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How do I cite a magazine cover in my works-cited list and in my essay?

To cite the cover of a magazine, you can generally create a works-cited-list entry for the issue of the magazine and then key your in-text reference to the first element of the entry: 

The most recent issue of The Nation features on its cover an image of a donkey with the top of the Capitol building on its back.
Work Cited
The Nation. 17-24 Dec. 2018,

If you discuss a cover image in detail and wish to credit the artist, you could provide the artist’s full name at first mention in your prose or the artist’s last name in parentheses and list the entry under the artist’s name.  . . .

Published 19 April 2019

How do I cite a work by an author with a Dutch name that includes the word van?

Particles in Dutch surnames—such as van, van den, van der, de, and ter—are lowercased in prose when the whole name is given:

Joost van der Berg plans to challenge Kaatje de Vries in the municipal council election.

When using only the last name, capitalize the particle:

Today the Volkskrant reported that De Vries would not seek a third term. The campaign office of Van der Berg could not be reached for a comment.

In an index or works-cited list, alphabetize a Dutch name by the main part of the last name and place the lowercased particle after the first name:

Berg, . . .

Published 15 April 2019

How do I cite a handbook or adventure module for a tabletop role-playing game such as Dungeons and Dragons?

If you are citing a published handbook or adventure module for a tabletop role-playing game such as Dungeons and Dragons, treat the work as you would any other book in MLA style and follow the MLA format template. Some published handbooks or adventures may be produced by many people playing various roles, so if your discussion of such a work does not focus on an individual’s contribution to the volume, begin the entry with the title of the work.

Player’s Handbook. Wizards of the Coast, 2014.
Storm King’s Thunder. Wizards of the Coast, . . .

Published 5 April 2019

My paper is included in conference proceedings. If I refer to other papers included in the proceedings, do I need to create works-cited-list entries?

No. You do not need to document the other papers, but you should make clear in your prose that the other papers are included in the proceedings (e.g., “In an essay on Toni Morrison in these proceedings, Barbara Anderson writes . . .”). You may provide the page number or numbers of the passages you are citing if the publisher permits, but such information is not required.

Published 4 March 2019

If I am citing a manuscript that displays page numbers on some pages but not on others, how do I handle my in-text citations?

As noted in the MLA Handbook, “When a source has no page numbers or any other kind of part number, no number should be given in a parenthetical citation. Do not count unnumbered paragraphs or other parts” (56).
The same principle should generally be applied when you cite sources that inconsistently supply page numbers: do not count pages to supply missing information. So if a work you are citing displays page numbers in some sections but not others, cite page numbers when they appear, and omit them when they do not. Then at first mention of the work in your paper, . . .

Published 28 February 2019

How do I create an in-text citation for a note or marginalia by an editor or translator in a work listed under the author’s name?

If you are citing an editor’s or translator’s note for a work listed under the author’s name, create a works-cited-list entry for the work as a whole and key your in-text citation to the first element of the entry—that is, the author’s name. In your prose, make clear that you are referring to a comment by the editor or translator:

Zola’s translator explains that the name of the town Le Voreux “suggests the ‘voracious’ nature of the mine” (533n2).
Work Cited
Zola, Émile. Germinal. Translated by Roger Pearson, Penguin Books, 2004.

If the notes are not numbered (e.g., if they are set as footnotes indicated by symbols or appear in a headnote or marginalia), . . .

Published 21 February 2019

How do I make clear that a paraphrase is on the same page as a quotation I’ve given in the previous sentence?

The MLA Handbook (3.5) provides techniques for making citations more concise when a source is used more than once in succession. But it notes that you should “[a]lways give your citations in full . . . if these techniques would create ambiguity about your sources” (124). Thus, if you need to make clear that a paraphrase is on the same page as a quotation in a previous sentence, repeat the page number in parentheses after the paraphrase, as shown in the following example:

Hilma af Klint’s art explores “the invisible relationships that shape our world” (Müller-Westermann 7). This focus is not surprising, . . .

Published 18 February 2019

How do I cite a GIF?

How you cite a GIF depends on where it appears. If the GIF is part of a larger work, cite the work and refer to the GIF in your prose. As always, key your in-text citation to the first element of the works-cited-list entry:

In a BuzzFeed post on aging, a pair of GIFs demonstrates how much easier it is to lose weight in one’s early twenties than in one’s late twenties (Misener). 
Work Cited
Misener, Jessica. “Life in Your Early Twenties vs. Your Late Twenties.” BuzzFeed, 8 Apr. 2013,

If the GIF is included as an illustration in your essay, . . .

Published 24 January 2019

Should et al. be italicized in MLA style?

Only italicize et al., meaning “and others,” if it is referred to as a term, as the examples in this sentence and the question above show. In parenthetical citations and works-cited-list entries, the abbreviation should be set roman, as shown in the MLA Handbook (116, 22):

(Burdick et al. 42)
Burdick, Anne, et al. Digital_Humanities. MIT P, 2012.

Work Cited
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

Published 17 January 2019

How do I cite measures from a musical score?

Measure numbers can point readers to the pertinent section of a source more precisely than page numbers:

Mozart supplies a gently rocking melody for Figaro and Susanna’s private reconciliation (measures 275-93).
Work Cited
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro). Dover Publications, 1979.

If you cite measures repeatedly in your work, identify them using the abbreviation “mm” listed in Merriam-Webster:

Mozart supplies a gently rocking melody for Figaro and Susanna’s private reconciliation (mm. 275-93) but sets the Count’s public repentance and his wife’s sublime forgiveness more grandly (mm. 420-30). 

  . . .

Published 10 January 2019

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