Archive for category MLA

Single-Space Long Quote

According to the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style manual, it is standard to double-space a long quote set off (indented) from a paragraph in the same way that it is standard to double-space each element of the entire paper, including your name, course title, professor’s name, and date in the far left top corner of the first page.

However, there will be times, not many, where a professor will tell you to single-space the indented quote. These are quotes that exceed the standard four lines. The professor doesn’t disagree with the citation style of MLA. For her class, she just prefers not to read a lengthy quote that starts on one page and ends up on another.

Don’t worry about the standard in this case, because these are the professor’s “instructions” and he or she sets the tone and the requirements for the class. Don’t assume that just because this one professor puts a different spin on standard requirements that every professor you take after him or her will like this.

Unless your professor says otherwise, i.e. within the essay prompt or during a verbal discussion of an upcoming test, always adhere to MLA standards, or those that apply to your particular discipline (i.e., APA, Chicago Style, or Harvard Referencing Style).

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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You Are in Danger of Plagiarism

See the comments “Too Close to the Original” and “Trust Your Voice.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Figure 43: Essay Excerpt on Carl von Clausewitz

The student plagiarizes in the sample excerpt. She hasn’t provided a reference source to check the quote nor has she placed open and close quotation marks around the words. Let’s review the sample.

Sample Excerpt

Carl von Clausewitz, a great philosopher of war, wrote “On War.”  This unfinished classic is arguably the definitive treatment of the nature and theory of war (Authors).

Figure 43: Essay Excerpt on Carl von Clausewitz

Assessment

Placing the word “Authors” in parenthesis represents improper use of MLA citation standards.

Revision Considerations

Go back and research to find out “who” said these words.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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What Author/What Authors

The student plagiarizes in the sample excerpt. She hasn’t provided a reference source to check the quote nor has she placed open and close quotation marks around the words. Let’s review the sample.

Sample Excerpt

Carl von Clausewitz, a great philosopher of war, wrote “On War.”  This unfinished classic is arguably the definitive treatment of the nature and theory of war (Authors).

Figure 43: Essay Excerpt on Carl von Clausewitz

Assessment

Placing the word “Authors” in parenthesis represents improper use of MLA citation standards.

Revision Considerations

Go back and research to find out “who” said these words.

Always make sure to remember to cite your sources, because this is important. Give credit to your authors. They have worked hard to write books and articles, and related works. You do an author a disservice when you take his or her words and use them as your own.

See also the comments “Good Use of Quote,” “Introduce the Quote,” and “Misquoting the Evidence” for extended explanations.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Figure 39: Essay Excerpt for MLA Exercise

Below is an excerpt that falls under the comment “Must Be a Sentence.”

You may access the comment by clicking on the “M” category or by typing the title into the search box.

You may print the excerpt for class discussions.

Below is a sample excerpt where the student incorporates a quote without ensuring that the sentences before the quote and the quote itself represent a complete grammatical unit.

Sample Excerpt

Although Realists often portray themselves as being free of idealism, they still embrace the concept of accepting the “national interest” as an ideal: a one true guide to the formulation of   the public policy of states in this dangerous international system; failure to accept the national interest, or reason of state, is a prescription for natural disaster, an increase in global violence, and an irresponsible act that places private ideas or interests above public needs. (Doyle 19)

Figure 39: Essay Excerpt for MLA Exercise

Problem

The student incorporates a quote from a reference source, sets it off within the body paragraph according to MLA standards, but doesn’t structure the sentence and the quote so that they both represent one grammatical unit.

Critique

Even though you are incorporating a quote and setting it off within your paper, the set off quote must still represent a sentence.

For any quote you incorporate into your own sentence, the sentence as a whole must still reflect a complete thought.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Must Be a Sentence

According to the standards of the Modern Language Association (MLA), you “must construct a clear, grammatically correct sentence that allows you to introduce or incorporate a quotation with complete accuracy” (109).

Below is a sample excerpt where the student incorporates a quote without ensuring that the sentences before the quote and the quote itself represent a complete grammatical unit.

Sample Excerpt

Although Realists often portray themselves as being free of idealism, they still embrace the concept of accepting the “national interest” as an ideal: a one true guide to the formulation of   the public policy of states in this dangerous international system; failure to accept the national interest, or reason of state, is a prescription for natural disaster, an increase in global violence, and an irresponsible act that places private ideas or interests above public needs. (Doyle 19)

Figure 39: Essay Excerpt for MLA Exercise

Problem

The student incorporates a quote from a reference source, sets it off within the body paragraph according to MLA standards, but doesn’t structure the sentence and the quote so that they both represent one grammatical unit.

Critique

Even though you are incorporating a quote and setting it off within your paper, the set off quote must still represent a sentence.

For any quote you incorporate into your own sentence, the sentence as a whole must still reflect a complete thought.

Revision Considerations

Below is an excerpt (represented as a quote) from the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers:

If a quotation runs to more than four lines in your paper, set it off from your text by beginning a new line, indenting one inch (or ten spaces if you are using a typewriter) from the left margin, and typing it double-spaced, without adding quotation marks. A colon generally introduces a quote displayed in this way, though sometimes the context may require a different mark of punctuation or none at all. (110)

Typically, you will double-space every paragraph of your paper. This is the general rule. If you have the same error within your paper, as illustrated in the sample excerpt, perform the following steps:

  1. Remove the colon after “ideal.”
  2. Add a period after “ideal.”
  3. Apply the following phrase: The concept represents

Here is a sample revision of the excerpt:

Although Realists often portray themselves as being free of idealism, they still embrace the concept of accepting the “national interest” as an ideal. The concept represents

a one true guide to the formulation of the public policy of states in this dangerous international system; failure to accept the national interest, or reason of state, is a prescription for natural disaster, an increase in global violence, and an irresponsible act that places private ideas or interests above public needs. (Doyle 19)

Always remember that every sentence you incorporate within your papers, whether your own or from a reference source, must represent a standard grammatical unit, with subject and verb and other corresponding parts. In addition, when incorporating a quote, and using your own sentence as an introductory statement, be certain that both elements collectively represent a complete thought.

Refer to your MLA handbook for more information on how to change elements in a quote by using brackets and other marks.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Plagiarism

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Quotes)

For an explanation, see the comments “Too Close to the Original” and “Introduce the Quote.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Too Close to the Original

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Quotes)

The comment “Too Close to the Original” refers to your paraphrase as border-line plagiarism.  Below is an example of a quote. The example paraphrase that follows represents border-line plagiarism. See the comment “Introduce the Quote” for an extended explanation of how to incorporate a quote.

Original Quote

The following represents a blockquote according to MLA standards.

After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of  seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,—a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world.  It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.  On ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. (Du Bois)

Paraphrase

In “The Souls of Black Folk,” Du Bois states that the nineteenth-century Negro always looks at himself through the eyes of others (). Although the paraphrase merely incorporates just one line from Du Bois’s quote, changes “one’s self” to “himself,” and adds the citation information at the end, the paraphrase is still too close to the original. Let’s examine a possible revision.

Revision

In “The Souls of Black Folk,” Du Bois states that the nineteenth-century Negro people don’t define themselves according to their own dictates, according to their own personal views about themselves in relation to society. Instead, they measure themselves according to what others say about them, “by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” ().

The revision is much different from the first paraphrase. The writer is forced to read between the lines, to examine beyond the surface and look beneath the meanings of the words on the page. In adopting such a method, the writer determines what is most important for the reader to know and then puts this vital information into his or her own words. During the process, the writer adds another line to reiterate his or her point and incorporates a quote directly from Du Bois’s words, with a citation.

Revision Consideration

The best solution to revising a paraphrase is to bring in the actual quote, which is the simplest way of directly fixing the problem. Another solution is to think about what the author wants you to take from reading the work, construct what you think he or she is attempting to convey, and use your construction as a paraphrase. If you adopt the second option, check your paraphrase against the original to determine if there is a match in meaning, but not word-for-word. Add the citation reference information at the end.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Rule for Incorporating a Quote with “That” (Introduce the Quote)

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Quotes)

Rule for Incorporating a Quote with “That”

When we see “that” before a quote, anything after “that” must not fall under the grammar rule of capitalizing the first letter of the first word of a sentence, even if the group of words and phrases form a complete sentence without “that.” There are exceptions to this rule:

1) The personal pronoun “I” and proper nouns that begin with a capital letter for the first letter of the word such as “United States” or “John F. Kennedy” are capitalized.

2) If you are presenting a sentence as an example enclosed within quotation marks, the first letter of the first word is capitalized. Review the bolded sentence of Example 3 below.

 Example 3

Particularly, Ernest Allen explores the role of the “blackacademic,” who continues the tradition of imposing racial criteria onto Du Bois’s concept. He attempts to divide prevailing thought while simultaneously reexamining Du Bois’s perspective. Allen’s article, “Du Boisian Double Consciousness: The Unsustainable Argument” (2003) explores the general pattern of “blackacademics” and their misreadings of “The Souls of Black Folk,” particularly the famous epigraph, projecting their interpretations of Du Bois’s motivation for shaping the nineteenth-century construct. Allen places before him the famous epigraph to mull over its elements and concludes that “blackacademics” focus primarily on certain words and phrases. Such phrases include the sentence “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” (Du Bois).

The above excerpt a) incorporates a sentence first and b) places quotation marks around the sentence to highlight to the reader that the words belong to someone else, second. The capitalization of “I” in “It” s appropriate.

3) The last quality of this quote is the “I” in “It” is de-capitalized. The “I” in “It” changes to a lowercase letter, simply because of the rule above.  For MLA citation style, whenever changes are made to a quote, grammatically, brackets are applied.

Click here to return to “Incorporating the Quote Grammatically.”

Click here to return to “Introduce the Quote.”

Click here for “This is my first time.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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Incorporating the Quote Grammatically (Introduce the Quote)

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Quotes)

Incorporating the Quote Grammatically

The hardest part is over, but we have not finished the discussion of “Changes to Grammar.” If we place the relative pronoun “that” after such verbs as “discuss” and “state,” then we have extended our task and we become subject to the principles of grammar. In essence, all “grammatical” sentences begin with a capital letter of the first letter of the first word. No standard grammatical sentence begins with a lowercase letter.

However, when you incorporate a quote into the body paragraph of your essay, and you use “that,” then the sentences of the quote are subject to the rules of grammar. Since a word that begins a sentence cannot be capitalized midway in the sentence, when you use “that,” then the first letter of the word that begins the sentence must be de-capitalized. Examine the following excerpt.

Excerpt #3

In “The Souls of Black Folk,” Du Bois states that “[i]t is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” ().

We want to point something out early. We have placed brackets around the first letter of the word “it” because this method conforms to MLA style. The result might be significantly different for APA and Chicago Style. I will not present the different styles here.

Refer to these manuals for extended discussions concerning the application of brackets when incorporating quotes into your papers. However, I will address the qualities of this quote by focusing solely on the presence of “that” and the change to “It.” These are the qualities of this quote.

1) In most cases, the relative pronoun “that” refers to an element that precedes it and to many elements that follow it. Observe the following sentence.

We need a car that will hold five people.  “That” refers to the antecedent “car.”

With this example in mind, “that” has the following qualities:

a) “That” is typically used in an adjective essential clause and a restrictive clause, which means the information used with “that” in a sentence is necessary information. In accordance with standard rule, the adjective essential clause of the example is “that will hold five people.” The clause collectively functions as an adjective, describing “car.” In this context, don’t apply commas before or after “that.”

In addition, the sentence We need a car that will hold five people. is an example of a sentence using “that” grammatically and accurately. All of the information in the sentence is necessary information.

b) “That” refers to an inanimate object, to animals and things. We will add ideas and concepts to this list also. This is not the standard.

c) “That” refers to something at a distance from you.

In rare cases, “that” may refer only to elements that follow it. In Excerpt #3, does “that” refer to any element before it such as “The Souls of Black Folk” or “Du Bois”? “That” can’t refer to “Du Bois” because Du Bois is a person. “That” can’t refer to “The Souls of Black Folk” because although the title of the book is inanimate, the use of the preposition “in” tells us where we can find the quote.

Therefore, in this example, “that” can’t refer to either of the previous elements that precede it.  If “that” doesn’t apply to these elements, then it must apply to the elements that follow it. That  = “[i]t is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” (Du Bois).

2) Once “that” is used in the sentence with verbs such as “discuss” and “state,” construction of the rest of the sentence elements must conform to grammar. Examine the sentence without the change to “It.”

In “The Souls of Black Folk,” Du Bois states that “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” ().

Now examine the sentence without the quotation marks.

In “The Souls of Black Folk,” Du Bois states that It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity ().

Typically, the first letter of a word that begins a grammatical sentence is capitalized. The preposition “in” is the first word of this grammatical sentence. The “I” in this word must be capitalized.

However, the “I” in “It must not be capitalized, because this word does not begin this grammatical sentence. In essence, the application of “that” before the quote determines how the quote should be incorporated.

Click here for “Rule for Incorporating a Quote with ‘That.'”

Click here to return to “Introduce the Quote.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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