|📝 English Composition Writing FAQ
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Citing Sources Using MLA Citation Style
Citing sources accurately and consistently is paramount in academic writing. Whether you are working on a research paper, an argumentative essay, or a literature review, you will need to provide proper attribution for any outside sources you use. The Modern Language Association (MLA) is one of the most widely used citation styles, and often the default style in humanities and language courses.
MLA citation style is a popular format for citing sources in academic writing, particularly in the humanities. This style requires in-text citations and a works cited page at the end of the essay. If you are new to MLA citation style, it can seem overwhelming, but with practice and a clear understanding of the guidelines, you can effectively use it to cite your sources in your college essays.
note: Since the rules for MLA style change pretty regularly, this entry only covers the general aspect of the MLA Citation Style. For the most current conventions, it’s best to consult the most current MLA Handbook.
In-text citations in MLA style are brief references within the text of your essay that refer the reader to the corresponding entry on your works cited page. The format for in-text citations varies depending on the type of source being cited. For example, if you are citing a book, you would include the author’s last name and the page number(s) of the quote or information you are citing. For example, if you were citing a quote from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, your in-text citation might look like this: (Lee 42).
If you are citing a source with multiple authors, you should include all of the authors’ last names in your in-text citation, separated by commas, before the page number(s). For example, if you were citing an article with two authors, your in-text citation might look like this: (Smith and Johnson 23).
If you are citing a source with no page numbers, such as a website, you should use a different format for your in-text citation. In this case, you would use the author’s last name and a shortened version of the title in your citation. For example, if you were citing an article from a website, your in-text citation might look like this: (Jones, “Climate Change”).
Once you have included an in-text citation in your essay, you must also include a corresponding entry on your works cited page. The works cited page should be the final page of your essay and should list all of the sources you cited in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. The format for works cited entries also varies depending on the type of source being cited. For example, if you were citing a book, your entry might look like this:
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Grand Central Publishing, 1960.
If you were citing an article from a journal, your entry might look like this:
Smith, John, and Mary Johnson. “The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture.” Journal of Environmental Studies, vol. 5, no. 2, 2018, pp. 21-36.
note: he format for works cited entries varies depending on the type of source being cited. There are many resources available online and in print that can help guide you through the proper formatting for each type of source. Use the current MLA Handbook for a specific guide in employing MLA style in your research essays. The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) has a guide for using MLA style, but your best source is still the MLA Handbook likely available in your university library.
|Written: 2002, 2022; Revised: 04-15-2023; Version: Beta 0.7