Paraphrasing and Quotation in MLA Format

Introduction

Paraphrasing is the formulation of someone else’s ideas in your own words while quotation is using someone else’s idea in your work exactly as it was written, with the inclusion of a quotation mark. Paraphrasing requires you to rewrite sentences or paragraphs without changing its meaning.

In academic writing, it is usually preferable to paraphrase instead of quoting; however, you might need to quote if you want to provide a precise definition or provide evidence. Paraphrasing is essential because it makes your work look original, as well as shows your understanding of the source.

When paraphrasing or quoting, it is important to cite the source according to the writing format you are using. Therefore, this article is aimed at illustrating how to paraphrase and quote in the MLA format successfully. (Also learn about paraphrasing and quotation in APA and Chicago format)

Paraphrasing in MLA Format

You are not expected to add your opinion when paraphrasing unless you are making it clear that it is your idea and not the original author’s. Paraphrasing does not need quotation marks. However, it is important to cite all paraphrased sentences and paragraphs. In the in-text citation of paraphrased sentences, you include the author’s last name followed by the page where the sentence can be found.

Example

The Internet is a powerful tool in people’s hands, but if it is not appropriately used can put someone…… (Chardalias 106).

Chardalias stated that The Internet is a powerful tool in people’s hands, but if it is not used properly can put someone…… (106).

Citing a Source That Was Cited in Another Work

There are situations whereby you would need to cite an author’s work, as cited in another author’s work. This can be done by including “qtd. in” in the parathesis.

Example

The Internet is a powerful tool in people’s hands, but if it is not appropriately used can put someone…… (qtd. in James 124).

Citing More Than One Work in a Single Parenthesis

You can include more than one citation in a single parenthesis (Find out where to use parentheses). You do this by citing each work and then using semi-colons to separate each citation

Example

(Fukuyama 42; Moulthrop, pars. 39-53)

Tips to Paraphrasing

check-mark Make sure you fully understand the meaning of the original text.

check-mark Take note of key concepts

check-mark Try to start the sentence at a different point from the original text

check-mark Change the structure of the sentence

check-mark Break the original text into different sentences

check-mark Try using synonyms

Quotation in MLA Format

Short Quotations

When you are quoting a sentence that is less than four lines in your text, you are expected to enclose the text within double quotation marks. Furthermore, you are expected to cite the source, that is, provide the author and specific page number in parenthesis immediately after the text. In the event where the author’s name is included in the text, then only the page number should be in parenthesis after the text.

Example

“in a bid to identify the factors responsible for Internet ethical behavior among postgraduate students ………..” (Morgan 122).

According to Morgan, “in a bid to identify the factors responsible for Internet ethical behavior among postgraduate students ………..” (122).

Long Quotations

For quotation in MLA format when your sentence or paragraph is more than four lines, you are expected to place the quotation in a free-standing block of text without quotation marks. Also, the quotation should be on a new line, indented half an inch from the left margin while maintaining the double spacing. The in-text citation should come at the end of the text.

When quoting two or more paragraphs, you are expected to use the block quotation format. Also, the first line of the second paragraph should be indented a quarter-inch to show a new paragraph.

Example

He added to our understanding of ebooks:

It has been known that it is now relatively easy to write an ebook in recent times, with the inclusion of self-publishing. More importantly, when you are done with the text enclosed within your ebook……….. (Joseph 223).

Joseph gave further insight into ebooks and self-publishing:

It has been known that it is now relatively easy to write an ebook in recent times, with the inclusion of self-publishing. More importantly, when you are done with the text enclosed within your ebook……….. (223).

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