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Presenters : Emily Heady & Jim Nutter. MLA Refresher Course. 1 st Edition (1980). 6 th Edition (2003). Mechanics, Format, & Documentation Jim Nutter. The Basics. Parenthetical documentation is used (Smith 100). The bibliography is called a Works Cited page

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Emily Heady


Jim Nutter

MLA Refresher Course

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1st Edition (1980)

6th Edition (2003)

Mechanics, Format, & DocumentationJim Nutter

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The Basics

  • Parenthetical documentation is used (Smith 100).

  • The bibliography is called a Works Cited page

  • No title page unless the professor requests it

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Chapter 4:The Format of the Paper

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Short Quotes

No more than 4 lines (prose)

No more than 3 lines (poetry)

Long Quotes

More than 4 lines (prose)

More than 3 lines (poetry)

Short Quotes vs.Long Quotes

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Chapter 3:Formatting Long Quotes

  • Indent 10 spaces (2 tabs) from left margin

  • Double space

  • Remove quotation marks

  • Period goes before parenthetical citation

  • Introduce with a complete sentence followed by a colon (109)

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Chapter 7: AbbreviationsPublishers’ Names (273-74)

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Chapter 5:Works Cited Page

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Author’s name. Title of Book. Publication information.

Fukuyama, Francis. Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. New York: Farrer, 2002.

Chapter 5: DocumentationPreparing a List of Works Cited

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Chapter 5: DocumentationPreparing a List of Works Cited

  • Citing the editor of an anthology

    McMichael, George, ed. Anthology of American

    Literature. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: MacMillan, 2007.

  • Citing a work in the anthology

    Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Anthology of American Literature. Ed. George McMichael. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: MacMillan, 2007.1894-1958.

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Chapter 5: DocumentationPreparing a List of Works Cited


  • Author’s name. “Title of the article.” Publication information.

    Trumpener, Katie. “Memories Carved in Granite: Great War Memorials and Everyday Life.” PMLA 115 (2000): 1096-103.

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Chapter 5: DocumentationPreparing a List of Works Cited


Railton, Stephen. “Christ Figures in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The University of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA.

11 June 2007.

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Chapter 3:The Mechanics of Writing

Underlining vs. Italics

“If you wish to use italics rather than underlining, check your instructor’s preferences” (94).

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Underlined Titles



Long Poems




Films & TV shows

“Titles” in Quotation Marks

Short stories

Short poems



TV episodes


Articles in newspapers, magazines, & encyclopedias

Chapter 3:The Mechanics of Writing

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Chapter 3:The Mechanics of Writing

Citing Scripture

  • Abbreviate books of the Bible (276-77)

  • Use a period, not a colon, between chapter and verse: John 3.16

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Chapter 3:The Mechanics of Writing


  • Old format: sentence [. . .] sentence

  • 6th edition format: sentence . . . sentence

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Paperclip vs. Staple

“Many prefer that a paper be secured with a simple paperclip, which may be easily removed and restored” (138).

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General Information

  • When citing an electronic source, try to keep your formatting as much like a print citation as possible.

  • There are a few rules for citing electronic sources, but you may have to make judgment calls.

  • You will often have inadequate information; just use what you have.

  • The goal is always clarity: use whatever means necessary (within reason) to make it possible for someone reading your work to find the source you cite.

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Web Pages

  • Author. “Title of Selection.” Title of Print Publication

    and volume.issue (date): pages. Title of Web Page. Editor. Date of publication or latest update. Sponsoring organization or institution. Date of access <url>.

  • Smith, John. “A Book Review.” I’m a Print Publication 8

    (1992): 4-10. Reviews of Philip Roth’s Work. Ed. Hieronymus Bosch. 2005. The Philip Roth Society. 6 Aug. 2007 <>.

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Some Other Examples

  • A home page:

    Spears, Britney. Home Page. 19 July 2007. 1 Aug. 2007 <>.

  • A whole web page:

    Electronic Text Center. Ed. David Seaman. 2002. Alderman Lib., U of Virginia. 19 June 2002. <>.

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  • Author or editor/translator (if no author). Title.

    Ed./Trans. name. City: Press, date of publication. Online Source. Ed. Date of access <url>.

  • Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Ed. Henry Churchyard.

    1996. Jane Austen Information Page. 6 Sept. 2002 < l>.

  • Ovid. Metamorphoses. Trans. Arthur Golding. London,

    1567. The Perseus Digital Library. Ed. Gregory Crane. Apr. 2001. Tufts U. 16 May 2002 < bin/ptext?lookup=Ov.+Met.+1.1>.

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Online Periodicals

  • A scholarly article:

    Teeshirt, Random. “Do Be Do Be Do: Sinatra and Socrates.” The Journal of Clever Apparel 10 (2007): 1-10. The Journal of Clever Apparel. 3 Aug. 2007 <>.

  • A news story:

    “Spears Accused of Making Death Threats.” 2007. The Associated Press.1 Aug. 2007 <>.

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Library Subscription Services

  • Some Rules:

    • For items that originally appeared in print, preserve the print entry as much as possible, omitting information not provided in the online version.

    • Try to conclude with the URL.

    • Pare down the URL to a workable size, and, if necessary, include a keyword.

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A Subscription/Database Example

  • “This Is an Amazing Workshop!: Thoughts from LU

    Faculty.” The Secret Journal of Liberty Faculty 35 (2007): 1-2. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Liberty U, ILRC. 1 Aug. 2007 < >. Keyword: Faculty Orientation.

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Personal Communications

  • An e-mail:

    Heady, Emily. “Your paper is late!” E-mail to I. M. Slothful. 10 May 2006.

    Slothful, I.M. E-mail to the author. 13 May 2006.

  • An online posting:

    Bishop, Andrew. "Upcoming Event – Mark Your Calendars!" Online posting. 16 February 2007. Dr. Prior's Book Clique. 7 March 2007 <>.

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MLA Format:Frequently Asked Questions


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Citing Your Research:Useful Links

Graduate Writing Center

  • MLA

  • APA

  • Turabian

  • Chicago