Should my citation be,

“spent in the lifelong practice of despair… how painfully they shone” (Espaillat 12-14).


“spent in the lifelong practice of despair… how painfully they shone” (Espaillat 12...14).

1 Answer 1


The proper format is:

"spent in the lifelong practice of despair… how painfully they shone” (Espaillat 12, 14)

The first format provided should only be used if line thirteen is included in the quote and the second format you provided.

If you were to include lines 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, and 19 your citation would be:

"[quoted lines]” (Espaillat 12-14,16,18-19)

In citation two numbers seperated by a dash (12-14) denote that it includes all materials between element 12 and element 14 (if we are doing pages of text, then the quote must cover some part of page twelve, all of page 13, and some part of page 14... if it's more than four lines or a dialog exchange use block quotes.). While two numbers seperated by a comma (16,18) denotes that the quote is contained entirely on the 16th and 18th element, but not the 17th element (or any elements that are longer broken, say citing the 15th and 20th element, but not the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th element.).

Citing verses or lines is only required in poems, plays, and texts where verse numbers are given (like the bible, which is typically given a citation as a book title, chapter and verse, as the bible is not confined to a standard page number and contains multiple books with multiple authors). If you are sourcing your poem from a poetry book, it might be prudent to cite the collection (if the person who collected the poems is not the same guy who wrote the poem), followed by the page number and verse, but if you're only using one poem, the poet's name and the verse might be wise. If you're going to use the same author over multiple works, your text should indicate which work is being cited (the full text source can be given on your works cited page) though if the author is the subject of your text and you are exploring his or her works, you might consider citing the work and not the name.

If you're writing a paper about a specifice work of Edgar Allen Poe, you would do (Poe, 1-5) but if your paper is on the works of Poe, you might want to note that its (Raven, 1-5) to denote that it's the first five lines of "The Raven" and not (Telltale 1-5) the first five pages of "The Telltale Heart" (which is also probably improperly cited, as The Telltale Heart is at best a three page short story... Though having two extra pages to a Poe story is perfectly Poe levels creepy).

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