7 junio, 2024

Textual citations: characteristics, types, elements, examples

A direct quote is the text of another author that is inserted into a written work using their exact words. This is done in order to reinforce the idea that is raised. For this, certain rules must be followed according to how extensive the quote can be and how it will be presented within the text in which it will be mentioned.

To use a textual quote, international rules are used, such as the APA standards (acronym for the American Psychological Association). This organization originated in 1929 with the purpose of facilitating the understanding of reading. It is currently in its sixth edition, published in 2009.

It is important to know how to make a textual quote to respect what the main author wanted to capture. Leaving aside the origin of information can be dangerous, since it would be committing plagiarism. That is why they must be taken seriously and know how to do it correctly.

When quoting directly, it is important to be careful with spelling, wording, and punctuation, even if they are incorrect in the original. All this leads to giving more value to what is being done, since good sources guarantee the veracity of the material produced.


Characteristics of textual quotations

Direct citations have a number of characteristics:

Accuracy of what is quoted

This is the main characteristic of direct quotations. What the author expresses remains identical, since everything that includes the original ideas is preserved.

Ease of location in the text

If used properly, they are easy to visualize when reading. This helps a lot when those who interact with the text search for relevant information.

We can see them in quotes, italics or other types of letters according to their size. You can find small or extensive textual quotations.

Credits to the author

Regardless of the way in which they are presented in the text (long or short), you must give credit to their author.

Be reflected at the end of the work in great detail

Textual citations are of great support for the work that has been done, be it a book, thesis or article. All citations used must be reflected at the end in the bibliography.

Elements of a quote

In order to learn how a textual quotation is formed, it is first necessary to know the elements that make it up:

Author’s last name

It is a key element. It is common to use the author’s first last name. However, if he is known by his first name or another last name, they can also be placed.

Page number

When we have an appointment we must place the page number from which the information was removed. This must be represented with a letter «p», followed by a period and finally the page number. Always in parentheses. Example: (p. 15).

Year of publication

It is important to know the year of publication, especially if the author owns several books. The number must go between parentheses, unless it is a quote where we emphasize the year. If we do not know the year, “S. F.» and in the bibliographical reference «No date» is placed.

omit words

If you don’t want to put any specific part of the content inside the citation, you can omit it. For this, an ellipsis (…) must be placed in its place. Example:

Morales (2008) clearly expressed «If there is no reflective act in poetry, it is useless… Furthermore, what is poetry without reflection?» (p. 60).

add idea

If you want to add a comment within the quote, it must be represented between square brackets «[]”.

Types of quotes

Although there is no official classification, it is possible to classify in-text citations as long, short, author-focused, year-focused, and text-focused.

– Short quotes

Short quotes must be less than 40 words. They have to be written within the text that is being carried out so as not to lose the thread of the idea. They must be enclosed in quotation marks (“”) to indicate their start and end.

Example (Focused on the author):

In this regard, Morales (2008) commented: «The abstraction required by the poetic process is unique» (p. 35).

– Long quotes

Its size is greater than 40 words and must go without quotes. These must be in a paragraph with a space of 1.3 cm with the left margin. The quote should end with a full stop and then refer to where the idea was taken from.


…If there is no introspection, poetry loses meaning. The poet requires not only to see the object that is poeticized, but also to see himself. The reflection of what is poetized is manifested in a unique way within each poet. It is in this communion between the poet and the poetized object that the real poetic act occurs. (Morales, 2008, p. 45).

– Focused on the author

The author or authors must go first, followed by the year of publication in parentheses. Subsequently, the text and end with the page number where the quote is located.


According to Morales (2008): «Poetry, in itself, is the purest way that the human essence has to manifest itself» (p. 80).

– Focused on the text

When we focus on the text we want to quote, it must come first. And when it is finished we must place the author(s), year and page number between parentheses.


Poetry, then, is an oral or written manifestation of an individual character. «Poetry, in itself, is the purest way that the human essence has to manifest itself» (Morales, 2008, p. 80).

– Focused on the year

In this case we must put the year first, followed by the author(s). Then, between quotes, make the appointment and end with the page in parentheses.


In 2008, Morales indicated: «Poetry, in itself, is the purest way that the human essence has to manifest itself» (p. 80).


How to cite with APA standards? (2013). (N/A): APA Standards. Recovered from: normasapa.com.
What is quote (2020). Spain: Biblioguide of the Degree in Art History. Retrieved from: biblioguias.ucm.es.
What are APA Standards? (2015). (N/A): APA Standards. Recovered from: normasapa.com.
What is a direct quote? (S.f.). (N/A): Current Dictionary. Retrieved from: diccionarioactual.com
How to make citations and references in APA format? (S.f.). Mexico: UNAM Library. Retrieved from: libraries.unam.mx.

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