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What percent of a source may I directly quote in my paper?

Writers, including student writers, should quote only what is necessary to make their point. Relying on a percentage to determine what’s necessary is unlikely to be useful. Writers preparing to publish their work should keep copyright laws in mind and consider the principles of fair use. One consideration in determining fair use (but certainly not . . .

Published 4 December 2018

If I repeatedly use a quotation from the same source, do I need to use quotation marks each time?

You should generally use quotation marks if you repeat a quotation from the same source, but you may omit quotation marks when referring back to a concept or method (e.g., distant reading) mentioned in the source: Moretti takes issue with this tendency to regard literature at any level as “a world” complete and classifiable rather than . . .

Published 2 November 2018

How do I format and document epigraphs in MLA style?

Epigraphs establish tone, highlight allusions, provide commentary, and mark transitions between parts of a work. Primarily ornamental, they are not discussed subsequently in the text.  Design Although publishers vary in how they style epigraphs, one commonality is that epigraphs are set apart from the main text by being placed at the start of a book, . . .

Published 7 May 2018

If I need to fit a quotation syntactically into a sentence, can I use empty brackets to indicate that I have removed letters from a verb?

No. In MLA style, brackets are generally only used to add material or show visible alterations, not to indicate omissions.1 So when attempting to fit a quotation syntactically into a sentence, you must find a different solution. Let’s say, for example, you want to quote the opening sentence of David Lodge’s novel Changing Places: High, high . . .

Published 27 April 2018

Can I silently change the initial capital letter in a quotation to fit the quotation syntactically into my sentence?

No. As the MLA Handbook advises, “Unless indicated in square brackets or parentheses, changes must not be made in the spelling, capitalization, or interior punctuation of the source” (75). Let’s say your original source reads as follows: Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. If you need to lowercase the initial letter of the first word . . .

Published 23 April 2018

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