MLA Format And How to Make Some Sense Out of it
We will discuss the main parts of formatting an essay in MLA format. This includes:
Major Hint! None of this needs to be memorized and you shouldn't try to do so. Only remember a few key points about the format and know where to find the rest. There are many resources for you to use that deal with MLA format: The course website: Williamglewis.pbworks.com OWL @ Purdue: Owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01
Big Dog's Grammar – MLA Quick Guide: http://aliscot.com/bigdog/mla.htm
The First Page The first page is formatted like this: In the upper right hand corner: Last name and page number Why do we need this information? This makes it easy for instructors to locate your essay, keep track of all the pages, and shows formality.
It's like going to a formal dance: you have to look nice for people to take notice. The dazzling parts will come in the essay itself.
Parenthetical Citing: Why? We cite for a few simple reasons: So people know where our information is coming from. So we show proper respect to who we got the information from. So people can locate the information if they want to do follow-up research themselves.
Remembering to cite shows that you are a respectful person and a smart scholar.
Parenthetical Citing: Where? We cite whenever we use information from a source. Summaries: An essay from Mother Jones proves using anecdotes why violent media is good for kids (Jones). Paraphrases: Without the help of Tarzan and his “flashing knives”, Jones' son would never have climbed the tree (37).
Quotes: According to Jones, “Pretending to have superhuman powers helps children conquer feelings of powerlessness that inevitably come with being so young and small” (37).
Parenthetical Citing: Where?
Parenthetical Citing: How? As you saw in earlier examples, parenthetical citing occurs at the end of the sentence. If you are citing a quote, the period goes outside the quotation marks.
Usually the period is a part of the sentence and not the quote itself, so it belongs outside the quote.
Parenthetical Citing: How?
When you cite, you use the author's last name and the page number: (Jones 37).
But Mr. Lewis, my source... There are many works that won't have one author and/or page numbers. Here are some variations to the main pattern, but if you aren't sure check a source: Has two or three authors: Use all their names: (William and Westrich 466) Has four or more authors: Use the first name followed by et. al.: (Weisburg et. al. 879) Has no author: Use a short version of the title: (“Violent Media” 37) A source quoted in another source: Use qtd. in followed by the author of the source you got it from: (qtd. in Jones 37)
Has no page numbers: Just list the author (Jones) .
Works Cited Page: Format Here's the general format of the works cited page: Put “Works Cited” at the top and align it in the center. Then place all your works in alphabetical order by the first item that appears in each entry (Usually the author's last name). All entries are set in hanging indent which you can set up in the paragraph section of your word processor.
The works cited page is always put on a separate page and is the last page of your essay.
Works Cited Page: General Entry Format All entries in your works cited page will follow a general rule: Last name, first name. “Work the author wrote.” Larger work it appeared in . Keep note of this as we look through how to cite four common works: an article or chapter from a book
an article from a periodical
Works Cited Page: Book Last name, first name. Title of the book . City of publication: Publisher, year of publication. Print. Gardner, Traci. Designing Writing Assignments . Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 2008. Print.
Greenwood, Ed. Elminster: The Making of a Mage. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1994. Print.
Works Cited Page: Article or Chapter from a Book Last name, first name. “Article or chapter title.” Book title . Edition number (if it has it). Ed. Editor(s) (first name last name). City of publication: Publisher, year of publication. Page numbers. Print. Eberstadt, Mary. “Eminem Is Right.” The Little, Brown Reader . 12 th ed. Ed. Marcia Stubbs and Sylvan Barnet. New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2011. 171-184. Print.
Standage, Tom. “Bad to the Last Drop.” Practical Argument: A Text and Anthology . Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011. 24-26. Print.
Works Cited Page: Article from a Periodical Last name, first name. “Title of article.” Title of periodical. Volume number.Issue number (Month Year): Page numbers. Print. Mare, Estelle Alma. “There is no Hero Without a Dragon: A Revisionist Interpretation of the Myth of St. George and the Dragon.” Religion and Theology . 13.2 (2006): 195-203. Print.
Nownes, Nicholas and Michael Stebleton. “Reflective Writing and Life-Career Planning: Extending the Learning in a Learning Community Model.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College . 38.2 (December 2010): 118-131. Print
Works Cited Page: Webpage Last name, first name. “Webpage title.” Website title . Publisher (n.p. if none), Date of publication (n.d. if none). Web. Date you visited. Wald, Matthew L. “Republicans Suggest White House Rushed Solar Company's Loans.” The New York Times . New York Times, 14 Sep. 2011. Web. 14 Sep. 2011
Webley, Kayla. “How One Teacher's Angry Blog Sparked a Viral Classroom Debate.” Time . Time, 18 Feb. 2011. Web. 15 August 2011.
But Mr. Lewis, I'm missing... Typically, if you're missing something, you can skip it. If you are missing an author, the article/webpage/chapter title becomes the first part of your entry.
If you aren't sure of what to do, you can always look it up.
Now's a Good Time to... Look up one type of entry we didn't cover in your book. How is it similar to the other entries?
How is it different from the other entries?