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MLA Formatting More in Depth

A Guide on how to do MLA using MS Word 2010

Bree Manges

on 23 February 2016

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Transcript of MLA Formatting More in Depth

Read light sources, then thorough
Write down quotations (along with URLs)
Use a variety of search engines (do not limit yourself to google)
Look at the site's quality
.com = commercial
.org = organizational
.gov = government
.edu = education
.net = network
Beginning Research
What is a Thesis?
So why is formatting important?
How is it different from APA?
How do I create
a thesis?
Don't limit yourself to the Internet.
-Academic journals
& books have better research and are more thorough.
Just as football referees dress a certain way, and Japanese chefs cook a certain way, writers in certain disciplines follow a certain set of conventions, known as MLA format or MLA style.
Make It Arguable!
Be Specific!
You're saying, Hey, you thought X? Well, you're wrong. Really, it's Y!
Follow an "although. . ."actually"format
Here’s an example of APA formatting both as it appears “in-text” and as it would appear in the “References” list:
In Text:
Reference Page:
Critics of the cartoon have even stated that "Bugs Bunny may appear to be a cuddly wiseacre who means no harm, but the fact is that he is a hostile, destructive force" (Ellis, 1994, p. 409).
Author's Last name, date, and page #
Ellis, N. (1994). Bugs bunny is not what you think he is. Cartoon Studies Quarterly, 63, 406-21.
In Text:
Critics of the cartoon have even stated that "Bugs Bunny may appear to be a cuddly wiseacre who means no harm, but the fact is that he is a hostile, destructive force" (Ellis 409).
Author's Last name, page #
Here’s an example of MLA formatting both as it appears “in-text” and as it would appear in the “Works Cited” list:
Works Cited Page:
Ellis, Nancy. "Bugs Bunny Is Not What You Think He Is."
Cartoon Studies Quarterly 63
(1994): 406-21.
Similarities between APA & MLA
1. Papers are double-spaced
2. Margins are one inch all around.
3. Page numbers must be included and positioned in the upper-right corner of the paper.
4. Page headings are positioned on the upper-right hand corner.
5. Sources must be cited at the end of the paper.
6. Title headings are placed above the introduction.
Requires a title page
Does not require a title page. The writer's name, instructor's name, course #, and date is placed on the top-left corner of the first page.
Requires an abstract
Does not have an abstract
Block quotations are indented five spaces from the left margin
Block quotations are single spaced and double indented (10 spaces) from the left margin.
In-text citation places the author's last name, date of publication, and the page number of the reference in parenthesis.
In-text citation places the author's last name and page number of the reference in parenthesis.
Bibliography is titled "References."
Bibliography is titled
"Works Cited."
Find a topic first that peaks your interest.
When you are ready to insert research make sure you either paraphrase or directly quote the material.
• Only quote catchy, memorable phrases.
-Direct quotes usually should be short: 1-2 lines
• Paraphrase everything else by putting it into your own words.
For EVEN MORE help, visit http://www.easybib.com/

This site does most of the work for you, but always double check it for accuracy!
click me
Three Reasons Why Citation is Important
Citation is important because it is the basis of academics. In the academic endeavor, individuals look at evidence and reason about that evidence in their own individual ways. That is, taking what is already known, established, or thought, they use their reasoning power to create new knowledge. In creating this knowledge, they must cite their sources accurately for three main reasons:
Reason One: Because ideas are the currency of academia
First, citing sources is important because the currency of academia is ideas. As a result, academics want to accumulate that currency; they want to get credit for their contributions. When a writer cites ideas, that writer honors those who initiated the ideas.
Reason Two: Because failing to cite violates the rights of the person who originated the idea
Second, keeping track of sources is important because, if you use someone else's idea without giving credit, you violate that person's ownership of the idea. To understand this violation, envision the following scenario: You and your friend are discussing some ideas from class during lunch one day, and you make what you consider to be a particularly insightful observation. During class discussion that afternoon, your friend brings up your observation but neglects to point out that it is yours, not his. The professor beams and compliments your friend on his clear and insightful thinking.
In this scenario, you likely feel that there's something unfair about your friend’s implicit claim that your idea was his or her own. After all, you had been thinking about the idea, perhaps had devoted time to developing it, and you are not getting credit for it. Worse, someone else is. That sense of violation you feel, the sense that something valuable has been stolen from you, suggests why failure to cite sources hurts another person.
Reason Three: Because academics need to be able to trace the origin of ideas
Third, keeping track of sources is important because academics value being able to trace the way ideas develop. Consider the scientist who looks at an experiment described in a new publication, and then decides to perform an experiment to extend the results. At the same time, other scientists are planning experiments to test the findings, to contest the findings, to relate the findings to their own research: all of these "second generation" experiments owe their inspiration to the original idea. If another person reads one of the "second generation" ideas, proper citation will allow that person to explore the original publication to trace the way the idea has developed. In general, scholars must be able to trace how ideas develop in order to consider, think about, and test them accurately. So giving credit to the original source of ideas is the right thing to do, as well as the basis on which academia is built.
Basically, we cite and use proper formatting because it is respectful, proper, organized, and systematic.
I have heard you complain about standardized testing (Keystone and PSSA exams) for years. You could write a paper proving that standardized testing is a waste of time and money.
Stay away from writing arguments
about facts. For example, "Murder
is wrong" is not exactly arguable.
the Journal title, should be
Another crucial component of MLA formatting is in-text citations.
This video is great for explaining in-text citations
"free essays" pages & blogs
•Not arguable: Computers are becoming an effective mechanism
for managing and transmitting information in a large business.
(Who is going to dispute this? It is a fact!)
•Arguable: Heavy use of computers may disrupt family
cohesion and increase divorce in society.
(This is arguable and a good thesis!)
One of the major things you will need to do is create a thesis.
Make it arguable!
•Not arguable: Computers are becoming an effective mechanism for managing and transmitting information in a large business.
(Who is going to dispute this? It is a fact!)
•Arguable: Heavy use of computers may disrupt family cohesion and increase divorce in society.
(This is arguable and a good thesis!)
Poor: "We should not pass the microchip bill."

Specific: "The microchip insert causes serious health hazards such as cancer and brain tumors to those who use it; therefore, it should not be passed.
Avoid Lengthy
"The microchip bill biologically damages the health of children, invades the privacy of independent teenagers, increases crime, turns children against their parents, induces a sense of robotry about the individual, and finally, may result in the possible takeover of the government."
"By surgically inserting circuitry similar to cell phone devices that has been known to cause headaches and fatigue, the microchip biologically endangers the health of children."
Narrow Your Focus
Example: "
it appears that computers may help students learn to write,
they can be detrimental to what creative writers call "flow."

Example: "
many people believe that extraterrestrials and crop circles are a figment of the imagination,
there is strong, collective, distinct anecdotes that alien encounters actually are real"
Did you fail gym class before?
Thesis idea: Gym classes are an unnecessary part of high school education.
The claim is argumentative because there is more than one acceptable answer. Some people might say we need gym class to develop healthy exercise habits; some may say it is a waste of district money and students are responsible for their own health!
•Don't rely too much on the same source
•Avoid just dropping in the quotation and moving on.
•You must comment on the quotation in some way by analyzing or summarizing the quote.
Use Signal Phrases
• They help identify the author and create a bridge between your voice and quotes.
According to Edmund Wilson, "Twain rewrote the American setting through his character Huck Finn" (33).

Suicide occurs when an individual redirects his initially outward directed hatred back upon himself (Menninger 55).
Direct Quotation
Menninger claims that "suicide occurs when an individual thus treats himself as an external object, frequently identified with the very object toward which his love and hate, particularly his unconscious wish to kill, had been directed" (55).
Create topic sentences
• They appear at the beginning of each paragraph explaining to the reader what the paragraph will be about.
Create transitions
Not only is being a vegan unhealthy for the human body, it also creates excess pesticides in the environment.
(Here I'm transitioning from health hazards to environmental hazards)

In addition to problems in obesity, America's youth also suffer from increasing amounts of psychological stress.
(Here I'm transitioning from obesity to psychological stress)
Avoid Personal References
Such as "I" or "In my opinion"
"I believe" "I think" "I feel" etc.
Personal Reference:
I think gay marriage should be legalized in every state, because society is held together by allowing individuals to live as they which, not by constricting laws.
Avoid Emotionalism

Emotional: We must do everything we can to legalize gay marriage. For the sake of equality, the rights of liberty and freedom that our forefathers fought for--it is essential!!!! Do not let conservatives take over your government and impose their puritanical moral values on everyone!

Keeping gay marriage illegal poses significant questions about the constitutionality of such laws. The forefathers who wrote the Constitution believed an individual's freedom was vitally important and that as long as the actions did not harm society, those actions should not be decriminalized.
Rules about quotes:

Avoid placing the reference in the middle of the sentence.

: The claim that "the Rape of Nanking surpasses much of the worst barbarism of the ages" (Chang 5) has been a source of disagreement.

The claim that "the Rape of Nanking surpasses much of the worst barbarism of the ages" has been a source of disagreement (Chang 5).
Block Quotes (Lengthy Quotes)
If your quote exceeds more than four lines place it in a block quote, which is visually set off from the rest of your paper. It is still double spaced, but indented an additional half inch, so that it visually draws attention to itself on the page. The objective is to signal to the reader, even from a distance, that what follows is a lengthy quote (this is followed by a colon).

A block quote is not placed in quotation marks and should
Notice that, in MLA, as shown by the arrow, the final punctuation of a block quote -unlike the punctuation for a regular short quote - is placed immediately after the end of the last sentence, preceding (not following) the parenthetical reference.
Modifications to Quotes
Place any modifications in brackets [ ]
For example:
Original quote: "The Japanese, as a people, manage, nurture, and sustain their collective amnesia-even denial when confronted" (Chang 15).

"The Japanese, as a people [once] manage[d], nurture[d], and sustain[ed] their collective amnesia-even denial when confronted" (Chang 15).
Ellipses . . .
Indicate that you have skipped material within a quote by placing three periods (an ellipse) in place of the missing material. Do not place an ellipsis at the beginning or end of a quote, only place it in the middle of a quote.

Example: "Corpses piled up outside the city walls, along the river (which had turned red with blood), ponds and lakes, and on hills and mountains" (Chang 46).

Omission: Chang describes the Nanking massacre as "Corpses piled up outside the city walls, along the river . . . [in] ponds and lakes, and on hills and mountains" (46).

Both are still cited!
Signal Phrase
More signal phrases:
Bradford writes,
Bradford explains how
As Bradford notes,
Bradford states,
Author comments, describes, explains, illustrates, notes, observes, points out, says, writes, analyzes, concludes ,proposes, suggests, contends, defends, holds, insists, maintains, etc.
Practice with Paraphrasing
"The twenties were the years when drinking was against the law, and the law was a bad joke because everyone knew of a local bar where liquor could be had. They were the years when organized crime ruled the cities, and the police seemed powerless to do anything against it. Classical music was forgotten while Jazz spread through the land" (Yanzey 25).
"The Antarctic is the vast source of cold on our planet, just as the sun is the source of our heat, and it exerts tremendous control on our climate."

Quote by Jacques Coustequ, page 122.

Create a Signal Phrase or Transition
Cite the Quote Properly
Full transcript