Cite Right

Your epic essay is finished. Your quotes are amazing.  Your argument is not only brilliant, but it is also unique.  You've revised several times.  You've spell-checked and proofread. But what about your formatting?  Are you about to lose points on an otherwise flawless paper because your citations are off? Or missing?

Look, correct formatting includes a lot of rules, so no one can fault you if that is your least favorite part of writing.  But all of those rules are written down and are easy to understand, so someone (like your teacher) can totally fault you for not following them!

It's your call: you can memorize the rules of citing books, articles, web pages, magazines, etc., or you can keep this link handy - you can even bookmark it.  That link takes you to Purdue University's Online Writing Lab's Research and Citation page.  From there, you can select APA Style, MLA Style, or Chicago Manuel of Style and get the skinny on how to use each format. What? Someone did that for us? All in one place? And we can trust it because it comes from a respected university? Yes, yes, and yes.  The Purdue Owl is an excellent resource, especially for those of you writers in high school with an eye on college.

If you are writing a paper and you want to jump straight to the citations guide for MLA (the most commonly used format for papers in the humanities), click here.  But, if you want some more background or a more in-depth explanation of MLA formatting, try the MLA Overview and Workshop page.

Did I just blow your mind? No more searching frantically in your binder for that formatting sheet your teacher gave you at the beginning of the year.  No more last-minute calls to your best friend with a photographic memory.  And no more points lost for incorrect formatting!  You can look up your specific questions, such as how to cite an online encyclopedia article, when to insert a footnote, and how to format a long quotation.  You can see examples.  You can submit questions. You can proceed confidently!