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The Über-rule in trying to get the format for citations right is simple: use a reference book.  For classes in literature and languages, that means the MLA (Modern Languages Association) Handbook, obtainable at any good bookstore or library.  No one memorizes all of the arcane rules that govern academic citations; no one, at least, who isn’t eating lime Jell-O in a mental institution.
Having said that, there are a few basic principles pertaining to citing text that you should memorize, conventions that are pretty consistent in many kinds of college writing.  To wit:
1.      Citation of a long block of text: if the passage you are citing takes up more than three lines of your paper, indent the entire passage.  No need to use a different font or single-space: just indent it.  Unless you are going to refer in an extremely close way to the passage, it is generally best to avoid long quotations in a short paper.  Alternatives include a) paraphrasing the moment in the text in a sentence or two, and b) pulling out one or two sentences or phrases from the text and doing the rest of the work via paraphrase.
2.      Citation of a short piece of text:
·        The simplest method is to introduce the sentence or phrase, use a colon, and present the quote.  So:
·        “As President Bush once said: “The only subliminable message is the ones (sic) you don’t get” (23).
è Note that the final quotation mark goes first, the page # second, and the period last.  In a block quote (to make matters more complex) the period comes before the page #…
è The “sic” here means “thus” in Latin, used whenever there’s an error in the original and you want your reader to know that you know it’s an error…
·        Another method is almost identical: introduce the quote with a comma.  This is often useful when you are introducing a short phrase whose meaning flows directly from the first part of your sentence.  So:
·        Mike Davis is perhaps most famous for his mixing of cultural critique and environmentalism, which he captures in the witty phrase, “the ecology of fear” (38).
·        The simplest and often most elegant way of citing text is to incorporate a word or phrase into the grammar of your own sentence with no break in punctuation.  So:
·        That “someone must have been telling lies about Josef K.” is open to question, despite the narrator’s confident, even arrogant tone in the opening lines of The Trial.
è Be sure, when using this technique, that the grammar of the sentence still works!  You may have to change parts of words or even whole words slightly in order to pull this off.  This is permissible, but include the changed portion in [square brackets].  So, if the original quote is “I got my wallet out of my pocket,” your quote might read: Proctor’s tense state of mind is clear from the start as he “got [his] wallet out of [his] pocket…”