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Why does the MLA capitalize certain words in titles?

MLA style’s rules for capitalization are intended to help authors remain consistent while also respecting the ways in which titles have traditionally been styled in different languages. The history of capitalization in titles is complicated, though titles of printed works from earlier eras written in English generally conform to a currently recognizable style. For instance, the . . .

Published 29 April 2018

Is a compound subject a noun phrase for the purposes of abbreviating a title, or should I just use the first noun?

As section 3.2.1 of the MLA Handbook explains, when you need to shorten a title for a parenthetical citation, “give the first noun and any preceding adjectives, while excluding any initial article: a, an, the” (117). Thus, if a title consists of a compound subject, use only the first noun and any adjectives that precede it as the . . .

Published 11 April 2018

How do I cite a Twitter thread or conversation in my text and in my works-cited list?

A thread is a series of separately written but related tweets that are given a single URL. If you’re discussing the thread as a whole (rather than simply quoting an individual tweet in the thread), treat the thread as a collaborative work. As always, follow the MLA template of core elements.  Author Follow the guidelines . . .

Published 2 April 2018

How do I cite an unpublished translation?

Cite an unpublished translation by following the MLA template of core elements. List the author of the work, the title of the translation in quotation marks (since it is an unpublished work), and the name of the translator. In the optional-element slot at the end of the entry, indicate the format: Wallace, David Foster. “Ludus . . .

Published 12 March 2018

In an in-text citation, how do I shorten a title enclosed in quotation marks if the title begins with a quotation?

If you need to shorten a title enclosed in quotation marks that begins with a quotation, use the title within the title as the short form and retain the single quotation marks within double quotation marks: As Barry Menikoff shows, Stevenson’s novels were influenced by his relation to the South Seas (“‘These Problematic Shores’”). Works Cited . . .

Published 21 February 2018

If an untitled poem is known by its first line, how do I style that line in my works-cited-list entry?

The MLA Handbook explains that when you refer to an untitled poem known by its first line, you should style the line the way it is shown in the source (68). This guideline applies both to the text and the works-cited list: Dickinson’s poem “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—” contrasts the everyday and the momentous. Work Cited Dickinson, . . .

Published 19 January 2018

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