Citing in an MLA Paper

When should you cite someone else’s work? Writers should include a citation when directly quoting or paraphrasing someone else’s words. Besides avoiding plagiarism, writers who cite their sources properly also give credit where credit is due and sound more persuasive.

Although there are other systems of citation, like APA or Chicago, MLA (Modern Language Association) is most often used for papers in writing and literature courses.

MLA In-Text Citation

In-Text (or parenthetical) Citation is a method of giving information about a source within the text (in parentheses) rather than at the bottom of a page as a footnote. Note that the MLA citation system treats web sites and other electronic sources just like print sources. If the online source has paragraph, section or division numbers, use these numbers in your in-text citation, but do not add these numbers if the source does not use them. Note also that punctuation goes outside the quotations after the parentheses.

1. If your sentence names the author, the citation includes only the page number.

Ex. Lesley Brill observes, “Hitchcock’s films tend to start in public locations and move to more private spaces” (195).

2. If your sentence does not name the author, the citation includes the author’s last name and the page number: note that no punctuation comes between the author’s name and the page number.

Ex. Importantly, “Hitchcock’s films tend to start in public locations and move to more private spaces” (Brill 195).

If the essay is about a single work, it should not include the author’s name each time that work is cited. After the author’s name is mentioned once, only the page numbers are needed. 3. If the author is unknown (as is often the case for web sources and dictionary entries), use a short form of the title. Italicize book titles and put article titles in quotation marks.

3. If the author is unknown (as is often the case for web sources and dictionary entries), use a short form of the title. Italicize book titles and put article titles in quotation marks.

Ex. (Book Title 21)
(“Article Title” 21)

4. If there are two or three authors, use each of their last names in the order you find them.

Ex. (Short and Zilkha 3)
(Ohiomoba, Hirose, and Dahl 10)

5. If there are four or more authors, include only the first author’s name followed by “et al.”

Ex. (Brooke et al. 170)

6. If the works cited includes two or more authors with the same last name, use the initial of the author’s first name.

Ex. (T. Ganti 3)

7. If the works cited includes two or more works by the same author, separate the author’s last name from an abbreviated form of the title with a comma.

Ex. (McBride, Spielberg 201)

8. When one source cites the words of another, use the following abbreviation for “quoted in.”

Ex. (qtd. in Campbell 16)

MLA Works Cited

When creating a Works Cited page:

 Put a separate page at the end of the paper
 Alphabetize each entry by the first letter of the last name or by the first listed title
 Use a Hanging Indent (indenting every line after the first)

1. Print Sources

a. Book with One Author:

Ex. Last name, first name. Book Title. City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Print. Brill, Lesley. The Irony of Hitchcock. Philadelphia: Ashton Press, 2005. Print.

* If multiple cities of publication are listed, use the first one.

b. Book with One or More Authors:

Ex. Smith, Danielle, Mike Cambell, and Mary Stach. Hitchcock’s Greatest Films. Boston: Harper, 1996. Print.

c. Book with Author and Editor:

Ex. Short, Tom. Film Noir: Gender and Genre. Ed. John Hope. London: St. Martin’s Press, 1984. Print.

d. Article or Chapter in an Anthology:

Ex. Campbell, Arnold. “Bollywood Economy.” Indian Film Anthology. New York: Norton, 2001. 15-32. Print.

e. Article in a Magazine, Newspaper:

Ex. Hsi, Betty. “Morals and Film.” Newsweek 29 Dec. 2002: 10-15. Print.

f. Article in a Journal:

Ex. Ohiomoba, Elinathan. “Demystifying New Wave Cinema.” Film Forum 76.3 (2004): 24-29. Print.

2. Web Sources

a. Encyclopedia or Dictionary:

Ex. “Article Title.” Encyclopedia/Dictionary Title. Most Recent Update. Web. Date of Access. “Film noir.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 2008. Web. 28 Feb. 2011.

b. Article from a Scholarly Journal:

Ex. Smith, John. “Spielberg’s Twists and Turns.” Film Studies Journal 5.2 (2006): 1-15. Web. 24 Oct. 2010.

c. Web Site with Organization as Author

Ex. “Blood and Guts: Action Movies.” When Films ‘Get Medieval.’ National Council of Violent Films, 14 Jan. 2002. Web. 29 Feb. 2011.

Where in The Bedford Handbook?

Section 53: MLA Documentation Style Further Information See Writing Center handouts: “Citing in MLA Paper,” “Quoting and Paraphrasing,” and “Safeguarding Against Plagiarism.”

MLA: Using Sources Correctly <http://www.roanestate.edu/owl/UsingSources_MLA.html>

MLA Formatting and Style Guide <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/>