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MLA Style

 
     
     
 

1. Introduction
2. In-text citations
3. List of works cited
5. Footnotes and Endnotes
4. Additional information

Introduction

Why Should I Reference?

References are used to record or document the source of each piece of information in your paper obtained from other researchers and writers. If you fail to document information that is not your own, you have committed plagiarism, a form of stealing.


What Should I Reference?

You must reference all direct quotations; paraphrases of material; and summaries of opinions, ideas and interpretations obtained from other sources. If you fail to reference your information, you will be criticized for making statements that appear to be unsupported by evidence. It is not necessary to document information that is common knowledge (i.e., found in more than fi ve sources), but remember that it is always better to overdocument than to underdocument.

You may be concerned that, if you reference too much, your instructors will think the paper is not your own work. Th at is not so. Th e method of organization is yours, as well as the purpose which ties the material together, the topic sentences, concluding sentences, analytical and evaluative comments which allow the reader to make sense out of the reference material, and probably most of the introductory and concluding paragraphs.


What Style Should I Use?

Always ask the professor which documentation style is required for the assignment. Styles can vary greatly between journals even within one fi eld. If no specifics are given, this Fastfacts can serve as a guide to one of the standard formats, the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (known as MLA style), established by the Modern Language Association for referencing in the arts. MLA style is used in most arts and humanities research, including English Literature, History, Philosophy and Languages.


How Do I Reference?

The MLA style uses parenthetical documentation for citations within the text. In this method, you will need an in-text citation (also called a parenthetical reference) in the text as close as possible to the information (e.g., title, word, or phrase) that is being referenced, as well as an entry in the Works Cited list. Footnotes or endnotes are used only for content that supplements or elaborates on important information in the text.


Footnotes

A common variation to standard MLA style uses footnotes or endnotes for in-text citations. This style may or may not require a separate list of works cited. See "Footnotes and Endnotes" for guidelines on using this format.

This handout provides examples of the MLA format for parenthetical citations within the text (see page "In-Text Citations") as well as for your references (see "List of Works Cited"). The last section provides general guidelines on using notes for referencing in MLA style (see "Footnotes and Endnotes").


Aditional Resources

This Fastfacts is based on the MLA Handbook, 6th edition. If you can't find what you're looking for here, the official MLA sources have more complete information.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2003.

Modern Language Association. What is MLA Style? http://www.mla.org/style


In-Text Citations

In-text citations (also called parenthetical references) include the author's last name and the location where the information appears. Parenthetical references should be placed where a pause in the sentence would naturally occur but as close as possible to the relevant idea or quotation.

The following examples show how to punctuate around quotations and citations. Note that if you provide the author's name in the sentence, you don't have to include it in the parentheses.

  • When using a direct quote within your sentence, use quotation marks around the words of the quotation, but place commas and periods after the citation - not within the quotation - regardless of whether there is a comma or period at the end of the original material:

    Miranda justifies her actions as "fair play" (Shakespeare, The Tempest 5.1.175).

    In the days when doctors "stressed air as the communicator of disease" (Tuchman 102), they were unaware of other factors.

    In exposing the myth of freedom of the press, Rivers notes that "[p]residential control reached its zenith under Andrew Jackson" (7).


  • Question or exclamation marks that appear in the original source, however, stay within the quotation marks:

    The more appropriate question is, "have we gone too far to reverse the environmental damage caused by reckless deforestation?" (Jones 187)

    Lear protests "O, reason not the need!" (2.4.258) when Regan insists on eliminating her father's retinue.


  • If the quotation is long enough to be set as a separate block, eliminate the quotation marks, and always put the final punctuation before the citation:

    It is important to keep in mind, however, that these two "arguments"...are really two faces of a single argument, an argument defining democracy, in part, as that form of government which recognizes the necessity of certain luxuries. (Bogel 172)


MLA style always uses "double quotation marks" for the title of an article, chapter, or short poem. The MLA Handbook specifies underlining for the titles of periodicals, books, or plays, but does accept italics as an alternative. This handout uses italics rather than underlining, but you should always respect your instructor's format preferences.


The following list explains what information needs to be included for various situations in a parenthetical citation. These formats apply to both electronic and print sources.

ONE OR TWO AUTHORS

... when the narrator claims that "[w]e live, as we dream - alone" (Conrad 82), he affirms the impossibility of understanding...
... in our nuclear age (Science for Peace 83).
... the situation could be contained "because the transfer was replicated within Canada's borders" (Toner and Doern 471).


THREE OR MORE AUTHORS

Either list all authors, or list only the first author followed by et al., but make sure the entry in the Works Cited matches the format in your parenthetical reference.

... as defined in the Dictionary of Old English E (diPaolo Healey, Holland, D. McDougall, I. McDougall, Speirs, and Thompson 38-40)
... as defined in the Dictionary of Old English E (diPaolo Healey et al. 38-40).


ANONYMOUS AUTHOR / NO AUTHOR

Use the title of the work in place of the author.

... (Beowulf 42).


MULTIPLE SOURCES BY THE SAME AUTHOR

Add a short form of the title to distinguish between works.

... (Frye, Anatomy 71).
... (Berton, Spike 18).
... (Shelley, "Ozymandias" 6).


DIFFERENT AUTHORS, SAME LAST NAME

Add a first name or initial to differentiate them.

... (N. Frye 47).
... (C. Frye 110).


ONLY ONE WORK BEING CITED

When all citations will be to the same work, as in a close reading, for example, omit the author's name and give only the page or act/scene/line references.


ACT/SCENE/LINE REFERENCES

Use division (act, scene, canto, book) and line numbers instead of page numbers when citing classic verse plays or poems. Unless your instructor specifies otherwise, use arabic numerals for these references.

... Sebastian calls the ending "A most high miracle!" (5.1.177).
... "Now to the shores we bend, a mournful train," Odysseus urges his men (11.1).
... "That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,/Looking as if she were alive" (1-2).


NO PAGE NUMBERS

When there are no page numbers, as in an electronic source, for example, describe the location of a reference using section titles and/or paragraph numbers.

Hypertext, as one theorist puts it, is "all about connection, linkage, and affiliation" (Moulthrop par. 19)


A MULTIVOLUME WORK

If you are citing specific pages in more than one of the volumes of a multivolume work, specify the volume before the page number.

... Hughes's work is written in "the rhythms, inflections, and slang of African-American speech" (Scrimgeour 2: 237).


A SECONDARY SOURCE

Limit your use of this method by obtaining the original source (e.g., Johnson) whenever possible.

... Johnson considered Burke an "extraordinary man" (qtd. in Boswell 2: 450).


COURSE AND LECTURE MATERIALS

Course readers: Treat these as works published in an anthology, citing the instructor as editor (unless another editor is indicated). Use the page numbers of the reader, not the page numbers of the original source, even if they are reproduced in the reader.

Course manuals: Treat these as books with the instructor as author (unless another author is indicated).

Lecture notes: Treat these as books with the instructor as author if they are published. Course or lecture notes may be considered "published" if they have been copied and distributed in print or on the web with the instructor's permission. If they are unpublished, cite them using the instructor's name and the date of the lecture.

... (Brown 22 Jan. 2004).



List of Works Cited

The "List of Works Cited" comes at the end of your paper and provides the full bibliographic information for materials you have cited within your paper. If you want to include references for material you used but didn't cite, they would appear in a "List of Works Consulted."

All bibliographic references should be listed in alphabetical order by author's last name and formatted using a hanging indent. The first example shows the order of all elements relevant in a print book entry.

ORDER OF ELEMENTS FOR A BOOK REFERENCE

A Works Cited entry for a print book might have any of these elements, in the order shown.

Author(s). "Title of Part." Title of book. Ed(s)./Trans./Comp(s). Edition. Volume(s). Series Name. Place of publication: Publisher, Date. Pages.


BASIC BOOK REFERENCE

Last, First. Title of Work. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date.

Pennee, Donna Palmateer. Moral metafiction: counterdiscourse in the novels of Timothy Findley. Toronto: ECW Press, 1991.


MORE THAN ONE AUTHOR

List the 1st author in "Last Name, First Name" order, but all other authors' names as "First Name Last Name" in the order they are given on the book's title page. Separate authors' names with commas and add "and" before the last author's name. If there are more than three authors, you can choose to list only the first author, followed by et al., as long as your Works Cited list matches the in-text citation.

Fischlin, Daniel, and Martha Nandorfy. Eduardo Galeano: Through the Looking Glass. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 2002.

diPaolo Healey, Antonette, Joan Holland, David McDougall, Ian McDougall, Nancy Speirs, and Pauline Thompson. Dictionary of Old English E. 6th ed. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1996.

diPaolo Healey, Antonette, et al. Dictionary of Old English E. 6th ed. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1996.


ANONYMOUS AUTHOR / NO AUTHOR

Start with the title, ignoring articles (A, An, The) for alphabetizing. Your in-text citation would use a short version of the title.

Beowulf. Trans. E. Talbot Donaldson. Ed. Nicholas Howe. New York: Norton, 2001.


AN EDITION

For classics or works that appear in multiple editions, include the edition number and/or editor's name after the title of the work.

Last, First. Title of Work. Edition Information. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date.

Rae, Douglas W. The political consequences of electoral laws. Rev. ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1971

Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. Ed. Claudia Johnson. New York: Norton, 2001.


A TRANSLATION

If you're primarily referencing the work itself, start with the original author's name.

Author Last, First. Translated Title. Trans. Name of Translator(s). Place of Publication: Publisher, Date.

Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. Beyond Good and Evil. Trans. Marianne Cowan. Chicago: H. Regnery Co., 1955.

if you're analyzing the comments and choices made by the translator, start with the translator's name.

Translator Last, First, trans. Translated Title. By Name of Author(s). Place of Publication: Publisher, Date.

Cowan, Marianne, trans. Beyond Good and Evil. By Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Chicago: H. Regnery Co., 1955.


PART OF AN ANTHOLOGY

If the part is a short poem or story, put it in "quotation marks."

Last, First. "Title of Part." Title of anthology. Editor. Edition/Volume. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date. Pages of the part.

Joyce, James. "From Ulysses." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M. H. Abrams. 4th ed. Vol. 2. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996. 2374-2413.

If the part is a longer poem or play and/or has been published independently (not in an anthology), format it like a book title.

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. Black Theater: A Twentieth-Century Collection of the Work of Its Best Playwrights. Ed. Lindsay Patterson. New York: Dodd, 1971. 221-76.


A REFERENCE BOOK

If the article is signed, start with the author's name; otherwise, start with the entry title. When you are citing familiar reference books, you only need to provide the edition and year of publication.

Ehrlich, Blake, and Eugene Vanderpool. "Athens." The New Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropedia. 15th ed. 1995.

"Noon." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.

When the reference book is less familiar, provide the full publication information.

Hintzen, Percy C. "Dessalines, Jean-Jacques." Biographical Dictionary of Latin American and Caribbean Political Leaders. Ed. Robert J. Alexander. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1988.


A MULTIVOLUME WORK

If you are citing from only one volume, provide only the publication information for that volume.

Scrimgeour, J. D. "Langston Hughes." The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. Ed. Jay Parini. Vol. 2. New York: Oxford UP, 2004.

If you cite from multiple volumes, provide the total number of volumes just before the publication information. Make sure your in-text citation specifies the correct volume (see under "In-text Citations").

Nairn, Bede, Geoffrey Serle, and Russel Ward, eds. Australian Dictionary of Biography. 13 vols. Melbourne: Melbourne UP, 1972.


AN ARTICLE IN A PERIODICAL

Last, First. "Article Title." Journal Title Volume.Issue (Date): page-page.

Pesciarelli, Enzo. "Aspects of the Influence of Francis Hutcheson on Adam Smith." History of Political Economy 31.3 (1999): 525-45.


A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE

If the article threads through several non-continuous pages, you can use a "+" instead of listing all the pages.

Last, First. "Article Title." Newspaper Title Date, Edition information: Page.

Coyle, Jim. "50 Years Underground: 12 stops. 16 minutes. All of humanity." Toronto Star 27 Mar. 2004: A23. Hennenberger, Melinda.

"The Leonardo Cover-Up." New York Times 21 Apr. 2002, late ed., sec. 6:42+.


A REVIEW

Begin with information about the review article, followed by "Rev. of" and information about the source being reviewed.

Last, First. "Title of Review." Rev. of Title of Original Work, by Author Name. Title of Review Periodical Publication Information.

Updike, John. "No Brakes." Rev. of Sinclair Lewis: Rebel from Main Street, by Richard Lingeman. New Yorker 4 Feb. 2002: 77-80.

If the review is of a performance or production, include the production information before the publication information.

Conlogue, Ray. "No words minced in revised Hedda." Rev. of Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, dir. by Judith Thompson. Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. The Globe and Mail , 10 Aug. 1991: C10.


A PAINTING, SCULPTURE, OR PHOTOGRAPH

To reference a print reproduction of a work, use the following format. Items in [square brackets] are optional.

Last, First. Title of Work. [Year of Original]. Location of Original. Title of Book. By Author. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date. Page or location description.

Cassatt, Mary. Mother and Child. 1890. Wichita Art Museum. American Painting: 1560-1913. By John Pearce. New York: McGraw, 1964. Slide 22.

If you view the reproduction online, add the access date and URL.

Evans, Walker. Penny Picture Display. 1936. Museum of Mod. Art, New York. 30 May 2002 <http://www.moma.org/collection/photography/pages/evans.penny.html>.


A FILM OR VIDEO RECORDING

In a general discussion of a film:

Title of Film. Dir. Name of Director. Distributor, Year of Release.

Bubba Ho-Tep. Dir. Don Coscarelli. Silver Sphere Corp., 2003.

To include additional pertinent information, insert it between the title and distributor.

Like Water for Chocolate [Como agua par chocolate]. Screenplay by Laura Esquivel. Dir. Alfonso Arau. Perf. Lumi Cavazos, Marco Lombardi, and Regina Torne. Miramax, 1993.

Possession. Adapted by Laura Jones and Neil LaBute. By A. S. Byatt. Dir. Neil LaBute. Perf. Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Ehle, and Jeremy Northam. Focus/Warner Bros. 2002.

When you're focussing on the contribution of a particular person, start with that person's name.

Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer, adapt. A Room with a View. By E. M. Forster. Dir. James Ivory. Prod. Ismail Merchant. Perf. Maggie Smith, Denholm Eliot, Helena Bonham Carter, and Daniel Day-Lewis. Cinecom Intl. Films, 1985.

Cite a video or DVD release like the original film, but add the original release date and medium before the name of the distributor.

Possession. Adapted by Laura Jones and Neil LaBute. By A. S. Byatt. Dir. Neil LaBute. Perf. Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Ehle, and Jeremy Northam. 2002. DVD. Universal Studios, 2003.


COURSE AND LECTURE MATERIALS

Course readers: Treat articles in a course reader as reprints in a collection compiled by the instructor (unless another compiler is indicated).

Author. "Title of part." Title of original book/periodical. Original Publication information. Rpt. in Title of Course Reader. Comp. Instructor's Name. Publication Information of Reader. Pages in Reader.

Boyd, C. G. "Making Peace with the Guilty: The Truth About Bosnia." Foreign Affairs 74.5 (1995): 22-38. Rpt. in POLS*4920 selected Topics in International Relations Course Reader. Comp. I. Spears. Guelph: University of Guelph Bookstore, 2004. 255-64.

Course manuals: Treat these as books or nonperiodicals, with the instructor as author (unless another author is indicated).

Stengos, T. ECON*4640 Applied Econometrics Course Manual. Guelph, ON: University of Guelph, 2003.

Lecture notes: Treat these as books or nonperiodicals if they are published. Lecture notes are considered published if they have been copied and distributed in print or on the web with the instructor's permission.

Stengos, T. ECON*4640 Applied Econometrics Course Notes. Guelph, ON: University of Guelph, 28 Mar. 2003.

Stengos, T. ECON*4640 Applied Econometrics course notes. Guelph, ON: University of Guelph, 23 Nov. 2003 <http://www.uoguelph.ca/econometrics.htm>.

If they are unpublished, cite the lecturer, course information and date of the lecture.

Stengos, T. Lecture Notes. ECON*4640 Applied Econometrics. University of Guelph. 23 Nov. 2003.


AN ARTICLE IN AN ONLINE PERIODICAL

Use this template for a basic format guide.

Last, First. "Title of Document." Information about Print Version. Information about Electronic Version. Date Accessed <access location>.

Butler, Darrell L., and Martin Sellbom. "Barriers to Adopting Technology for Teaching and Learning." Educause Quarterly 24.2 (2002): 22-28. Educause. 3 Aug. 2002 <http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0223.pdf>.

If the actual URL is too complex to include, use the address for the site's search engine.

Tolson, Nancy. "Making Books Available: The Role of Early Libraries, Librarians, and Booksellers in the Promotion of African American Children's Literature." African American Review 32 (1998): 9-16. JSTOR. 1 Oct. 2002 <http://www.jstor.org/search>.


ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS

For e-mail messages:

Author of Message. "Subject Line." E-mail to Recipient's Name. Date Sent.

Stevens J. "Methods of electronic referencing." Email to John Smith. 28 Mar. 2003.

For discussion lists:

Author of Message. "Title of Document on Subject Line." Online posting. Date of posting. Name of Forum. Date of Access <online site address>.

Merrian, Joanne. "Spinoff: Monsterpiece Theatre." Online posting. 30 Apr. 1994. Shaksper: The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conf.23 Sept. 2002 <http://www.shaksper.net/archives/1994/0380.html>.



Footnotes and Endnotes

Although official MLA style no longer recommends using footnotes or endnotes for citations and referencing, many professors and students are so used to them that they prefer to do so. Always check with your instructor for the preferred method of citation and referencing.

The only difference between footnotes and endnotes is their placement: footnotes appear at the bottom of the page where the citation occurs, while endnotes appear at the end of your paper. Notes contain the full bibliographic information for your materials; always ask your instructor if you need to include a separate bibliography as well. if you do, follow the formats described under "List of Works Cited" above.

To use footnotes or endnotes, insert a superscripted number at the place in the text where MLA would normally insert a parenthetical reference. Repeat that superscripted number as the first element in the note reference. Notes have an indented fi rst line, don't invert the author's name, and use commas in most of the places that a works cited reference would use a period. Use the following general formats as guidelines for creating note references.

THE IN-TEXT CITATION

... when the narrator claims that "[w]e live, as we dream - alone,"1 he affirms the impossibility of understanding...


ORDER OF ELEMENTS FOR A BOOK REFERENCE

The first time you cite a particular work, provide all relevant information in the following format.

NumberFirst Last, "Title of Part," Title of book, ed(s)./ trans./comp(s), edition, volume(s), series name (Place of publication: Publisher, Date) pages.

1Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Youth: A Narrative and Two Other Stories, (London and Edinburgh: John Grant, 1925) 82.

For a work reprinted in a collection (e.g., a course reader):

NumberFirst Last, "Title of Part," Title of book, ed(s)./trans./comp(s) (original publication date; Place of publication: Publisher, Date) pages.

4C. G. Boyd, "Making Peace with the Guilty: The Truth About Bosnia," POLS*4920 selected Topics in International Relations Course Reader, comp. I. Spears (1995; Guelph: University of Guelph Bookstore, 2004) 260.

Subsequent references to the same work can be shortened, normally to the author's last name and the relevant page number.

2Conrad 93.

If you cite more than one work by the same author, add a short form of the title, or enough information to distinguish between the works.

3Conrad, Heart 145.
4Conrad, Youth 3.

Note: MLA no longer recommends the use of ibid. and op. cit. for subsequent citations of works. Use these scholarly abbreviations only if your instructor requires you to.


ORDER OF ELEMENTS FOR A PRINT PERIODICAL REFERENCE

For the first reference to a scholarly journal:

NumberFirst Last, "Article Title," Journal Title Volume.Issue (Date): page

6Enzo Pesciarelli, "Aspects of the Influence of Francis Hutcheson on Adam Smith," History of Political Economy 31.3 (1999): 537 .

For the first reference to a newspaper article:

NumberFirst Last, "Article Title," Newspaper Title date, edition information: page.

7Melinda Hennenberger, "The Leonardo Cover-Up," New York Times 21 Apr. 2002, late ed.,sec. 6:42.

For subsequent references to the same periodical articles, abbreviate according to the guidelines provided above.


ORDER OF ELEMENTS FOR AN ONLINE PERIODICAL REFERENCE

For the first reference to an online journal:

NumberFirst Last, "Article Title," print publication information, electronic publication information, date accessed <access location>.

1Darrell L. Butler, and Martin Sellbom, "Barriers to Adopting Technology for Teaching and Learning," Educause Quarterly 24.2 (2002): 22-28, Educause, 3 Aug. 2002 <http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0223.pdf>.

For subsequent references to the same periodical articles, abbreviate according to the guidelines provided above.

For more detailed information on using bibliographic footnotes or endnotes in MLA style, try these resources:

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: The Modern language Association of America, 2003.

Lee, I. "Chapter 7: How to Write Footnotes and Endnotes in MLA Style." A Research Guide for Students. < http://www.aresearchguide.com/7footnot.html>.


SOME GUIDELINES FOR REFERENCING ELECTRONIC SOURCES

Remember to acknowledge electronic sources and to evaluate them critically since much of the material on the internet is inappropriate for use in an academic paper.

  • Is this reference current?

  • Has the work been critically evaluated and if so, by whom?

  • Who is the publisher or sponsoring organization? Does the work cite sources? For information about how to evaluate a Web site, look at www.lib.uoguelph.ca and follow the link to Library Education.


 

 
 

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