragraph about a single study, introduce that paragraph by stating that you will refer to the same study throughout the paragraph, then cite the reference. This avoids awkwardness and redundancy.

And as to indenting, this is what it says:

If the quotation has more than 40 words, use a block quotation. Begin the quotation on a new line and indent a half-inch from the left margin. Double-space the entire quotation, and at the end of the quotation, provide citation information after the final punctuation mark.

I hope this helps!


Are you quoting it directly, or paraphrasing? I guess you wouldn't bother asking if you were using a direct quote, since that seems crystal-clear - the citation would obviously apply to all the material inside the quotation marks or indented quotation. So you must be paraphrasing... but then you're talking about the last sentence being written by the other author...? I'm not clear on this.

But, yes, in general, you only want to cite once per adopted passage. But also, in general, you don't want to paraphrase an entire paragraph from another author. You can take the author's idea and attribute it, but are you borrowing the structure of the paragraph, as well? Again, I'm not quite clear what you're trying to do.

  • I actually wanted to quote the entire paragraph directly. I was not quite sure if I could use quotation marks for the entire paragraph or indent the whole paragraph. Elsewhere I read you need to cite once. So I felt if I just copy this entire paragraph without indenting/quoting from a book and write (Author,Year) only for the last sentence wouldn't it mean that I have attributed only the last sentence like this(Anonymous, 2011).
    – Chethan S.
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 14:13
  • 3
    The indent or the quotation marks make it clear where the quotation begins.
    – Kate S.
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 1:42

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