Universally recognized truths Example:The whole is greater than the part.
Do not copy from the source word-for-word.
Enclose borrowed language in quotation marks.
Do not borrow sentence structure.
Do not plug in synonyms.
Simply changing a word or two and switching the order of phrases is NOT acceptable.
A paraphrase must be in the writer’s own words.
Half the force holding Fort Pillow were Negroes, former slaves now enrolled in the Union Army. Toward them Forrest’s troops had the fierce, bitter animosity of men who had been educated to regard the colored race as inferior and who for the first time had encountered that race armed and fighting against white men.
From pgs. 46-47 of “The Fort Pillow Massacre,” a scholarly article by Albert Castel.
Albert Castel notes that 50 percent of the Union troops holding Fort Pillow were former slaves. Toward them Forrest’s soldiers displayed the savage hatred of men who had been taught to view blacks as inferior and who for the first time had encountered them armed and fighting against white men (46-47).
Although the source is correctly documented with an MLA in-text citation, the second sentence paraphrases the original source far too closely.
ORIGINAL SOURCE Apart from the fact that music accounts for much of the power of Hindi movies, , creating a heightened mood …, the film song spreads out from cinema to permeate many other areas of Indian society. From pg. 41 of “Playback Time: A Brief History of Bollywood ‘Film Songs,’” an article in Film Comment by Nasreen Munni Kabir
SAMPLE In India, film music creates a heightened mood that accounts for a great deal of the power of Hindi movies , says Nasreen Munni Kabir (41). The writer has paraphrased too closely by only changing a few words and switching order of phrases. A paraphrase should be in the writer’s own words.
ORIGINAL SOURCE Apart from the fact that music accounts for much of the power of Hindi movies, … the film song spreads out from cinema to permeate many other areas of Indian society . From pg. 41 of “Playback Time: A Brief History of Bollywood ‘Film Songs,’” an article in Film Comment by Nasreen Munni Kabir
SAMPLE Nasreen Munni Kabir argues that the film songs disseminate from the movies to pervade several other aspects of Indian life (41). The writer has paraphrased the source too closely by borrowing the sentence structure of the original and then plugging in synonyms.
ORIGINAL SOURCE For many Southerners it was psychologically impossible to see a black man bearing arms as anything but an incipient slave uprising complete with arson, murder, pillage, and raping. From pg. 158 of The Sable Arm , a book by historian Dudley Taylor Cornish
CORRECT SAMPLE Civil War historian Dudley Taylor Cornish observes that many Southerners were so terrified of slave revolt that the sight of armed black men filled them with fear (158). Correctly paraphrased in writer’s own words and documented with an MLA in-text citation.
Alice Stone Blackwell argues that “every improvement in the condition of women thus far has been secured not by a general demand from the majority of women, but the argument …of [a] persistent few” (30).
Signal phrase names the author of the quotation to follow Page number given in parentheses Period placed after parentheses
Before he dies, Unoka warns Okonkwo , “‘Do not despair.…It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone’” (Achebe 21).
Signal phrase names the speaker in dialogue Author name and page number given in parentheses
Before he dies, Unoka warns Okonkwo, “ ‘Do not despair.…It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone’ ” (Achebe 21).
Dialogue enclosed in single quotation marks
Before he dies, Unoka warns Okonkwo, “‘A proud heart can survive … because such a failure does not prick its pride. It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone’” (Achebe 21).
Ellipses used when unnecessary words are cut
Obierika points out the impossibility of the colonialists understanding anything about the Umuofians without speaking their language, “’How can he when he does not even speak our tongue ? ’” (151). If a question mark or exclamation point is part of the quotation, leave in the quoted text.
The descending of the locusts foreshadows the arrival of the
colonists and their influence on the Igbo people:
And at last the locusts did descend. They settled on every tree and on every blade of grass; they settled on the roofs and covered the bare ground. Mighty tree branches broke away under them, and the whole country became the brown-earth color of the vast, hungry swarm. (Achebe 49)
Block citation is used for four or more typed lines and set off from the text; quotation marks are omitted, double spaced Period before documentation
The Red Cross Knight seems to be in love with Una and he innocently flirts with her, “And foorth they passe, with pleasure forward led, / Joying to heare the birdes sweete harmony” (64-65).
Use a slash (/) to separate two or three lines of poetry in a quote
Chinua Achebe alludes to the poem “The Second Coming” in the title Things Fall Apart :
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; (1-3)
Poetry example Block citation is used for three or more lines of poetry, double spaced and set off from the text; quotation marks and slashes (/) are omitted; punctuation is unchanged
Juliet asks why Romeo must be a Montague, the son of her family’s greatest enemy:
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet. (II.i.32–36)
Drama example Block citation is used for four or more lines and set off from the text; quotation marks are omitted Act.Scene.Line
White 8 1 / 2 - by 11-inch paper
1 inch margins
Heading: # pages consecutively (included on works cited)
Last Name page #
Day Month Year
Title of Paper
Name of Student
The idea that fiction exists in a timeless world properly described in the present tense
Literary Present Tense
Use the present tense when discussing fictional events.
In Things Fall Apart , Achebe shows the dynamics between the individual and society.
Use past tense when writing about a certain historical event.
Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart in 1959.
Present and Past
Sometimes you must use both present and past tense in a sentence.
Things Fall Apart , which Achebe wrote in 1959, shows the dynamics between the individual and society.
Last, First. Title of Book . Place of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: Bantam Classics, 1981.
Davis 27 Header
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart: with Connections . New York: Harcourt School, 1999.
Blackwell, Alice Stone. “Opposition of Women.” Oppositions answered. New York: National American woman suffrage association, 1913. Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921 < http://memory.loc.gov/ammen/naw/nawshome.html>