MLA Tutorial


















Lesson 11: Can I Ever Leave Out the Appositive?

Yes. The rule of thumb is this:

The first time you introduce a source, use both the first and last name of the “witness,” followed (or preceded) by an appositive. Thereafter, use only the last name. Study the following example:

James Farnsworth, a professor at Harvard University, claims that violent crimes in New York City decreased dramatically between the years 2000 and 2010 (Farnsworth). Farnsworth believes that the drop in crime is due to better policing (Farnsworth).

In the second sentence, I left out Farnsworth's first name, and I left out the fact that he is a “professor at Harvard University". I am allowed to do this because I have already introduced him. Of course, if you introduce James Farnsworth on the first page of your paper, and then you cite him again on the 27th page of your paper, you might want to remind your reader that Farnsworth is the Harvard professor whom you cited earlier.

Check Your Understanding:

  1. What is the rule regarding the use of names in your paper? 
  2. Demonstrate your understanding of the “Appositive Rule” by writing several sentences. In the first sentence, introduce your witness by using her first and last name as well as an appositive. In all subsequent sentences, use only the last name.

Quiz: MLA 11