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Who?

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Page Citation

Name and Page Citation

Punctuation

 

The works-cited page at the end of your essay gives your readers the list of sources you actually referenced within your paper, allowing your readers to easily find those sources themselves. The works-cited page is NOT a bibliography, listing all of the texts you may have researched in preparing the paper.

Within your text, you want to give your readers enough information so that they can locate the appropriate source information on your works-cited page. This intratextual system of key information is given in parentheses at the end of a sentence that references an outside source.


 

Because the intent of this page is to simply give general guidelines, there will be no attempt to comprehensively address all the possible ways of documenting your sources. The ways you document your sources are, to large extent, stylistic choices you make; however, two major considerations should shape your choices:

1) make sure that your referenced sources are clearly and specifically cited, including appropriate page numbers or the numbers of the act, scene and line of a play--your readers should have no questions about where you found your information;

2) make sure that your reference specifies a source listed on your works-cited page.

Parenthetical Referencing

 

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Parenthetical Referencing You can include the author's name in your sentence when you are referencing the entire work and omit any parenthetical reference.

When our reference is general, to an entire text and not a specific passage within that text, we can include the author's name in our sentence (usually just the last name--unless it is the first time the author is formally introduced into our paper in which case we must give the author's entire name) and omit any parenthetical reference to the author and text:

In Joan Didion's "Sentimental Journeys," the perceptions of New Yorkers on the Central Park Jogger case are divided.

Although this sentence clearly and specifically indicates the author's source of information as well as the focus of the passage, there is at least one concern of which we should be aware with this example:

Parenthetical Referencing Inexperienced writers often feel the need to continually announce their sources at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph. The emphasis can (and frequently does) shift easily from the author's ideas to a reliance on the source(s) for the content of the paper. When this happens, the inexperienced writer will unconsciously defer to the authority of the source, either offering a simple summary rather than analysis or inserting an abundance of quotes thinking that the quotes will provide the analysis; the author's text has been appropriated by the sources it has referenced (Bartholomae 408).

Certainly when we write we want to provide a context for our readers, but our paper's text needs to remain focused primarily on what we want to communicate, not on what our sources have said. Our readers, if they are interested, can always choose to review our sources for themselves.


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Parenthetical Referencing You can include the author's last name in your sentence, giving the specific page numbers of the referenced source in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

If we are referencing a specific passage, either in quote or paraphrase, we can include the author's name in our sentence, but we must also include the specific page(s) where we found the information, inclosing the page numbers in parentheses immediately after the quote or idea we are referencing:

The headlines, quoted by Didion, used "Wolf Pack" several times to refer to the accused teenagers (80). Newspapers used the word "courage" (82), however, when talking about the jogger, and one statement alluded to the jogger's character by saying that she wore "a light gold chain around her slender neck" (88).

Note that this writer includes the author's name in the initial sentence which includes a very specific quoted reference to the text. At the end of this first sentence, the writer has correctly cited the page number of Didion's text on which she found "Wolf Pack."

If we had the works-cited page for this paper and subsequently located the specific text the writer had cited, we should be able to turn to page 80 and find Didion writing about newspaper headlines referring to some "accused teenagers" as a "Wolf Pack."

But notice that in the next sentence, the writer does not include the author's name. The page numbers are correctly cited and placed next to the quoted text they reference. The writer has ensured that her references are clear to the reader. It is also clear that the writer is continuing to reference Didion's text and so doesn't need to cite the author's name in the parenthetical reference. As long as the writer does not introduce another author or text, additional reference to Didion as the author is not necessary.


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Parenthetical Referencing You can paraphrase or use a quote from a text if, within parentheses at the end of the sentence, you include the author's last name and the specific page(s) of the source you have referenced.

If we want to use a specific quote or idea from another author's text but want to keep the focus of our paper on the ideas we are discussing, we can parenthetically cite the other author's last name and the specific pages of his text   without having to introduce the other author into our text:

The headlines used "Wolf Pack" several times to refer to the accused teenagers (80). Newspapers used the word "courage" (82), however, when talking about the jogger, and one statement alluded to the jogger's character by saying that she wore "a light gold chain around her slender neck" (Didion 88).

This is the same example passage used above, only this time the passage has been revised to remove the intertextual reference to the author (Didion). Instead, the author's name is included in the parenthetical reference at the end of the passage. Note that we do NOT use a comma to separate the author's last name and page number(s).

Notice also that the author's name is referenced only once. If we are referencing ONLY one author and ONLY one text repeatedly through a passage (or paragraph), we only need to cite the author's name once at the end of the passage (or paragraph). As soon as we introduce another author--or even another text by the same author--we need to differentiate the sources for our reader (remember, clarity is one of our major concerns!). And when we begin another paragraph, we need to recite the author's name, even if we continue to use the same source.


 

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Punctuation of parenthetical references makes sense IF we consider the parenthetical reference as an integral part of our sentence.

Parenthetical Referencing First, quotation marks always go inside of the parenthetical reference, and the period always goes outside:

One statement alluded to the jogger's character by saying that she wore "a light gold chain around her slender neck" (Didion 88).

Parenthetical Referencing As already mentioned, never insert a comma to separate the author's name and the page number; nor should the word page or the abbreviations pg or pp ever be inserted. Commas are used in parenthetical references only to separate authors' names when there are three or more authors--just as in any series. And commas are used to indicate non-consecutive pages (Didion 88, 92), indicating that the quoted word or phrase or the referenced idea(s) appeared on those specific pages; a hyphen is used to indicate consecutive pages: (Didion 88-89).

Parenthetical Referencing Seeing the parenthetical reference as part of the clause structure of our sentences helps us to remember that the punctuation always goes outside of the parentheses--if our sentence would normally require punctuation:

Newspapers used the word "courage" (82), however, when talking about the jogger, and one alluded to the jogger's character by saying that she wore "a light gold chain around her slender neck" (Didion 88).

or

Newspapers used the word "courage" when talking about the jogger (82); one alluded to the jogger's character by saying that she wore "a light gold chain around her slender neck" (Didion 88).

or

Newspapers used the word "courage" (82) when talking about the jogger, and one alluded to the jogger's character by saying that she wore "a light gold chain around her slender neck" (Didion 88).

Remember that the purpose of the parenthetical reference and punctuation is to help your reader understand precisely where you found your source of information.

 

Parenthetical Referencing

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last updated:
08/20/98

Bartholomae, David.  "Inventing the University."  The St. Martin's Guide to Teaching Writing.  3rd ed.   Robert Connors and Cheryl Glenn.  New York: St. Martin's, 1995.  408-21.

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