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How do I cite a whole paragraph using MLA?One paragraph of my essay is a summary of a...

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theotagogirl | Honors

Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:03 AM via web

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How do I cite a whole paragraph using MLA?

One paragraph of my essay is a summary of a short story.  Do I have to cite every sentence or can I just add something at the end of the paragraph?

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:29 AM (Answer #1)

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If you are summarizing the short story in your own words, it is the same thing as paraphrasing any other information in the paper.  You have a couple options.  You can include the source information in the paragraph itself, by saying something to the effect of:

In the short story "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe...when the narrator is miraculously saved at the very last minute by General LaSalle himself (154-177).

Even if you have a copy of the short story printed out, it was probably first published as part of an anthology, or at the very least, can be found in one.  Find the place the short story was originally published and use THAT as the source entry in your works cited.  Then, notice your parenthetical citation here only includes page numbers from the anthology.

An alternate method would be to leave out the author's name in your paragraph and simply say:

In the short story "The Pit and the Pendulum"...when the narrator is miraculously saved at the very last minute by General LaSalle himself (Poe 154-177).

If you do not mention the author in your own words, put him in the parenthetical citation.  You do NOT have to cite every sentence because you are paraphrasing the whole thing from one source.  If you plan to blend any quoted material with the paraphrase, "like this" just put the page number in parenthesis at the end of the sentence with quotes and put the period at the very end (166).  Again, no author necessary as you will either cite him at the very end, or mention him at the beginning.

REMINDER: the parenthetical citation must relate directly to the source citation in your Works Cited.  Make the parenthetical citation as easy as possible by finding the short story in an actual book.

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