MLA 8 Citation Guides


1. When do I need to cite? 

  • Look, if it came from anywhere other than your own mind, whether you are taking a direct quote out of a text or paraphrasing ideas from some source, you must cite.
  • If you don’t, you are PLAGIARIZING.
  • IMPORTANT: if you took all your ideas off some place like SparkNotes but put it all into your own words, YOU ARE STILL PLAGIARIZING. You are stealing ideas.

2. How do I cite?

  • In your writing, if you are using a fact, an idea, or a direct quote from a source other than your own mind, you must use a parenthetical (in-text) citation after the information.
  • In your speaking, cite your source aloud by telling the audience two of these three things: the name of the author, the name of the article, or the publication/website.
  • Whether your work is written or in a speech, you also need to include your sources in a Works Cited page.

3. What should go in my parenthetical (or “in-text citations”)?

  • Usually, you put the author and page or line number(s)…

    • Put the author’s last name, then space, then enter the page number(s)
    • Ex: (Hawthorne 54-5) or (Anderson 20).
  • What if there is no author?
    • Use the name of the webpage or article. Format this as you would a webpage or article name–with quotes.
    • Ex: (“Underwater Caves” 211) or (“University of Iowa Admissions”)
  • What if the entries have no author and the webpage names are the same?

    • Choose the first unique element you see in the works cited entry for the source (perhaps this is the name of the website).
    • If it’s the name of the website, format as you would a website name–in italics.
    • Ex: (Bigfuture) or (History Channel)
  • What are the basic rules for formatting what I put in the parenthetical?

    • Format whatever you put in there the same way it is formatted in the Works Cited.
    • Ex: (Miller 12) or (“University of Iowa Admissions”) or (Bigfuture)
    • PLAIN: Author / QUOTES: “Webpage Name” / ITALICS: Website Name.
  • What if the source doesn’t have pages?

    • If there is no page, leave it out. Do NOT put n. pag.
    • If you want, you can count up the paragraphs and put the paragraph number, but it isn’t required: (Raymes par. 7)

4. What should it look like when I quote from a book or some other source?

  • AHS English Essentials 2 Answers such questions as…
    • How do I cite or “quote from” a text?
    • What should it look like?
    • How do I use quotation marks, do a short quote, or do a block quote?
    • What about quoting dialogue?

4. How do I cite in a speech?

  • Even in a speech, you must tell the audience where the information came from.
  • If there is an author, you can say something like, “According to Mary Smith, in her article “Underwater Basket Weaving” on, blah blah blah.”
  • If there is no author stated, you can say, “According to an article called “McCarthy and the Red Scare” on, blah blah blah.”
  • You can also mix it up by thinking of other ways to state your source. For example, “Mary Smith, in her article “Underwater Basket Weaving,” stated, ‘blah de blah.'”
  • Don’t forget to also make a Works Cited page!

5. How do I make a Works Cited page? 

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 11.34.13 AM

6. How do I “set up” or “lead into” my quotes?

  • Write a simple introductory phrase or sentence…
    • Flowing within your sentence: In his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself, Frederick Douglass argues that “Slavery proved as injurious [to slave holders] as it did to me” (31).
    • Incomplete sentence set up: Douglass argues that Auld’s prohibition against literacy for him was a profound experience, saying, “It was a new and special revelation” (29).
    • Complete sentence set up: The effects of Auld’s prohibition against teaching Douglass to read were quite profound for Douglass: “It was a new and special revelation” (29).
  • Want More Info? Click Here 🙂

8. How do I cite from the Bible?

  • For the Works Cited Page, do The Bible. The Version of Your Bible, Publisher, Year.
    • Example: The Bible. The New American Bible, Our Sunday Visitor, 2005.
  • For the Parenthetical Citation: (Bible Version, Abbrieviated Book Title. Chapter-Verse).
    • Example: Ezekiel saw “what seemed to be four living creatures,” each with faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 1.5-10).
  • What are the Bible abbreviations? Click HERE for Bible abbreviations!

9. How do I cite from a poem?

  • How to cite a poem in your Works Cited page.
  • What about the in-text/parenthetical citation? How should it look in my paper?
    • Short quotations (1-3 lines of verse) from poetry require that you mark breaks in the verse with spaces and a slash, ( / ) at the end of each line of verse.
    • Example: Cullen concludes, “Of all the things that happened there / That’s all I remember” (11-12).
    • Long quotations (4+ lines of verse) from poetry need a block quote (hit enter and then tab twice to indent each line as it appears in the poem). The period goes before the parenthetical now.
    • Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 2.55.44 PM

10. How do I cite from a play?

  • Citing Shakespeare (This link has information for making the Works Cited page and how to do Parenthetical Citation for any of Shakespeare’s plays!)
  • What about other plays?  Click Here for information about making Works Cited pages for plays.
  • How do I do in-text citation with page numbers?
  • Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 2.51.17 PM
  • How do I do in-text citation with act/scene/lines?
  • Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 2.51.30 PM

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