PUNCTUATE PARENTHETICAL CITATIONS CORRECTLY

Avoid the following common mistakes by referring to the MLA section of your handbook and the "MLA Documentation" sheet provided by your instructor. (This lecture focuses on a simple print source as an example. See your handbook for specifics on others types of sources.)

COMMON ERRORS

Victor Frankenstein, when faced with the decision of whether or not to create a female companion for the monster, states that to do so "would be an act of the basest and most atrocious selfishness." (Shelley 148)

PROBLEM: The period inside the quotation mark doesn't belong there. It belongs at the end of the parenthetical citation according MLA practice.

Victor Frankenstein, when faced with the decision of whether or not to create a female companion for the monster, states that to do so "would be an act of the basest and most atrocious selfishness." (Shelley 148).

PROBLEM: Now the writer has a redundant period. Now there are two periods clashing with each other.

Victor Frankenstein, when faced with the decision of whether or not to create a female companion for the monster, states that to do so "would be an act of the basest and most atrocious selfishness" (Shelley, 148).

PROBLEM: The comma doesn't belong inside the pcit. Rarely does a punctuation mark get placed into a pcit for a simple print source. Exceptions do apply, so see your handbook for details.

Victor Frankenstein, when faced with the decision of whether or not to create a female companion for the monster, states that to do so "would be an act of the basest and most atrocious selfishness" (Shelley pg. 148).

PROBLEM: MLA usually does not call for the pg. abbreviation, though some abbreviations may be appropriate at times. See your handbook and follow on a case-by-case basis.

Victor Frankenstein, when faced with the decision of whether or not to create a female companion for the monster, states that to do so "would be an act of the basest and most atrocious selfishness" (http://www.thisisareallylongurl.com).

PROBLEM: Rarely does a web address belong in the body of the essay. Rather, refer to the author of the site, or its title, or its responsible party. Here, the unnecessary URL is distracting. If needed, you can place the URL in the citation on your Works Cited page.

Victor Frankenstein, when faced with the decision of whether or not to create a female companion for the monster, states that to do so "would be an act of the basest and most atrocious selfishness" (Frankenstein 148).

PROBLEM: Unless you are discussing multiple pieces written by the author, and there is a possibility your readers may get confused as to which piece you are quoting, the author's last name gets placed into the pcit and not the title of the novel. Of course, if an author's name is unknown (anonymously written pieces, for instance), then you cannot place the author's name in the pcit. When this arises, you place the title of the piece in the pcit.

THE SOLUTION

Victor Frankenstein, when faced with the decision of whether or not to create a female companion for the monster, states that to do so "would be an act of the basest and most atrocious selfishness" (Shelley 148).

SOLUTION: For a simple print source, end the quote, type a space, begin the parenthetical citation, list the author's name, type a space, list the page number alone without any punctuation or abbreviation, close the parenthetical citation, and then place your end punctuation if needed.

For examples of other types of sources, refer to your handbook.