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Week3 Sample

In: Historical Events

Submitted By rafaelx12
Words 656
Pages 3
Leah M. Norton
Professor Chuck Norris
English 132
28 September 2012
MLA Style: An Illustrated Guide
Because MLA style can involve many elements, I have constructed this short paper to model and explain some of the basics of MLA style. You can see from the top of this page how your title block and header are supposed to look – remember, in the title block you should include your name, your professor, the course number (English 132), and the date – so the rest of this essay will focus on how to use in-text citations in your paper.
There are several ways to cite quotations in an MLA-style paper. The first is simply to include your in-text citation, which is the author’s name and page number, in parentheses, at the end of the quote, as in this example: “Some boys taught me to play football. This was fine sport” (Dillard 23). Notice that the quote is first introduced, then given, and then explained. Notice also that the period at the end of the sentence doesn’t appear until after the citation.
Another way to use an in-text citation is to put the citation before the quote. For instance, if I want to talk about something that Dillard says in her story, I’d say the author’s name and then use a quote such as, “Boys welcomed me at baseball, too, for I had, through enthusiastic practice, what was weirdly known as a boy’s arm” (23). Notice again how I first introduce the quote, give the quote, and then explain the quote. You should avoid beginning or ending a paragraph with a quote from a source. Notice also that because I stated the author’s name first, I only need to state the page number at the end of the quote.
Another type of quote which you can use in your essay is what we call a “block quote.” These are most useful for longer papers – 4 pages and longer – and are for when you need to use a large section of the text to get your point across. Block quotes are for quotes that are forty words or longer, and should look like this:
I had just embarked on the iceball project when we heard tire chains come clanking from afar. A black Buick was moving toward us down the street. We all spread out, banged together some regular snowballs, took aim, and, when the Buick drew nigh, fired. (Dillard 24)
Note that unlike my other in-text citations, there are no quotation marks around this quote. Also, notice that I put the quote’s punctuation before and not after the citation. Remember, just like the other quotes I’ve used, I first introduced, then gave, and then explained this quotation. Also remember that block quotes are almost always unnecessary for papers shorter than three pages.
The last way to use an in-text citation is when you are paraphrasing the author. This will be most useful to you when you want to refer directly to a large section of the article but don’t want to use a lengthy quote. For instance, this would be useful to me if I wanted to talk about how Dillard, excited by the chase, didn’t find herself afraid of the man who had chased them (Dillard 25). Notice how, instead of using a quote there, I simply stated what happened in the essay in my own words and then, at the end of the sentence, noted where I took it from.
MLA style sometimes feels arbitrary, so here is my main point when it comes to using MLA: AS LONG AS YOUR PAPER LOOKS LIKE IT’S IN MLA FORMAT, IT’S PROBABLY CORRECT. Fake it well, and you’ll soon find you’re doing it correctly.

Works Cited
Dillard, Annie. “An American Childhood.” The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing. Ed. Rise Axelrod & Charles R. Cooper. Boston, New Yorks: Bedford St. Martin’s. 23-35. Print.

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