Oh crap, I forgot how to write essays!
October 18, 2011 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm back in school after several years of not thinking about essays. I forgot how to do everything! How do I cite an essay in a textbook in MLA format?

I am citing heavily from several essays by different authors in a textbook. The textbook was not compiled by these authors. I have the name of the authors, titles of essays, years printed, but not the page numbers within the original essays. How do I parenthetically cite these quotes within the text of the essay and how do I list the sources in the bibliography?
posted by cheerwine to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I can't answer your question specifically, but the Purdue Online Writing Lab MLA section is a fantastic guide to these questions.
posted by stresstwig at 10:57 AM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

You may find OWL helpful. Specifically, in this case, the MLA formatting guide.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:58 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

aww crud, beat me to it.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:59 AM on October 18, 2011

I'm not a librarian or English anything, but I'm pretty sure you want to do an anthology citation. The two websites I use to use:


posted by lpcxa0 at 11:00 AM on October 18, 2011

I'm sorry I can't help because I'm great at using the APA format, but not MLA, but yes, if you're back in school, bookmark the OWL now and use it whenever you have anything from a formatting question to a slight doubt, and try to understand why things are cited the way they are (I always asked my high school students not to use those auto-reference type tools), that way eventually you'll have enough knowledge to cite and reference almost automatically.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 11:05 AM on October 18, 2011

Now that your question's answered, let me also suggest that you get very familiar and comfortable with your school's Writing Center. They can answer future questions like these and help you with a host of other things related to writing papers and essays (and beyond--my school's writing center offered help with oral presentations as well). Good luck!
posted by litnerd at 12:07 PM on October 18, 2011

Easybib is my favorite online citation generator.

A word of warning: Citation generators are extremely helpful, but are not perfect. I recommend using one because it'll save you a crap ton of time and effort (for one thing, they can pull up most of the info automatically), and then using Purdue OWL to double check and make any corrections.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:14 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Easybib and OWL. I refer my writing students to both sites all the time. You may also look into whether or not your college library site has any tooks (like NoodleTools).
posted by tr33hggr at 1:13 PM on October 18, 2011

Thanks everyone!
posted by cheerwine at 1:59 PM on October 18, 2011

In general, this is the kind of question that can easily be answered by your friendly college librarian, who will almost certainly also point you at tools (NoodleTools, Easybib, EndNote, OWL, etc...) the library provides to make this process easier for you in the future. I personally like NoodleTools, but that's in large part due to a conflict of interest on my part.

Your library probably has an online "Ask a Librarian" service so you don't even have to trek off to the library.
posted by zachlipton at 5:08 PM on October 18, 2011

« Older Flushed with frustration   |   Tumblr vs. Wordpress? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.