Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Cite and Quote

Cite vs Quote

The English words “cite” and “quote” are very similar and are used by people, sometimes, without knowing the differences between them. They cannot be interchanged or confused with each other. “Quoting” is basically repeating something someone has said or written verbatim, and “citing” means giving reference to a particular subject or words or thought by some person who is proficient to prove a point or theory or thought.

The dictionary meanings of “quote” are:

Repeating or copying words of someone else, usually, along with the source of acknowledgement. For example, quoting Shakespeare, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”
To refer to something for proof or illustration.
Repeating an excerpt or brief passage from a book, research paper, or essay, etc.
To state or specify a price for goods, services, or securities.

Quoting someone is basically repeating someone. Quoting involves the exact repetition of the words written or spoken by a person. It could be from a book, speech, essay, or some research paper, etc. Quoting is more like reproducing someone’s words and statements than paraphrasing. The words cannot be changed or manipulated, as the dictionary meaning suggests. They are used for proving something, be it a thought, theory, or a vision. It is used to illustrate and give proof.
In commerce, it has a very different meaning. “Quote,” in commerce stands for “stating or saying a particular price, usually the current price.” For example, a quotation for a contract.

The dictionary meanings of “cite” are:

To quote as an example or authority.
Mentioning in support of something, a proof or illustration. For example, citing examples of exemplary behavior.
To summon someone before a court of law.
In military service, commending officially for meritorious actions. For example, The Major received a citation for his bravery in the war.
It also means to honor someone formally.

Citing refers to using something someone has said or written as a validation or proof of what one is saying. It is not reproducing the same words but the idea behind it, the principal behind it, or the theory behind it. Citing is used for substantiating one’s own thoughts, theories, or words. It is usually done from some passage, phrase, or words taken from some book, some research paper, or any work which has been done by an expert. Citing is made from the work of people who are an authority on their own work. For example, The debater cited many examples to support his side of the argument.

In the Armed Forces, the word “citation” is used for formally honoring a soldier. It is awarded to a soldier for outstanding service.


1.“Quoting” refers to reproducing the words of another person verbatim; “citing” refers to giving an example of some subject for substantiating oneself.
2.Quotations in commerce refer to a particular current price; citations refer to formally honoring military personnel for bravery or outstanding service.

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