On meta, I've found the disscussion {quotation} and {quote}, but it doesn't answer my question.

When should I use the environment quote? When quotation?

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    The meta thread is about the tags with this names, used on this site, not the LaTeX environments. Oct 31, 2011 at 12:48
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    @MartinScharrer: I just linked it, because it says there "hey are different, though closely related".
    – lumbric
    Oct 31, 2011 at 12:57

3 Answers 3


The worth reading LaTeX Wiki Book describes the differences as follows:

  • quote for a short quotation, or a series of small quotes, separated by blank lines.
  • quotation for use with longer quotations, of more than one paragraph, because it indents the first line of each paragraph.

And in addition to the above:

  • verse is for quotations where line breaks are important, such as poetry. Once in, new stanzas are created with a blank line, and new lines within a stanza are indicated using the newline command, \\. If a line takes up more than one line on the page, then all subsequent lines are indented until explicitly separated with \\.
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    Thanks a lot! If it's a longer quotation with only one paragraph you would recommend quote, though? (since there would be only the first line indented)
    – lumbric
    Oct 31, 2011 at 12:18
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    Hm, would be a matter of personal taste, I guess. Since the whole quote block is indented anyway I, personally, would most likely use quote.
    – Boffin
    Oct 31, 2011 at 14:02

The technical difference between both environments can be best seen from their definitions (done in the standard class files, e.g. article.cls lines 486-496):

               {\list{}{\listparindent 1.5em%
                        \itemindent    \listparindent
                        \rightmargin   \leftmargin
                        \parsep        \z@ \@plus\p@}%

As you can see, both use a list environment and set the right margin to be equal to the left margin, which produces the indentation on both sites (for a reason I don't fully understand myself).

In addition to that, quotation also sets

  • \listparindent to 1.5em ("extra indentation at beginning of every paragraph of a list except the one started by the \item command."),
  • \itemindent to \listparindent ("extra indentation added right BEFORE an item label.") and
  • \parsep to 0pt plus 1pt (separation between paragraphs).

(Descriptions taken from source2e)

This means that several indentions are done differently, which, AFAIK, seems to be important for longer quotations.

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    Nice answer, it's always enlightening to see how things are defined. Perhaps you could add a sentence or two how and from where you retrieved these definitions, so that users can learn how to find out such things by themselves?
    – doncherry
    Oct 31, 2011 at 14:38

In my opinion, the side-by side existence of quotation and quote is a bad design decision of LaTeX's initial developer Leslie Lamport. I have written the quoting package that provides the environment of the same name, a consolidated environment for displayed text. With quoting, first-line indentation is activated by adding a blank line before the environment.

What's exactly bad about quotation and quote in their present form? Quoting from the quoting documentation:

  • The quotation environment isn't suited for documents which use vertical spacing instead of indentation to denote the start of new paragraphs. If one retroactively adopts such a layout, one should change the definition of \quotation and \endquotation to \quote resp. \endquote.

  • The side-by-side existence of two environments for displayed text narrows the utility of the csquotes package which provides higher-level wrapper environments, e.g. for quoting in a foreign language and specifying the source of citations. Currently, csquotes uses quote as a backend environment, but with LaTeX's default settings, this is not appropriate for multi-paragraph quotes.

Should you want "a series of small quotes" (the alternative, though rather infrequent use of quote), you may string together several instances of the quoting environment (depending on your indentation preferences, with or without blank lines between them).

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    @wchargin AFAIK, competition of standards usually involves financial interests. After viewing the comic, I first upvoted this comment, but soon I realized that it was not good to discourage the effort to polish LaTeX2e and canceled my upvote of this comment. If we take packages fixing pitfalls of LaTeX2e in some scenario as redundant, just like alternative standards, then many packages trying to fix pitfalls of LaTeX2e from LaTeX3 team would be redundant too. Also, built-in document classes do have pitfalls, and such pitfalls leads to the popularity of koma-script and memoir.
    – Eli4ph
    Dec 22, 2020 at 9:03
  • @Eli4ph: I'm a bit confused. What comment? I don't see a comment by me in this thread, but neither have I deleted a comment or used this site at all in the last 12 hours. What did I say? :-)
    – wchargin
    Dec 22, 2020 at 20:21
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    ‘Quoting from the quoting documentation’ – nice.
    – Deniz
    Sep 30, 2022 at 4:57
  • @wchargin I'm almost certain that he's referring to XKCD Comic #927 "Standards", that I guess some other comment that was deleted referenced?
    – awe lotta
    Sep 8, 2023 at 21:18

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