The Ins and Outs of Citing an Essay

How do you need to cite sources? Everything depends on the type of your writing work, use of borrowed materials, and the expectations of teachers. First, decide how you prefer to identify all sources. If they are essential to your ideas, mention their authors and works in the sentence that introduces a particular citation. When citing sources in academic papers to make minor points, you should use such tools as footnotes, parenthetical references, and endnotes. When citing an essay, there are different formatting styles to choose from, including APA, MLA, and others, and the right choice often depends on specific disciplines. For instance, when citing sources in any psychological paper, use a different format compared to English essays. Talk to instructors to determine the most appropriate citation format for your paper and ask a few simple questions to save time. What citation style should you use? How do you need to cite all sources? There are general guidelines that can help you complete this task easily and successfully.

Identifying All Sources in the Main Body

The first time you cite sources, it’s necessary to mention their authors, genres, titles, etc. If a source is central to your writing work, introduce it in a sentence and sum up its significance and key ideas. In most cases, students prefer to tag these details either at the beginning or in the end of a sentence. It’s also advisable to describe authors if they aren’t famous or you have reasons to think that readers aren’t familiar with them. You should mention if authors are artists, analysts, physicists, and so on. If you know nothing about authors or you can’t find any useful information, just say where you found sources and why you think that they’re wroth citing and credible. When introducing authors and works from which you’re citing something and referring to the same works again in your essay, you don’t need to mention this information again.

Important Quoting Information

  1. What is quoting all about? Basically, taking exact words and phrases from original sources is quoting. You can quote materials in your essay if you think that the way authors express their ideas is the best method of communicating your point of view. If you want to borrow ideas from authors, but you don’t need to use exact phrases, switch to paraphrasing.
  2. How often can you use quotes? Often, summarizing and paraphrasing sources are enough. When it’s important to quote something, the main rule is that you should have a few lines analyzing each line you quote in your papers.
  3. How do you need to incorporate quotes in essays? You can identify sources and quote from them. Sometimes, it’s necessary to modify words or quotation formats to fit into your assignment. When you change original words from sources, indicate that you take this step, or you’ll end up claiming that original authors used the words that they didn’t use. Don’t change too many words because you may change the main meaning of quotes or claims.

Basic Quoting Rules and Directions

When citing an essay and using quotes, you should be as concise as possible. Keep the materials that are relevant to important ideas. You may need to change wording a bit and use specific editing symbols in your essay. For example, brackets indicate that you substitute certain words for others. Making substitutions in quoting is important, but you need to ensure that the main meaning isn’t lost. Otherwise, you will make fraudulent attributions. It’s possible to make minor stylistic and grammatical changes for quoted materials to fit in your essay, but you shouldn’t alter their content or structure.

Quoting with Quotes and Using Long Quotes

If you have quotes within quotes or embedded quotations, switch from normal marks to the single ones to show readers the main difference. What if you need to use long quotes in academic papers? Formatting requirements for long quotes usually differ based on the chosen citation style. In general, if you quote more than three lines, take the following steps:

  1. Change fonts to something smaller.
  2. Double-indent quotes, which means adjusting right and left margins to make then 1-inch smaller than the main body of essays.
  3. Left-justify your text if you have this function in a favorite word processor because every line should start in the same place, thus creating a straight line on the left, whilst its right side is jagged.
  4. Avoid using special quotation marks for your entire quote because the above-mentioned graphic changes are enough to indicate that materials are quoted.
  5. For quotes within this quotation, use normal marks instead of the single ones.
  6. You may prefer to skip 1.5 times the chosen line-spacing before starting a quote or after it, and this step is optional because it depends on a particular format.

Usual and Annotated Bibliographies

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What is a bibliography? It’s another question that students may ask when citing an essay. Any bibliography is a special list of all the sources used when researching your topic, and it should include the following details:

  • Authors’ names;
  • Locations and names of the companies that published sources;
  • Work titles;
  • The dates of publishing sources;
  • Their page numbers.

What is an annotated bibliography? It’s the same as a standard bibliography, but the main difference is that its bibliographic information is followed by your short description of the quality, content, and usefulness of sources.

How to Use Footnotes

What are footnotes? They are special notes put at the bottom of pages, and their basic purpose is citing comments or references on a given part of the text above. For instance, if you want to add some interesting comments to an essay sentence, but they aren’t directly related to the main argument of this paragraph, add symbols for footnotes. Reprint these symbols and insert interesting comments at the bottom of this page where you can write more about the sentence that precedes your footnotes.

When readers see footnotes in the main text, they will look at your comments at once. This is what makes it convenient for the audience to read your essay. Furthermore, many citation styles require students to use either endnotes or footnotes in their academic papers. Some professors may let you make special parenthetical references in the main body. Footnotes are not only interesting comments, but they also refer to relevant sources and let readers know where specific materials come from or where they should look for useful sources on the given subject. To decide whether it’s worth using footnotes when citing an essay, talk to instructors too.

Where Small Footnote Marks Go

Put footnotes at the end of sentences whenever you can, following a period or other punctuation marks that complete these sentences. You also need to skip 2 spaces after footnotes before you start the next one. If it’s necessary to include footnotes in the middle of sentences to improve clarity or because they have a few footnotes, put them in the end of relevant phrases, following a comma or other punctuation marks, or you can put them at the end of relevant words. If footnotes aren’t at the end of sentences, skip only 1 space after them.

Differences between Endnotes and Footnotes

The main difference between footnotes and endnotes is that footnotes are at the bottom of relevant pages, while endnotes are always at the end of your text. If you want the audience to read notes right away, use footnotes because they’re more likely to grab their attention. On the other hand, endnotes are less intrusive, and they don’t interrupt the flow of your essay.

Differences between Endnotes, Footnotes, and Bibliographies

How citing sources in endnotes or footnotes is different from bibliographies? Sometimes, professors may ask you to include them, especially if you want to use a parenthetical format of citing. Any works cited page is all about a list of all the sources from which you borrow materials for your essay. Readers may find bibliographies more convenient than endnotes and footnotes because they don’t need to wade through all comments and other details to find the sources used to write your paper.

Finally, a works consulted page is a certain complement to this page and it lists all the sources that you use, whether they’re helpful or not. Is it the same as bibliographies? Yes, but their titles are difference because this page must complement a works cited pages, while bibliographies can list other relevant materials in addition to the ones mentioned in endnotes and footnotes.

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