Question:

I want to use a quote with an acronym that readers may not know and that I won’t be using again in my paper. Can I still use the quote, or do I have to paraphrase it?

The short answer
Yes, you can still use this quote—or any quote with an acronym, abbreviation, or initialism.

The details
The easiest solution is to use square brackets: Whenever you have text within quoted material that needs to be clarified for the reader, put the explanation into square brackets. This practice is common for defining terms used in the quoted passage, or for adding or changing words within the quote to fit the grammar of the sentence.

You could also paraphrase the part of the quote that includes the acronym. Let’s start with the easiest solution first.

Option 1: Use square brackets to introduce the acronym

Here’s the quote you provided:

“In fact, increased incidence of DKA among children with type 1 diabetes has been observed due to a delay in seeking medical treatment and in providing routine healthcare for newly developed symptoms, as patients are afraid of contracting COVID-19 from healthcare settings” (Katulanda et al., 2020, p. 1444).

Not only do we need to clarify DKA for readers, we also need to block this quote as it is more than 40 words. Here’s how your quote should look with (a) DKA explained in square brackets and (b) the text blocked.

 

In fact, increased incidence of DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis] among children with type 1 diabetes has been observed due to a delay in seeking medical treatment and in providing routine healthcare for newly developed symptoms, as patients are afraid of contracting COVID-19 from healthcare settings. (Katulanda et al., 2020, p. 1444)

Note that the explanation of the acronym immediately follows it. Acronyms are normally introduced in APA Style by writing out the words in full, then putting the acronym in parentheses:

diabetic ketoacidosis (DTA)

In this case, however, the explanation follows the acronym—DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis]—as that is the simplest way to inform readers. You want to change the quote as minimally as possible.

Option 2: Paraphrase to remove the acronym from the quote

Another solution is to paraphrase any troublesome part of a quote, quoting only the remainder. For example:

Katulanda et al. (2020) noted that an increased incidence of diabetic ketoacidosis “among children with type 1 diabetes has been observed due to a delay in seeking medical treatment and in providing routine healthcare for newly developed symptoms, as patients are afraid of contracting COVID-19 from healthcare settings” (p. 1444).

This solution shortens the number of words being quoted to 36, so there’s no longer a need to block it. The quote should be run into the sentence. Don’t forget the quotation marks!

Image: A pencil with the text "pro tip" beside it.

1. Be sure to use square brackets [like this], not parentheses (like this).
2. Note that the punctuation changes when blocking a quote: Remove the quotation marks and place the period at the end of the quote, not after the parenthetical citation.

You may also like…

APA Citations: Authors With the Same Name

I have a question about  APA citations. I know that in APA Style, I should add initials to text citations when different authors have the same last name. What do I do when two different authors also have the same first initial?

Should I capitalize words like Google and internet?

Question: Should I capitalize words like Google and Internet? I see it written different ways depending on the author and publication. What is the hard and fast rule for whether I should capitalize Google and Internet or not?Let me google that for you... (just...

Comma Usage: How to use multiple commas

Question: I'm wondering about comma usage. How do you punctuate a sentence like this to show that the dependent clause applies to both Johnny and Lisa (and not Lisa alone): “Johnny went to the park and Lisa went to the beach because it was nice outside.”Comma usage:...