Abbreviating references to your sources

Regarding page numbers

Parenthetical citations do not include the word “page” or “pages” or the abbreviations “p.” or “pp.”—just the page numbers themselves.

Section or paragraph numbers instead of page numbers

If an electronic source uses paragraph or section numbers instead of page numbers, use the appropriate abbreviation (e.g., “par.”); see the MLA Handbook, sec. 1.6.3, for other common academic abbreviations.

Plays, poems, or prose works

When citing plays, poems, or modern prose works that call attention to other divisions, abbreviate that identifying information (e.g., “chap.” for “chapter,” “sec.” for “section”).

When a poem is published with line numbers in the margins, cite those instead of page numbers, preceded by the unabbreviated word “line” or “lines,” e.g., (lines 8-10). Just use the line numbers without “line” or “lines” in any subsequent references to this work.

Other common abbreviations

Also, in citations, use abbreviations for months (e.g., “Jan.” for “January”), publishers’ names (e.g., “U of Chicago P” for “University of Chicago Press”), and some famous literary and religious works (e.g., “Esth.” for “Esther”); see 1.6.3 of the MLA Handbook for full lists of abbreviations.

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