What is MLA? M odern L anguage A ssociation Adapted from MLA.org
Using MLA style MLA (Modern Languages Association) dictates documentation style for literature and the arts. Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Why Use MLA Format? Allows readers to cross-reference your sources easily Provides consistent format within a discipline Gives you credibility as a writer Protects you from plagiarism Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Three Areas of MLA Style Document Format Ensures that all student papers “look” the same. Works Cited Page List of references Last page (separate) of your paper Parenthetical Citations Acknowledges your source in the text, with the relevant information or quote. Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools Citing Sources
Document Format: General Guidelines Type on white 8.5” x 11” paper.
Document Format: General Guidelines Double-space everything.
Document Format: General Guidelines Use 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
Document Format: General Guidelines Leave only one space after punctuation.
Document Format: General Guidelines Set all margins to 1” on all sides.
Document Format: General Guidelines Indent the first line of paragraphs. Press to indent a paragraph.
When Should I Cite? Many students plagiarize unintentionally. Remember, whenever you summarize, paraphrase or quote another author's material you must properly credit your source. If you are using another person’s idea, you must also cite your source! My mother always said, “Make your bed” (Mom 12). When in doubt, give credit to your source!
Summary, Paraphrase, Quote A summary (aka ‘abstract’) briefly captures the main ideas of your source. A paraphrase is a restatement of the text of your source in your own words. Quotations can be direct (using quotation marks) or indirect (no quotation marks and often introduced by ‘that’). A noted scientist states, “A hundred years ago, the average temperature of the earth was about 13.7°C (56.5°F); today, it is closer to 14.4°C (57.9°F)” (Silver 11). A noted scientist observes that the earth’s current average temperature is 57.9°F compared to 56.5°F a hundred years ago (Silver 11). In any of these cases, you must credit your source…
How Do I Cite? There are two parts to citing according to MLA style: 1. Brief in-text citations (in parentheses) within the body of your essay or paper 2. List of full citations in the Works Cited page at the end of your paper Note: References cited in the text must appear in the Works Cited. Conversely, each entry in the Works Cited must be cited in the text.
Works Cited Page A complete list of every source that you make reference to in your essay. Provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any sources cited in your essay. Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
A Sample Works Cited Page Example from the OWL Purdue University
Creating Individual Entries Most citations should contain the following basic information: Author’s name Title of work Publication information Publishing house Country & city Date of publication Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Works Cited: Book Basic Format: City of Publication Last name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication. Example: London Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. London: Penguin Classics, 2000. Print. Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Works Cited: Magazine Article Basic Format: Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Day Month Year: pages. Medium of publication. Example: Poniewozik, James. "TV Makes a Too-Close Call." Time 20 Nov. 2000: 70-71. Print. Poniewozik, James. "TV Makes a Too-Close Call." TIME. TIME Magazine, 20 Nov. 2000. Web. 16 Sept. 2014. Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Works Cited: Some Examples Web page Poland, Dave. “The Hot Button.” Roughcut. 26 Oct. 1998. Turner Network Television. 28 Oct. 1998. Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Works Cited List A newspaper article Tommasini, Anthony. “Master Teachers Whose Artistry Glows in Private.” New York Times 27 Oct. 1998: B2. A source with no known author “Cigarette Sales Fall 30% as California Tax Rises.” New York Times 14 Sept. 1999: A17. Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Use Parenthetical Citations… When quoting any words that are not your own Quoting means to repeat another source word for word, using quotation marks Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools A parenthetical citation is a reference to your source that appears in your text, as opposed to your works cited page (Author 42). Double-check your parenthetical citations: 1.All citations should be consistent within the text. 2.All citations should match the corresponding entry on the works cited page.
Use Parenthetical Citations… When summarizing facts and ideas from a source Summarizing means to take ideas from a large passage of another source and condense them, using your own words When paraphrasing a source Paraphrasing means to use the ideas from another source but change the phrasing into your own words Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Keys to Parenthetical Citations Keep references brief Give only information needed to identify the source on your Works Cited page Do not repeat unnecessary information Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Handling Quotes in Your Text Author’s last name and page number(s) of quote must appear in the text… Romantic poetry is characterized by the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Wordsworth 263). Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (263). Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Handling Parenthetical Citations If the source has no known author, then use an abbreviated version of the title: Full Title: “California Cigarette Tax Deters Smokers” Citation: (“California” A14) If the source is only one page in length or is a web page with no apparent pagination: Source: Dave Poland’s “Hot Button” web column Citation: (Poland) Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools
Handling Long Quotations Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools David becomes identified and defined by James Steerforth, a young man with whom David is acquainted from his days at Salem House. Before meeting Steerforth, David accepts Steerforth’s name as an authoritative power: There was an old door in this playground, on which the boys had a custom of carving their names.... In my dread of the end of the vacation and their coming back, I could not read a boy’s name, without inquiring in what tone and with what emphasis he would read, “Take care of him. He bites.” There was one boy—a certain J. Steerforth—who cut his name very deep and very often, who I conceived, would read it in a rather strong voice, and afterwards pull my hair. (Dickens 68) For Steerforth, naming becomes an act of possession, as well as exploitation. Steerforth names David for his fresh look and innocence, but also uses the name Daisy to exploit David's romantic tendencies (Dyson 122).
Other Useful Resources The MLA Handbook Purdue OWL: MLA Formatting and Style Guide https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ Humanities Teachers Adapted from the OWL Purdue University online tools