Quotations and Dialogue
Q. Would Chicago weigh in on whether a comma can be used to introduce a block quotation? The second example in CMOS 13.23 suggests that this is acceptable when the quotation continues from the paragraph that introduces it. But what about situations like the following?
According to commentator Jean Smith,
Life for many in the province has been increasingly difficult for nearly a decade . . .
This question has been debated in the forums for years, so we would all love to have some light shed on the subject!
A. A block quotation makes it easier for readers to distinguish the words of a longer quotation from the surrounding text. It can also be used for shorter quotations that require special emphasis.
But aside from that, a block quotation is no different from a quotation that’s been run in to the surrounding text and identified with the help of quotation marks, like this:
According to commentator Jean Smith, “Life for many in the province has been increasingly difficult for nearly a decade . . .”
If the quotation would normally be introduced with a comma, use a comma when it’s presented as a block. The comma in your example is perfect, as is the capital L in “Life.”