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If I am including a publication listed by a title written in nonroman characters in my works-cited list, should I provide in my parenthetical citations the title in the original script or the transliterated title?

Use whichever method will be most useful to your reader. If you are citing a report, for example, and there is only one report listed by title, it would be fine to list the work in the original script in your parenthetical citations, since your readers—whether or not they are familiar with the language—will be able to find the entry in the works-cited list:  

A recent report noted that private elementary schools in Japan are proliferating (平成26年度調査 3).
Work Cited
平成26年度調査結果の概要(初等中等教育機関) [Heisei 26 nendo chōsa kekka no gaiyō (shotō chūtō kyōiku kikan); Summary of 2014 Fiscal Year Survey Results (Primary and Secondary Educational Institutions)].

Published 18 July 2019

How do I cite in my prose an untitled poem known by its number in a collection?

If you are citing an untitled poem known only by its number, a generic description of the poem can be substituted for the title in the works-cited list and in the in-text citation, if necessary. For instance, in an essay about Shakespeare’s sonnets, you might write the following:

Shakespeare’s sonnet 130 is an anti-Petrarchan poem, negating the conventions of love poetry Petrarch had made popular. It begins with an unflattering comparison: “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” (line 1).

Work Cited
Shakespeare, William. Sonnet 130. The Complete Sonnets and Poems, by Shakespeare, edited by Colin Burrow, . . .

Published 2 July 2019

Where do I place the colon that separates the title from a subtitle if the title ends with a quotation mark?

If the title ends with a quotation mark, insert the colon between the quotation mark and the subtitle. In the first example below, the title consists of a quotation from Shakespeare. In the second example, the title contains the title of a short story:

“To Be or Not to Be”: A Study of Shakespeare’s Hamlet

William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”: Northern Progress Meets Southern Tradition

Read more on punctuating titles.
  . . .

Published 3 May 2019

If my works-cited-list entry has a title styled in quotation marks that ends in a question mark, should I insert a period after the question mark?

No. Omit the period, as shown in the example below:

“How Do I Cite a Map?” The MLA Style Center, Modern Language Association of America, 6 Apr. 2018,

Read more on titles ending in question marks or exclamation points.  . . .

Published 2 May 2019

Should the initial article in periodical titles be retained in both prose and works-cited-list entries?

Yes. The styling of titles should be consistent in your prose and in your works-cited list. Since, as the MLA Handbook notes, “[t]itles are given in the entry in full exactly as they are found in the source” (25), if the title of a periodical starts with an article, retain the article when you provide the title in your works-cited-list entry and in your prose, as shown in the following example: 

In an article in The New York Times on political analysts published shortly after the 2012 presidential election, Eric Pfanner mentions two pollsters, Simon Jackman and Drew Linzer, . . .

Published 17 April 2019

Should an article at the start of a subtitle be capitalized?

Yes, capitalize articles (a, an, the)  at the start of titles and subtitles in English:

The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family
A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature 

Also capitalize articles at the start of titles and subtitles in languages using the Latin alphabet:

Los pueblos: La Andalucía trágica y otros artículos

  . . .

Published 22 February 2019

Should commas be used around by and an author’s name after a title?

It depends. In the following example, commas are used to set off the by phrase because the phrase is not integral to the meaning of the sentence:

Life after Life, by Kate Atkinson, won several book awards.

If you remove the phrase, the meaning is the same:

Life after Life won several book awards.

But in the example below, no commas are used around the by phrases because the authors’ names are needed to distinguish works with the same title:

I am reading Life after Life by Jill McCorkle, not Life after Life by Kate Atkinson.

Published 20 February 2019

In prose and titles, should an author use 3-D and 2-D or spell out the abbreviations?

It depends. MLA style minimizes the use of abbreviations in prose, but if in certain contexts the abbreviation is more common than the spelled out term, use the abbreviation. For example, you might refer to 3-D movie rather than three-dimensional movie, but you might write a two-dimensional surface rather than a 2-D surface. 
If you are citing the title of a published work that includes the abbreviations, use the abbreviations. If you are supplying the title of your own work, be consistent: use whichever form—abbreviation or spelled-out term—that you have used in your paper.

Published 14 February 2019

How do I cite the Homeric hymns?

The Homeric hymns refer to poems that were once attributed, mistakenly, to the ancient Greek poet Homer. They are Homeric only in the sense that they were written in the same meter as Homer’s poems. When citing the Homeric hymns, treat them as a coherent collection of anonymous works. According to the MLA Handbook, titles of works that are contained in a larger work are enclosed in quotation marks (68).
In an essay, you might write the following:

One of the Homeric hymns to Demeter gives the goddess the epithet “lady of the golden sword and glorious fruits” . . .

Published 30 January 2019

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