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How to Reference in an Essay (MLA Style)

 When starting to write a research essay paper, there is the need to know the writing and reference pages style. Academic norms include certain reference formats your professor may ask you to keep up with. In this article, professional essay writers will review one of the most popular essay reference styles: Modern Language Association (MLA). There also are Chicago and the American Psychological Association (APA) formats. 


Essay reference


Each of them has different requirements. Actually, you don’t really have to know all these essay reference formats perfectly, but it is good for a student to be familiar with at least one style in case you have something in common with academic writing on purpose. This formatting guide will assist you in putting MLA essay references as intended.

Essay Reference: MLA

The Modern Language Association maintains the MLA essay reference format. It is the central US organization of language and literature research scientists. Founded in 1883, it has more than 25000 members in more than 100 countries. The MLA has international membership, reputation, and problem scale.

How to reference in an essay with the MLA style?

1. Mark Essay References While Writing

The feature of the MLA reference style is the availability of citation notes caught in parentheses directly in the text. Besides, there is a Works Cited alphabetical list at the end of the paper with the compilation of all the references. When writing your essay, it is critical to note where the data was taken. Otherwise, taking someone else's knowledge as yours is considered as plagiarism.

It’s a serious deal: a reference is required right after a sentence (or some of them in case you need to cite a piece of one source at once) telling about the info which is not of your mind’s origin. Don’t cheat on yourself: paraphrasing most likely won’t work in this case. Plagiarism checking also notes facts, quotes, examples, and statistical data.

The MLA styled essay text reference includes two simple elements:

  • The author’s last name (or the material title in case the writer is unknown).
  • The number of the page containing the text piece you need a reference to.

For instance: (Frost 187)

Frost is the last name of the author, while 187 is the number of the book page. Pay attention, that there shouldn’t be a comma between two reference elements.

In case you know the writer’s name (or title) without the number of the page, use what you have: the author’s name or the text title.

2. Collect Data

When writing essays with the MLA reference style, you should collect specific data parts for every citation used. Note names of authors, publishing info, date, and numbers of pages.

The simplest solution to avoid losing track of MLA styled essay reference is to perform copying the cited info into a text processing software app while making progress with writing, or to make notes in an old-school paper copybook.

At any case, these are elements you’ll have to mention for any essay reference source:

  • The author;
  • The publishing date;
  • The publisher;
  • The number of the page;
  • Issue and volume numbers;
  • The website;
  • Access date;
  • All the other elements appearing on the referred page or showing how to find it later once more.

3. Resource Organization

After the essay writing is completed and about to be turned in or published, your mission is to put your reference in the alphabetical order on the page with Works Cited. The reference page is the last one in the whole paper.

For instance, this is the standard book MLA style reference as it should go:

The author’s last name, First name. The Book Title. The City of publishing: Name of the Publisher, Year. Medium.

The website reference in an MLA style looks like this. In case the author is not mentioned, start with the page name: Last, First name. “Title of the Page.” Title of the Website. Publisher. Publication date. Medium. Access date.

In case of a scholarly text reference, there is the following look:

An MLA academic article citation looks like the following: Last, First name. “Article Title.” Journal Title. Volume. Issue (Year): numbers of pages. Medium.

The primary material (book, journal, site, magazine, etc.) title should be written in italics. In case you write reference data by hand, underline the main title.

Take article or chapter titles in quotes.

4. The List Alphabetization

The essay reference list should be put in alphabetical order according to the last names of authors.

In case the author can’t be listed (it’s a common thing with Internet sources), don’t pay attention to their name and start the essay citing with the work title.

The alphabetization is ordered by the very first letter appearing in the proper citing line, no matter if it is the name of the writer or not.


Reference essay page


5. Essay Reference Page Formatting

Use double-spacing in the document, and set this page’s title as “Works Cited.” The proper format:

  • Times New Roman
  • 12 sized
  • “Works Cited” – top of the new page, aligned by its center.

Each essay reference point should get hanging indent: all the page lines after the first line need to be 0.5-inch indented.

The reference should always finish with a citation. Check if there is a period after each reference twice to avoid confusion later.

To Conclude

As we mentioned already, the MLA style is one of three the most frequently used citing style formats in academic writing. Be careful, and don’t use this guide to reference in an essay with other demands. Check which format is required there once again before you start citing materials.   

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