This is the "What and Where to Cite?" page of the "MLA Style" guide.
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MLA Style  

Last Updated: Mar 1, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

What and Where to Cite? Print Page

What should I cite?

You should provide a citation whenever your writing is based on someone else's work, especially when you:

  • Quote - use phrases or sentences exactly as they appear in the source document.
    "The accuracy of quotations in research writing is extremely important" (Gibaldi 109).

  • Paraphrase - restate an idea from the source document using your own words.
    Gibaldi emphasizes the importance of accuracy when quoting other works (109).

  • Summarize - briefly restate the main ideas from the source document.
    Quotations can add emphasis to your research paper, but must be reproduced exactly as originally written (Gibaldi 109).

"Citing Sources." Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery. UMBC, n.d. Web. 31 May 2012.

Keep in mind that a work or idea is more than just a book or article; a work can also be an email, a cartoon, a movie, a play, or even a commercial!



    Paraphrasing Correctly

    When you are paraphrasing from a source, you must follow some rules in order to avoid plagiarizing.  The slide show below explains the basics of paraphrasing.

    Where should I cite?

    When you use an "idea" from a work, you need to cite the source.  This is done in  two places:

    • In-text citation

              "Today's society is not really willing to go the extra mile it takes to be successful" (Stevens 37).

    • Works Cited

             Stevens, Michael.  The Dawning of a New Age.  New York:  Vintage Books,

                          2012.  Print.


      Does Everything Need to Be Cited?

      Generally, if you are using a chart, image, fact, statistic, quote, paraphase, summary, or idea that belongs to someone else, you need to cite it.  In other words, if it is not your original idea or research, it should be cited.

      There is an exception, however.  Well-known facts are considered to be "common knowledge" and do not need to be cited.  Below are some examples of common knowledge:

      • Columbus is the capital of Ohio.
      • Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen particles.

      If you are not sure if something is common knowledge, the best practice is to cite it anyway.  


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