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Comprehensive Guide on the MLA Citation Format Application

MLA Citation Format: Rules for Quotation and List of References

The MLA citation format is often applied when drawing up scientific papers and citing various original sources in the field of humanities. It was designed for the usage in English philology, for the study of other modern languages or literature, including comparative analysis, literary criticism, media studies, culturology, related disciplines. The basic aim of the MLA citation format is to be concise and represent only the necessary amount of details for the identification of the cited material and the location of particular info in work.

Peculiarities of In-Text Citation 

The MLA citation format specifies that the reference in the text should include data about the creator of the scientific publication (article, research paper, book, etc.) from which the excerpt is borrowed. In some cases, the originator may be unknown, so the surname of the compiler, the editor, or the general title of a source can be specified. Be sure to specify the page from which the fragment is taken.

Paraphrase

The retelling of someone’s thoughts, the content of a scientific paper is called a paraphrase. This reference is usually not enclosed in quotation marks. In accordance with the rules of arranging a paraphrase, the second name of an originator can be mentioned in the sentence, and the page interval – at the end of the text fragment in parentheses:

According to Slawski, women’s hats, in contrast to men’s, are distinguished by their diversity, richness of forms, different types of decoration (159).

It is also allowed to place the scholar’s name in parentheses after the paraphrase together with the number of a page:

Women’s hats, in contrast to men’s, are distinguished by their diversity, richness of forms, different types of decoration (Slawski 159).

In the two cases considered, the paraphrase quotation is correct. The links designate that the borrowed information is placed on page 159 of a scientific work authored by Slawski. A complete bibliographic description of the source is illustrated in the bibliography.

Citation Inside the Line

As it is indicated in the MLA citation format, the quote inside the line is usually taken in quotation marks. If the cognomen is designated in the sentence, the page is specified in parentheses after the quotation:

James mentions that a characteristic feature of physical education of junior schoolchildren in the process of extracurricular activities is “the diversity of its forms” (77).

The writer’s name can also be given in parentheses after the quote. Intermediate punctuation marks (commas, dashes) are not used:

A characteristic feature of the physical education of junior schoolchildren in the process of extracurricular activities is “the diversity of its forms” (James 77).

Blockquote

As it is known, a quote that contains 3 or more lines of text is called a blockquote. According to the rules of the MLA citation format, it should start with a new line from the paragraph. Quotation marks do not need to be used. Do not forget to put a dot at the end of the quote and indicate the source in parentheses.

The following is an example of a blockquote:

“Art without an author” can be called one of the main conceptual components of socialist realism, at each stage of which (in the 1930s, 1940s – early 1950s and in the 1960s – the first half of the 1980s), despite a certain gradual liberalization of the ideological system and the ‘rehabilitation’ of ‘forbidden’ phenomena, the very denial of open authorial self-manifestation, the individuality of the artist remained constant and virtually unchanged. (Groys 89-91)

The number of pages should be reduced in cases when it is possible. For example, if the citation is placed on pages 131-134, the link indicates 131-4.

Link to the Material Created by Several Writers 

As it is noted in the MLA citation format, the specifics of the design of an in-text link to the paper, which is created by several authors, depends entirely on their quantity. Thus, if the authors are 2 or 3, the link demonstrates all surnames through a comma. The word “and” is written before the last cognomen. Consider several examples:

Ancient Egyptian mathematics operated with specific recalculations: “… all actions in Egyptian mathematics are essentially reduced to addition” (Abramson, Albertson 51).

Organizational culture is a set of basic values that are recognized and accepted by all (ideally) employees and that “form the ‘face’ of the organization in certain coordinates” (Babcock, Macey, and Nash 79). 

Babcock, Macey, and Nash mentioned that organizational culture is a set of basic values that are recognized and accepted by all (ideally) employees and that “form the ‘face’ of the organization in certain coordinates” (79).

If there are 4 or more scientists, the link illustrates only the surname of the one author, followed by “et al”. For example:

The culture of labor consists of both “internal and external factors, which are formed by the organization, providing conditions and means of labor” (Miln et al. 171).

Miln et al. indicate that the culture of labor consists of both “internal and external factors, which are formed by the organization, providing conditions and means of labor” (171).

References to the Papers of Authors with the Same Surnames

Sometimes there are situations when you need to make a reference to the works of scholars with the same surname. Then their initials should be indicated. If they also match, it will be appropriate to write the full name. The example is represented below:

If in the periodization scheme of development of world fundamental science its significant events and facts have a purely ideological nature, in particular, physical in physics (Parson 9), then in the national – socio-political, and periodization is built in a system of socio-political and economic coordinates (Parson 9).

Links to Several Works by One Author

If you have to cite several works by the same scientist in the text, it will be appropriate to indicate the abbreviated title of the paper from which the citation is given each time:

A new round of educational development must have proper scientific justification for change (Eddington, Education 79).

Reference to the Material of the Organization

If a certain organization is the author of the cited source, then when making a link, you must specify its name:

The nature and properties, formal structure, and behavioral aspects of an organization depend on its type, hierarchical level, and functional area of activity (Institute of Management 209).

Links to Multivolume Editions

In some cases, you need to quote info from different parts of a multivolume publication. In such a link, the volume number is specified, then the colon is put, and the page interval is represented:

From several definitions of the concept, the following was chosen: “traditions and customs perform their functions on both the material and spiritual levels of human life” (Ford 1: 89).

Links to Internet Resources

If an electronic resource is cited, the name of the writer or title should be provided. In this case, you do not need to specify the number of a page.

As a means of payment, electronic money has significant technical shortcomings (Vance, MONEY). 

Review of Literature List Formatting

The main purpose of the bibliographical list is informative: to illustrate a range of works, on the ideas and results of which a specific study is based, in a format that facilitates the search for these sources. Sufficient data for this is the correct information, including the name of the publication, year, volume, and a number of the page interval.

It is logical and convenient for the reader if the bibliographical description of references is given as it is mentioned in the text. In this regard, the list of references, arranged in alphabetical order, seems a rather convenient tool and is actively used in many MLA publications.

General Requirements for the Design of the Sources Used

The following tips will allow you to correctly compile a bibliographic list in accordance with the MLA citation format:

  • The list of used literature should have the title “Cited works.” It must be placed in the center of the page in the usual font type without quotation marks;
  • Use double line spacing for bibliographic descriptions;
  • Provide descriptions in alphabetical order;
  • There is no need to number sources;
  • In that case, if the description covers two or more lines, the first line must be aligned in width without indents, and subsequent lines – with a paragraph indent.

Rules of Bibliographic Description 

It seems appropriate also to provide short advice on the creating of bibliographic descriptions:

  • The writer’s surname should precede the title of the book;
  • If in addition to the main author there is a compiler, translator or editor, it is also necessary to note his surname;
  • Information about the place of publication, year, as well as the means of publication is indicated after the writer’s cognomen;
  • It is forbidden to abbreviate the titles of magazines and books;
  • If it is not possible to find a current description of the source, you should write “N.p., n.p., n.d.”;
  • If possible, you should shorten the page interval. For example, if the quote is on pages 111-114, the description indicates 111-4;
  • The names of the months in the dates of publication should also be abbreviated in accordance with the language rules of a particular country.

Therefore, arranging the work in accordance with the MLA citation format requires a lot of effort. Try to apply the knowledge you gained in this review in practice, and you will definitely succeed.

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