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MLA 8 Citation Guide

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Secondary Sources

MLA recommends using secondary sources sparingly.  If possible try to locate the original source of information cited in the a work. However, this may not be possible. Sometimes the original work is unavailable through usual sources or not available in English.

In this case, to cite an article or book that refers to or quotes some information to be cited, always refer to the source where you found the information, not the original source.


You read an article by Hulya Ipek, in which she cites information from a previous study by Lantolf and Thorne and you want to refer to this information in your paper:  SEE below how this works in practice.

• It is best to acknowledge Lantolf and Thorne in the text, not in the citation. Add "qtd" to make the reference clear!

Lantolf and Thorne’s study found that “what one can do today with assistance is indicative of what one will be able to do independently in the future..." (qtd. in Ipek 158).

• In your Works Cited list at the end of your paper, the entry would be a reference for Ipek's article because that is where you are sourcing the information:

Ipek, Helya. "Comparing and Contrasting First and Second Language Acquisition: Implications for Language Teachers." English Language Teaching, vol. 2, no. 2, 2009, pp. 155-63.