How to cite lines of text:

You know that in each body paragraph you need to quote and cite at least one line of text to show what specific wording the author used and exactly what you are responding to. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of when you quote and cite lines of text in your next essay.

What is a line of text?

To quote a line of text, you need to understand what one is. A line of text is not necessarily a sentence of text. Rather, a line of text is represented by how many times the words go across the page.

If you’ll look at this sentence, you’ll see what I mean: Student writers often have difficulty understanding what lines of text are, but they do great once the understand the concept.

How many lines of text was the sentence in purple?  If you said one, you are wrong. Good guess, though! The above purple sentence is considered three lines of text because it touched three lines.

The next purple sentence is one line of text because it touches only one line:

Now you can proceed to quoting and citing.


1.      In this response essay, when you are quoting and citing lines, you need only to tell the reader what page number you are quoting from, and put that page number in parenthesis. You only need to write the page number is parenthesis in this paper because you listed the author’s name in the introduction paragraph. If you had not listed the name in the introduction, you would also need to give the author’s name in parenthesis, followed by the page number.

An example of the citation I want you to use for this paper follows:

“The wind is wild, and it helped fan the flames across the land” (245). Remember, the period follows the citation. 

2.      When quoting lines of text, you also need to follow these rules exactly:

A.     If you are citing only a partial line from a page, you must use the three-dot ellipses (…) to indicate that more words follow or come before the partial line.

Example: “The wind is wild…” (245). Alternatively, you could write, “…it helped fan the flames…” (245). Again, the ellipses indicate that more words follow in the line, but you chose not to quote them. In addition, the number indicates the page number, and a period follows.


B.     If you are citing a couple lines—one to three lines of text—you must keep them as part of your paragraph, but quote them in this way:

“The wind is wild, and it helped fan the flames across the land. The real culprit, however, is the careless smokers who carelessly flung their cigarettes out the windows” (245). Again, remember that the period follows the cite.  

C.     However, if you are citing four or more lines of text, you must do something different. First, introduce your four or more lines of text, and follow them with a colon. Then, indent your block of lines ten spaces. Next, without using quotation marks, write the lines word-for-word as they appear on the page you are quoting from. Finally, put a period after the last word in the last line, and follow it with the cite.




Grisby alludes to the dangers of cigarette smoking on windy days when she draws our attention to the wind and notes:

The wind is wild, and it helped fan the flames across the land. The real culprit, however, is the careless smoker who carelessly flung their cigarettes out the windows of moving cars. It is those smokers, who show lack of regard for anything but their own addictions, and who manage to lay waste to thousands of acres of prairie land every month in the United States. (245) 

If you still need help after reading and applying information from this sheet, please feel free to ask.



First, Second

and Third Person Pronouns


When composing, writers must decide from what point of view they want to express their ideas. Their three choices are first person, second person, and third person.


First person indicates the writer is the speaker or narrator. This form is most commonly used when writing about personal experiences or in expressing one's own opinion, such as what is used in observation and remembering essays. The first person pronouns include I, me, my, mine, we, our, and ours.

Second person indicates the person to whom the writer is speaking. This form is most commonly used when describing a process, giving directions or advice, or in correspondence--letters directed to a specific individual. The second person pronouns include you and yours. Students are discouraged from using second person in academic and response papers, as the pronoun is seen as too informal.


Third person indicates the person (or thing) about whom the writer is speaking, when referring to other people. In addition to being used when the writer prefers to present a story from someone else's point of view, this form is generally preferred in more formal expository writing such as research papers and business reports. The third person pronouns include she, he, her, him, hers, his, it, its, they, them, theirs. This is the pronoun an academic writer should be inclined to use.


A tip to help you overcome first and second person writing.  When you are done writing your papers (see, I am trying to be very informal, so I use the second person), read them backwards. Start with the last word of your essay, and read through your paper word by word until you come to the beginning. By doing this, the reader is forced to see each word individually, and all first person and second person pronouns will be identified.


Credits: Portions of this document were modified wit permission from William Rainey Harper College, 1996 Last Revised: 24 November 1997