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Citations Made Easy

MLA, APA, AMA, and Chicago! Citations always seem like a pain. They’re complicated, always changing, and there are several different styles to follow. But truthfully, they’re as easy as using “quotations” and (parentheses). When it comes to using citations, here are a few key things to note.

When using a sentence from someone else’s work, always put it into quotations.

Example: “A citation tells the readers where the information came from.” (I got this quote from labwrite.ncsu).

If you’re writing an essay for school, you may need to include the author’s name and/or the page number in parentheses.

Example: “...a lot of students are surprised when a teacher tells them they committed plagiarism, because they think the Works Cited page is the only necessary piece of the puzzle” (Paisley).

2. When summarizing or paraphrasing information, a source should always be mentioned.

Example: According to OWL, Purdue's Online Writing Lab, there are a number of different ways you can format a citation.

3. Finally, when composing your Bibliography—a collection of sources that were used for research—you’ll want to include:

The author’s name (last, then first)

The source material title (the article or chapter title)

The title of website or book

The publisher

A publication date

Pages that were used

If any of these items are missing (for example, the name of the author or the page numbers), simply do your best to fill out as much of the information as you can. Helpful sites like can aid you in the creation of citations.

Here’s an example of a Bibliography:

“Citations and References.” Labwrite Resources, NC State University, 2004,

Paisley, Andrew. “Avoiding Plagiarism.” The Daily Eastern News, Eastern Illinois University, 28 Mar. 2018,

“Research and Citation Resources.” Owl: Purdue Online Writing Lab, Purdue University, 1995-2018,

Citations may seem intimidating, overwhelming, and like a plain old pain in the neck, but once you start, they’re quite easy. Plus, they keep your work safe from plagiarism! So the next time you’re working on your latest research essay, book report, or paper, remember citations are easy! They’re “quotations” and (parentheses).

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