Manchester Metropolitan University homepage
Library homepage

Covid–19 Library update

Important changes to our services. Find out more


Direct quotes

When citing a direct quote you need to include the page number (or the word ‘online’, if you’ve used an online source), in the citation.

For more complex direct quotes, examples are provided under the specific sources within the MMU Harvard section of this guide:

Direct quotes: sources with page numbers

When using a direct quote, you will need to include a page number in the citation which is written after the year in the following format:


When critically evaluating other’s work it’s important to use ‘tact and a constructive approach…’ (Cottrell, 2005:97).

Direct quotes from online sources

As many online sources have no page numbers, when quoting directly you need to state that the information has been found online in the following way:


According to the Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (no date:online) pay-as-you go ensured that ‘…mobile phones are one of the most inclusive technologies’.

Direct quotes: general rules

  • When using quotes the wording that you have used in your assignment needs to be EXACTLY the same as the text from the source. 
  • Single quotation marks must be used at the beginning and end of the quote so the reader knows where the quote begins and ends.
  • Quotes should not be altered into italics, underlined or emboldened unless you want to highlight/emphasise a specific word in the quote.  If you do this cite the quote as: (Egan, 2002:186 emphasis added) to show you have altered it.
  • If the information from a source you are using  as a direct quote runs over two pages, use both page numbers, for example: (2016:1-2).
  • If you do not use the whole sentence, make sure you use ellipses which are the following: ‘…’ to indicate which part of the sentence is missing; these may be at the start of the quote, the end of the quote, or in the middle if you have shortened the wording.
  • If you come across a mistake in a quote and do not want this mistake to be attributed to you, you can add the term [sic] next to the error.  This can also apply to different spellings of words e.g. color and colour
  • If you want to insert words into a quote you can add square brackets [ ] around the additional text but remember the sentence must make grammatical sense. It is important to use square brackets and not round brackets around the extra text because this indicates that this is your addition and not the authors.

Length of quotes: short quotes

Quotes of up to and including 20 words, or up to two sentences (whichever is the greater) can be embedded into the text. You MUST put quotation marks around the text that you are inserting into your assignment. Remember, the sentence needs to make grammatical sense. 


For an individual to manage their workload effectively, a plan can be devised to tackle daily, weekly and monthly commitments. Within this framework, individuals can identify issues that ‘…arise in the course of your study and prioritise them with the most serious on top’ (Whitehead and Mason, 2003:27). By setting time aside and identifying possible events that may occur… 

The quote used in the above example is not the beginning of the original sentence. Thus, the ellipses ‘…’ have been used to illustrate that the quote is only part of the original sentence.

Length of quotes: long quotes

Longer quotes should be indented and placed in a separate paragraph. 

You DO NOT need to place quotation marks around the quote if it is classified as a long quote.


Moyser (2006:85) defines elite interviewing as:

The use of interviews to study those at the ‘top’ of any stratification system, be it in sport, academia, social status, religion, beauty or whatever. In practice, however, elite research focuses mainly on political and economic notables. The study of elites touches on some of the major and perennial issues of social analysis. The views and activities of generals, businessmen, politicians and church leaders have been of concern to social thinkers since the earliest days of Western thought.

As this definition points put...