How To Quote Song Lyrics

Using song lyrics in writing can add emotion and depth to your work. However, it’s important to quote lyrics correctly. Whether you’re writing an article, story, academic paper, or blog post, knowing how to quote song lyrics the right way is a must.

How To Quote Song Lyrics Correctly

First, you must give proper credit when using song lyrics in your writing. Always state the song title and the artist’s name. You can mention the album as well, but that’s not strictly necessary.


  • In the song “Landslide,” Stevie Nicks details the changes and hardships she faced in love and as she grew as a person and musician.

When it comes to how to quote a song lyric itself, the answer depends on what you’re quoting.

Very Short In-Line Quotes

For very short quotes (a few words or a single line from the song), approach them just like you would any in-line quoted text.


  • The lyrics “we don’t need no education” in Pink Floyd’s popular song “Another Brick in the Wall” reflect a strong anti-establishment message.

Short Quotes Up to Three Lines

For short lyrics up to three lines long, use quotation marks and slashes (/) to indicate line breaks.


  • “And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking / Racing around to come up behind you again”

Long Quotes

For longer quotes with more than three lines of lyrics, use a block quote format. Indent the entire quote, but do not use quotation marks unless they are part of the lyrics.


The following lines from Pink Floyd’s song “Time” reflect the relentless passage of time and how inevitable aging is:

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Use Original Punctuation in Song Lyrics

Always keep the original punctuation of quoted lyrics whenever possible. This could include the commas, periods, exclamation marks, and question marks used in the lyrics.


  • In the song “Chasing Pavements,” Adele asks, “Should I give up?/Or should I just keep chasing pavements?”

If the punctuation doesn’t fit well in your sentence, make adjustments to the surrounding sentence’s structure and indicate changes with brackets or ellipses if needed. 


  • Freddie Mercury asks, “Is this the real life [or] is this just fantasy?” in Queen’s hit song, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Properly Quoting Lyrics Strikes the Right Chord

Putting song lyrics in your writing can be a powerful way to connect with your audience. By following established grammar rules when it comes to how to quote song lyrics, you can make your words sing. For more information on formatting quotes and punctuating your writing, check out our Grammar Help resources.

Cara Secrist
Latest posts by Cara Secrist (see all)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.