In our publications, we allow either September 11 or 9/11. Whichever form is chosen must be used consistently throughout a work.
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In MLA style, when you cite a summary of a work, you should generally mention the name of the work you are summarizing and its author in your prose and include the work in your works-cited list. The author’s name in your prose will direct the reader to the works-cited-list entry. Page numbers are not normally needed, since you are discussing the work as a whole rather than quoting or paraphrasing a passage from it:
In Obedience to Authority, Stanley Milgram argues that people who are normally kind to others will act otherwise when they are under the influence of a person in a position of power. He recounts the results of an experiment in which people who were asked to deliver electric shocks to others not only agreed to do so but also continued to do so even when it was clear that those receiving the shocks were in pain. Milgram concludes that the further down the chain of command people are, the less likely they are to take responsibility for their actions.
Stanley, Milgram. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. Harper Perennial, 2009.
If I am defining in my paper specialized terminology that I learned in class, do I need to cite a source?Answer
No. Specialized terminology learned in a class can be considered a kind of common knowledge in the context of an essay written for that class, so a works-cited-list entry is not needed. You can read more from the Style Center about what kinds of information do not require entries in works-cited lists.
How should I style my parenthetical citation the first time I quote lines from a poem if I have not mentioned the author’s name in my prose?Answer
The MLA Handbook explains that if you are citing line numbers instead of page numbers in your parenthetical citation, you should “in your first citation, use the word line or lines” before the line numbers, “and then, having established that the numbers designate lines, give the numbers alone” (121):
According to the narrator of Felicia Hemans’s poem, the emerging prisoners “had learn’d, in cells of secret gloom, / How sunshine is forgotten!” (lines 131-32).
If you do not mention the author’s name in your prose, include it in the parenthetical citation and separate the name from the word line or lines with a comma:
According to the narrator of the poem, the emerging prisoners “had learn’d, in cells of secret gloom, / How sunshine is forgotten!” (Hemans, lines 131-32).
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
In general, the MLA follows The Chicago Manual of Style for the capitalization of professional titles (“Titles”).
Thus, we capitalize a professional title when it is used before a person’s last name (e.g., President Smith), but we lowercase the title when it is used after the name (e.g., Jane Smith, the president of Cleopatra College, spoke at the ceremony) or instead of the name (e.g., The president of Cleopatra College spoke at the ceremony). In some materials, such as programs and invitations, we sometimes make an exception and capitalize a professional title when it is used as an adjective before the name (e.g., Cleopatra College President Jane Smith).
When you are styling professional titles, we recommend that you strive for consistency and keep a style sheet that lists any exceptions.
“Titles and Offices—the General Rule.” The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., sec. 8.19, U of Chicago P, 2017, www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/book/ed17/
If I have a work by one author and a work by that author and coauthors in my works-cited-list, how do I order my entries?Answer
A work by one author should be listed before a work by that author and a coauthor.
Rappaport, Joanne. The Disappearing Mestizo: Configuring Difference in the Colonial Kingdom of Granada. Duke UP, 2014.
Rappaport, Joanne, and Tom Cummins. Beyond the Lettered City: Indigenous Literacies in the Andes. Duke UP, 2012.
If there is more than one coauthored work by that author in the list of works cited, list the entries alphabetically by the last name of the coauthor.
Ender, Evelyne, and Serafina Lawrence. “Inside a Red Cover: Proust and the Art of the Book.” Proust and the Arts, edited by Christie McDonald and François Proulx, Cambridge UP, 2015, pp. 191–212.
Ender, Evelyne, and Deidre Shauna Lynch. “On ‘Learning to Read.’” Guest column. PMLA, vol. 130, no. 3, May 2015, pp. 539–45.
If there is a work by an author and one coauthor and another work by that author and more than one coauthor, list the entries alphabetically by title.
Martinsen, Rob A., and Scott M. Alvord. “On the Relationship between L2 Pronunciation and Culture.” Spanish in Context, vol. 9, no. 3, 2012, pp. 443–65.
Martinsen, Rob A., et al. “Perceived Foreign Accent: Extended Stays Abroad, Level of Instruction, and Motivation.” Foreign Language Annals, vol. 47, no. 1, 2014, pp. 66–78.
You should provide citations for each encyclopedia entry that you use in your essay. A good example is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia. You would cite each article from Wikipedia separately, even though they come from the same source. A sentence in your essay might read as follows:
According to Wikipedia, an encyclopedia “is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge from either all branches or from a particular field or discipline” (“Encyclopedia”).
“Encyclopedia.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Dec. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclopedia.
Create a separate works-cited-list entry for each part of a serialized article or for each article published in a series, following the MLA format template. You may include the name of the series, if known, at the end of entries for articles published in a series.
An article published in two parts:
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. “Epistemology of the Closet.” Raritan, vol. 7, no. 4, Spring 1988, pp. 36–69.
---.“Epistemology of the Closet (II).” Raritan, vol. 8, no. 1, Summer 1988, pp. 102–30.
An article published as part of a series:
Glatter, Hayley, et al. “When Homework Is Useless.” The Atlantic, 31 Aug. 2016, www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/08/
homework-who-needs-it/497966/. Educational Eden: Imagining the Ideal School System.
Glatter, Hayley, et al. “Reimagining the Modern Classroom.” The Atlantic, 2 Sept. 2016, www.theatlantic.com/education/
archive/2016/09/ reimagining-the-modern-classroom/498224/. Educational Eden: Imagining the Ideal School System.
Since course packs may be cited more than one way, students should ask their instructors what to do, and instructors should indicate their preferred citation method. Below are recommendations for instructors and recommendations for students who are unable to get their instructors’ guidance.
Recommendations for Instructors
When assigning material from a course pack, you should decide whether students should cite the course pack or the original source of the work. Either way, the work should be cited according to the MLA format template.
Say, for example, that an instructor named Anne Smith has asked her students to treat her course pack as the source for Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” The students would list the author of the story in the “Author” slot and the title of the story in the “Title of source” slot. They would then list a description of the course pack in the “Title of container” slot, Anne Smith’s name in the “Other contributors” slot (since Smith compiled the course pack), the date of the course pack, and its location:
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Course pack for English 285: American Short Story Writers, compiled by Anne Smith, Spring 2015, Iowa State U.
Instructing students to cite the course pack will teach them how to cite the particular version of the work they are consulting, but you might consider having your students cite the original source of the work so that they can practice documenting real-world rather than classroom sources.
Recommendations for Students
If you are unable to get guidance on how to cite course-pack material, assume your instructor wants you to cite the original source of the material. So, for example, if your instructor assigned “The Lottery” from a course pack and indicated that the story was published in the collection “The Lottery” and Other Stories by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2005, you would cite the story as follows:
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” “The Lottery” and Other Stories, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005, pp. 291-302.
You can use a comma or a dash to connect these pairs of sentences, but writing them separately is not incorrect. It is looked upon by some as informal.
He started a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. And that was the end of him.
He started a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. But his wife didn’t leave him.
He started a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. Or perhaps he only dreamed that he did, because the kale was spoiled.
Does OK mean grammatical or stylistically acceptable? This statement from an Oxford Dictionaries blog addresses the question:
[T]his is a stylistic preference rather than a grammatical “rule.” If your teachers or your organization are inflexible about this issue, then you should respect their opinion, but ultimately, it’s just a point of view and you’re not being ungrammatical. If you want to defend your position, you can say that it’s particularly useful to start a sentence with these conjunctions if you’re aiming to create a dramatic or forceful effect. (“Can You”)
“Can You Start a Sentence with a Conjunction?” Oxford Dictionaries Blog, Oxford UP, 2019, blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/01/05/can-i-start-a-sentence-with-a-conjunction/.