Should I use a person’s full name in prose if the full name has already appeared in a note or in a parenthetical citation?
The names of persons should be given in full when they first appear in the body text of your essay; subsequent mentions of the person in the body text of your essay should use the person’s surname only. If a name appears in a content note that is referred to before the name’s first mention in the body text, then give the full name in both locations.
In the following example from Elizabeth Coonrod Martínez’s introduction to Teaching Late-Twentieth-Century Mexicana and Chicana Writers, the scholar Tey Diana Rebolledo is introduced first in note 12, the reference for which falls on page 13 in the introduction:
The curandera is an important figure for Mexican and Chicano culture—as both a healer and a spiritual guide—with roots in Indigenous life, and is always significant to small communities.12
The first mention of Rebolledo in the body text of the introduction comes a few pages later, on page 18:
Joysmith’s introduction draws from an essay published by the Chicana scholar Tey Diana Rebolledo . . .
And the text of note 12 itself appears as an endnote to the essay, on page 31:
12 The curandera’s cultural significance is discussed by the Chicana scholar Tey Diana Rebolledo in her critical text Women Singing in the Snow: A Cultural Analysis of Chicana Literature.
If, however, the first mention of a name is in a citation in a note, then treat the name as you would in any in-text citation.
1. See Rebolledo 27 for more on the Texan writer Jovita González de Mireles.
Rebolledo, Tey Diana. Women Singing in the Snow: A Cultural Analysis of Chicana Literature. U of Arizona P, 1995.
When the first appearance of a name occurs in a parenthetical citation in the body text of your essay, then the first subsequent mention of the name in prose should use the full name.
Virginia Woolf’s storytelling is “centrally concerned with the inner life, and finding ways of re-creating that life in narrative” (Briggs ix). As Julia Briggs points out, in her fiction Woolf “encourages her readers to extend their sympathies through the use of the imagination” (x).
Briggs, Julia. Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life. Harcourt, 2005.
Consult sections 7.1 and 7.2 of the MLA Handbook for guidance on composing bibliographic and content notes.
Martínez, Elizabeth Coonrod. Introduction. Teaching Late-Twentieth-Century Mexicana and Chicana Writers, edited by Martínez, Modern Language Association of America, 2021, pp. 1–36.