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How do I handle prefixes such as pre- and post- in MLA style?

MLA style, which follows Merriam-Webster, does not use hyphens after most prefixes. We would write, for example, antiestablishment, coauthor, nonlinear, and prealgebra. A hyphen is needed, however, before a capital letter (pre-Renaissance), when the term would be hard to recognize otherwise (anti-intellectual), and to avoid misreading (the hyphen in re-cover, meaning “cover again,” distinguishes the term from recover, meaning “recuperate”).

Published 18 January 2018

Where do I place an exclamation point or a question mark in relation to a parenthetical reference for a paraphrase?

You should place an exclamation point or a question mark after the parenthetical reference for a paraphrase: Why did Karl Marx say that a commodity is a strange object (47)? Work Cited Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Translated by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling, edited by Frederick Engels, vol. 1, Progress Publishers, 1887, www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/ . . .

Published 19 December 2017

How do I punctuate quoted dialogue from a novel?

How you punctuate quoted dialogue from a novel will depend on what you are quoting and how you are quoting it. See the three most common considerations below. Quoting Dialogue and Text If you are incorporating a quotation featuring both exposition and a character’s speech into your text, use double quotation marks around the quotation and single quotation marks . . .

Published 14 December 2017

If I am quoting the first few words of one line of poetry and the last few words of the next line of poetry, should I use two sets of ellipses with a slash between them?

Yes. Clarity is worth the trouble of more punctuation. Let’s say you quote the following two lines of poetry: He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed, With his name painted clearly on each: To make it clear to readers that you are quoting the beginning of one line and the ending of the next, use ellipses . . .

Published 22 November 2017

Why do periods and commas go inside quotation marks in MLA style?

The MLA Handbook notes, “By convention, commas and periods that directly follow quotations go inside the closing quotation marks” (88). Thus, in the following sentence, the comma is placed after taught: “You’ve got to be carefully taught,” wrote Oscar Hammerstein II. The rule is the same for a list of titles: Julio Cortázar wrote many short stories, including . . .

Published 1 February 2018

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