How to cite various kinds of borrowed works in an essay


1.         Single work by one or more authors.

            a.  Example of mentioning the author in the text of the essay rather than in the parenthetical note:

            William Bradbones shows that the X-100 whistle can be heard by a dog, but not by a human (22).

            b.  Example of mentioning the author in the parenthetical note:

            Dogs can hear the X-100 whistle, but humans cannot (Bradbones 22).

            c.  Example using quotes:

            “the X-100 whistle when operated by blowing through the mouthpiece has a sound range beyond the range of human hearing but within the range of canine hearing” (Bradbones 22).  Note that the period is after the note in all cases, but the end quote goes before the note.

2.         If you cite more than one work by the same author, you need to identify more than the author’s name in the parenthetical note so the reader can figure out which work on the Works Cited page the cited material comes from. 

a.  The title, etc., can be mentioned in the text.

According to Leo Eplart in Crooked Judgement, the system of peer review for judges, is too weak and ethics violations are abundant (76).

b.  Or part the information can all be in the parenthetical note.

According to Leo Eplart, the system of peer review for judges, is too weak and ethics violations are abundant (Crooked76).

C.  Or the parenthetical note can contain all the cited information.

The system of peer review for judges is too weak and ethics violations are abundant (Eplart, Judgement 76).

3.  If the author’s name is unknown, use either the complete title in the text, or a shortened version of the title in the parenthetical note.

            a.  In text:

            A passage in Banned Books says that Kurt Vonnegut’s novels have been banned more in the United States than in the Soviet Union.(141)

b.  In parenthetical note:

Kurt Vonnegut’s novels have been banned more in the United States than in the Soviet Union (Banned 141).

4.  If no author is named, but a work is published by a corporation, organization or some other group, indicate the full name in the parenthetical note or in the actual essay text (Hanford Education Action League 21).  If cited in the essay text, just use the page number in parenthesis.


5.  If two authors have the same last name, use their initials in the parenthetical note (C. Jones 42)  (D. Jones 213).


6.  Sometimes you may find information in works of more than one volume;  if so, include the volume number from which your information came right after the name, then, after a colon, give the page number:  (Rodolph 2: 88).


7. If you refer to a work that is only one page long, you don’t need to include the page number in your citation.  There is some confusion connected to Proquest articles which have more than one page.  Usually, the Proquest copy will tell what the page ranges were of the original article.  It is my policy that you judge from which page of the original article your information came.  For example, the Proquest article says the original article is from The Seattle Times (Tim Burns, author) and original ran on pages A12-14.  The Proquest copy begins on page 1 and ends on page 3 which the writer should take to mean that page 1 of the Proquest article is commensurate with page A12 of the original.  So the parenthetical note should read (Burns A13) if that passage is from page 2 of the Proquest version. 


8.  So what if the original information is from a web site?  Does the writer cite the page number?  Yes, unless, again, it’s a one page cite.  Judge the number of pages if they aren’t paginated, and list the page number on the page from which the cited information is taken.


9.  Indirect sources are quotes by one person in a work authored by another.  For example, let’s say Winslow Lincoln’s quote, “Only an idiot would keep a loaded gun in a house with young kids” is used in a book by Homer Watson.  Here’s the way to cite it:  (Lincoln qtd. in Watson 321).


Works Cited-MLA Style



1.  Book by one author.


Bergen, Peter L. Holy War Inc—Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden.  New York: The Free Press, 2001

2.  Book by two or three authors.

Ernst, Morris L. and Alexander Lindey.  Censor Marches On.  New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, 1940.

Wiffledorf, Karim, Walter Paiston and Lilly Dufferpistle.  The Truth About Nuclear Makeovers.  Philadelphia: Chesterson Publishing, 1999.


3.  Book by more than three authors.

Smith, Joan, et al.  A Dog’s Life.  New York: Winston Press.  2002.

4.  Book by a corporation, association or other group.

Society of Professional Hypnotists.  Where The Malarky Ends.  Los Angeles: Cranston Publishing Inc., 2002.

5.  Edited book.

Heyda, Bilbo, and Ralph Fornet, eds.  Readings in Psychotherapy.  New York:  Binnet Books.  2002.

6.  One volume of a multivolume book.

Cladding, Tom.  The Complete Book of Frogs.  Vol. 2.  New York: Hastings Publishing.  2001.


7.  Article, story or poem in a monthly or bimonthly magazine.

Hanknotter, Willard.  “Never Buy Rusty Tools.”  Toolman Magazine.  Oct. 2000:  24-26.

8.  Article, story or poem in a weekly magazine. 

Underwood, Anne and Geofrey Cowley.  “The Survivor’s Story.”  Newsweek.  3 Sept. 01:48-49.

9.  Article in a daily newspaper.

Barisic, Sonja.  “Salvaging History: Turret of USS Monitor Brought to Surface.:  The Spokesman Review.  6 Aug. 2002. A1, A5.

10.  Editorial in a daily newspaper.

Kafentzis, John.  “Rural Lifestyle Carries Obligations.”  Editorial.  The Spokesman-Review.”  2 Aug 2002.  B6.

11.  Letter to editor.

Graves, Dennis.  Letter.  The Spokesman Review.  2 Aug. 2002.  B7.   


12. Anonymous article.

“Fraternities Sue Hamilton college over Housing Rule.”  Chronicle of Higher Education.  41.46 (1995): A39.

Electronic Sources

13.  CD-ROM nonperiodicla

“Iambic Pentameter.”  The Oxford English Dictionary.   2nd ed. CD-ROM.  Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992.

14.  Internet Source.

”MLA Style: What Is MLA Style?”  Modern Language Association.  29 Apr. 2002.  8 Aug. 2002.

           Note:  Notice that there is no author, but there is a title and the full name of the sponsoring organization is listed.  The date immediately after that is the date posted or last date the cite was updated; then comes the date the essay writer accessed the website.  Finally, give the URL (the online address).  In general, include all the following relevant information about the source and site:  Author (or editor, compiler or translator); title; editor (if there is one in addition to author); print source information (same info you would give for a printed citation);  title of scholarly project, database, personal or professional site (underlined – above it is Modern Language Association, but if there is no title, give a description such as Home Page); identifying number (volume and issue if for a journal); date of electronic publication (date posted or last date the cite was updated); page, paragraph or section numbers; sponsorship or affiliation (include the name of any organization or institution sponsoring the site); date of access; address (in angle brackets).


15.  Personal or professional site.


Finkler, Kim.  Home page. 2 Aug. 02.>.


Alliance Small Business Conference.  ShoWorks Inc.  6 Aug. 2002.  8 Aug. 2002. 




Note: Get a library handout (SFCC library-help desk) on how to document Proquest sources.


Other Sources

16.  Cartoon.


Prigee, Milt.  “Priggee.”  The Local Planet Weekly.  8 Aug. 2002.  4.


17.  Film or videocassette.


Road To Perdition.  Dir. Sam Mendez.  Perf. Tom Hanks, Paul Newman and Jude Law.   20th Century Fox.  2002.

18,  Personal Interview.

Williams, Ralph.  Personal Interview.  12 June 2002. 

Bocknutter, Dr. Reese.  Ph. D. Philosophy, U of Northeastern Oregon.  Telephone Interview.  1 July 2002. 

19.  TV or radio broadcast.

“Emissary.”  Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  Teleplay by Michael Pillar.  Story by Rick Berman and Michael Pillar.  Dir. David Carson.  Fox.  WLFX, West Palm Beach, FL. 9 Jan. 1993.

These are samples of some kinds of citations.  Check library sources at Spokane Falls Community College for further details if needed:  The MLA Handbook and other handbooks are available to check out.