Introduction to mla guidelines

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  • By Angela Morales
  • ENGLISH 120
  • ENGLISH 101
  • Jane Doe
  • Prof. Morales
  • English 101
  • 24 February 2005
  • Do Not Fear: MLA Guidelines Made Simple
  • Doe 1
  • Have you ever been confused about how to
  • format your essays? Many students don’t realize
  • that MLA guidelines are fairly easy to follow.


  • Citing sources correctly involves two steps:
  • In your essay, provide the author's name (or the title of the work) and the page (or paragraph) in a parenthetical citation
  • provide full citation information for the work in your works cited list


  • Don’t Do it!
  • Always acknowledge
  • all of your sources. This
  • includes quoted AND
  • paraphrased words and
  • ideas.
  • Works Cited
  • Doe 8
  • Anzaldua, Gloria E. “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”
  • Reading Context. Ed. Gail Stygall.
  • Boston: Thomson, 2005. 128-136.
  • Kirszner, Laurie and Stephen R. Mandell. The
  • Brief Handbook. New York: Penguin, 2005.


  • Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).
  • Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).
  • Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).

Citing a Work with No Author:

  • An anonymous Wordsworth critic once argued that his poems were too emotional ("Wordsworth: An Overrated Poet?" 100).

Use “qtd.” for Indirect Citations

  • Ravitch argues that high schools are pressured to act as "social service centers, and they don't do that well" ( Weisman 259).

Two works by the same author:

  • Lightenor has argued that computers are not useful tools for small children ("Too Soon" 38), though he has acknowledged that early exposure to computer games does lead to better small motor skill development in a child's second and third year ("Hand-Eye Development" 17).

Using Long Quotations:

  • Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him
  • throughout her narration:
  • They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the l anding of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Brontë 78)

Adding Words in Quotations:

  • Jan Harold Brunvand, in an essay on urban legends, states: "some individuals [who retell urban legends] make a point of learning every rumor or tale" (78).

Omitting Words in Quotations:

  • In an essay on urban legends, Jan Harold Brunvand notes that "some individuals make a point of learning every recent rumor or tale [...] and in a short time a lively exchange of details occurs" (78).

Your Works Cited List

  • The works cited list should appear at the end of your essay.
  • It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and be able to read any sources you cite in the essay.
  • Each source you cite in the essay must appear in your works-cited list; likewise, each entry in the works-cited list must be cited in your text.

List Format:

  • Use a separate page. Label Works Cited and center at the top of the page.
  • Make first line of each entry flush left with the margin. Subsequent lines in each entry should be indented one-half inch. This is known as a hanging indent.
  • Double space all entries
  • Underlining and italics are equivalent; select one or the other to use throughout your essay.
  • Alphabetize the list of works cited by the first word in each entry

Book with one author:

  • Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. Denver: MacMurray, 1999.

Book with more than one author:

Book or article with no author named

  • Encyclopedia of Indiana. New York: Somerset, 1993.

Essay in a collection:

  • Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One. Ed. Ben Rafoth. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000. 24-34.

Magazine or newspaper article:

  • Poniewozik, James. "TV Makes a Too- Close Call." Time 20 Nov. 2000: 70-71.
  • Trembacki, Paul. "Brees Hopes to Win Heisman for Team." Purdue Exponent 5 Dec. 2000: 20.

Article in a scholarly journal:

  • Duvall, John N. "The (Super)Marketplace of Images: Television as Unmediated Mediation in DeLillo's White Noise." Arizona Quarterly 50.3 (1994): 127-53.

An article on a web site:

  • Author(s)."Article Title." Name of web site. Date of posting/revision. Name of institution/organization affiliated with site. Date of access

Web site:

  • Poland, Dave. "The Hot Button." Roughcut. 26 Oct. 1998. Turner Network Television. 28 Oct. 1998 .

Article on online database:

  • Smith, Martin. "WorldDominationforDummies." Journal of Despotry Feb. 2000: 66-72. Expanded Academic ASAP. Gale Group Databases. Purdue University Libraries, West Lafayette, IN. 19 February 2003 .

Interview that you conducted:

  • Conyers, Mira. Personal Interview. 1 Dec. 2000.


  • The Usual Suspects. Dir. Bryan Singer. Perf. Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, and Benecio del Toro. Polygram, 1995.

Additional Guidelines:

  • Writing Handbook:
  • Online Citation Generator:

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