FORMATTING / STYLE:
There are two different manuals for MLA Style Citations: the Handbook and the Style Manual. The Handbook was revised in 2021; copies of both the new 2021 9th edition and the older 2016 8th edition are listed below.
There are certain pieces of information that you should note as you are doing your research. In various types of citations, these elements will be important to recognize and take note of:
YOU SHOULD CITE WHEN:
WHEN REFERRING TO A SOURCE, YOU HAVE THREE OPTIONS FOR USING IT:
"Which option you should choose depends on how much of a source you are using, how you are using it, and what kind of paper you are writing, since different fields use sources in different ways." Grounds for Argument. When to Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize a Source. Used under CC BY NC SA
Image: Random quote by Gabriel Jones. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
YOU DO NOT NEED TO CITE:
WHAT IS A DIRECT QUOTATION:
"Must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author." Purdue University Online Writing Lab. (2012). Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
Most of the time when you cite a source, you want to summarize or paraphrase. Direct quotations should be used sparingly when the situation meets the criteria above. When you do use direct quotations:
HOW TO CITE A DIRECT QUOTATION:
WHAT IS A SUMMARY:
"Involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s).... Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material." Purdue University Online Writing Lab. (2012). Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
"Similar to paraphrasing, summarizing involves using your own words and writing style to express another author's ideas. Unlike the paraphrase, which presents important details, the summary presents only the most important ideas of the passage." University of Houston-Victoria Student Success Center (n.d.). Decide when to Quote, Paraphrase & Summarize.
HOW TO CITE A SUMMARY:
WHAT IS A PARAPHRASE:
"A paraphrase is a detailed restatement in your own words of a written or sometimes spoken source material. Apart from the changes in organization, wording, and sentence structure, the paraphrase should be nearly identical in meaning to the original passage. It should also be near the same length as the original passage and present the details of the original." University of Houston-Victoria Student Success Center (n.d.). Decide when to Quote, Paraphrase & Summarize.
Paraphrasing is "your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form." Purdue University Online Writing Lab. (2012). Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
HOW TO CITE A PARAPHRASE:
It doesn't necessarily mean that most people would know it offhand. And sometimes it's a judgment call because what seems like common knowledge to one person isn't to another. Here are good rules of thumb:
CAUTION: Opinions and unique terminology/phrasing do not qualify as common knowledge.
READ THE SOURCE IN ITS ENTIRETY
TAKE DETAILED NOTES AS YOU READ
RETURN TO YOUR NOTES LATER
CONSULT WITH THE EXPERTS
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