Tips on Applying MLA Guidelines

[revised 11.10.05, 7.1.06]

 

[ENG 215W: For additional information re MLA, see pages 278-303 in Dialogues, 5th ed. ENG 100: see chap. 10.]

 

 

1. Basic works cited format for a webpage

 

Format: Author(s). Name of Page. Date of Posting/Revision. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site. Date of Access <electronic address>.

 

Example: "The Six Pillars of Character." Nov. 2002. Josephson Institute of Ethics. 10 Nov. 2005 <http://www.josephsoninstitute.org/MED/MED-intro+toc.htm>.

 

 

2. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other general references

 

Don't list reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias in your works cited. Also, in the text of your paper, summarize or paraphrase definitions from dictionaries so that you don't need to mention them or include a parenthetical reference. Remember that you don't need to cite information that's considered "common knowledge" (e.g., Hawaii attained statehood status on 21 August 1959) if you paraphrase or summarize it.

 

 

3. Works cited format for articles in the English 215 text

 

Pipher, Mary. "Saplings in the Storm." _Dialogues: An Argument Rhetoric and Reader_. 5th edition. Eds. Gary Goshgarian and Kathleen Krueger. New York: Pearson-Longman, 2006. 411-417.

 

[Note: For titles of newspapers, magazines, journals, and books, you have the option to use underscore markers before and after the title (as in the example above), italics, or regular underscore. I recommend the _before and after_ since they don't disappear when transported across different word processors and email. Also note that for drafts that are to be exchanged across multiple Internet media, works cited entries are neither indented (hanging or normal) nor double-spaced.]

 

 

4. Works cited format for class WebCT posts
 

Format: Writer's Name. "Title of Message." Online posting. Date of Message. Name of Discussion Group/List. Date of access <URL of Group's Internet Site, or E-mail Address of List Moderator>.

 

Note: The "Title of Message" is from the subject line of the message being quoted. Also note the abbreviation for month (Apr.). Abbreviate all months to three characters (e.g., Sep. for September), except for May, June, and July, which should be written out.

 

Example: Akaka, John K. "John's Attack." Online posting. 30 Aug. 2005. MyWebCT: English 215W. 16 Sep. 2005 <http://wct01.hawaii.edu>.

 

5. Quoting from a classmate's WebCT post

 

In the following example, a parenthetical reference is omitted since the reader can quickly find the reference in the works cited section by keying on your classmate's last name (Akaka), which is mentioned in the attribution (Akaka claims):

 

Akaka claims that most of the women he spoke with "do experience trauma" between adolescence and menopause. I strongly agree based on my interviews.

 

In the following, the parenthetical reference is inserted because the source is not mentioned in the attribution.

 

A classmate claims that most of the women he spoke with "do experience trauma" between adolescence and menopause (Akaka). I strongly agree based on my interviews.

 

 

6. Parenthetical references in papers

 

Use them when necessary. Here's an example of a parenthetical reference for quotes from an article that appeared in the online _Honolulu Advertiser_ on 10 June 2005:

 

Public schools in Hawaii will operate under "a uniform school calendar" starting "with the 2006-07 school year." The exceptions to this rule are charter schools and the following schools: "Holomua Elementary, Kapolei Elementary, Kapolei Middle and Mililani Middle" (Brannon).

 

The works cited reference looks like this:

 

Brannon, Johnny. "Unified Public School Schedule Approved." _Honolulu Advertiser_ 10 June 2005. 10 June 2005 <http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2005/Jun/10/ln/ln03p.html>.

 

[Note: For titles of newspapers, magazines, journals, and books, you have the option to use underscore markers before and after the title (as in the example above), italics, or regular underscore. I recommend the _before and after_ since they don't disappear when transported across different word processors and email. Also note that for drafts that are to be exchanged across multiple Internet media, works cited entries are neither indented (hanging or normal) nor double-spaced.]

 

7. Unnecessary bibliographic information in the body of your paper

 

The purpose of the parenthetical reference is to avoid distracting bibliographic information in the body of the paper. As a rule, the bulk of this information is relegated to the works cited section.

 

[AVOID] According to Johnny Brannon, in "Unified Public School Schedule Approved," which appeared in the _Honolulu Advertiser_, public schools in Hawaii will operate under "a uniform school calendar" starting "with the 2006-07 school year." The exceptions to this rule are charter schools and the following schools: "Holomua Elementary, Kapolei Elementary, Kapolei Middle and Mililani Middle."

 

[BETTER] Public schools in Hawaii will operate under "a uniform school calendar" starting "with the 2006-07 school year." The exceptions to this rule are charter schools and the following schools: "Holomua Elementary, Kapolei Elementary, Kapolei Middle and Mililani Middle" (Brannon).

 

8. Capitalization in quotes

 

The rule is to capitalize the first word if the quote is a complete sentence. This is true even if parts of the sentence have been omitted. For example,

 

[Original source from page 131 of John Smith's book:] "Thus, though I find it difficult to fathom, many of my colleagues are convinced that shopping is often an obsessive behavior."

 

[Quote incorporated into your paper:] A psychologist says, "Many of my colleagues are convinced that shopping is often an obsessive behavior" (Smith 131). [Note the placement of the period after the closing parenthesis.]

 

[Exception to the rule above -- quote preceded by "that":] A psychologist says that "many of [his] colleagues are convinced that shopping is often an obsessive behavior" (Smith 131). [Note the use of square brackets when you introduce a change in the original quote.]

 

[Variation of quote incorporated into your paper:] Smith, a psychologist, says, "Many of my colleagues are convinced that shopping is often an obsessive behavior" (131). [Note that the author's last name is omitted in the parenthetical reference if it is mentioned in the attribution. Also note that the last name is used in the attribution, i.e., you have the option to use the last (Smith) only or the first and last (John Smith) together; however, DON'T use the first name (John) only. This is also true for classmates used as sources.

 

[Here's the entry in the works cited section:] Smith, John A. _The Psychology of Shopping: Case Studies_. New York: Holt, 2003. [Note that the underscore symbols are used at both ends of the title to indicate underline through the entire title. The alternative to these bookend symbols is complete underlining (The Psychology of Shopping: Case Studies) of the title or italics (The Psychology of Shopping: Case Studies). The choice is yours; the key, however, is to be consistent throughout the paper. The advantage of the bookends is that they show up in text-only drafts and don't disappear when sent via text-only email.]

 

9. Incorporating a quote from a newspaper article

 

Here's an example of how to include a quote from a newspaper article:

 

Michelle Wie demonstrated a sense of humor as well as tremendous athletic skill when she said, "Making birdie on the last hole made my lunch taste a lot better" (Gola).

 

Here's the works cited entry:

 

Gola, Hank. "Wie One Shot Off U.S. Women's Open Lead." New York Daily News. _Honolulu Advertiser_1 July 2006. 1 July 2006

<http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060701/SPORTS09/607010327/1032>.

 

10. Additional tips for constructing your MLA works cited list

 

1. Note that we're using the MLA style sheet -- not APA.

 

2. For papers submitted online (e.g., via WebCT discussion or mail), the works cited section doesn't need to be on a separate page; instead, it should follow the last paragraph of your paper.

 

3. The header, Works Cited, should not be followed by a colon.

 

4. Remember that every entry on the list must end with a final period.

 

5. Be sure to arrange the entries in alphabetical order. (Don't number the entries.)

 

6. In nearly all cases, the period is inserted within the closing quote.

 

7. In works cited entries, the p in "Online posting" is lower-case; so is the i  in "Personal interview."

 

8. You must use correct upper- and lower-case characters in titles. As a rule, the initial letters of all words are capitalized, except for articles (e.g., the, a, an), conjunctions (e.g., and, or), and prepositions (e.g., of, for from, with, in, at). Articles, conjunctions, and prepositions are capitalized, however, when they begin a title, e.g., "The Winds of Change."

 

9. For papers submitted online, hanging indentation should be avoided. Also, use single-spacing within entries and double-spacing between entries.

 

10. For online references, be sure to include the date you accessed the site as well as the URL.

 

11. For titles of newspapers, magazines, journals, and books, you have the option to use underscore markers before and after the title (as in the example above), italics, or regular underscore. I recommend the _before and after_ since they don't disappear when transported across different word processors and email. Also note that for drafts that are to be exchanged across multiple Internet media, works cited entries are neither indented (hanging or normal) nor double-spaced.]

 

For more detailed information about MLA, see the documents on our class webpage under "MLA Guidelines." Also review the appropriate sections in our class textbook.