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Using MLA Citation in Your Assignment

It is continuously drill into the heads of students that properly citing resource materials in written assignments is important. Many student are at a loss in understanding the difference between many of the available citation types and how they are applied. MLA citation, created by the Modern Language Association, is the style usually found in literary and media disciplines and other disciplines associated with them.

MLA citation is designed to allow writers and students to give giving proper credit for the work of other authors whose writings and ideas are mentioned in a new article or assignment. As a part of this, MLA allows the use of Harvard parenthetical referencing, footnotes or endnotes, though the MLA guidelines do express a preference for Harvard referencing.

Building MLA Citations

The basic citation format for most MLA citations follows a basic pattern:

  • Author’s or editor’s name

    The author’s name (or names) should always go first. This is, after all, the person (or persons) you are trying to give credit to. In the event that both names are missing, the publishing company can be used as the “author.” When writing the author name(s), bear in mind that MLA requires the name to appear exactly as it does in the document being cited, except with last name first. Do not use the ampersand (&) when noting multiple authors. MLA guidelines require the “and” to be spelled out.

  • Title of the Article

    For anthologies, encyclopedia, journals, magazine, newspapers and web pages, the title of the individual article (or web page) is added to the citation in the second slot. MLA does not use italics to designate this as an article title. The title is instead contained within quotation marks.

  • Source Title

    This is the title of the book, anthology, encyclopedia, periodical, website or database. Remember to underline this information, as per MLA guidelines, to designate it as the publication in which the referenced material or article may be found. If it is a multi-volume publication, such as an encyclopedia, journal or magazine, don’t forget to note the volume and edition designations. Put those in parentheses after the title but do not underline them. In the case of reference or textbooks the edition number should go in the parentheses instead.

  • Editor(s) Identification

    When dealing with an anthology or encyclopedia where the name of the author is known, the notation for the editor or editors goes after the publication title information. Remember to add “Ed.” or “Eds.” before the name or names to designate them as editors.

  • Location of Publication

    Many people question why this information is included. Knowing the location a document or publication originates can affect how the document is viewed by taking into account cultural and social differences. For instance, Americans make many culturally based references stemming from our sports and history that readers from other nations may not comprehend.

  • Publisher

    Except when the publishing company is listed as the “author,” the identification of the publishing company is added here. This information may be important for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is cases where the same author has identically or similarly titled books published by different companies or allows another company to reprint a book that was previously printed. The new company may have established a different format or the author may have removed or added materials. This could affect the page numbering significantly.

  • Date of Publication

    After the publishing information is noted, the date of publication is added. For periodicals, the nature of this notation is affected by the frequency of the publication. For any publication released more frequently than monthly, the exact date of publication is required. For those printed monthly or more, unless publication is annually or less frequent, a notation of the “effective” publication period is sufficient, such as “Spring 2008.” For all materials published annually or less frequently, the year (or year and month) will suffice. In any case, the date is placed within parentheses.

  • Referenced Pages

    The last thing in most non-Internet citations is the pages upon which the relevant article or information was found. In publications where the relevant article “jumps” pages (“…continued on page 201”) noting the first page with a plus sign following it is sufficient (“pp 100+”).

  • Date Accessed

    For Internet web pages and database materials, the date of access must be noted. This is important due to the ever-changing nature of the Internet. Pages are added one day and may vanish a week later (if not sooner). Databases hosted on a particular domain and at a particular URL may be moved or deleted unexpectedly.

  • Access URL

    This is the Internet “address” for the article, website, or database. If you are citing an entire website, the core URL (usually the “www.domain.com” portion) is noted, otherwise the exact address must be stated. For database accessed materials, the entry portal URL is used.

Final Words

Following this easy to understand guide will enable you to prepare citations that meet MLA citation standards. Though there are different requirements for video, television and multimedia sources, this guideline will cover the vast majority of your research materials.

Giving hard working writers proper credit for their hard work is at the core of professional and academic writing. Failure to give such credit makes the offender appear careless at best and dishonest at worst. The use of mind mapping software (like that used by our writers) can help in these situations by providing a means to quickly and accurately record relevant information and source data in one location.

The main difference between students and business professionals and the writers who work for us is the consideration of time. This time consideration is not an issue for our writers since this is their job. Each of them take great pride in completing high-quality assignments and a simple email from you is all it takes to get them started on your assignment.

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