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How to Cite a Paraphrase in MLA

by Forest Time, Demand Media

    The Modern Language Association sets specific guidelines for the proper citation of sources. Even if you do not quote a source directly and only paraphrase a source, you must still give direct credit to that source with an in-text citation when adhering to MLA guidelines. The seventh edition of the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers" sets out basic rules to avoid plagiarism and correctly cite paraphrased sources within the body of your paper.

    Step 1

    Position your citation at the end of your paraphrase, but before the period.

    Step 2

    List the last name of the author after an open parenthetical mark.

    Step 3

    List the page numbers you are paraphrasing, and then close your citation with a parenthetical mark. For multiple pages, use a hyphen between the numbers.

    Step 4

    Your citation should appear in the following format: Many penguins are difficult to interact with emotionally. Penguins often lash out at any life form around them, and their behavior shows evidence of wild mood swings (Smith 94-96).

    Step 5

    If you mention the name of the author you are paraphrasing in your paraphrase, you only need to cite the page numbers you are paraphrasing in parentheses. For example: According to Smith, many penguins are difficult to interact with emotionally. Penguins often lash out at any life form around them, and their behavior shows evidence of wild mood swings (94-96).

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    About the Author

    Forest Time has been writing for over a decade. During this time, he founded and edited a short-lived literary magazine, received several prizes for his poetry and published a master's thesis on Cambodian history. He received his Master of Arts in Asian history from the University of Maine at Orono in 2007.

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