How to Paraphrase in MLA

An image showing a side-by-side comparison of an original text and its paraphrased version with an MLA citation.

Learn how to paraphrase in MLA format with this step-by-step guide to avoid plagiarism and demonstrate your ability to follow academic standards by using proper MLA citation style.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Paraphrase in MLA

  1. Read the source material carefully
  2. Identify the key points
  3. Rewrite the text in your own words
  4. Check for accuracy
  5. Cite your sources

How to Cite Sources in Your MLA Writing

In addition to paraphrasing, it’s essential to cite your sources in MLA style to avoid plagiarism and give credit to the original author. Here are some guidelines to follow when citing sources in your writing:

In-text citations

  • In-text citations are used to give credit to a source within the text of your paper. They include the author’s last name and page number where the information was found. For example: According to Smith, “paraphrasing is an essential skill” (15).
  • If you’re citing a source with multiple authors, list their last names in the citation. For example:(Jones, Smith, and Lee 25)
  • If there are no page numbers, such as in a website or online article, you can use the author’s name or a shortened title version in the citation. For example:
  • The quotation should be on a new line, indented half an inch from the left margin while maintaining the double spacing.
  • Quotation marks are used to indicate when you are direct quotes someone else’s words or when you are referring to a specific phrase or term.

Works Cited page

  • The Works Cited page is a separate page at the end of your paper that lists all the sources you used in your writing.
  • Each entry should include the author’s name, the title of the work, publication information, and the medium of publication (such as print or web).

Formatting guidelines

  • When formatting your paper and citations in MLA style, there are specific guidelines. These include using double-spaced text, 12-point font, and 1-inch margins. In addition, all sources cited in the text should be listed on the Works Cited page, and the Works Cited page should be labeled with the heading “Works Cited” and centered at the top.
  • By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your writing is adequately cited and avoids plagiarism.
  • You can include more than one citation in a single parenthesis. You do this by citing each work and then using semi-colons to separate each citation

What is MLA?

Modern Language Association (MLA) is a style guide that provides guidelines for formatting papers and citing sources in the humanities. It includes guidelines for formatting the paper, citing sources, and creating a Works Cited list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use the exact words as the original source when paraphrasing in MLA?

No, you should avoid using the exact words as the original passage when paraphrasing in MLA. Instead, you should rephrase the ideas in your own words while still maintaining the original meaning and intent.

Is it necessary to include page numbers in MLA in-text citations?

Yes, page numbers are typically required in MLA in-text citations unless the source does not have page numbers (such as a website).

Can I paraphrase an entire article or research paper in my paper?

No, it’s generally not a good idea to paraphrase an entire article or book chapter in your paper. Instead, you should focus on summarizing the main ideas and arguments and only paraphrase specific quotes or examples that are relevant to your analysis.

What should I do if I’m unsure how to properly paraphrase a source in MLA?

If you’re unsure how to properly paraphrase a source in MLA, it’s a good idea to consult the MLA Handbook 8th edition or citation guide. You could also reach out to your instructor or a writing tutor for help.

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