MLA Formatting: In-Text Citations
When using what is referred to as a direct quote, you will take the specific passage or phrase word-for-word from a source, whether written or oral. Any quote under four lines of text can be considered a short quote, but anything longer should be block quoted.
Things you need to remember when putting in a direct quote:
--Quotation marks around all of the word-for-word text taken from the source
--Author’s last name and page number enclosed in parentheses (no comma)
o Use a “Title” if no author is present
o You do not need a page number on an internet article or source
--A period after the last closing parenthesis of the citation
--Any other punctuation (colon or comma), if any
Sample in-text citation:
“Be the change you want to see in the world!” (Etter 5).
The Proper Punctuation: Keeping it Straight
By following just a few simple rules, you can correctly punctuate as you introduce quotations. Although there are exceptions, this will help you about 90% of the time!
Rule 1: Complete Sentence Quote
· If you use a complete sentence to introduce a quotation, use a colon (:) just before the quotation
Rule 2: Someone says Quote
· If the word just before the quotation is a verb indication someone uttering the quoted words, use a comma (,)
· Examples will include the words says, said, states, asks, and yells
o Any words which explains “says” should follow this rule
· EXCEPTION: If the word “that” comes just before the quotation, DO NOT USE A COMMA
Rule 3: If rules 1 and 2 do not apply
· If the first two rules do not apply, do not use any punctuation between your words and the quoted words
Integrating Quotations into Sentences
1. Introduce the quotation with a complete sentence
· Demeter is not actively responsible for the plants’ growth, but passively so: “When Demeter felt especially fine, tiny shoots of barley or oats would spring up in the footprints She left” (Smith 110).
2. Use an introductory or explanatory phrase, but not a complete sentence, separated from the quotation with a comma
· The author shows that Demeter is seen as passively responsible for the plants’ growth, saying, “When Demeter felt especially fine, tiny shoots of barley or oats would spring up in the footprints She left” (Smith 110).
3. Make the quotation a part of your own sentence without any punctuation between your own words and the words you are quoting
· According to Thoreau, people are too often "thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails" (54).
4. Use short quotations—only a few words—as part of your own sentence
· Although Thoreau "drink[s] at" the stream of Time, he can "detect how shallow it is" (34).
Technical Rules for Quoting
1. Ellipses Points
If you want to make a long quote shorter in order to present the reader with a more concise quotation, do so using an ellipse, which is three periods, each period having a space before and after it (example: “ . . . ”).
· The narrator shows her belief that landscape can affect the human when she says that “the sound of that tinkling brook…filled my heart with a strange melancholy….The voice of waters…always had an extraordinary effect upon my mind” (Smith 107).
2. Adding Text to Quotes
The quote you use should make grammatical sense with the rest of your sentence. Therefore, you may sometimes have to add words to a quote, or modify the verb form in the quoted text. You do this by enclosing the added material in square brackets (like this: [ ] ).
· The narrator is grateful for the separation that nature gives him from the battle, and “conceive[s] Nature to be a woman with a deep aversion to tragedy” (Smith 100).
Citing multiple works by the same authorIf you cite more than one work by a particular author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it from the others. Put short titles of books in italics and short titles of articles in quotation marks.
Citing two texts by the same author:
Put the author's name and the work title, or an abbreviated version of the title, in the parentheses with the page number of the evidence. Make sure to put the title in italics or quotation marks as appropriate.
Visual studies, because it is such a new discipline, may be "too easy" (Elkins, "Visual Studies" 63).
However, if you mention the author in the sentence before the citation, then you don't have to put the author name in the parentheses.
Lightenor has argued that computers are not useful tools for small children ("Too Soon" 38), though he has acknowledged elsewhere that early exposure to computer games does lead to better small motor skill development in a child's second and third year ("Hand-Eye Development" 17).
Murray states that writing is "a process" that "varies with our thinking style" (Write to Learn 6). Additionally, Murray argues that the purpose of writing is to "carry ideas and information from the mind of one person into the mind of another" (A Writer Teaches Writing 3).
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