Cross-referencing: Using mla format

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Cross-referencing: Using MLA Format

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  • Purdue University Writing Lab

Why Use MLA Format?

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  • Allows readers to cross-reference your sources easily
  • Provides consistent format within a discipline
  • Gives you credibility as a writer
  • Protects yourself from plagiarism

Cross-Referencing Your Sources

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  • Cross-referencing allows readers to locate the publication information of source material. This is of great value for researchers who may want to locate your sources for their own research projects.

Using a Consistent Format

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  • Using a consistent format helps your reader understand your arguments and the sources they’re built on.
  • It also helps you keep track of your sources as you build arguments.

Establishing Credibility

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  • The proper use of MLA style shows the credibility of writers; such writers show accountability to their source material.

Avoiding Plagiarism

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  • Proper citation of your sources in MLA style can help you avoid plagiarism, which is a serious offense. It may result in anything from failure of the assignment to expulsion from school.

Where Do I Find MLA Format?

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  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th ed.
  • Composition textbooks
  • OWL website:
  • Ask your teacher!

MLA Style: Three Parts

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  • Source Cards
  • Works Cited Page
  • Parenthetical Citations
  • 1
  • Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. New York:
  • Airmont Books, 1963.
  • Author’s Name. Book Title. City of Publication:
  • Publisher, Year of Publication.
  • 2
  • Dawe, James. Jane Austen Page. 15 September 2007.
  • html>.
  • Author (if available). Title of the Website. Date you
  • accessed it. .
  • 3
  • January 2008. Department of Romance
  • Romance Languages and Literatures Homepage. 1
  • Languages and Literatures, University of
  • Chicago. 8 January 2008
  • Title of website. Date last updated. Organization
  • Responsible for website. Date you accessed it.
  • .

Woolf, Virginia. “Professions for Women.” Available

  • Woolf, Virginia. “Professions for Women.” Available
  • Means: An Anthology of Women’s Rhetoric(s). Ed.
  • Joy Ritchie and Kate Ronald. Pittsburgh:
  • University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001. 241-246.
  • Author’s Name. “Title of Selection.” Name of Anthology.
  • Ed. Editor’s Name(s). City of Publication: Publisher,
  • Year of Publication. Pages found in anthology.
  • Your textbook is one of these entries!!
  • 4
  • 5
  • Heaney, Seamus. Introduction. Beowulf. By
  • Anonymous. New York: W.W. Norton and Co.,
  • 2000. ix-xxx.
  • Author’s name. Type of writing. Name of the major
  • Work. By author of the maj0r work. City of
  • Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Pages.

Works Cited Page

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  • A complete list of every source that you make reference to in your essay
  • Provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any sources cited in your essay.

A Sample Works Cited Page

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  • Smith 12
  • Works Cited
  • Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. 1852-1853. New York: Penguin,
    • 1985.
  • ---. David Copperfield. 1849-1850. New York: Houghton Mifflin
    • Company, 1958.
  • Miller, J. Hillis. Charles Dickens: The World and His Novels.
    • Bloomington: U of Indiana P, 1958.
  • Zwerdling, Alex. “Esther Summerson Rehabilitated.” PMLA 88 (May
    • 1973): 429-439.

Works Cited

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  • Most citations should contain the following basic information:
  • Author’s name
  • Title of work
  • Publication information

Works Cited: Some Examples

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  • Book
  • Byatt, A. S. Babel Tower. New York: Random House, 1996.
  • Article in a Magazine
  • Klein, Joe. “Dizzy Days.” The New Yorker 5 Oct. 1998: 40-45.
  • Web page
  • Poland, Dave. “The Hot Button.” Roughcut. 26 Oct. 1998. Turner Network Television. 28 Oct. 1998 .

Works Cited List

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  • A newspaper article
  • Tommasini, Anthony. “Master Teachers Whose Artistry Glows in Private.” New York Times 27 Oct. 1998: B2.
  • A source with no known author
  • “Cigarette Sales Fall 30% as California Tax Rises.” New York Times 14 Sept. 1999: A17.

Works Cited List

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  • A TV interview
  • McGwire, Mark. Interview with Matt Lauer. The Today Show. NBC. WTHR, Indianapolis. 22 Oct. 1998.
  • A personal interview
  • Mellencamp, John. Personal interview. 27 Oct. 1998.

Works Cited

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  • What other types of sources might you need to list on your Works Cited page?
  • Study the basics of MLA citation format. When something odd comes up, look it up.

When Should You Use Parenthetical Citations?

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  • When quoting any words that are not your own
    • Quoting means to repeat another source word for word, using quotation marks

When Should You Use Parenthetical Citations?

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  • When summarizing facts and ideas from a source
    • Summarizing means to take ideas from a large passage of another source and condense them, using your own words
  • When paraphrasing a source

Keys to Parenthetical Citations

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  • Readability
  • Keep references brief
  • Give only information needed to identify the source on your Works Cited page
  • Do not repeat unnecessary information

Handling Quotes in Your Text

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  • Author’s last name and page number(s) of quote must appear in the text
  • Romantic poetry is characterized by the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Wordsworth 263).
  • Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (263).

Handling Parenthetical Citations

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  • Sometimes more information is necessary
  • More than one author with the same last name
  • (W. Wordsworth 23); (D. Wordsworth 224)
  • More than one work by the same author
  • (Joyce, Portrait 121); (Joyce, Ulysses 556)
  • Different volumes of a multivolume work
  • (1: 336)
  • Citing indirect sources
  • (Johnson qtd. in Boswell 2:450)

Handling Parenthetical Citations

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  • If the source has no known author, then use an abbreviated version of the title:
  • Full Title: “California Cigarette Tax Deters Smokers”
  • Citation: (“California” A14)
  • If the source is only one page in length or is a web page with no apparent pagination:
  • Source: Dave Poland’s “Hot Button” web column
  • Citation: (Poland)

Handling Long Quotations

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  • David becomes identified and defined by James Steerforth, a young man with whom David is acquainted from his days at Salem House. Before meeting Steerforth, David accepts Steerforth’s name as an authoritative power:
      • There was an old door in this playground, on which the boys had a custom of carving their names. . . . In my dread of the end of the vacation and their coming back, I could not read a boy’s name, without inquiring in what tone and with what emphasis he would read, “Take care of him. He bites.” There was one boy—a certain J. Steerforth—who cut his name very deep and very often, who I conceived, would read it in a rather strong voice, and afterwards pull my hair. (Dickens 68)
  • For Steerforth, naming becomes an act of possession, as well as exploitation. Steerforth names David for his fresh look and innocence, but also uses the name Daisy to exploit David's romantic tendencies (Dyson 122).

Handling Quotes in Your Text

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  • There are many different combinations and variations within MLA citation format.
  • If you run into something unusual, look it up!

Where can you go for additional help with MLA documentation?

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  • Purdue University Writing Lab
  • Heavilon 226
  • Grammar Hotline: (765) 494-3723
  • Check our web site:
  • Email brief questions:
  • Purdue University Writing Lab

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