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What is the difference between source lists titled “Works Cited,” “Bibliography,” and “References”?

As the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook explains, “the list titled ‘Works Cited’ identifies the sources you borrow from—and therefore cite—in the body of your research project” (20).  If you wish to list additional works and your instructor has no objection, create a separate list titled “Works Consulted.” 
Previous editions of the handbook observed that source lists sometimes have other titles. The seventh edition, for example, explained that “[o]ther names for such a listing are Bibliography (literally, ‘description of books’) and Literature Cited” but noted that “Works Cited is most appropriate,

Published 17 May 2019

How does the MLA handle an orphaned word?

In our publications, we prefer to avoid an orphan—a word alone on a line or at the end of a paragraph—if the word, including any punctuation, is fewer than five characters (e.g., too.). We also prefer to avoid part of a word on a line by itself (e.g., sighted, if the full word is farsighted). An exception is made if Merriam-Webster includes the hyphen in the word (e.g., far-fetched).
In general, student writers and scholars submitting manuscripts for publication need not be concerned about orphaned words since publishers,

Published 22 March 2019

How do I format an appendix and style its heads?

There are many possible ways to format an appendix. A rule of thumb is to let the content guide the choice of format. Types of appendix content include the following: prose explanations that supplement the main text, numbered and unnumbered lists, bibliographies and suggestions for further reading, samples of questionnaires and surveys, and charts and tables.
Prose
An appendix that consists mainly of prose requires no special formatting. Use paragraphs, as in your main text, and consider adding titled subheads if the appendix is long.

Appendix 1: An Introduction to the Language of the C Text
The language in the C text of William Langland’s Piers Plowman can be strikingly different from present-day English and even from Chaucer’s English.

Published 20 December 2018

Does the MLA offer guidance for outlines?

The MLA has never offered guidance on formatting outlines. The seventh edition of the handbook notes that there are many types of outlines and that if you are required to include one with your paper, “your instructor will probably discuss the various forms of outline and tell you which to use” (44).
Work Cited
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2009.

Published 7 August 2018

When creating a sortable list of alphabetized titles, where should the initial article be placed?

In an index or sortable list of titles, MLA style follows the The Chicago Manual of Style, which recommends placing initial articles at the end of the full title (16.51). A Tale of Two Cities would appear as Tale of Two Cities, A. Note that titles in indexes do not include subtitles unless they are “essential for identification” (16.55). If a subtitle is included, the initial article should be placed at the end of the full title, not before the subtitle. 
In both indexes and works-cited lists, MLA style uses letter-by-letter alphabetization (MLA Handbook 2.7.1.). 

Published 24 July 2018

How should I style ellipses in MLA style?

The MLA Handbook explains that you should “[i]dentify an omission within a sentence by using three periods with a space before each and a space after the last ( . . . )” (81). Note, however, that if you use Microsoft Word’s ellipsis character, the periods will not be spaced, and if you try to insert three periods with spaces, Word will change them to an ellipsis without spaces. To turn off that feature, go to File, then Options, then Proofing, then click the AutoCorrect Options button. Select the AutoCorrect tab. You can then uncheck the “Replace text as you type”

Published 10 May 2018

How do I format a thesis or dissertation in MLA style?

The MLA Handbook does not provide guidelines for formatting a thesis or dissertation—or for preparing the parts of such a project, like a preface, dedication, or acknowledgments page—because most schools maintain their own formatting requirements. Although the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, out of print since 2016, summarized some of these requirements, it did so only in a very general way. 

Writers of theses and dissertations should follow any guidelines their schools provide. If a school does not provide such guidelines, a successfully defended dissertation in the writer’s department might provide an example to follow.

Published 1 May 2018

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