What is MLA Format, Text Citation Style or Manual Guide?
Definition & Explanation
MLA manual style citation can be defined as,
“An academic citation style guide which provides evidence to your statement, supports your argument and add credibility to your work by demonstrating that you have consulted a number of sources”.
According to the MLA book catalogue description, since first being published in 1985, the MLA Style Manual has been referred to as,
"the standard guide for graduate students, scholars, and professional writers."
Publication & Association
The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (2008) is the third edition of The MLA Style Manual, first published by the Modern Language Association of America in 1985.
Citations have become a common practice in the literary writing circles enabling you to give credits to other authors and appreciate their work.
Common Uses of MLA Style Manual
MLA style for documentation is widely used in the humanities, especially in writing on language and literature including areas like study of other modern languages and literatures, comparative literature, literary criticism, media studies and cultural studies.
Generally simpler and more concise than other styles, MLA style features brief parenthetical citations in the text keyed to an alphabetical list of works cited that appears at the end of the work and is more popular in United States, Canada, and other countries.
Parenthetic citations are short references provided in the text of the document. MLA manual style citation uses a simple parenthetical documentation system for citing sources: citations contained in the text of the document that point towards an alphabetical “works cited” list appearing at the end of the paper.
Basics of Proper MLA Formatting
- Only provide information that is required to identify the source. Authors’ last name and a page reference is enough. If there are two or three authors, mention the last name of each.
- If there is no author, you can either include the whole title in the text or shorten it to be used in the parenthesis using the first words of the title.
- Most electronic sources do not provide page numbers. Sometimes your source will have paragraph numbers that you can use for citation. If your source does not have paragraph numbers or page numbers, incorporate the name of the author in the text of your document.
- Parenthesize references with an intention to complement without repetitions. If you have used the name of the author in your text, then you need not mention it in the citation, a page reference is enough in this case.
- Place a citation as close to the relevant material as possible without disturbing the sentence flow.
- If a quotation is more than four lines, begin the quotation on a new line indented at one inch and double spaced, and do not use quotation marks.
- The list of works-cited should be on a new page at the end of your document.
- Entries are arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name or by the title if there is no author. Titles are italicized and not underlined.
- Capitalize the first word and all other important words of the titles of cited works listed.
- Entries are double-spaced and each entry must include the publication medium.
- Shorten the publisher’s name and with multiple publishers, include all of them separated with a semicolon.
- Do not use the abbreviations p. or pp. to designate page numbers.
- Choose a font in which the italic style contrasts clearly with the regular style.