Cite a sample student paper published on a Web site the same way you would cite any online publication. Follow the MLA format template. List the name of the paper’s author—that is, the student’s name—in the Author element. Then list the title of the paper, the name of the Web site as the title of the container, and the publication details. For clarity, you could list the format of the paper (e.g., “PDF download”) as an optional element at the end of the entry:
Matthias, Meg. “Prescriptions of (Living) Historical Happiness: Gendered Performance and Racial Comfort in Reenactment.” The MLA Style Center, Modern Language Association of America, 2020, style.mla.org/sample-papers/. PDF download.
Cite a slide presentation uploaded by an instructor to a learning management system the same way you would cite any material posted to a Web site. Follow the MLA format template.
List the author of the presentation and the presentation’s title. Then list the name of the learning management system as the container, followed by the publication details. For clarity, you may list the format as an optional element at the end of the entry:
Carson, Sandy. Introduction to Digital Humanities. Blackboard, uploaded by Carson, 20 Oct. 2019, blackboard.ucla.edu/. PowerPoint presentation.
In the example above, the instructor—Sandy Carson—both created the presentation and uploaded it to Blackboard. Since her full name is given in the Author element, only her last name is given in the Contributor element.
How you cite a commercial depends on where you found it. As always, follow the MLA format template.
Let’s say you are citing a commercial you saw on television. Begin with a description of the commercial in the Title of Source element, then list the television station where it appeared in the Title of Container element, followed by the date:
When you cite a review of a performance, provide the details for the review, not the performance. As always, follow the MLA format template. List the name of the review, the title of the review or a description in place of a title. Then provide the publication details for the review, as shown in the following example:
Note that although the review in the above example notes the location and date of the performance (Joyce Theater, New York, 9 Oct. 2019), these details are not included in the entry because the review, not the performance, is cited. If the details of the performance are important for your reader to know, provide them in the body of your paper or in a note.
When you need to list more than one item in an element, separate the items with commas. Thus, if you need to provide two original publication dates in the middle optional-element slot, as you might if you are citing two works combined in one volume, list them as shown in the following example:
Coolidge, Susan. What Katy Did at School and What Katy Did Next. 1873, 1886. Wordsworth Editions, 2001.
In prose and works-cited-list entries, the first and last names of authors should begin with a capital letter. All other letters should be lowercase.
Let’s say, for example, that your source shows the following:
In your prose, you would write this name as “Smaranda Ştefanovici.” In your works-cited-list entry, you would write the name as “Ştefanovici, Smaranda.”
Note that in our publications, we standardize the capitalization of the name of the poet E. E. Cummings, even though his name is sometimes written as e. e. cummings, because the lowercase version was a styling decision made by his publishers, and the poet signed his name in various ways (“E. E. Cummings”). Some authors lowercase the name bell hooks for ideological reasons. In that situation, we defer to the authors and style the name lowercase.
“E. E. Cummings American Poet.” Enyclopaedia Britannica, 10 Oct. 2019, www.britannica.com/biography/E-E-Cummings.
In our books, we follow our colleagues at The Chicago Manual of Stylefor note numbers and symbols in titles: “In books, a note number should never appear within or at the end of a chapter title. A note that applies to an entire chapter should be unnumbered and is preferably placed at the foot of the first page of the chapter, preceding any numbered notes” (“Note Numbers”).
In our periodicals, we avoid note numbers and asterisks in article titles and use an unnumbered note for commentary that applies to the entire article.
“Note Numbers with Chapter and Article Titles and Subheads.” The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., sec. 14.27, U of Chicago P, 2017, www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/book/ed17/part3/ch14/psec027.html.
Yes. The MLA Handbook (sec. 1.1.2) provides the following guidance about titles in authors’ names: “If the name of the author of a source you consulted is given in the source with a title—such as Dr., Saint, or Sir—generally omit the title in the works-cited list.” But this guidance does not apply to pseudonyms like Dr. Seuss, which may be treated as a unit and cited as follows:
Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss, opens with the following famous first line: “I am Sam. Sam I am. Do you like green eggs and ham?”
Dr. Seuss. Green Eggs and Ham. E-book, Random House, 1960.
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
Unless a place name is at the end of a sentence and followed by sentence-ending punctuation, whenever you list a city and a state or a city and a country, place commas around the state or the country. The rule applies even when the country or state name is abbreviated. These principles are exemplified in the following sentences:
I am from New Hope, Pennsylvania, a small town in the eastern part of the state.
I am from New Hope, PA, a small town in the eastern part of the state.
We are from Manchester, England, in the northern part of the country.
We are from Manchester, UK, in the northern part of the country.
I live in Los Angeles, California.
I live in Los Angeles, CA.
Think you understand how to use commas with place names? Test your knowledge with our quiz.
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