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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

What should I include in parentheses if the author’s name is provided in a signal phrase and the source has no page numbers or other kind of part number?

As the MLA Handbook notes, “When a source has no page numbers or any other kind of part number, no number should be given in a parenthetical citation” (56). The following example illustrates this principle:  “As we read we . . . construct the terrain of a book” (Hollmichel), something that is more difficult when the text . . .

Published 29 January 2018

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