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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

Should there be a space between a time and a.m. and p.m. in both prose and works-cited-list entries?

Yes. In MLA style, there should always be a space between the time and a.m. and p.m.:

Responding to the MLA Style Center post “Apostrophes,” Doug asked, on 30 March 2018, at 1:16 p.m., whether one should write “Albert Camus’ novel or Albert Camus’s novel.”
Work Cited
Doug. Comment on “Apostrophes: One Mark, Three Ways.” The MLA Style Center, 30 Mar. 2018, 1:16 p.m.,

Published 7 May 2019

How do I style percentages?

The general guideline is to use the percentage symbol with numerals and to use the word percent with spelled-out numbers.
In statistical copy that calls for frequent use of numbers, it’s appropriate to use numerals, and so the percentage symbol would be used, as in the following example, drawn from a report on a census of language enrollments:

Japanese enrollments increased by 3.1%, from 66,771 in 2013 to 68,810 in 2016; Korean enrollments increased by 13.7%, from 12,256 in 2013 to 13,936 in 2016. (Looney and Lusin 3)

In prose that does not make extensive use of numbers, as in the example below, . . .

Published 14 November 2018

How do I style a percentage at the start of a sentence?

Since you should never begin a sentence with a numeral, you should first try to reword the sentence. If you find it unwieldy to reorder your words, spell out the number:

Seventy-six percent of the class barely passed the final, 18% flunked miserably, and 6% burst into tears.

Normally you shouldn’t mix words and numerals, but you can make an exception to avoid having a number at the start of a sentence.

Published 19 April 2018

How do I cite a poem by line numbers if the numbering of the lines begins again at each section?

Provide the section number as well as the line number: 

As Wordsworth writes in his series of sonnets The River Duddon, “Child of the clouds! remote from every taint / Of sordid industry thy lot is cast” (sec. 2, lines 1-2).
Work Cited
Wordsworth, William. Excerpt from The River DuddonMajor British Poets of the Romantic Period, edited by William Heath, Macmillan, 1973, pp. 391-92.

Published 17 April 2018

How do I abbreviate a title for a parenthetical reference if it begins with numbers?

Remember that the goals of parenthetical citation are clarity and concision. Thus, if a title begins with a number–for example:

1066: A New History of the Norman Conquest

use the number as the short title in your parenthetical reference: 

Peter Rex offers a new take on the Norman invasion of England (1066). 
Works Cited
Rex, Peter. The English Resistance: The Underground War against the Normans. Amberley Publishing, 2014. 
. 1066: A New History of the Norman Conquest. Amberley Publishing, 2010.

If the title starts with a date range–for example,  . . .

Published 4 April 2018

How do I style the names of centuries in MLA style?

MLA style spells out the names of centuries in prose and in titles of English-language works, even when the title page uses a numeral:

Queen Victoria ruled England for most of the nineteenth century.
Music of the Twentieth Century

We make an exception and retain the numeral if it precedes an abbreviation in a title:

The Ekopolitan Project: Migrant Histories and Family Genealogies from 19th and 20th c. Lagos

For the titles of foreign-language works, we follow the source. Although the th in English-language ordinal numbers is set on the baseline, the equivalent in French—the abbreviations –e or –ième following numerals—is set superscript:

Manet et le monde du XIXe siècle

  . . .

Published 3 April 2018

Can you use between or from and to with a number range expressed using numerals and an en dash?

You can express a number range using words (“from . . . to”):  

The party will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Or you can use an en dash:

The party will take place 6 p.m.–10 p.m.

But you cannot combine words (“from”) and an en dash to convey a range:

The party will take place from 6 p.m.–10 p.m.

The reason is that the dash does not stand in for “to”; it stands in for “from . . . to.” Thus “from” has nothing completing it.
Here’s another example:

Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four check their phones approximately seventy-four times each day.

Published 14 March 2018

How do I alphabetize a title that starts with a number in my works-cited list?

When you alphabetize your works-cited list, treat numbers in titles as though they were spelled out.
Let’s say, for example, you need to alphabetize entries for George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, along with two entries for lyrics to songs by Radiohead thought to be inspired by Orwell’s novels, “2 + 2 = 5” and “Optimistic.” Treat 1984 as Nineteen Eighty-Four and “2 + 2 = 5” as “Two plus Two Equals Five,” and alphabetize the entries by their titles accordingly:
Orwell, George. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. 1946.

Published 18 October 2016

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