Seven Works Cited MLA Mistakes You Should Avoid

Published 3/9/2013

Styling citations and the reference list accordingly to the strict requirements of MLA standard is not very simple task, but free online bibliograhy and citation tools like Citation Machine, BibMe, or EasyBib make this process much easier and reduce the number of possible mistakes.

However, even the best tool cannot guarantee that you havn’t fall on any mistake alone, without your help. That's a reason why it’s strongly recommended that you take a final look at your essay before simbitting it to ensure that everything is OK. At this stage it worth it to pay attention on the list of the most common mistakes that we’ve collected from our experience.

Mistake #1: Improper use of bold, italics and underline fonts

To avoid this mistake, carefully read the instructions for the appropriate source type. For example, when you cite a book, its title must be italicized, but when you site a periodical, you should italicize the journal or newspaper title and not the article title.

Mistake #2: Improper use of quotation marks

To avoid this mistake, ensure that you use the quotation marks exactly as described in MLA Works Cited requirements. For example, when you cite a work within Anthology or Collection, you should put the work’s title into quotation marks and use plain text (no bold or italic).

Mistake #3: Your in-text citations do not correspond with your Works Cited MLA page

In-text sources must correspond to the Works Cited MLA page, with your chosen signal word or phrase to be the first thing appearing on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry in the Works Cited MLA list.

Mistake #4: Mismatch between citing multiple works by the same author and works with multiple authors

To avoid this mistake, carefully read the instructions for each case and follow them in your essay’s text to the letter. Pay attention that it should be exactly correspondent to you essay’s Works Cited page.

Mistake #5: Web addresses on the Works Cited MLA page

MLA 7 does not require web address when citing an online source in the Works Cited MLA page. However, sometimes your teacher / instructor will ask for it. Then, and only then, write a web address.

Mistake #6: Periodicals confusion

Do not confuse between magazines, newspapers, reviews, scholarly journals etc. Each has its own set of citation rules which should not be mixed.

Mistake #7: Mistakes in Abbreviations

MLA Works Cited provides very strict instruction as to how to use abbreviations in authors’ titles, dates, well-known geographical names, etc. Make sure you use them properly: upper case letters, lower case, in citations, regarding to publishers, including what to do if you don’t know one of the details.

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