Integrating Quotations: Activity (MLA)


The best way to get better at integrating quotations is by practicing! And rather than wait until you get an assignment back from an instructor, why not be proactive and master the rules beforehand?

The following activity follows the MLA guidelines.



Below you will find 7 different forms of quoting. Most consist of a signal phrase (your own words that introduce the quotation) and some instruction on how much to quote. As you create your own sample quotations, check our pages on integrating quotations (part 1 and part 2) to make sure you’re following the rules. Then check the answer section below for correct examples.

For this exercise, you can select your own quotations. For example, if you are asked to quote from a poem, you can pick the text.

For line numbers and page numbers, just give the numbers–don’t worry about adding “p.” or “lines.”  In an actual essay, you don’t usually have to put “p.” or “pp.” and only the first time that you quote from a poem should you put “line” or “lines” before the numbers.


Please practice quoting by following these patterns:

  1. Short expression + prose quotation from a book.
  2. Formal introduction + poetry block quotation.
  3. Run-in quotation + two or three consecutive words from a poem. Add a separate sentence afterward that interprets the quotation.
  4. Run-in quotation with continuation (quote a short phrase from a book).
  5. Formal introduction + two lines of poetry.
  6. Formal introduction + prose block quotation with ellipses
  7. A short paraphrase of a brief passage from a book.


Prose refers to regular text, as opposed to poetry; ellipses refers to the periods (. . .) used to indicate skipped text; a paraphrase here means a loose summary, not a word for word translation.


Here are some sample answers to the various types of quotations listed in the activity (above).

1. As Nathan Levi-Power argues, “For Thomas Hobbes, the state of nature is essentially lawless. The absence of law gives people the right to do whatever they want” (223).

2. The sonnet points out how social media can function as a means of redemption in a world of despair:

When all my homework gets me down, and I
Can hardly muster up the strength to toast
A tasty grilled cheese sandwich, though I try,
Then I compose a fitting Facebook post. (5-8)

3. During show-and-tell, Mary is told that bringing a lamb to school goes “against the rule” (12). If we interpret Mary’s name as an allusion to the Virgin Mary, and the lamb as representing Christ, then these lines may be read as a comment on the separation of church and school.

4. Lynn Hunt describes how a “a tiding of magpies” (44) invaded the neighbourhood.

5. The poem opens with lyrical description of nature: “This last Thursday I did spy / A butterfly go flutterbying by.”

6. Anne Shelley suggests that Wyatt’s poem is a thinly veiled commentary on the reign of Henry VIII:

Thomas Wyatt’s poem “Whoso List To Hunt” is a scathing rebuke of the Stalinist court culture during the reign of King Henry VIII. . . . In the poem, Wyatt describes the dangers of loving a woman when the king also has his eyes on her. The woman in question was likely Anne Boleyn, whom Henry VIII briefly married in 1633, before executing her in 1636. Wyatt compares Anne to a deer that wears Caesar’s collar, inscribed with the words “noli me tangere” (do not touch me). (55)

7. Around 55% of elementary school teachers admit to receiving a steady supply of candy from their local dentist (Elton 14).