How to Tame Your Essay

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgements 2

Introduction 3

Types of Essays 5

Essay Do’s and Don’ts 8

Brainstorming 10

This is an Essay 12

Introductions 13

Body Paragraphs 18

Conclusions 21

Editing 24

Proofreading 26

Appendices 29

Created by the Johnston Heights English/Social Studies Action Research Team:

Jennifer Sebela

Mike Moloney

Ian McGennis

Kelli O’Malley

Shane Begg

Patrick Demwell

Carmen Grover

Katie Keller


Many years ago, in a dark, deep cave atop a far away mountain, this ancient manuscript was discovered. It has been passed down the generations here at Johnston Heights and is now being entrusted to you. In it you will find everything you need to know to become an expert Essay Tamer. But with great knowledge comes great responsibility. Use the information you find here wisely, young apprentice, lest you unleash great havoc upon the Earth!

Welcome, then, to the magical, mysterious world of Essay Taming…







Expository: The purpose of an expository essay is to teach, explain and/or give information regarding a subject.

Prompt Example: Discuss 12th Century dragon training methods.

Thesis Example: The 12th Century saw the greatest strides in dragon training in history.

Persuasive: The purpose of a persuasive essay is to take a clear position on a controversial issue. The goal of this paper is to defend a thesis statement, using sound reasoning and solid evidence.

Prompt Example: Should Dragons be trained?

Thesis Examples: Dragons are dangerous beasts and should not be trained.

Dragons are beneficial beasts and should be trained.

Compare/Contrast: The purpose of a synthesis essay is to analyse the similarities and/or differences between two or more things.

Prompt Example: Compare/Contrast both Chinese Dragon training and Northern European Dragon training in the 18th century.

Thesis Example: Though Chinese and Northern European Dragon trainers used very different techniques, both traditions produced highly skilled tools of war.

Literary Analysis: The purpose of a literary essay is to offer your observations about a story, novel, poem or play. This essay critiques a literary work, using evidence from the work to support your observations.

Prompt Example: How does Wordsworth create a sense of movement in his poem “On Dragon’s Wing”?

Thesis Example: In his poem “On Dragon’s Wing”, Wordsworth uses visual and tactile imagery to create the sensation of movement.

Narrative Essay: The purpose of a narrative essay is to present a meaningful, true experience from the writer’s life and explain its significance. It is like a short story bookended by an essay introduction and conclusion.

Prompt Example: Can Dragons have a positive impact on our lives?

Thesis Example: The day the Dragon saved our town would impact every man, woman and child in a positive and long-lasting way.









o Make statements based on facts and write in a confident and decisive tone

o Use academic language

o Make your thesis specific and to the point

o Make your thesis straightforward and easy to understand

o Find reputable sources (encyclopaedia, library resources – including online)

o Stay on topic

o Vary your language

o Have clear transition between paragraphs

o Beware simple mistakes that the spell-check won’t catch (your/you’re, there/their/there, for example)


o Make personal statements (excluding narrative essays)

o Apologize for yourself

o Merely summarise

o Use colloquial terms or clichés (“back in the day”, “that’s so cool”, “lol”)

o Make your thesis a vague general statement

o Say “this paper is about”

o Use non-credible sources (Wikipedia, websites without well-known reputable authors)

o Use vague language (the reader SHOULD NOT have to GUESS what you are trying to say

o Use words you do not confidently know the meaning of

o Drift away from your topic

o Introduce new information in your conclusion

o Use the same words over and over

o Use contractions (didn’t, couldn’t)

o Jump all over the place with your ideas




Before you begin writing your essay, an important step is to brainstorm to develop and organize your ideas. You may choose to do a Mind Map or other graphic, or you may simply want to jot down a few ideas and put them in the order you want to present them.

For some examples of excellent brainstorming Graphic Organizers, see Appendix i.


This is an essay:





The first paragraph should introduce your reader to your TOPIC. It is alright in your introduction to be broad.

The goal of an introduction is to ‘hook’ your reader, to use a fishing analogy – thus, your introduction should be interesting! By the end of your introduction, your reader should have a clear idea what your paper is about

Introduction Outline

A. Hook

B. Link

C. Topic (general)

D. Thesis (Specific)

E. 3+ points (Limiting Sentence)

A. Hook

- A sentence or two that grabs the reader’s attention, makes them want to read

- Can be a question, personal experience, anecdote, joke, dramatic detail or image, definition, quotation, or startling fact or statistic

B. Link

- Sentence that moves reader smoothly from Hook to the Topic / Thesis

C. Topic (General)

- General statement introducing the topic – why is this topic important?

D. Thesis Statements

Although this may seem simple, it is without a doubt the most important part of your entire paper. A thesis determines exactly what the rest of your paper will be about. Every single point you put in your paper should directly support your thesis. This is why it is so important that your thesis is specific and apparent to the reader (IE should be blatantly obvious to the reader what your paper will be arguing!)

A thesis is different than a topic. For instance, a topic might be ‘The discovery of Dragons.’ This is not a thesis – it is just a vague, general subject. Rather, a thesis tells us WHAT about Dragons you will be arguing.

You should try to make your thesis as narrow as possible:

A weak thesis: Dragons made many changes in Europe

(This is still pretty vague – look at the wording – this means that your entire paper will simply be listing what the changes were, rather than arguing a point)

A strong thesis: The policies created after the discovery of Dragons had many social, political, and economic impacts on early 19th Century Europe.

(This thesis is more precise – all points will now not only be examining what his policies were, but instead what the impacts were on European society)

Strong Thesis Statements

- A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand.

o The language and phrasing in the sentence are not vague.

- A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

o The author’s position is clear but the point that is being argued is debatable.

- A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

o There is no confusion on the reader’s part about the subject of the essay

- A strong thesis statement is focused and specific.

o The topic is manageable and can be discussed thoroughly in the essay.

Common Tips:

- The topic sentence of each body paragraph should be clearly linked to your main overall argument (your thesis)

- Organize your body paragraphs so that you start with your weakest argument in the first body paragraph and end with your strongest idea

- Think of counter arguments and refute them


- Put thought and consideration into your word choices

Things to Avoid:

- Starting your essay with: “since the beginning of time…” or similar statements which are overly general

- Using a “big word” with the intent of making your essay sound better

- Asking questions (turn your question into a statement)

- Using contractions (ex. use did not instead of didn’t)

- Vague language: the reader should not have to guess what you are trying to say

- Repetitive use of the same word (ex. then, also)

- Introducing new ideas and evidence in your conclusion

E. 3+ Points

- Can be part of your thesis statement

- Briefly list each point that will be developed in the body paragraphs of your essay

- Use the same order in the body as you do in the introduction

For example, in the thesis statement above: “The policies created after the discovery of Dragons had many social, political, and economic impacts on early 19th Century Europe.”, the 3 points are 1. social impacts, 2. political impacts and 3. economic impacts.

For more examples of Social Studies topics, see Appendix ii.





(3 or more paragraphs – “say it”)

For more about paragraph structure, see Appendix iii.

Body Paragraph 1:

- Topic Sentence: the first point that develops the thesis. Can start with a simple or sophisticated transition

- Support / Evidence: at least 3 examples, quotations, reasons, explanations, facts, statistics, endorsements, stories, experiences, or responsible appeals to emotion which support (help prove / reinforce) the point in the topic sentence

- Conclusion: state what the support proves and link to next paragraph

Body Paragraph 2:

- Topic Sentence: the first point that develops the thesis. Can start with a simple or sophisticated transition

- Support / Evidence: at least 3 examples, quotations, reasons, explanations, facts, statistics, endorsements, stories, experiences, or responsible appeals to emotion which support (help prove / reinforce) the point in the topic sentence

- Conclusion: state what the support proves and link to next paragraph

Body Paragraph 3:

- Topic Sentence: the first point that develops the thesis. Can start with a simple or sophisticated transition

- Support / Evidence: at least 3 examples, quotations, reasons, explanations, facts, statistics, endorsements, stories, experiences, or responsible appeals to emotion which support (help prove / reinforce) the point in the topic sentence

- Conclusion: state what the support proves and link to next paragraph

For more about transitions, see Appendix iv.


- thesis --> 3 points --> each point needs 3 supports / proofs / examples

- in Social Studies, particularly in research essays, the supports / proofs that are most used are facts and statistics

- in English, particularly in literary essays, the supports / proofs that are most used are examples and quotations

- each support / proof / example must explain how it relates to the point. Do not restate the examples!


e.g. First of all, Dragon Rider Trainers need to be intelligent. If they cannot learn how to guide their Dragon, command their Dragon, or calm their Dragon, then how can they hope to teach these skills to others? More precisely, trainers have to have a high degree of “emotional intelligence”, which is the ability to read their Dragon’s emotions and respond appropriately. For example, If a dragon is rolling its eyes and straining at the reins, a good Dragon Rider will know that this means the Dragon is agitated for some reason.

Quotation (“exactly what someone else said, surrounded by quotation marks”)

- quotations are stronger than examples because they list the exact words that someone else said that prove your point (like “back-up”)

- effective quotes are integrated into your sentences

e.g. trainers need to be intelligent and have the “ability to read emotions in Dragons and respond appropriately” (1)

For more about incorporating quotations, see Appendix v.

Facts / Statistics

- facts and statistics give credibility to your argument

e.g. …more precisely, trainers have to have a high degree of “emotional intelligence” (EQ), which is the ability to read emotions in Dragons and respond appropriately. According to The Bay Group, a highly respected Dragon Rider Trainer consulting firm operating in forty-one countries, “Emotional intelligence is more than 85% of what sets star trainers apart from the average” (1)

For more about properly citing your quotations, see Appendix vi.




Conclusions are often the most neglected and difficult part of an essay. There is a temptation to “hurry up and finish” as the writer feels they have nothing left to say. This is a mistake, as it can leave your reader - even after a well argued, brilliantly written essay – feeling unsatisfied or even disappointed, as the conclusion is often what the reader remembers best.

To end your essay, you should restate your thesis in a slightly different way, briefly reflect on your main points and leave the reader with an effective concluding sentence. Avoid clichés!! You should do this all in one paragraph – thus, it can be tricky! Being fairly brief is important here; otherwise, your conclusion could start to resemble a mini-essay. However, you must avoid the one sentence conclusion, as well. Leave your reader feeling satisfied!

**No new information should be introduced in your conclusions**

(This was what your points / supporting paragraphs were for. All information given in your conclusion should have already been stated previously).

Criteria for Strong Conclusions

- General Criteria

o Comes to a closure that has an impact on the reader

- Specific Criteria

o Provides Certainty

▪ Signals to the readers that “this is the end!” Brings definite closure and does not leave the reader hanging or feeling uncertain about the issue

▪ Effectively restates the thesis in a way that reinforces the author’s position

▪ Connects in some way with the introduction; in other words, the writer needs to have delivered what was promised in the beginning

o Provides opportunity for reflection

▪ Leaves the reader with something to think about

▪ Urges the reader to take action on an issue or theme presented

o Exemplifies Good Writing

▪ Language is clear, strong and powerful

▪ Synthesizes instead of simply summarizing – show how the points you made fit together

o Demonstrates Unique Style (Possible Approaches)

▪ Offers insight into the future. Might it be different, for better or worse, if the author’s advice is not followed?

▪ Shares a brief anecdote that illustrates the point being made

Dragons are intelligent, benevolent creatures that should be given the best care and training our society can afford. High quality, nutritious food, well trained Dragon Riders and a proper, well-maintained habitat all combine to create first-class Dragon and Rider teams that can and have protected our nation from all comers. These magnificent beasts, if treated with the dignity they deserve, will continue to serve us for ages to come.







It is surprising how many students treat this step as unimportant, or skip it all together. Frequently teachers will be marking papers that make excellent points, but they will be forced to take off marks due to careless spelling or grammatical errors. Sometimes they will receive papers that haven't even been spell-checked!

1. Obviously the first step to proofreading is to run the spell-checker. However, be careful about the differences between American and Canadian spelling – sometimes your spell-checker will claim words like 'colour' are spelled wrong. Never run the 'auto-correct' function, or words like Mussolini might be changed to 'Mausoleum'.

2. Edit – select all, then Format – Paragraph – Spacing – double-space. ALWAYS make sure your paper is double spaced. Some teachers will refuse to mark papers that are single spaced. Double-spacing is essential so that teachers can write comments and corrections above your sentences.

3. Font: The standard is Times New Roman. To be safe, use this font and only this font. Never use anything fancy, or Comic Sans, or Wingdings (unless you really don’t like your teacher).

Your font size should always be size 12. Teachers are aware of the fact that font size 16 makes it look like you've written more than you have, but they will not be impressed. Only use font size 12.

4. Edit – Replace – find what: (Space-Space) Replace with (Space). Throughout your paper, you may have put 2 spaces between words accidentally instead of just one. This quick step will correct this error.

5. Insert – Page Numbers – always include a page number at the bottom right of your page.




Once you have done the above editing steps, PRINT OUT your paper – for some reason, when you see your essay in print it is easier to spot errors than just reading it from a computer screen. Go through your paper, checking not just for spelling or grammar mistakes, but for awkward sentences or unclear points as well.

( A good tip is to read your essay backward, that is, starting with the last sentence and working your way back – it tricks your brain into thinking it’s seeing the sentences for the first time.

( You might also try reading your essay out loud – sometimes those sentences that made perfect sense in our heads sound awkward or downright confusing when read aloud.

Think to yourself: 'Does this sentence make sense, and can I make it clearer?'

Keep your eyes open for:

1. Spelling mistakes, including American spelling instead of Canadian.

2. Spellchecker mistakes, like it inserting the word 'defiantly' instead of 'definitely'.

3. Grammar mistakes – read your essay out loud (really!) and see if it sounds correct.

4. Run on sentences – if you use 'and' more than once in a sentence, it is usually better to start another sentence that begins with 'As well,' or 'Also,'

5. Formatting mistakes, such as large spaces at the top of pages, or paragraphs that aren’t indented.

6. Citing mistakes – make sure your footnotes actually correspond to the pages you cite!

Use a pen to make any necessary corrections, and only after you have corrected it yourself; give it to a parent/sibling/friend to proofread as well. Using the corrected copy, go through your essay and make the corrections. Print it out one more time – this is your second draft. Once again, carefully read through your paper, because even a few minor mistakes could cost you marks, especially at the university level. Once you have corrected your second draft, use it to complete your good copy of your essay. Once you have printed out your essay, your title page, and your 'Works Cited' list – congratulations! You have finished your essay, and are now able to write university level essays like a pro!

Only about 50 more of these to write before you get your degree...









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Different Alike Different

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|A solution might be… |A solution might be… |A solution might be… |

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Main Idea _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Example 1 ____________________________________________________



Example 1 ____________________________________________________



Example 1 ____________________________________________________






Social Studies Topic Examples

Appendix ii:

Social Studies Topic Examples:

Socials 9

Question: Discuss the ways in which Napoleon’s reforms had effects in North America.


The Napoleonic code was a big change to the French legal system. It had many influences including the French Revolution and old Roman law. This was very different from the way English law had developed.

Thesis Statement:

The British government, after conquering Quebec, allowed the French Canadians to use the Napoleonic code instead of English Civil laws.


This decision impacted Canada through the Quebec Act and the American War of Independence.

Question: What was the cause of the Industrial Revolution?


The Industrial revolution was not just a revolution in industry. This event changed how people related to each other and worked and lived with each other.

Thesis Statement:

There was no single cause to the industrial revolution.


Many factors occurred at the same time. The changes were social, political and economic.

Socials 10

Question: Discuss the impact of the Klondike Gold Rush on Canadian society.


The discovery of gold in the Yukon Territory became an internationally publicized event. The perception of success depended on the experiences of the individuals.

Thesis Statement:

The Klondike Gold Rush had social and economic impacts on Canadian history.


This is demonstrated though the experiences of the miners, the service industry and the mounted police.

Question: Was Louis Riel a traitor or a hero?


One man’s traitor is another man’s hero. Often this distinction is made by those who are the winners in a conflict.

Thesis Statement:

While Louis Riel was considered a traitor in 1885, time has created a different perspective.


Louis Riel role as leader of the Métis, the Manitoba Act and his trial for treason.

Socials 11

Question: The Cause of World War Two was the Treaty of Versailles (1919).


No peace treaty has ever stopped wars. More wars follow at a later date because real peace is not made by the nations involved.

Thesis Statement:

The Treaty of Versailles is a good example of a treaty that failed to make peace.


The limits placed on Germany’s military, economy and territory led to World War Two.

Question: Describe Hitler’s Fascist polices in Germany from 1930-1945.


The example of Fascism in history is Hitler’s Germany. This government made decisions that were practical but ignored any morality

Thesis Statement/ Topic:

Adolf Hitler’s polices resulted in decisions being made with no moral thought; the Nazi party consolidation of power, Lebensraum and the Holocaust are examples of these decisions.



Individual Paragraph Structure/ Organization

Appendix iii:

Individual Paragraph Structure / Organization

1. Visual

-indent first sentence (1 inch / 2 finger widths if writing, “tab” if keyboarding)

-all other sentences line up at left margin

2. Topic

-develop one topic following the structure below (at least 6 sentences)

3. Structure

-Hook (optional but recommended)

-1 or 2 sentences that grab the reader’s attention and make them want to

read more

-can be a question, personal experience, anecdote, joke, dramatic image, definition, quotation, shocking fact or statistic

-e.g. Who was the best teacher you ever had? What made you like him / her? OR “They may forget what you taught them, but they will

always remember how you made them feel.”

-Topic Sentence (“say what you’re going to say”)

-introduces the topic or point of view of your paragraph

-e.g. An ideal teacher has to be intelligent, kind, and patient.

-Body (“say it”)

-main part of paragraph

-proves / supports the topic sentence with at least 3 examples, quotations, statistics, etc.

-e.g. First of all, a teacher has to be smart. A teacher has to learn how to do quadratic equations, write research essays, and use a microscope before (s)he can teach you to do the same. Secondly, a teacher must be kind…

-Conclusion (“say what you’ve said”) & Impact Statement (final thought)

-summarizes, closes topic, then finishes with an impact statement

-can be a statement, provocative question, quotation, or dramatic fact

-strongly reminds the reader what to think or do (persuasive)

-e.g. Therefore, the best teachers are those who are smart, kind, and have patience with their students. A great teacher makes our world a better place.



Transitional Devices

Appendix iv:

Comprehensive List of Transitional (Connective) Devices


| | | |

|soon |immediately |when |

|not long after |instantly |whenever |

|at length |at this instant |next |

|at last |suddenly |as |

|finally |now |once |

|some time ago |without delay |since |

|later |in the first place |occasionally |

|afterwards |forthwith |henceforward |

|presently |straightaway |then |

|from this time on |quickly |meanwhile |

|from time to time |at this point |thereupon |

|after |a few minutes later |in the meantime |

|before |formerly |sometimes |

|until |yesterday |in a moment |

|at present |later in the day |shortly |

| | |whereupon |

Addition and Conclusion

| | | |

|and |equally important |in the same way |

|moreover |much more interesting |another |

|too |of even greater appeal |consequently |

|next |just as surely |thus |

|in fact |at the outset |again |

|likewise |ultimately |for |

|as a result |more specifically |in as much |

|further |undoubtedly |so that |

|also |indeed it is certain |hence |

|therefore |in truth |for this reason |

|accordingly |last |under these conditions |

|in other words |over and above |secondly |

|furthermore |to conclude |in addition to |

|besides |finally | |

| |thus we can see | |

Contrast and Comparison

| | | |

|but |rather |or |

|however |although |nor |

|yet |though |neither |

|whereas |as |either |

|on the contrary |as if |quite as evident |

|on the other hand |as though |equally important |

|still |in spite of |much more interesting |

|notwithstanding |otherwise |of even greater appeal |

|in contrast to |similarly |just as surely |

|nevertheless | |likewise |

Reason, Condition,

Place Purpose, Result Emphasis and Repetition

| | | |

|from |inevitably |for |

|where |in as much as |for example |

|beyond |in order that |in particular |

|over |under these conditions |for instance |

|in the middle |as a result |in other words |

|around |because |in fact |

|here |for this purpose |in the same way |

|there |in this way |in truth |

|near |unless |that is to say |

|in front of |since |certainly |

|in the distance |hence |indeed |

|farther |if |undoubtedly |

|here and there |thus |most importantly |

|above |provided that |more specifically |

|below |so that |of course |

|at the right |for this reason |to be sure |

|before |therefore |on that account |

|between |granted that |thus |

|in the foreground |on that account |therefore |

|on this side |admittedly |naturally |

|beside |notwithstanding |obviously |

|wherever |in case that |emphatically |

|opposite |with a view to | |

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Incorporating Quotations

Appendix v:


When writing a Response to Literature Essay or Research Report, it is absolutely essential to include quotations. No matter how brilliant your paper is, both of these types of essays are incomplete without quotations.

Quotations serve as evidence to the claims you are making in your paper, and illustrate and support your main points. Any time you use someone else’s words or ideas, you must give credit to that person, whether you quote directly, or just paraphrase. If you do not give credit to your sources it is considered plagiarism, which can very often earn you a failing grade on your paper.

Finally, you must explain the significance of the quote you have chosen even if it is obvious to you, or the reader will be left wondering why you chose that quote in the first place.

There are several different methods of incorporating quotations into your essay. To illustrate, here are examples of the many different ways to incorporate the quote:

“Many Dragon Riders omit or improperly use saddles in their training.”

1. Paraphrase (Indirect quotation) – using different words to express the same idea; do not use quotation marks at all

• Teachers and professors alike find that many students often misuse saddles in their training.(1)

2. Direct phrase or word quote – using only one or a few words; use quotation marks around those words only

• Many teachers find that students “omit or improperly use”(1) saddles when training to ride Dragons.

3. MLA author/page citation – author and page in parenthesis

• “Many Dragon Riders omit or improperly use saddles in their training” (Watson 43).

4. Full sentence quote with he/she said before the quotation; place a comma before the quotation mark

• Watson claims, “Many Dragon Riders omit or improperly use saddles in their training.”(1)

5. Full sentence quote with the he/she said after the quotation; a comma replaces the period at the end of the quote

• “Many Riders omit or improperly use saddles in their training,” he argued.(1)

6. Full sentence quote with he/she said dividing the quote; commas separate the quote

• “Many Dragon Riders,” he admitted, “omit or improperly use saddles in their training.”(1)

7. Full sentence quote with he/she said that at the beginning of the quote; the word that takes the place of the comma

• He affirmed that “Many Dragon Riders omit or improperly use saddles in their training.”(1)

8. Full sentence quote with full sentence introduction to quote; use a colon before the quote

• Scholars have proven with scientific evidence: “Many Dragon Riders omit or improperly use saddles in their training.”(1)

9. Omitting words within a quote; use the ellipses (…) to represent the omitted words

• “Many Dragon Riders…use saddles in their training.”(1)

10. Adding or changing words within a quote; use brackets ( [ ] ) to set off the change

• “Dragon Riders [often] omit or improperly use saddles in their training”(1)

MORE rules for incorporating quotations in a paper:

1. Plays, novels, long poems, websites titles, magazine titles, movie titles, and books should be italicized or underlined.

a. Shakespeare’s Macbeth

b. The Canterbury Tales

c. Shakespeare in Love

2. Articles, chapter titles, song titles, poems, short stories, and essays should be punctuated with quotation marks.

a. Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”

b. Yezierska’s “America and I”

c. Langston Hughes’ “I, Too”

3. As a rule, anyone you do not personally know should be referred to by their LAST name – not their first.

a. William Shakespeare should be referred to as Shakespeare, not William

b. Joseph Stalin should be referred to as Stalin, not Joseph

4. Always lead into a quotation with your own ideas or sentences; similarly, always follow a quotation with your own ideas.

5. Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks.

6. Question marks, exclamation marks, semi-colons, and colons go inside quotation marks when they are part of what is being quoted. When question marks and exclamation marks are used in a quotation, do not use a comma.

a. “You said what?” screamed the embarrassed teenager.

b. Why do they call her “Smarty Pants”?




Appendix vi:


Cite your evidence with footnotes

- If you use someone else’s work as evidence, put a footnote at the end of that sentence!

- If you copy an idea and do not say where you originally found it, this is plagiarism – trying to pass off an idea as your own.

- It is acceptable to copy entire sentences from books, as long as you put the sentence in quotations, to show the teacher that this is not your idea OR your words. Marks are not taken off for students who over cite sources.

How to cite MLA style

- At the end of every sentence in your essay where you cite a fact or idea that you found somewhere else, you must include a footnote. To do so, simply click insert – footnote and a small number will appear at the end of your sentence. At the bottom of the page, the same number will appear as a footnote – this is where you tell the reader the last name of the author, the book/journal title, and the page number.

- For example, if I were to cite 'A History of the Modern Dragon Clans' by William Cleveland, I would write:

- The Dragons felt disenfranchised after the 1967 war.[1]

- (see bottom of this page) The order is: Last name, Underlined title of book, page number.

- [1] Cleveland, Don. A History of the Modern Dragon Clans, p.461

No bibliography – we call it works cited

- I do not need to write more information about the book yet – this should come at the end of my paper in a 'works cited' list (NOT a bibliography!)

- To simply write down the titles of some books you used while researching is not correct – there is a precise method to both MLA and APA styles that should be followed closely. For how to cite a website, an article, a textbook, or a book with more than one author, see the handout from the library.

1. List entries alphabetically by the last name of the first author (or director, commentator, creative artist, etc.) mentioned in the work’s published or broadcasting information.

2. When no author is given, alphabetize the entry by the first word in the title (disregarding “A,” “An,” or “The”).

3. Capitalize the first letter of the first word in the title (and subtitle, if any), and all the principal words. Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, or the “to” infinitives. Separate a title and subtitle with a colon.

4. Underline the comprehensive title and subtitle of all work.

5. Give the first city of publication listed on the title page or copyright page.



Britannica Learning Resources. Know Your Dragons. Pamphlet. New York: Britannica, 2005.

Di Stefano, Vince. Guidelines for Dragon Training. January 9, 2006 .

Discovery of Dragons. DVD. WNET Media Services, 2006.

Hills, Theo L. “Shakespeare, William: Playwright and Dragon Trainer.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 2006.

Dragon Development, 6 to 12 Years. Filmstrip. Concept Media, 2006.

Lauer, Janice M., et al. Four Worlds of Dragons. New York: Harper, 2005.

“Let’s Talk Dragons.” Time 19 Aug. 2005: 15-17.

Mansfield, Katherine. “The Dragon Flies.” In The Story Makers: A Selection of Modern Short Stories. Ed. Rudy Wiebe. Toronto: Gage, 2006. 42.

The Encyclopedia of Dragons. 4th ed. Toronto: Macmillan, 2006.

“Dragon Poetry.” The World Book Encyclopedia. (Online) 2006.

Prince, Linda. Personal interview. 12 May 2006.

Read, Shelley. “Those Were the Days Before Dragons.” Vancouver Sun 10 Sept. 2005: D p. 47.

Strunk, Jr., William, and E. B. White. Writing About Dragons. New York: Macmillan, 2006.

Thomas, Lewis. “On the Dragon Language Problem.” Psychology Today May 2005: 42+.

More on Works Cited

Mechanics of Works Cited

Follow these rules when you prepare your list of citations:

1. Centre the words Works Cited one inch from the top of a fresh page. The list always appears as the last page(s) of the essay. Number each page, continuing the numbering of the text.

2. Begin the first line of each entry at the left margin; indent subsequent lines of entry by five letter spaces or a ½ inch tab.

3. Double space entry and double space between entries.

4. Do not number the entries.


a) Single Author


Author’s name. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Copyright date.


Zinsser, William. On Writing Well. New York: Harper, 2005.

b) Shared Authorship


Primary author, and Secondary Author. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Copyright date.


Strunk, Jr., William, and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. New York: Macmillan, 2006.

(Note: The first author’s name is reversed, for the purpose of alphabetizing; subsequent names appear in their usual order.)

c) More than three authors


Primary author, et al. Title of book. Place of publication: Publisher, Copyright date.


Lauer, Janice M., et al. Four Worlds of Writing. New York: Harper, 2006.

d) No author or editor given


Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Copyright Date.


The National Atlas of Canada. 4th ed. Toronto: Macmillan, 2006.

(Note: This citation would be alphabetized by title under the letter “N” in the Works Cited without regard for “The.”)

e) Government Author


Government Department. Title of book. Place of publication: Publisher, Copyright date.


Vancouver, B.C., Planning Dept. Understanding Vancouver. Vancouver, B.C.: Planning Dept., 2005.

f) A story, essay or poem in a collection or anthology


Author’s Name. “Title of article.” In Title of Book. Editor. Place of Publication: Publisher, Copyright date. Page(s) of article.


Mansfield, Katherine. “The Wind Blows.” In The Story Makers: A Selection of Modern Short Stories. Ed. Rudy Wiebe.Toronto: Gage, 2006. 42-46.

(Note: Use the word “In” before the title to show that the author is one of several - omit “In” when only one author)


a) Alphabetical encyclopedia: author given


Author’s name. “Title of article.” Title of Encyclopedia. Copyright date.


Hills, Theo L. “Shakespeare, William.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 2006.

(Note: If given, the author’s name usually appears at the end of the article.)

b) Alphabetical encyclopedia: author not given


“Title of article.” Title of Encyclopedia. Copyright date.


“Shakespeare, William.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2006.

c) Non-alphabetical encyclopedia


Author’s name. “Title of Article.” Title of Encyclopedia. Volume. Date. Page(s).


Campbell, Dick. “Slang.” Understanding Human Behaviour. Vol. 13. 2005. 505-06.



a) Online encyclopedia: Author given

(Note: If given, the author’s name usually appears at the end of the article and

may be listed as contributor. The copyright date is usually the current year)


Author’s name.”Title of article.” Title of Encyclopedia. (Online). Copyright date.


Smith, Lloyd. “Dickens, Charles.” The World Book Encyclopedia. (Online).2005.

b) Online encyclopedia: Author not given


”Title of article.” Title of Encyclopedia. (Online). Copyright date.


“Volcanoes.” The World Book Encyclopedia. (Online). 2006.

c) CD-ROM encyclopedia: Author not given


“Title of article.” Title of Encyclopedia. (CD-ROM). Copyright date.


“Shakespeare, William.” Encyclopedia Britannica. (CD-ROM). 2005.



Author’s name. Title of Website. date of document or download .


Di Stefano, Vince. Guidelines for Better Writing. January 9, 2006 .



a) Author given


Author’s Name. Title of pamphlet. (Pamphlet). Place of Publication: Publisher, Date.


Britannica Learning Resources. Read to Learn. (Pamphlet). New York: Britannica, 2005.


a) Author given

(Note: If given, the author’s name may appear at the beginning or end of the article.)


Author’s Name. “Title of article.” Title of Newspaper Date: Section and Page(s).


Read, Shelley. “Those Were the Days.” Vancouver Sun 10 Sept. 2005: D p.17.

b) Author not given


“Title of article.” Title of Newspaper Date: Section and Page(s).


“Speech and language.” Teacher 9 Sept 2005: 10-15.


a) Author given


Author’s name. “Title of article.” Title of Periodical Date: Page(s).


Thomas, Lewis. “On the Language Problem.” Psychology Today May 2005: 42+.

b) Author not given


“Title of article.” Title of Periodical Date: Page(s).


“Let’s Talk.” Time 19 Aug. 2005: 15-17.


a) Television/Satellite


Title of Program. Author. Director. Series Title. Network. Broadcast Station/Channel, City. Copyright date.


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. By Tennessee Williams. Dir. Jack Hofiss. American Playhouse. PBS. KCTS/9, Seattle. 31 July 2005.

b) DVD/Videotape


Title of DVD. (DVD). Producer, Copyright date.

(In place of DVD, you can indicate Videocassette or other media)


Goodbye Gutenberg. (DVD). WNET Media Services, 2006.



Name of Person Interviewed. (Personal Interview). Date.


Prince, Linda. (Personal Interview). 12 May 2006.

(Note: Personal interviews should be distinguished from telephone interviews. In general, an interview has weight only when you are citing an authority - someone with informed opinions. Indicate his or her credentials in your text: College librarian Linda Prince said that....)



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