MLA DocumentationIn-text citations, citing sources appropriately, corresponding to the Works Cited
When to Cite Sources in the Paper Whenever you quote from a source. When borrowing ideas from a source, even when you use your own words by paraphrasing or summarizing. When you borrow factual information from a source that is not common knowledge.
The Common Knowledge Exception Facts that are widely known and about which there is no controversy. IE: Major dates in history, famous people and their accomplishments (Neil Armstrong/moon), the Superbowl occurs toward the end of January. When in doubt, cite the source.
The Basics of In-text CitationsAs close as possible to the borrowed material,indicate in parentheses the original source and thepage number in the work that material came from.Period comes after the parenthesis.No comma between author and page.Quotation marks (when directly quoting) arebefore the parenthetical citation.
ExampleFrom the very beginning of Sesame Streetin 1969, kindergarten teachers discoveredthat incoming students who had watchedthe program already knew their ABCs(Chira 13).
Example Explicated The parenthetical tells readers two things:The info about Sesame Street came from somewhere other than the writer…in this case Chira.The ideas came from page 13 in Chira’s work The full bibliographic information appears on the Works Cited page at the end of the essayChira, Susan. “Sesame Street At 20: Taking Stock.” New York Times 15 Nov. 1989: 13. Print.
Example“One thing is clear,” writes ThomasMallon, “plagiarism didn’t become atruly sore point with writers until theythought of writing as their trade […]Suddenly his capital and identity wereat stake” (3-4).
NoticesAuthor’s last name omitted in parenthesis becauseit appeared in the narrative.Ellipsis […] used when parts of the originalquotation are left out.
When there is No AuthorSome sources are anonymousCite the first word/words that appear on theWorks Cited…typically the article titleTruncate the title if it is long to the first few keywordsInclude page number
Example of No Author Example: Simply put, public relations is “doing good and getting credit” for it (“Getting Yours” 3). The Works Cited entry is as follows:“Getting Yours: A Publicity and Funding Primer for Nonprofit Organizations.” People 32.1 (2002): 3-12.
When there are multiple works by the same author Parenthetical citation that lists only author and page number is not enough to distinguish. Include author’s name, abbreviated title, and page number.
Example of Multiple Works by Same Author The thing that distinguishes the amateur from the experienced writer is focus; one “rides off in all directions at once,” and the other finds one meaning around which everything revolves (Murray, Write to Learn 92). Notice: a comma between name and title, but no comma between title and page
General Guidelines for Documenting Sources Lead-ins Multiple Authors No Page Numbers
Lead-ins (better known as author tags) The first time a source is cited, use a narrative lead-in Give the author’s full name and credentials Current title/position, level of expertise, background Boosts ethos Once established, the last name only is sufficient Lead-in can come at the beginning, the middle, or the end.
Multiple AuthorsIf source has more than one author, listthem in the same order that appears onWorks CitedEx: Herman, Brown, and Martelpredict dramatic changes in the earth’sclimate in the next 200 years.
No Page NumbersMany internet sites don’t have page numbers; DONOT NUMBER PAGES YOURSELF.PDF files often have them, but HTML files don’tJust list the author or title in the parenthetical.Will need to take special care when framingsources that don’t have page #s.
Example without Page NumbersIt is now theoretically possible to recreate an identicalcreature from any animal or plant by using the DNAcontained in the nucleus of any somatic cell (Thomas).