Cite When You Write!

Have you ever been marked down on your papers for how you cited or failed to cite your sources? Does the mention of citations or working within the MLA style make you cringe? Have you used some awesome sources in you paper but are at a loss for how to cite them?

If so, this blog post is for you!

I’m going to lay out some helpful tips for citing sources so that instead of feeling frustrated and angry…


…you can be proud of what you have accomplished!


Today I’m going to talk about how to cite a website in MLA, because MLA is potentially the most common citation style–and websites can be frustrating because they all seem so different. (If you need to cite in APA or CMS, here are some really helpful links: the Chicago Manual of Style and the Purdue Lab.)

We know that citations can seem confusing with all the different styles and rules for formatting but citation is mostly about finding information and plugging it into a formula. It can be tedious but here are some tricks that can help you finish up your stellar paper:

  • Take note of the date you access websites as you do your research.
  • Take note of the author or editor, the article title or website title, the website sponsor (who makes the website possible) and the most recent date it has been updated.

Now that we have the preliminary steps out of the way, we can put all of the information we have gathered into an MLA citation. This is how we order all of the information:

  1. the author or editor
  2. the article title or website title
  3. the website sponsor
  4. the most recent date
  5. the medium of publication (which is always Web when referring to any information found on the internet)
  6. the date of access.

For example:

Fraunheim, Ed. “Stop Reading This Headline and Get Back to Work.” CNET

CNET Networks, 11 July 2005. Web. 17 Feb. 2009.

Based on the information you have gathered, all you need to do is insert it into this formula! You have done most of the work already, so…

tumblr keep calm

Citing an Entire Website

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003. Web. 10 May


Citing a Page on a Website (like a blog post or a recipe)

“How to Make Vegetarian Chili.” eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2009.

  • (List the author, if known, followed by the information covered above for entire Web sites.)

More handy tips:

  • If you can’t find some aspect of the information, the formula stays the same and you just insert what you do have.
  • Italicize the website title.
  • The page title or article title is in quotation marks.
  • Make sure you pay attention to the punctuation!
  • Always double space when using MLA.
  • The first line of each entry is at the left margin; extra lines are indented ½ an inch.
  • You don’t have to include the URL of the website unless your professor asks you to!
  • If no publisher name is available then use n.p. and if no publishing date is given then use n.d. (as illustrated above).

Now that you know how to better cite your information, you are on the way to even greater success with your writing!

If you have any questions about citations or formatting or just need some help brainstorming, your friendly writing center is always here to help!

-Sarah, peer tutor

Dangling Modifiers: Who knew grammar could be so hilarious?

Dangling modifiers appear in our everyday speech, in the media, and even on street signs:

Grammatically, this sign is warning drivers that pedestrians are slippery when wet. I wouldn’t really say that pedestrians become slippery when wet, but even if they do, the slipperiness of a pedestrian does not merit the existence of a cautionary road sign. However, the intent of the sign is to advise drivers to watch out for pedestrians because the roads can be slippery when wet and thus the likelihood of hitting a pedestrian is much greater.

The confusion and hilarity of this sign comes as a result of a dangling modifier. A dangling modifier fails to refer logically to any word in the sentence. In this case, “slippery when wet” does not logically refer to pedestrians or any other word on the sign. The good thing about dangling modifiers is that they are easy to fix once you have discovered them. The sign could easily read…

  • Caution – Road Slippery When Wet
  • Watch For Pedestrians
  • Watch For Pedestrians When Road Is Wet
  • If The Road Is Wet, You Are More Likely To Hit A Pedestrian, So Pay Attention

or any number of logical phrases. In order for these other options to work, I had to directly state what was slippery or wet by adding the word “road”.

What to remember in order to avoid or fix a dangling modifier:

• Name the person, place, or thing that your modifier (the descriptive phrase, such as “slippery when wet”) is referring to.

Let’s take a look at another hilarious example.

As the illustration shows, the sentence “Waiting for the bus, the time went by slowly,” means that the time is what is actually waiting for the bus because the sentence doesn’t explicitly say who is waiting for the bus. This can be fixed by saying

As I waited for the bus, the time went by slowly.


Waiting for the bus, I felt like the time went slowly.

Both of these sentences show who was waiting for the bus and that the only thing time does is go slowly.

Here’s another!

Again we have a dangling modifier situation illustrated in the sentence above. It causes confusion because the sentence does not state who is walking down the moonlit path. Thus a simple solution to the sentence is to say

The bushes were frightening to me as I walked down the moonlit path.


I was frightened by the bushes as I walked down the moonlit path.

Now that we have a clear subject and know who was walking down the path, the sentence makes sense and the modifier logically refers to the appropriate word.

Even though we have had some good laughs at the expense of dangling modifiers (if you haven’t had enough laughs here are some more), remember to watch out for dangling modifiers in your own writing so that you don’t become the subject of laughter.

Sarah, peer tutor