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The Modern Language Association is a globally recognized professional association for language scholars. Based in the US, the MLA was founded in 1883 and acts as a hub for language & literature professionals to exchange ideas, collaborate, and contribute to the domain’s advancement.
The Modern Language Association citation style is the native referencing format of the organization. Extremely popular and used across all domains in humanities, it formats in-text citations using parentheses. And a separate works-cited page lists all the sources referenced. Like all its counterparts, MLA citations ensure validity and credibility and prevent plagiarism.
If you must work with the MLA style, read this article thoroughly. It offers a quick but precisely detailed overview of the MLA referencing style.
The MLA style appears in diverse write-ups across several domains. It is currently in its ninth edition, which came out in 2021. The ninth edition eases many rigid rules and presents flexible guiding principles instead. Current instructions are universally applicable as they follow the document process and structure. This allows easy citing once one learns all the rules.
Citations can take up a lot of time. The best way to speed them up is to be proactive and note all vital metadata early. As you shortlist the best sources for your task, list core data like à
Note the punctuation marks after every element. The same marks find a place in the reference list entries. As for in-text citations in MLA, they come in parenthetical and narrative formats. In both cases, you need to mention the surname of the first writer and the page number referenced.
Now, we know citations help counter plagiarism. They also boost a document’s overall credibility. But what is so special about the MLA style? Why is it the chosen format in arts and humanities?
The next section clarifies.
The Modern Language Association is the foremost association of language and literature professionals in the USA. It has more than 25000 members from 100+ countries. Scholars, researchers, professors, graduates & post-graduates contribute to the domain through research, discussions, conventions, and the like.
The prestige of this professional organization, alongside its undertakings, and achievements, make it highly influential worldwide. The formatting., structure, and presentation in MLA papers and journals have become global standards in the domain—no wonder the MLA paper formatting and referencing styles are popular across colleges and universities worldwide.
You can use it for citation in an essay, a thesis, or even a presentation. There is no limit to the kind of task for which it can be used.
Referencing is vital in any writing. It allows you to acknowledge and give credit where it is due. Any idea or information you borrow or get inspired by needs to be cited – that is the basic courtesy and ethical consideration. Without proper referencing, you might be accused of plagiarism. Intentionally or unintentionally, plagiarism affects reputation and can result in severe penalties.
At the same time, citations boost the credibility and quality of a work. The audience finds out the breadth and depth of your research. Proper referencing is also crucial for further research. Authors trace the origin and development of an idea and concept by locating sources.
There are three primary ways to counter plagiarism while writing à paraphrasing, quoting, and summarizing. The MLA style rules have provisions for supporting them all.
Now, let us dive deeply into all the different in-text citation rules.
For any style, in-text citations need to be clear and simple. They must not be hard to read but direct readers toward the right sources. In-text tags point readers to the correct works cited entry. Thus, they must contain the first elements in the entries. For the MLA style, they are the first author’s surname. Page numbers are the other vital part.
So, how to write in-text citations in MLA?
MLA in-text citations come in two forms- parenthetical and narrative. Parenthetical tags come enclosed in parentheses. And, if you used the author’s name in a sentence, that is a narrative citation.
Go through the quick rules to MLA citations along with examples à
Narrative: Nick Caboose, a post-grad researcher, uncovered new data through his studies.
Parenthetical: A post-graduate researcher uncovered new data through his studies. (Caboose)
Works Cited: Caboose Nick. “Unearthing hidden data: Case of the Evaporating Black Hole” UCLA, vol. 125, no. 2, Feb 2014, pp. 139-200
You can also add line numbers or time stamps per the source’s nature.
Now, let’s look at how to write in-text citations for different sources and situations.
You can do so even if there is just a single quotation.
You can also place a single parenthesis at the end of the paragraph with respective page numbers.
Add the section’s title after the surname or primary title to specify a specific web page section.
Blogs do not have any page numbers, sections, or headings. Add them as per the rules of printed sources if necessary.
Though it is best to add primary data, sometimes there is no choice. If so, you need to cite the source through the secondary source. Here is an example à
Bones (qtd. in Wight 89) stated that the research could not confirm the proposed hypothesis.
Ron stated that “the research process provided ample proof of the hypothesis proposed” (qtd. in John 89).
In such cases, there is no need to mention author names repeatedly. Mention the different source names. Add page, section, etc., numbers if needed.
Add in the DD/MM/YY format at the end of the entry in the works cited section. If there is no date anywhere, leave it.
For the short ones, enclose the quote within quotation marks. Then cite the source at the end.
For long quotes, use the block format. Indent all lines of the block quote by half an inch. Do not enclose block quotes within marks. Use citations in brackets after the block quote.
How to do MLA citations in the essay? Here’s an example:
(Author Surname, Page number).
And, for the works cited entry:
Last, First M. “Essay Title.” Container Title, edited by First M. Last, Publisher, year published, page numbers. Website Title, URL (if applicable).
If you can’t wrap your head around all the rules above or lack time, use the MyAssignmenthelp.com quick MLA citation generator. It delivers flawless citations as well as a complete reference list.
Now let us look at the works cited section.
Creating the works cited list is not that hard. Accuracy and completeness are vital. Add complete data about a source to aid readers. Below are the key parts of the entries.
Notice the punctuation and the formatting above. Follow them when writing the entries. As for designing the page, here are some tips.
We wrap things up with a look at the rules for manuscript formatting.
Besides referencing, the MLA style also defines rules for formatting your paper. Here are the most important points.
Leave one-inch margins on all sides of the page.
Select a common font style such as Calibri or Times New Roman. The font size must be 12. Double-space all words.
Add your name, the name of your professor/ supervisor, the course name, and the date. Double-space all words. Enter everything in separate lines.
Well, that’s a wrap for this guide to MLA formatting. I hope it was a good and informative read for everyone.
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