MLA Documentation II

Last time, we discussed how to do a Works Cited page for the end of your paper. This time we will discuss how to do parenthetical in-text citations. The main point in writing an in-text citation is for the reader to have enough information to look up the full reference to the cited work if they desire. This always consists of two parts:

  • The source of the work cited.
  • The place in the source where the quote or allusion appears.

For most works, this will mean citing the author or authors and the page number.

Ex: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Austin 1).

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin begins, ““It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (1).

Note: Use the same convention for authors in in-text citations as for the works cited page: list up to three authors, if there are more list only the first and et al. Only use the last name for the in-text citations.

Occasionally, there are books with no authors listed or you are using several works by the same author. In this case, use the title as another point of reference.

Ex: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Austin, Pride and Prejudice, 1).

Note: If the title is in the text, use the full title. If not, if the title is short (three words or so) keep it as it is. Otherwise shorten it to three words or less, not including A, An or The.

If a source has no page numbers, use only the author and/or title as demonstrated above.

If a source uses paragraph numbers or sections instead of page numbers, put those instead and include what they are.

If the source is a multivolume work and you used several of the volumes, include the volume number in the in-text citation.

Note: If you used only one volume in a multivolume work, only that one volume will be listed in the works cited page.

If you are using an item that is a quote in the work you are citing, try to quote the original source. If you cannot, indicate that it is a quotation.

If a corporation is the author and the title of the corporation is long, try to incorporate the author name into the text.

Cite non-print works such as a web source as shown above as far as possible.

Usually cite items such as movies or songs by titles.

Two rules for where to put in-text citations:

  1. Make it clear where your borrowing begins and ends. Yes, this includes indirect quotes and facts.
  2. Keep the citation as unobtrusive as possible.

Make sure if a paragraph has two or more sources that it is clear which in-text citation goes with what source.

Ordinarily, the citation comes before any punctuation needed by the sentence. Hence, why comas, periods, etc. come after the citation. The exception is if it is a direct quote that uses a question or exclamation mark. In that case, use what the quote requires then put a period after the citation. If the quote is indented from the main text and therefore it does not need quotation marks, use the punctuation of the quote, even a period, and there is no punctuation needed after the citation.

When to use footnotes or endnotes.

Sometimes you may want to refer to several sources at once. Using a footnote or endnote in this case would make the citation less obtrusive. Also, if you want to make comments about the source or include information that is not easily included in the text, footnotes or endnotes may be the ideal way to go.

To do a footnote or endnote indent half an inch (basically tab), do the note number with a period, a space, then the note itself. If doing a foot note, place it on the page on which the citation appears and have four spaces between the text and the footnote. Single-space the note.

If doing an end note, have it on an Endnote page titled as such in numerical order. The endnote page should be between the text and the Works Cited page. Double space the notes.

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There are three basic tools to use when doing statistics: mean, median, and mode. Let us talk about each of these a bit more.

The mean is also sometimes known as the average. This is the average number in a sequence. This is solved by adding all the numbers in a sequence divided by the number of numbers.

Ex: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 : 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9/9 = 45/9 = 5

The median is the midpoint of a sequence whether it is the mean or not.

Ex: 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5 : 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5 : 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5 The median is 2.

The mode is the number that occurs with most frequency in a sequence, which may not be the mean or median.

Ex: 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4 There are 4 ones, 3 twos, 2 threes, and 1 four. There are more ones than anything else so 1 is the mode.

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In Defense of the Humanities

The humanities are the study of the human condition. They include the arts, language, literature, history, and more. Even here at Provo College we offer a humanities course, even though what you are interested in is medical assisting, graphic design, physical fitness, or criminal justice (among others). Why do we do this? What is so important about the humanities?

First of all, humans build upon what has gone before. This is not only true in something like medicine where advances today are only possible because of things discovered 10, 20, 50 years ago. It is equally true in every aspect of our lives. We would not enjoy stand up comedy today if people like Shakespeare had not been slowly learning what we think is funny. Granted, what we think is funny today is in some cases quite different, but somethings are timeless. A good example of this is Much Ado About Nothing. We have Beatrice and Benedict who love to spar verbally and who hate each other, so of course they end up falling in love. Guess what? That is basically Han Solo and Princess Leia from the original Star Wars trilogy.

We can also learn a lot about ourselves, speaking of humanity generally, and where we might be going by studying the past. Historians love doing this, but this applies to other areas as well. If country music is like old folk music, what does that say about it? And there is a famous quote by George Santayanya that says, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This is a very divisive time in American history, but it has not been the only one. In fact, the early days of this country during the 1790s and first decade of the 1800s was as full of partisanship as any in this nations history. Whatever your political leanings, what might we learn from those early days that we could apply today?

Finally, knowing something about the humanities is just plain fun sometimes. You find it everywhere in our culture, so the more you know of it the greater your enjoyment.

A plug for a great book now. I really enjoy the series The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographia by James A. Owen. It is the story of three young men who end up with a book of maps to every land that ever existed in the imagination. Of course the three young men set sail on a ship capable of reaching these lands, where they meet and find many interesting people and things. The reason why I find these books so enjoyable is because they are stuffed with the humanities. There are numerous authors referenced, Greek mythology, Arthurian legends, elves, dwarves, dragons, Peter Pan . . . The list goes on and on, and because I am familiar with all these references and I am also familiar with the time period in the real world this is supposed to be taking place, well what can I say. I enjoy it. And knowing who the three young men were in real life adds extra depth to the story for me. I love these books. Would I enjoy them as much if I did not recognize all these references? I do not know that I would, though these books are a fun read just on their own.

So enjoy your time studying the humanities. See what references and patterns from the past you can recognize going on today. And if the series above sounds at all interesting, check out the first book, Here There Be Dragons from your local library! See how many references you can catch! (Sorry we do not have it here – yet.)

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Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are yet another punctuation mark that are very useful. They come in two variety: double ” “, and single ‘ ‘. There are several things to keep in mind about quotation marks.

1. Single quotation marks are primarily used within double quotation marks.

Ex: The teacher said, “It was Shakespeare who wrote, ‘To be, or not to be: that is the question.'”

2. Remember each new speaker needs a new paragraph if you are doing dialogue.

3. Use quotation marks for works that are part of other works such as:

  • songs
  • short stories
  • short poems
  • an article in a periodical
  • essays
  • page or document on a website
  • episode of a TV or radio program
  • sub-division of a book, such as a chapter

Ex: “Meg Goes to Vanity Fair” is a chapter in the book Little Women.

4. Quotation marks may be used around a word that is being used in a special sense or that you want to give special emphasis. Underline or use italics though if you are doing a definition.

Ex: Every child should have at least one “imaginary friend” at some point.

5. Do not use quotation marks in titles, unless there is a title within a title.

Ex: Incorrect – “The End of the World According to Robert Frost”; Correct – The End of the World in “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost

6. Do not use quotation marks around nicknames.

Ex: Incorrect – My name is Cynthia, but most people call me “Cindy”. Correct – My name is Cynthia, but most people call me Cindy.

7. Do not use quotation marks around technical terms, slang, or trite expressions.

Ex: Incorrect – Let us “seize the day”. Correct – Let us seize the day.

8. Commas and periods go inside quotation marks. Colons and semi-colons go outside quotation marks. Dashes, question marks, and explanation points go inside quotation marks only if they are part of a quotation.

Note: If there is already punctuation of some kind from the quote, you do not need to also add a comma or a period.

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Commas are a very useful punctuation mark, but it can get a bit confusing as to when to use them. Here are some times to use commas.

First, when you have and, but, or, nor, for, so, or yet linking two parts of a sentence that can can each stand on their own, you need a comma before the linking word.

Example: Learning is fun, but I would rather read a novel.

A caution: Sentences that use the linking words but where one of the two parts of the sentence cannot stand on its own do not use comas.

Example: Bob was sick today and stayed home.

Second, if you have an introductory word or phrase beginning the sentence you need to set that off by a comma as well. Note: The person or thing the sentence is about is not an introductory phrase.

Example: Fortunately, the teacher gave an extension on the assignment.

Third, if there is a nonessential element in the middle of the sentence it needs to be set off by commas. A good test for this is removing the part in question and see if what remains has the same meaning. If it does, commas are needed.

Example: Albert Einstien, who ended his career at Princeton in the United States, was born in Germany.

Example: Those who had not watched Lost from the beginning felt left out when the series finally concluded.

Fourth, use commas to separate items in a list (unless the items in the list already have commas – then use a semicolon). A comma before and is optional but is usually clearer. Note: Do not use commas around the list, only in the list.

Example: Strawberries, peaches, and clementine oranges are some of my favorite fruit.

Fifth, use a comma between adjectives when each one describes the same word equally. A good test for this is is if the two adjectives could be joined by the word and.

Example: Sandra Bullock deserves her Oscar for her understated, sincere performance in The Blindside.

Sixth, there are a lot of places where commas are needed such as long numbers, dates, and addresses.

Example: The zen librarian googled nothing and got 5,214,693 hits.

Example: The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776.

Note: If the date had been at the beginning of the sentence, another comma would have been needed between the year and the rest of the sentence.

Example: The fictional Sherlock Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street, London, England zip unknown.

Sixth, use a comma to set off quotations. Note: If the quote is split between two parts that can stand on their own, use a semicolon or period instead.

Example: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens begins, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

One final note: a comma is not needed then do not use it.

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More Time Management Tips

Today I have some more time management tips that I hope will be of help.

First, arrive early or at least on time. This applies to school, work, even events scheduled with your family and friends. No one likes to be kept waiting. If you come late to school, unless you have a really good reason they should penalize you. If you come late to work regularly, your employer will penalize you up to and including firing you.

Second, before each term, I would get a one week calender and write in prior commitments. If you have a work schedule that is fixed from one week to the next, put down those hours. Do you watch your nephew for two hours each week? Put that down. Are you taking underwater basket weaving at the community center? Put that down as well. Now you and your academic adviser can see exactly what times you are available to take classes here at Provo College. Never schedule a class if you already have something else scheduled for that time. Never schedule something during a time where you already have class scheduled. Remember, this includes scheduling time to get to your various commitments, including school. If it takes you fifteen minutes to get to school, schedule those fifteen minutes. If it takes you a half hour to get to work, schedule in that half hour. Also, remember to schedule in study time.

Third, remember that planner we had for your class schedule? Yep, we are going to use it again. A planner is not only useful for putting down your assignments and tests and such. I would encourage you to put down everything: doctors appointments, special events, meetings at work, anything that is unusual. If your work hours are flexible, i.e. never the same, I would strongly encourage you to put down your work hours as well. Make sure if you work a flexible schedule that you keep your employer aware of when your classes are scheduled each term and ask your employer to never schedule you during class time.

Time is a precious commodity. Let us map out our schedules so we can use it wisely.

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Order of Operations

Sometimes you are given a complex problem that looks something like this:

(5-3)2 + 7(8-4) – 9

So where do you even start with a problem like this? Knowing what order to do things in makes all the difference.


First, start with anything inside the parenthesis. In this case, we have 5-2 in one parenthesis which is 3, and 8-4 in the other, which is 4. So the results would look like this:

Original problem: (5-3)2 + 7(8-4) – 9

Parenthesis done: (2)2 + 7(4) – 9


Next we need to take care of any powers, going from left to right (the same way as we read in English). This problem only has one power (2)2 which ends up being 4. So this is what it would look like:

Parenthesis done: (2)2 + 7(4) – 9

Powers done: 4 + 7(4) – 9

Multiplication and Division

Next we do multiplication and division, once again going from left to right. Here we have 7(4) which is 28. This is what it would look like:

Powers done: 4 + 7(4) – 9

Multiplying/Dividing done: 4 + 28 – 9

Addition and Subtraction

Finally, we add and subtract from left to right. In this case, it would look like this:

Multiplying/Dividing done: 4 + 28 – 9

Adding/Subtracting done: 4 + 28 = 32 -9 = 23

So the final result is 23.

Note: Order of operations does not just apply to mathematical problems like this. It is also used in algebraic problems like this: (4(X+2)) – 5 = 21. Just remember, start with the parenthesis and go on down the order of operations.

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