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Chicago Block Quote Format With Examples

You’re just typing along in your academic paper and boom! You need to figure how to format Chicago Manual of Style block quotes. Rather than panic, learn how to block quote Chicago and Turabian style with ease. Not only will this article break down when to use block quotes in Chicago and Turabian style, but you’ll also learn how to create them for prose, verse and dialogue. Are you wondering, “Are block quotes double spaced in Chicago style?” You’ll find that answer too!

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When to Use Block Quotes: Chicago/Turabian

To determine when a quotation should be incorporated in the text of your essay or set off by a block quote in a Chicago style citation, look at its length and type.

When we talk about type, this is either prose, verse or dialogue.

  • Prose is regular text, such as words in a report or book.
  • Verse is poetry or drama.
  • Dialogue consists of exact lines spoken between characters in a play.

The length will vary by the type. Therefore, it is important to look at each type in-depth to fully understand how to create Chicago Manual of Style block quotes. Turabian block quotes follow the same guidelines.

Chicago/Turabian Block Quotes: Prose

Knowing when to use block quotes in Chicago or Turabian style vs. quotation marks for prose is important. The length of the prose passage determines how you should format the quotation:

  • If the section is four or fewer lines, include it in text, set off by quotation marks.
  • If the section is five or more lines, set it off in a block quotation.

You may use a block quote for a quotation shorter than five lines if you want to emphasize it or compare it to a shorter quotation. Follow the same instructions for quotations within notes.

Now that you know when to use block quotes Chicago style for prose, it’s time to think about formatting. Are block quotes double spaced in Chicago? How do they look? It’s time to find the answers to all your questions. 

Create a Prose Block Quote in Chicago/Turabian

Getting started with prose block quotes Chicago style is pretty easy. You’ll first look at your introduction. If your introduction to the quotation is a complete sentence, use a colon before the quotation. if you introduce the quotation with such words as “according to,” “claims,” or “notes,” use a comma before the Chicago style block quote. Some other formatting rules you should keep in mind include:

  1. Do not enclose the quote in quotation marks.
  2. Single space the quoted section.
  3. Leave a space before and after Turabian block quotes.
  4. Keep quotation marks if they are used within the quotation itself.
  5. Indent the whole block as you would a paragraph (0.5 inches).
  6. If you include more than one paragraph in the same block quote, do not add a line between them but continue to indent by 0.5 inches.

You now have the knowledge for how to use Chicago style block quotes. View it in action with a prose example.

Prose Block Quote Chicago Example

Sample Chicago style block quote with handwritten notes and tips

In this interview with Luis Valdez, Orono-Cordova notes his success:

In January of 1978, Valdez was named a recipient of the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Playwright-in-Residence Award in connection with the production of his original play, Zoot Suit. He was commissioned to write and direct Zoot Suit for production by the Mark Taper Forum of the Center Theatre Croup in Los Angeles. After a successful run at the Taper, in August of 1978 the play moved to a nine-month extension of sold-out performances and hit reviews at the Aquarius Theatre in Hollywood, where the movie version of Zoot Suit was filmed in 1981. (Orono-Cordova, 96)

Note: For author-date style, place the in-text citation after the last period in the block quotation in parentheses.


Note: If you cite your source in a footnote or endnote, place the superscript note number at the end of the block quotation.


When to Use Block Quotes Chicago for Verse

When it comes to a verse in poetry, you are going to take a different approach.Follow these rules for Chicago/Turabian block quotes when quoting verse:

  • Use a block quotation for two or more lines of poetry.
  • Indent the entire block by 0.5 inches.

Just as with prose, you don’t need to worry about whether verse block quotes are double spaced in Chicago: they’re not. To really see this in action, review this example of Chicago Manual of Style block quotes for verse. 

Verse Chicago Block Quote Example: 

Chicana poet and feminist Gloria Anzaldúa describes the pain of straddling two cultures in her poem, “To Live in the Borderlands”:

To live in the Borderlands means knowing that the india in you, betrayed for 500 years,
is no longer speaking to you,
the mexicanas call you rajetas, that denying the Anglo inside you
is as bad as having denied the Indian or Black. (1987)

Note: It might seem strange, but you should keep all the original punctuation, spelling and capitalization intact, even if it’s technically incorrect.


When to Use Block Quote in Chicago for Dialogue

Are you quoting several lines of dialogue in Shakespeare? If you’re including two or more lines of dialogue from a play, format it the same way as for verses. Use all caps for the speakers’ names or use a different font.

Dialogue Block Quote Example: 

Zoot Suit, a Chicano play, strikes a hard note about prejudice in this exchange:

EL PACHUCO: The idea of the original chuco is to look like a diamond, to look sharp, hip, bonaroo, finding a style of urban survival in the rural skirts and outskirts of the brown metropolis ….

PRESS: It’s an afront to good taste!

EL PACHUCO: Like the Mexicans, Filipinos and blacks who wear them?


Note: If a line runs over into the next line, indent it.


Tips for Modifying Block Quotes Chicago

Student reviewing Chicago Block Quote Format

Although you should copy the quotation exactly as it is, there is room for some modification. For example, in Chicago style, you are allowed to change small errors, such as obvious spelling errors, without noting the change.

However, don’t change quotations:

  • If the language uses obsolete words or phrasing
  • If the error itself proves a point in your argument; keep it the same but insert [sic]

If you want to emphasize a part of a quotation by using italics, add a note within brackets, such as [emphasis added].

If you insert an explanation or your own words into a quotation, set it off by square brackets, like [museums, libraries].

Omitting Words

If you have a long quotation that can be shortened by omitting unneeded words or phrases, you can insert ellipses in place of the words. However, make sure you’re not removing words that change the meaning of the quotation.

Ellipses Example

After a successful run at the Taper, in August of 1978 the play moved to … the Aquarius Theatre in Hollywood, where the movie version of Zoot Suit was filmed in 1981.

Creating Chicago Style Block Quotes in Word

You can make these changes in any word processing software. Microsoft Word is a common choice. It’s all about using your tools when it comes to how to block quote in Word Chicago style. Look for the references tab to save some time and go from there. Our guide on  how to create Chicago citations in Word  can help.

Incorporating Quotes for Depth

It’s always a good idea to incorporate quotations, particularly when discussing a writer’s unique style. Long quotations are acceptable and can add depth to your paper. When you’re ready, learn how to make a Chicago style bibliography to complete your paper.

Related Articles:

FAQ Chicago Block Quote Format With Examples

Does Chicago use block quotes?

Chicago and Turabian style use block quotes for long prose, poetry, and dialogue quotes. When to use block quotes for each type depends on the length of the passage. For example, in prose, a block quote is used for a prose passage of five lines or more.

How much do you indent a block quote Chicago?

A block quote is indented 0.5 inches in Chicago style. Additionally, a Chicago style block quote does not use quotation marks and is single-spaced.

What is a block quote example?

In the Chicago Manual of Style, an example of a block quote would be 5 or more lines of text quoted from "The Hunger Games." An example of poetry block quotes would be 2 or more lines quoted from Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken."

How do you quote in Chicago style?

There are two ways you can quote in Chicago style. In the note-bibliography Chicago style, a superscript number is placed after the quoted or paraphrased information, which will be cited in the notes. In author-date Chicago style, you’ll include the author and date after the quoted material like: (Author, 2020).

How long does a quote have to be to be a block quote Chicago?

In Chicago style, the length of text you use a block quote for depends on if you are quoting prose, dialogue, or poetry. A block quote is used for 5 or more lines of prose, 2 or more lines of poetry, and 2 or more lines of dialogue.

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