Quick Question: Citing an Excerpt of Another Book in a Text

On Sept. 23, an undergraduate writer asked this Question Question: “How do you cite an excerpt from a book within my English book?”

There are two answers to this question, depending on what is meant by “excerpt.”  I take “excerpt” to mean one of two things:

  1. A brief passage of text that the textbook editors quote or
  2. An entire work (or part of a work) that is anthologized in the textbook.

So, assuming you are using MLA documentation, here are the two answers:

A passage quoted in the textbook: If you are quoting a passage of text that the textbook editors quote, Diana Hacker’s Research and Documentation Online specifies the following: “When a writer’s or a speaker’s quoted words appear in a source written by someone else, begin the parenthetical citation with the abbreviation ‘qtd. in.’”

For example: “Researchers Botan and McCreadie point out that ‘workers are objects of information collection without participating in the process of exchanging the information’ (qtd. in Kizza and Ssanyu 14).”

On the Works Cited page, then, you simply include an entry for the textbook.

A work anthologized in a textbook: If, on the other hand, you are quoting an entire work (or a selection of a work) that is included in your textbook or reader, the in-text citation will simply use the author of the selection’s name, looking something like this: (Shulman 372).

The Works Cited entry would look like this:

Shulman, Max. “Love Is a Fallacy.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2008. 371-79. Print.

For answers to your other Quick Questions, click here.  To find out more about MLA Documentation, visit Diana Hacker’s Research and Documentation Online.

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