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OSCOLA referencing guide (Online): Quotations

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg


  • Quotations from cases, statutes, books and journals must always be exactly as they are in the original source.
  • Place any punctuation after the closing quotation mark unless it is an essential part of the quotation.
  • Use double quotation marks around quotations within short quotations.
  • The footnote number comes after the closing quotation mark and the punctuation.
  • Examples in the boxes below show how to deal with short quotations, long quotations and quotations with text omitted.

Types of quotations

Short quotations of three lines or less should be included in the text within single quotation marks.


Herring gives the definition of voluntary manslaughter as a situation where 'the defendant would be guilty of murder but for the existence of a special defence.'

Long quotations should be placed in an indented paragraph. You do not need to use quotation marks except for single quotation marks around quotations within quotations. Leave a space on both sides of the indented quotation and introduce the quotation with a colon.


Lord Hoffman reasoned as follows:

It seems to me logical to found liability for damages up to the intention of the parties (objectively ascertained) because all contractual liability is voluntarily undertaken. It must be in principle wrong to hold someone liable for risks for which people entering into such a contract in their particular market, would not reasonably be considered to have undertaken.

Omissions from Quotations

If text is removed from a quotation for reasons of clarity and length or if it ends mid-sentence in the original text, use an ellipsis (...) to indicate that some of the original text is missing. Leave a space between an ellipsis and any text or punctuation, except quotation marks.


Elliott and Quinn explain the different types of nuisance in tort:

There are actually three types of nuisance: private, public and statutory. Private nuisance is a common law tort and the main subject of this chapter. Public nuisance is a crime ... but it also comes into the study of tort because there are some cases where parties who have suffered as a result of public nuisance can sue in tort.


Inserting your own words into a Quotation

To insert your own words into the quotation to ensure it makes grammatical sense in your work, write your words in [square brackets] to distinguish them from the author's. Be careful not to alter the meaning of the quotation by adding or removing too many words.