On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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• Hopefully you all are a little familiar with MLA
citation format and remember how to use it from
• MLA stands for Modern Language Association,
and it is the format we most often write in when
we are writing in the disciplines that are part of
• There are other citation formats as well like
Chicago (sometimes used in History) or APA
(American Psychological Association…used in the
• MLA citation is really all about one
thing…giving credit to the original
author of a text or an idea. People’s
intellectual property is legally theirs;
it belongs to them. Therefore, it is
our responsibility as writers to give
credit for ideas that are not our own.
• Also, there are consequences for using others’
ideas without proper citation…or plagiarizing.
Plagiarizing can be many things from copying an
essay from the internet, down to not fully
paraphrasing a sentence from a source. Each
level of plagiarism has different consequences,
but all plagiarism can be avoided with proper
citation. If you are interested in YC’s definition
of plagiarism, check out our syllabus, or the
Student Code of Conduct. The library also has a
couple of videos on plagiarism and citation called
“Diagnosis: Plagiarism” which you will find under
the “Resources for Students” tab on Blackboard.
• When using MLA format, you need to
be sure to cite in two places:
• 1. In-text using parenthetical
• 2. At the end of your paper on a
works cited page.
• In-text citations are like the key to a map while the works
cited page is the map. You want your reader to be able to
easily match the two up. That is why the first thing that
appears in the citation on the works cited page is the thing
goes in the parenthetical citation. More often than not that
thing is the author’s last name. Sometimes it is the title of
the book or article if the author is unknown.
• You also want your reader to be able to find the specific
information in the book that you cited, so we also include
the page number in the parenthetical citation, only if it is
Works Cited page
• The Works Cited page is where the reader
of your paper can find all the information
he or she would need to go and find your
source on the shelves in the library, or on
the World Wide Web. Incidentally, works
cited pages in articles you read are great
places to find other articles and books on
your subject. This is relevant for all of
the essays you will write in this course.
• MLA also has rules for formatting. This includes
how you format titles.
• If you are including the title of a long work- like a
novel, a newspaper, a collection of essays or
stories, or a magazine – then the title should be in
italics or underlined.
• If you are including the title of a short work– like
a single poem, short story or article– then the
title should be in quotation marks.
Ex: Citing “The Cask of
• In MLA format, titles of short stories are always in quotation
marks. Poem titles should be in quotes also, but the titles of whole
books (like the title of your anthology) are either underlined or in
• Let’s pretend I want to cite Poe’s story (pp. 107-113 in your
textbook). You always want to introduce quotes with a signal
phrase, so I might say: In Poe’s story he describes Fortunato as,
“a man to be respected and even feared” (Poe 108). Notice a few
things here: 1. There is a comma before the quote; 2. The period
comes after the parentheses at the end; 3. In the parentheses, I
use the author’s last name (which is the first thing that will appear
in my end citation) and the page number where the quote appears
in the textbook. If I was using an online source with no page
numbers, then I would use the paragraph number (Poe par. 3).
Your text suggests using paragraph numbers, but this is not
• Here is an example of an end citation for the short story:
Poe, Edgar Allen. “The Cask of Amontillado.” The Norton Introduction to
Literature. Kelly J. Myers, ed. New York: Norton, 2014. 107-113. Print.
• Citations are always double spaced with a hanging indent (first line is not
indented, but all the others are) and they are in alphabetical order by the
first word in the citation.
• Since we are using an anthology this semester, all of your citations of
primary texts will be just like this. You have no excuse to get them wrong.
Just plug in the correct author, title and page range.
• Be careful with punctuation. If the punctuation isn’t correct, the citation
Resources for Citation
• Feel free to use a citation generator, like
www.citationmachine.net, to help you with citation.
However, you always want to check to see that
you’ve done it right. To do that, you can use a
style guide (like the Little, Brown Handbook) or a
website like the OWL at Purdue (
There are links to these sites on Blackboard
under “Resources for Students.”
When do I cite?
• You need to cite anytime you use material from
the text. If it isn’t your idea…cite it.
• Paraphrases must be cited and you also must
completely change the wording and the sentence
structure of the original material. Paraphrases
are a sticky wicket and they are a place where
many people get in trouble with plagiarism.
• You don’t need to use parenthetical citation for
general summary, as long as it is clear to the
reader which text you are summarizing.
Other MLA stuff
• MLA formatting also has requirements for page numbers
and headings. I will provide you with a video about
• MLA headings appear in the upper left hand corner of your
paper and contain: Your name, your assignment and class,
your teacher’s last name, and the date, each on a separate
line. Your heading should be double spaced.
• Page numbers go on the upper right hand side of the page
and should have your last name along with the page number
(Doe 1, Doe 2, etc.).
• If you did purchase the Little, Brown Handbook for this
course, there are resources for MLA citation beginning on