Q. How does one cite a direct famous quote on the reference page? Is it common knowledge?


To cite a famous quote on the References page:

Common knowledge is:

  • Things like folklore, common sense observations, myths, urban legends, and historical events.
  • Usually not a famous quote.
  • Common knowledge example:  George Washington was the first President of the United States.
  • Common knowledge does not have to be cited on the References page.
  • For more information on what is or is not considered common knowledge, read Is it plagiarism yet?

To be safest, you should cite any famous quote and where you obtained it.

Examples of famous quotation that should be cited:

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  This is from President Roosevelt's Inaugural Address in 1933 to give the American people courage in the face of the Great Depression. Many people know this quote, even if they cannot remember who said it. 

Even though many people have heard this quotation, it should be cited on the References page.

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  • Last Updated Oct 28, 2019
  • Views 225412
  • Answered By Baker Librarians

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Comments (2)

  1. Alright, so for a quote that pops up in a meme (for example) that states:
    "Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out. "
    -Benjamin Franklin

    For this would you just want to google the quote and try to find a relatively reliable source (like a Newspaper source using it or better a source explaining where/when it was said) or is a source such as Brainyquote.com acceptable ?

    Also if you heard someone mention it in a TedTalk, would you want to actually look up that quote or just cite the TedTalk video?
    by Colby on Nov 20, 2014.
  2. Finding the famous quote from a credible source would be the best idea.
    The person in the TED talk video may be paraphrasing to suit their presentation.
    Check out the Baker College APA Help guide (https://guides.baker.edu/apahelp) for examples of how to cite.
    by Tessa Betts on Nov 20, 2014.

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