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ENC 0017/0027 (Bentham): MLA

What is MLA?

The MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is a set of rules for formatting a paper. It includes spacing, headers, page numbering, and how citations should look.

These rules are published in the MLA Handbook. The current edition is the 8th edition.

English and Humanities classes commonly use this style for papers. Be aware that there are other styles, such as APA, Turabian, and Chicago. These styles are alternate rules for formatting a paper.

Sample Paper

Formatting in Microsoft Word

Why Cite?

Citation is used for several reasons:

  1. To give credit to your sources.
  2. To differentiate your work from others'.
  3. To increase your credibility.
  4. To help your reader find your sources.

And of course, to avoid plagiarism!

Two Parts

Full Citations - the complete information about your sources, listed on your works cited page at the end of your paper.

In-Text Citations - brief references to your sources included in the body of your paper. These refer your reader to the correct entry on your works cited page.

Citation Guides

See Library MLA Guide for electronic sources  for database and web site examples.

See Library MLA Guide for print sources for books, DVDs, print newspapers and magazines.

In-Text Citation

In text citations are the brief citations made in the body of your text that point the reader to your full citations on your list of works cited. They can be added at the end of material requiring a citation or incorporated into a sentence.

Example 1: (At the end)

For example, I might include a quotation from a source in my paper. "Skeptical readers may doubt the basis for your work or your conclusions. Others may simply want to double-check them or do more research on the topic. Your citations should point the way" (Lipson 4).

In the above example (Lipson 4) is the in-text citation.

Example 2: (Incorporated into the sentence)

It would also be correct to use the author's name in the sentence. According to Lipson, "Skeptical readers may doubt the basis for your work or your conclusions. Others may simply want to double-check them or do more research on the topic. Your citations should point the way" (4).

In either case your reader should be able to identify the correct citation on your works cited page from the information given in the in-text citation.

The full citation on the works cited page would be:

Lipson, Charles. Cite Right: a Quick Guide to

       Citation Styles -- MLA, APA, Chicago, the

       Sciences, Professions, and More.

2nd ed. U of Chicago P, 2011.

When to Use In-Text Citation

In-text citation is not needed for

Everything else requires an in-text citation. Use in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase.

When in doubt, CITE!