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MLA format


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  • 1. MLA Format And How to Make Some Sense Out of it
  • 2. Overview
    • We will discuss the main parts of formatting an essay in MLA format. This includes:
      • The front page
      • Parenthetical citing
      • Works Cited page
  • 3. 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:
        • Your book
        • The course website:
        • OWL @ Purdue:
        • Big Dog's Grammar – MLA Quick Guide:
  • 4. The First Page
    • The first page is formatted like this:
        • The first five lines:
            • Name
            • Instructor's name
            • Course title
            • Essay due date
            • Title (centered)
        • 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.
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. 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).
  • 7. Parenthetical Citing: Where?
    • When in doubt, cite!
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. Parenthetical Citing: How?
    • When you cite, you use the author's last name and the page number: (Jones 37).
  • 10. 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) .
  • 11.
    • Pause.
    • Take a deep breath.
    • Any questions?
  • 12. 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.
  • 13. 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:
        • a book
        • an article or chapter from a book
        • an article from a periodical
        • a webpage
  • 14. Works Cited Page: Book
    • Last name, first name. Title of the book . City of publication: Publisher, year of publication. Print.
    • Ex:
        • 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.
  • 15. 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.
    • Ex.
        • 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.
  • 16. 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.
    • Ex.
        • 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
  • 17. 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.
      • Ex.
        • 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.
  • 18. 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.
  • 19. Now's a Good Time to...
    • Look up one type of entry we didn't cover in your book.
    • Where did you find it?
    • How is it similar to the other entries?
    • How is it different from the other entries?