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Brief "cheat sheet' on MLA

Page history last edited by jgervais@trcc.commnet.edu 11 years, 10 months ago

You can find more information on MLA citation and other writing issues at this excellent web site:



One of the main purposes behind the practice of including in-text citations and reference pages is to show a reader of your work that you have some depth of knowledge about a particular subject area.  For example, if you were in a conversation with an acquaintance, and he or she started expressing opinions about Asian food, would you believe their views more or less if they told you they had never eaten at a Chinese restaurant?


The same is true in writing.  If you express an opinion or write a response to a reading, your instructor needs to know that you have gone through the text, digested the material, and are coming up with specific comments on specific ideas in a text.  In text citation and a works cited page help you to do that.  The examples below are designed to assist you in integrating ideas from your readings into your writing and citing them appropriately.


Example 1- Author not named in text, quote is paraphrased

Many researchers say that the increase in juvenile crime is due to the increase in drug importation and cocaine use among 14-22 year old males (Smith; Jones; Longshanks).


Example 2- Author not named in text, quote taken verbatim

One authority on the foster care system went so far as to accuse the Milwaukee County system of “negligent and incompetent hiring practices and placement behaviors that border on the criminal” (Jones 34).


Example 3- Author named, quote is paraphrased

According to Hector Smith, the primary purpose of the new computer technology in schools is to assist teachers in presenting the material they already deal with (9).


Example 4- Author named, quote taken verbatim

Mark Longshanks, another Freudian scholar with a vast number of publications, professes that most of what we call aberrant behavior is nothing more than ”a vain attempt to connect with primal substance that is lacking in today’s religious practice” (23).


Example 5- Author unknown, quote is paraphrased

One Internet source placed the blame for the growing number o school-related hate crimes on the increased popularity of ultra-violent video games movies (“Shadow Knows”).


Example 6- Author unknown, quote is taken verbatim

Despite a growing number of web sources devoted to the topic of white supremacy and the means by which it should spread across the world, only a few sites take the bold view of endorsing “the end of all races that are not white and the active abuse of those races whenever possible” (“Stormfront”)


Example 7- Works Cited page- online posting

Last name, First name. “Title of Posting from Subject line.” Title of Overall Web Site. Publisher's or sponsor's name, Date of electronic      posting. Web. Date of access.


(Note: if publisher's/sponsor's name is not available, use N.p.)

(Note: if date of publication is not available, use n.d.) 


Chazbottom, Jeffrey. “Woodchucks and How They Breed in Captivity.” Wildlife in Captivity. Government of Ontario, 27 Jul. 2009. Web. 18

     Dec. 2009.


Example 8- Works Cited page- article in academic journal in database

Last name, First name. “Title of article.” Name of journal volume number.issue number (year): page numbers.  Name of database. Web.

     Date of access. 


Wingbutterman, Dewitt. “Breeding Habits of the North American Partridge: A Comparative Study.” Partridges Illustrated 29.2 (1998): 301-344.      Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 May 2009.  


Example 9- Work in an anthology (most composition and literature textbooks are anthologies)

Last name, First name. “Title of work.” Title of Anthology. Name of the editor. Publication information.  Pages where the selection

     appears. Print.


Steinam, Gloria. “The Importance of Work”. The Mercury Reader. Ed. Jon Brammer. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2002. 82-89. Print.


Example 10- Indenting a long quote in the text (longer than four lines)

Despite being one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan remains, in the eyes of many, as a painful reminder of Bulls teams that could have been.  In his recent autobiography, Jordan provides a graphic account of his early years with the Bulls:

Without knowing it, I was expected to be the savior of the team.  I would score 50 or 60 points a night and we would still lose.  The supporting cast just wasn’t there.  I was one man playing defense, playing offense, and running the transition game.  It was hell every game.  I wanted to quit and go back to Charlotte.  I wanted to play some schoolyard ball again.  But I couldn’t get out of the spotlight. (45)


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