I need two types of citations which I have not figured out how to define:

(see highlighted in grey)

1) As Owens stated (2008, p.97), ‘the value of...’

2) Simone de Beauvoir (1972, p.365) examined her own past and wrote rather gloomily:

The past is not a peaceful landscape lying there behind me, a country in which I
can stroll wherever I please, and will gradually show me all its secret hills and
dates. As I was moving forward, so it was crumbling.

I am confused about how to use \begin{quotation} or similar machineries (quote|quotation|verse|etc.) to define quotes/quotations, etc.

I use natbib (this might be irrelevant).

I would normally define a quote as \begin{quote}...\end{quote} but I find the lack of association between the quoted text and the actual bibliographic reference strange.

I don't know how to format a simple, in-text, quotation other than `blah' for single smart quotes and ``blah'' for double smart quotes.

Again, the fact that I am putting a "quote object" inside some flowing text and I am not associating it, even in a hidden way, with the bibliography database sounds strange to me.

I would find this more natural: \shortquote[BibTeX:Reference][singlesmart]{Aha!}, or something to that effect. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • 1
    What does this have to do with natbib or bibliographic citations in general?
    – egreg
    Jul 23, 2012 at 11:48
  • 1
    If it doesn't, please feel free to edit my question. I imagined natbib would have something like \citeliteralquote[fromword][toword]{bibtexreferenceid} to extract the quotation for me or something... it does not matter if my intution is wrong. All I need is a way to do 1) and 2), please Jul 23, 2012 at 11:51
  • You seem to be asking natbib and BibTeX to do something for which they're neither designed nor particularly well suited. (Where would the quotes to be extracted reside, anyway? In some .bib file? If so, which field would one choose?) Just choose whatever quotation method (inline quote or block quote -- the latter via either the quote or the quotation environment) that best suits the circumstances.
    – Mico
    Jul 23, 2012 at 12:03
  • 2
    Are you aware of the csquotes package and its various quoting commands?
    – cgnieder
    Jul 23, 2012 at 12:52
  • 1
    @Robottinosino to learn how to embed links into comments and how to get even more formatting, see here: tex.stackexchange.com/editing-help#comment-formatting
    – matth
    Jul 23, 2012 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


As far as I can tell, your question is really about how to quote material -- either inline, with other text, or as a block quote. The fact that the material to be quoted comes from a specific cited source is peripheral to the issue, I believe.

  • To quote a fairly short string -- whether a single word, a few words, or an entire sentence -- inline, you just surround it by the quotation marks that are appropriate for the language and region you're writing for. For example, in US English it's common to surround inline-quoted material with double back-quotes and double (forward) quotes, as in

      she said, ``Hello.''

    In UK English, it's more common to use single (back and forward) quotes. In other languages, other quotation mark styles prevail.

    • If there's a chance that your document will get translated in several languages, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the csquotes package and its \enquote command: Depending on the language specified as an option when this package is loaded, the language-specific (and, if applicable, region-specific) inline quotation sytle will be set up for you automatically.
  • To typeset longer quoted material, especially if it's longer than a sentence, it's common to use either the quote or quotation environment. The latter is recommended if you're block-quoting more than one paragraph.

    • I should add that the styles of these two environments satisfy US-English typographic conventions but may not be perfect for other typographic systems. Again, the csquotes package can be of service, as it provides the \blockquote command to implement a block-quotation style that's tailored towards your language.
  • 2
    That's right, in Italian we sometimes need << >> where you'd use `blah' or ``blah''. Jul 23, 2012 at 13:07
  • 1
    How could one achieve a look like using <Some Text> in MarkDown (And in this site)? I mean the gray background when using '`' in MD.
    – Royi
    May 28, 2017 at 18:49
  • @Royi - I'm afraid I don't understand your query. Would you mind elaborating on what it is you're trying to achieve? Thanks.
    – Mico
    May 28, 2017 at 18:50
  • 2
    @Royi - I suppose one could load the xcolor package, define a macro such as \newcommand\graybox[1]{\colorbox{lightgray}{\ttfamily #1}}, and write \graybox{<Text In Here>} in the body of the document...
    – Mico
    May 28, 2017 at 19:00
  • 2
    @Mico, You're great! I did this \newcommand{\inlinecode}[1]{\colorbox{lightgray}{\texttt{#1}}} after adding the package xcolor and now it is perfect. Thank You.
    – Royi
    May 28, 2017 at 19:17

Here is an example using the csquotes package. It defines some new powerful commands for quoting, most notably the commands \enquote, \textquote, \blockquote and \foreignquote.

\foreignquote together with babel allows to define foreign quotes. The correct punctuation will automatically be used.

\textquote and \blockquote allow a citation as optional input, but from your example I guess the following is more what you want.


    author = {Owens},
    title   = "Essay about Value",
    year    = "2008",
    journal = "International Journal of Interesting Stuff",
    volume  = "123",
    number  = "2",
    pages   = "205--319"}
    author  = "Beauvoir, Simone de",
    title   = "About the Gloomieness of landscape",
    year    = "1972",
    journal = "International Journal of Alphabetics",
    volume  = "14",
    number  = "3",
    pages   = "34--359"}
\usepackage[round, sort, compress, authoryear]{natbib}
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.
As \citet[][p.97]{owens2008} stated, \enquote{the value of...}.
Some more lorem ipsum.\\
Some more lorem ipsum.
\citet[][p.365]{beauvoir1972} examined her own past and wrote rather gloomily:
\blockquote{The past is not a peaceful landscape lying there behind me, 
a country in which I can stroll wherever I please, 
and will gradually show me all its secret hills and dates. 
As I was moving forward, so it was crumbling. 
Some more text to make it longer than three lines. 
Maybe it is long enough now.}
Some more lorem ipsum.
Also there is an Italian proverb saying 
\foreignquote{italian}{Chi beve bene dorme bene,chi dorme bene sogna bene}. 

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