DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Styles of Citation

In WR courses, you may be asked to use Chicago, MLA, and/or APA styles of citation and formatting.


In this course, you may use whichever format you prefer, so long as you are consistent within the paper. Most of the writing manuals from the Writing Program explain MLA and APA, but not Chicago.


Chicago: the style most often used in the social sciences

MLA: the style most often used in literary studies

APA: the style most often used in education, anthropology, and psychology


Son of Citation Machine

Son of Citation is an engine online that will help you to format your works cited list based on the information you give it.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Citing Shakespeare

Whether you use MLA, Chicago, or APA, Shakespeare is an exception to the normal way to cite. Shakespeare is ALWAYS cited internally, using parentheticals with act, scene, and line numbers. There are four* ways you might have to cite Shakespeare, and two styles to choose from.


The styles are either Arabic numerals (1.3.15-20) or Roman numerals (I.iii.15-20). Either is technically correct, although some instructors prefer one over the other.


If you have more than one play, you need to indicate which play you are citing. This is typically done by abbreviating the title of the play to something recognizable (MB for Macbeth, TN for Twelfth Night, R3 for Richard III, etc.), but you may also see full titles written out in the parenthetical: (MB 1.3.15-20).


1. Prose in-text. (fewer than four lines of text)

However, the Son’s lines reveal the fallacy of a simple definition: “there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men” (4.2.56-57).


Here, the line numbers from the text are given as they are in the text, even though there are no breaks in the line in the paper. The citation comes INSIDE the final puncutation.


2. Prose block (multiple speakers). (four or more lines of text)

The definition of treason appears again, more literally, as Lady Macduff explains to her Son that his father is, if not dead, then still a traitor to the crown:

     LADY MACDUFF Every one that does so is a traitor, and must be hang’d.

     SON And must they all be hang’d that swear and lie?

     LADY MACDUFF Every one.

     SON Who must hang them?

     LADY MACDUFF Why, the honest men.

     SON Then the liars and swearers are fools; for there are liars and swearers

     enow to beat the honest men, and hang up them.

     LADY MACDUFF Now God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt thou do for a


     SON If he were dead, you’ld weep for him: if you would not, it were a good

     sign that I should quickly have a new father. (IV.ii.50-61)


Here, the speakers are indicated (as in the script) with each new line. The lines are allowed to run to the end of the page naturally, but the citation keeps the line numbers from the text, even though there may be fewer "lines" in the paper itself. The entire quotation is indented and the citation comes AFTER the final punctuation.


3. Verse in-text. (fewer than four lines of verse)

Macbeth’s objection that regicide will dehumanize him – “I dare do all that may become a man; / Who dares do more, is none” ( I.vii.46-47) – pushes him toward, rather than away from, that deed.


The quotation contains slashes (/) to indicate where the line breaks are in the verse. Note that the citation of the Shakespeare text immediately follows the quotation, even though the sentence keeps going.


4. Verse block. (four or more lines of verse)

Macbeth’s anxiety ultimately disappears into ambition, and he is shown making use of deception to fulfill his private desires:

     MACBETH     I am settled, and bend up

     Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.

     Away, and mock the time with fairest show:

     False face must hide what the false heart doth know. (1.7.80-83)


Here, the speaker is indicated at the beginning of the speech, but if the sentence makes the speaker clear, this is not necessary (but may still be included). Block verse quotations preserve the line breaks where they are in the text, with the citation coming after the final punctuation mark.



See Evidence for use of all four types of Shakespeare quotations in a paper.


*Stage directions are a special case.

However, “The Ghost of BANQUO enters, and sits in MACBETH’s place” (, and when Rosse asks Macbeth to join them five lines later, Macbeth has noticed his unwanted guest.


Notice that there is an extra number at the end of the citation - that is the stage direction line, which comes after line 40 in the text of the play.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.