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How should I format math equations in my paper?

For guidance on formatting mathematical expressions, we defer to our colleagues at The Chicago Manual of Style (“Mathematics”). For guidance on citing mathematical theories, see our post.
Work Cited
“Mathematics in Type.” The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., sec. 12, U of Chicago P, 2017,

Published 9 August 2019

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 orphaned words and widowed lines?

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).
Most publishers avoid widows, usually defined as a short line at the top of a page, but the MLA goes further: we don’t allow a line by itself —even a full line—at the top or bottom of a page.  . . .

Published 22 March 2019

If I paraphrase information from a source and then refer to that information again later in my paper, do I need to credit the source again?

If you paraphrase information from a source and cite that source appropriately, you do not need to cite subsequent references to that information. For example, if you are writing an essay about outer space, and you cite an article saying that there are about twenty thousand man-made objects orbiting the Earth (Witze), you do not need to cite the same source if you reintroduce that figure.
Work Cited
Witze, Alexandra. “The Quest to Conquer Earth’s Space Junk Problem.” Scientific American, 8 Sept. 2018,
article/ the-quest-to-conquer-earths-space-junk-problem/.

Published 12 February 2019

How do I show the blank space between stanzas when quoting from a poem?

Use a single line space to separate stanzas of poetry, as in this excerpt from Felicia Hemans’s “The Image in Lava”:

Thou thing of years departed!
What ages have gone by,
Since here the mournful seal was set
By love and agony!
Temple and tower have mouldered,
Empires from earth have passed
And woman’s heart hath left a trace
Those glories to outlast!
And childhood’s fragile image
Thus fearfully enshrined,
Survives the proud memorials reared
By conquerors of mankind. (lines 1–12)

When quoting poetry in your prose (i.e., when quoting three lines or fewer), use a double slash to indicate a stanza break, . . .

Published 31 January 2019

What is the advantage of MLA-style date format over the format recommended by the International Standards Organization (ISO)?

The International Standards Organization recommends writing dates with numerals in year-month-day format (e.g., 2018-10-24) because it is useful when people need to convey information across international borders about such practical matters as “[o]rganizing meetings and deliveries, writing contracts and buying airplane tickets” (“Date and Time Format”). The MLA Handbook, in contrast, recommends the more humanistic approach of spelling out the month and using either the day-month-year format (e.g., 24 October 2018) or the month-day-year format (e.g., October 24, 2018) in prose because MLA style was devised for writers of research papers in the humanities (94). 
Works Cited
“Date and Time Format—ISO 8601.”  . . .

Published 23 January 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.
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

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