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How to Cite Subtitles in MLA Form

by Lily Medina, Demand Media

    When writing in MLA style, the format and citation method created by the Modern Language Association, you should include the subtitle when mentioning a source's title. You needn't cite the source's name in the body of your paper -- just the author's last name and any relevant page numbers. Your list of works cited, however, must specify the source's full and complete title; this means including the subtitle. A subtitle often provides important information about the source's topic, purpose or conclusions, so citing the subtitle can help your readers understand the significance of your source.

    Step 1

    Place a colon after the main part of the title to separate the primary title from the subtitle. Add one space after the colon. Modern Language Association adds one caveat to this rule: If the end of the title already has punctuation, such as a question mark or exclamation point, then don't add a colon. Just add one space after the existing punctuation.

    Step 2

    Write the full subtitle. Capitalize the subtitle in normal title case, says Cornell University Library; begin each major word with a capital letter, but don't capitalize small words such as articles, conjunctions and prepositions.

    Step 3

    Italicize the subtitle, just like the primary title if the source is a book. If the source is an article, then leave the subtitle in normal text.

    Step 4

    Add a period at the end of the subtitle, except when the subtitle already contains a final punctuation mark.

    Step 5

    Add a quotation mark after the subtitle's final mark of punctuation if the source is an article.

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    About the Author

    As a professional copywriter since 2004, Lily Medina researches to expand her expertise in technology, parenting, education, health, fitness and writing. She has also taught high school and worked as a copy editor. Medina majored in political theory at Patrick Henry College.

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