Documentation Information ::

Fine Lines requests MLA documentation for all scholarly works, nonfiction pieces, poetry, and book reviews. Writers who are writing for the sciences can use APA documentation, according to the fifth edition of the APA Style Manual. Here, we give specific infrmation that refers to MLA style only. For additional information on APA style, please refer to our style links section.

Using and Acknowledging Sources. Writers must decide whether to quote, paraphrase, or summarize their sources.

Quoting. Writers use direct quotes in the following situations:

• when the author’s opinions differ greatly from those of other experts in the field.

• when te author’s words are considered authority and will aid in the writer’s position/argument.

• when the writer seeks to emphasize the author’s opinions.

• when the writer cannot paraphrase a memorable quote without changing the implied meaning in the author’s original statement.

Paraphrasing. Paraphrase only the passages where the information is relevant but the language and writing are insignificant.

Summarizing. Summarize longer passages or entire works where the information is interesting but more than what is necessary for the essay. Summaries are often used for providing necessary background information.

In-text Citations. Brief quotations that are four or less lines in length are incorporated into the text of an essay. Quotations can appear at any point within a sentence but should never stand alone without an attributive tag (introductory element). If the entire sentence – quote and attributive tag – is referring to the quoted material, a parenthetical citation appears at the end of the sentence. Parenthetical citations include the author(s)’s last name followed by the page number(s) of the quoted information enclosed in parentheses and, with the sentence’s final punctuation occurring after the in-text citation. If the author is referred to in the attributive tag, then the last name is not necessary in the citation.

Example: The use of parallelism in literature often has rhetorical, or persuasive, strategies. Ray Bradbury uses the device frequently in Fahrenheit 451: “Strangers come and violate you. Strangers come and cut your heart out. Strangers come and take your blood” (16).

When citing poetry and drama, use the space-slash-space method between separate lines of text. Copy all capitalization as is in the original text. In the citation, include the act, scene, and line numbers only, each followed by a period and no spaces between.

Example: Alluding to the Philomela from Greek mythology, Shakespeare writes, “Philomel, with melody / Sing in our sweet lullaby” (2.2.13-14).

Block quotes are used for quoted material more than four lines in length. Block quotes are indented one inch (two tabs or ten spaces) from the left margin, are double spaced, have left-flushed first lines, and include no quotation marks, except when the original text has quotation marks already included. The parenthetical documentation occurs after the final punctuation. Refer to the following example:

He was eating a light supper at nine in the evening when the front door cried out in the hall and Mildred ran from the parlor like a native fleeing an eruption of Vesuvius. Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles came through the front door and vanished into the volcano’s mouth with martinis in their hands. Montag stopped eating. They were like a monstrous crystal chandelier tinkling in a thousand chimes, he saw their Cheshire Cat smiles burning through the walls of the house, and now they were screaming at each other above the din. (Bradbury 93)

Works Cited. Fine Lines requests that all scholarly and nonfiction submissions be written using MLA format. We suggest that you refer to the MLA Handboook for Writers of Research Papers, Sixth Edition for up-to-date information on in-text citation and works cited. We also have links to online information on both MLA and APA styles in our style links section.