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When an organization is the author and the publisher of a work, the handbook advises writers to begin the works-cited-list entry with the title of the source. Is it OK to use the organization’s name in a signal phrase or in the in-text citation even though the name does not begin the works-cited-list entry?

No. The text should always key to the list of works cited. You can provide the key in the parenthetical citation or in your text. Below are two acceptable ways to cite the MLA Handbook: According to the Modern Language Association of America, documentation should be useful to readers (MLA Handbook 4). According to the . . .

Published 16 August 2016

When documenting unpublished letters, should the descriptions of the letters that are used in place of a title appear in quotation marks or italics? If I am citing more than one letter written by the same person, how should I distinguish the letters in my in-text citation?

For unpublished letters, provide a generic description in place of the title (see pp. 28–29 of the MLA Handbook); do not enclose the description in quotation marks or italicize it. For example: Benton, Thomas Hart. Letter to Charles Fremont. 22 June 1847. John Charles Fremont Papers, Southwest Museum Library, Los Angeles. Manuscript. ---. Letter to . . .

Published 7 July 2016

I am citing two editions of the same novel. How do I order the entries in the list of works cited, and how do I distinguish the editions in the in-text citation?

Order the entries by the most important unique piece of identifying information. This is usually the date. You can list entries either in chronological order or the reverse as long as you are consistent in a given work: London, Jack. Martin Eden. Macmillan, 1915. ———. Martin Eden. Penguin, 1984. ———. Martin Eden. Modern Library, 2002. . . .

Published 14 June 2016

The rules for positioning a parenthetical citation next to a final period seem different with run-in quotations and block quotations. What is the logic here?

Run-in quotations and block quotations follow the same logic, although the differences in their formats call for differences in punctuation. First, let’s look at a run-in quotation: Virginia Woolf describes the scene vividly: “Everything had come to a standstill. The throb of the motor engines sounded like a pulse irregularly drumming through an entire body” . . .

Published 29 February 2016

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