Blending References into Your Paper Using mla

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Blending References into Your Paper Using MLA
Attention! Keep in mind that there are several citation situations that are not on this guide. Ask for help if you have to cite something that isn’t mentioned here! Also, please keep this user-friendly website handy at all times…

  • Remember, paraphrasing and quoting should always support the topic sentence of your paragraph!

  • Use your direct quotations like sprinkling salt. Most of your paper will consist of paraphrases of what you have read. This demonstrates you have actually read and understood your sources. Limit your quotations to situations where the original author's words are particularly memorable or well-expressed, or when the author writes something complex or controversial that would be difficult to paraphrase.

  • Direct quotations are often introduced into your writing using phrases such as-





















  • If you need to change someone’s direct quote, you may shorten it by replacing unnecessary words or phrases with three periods… known as ellipsis.

  • If you need to quote a quotation with in a quotation, use single quotation marks to enclose a quotation within a quotation.

  • As George Carlin sarcastically observes, "a 'compassionate conservative' apparently believes any church that wants to open a soup kitchen should be allowed to" (8).

  • Sometimes when you quote, you must insert a word or two to clarify the quotation or to make it grammatically correct:

    • Nurse Rosanna recalls that "while she [Dolan's sister] spoke she reached for the silver locket around her neck" (Rimini 384).

  • After you paraphrase or directly quote, you blend in your own sentence interpreting or commenting on the information. Don’t just dump other people’s ideas randomly into your writing… blend them in-between your own words.

  • After a quotation or paraphrase, put the citation information in (parentheses). Commas, periods, and other punctuation come after the close parenthesis.

1. Citing a non-internet source with an author:

  • You use the name of the author to introduce your quote/paraphrase and cite the page number/s at the end.

Example: Cite author’s name so readers can find it in your source. Use first and last name the first time you reference the source. If you mention the source again, you only use the last name.
According to John Hartly, 19th century scientists “discovered single cells that divided into two identical offspring cells” (56).

Mention page number where you find this quote.

  • You place both the name of the author and the page number at the end of your quote.

“All organisms are composed of cells and all cells derive from other living cells” (Justice 431).

Author’s last name and page number are shown at the end.

  • In the case of a paraphrase, give your reader a signal when you begin borrowing information


Signal to reader that you are paraphrasing

One expert explains that the DNA in the chromosomes must be copied perfectly during cell reproduction (Justice 8-14).

Author’s last name and page numbers are shown at the end.

2. Citing a non-internet source with no author:

  • When there is no author, cite the title of the article, the name of the magazine, the name of the book, or the name of the publishing organization at the end of the quote/paraphrase.

One bank showed a significant decline in assets despite an increase in its number of depositors (Annual Report 3).

Title of book and page number.

3. Citing an article from a database

  • Generally, when you access an article from a database, you will have an author, but no page numbers. In this case, cite the author’s last name and the year of publication. If there is no author, cite the title of the article and the year of publication.

“The bubonic plague was the most commonly seen form of the Black Death. The mortality rate was 30-75%” (“The Black Death” 1986).

Title of article and publication year

4. Citing a website:

  • Do not use page numbers! Use the author’s name, if there is one, or use the title of the web site at the end of your quote/paraphrase so that readers can look on your works cited page to find the URL. Also include the date the website was published, if possible.

One source advises against making the television industry the “scapegoat for violence” by advocating a focus on “deadlier and more significant causes: inadequate parenting, drugs, underclass rage, and availability of weaponry” (“UCLA Television Violence Report” 2006).

Name of web site and date of publication.

5. But what if my direct quotation is really long?

  • On rare occasions, you may wish to include a lengthy quotation (more than four lines).

  • If you do, indent the block about an inch (10 spaces) from the margin, and surround the block with quotation marks

  • Use a colon to signal the start of the quote

  • In block quotations, the punctuation goes before the parenthetical reference.

In a related article, Elliott J. Gorn writes:

“Ambrose has not exactly hidden his reliance on others' work. His footnotes generally cite the authors from whom he borrows, going so far as to praise their books. [. . .] Not only does his practice violate universally accepted canons of historical scholarship, but most professors would routinely fail any student who so casually adopted it.” (10)
The text of your paper would then continue like this, with normal margins on the left.

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