MLA Fundamentals MLA Fundamentals The Modern Language Association Mr. Kevin McDonough Writing Papers
Common “MLA” Misconception Following the rules of MLA is easy. Stop crying.
Four Essential Focus Points Constructing the Works Cited Page Documenting Source Material Making Notes and Parenthetical References Research, Writing, and Plagiarism
Constructing the Works Cited Page Fact One: The “Works Cited” page is the only place readers will find complete information about the sources you have cited. Fact Two: For that single reason, your “Works Cited” page must be thorough, accurate, and credible. Quick Example!
Citing Books Author’s last name, first name. Book title. Additional information. City of publication: Publishing company, publication date. Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1951.
Citing Articles in Periodicals Author’s last name, first name. “Article title.” Periodical title Date: inclusive pages. Robinson, Eugene. “Idiots of the Universe.” The New York Times 8 May 2008: B4.
Citing CD-ROMS, Online Databases, and Computer Networks Title (or Author). Publication medium (i.e., CD- ROM, online database, etc.). Name of vendor or service. Electronic date or date of access. Cinemania. CD-ROM. Redmond, Wash.: Microsoft, 1995.
Citing Other Major Sources (1) The Dark Knight. Dir. Christopher Nolan. With Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. Chicago, 2007. Addams, Charles. Non- Smoking Advertisement. The New Yorker 22 June 2008: 59. FilmsAdvertisements
Citing Other Major Sources (2) “Granny Gets Busy.” The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Andy Borowitz, Will Smith. NBC Studios. 10 Sept. 1990. Kennedy, Robert F. “The Final Address.” Ambassador Hotel. Los Angeles, 4 June 1968. Television ProgramsSpeeches or Addresses
Eight General “Works Cited” Guidelines (1) 1. Paginate the works cited section as a continuation of your text. If the paper ends on page 8, begin the list on page 9. 3. Begin the first line of each entry “flush left” (all the way to the margin) and indent any lines following by one-half an inch. 2. Double-space successive lines of an entry and between entries. Nothing extra. It looks like you’re thickening your paper. 4. List entries in alphabetical order according to the last name of the author or—if it lacks an author—the name of the piece.
Eight General “Works Cited” Guidelines (2) 5. Underline the titles of works published independently—books, plays, long poems, periodicals, and films. 7. Use lowercase letters to identify the parts of a work (vol. for volume), a translator (trans.), and an editor (ed.). 6. Place “quotes” around short works that appear in larger works—songs, dissertations, lectures, speeches, and any unpublished work. 8. Separate author, title, and publication information with a period followed by one space. Not two—no matter what you were taught in high school.
Documenting Source Material The basic purpose of parenthetical reference is to document a source with brief accuracy. Three ways to accomplish brevity: 2. Use the author’s last name in your sentence; use only page numbers in parenthesis. 1. Cite the author’s last name and the page numbers of the source in parenthesis. 3. Provide the author’s name when providing the entire work and omit any parenthetical reference.
Documenting Source Material Guideline One: Cite the author’s last name and the page numbers of the source in parenthesis. Works Cited: Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1951. The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, exhibits his violent tendencies during his conversation with Rob Ackley when he says, “this is my people shooting hat” (Salinger 21).
Documenting Source Material Guideline Two: Use the author’s last name in your sentence; use only page numbers in parenthesis. Works Cited: Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1951. J.D. Salinger’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield, exhibits his violent tendencies during his conversation with Rob Ackley when he says, “this is my people shooting hat” (21).
Documenting Source Material Guideline Three: Provide the author’s name when providing the entire work and omit any parenthetical reference. Works Cited: Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1951. On page 21 of The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield, exhibits his violent tendencies during his conversation with Rob Ackley when he says, “this is my people shooting hat.”
Documenting Source Material To avoid clutter, MLA suggests you avoid using punctuation within a parenthetical citation. The character writes, “What was I thinking of? How could I have imagined him so poorly? Not noticed the hurt that was not linked to the color of his skin, or the blood that beat beneath it. But to some other thing that longed for authenticity, for a right to be in this place, effortlessly without needing to acquire a false face, a laughless grin, a talking posture. I have been careless and stupid and it infuriates me to discover (again) how unreliable I am” (Morrison 54). No Comma
Documenting Source Material On some occasions, you’ll need place the parenthetical reference within your sentence to clarify its relationship to the part of the sentence it documents. Morrison suggests that even though college faculties in the nineteenth century “acted as disciplinary tribunals, periodically reviewing violations of rules” (25), the myth persists that they taught in the golden age of American education. Within the Sentence
Documenting Source Material Rule of Thumb: Direct references/quotations four or more lines in length, separate from the standard text. In addition, do not use quotation marks and place parenthetical citation at the end of the passage but after the period. Morrison’s description of the college in the nineteenth century corrects a popular myth about the golden age of American education: The classes themselves, conducted by the system of daily recitations, were said to have “the fearsome atmosphere of a police station. (25) The Exception
Making Notes and Parenthetical References In MLA style, notes (preferably endnotes) are reserved for two specific purposes: 1.To supply additional commentary on the information in the text.To supply additional commentary on the information in the text. 2.To list (and perhaps evaluate) several sources or to refer readers to additional sources.To list (and perhaps evaluate) several sources or to refer readers to additional sources.
To Supply Additional Commentary on the Information in the Text Example Thurber’s reputation continued to grow until the 1950s, when he was forced to give up drawing because of his blindness. 1 Note Thurber’s brother accidentally shot him in the eye with an arrow when they were children. 1 To Signal a Footnote The Footnote – Place at the bottom of the page
To List (and Evaluate) Sources or to Refer Readers to Additional Sources Example The argument that American policy in Vietnam was morally justified has come under attack for many quarters. Note For a useful sampling of opinion, see Draper 32 and Slater 437. 1 1 To Signal a Footnote The Footnote To Direct Readers to the Works Cited Page
Research, Writing, and Plagiarism MLA Style requires you to devote considerable attention to certain steps in your research and composition. 1.Compiling Source CardsCompiling Source Cards 2.Writing Note CardsWriting Note Cards 3.Summarizing and Paraphrasing SourcesSummarizing and Paraphrasing Sources 4.Avoiding PlagiarismAvoiding Plagiarism
Compiling Source Cards Guidelines 1.Once you’ve located sources that you suspect you’ll use, fill out a “source card” for each item. 2.Your collection of cards will help you keep track of your sources throughout the research process. 3.Although your Works Cited page comes at the very end of your paper, the “source card” process must be in place before you begin writing your paper. 4.Don’t make the mistake of doing this backwards.
Taking Notes Guidelines 1.Understand that taking notes demands that you read, analyze, interpret, and evaluate the information that will form the substance of your paper. 2.Students end up inadvertently plagiarizing if this process is done inaccurately.
Summarizing and Paraphrasing Sources Summary: Condenses the content of a lengthy passage; it reformulates the main idea and the support of the main idea. Paraphrase: Restates the content of a short passage; it restructures the passage—recasting the author’s words in your own. Rule of Thumb: Regardless of what method you choose, you must accurately cite (or give credit to) the author in your writing.
Avoiding Plagiarism Plagiarism: Using someone else’s words or ideas without giving proper credit—or without giving credit at all—to the writer of the original. Whether or not the plagiarism is intentional or unintentional, this is considered a serious offense.serious offense Trust the faculty. It’s more than obvious.