Q:

How do you do MLA citations?

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Quick Answer

Citing sources in accordance with the Modern Language Association Style Manual requires both parenthetical in-text citations and a full and detailed list of references at the end of the paper. In-text citations should be brief, typically including only the author's name and relevant page numbers, while the reference list should provide more details on these, such as the title, date, place and publisher of each source.

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Full Answer

In-text citations are placed within brackets or parentheses within the same clause of a sentence, before punctuation marks designating a natural pause, as the writer's actual reference to each source. For example, when pointing out that another writer has made a similar point, the student should write, "This concern has been expressed elsewhere (Dover 118-21)." In this example, "Dover" is the author's name and "118-21" refers to the relevant page numbers.

The full references list should be alphabetically ordered by the surnames of their authors or, when the author is not known, by the title. Multiple publishers may be listed, divided by a semicolon, but publishers' names should always be shortened by removing any words unnecessary for identification such as "Press," "Co." and "Inc." Only the first city given for a publisher needs to be included in a full citation.

The first line of each entry in the list should be indented by five to seven spaces.

The template for a full citation is as follows, with the title of the book italicized: Last name, First name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.

Well-known historical documents, such as the United States Constitution, do not need to be referenced.

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