Learn how to effectively cite sources for MLA Style Writing

The Modern Language Association (MLA) style is the most highly reputed and used methods to compose papers and give citations in the domain of arts and humanities. Learning how to effectively cite wherever needed is an art that every writer should master, but when it comes to professional and informative papers, it becomes something that you must not overlook.

There are certain things that you need to know about the citing techniques employed in this particular style. “Parenthetical citation” is the term used for the method. In this procedure, you place the source of the information in a parenthesis, following a particular quote or paragraph.

The MLA style demands the user to accurately mention the author’s name and the location of the particular saying or paragraph. Take for example:


a)      Charles Bukowski described love to be the essence of any relation. (83)

b)      Love is the essence of any relation. (Bukowski, 83)

c)      Charles Bukowski always stressed a lot on the importance of love in the building of any relation. (83)

The above sentences clearly tell the reader that a person named Charles Bukowski wrote what has been mentioned and it can be found on page 83 of a paper by that person. The above ways are equally okay to acclaim the writings of somebody else. If the reader intends to know more about the quote and the author, they can head to the “Works cited” page of your term paper and find the required information there, under the name of Bukowski, something like:

Bukowski, Charles. The Song of Fire. London: Oxford UP. 1876

There is one thing to remember here. If you include the writer’s name in the text, then you don’t mention that in the parenthesis.

Now, if the information has a corporate author, then the rules are a bit different. You will have to use the company’s name now along with the page number. One tip here could be to use as many abbreviations as possible. (e.g. Nat’l, UK etc)

There is another scenario that can occur while writing a paper and referencing. What if the author is unknown? In that case, if the information is not very long, then you can just write the title of the article at the end in parenthesis.

If, however, the work is long; can be an entire website or a play, you will have to make prominent the title of the article and write the page number along with it in the parenthesis.

We have observed a sudden rise in the percentage of female students at our university and to accommodate all the women that apply, we have decided to…….

(“The increase in female students at Berkeley” , 16)

Citations are nice, but not required every time. A writer should have enough common sense and an ethical character to know when to cite and when not to. Famous quotes and sayings or accepted laws of science don’t require a citation, however, if you are using someone’s theory to prove your point, then definitely you need to cite.

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