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Bill Smith

Janna Anderson

Eng. 100 MW 9:00

27 March 2006

                                  How to Cite Sources Using MLA

       First, you should never, ever guess. You have an entire chapter in the textbook devoted

to explaining proper citations (Kennedy, et al 640-654). Plus, there’s a sample paper in chapter

31 (Goers 632-639). But let’s start with the easy stuff. The look of your paper should conform

to MLA formatting guidelines: use 12-point font, double space everything, use the correct

heading information, put your last name and page number in the header in the right-hand corner,

have a title that reflects the content of your paper, and use 1” margins all around. Also, indent

your paragraphs and do not put an extra space between them.

       Remember that in addition to Chapter 32, I have given you several handouts that give

examples of proper MLA in-text and works cited citations. But let me show you what citations

should look like. Let’s say this sentence is paraphrased from a newspaper article that gives the

name of the author (Jackson 23). If you’ve got a print source or a PDF file, always give page

numbers, but never use “pg.” or put a comma between the author and page number. MLA hates

that. Now let’s say this sentence is paraphrased from an article that does not have an author

(“Key Words” 44). Notice the first two words of the article’s title are given in the parentheses.

Never give the name of the magazine or newspaper in the parenthetical citation or the URL. It’s

always author or, if no author is credited, the first few words from the title of the article.

       If you name the author in the text of your paper, you need only a page number in the

parenthetical citation. According to Joe Nobody, this is one correct way to use a signal phrase
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and citation (77). But Sue Somebody writes in her online posting that parenthetical citations

aren’t needed if there is no page number and you’ve given the author’s name in a signal phrase.

In fact, if you’re going to quote an article directly, “try to use a signal phrase or paraphrase most

of the sentence” (Hagan). Also remember that online sources can be sketchy (“Some Stuff”). If

someone was quoted in an article, and you’d like to use that same quotation, acknowledge the

person who said it in the text of your paper, and acknowledge the article’s author in the

parenthetical citation. For instance, Jack Collins said, “I love MLA!” (qtd. in Mayberry 25). If

for some reason you really, really need to quote a very long passage, use block format, like this:

               This passage came directly from the source and is being put into your paper word-

               for-word. You decided to quote rather than paraphrase because the wording was

               so dazzling or moving that the information would lose its power if you changed it.

               Remember to indent block quotations ten spaces, not five, and don’t use quotation

               marks. And for some odd reason, this is the only time MLA wants you to put the

               period BEFORE the parenthetical citation. Don’t ask me why. (Anderson)

Additionally, after you use a source, try to spend some time examining the relevance of the

information. Tie it to your thesis. If you have any questions about proper use of sources, email

me, come to my office, go to the Writing Center, or look in your text book or online.

       The next page of this document will be the works cited page, which is ALWAYS titled

Works Cited after the paper is written. It is always the last page of your paper and should

contain your last name and page number in the right-hand corner. I’ve put examples of

EXACTLY how the most commonly used sources are cited. The information, however, is

mostly fictitious. Alphabetize, use hanging indentation, and do not number the entries. Give

original publication information and secondary information for database and textbook articles.
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                                         Works Cited

Anderson, Janna. “MLA is Fun.” Journal of Fun Stuff 56.4 (2006): 55-60. eLibrary. Proquest

       Information and Learning. Fullerton College Lib. Fullerton, CA. 27 March 2006


Goers, Sarah E. “Is Inclusion the Answer?” In The Bedford Guide for College Writers, 7th ed.

       Eds. X. J. Kennedy, et al. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005. 632-639.

Hagan, Will. “Follow This Format for Website Articles.” 1 Sept. 2005. 27

       March 2006. <>

Jackson, Joyce. “I’m an Article Originally Published in a Magazine and Reprinted in Our

       Textbook.” Time Feb. 2001. Rpt. in The Bedford Guide for College Writers, 7th ed.

       Eds. X. J. Kennedy, et al. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005. 899-902.

Kennedy, X. J., et all. The Bedford Guide for College Writers, 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St.

       Martin’s, 2005.

“Key Words Can Be Interesting.” Editorial. USA Today 3 March 2006: 44.

Mayberry, Laura. “My Article is a Printable PDF File from a Database.” Interesting Newsletter

       4 Sept. 2001: 21-26. MasterFile Premier. Ebsco. Fullerton College Lib. Fullerton, CA

       27 March 2006 <>.

Nobody, Joe. “This is a Specialized Magazine, Not a Professional Journal.” Research Paper

       Hobbiest Nov. 2004: 75-81.

“Some Stuff You Find Online Might Not Be Reliable.” Site With No Authors or Dates. 27

       March 2006. <>

Somebody, Sue. “Are You Sure This One is Reliable?” The Anti-Website May 2005. 27 March

       2006. <>.
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