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The Modern Language Association, or MLA, maintains a style sheet called, currently in its 7th edition. MLA Style provides guidelines for formatting documents and citing sources in text and in a works-cited list. MLA Style is typically used in humanities, language, and literature courses.
In your college career, you will be expected to cite all of the sources you use in your papers. Don’t just cite sources that you directly quote!
The only exception: commonly known facts. So what would be considered a “commonly known fact”? It depends on the audience of your research paper. If you read the same fact in multiple sources, then you wouldn’t have to cite it, since for your audience it would be commonly known. But when in doubt, cite it.
Check out one of the resources on the left for more information on citing your sources. Click here to see a sample essay.
Author’s name in text:
Leki claims that “many international students believe deeply in the value, importance, and prestige of a good education” (65).
Authors’ names in reference:
Studies find that the eye often sees information that the mind filters out (Johnson, Wilson, and Smith 112-14).
Organization as source:
(Natl. Research Council 15).
Samuel Johnson admitted that Edmund Burke was an “extraordinary man” (qtd. in Boswell 450).
Four or more authors:
Legal experts counter Smith, Yang, and Moore's argument by noting that the current spike in gun violence in America compels lawmakers to adjust gun laws (Jones et al. 4).