This is in a professional email.

I'm quoting from a business document that was sent to the person that I'm writing the email to. I need to clarify something, and to do so I need to quote from a section in the document. The document and the section have names.

Is it okay to put it like this?

In (the name of the document)'s (the name of the section) it is said, "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX."

I looked for examples but I can't find any that's worded the same. Or, is there a better way to write this?


Cite it exactly like you would a source for which you have a full name, except the name is "Anonymous."

"XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX." (Anonymous, 2019)

If it comes from a published work that has no author, you can use the name of the work in lieu of the author's name.

Both APA and MLA use both of the above methods.

Instead of "Anonymous" you can use "Unknown" or "Unknown Author" or "Source unknown." Etc.

If you don't know the exact date, don't make one up. But you might know the general time period. Or the location and other details. For example:

  • Unknown author, 17th century Kenya.
  • Traditional Italian folk tale.
  • Graffiti, London, 1960's.
  • Anonymous saying.

The poster has since clarified:

I'm quoting from a document that was sent to the person that I'm writing the email to. I need to clarify something, and to do so I need to quote from a section in the document. The document and the section have names, but the creator of the document is unknown.

In this specific case, I would suggest one of the following:

  • (Section) in (document) states: "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX."
  • As described in the (section) of (document), "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX."
  • "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX." ((document))
  • Thank you. I've added information to my question. Mar 27 '19 at 18:22
  • @pleasehelp12 Thank you for the clarification. It's always best to put those in the first version of the question but I realize it's not always possible. I have updated my answer. Mar 27 '19 at 18:29
  • Thank you for your answer! That's very helpful. I'll remember to be more specific the first time when I write the question. Mar 27 '19 at 18:44

According to APA 6th Edition Citation Style,

When a work’s author is designated as “Anonymous,” cite in text the word Anonymous followed by a comma and the date: (Anonymous, 2010)

If, instead, you're citing a newspaper article, journal article, or website with no author, give the article title and date of publication (if date is available).

  • Thank you. I added information to my question. Mar 27 '19 at 18:23

In a professional email the document title (and perhaps the date when it was shared) is a sufficient reference.

I am assuming that the document was either shared by email, or given in a meeting, and that it is obvious that you are privy to this information.

As stated in [DOCUMENT TITLE], sent on [DATE], "importantstuff""


Quoting from [DOCUMENT TITLE], page [XX], "importantstuff". For clarity, I am referring to [DOCUMENT TITLE], sent on [DATE] [BY EMAIL/AT MEETING/ARRIVED BY POST].

If the creator of the document is essential, i.e. you HAVE to name someone, then you can add:

At present I cannot provide/I do not possess further details on the author of [DOCUMENT NAME]. Further information will be emailed as it becomes available.

  • You can also be a bit less formal and say "I will email further information as it becomes available."
    – NofP
    Mar 27 '19 at 21:34
  • Also depending on the context, it could be a good idea to attach the document to your email
    – NofP
    Mar 28 '19 at 9:30
  • Thank you for your answers! Could I just put down your first example (As stated in [DOCUMENT TITLE], sent on [DATE], "importantstuff.") and then in the next sentence immediately start clarifying what I need to clarify? Mar 28 '19 at 12:50
  • 1
    Hi and thank you :) Is it okay if I ask another question? Could I use it even if I'm talking about how the term (the condition) was expressed and not the term itself? I think I can but I wanted to ask :) I need to clarify about a term because of how it was expressed. I need to explain that by the term another term is being simultaneously stated, so a mix-up can be avoided. The text is a translation, and the translator expressed it only one way. I will put in a greeting at the beginning :) Mar 29 '19 at 6:11
  • 1
    Only two sentences need to be quoted so it isn't a very long quotation. Mar 29 '19 at 7:16

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