The Four Kinds of Plagiarism a Plagiarism Checker Can Catch

You’ve probably heard from your teacher that plagiarizing can lead to serious academic consequences. Plagiarism is the act of copying or including information from someone else’s work in your own paper without giving that person proper credit. Thankfully, there are tools available to help you make sure you haven’t committed plagiarism, such as the plagiarism checker located right here on BibMe.

So what kinds of plagiarism can these tools catch? Read on for some details and tips.

1) Copy and pasted sections

Students frequently copy information from an online source and paste it into a draft of their paper. Sometimes this is done on purpose, but it can also be an accident, as the student may just want to use the snippet for organizational or research purposes. The problem is, it becomes very easy to forget to remove, change, or cite sources before handing in the paper. Plagiarism checkers, however, can detect this type of plagiarism, whether it was intentional or not.

2) Uncited quotes

Quotes are frequently used as evidence for an argument in research or literary analysis papers. What can be tricky, however, is remembering to properly cite each quote, no matter how small. It can be easy to forget to write these down, and a plagiarism checker is a great resource to check for any missing citations near quotation marks in your paper.

3) Uncited links

Websites can be great places to start research on a topic, giving you a wealth of information almost instantaneously. Be mindful that you can’t just copy a link into your paper as a reference, however. These do not count as proper citations, and must be formatted correctly in MLA style, APA, or any other format your teacher asks for. Plagiarism checkers can flag these links and suggest that you create a citation for them.  

4) Accidental

Not all plagiarism is deliberate. Often students simply forget to include proper citations, or they mistakenly include copied text in their paper. These accidents can unfortunately be very harmful to your grade and academic record. Thankfully, plagiarism checkers can be a second line of defense, along with careful note-taking so you don’t lose track of sources.

Want to check your paper for possible plagiarism? Check out the Plagiarism and Grammar Checker on BibMe! This fantastic tool is a student’s best friend, as it can help to check for instances of plagiarism, provide instant grammar improvement suggestions, and let you add any forgotten citations directly into your paper.

Wrapping up a paper? Try BibMe’s grammar and plagiarism check!

Summer Book List for People Who Hate Reading

If you’ve spent the school year wading through The Odyssey or surviving Dante’s Inferno, you might be tempted to limit your reading to Twitter now that school’s out for the summer. But long layovers and lazy days at the beach are perfect opportunities to turn on your tablet or pick up a paperback and indulge in some reading that’s a little lighter than that stats textbook you hope to never see again.

Here are seven suggestions, ranging from new novels to collections of modern short stories, essays, and other selections that can be consumed in a single sitting. Warning: pick one up, and you might start hoping for rainy days and cancelled plans.

If you have a short attention span…

Fresh Ink – Edited by Lamar Giles

On sale: August 14, 2018

This anthology includes writing from 13 of the nation’s best-known young adult authors, but will appeal to readers ranging from age 12 to 99 according to Random House, its publisher. Produced in partnership with the non-profit We Need Diverse Books, Fresh Ink features 10 short stories, a graphic novel and a one-act play that touch on timely topics including acceptance, gentrification, and coming out.


If you’re craving a juicy thriller…

Tell Me Lies – By Carola Lovering

On sale: June 12, 2018

This debut novel is a coming-of-age tale told in alternating points of view by a couple locked in a toxic romance. Lucy Albright knows there’s something off about charming, complicated, and oh-so-attractive Stephen DeMarco. But she can’t quite seem to kick her addictive attraction through college and their post-college years in New York City—even when the connection might lead to dire consequences.


If you love a good essay…

Look Alive Out There – By Slone Crosley

Published: April 3, 2018

Slone Crosley is considered a modern master of the witty one-liner. Reviews of her latest essay collection indicate she’s continued that signature style in Look Alive Out There, where essays cover everything from mountain climbing to mortality. Those who enjoy her humorous voice but prefer subjects that seem a little more like dessert than the main course might try her first book of best-selling essays, I Was Told There Would Be Cake. Another bonus: these personal pieces might sharpen your essay-writing skills, helping you wow teachers and admissions officers long after summer’s over. (Don’t forget to give it a polish by running it through BibMe’s grammar checker!)


If you can’t stop reading the news…

The Hate U Give – By Angie Thomas

Published: February 28, 2017

This best-selling book might seem more fact than fiction considering it’s about a teen, Starr Carter, who witnesses her unarmed childhood best friend being shot and killed by a cop. The event sets off a collision between Starr’s weekday world, a majority-white private school, and the poverty-plagued urban neighborhood where she lives. So, although it’s classified as a young-adult novel, The Hate U Give covers some heavy topics—no surprise given the fact it takes its name from the acronym behind rapper Tupac Shakur’s profane and profound THUG LIFE tattoo. A movie version of the novel is scheduled for release in October, so read it before it hits the screen!   


If you wished books still came with pictures…

Come Again – By Nate Powell

On sale: July 31, 2018

Artist and author Nate Powell shared the 2016 National Book Award for March: Book Three, the last book in a series created by Powell, Andrew Aydin, and U.S. Congressman John Lewis chronicling two pivotal years in the civil rights movement. Come Again, Powell’s first solo graphic novel in seven years, doesn’t cover such weighty subject matter, but still showcases the author’s vivid approach to character-driven comics in a fictional tale of two families grappling with some long-hidden secrets within a 1960s-style “intentional community” in the Ozarks mountains.

If you loved The Hunger Games…

The Darkest Minds – By Alexandra Bracken

Published: October 22, 2013 (paperback)

In the not-too-far-away future, a mysterious disease wipes out 98 percent of America’s 10- to 17-year-olds. The ones who survive all have unique abilities that scare the government enough to imprison them in “rehabilitation camps.” But some manage to escape to go in search of East River, a haven for special survivors like them. The Darkest Minds is the oldest book on this list, but a movie based on the dystopian thriller is slated for release in August and stars Amandla Stenberg, best known for playing Rue in another futuristic film based on a best-seller—The Hunger Games.


If you need a good laugh…

Rhett & Link’s Book of Mythicality: A Field Guide to Curiosity, Creativity, and Tomfoolery – By Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal

Published: October 10, 2017

This book by the team behind the YouTube talk show Good Mythical Morning features stories and photos from Rhett and Link’s lifelong tomfoolery-fueled friendship as well as charts, illustrations, and activities designed to get you “laughing more, learning more, and never taking yourself too seriously” according to the description on the book publisher’s page. Highlights include Character Building: The Board Game and a list of grownup merit badges you can earn. If one of them is “Read a Book for Fun Over the Summer,” you can check it off the list.

If you need to get the skinny on how to cite a book or create an annotated bibliography, check out BibMe’s other resources—not to mention our easy (and free) citation generator!

Adverbs: To Use or Not To Use?

Hemingway abhorred them. Stephen King famously quipped, “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” If there can be such a thing as a controversial part of speech, adverbs probably are it.  

On the one hand, adverbs can be useful tools to enhance your writing. They can convey important information about how something is said or done, which can completely change the meaning or add more layers of significance. On the other hand, adverbs can clog up writing, become repetitive, and turn into shortcuts that cover up for lazy writing elsewhere.

So, should you use adverbs? We’ll look at both sides and let you decide!

Adverbs: The Case In Favor

Adverbs are like the spices in your kitchen cupboard: you can do without them, but if they’re used in the right amount, they can elevate the end product from “just fine” to exciting.

In essence, an adverb is meant to enhance the context around a verb – typically an action verb – by adding information about how an action is performed.

 The ideal teaching candidate will communicate ideas efficiently.

Please speak slowly – German is my second language and I can’t always keep up.

 They also can modify adjectives, usually by denoting degrees or emphasis.

 The new graduates were extremely happy.

When used properly, adverbs genuinely enhance or clarify the meaning of verbs, adjectives, or sentences. On a larger scale, they might create tension, foreshadowing, or suggestions about a character.

 For instance, let’s say there’s a character who performs a morally shady action and whose motivations are, at that point in the story, a bit murky. If they perform that action verb “slowly” or “deliberately,” that might suggest to the reader that they’re enjoying the villainous action. If they perform that action “hurriedly” or “distractedly,” that same action suddenly might be cast as something the character finds distasteful or is being forced to do.

They can also reflect priorities, as in the “job listing” example above. Being able to communicate “efficiently” draws focus to that qualification, implying its importance as opposed to other qualities not named.

Used sparingly and with specific goals in mind, adverbs can be a real asset to your writing. And yet many successful writers still disparage them as the root of all writing evil. Why?

Adverbs: The Case Against

At some point, you’ve probably read a paragraph like this:

She quickly locked the door.

 “Do we actually think we can pull this off?” she said doubtfully. She looked up at him worriedly. His face creased suddenly.

 “We have to,” he said, quietly but certainly.

That was annoying to read, wasn’t it? That’s a prime example of how adverbs can clutter up writing and produce the exact opposite effect the writer wants.

When we look at many adverb examples, we often see instances where writers use adverbs as a sort of shortcut to “spice up” writing that could be much more concise. Instead of using words that carry their own connotations, writers often use adverbs as the quickest way to add description to a sentence.

Compare the above adverb examples to something like this:

“Do you actually think we can pull this off?” she asked. Her voice was trembling almost as much as her hands were, and she avoided his gaze.

 A crease appeared on his face.

 “We have to,” he muttered.

 The second version – though perhaps not exactly cliché-free either – avoids a bunch of adverbs while also giving us more information in the implications of the words. “Muttered,” for instance, gives us a sense that perhaps the male character is reluctant or cynical, rather than the muddled “quietly but certainly.”

There are also instances where adverbs add information that already is in the sentence.

“Give that back!” she shouted menacingly.

He sidled down the corridor sneakily.

 “Shouted” already implies a degree of menace or anger, while “sidled” implies a sneaky action, making “sneakily” redundant. They’re not technically incorrect, but they’re not strong writing.

 Conclusion

You don’t need to strip your writing of all adverbs, unless you really want to. But just like it’s always a good idea to check for proper use of MLA style or APA format, check for adverb usage! A good rule of thumb is to try to eliminate around a third to half of the adverbs from your first draft. Use them sparingly, and you’ll find yourself with interesting yet concise writing!

 

6 Tips for Writing Better Facebook Posts

by Amanda Cross

How do you create a Facebook post that gets engagement, showcases your best skills, and doesn’t create a cyclone of regret later? Keep reading for some excellent advice on how to write Facebook posts you can be proud of!

1. Always check for spelling and grammar

Text or internet speak is different from incorrect grammar. It’s one thing to write “LOL”— write “lagh out lod,” and that’s what your followers are going to be doing. Before you send any Facebook update, you should take some time to look through your post. (Remember that if you have to edit a post after publishing it, Facebook will let everyone know.)

Read through your post word-for-word, correct any spelling and grammar errors, and then hit “Post.” Never post as soon as you finish writing something!

Here are some common mistakes you might make:

  • Using the wrong homophone: “To,” “too,” and “two” may sound similar, but they have different meanings. Same with “there,” “their” and “they’re.” Even seasoned writers mistake similar-sounding words, so make sure to review for these.
  • Misusing apostrophes: Apostrophes indicate possession or the omission of other letters and numbers. If you’re talking about multiples of something, you don’t need an apostrophe (for example, “free popsicle’s in the quad!” is incorrect).
  • Misspelling words: Before you become the subject of an “autocorrect fail” meme, double check for misspelled words.

If you want to make sure your post is airtight, run it through BibMe’s grammar checker!

2. Don’t go on too long 

The more characters you use to make a point, the more room for error. Plus, there’s more chance for you to go off-topic or lost the audience’s interest. While Facebook doesn’t currently put a word limit on status updates, try to keep your posts short and sweet. Your friends are probably too busy to read long rants anyway.

3. Add images or videos to grab friends’ attention

The Facebook feed doesn’t have an end; it keeps going as long as the reader continues scrolling. That means it’s easy for your friends to scroll right past your updates. A great way to grab their attention is to incorporate eye-catching visuals. Add an image, a collection of images, or a video to spice up your status updates. Facebook has a ton of additional tools to help grab your audience’s attention, such as GIFs and polls, which you can also use to your advantage.

4. Be valuable

When people see your Facebook posts, they’re forming a judgment about what you have to offer them. When you create valuable content, you create an excellent reputation for yourself online. Share content that enriches the lives of your friends. Here are some examples of valuable content:

  • Funny or inspirational quotes
  • Lessons you’ve learned
  • Study tips
  • Scholarship information
  • Companies hiring
  • Free/discounted things you’ve found
  • Hot takes on current events or hyperlocal events
  • Suggestions for things to buy based on your personal experience

It doesn’t matter what you choose to focus on; your page could be all about the latest video game news, cryptocurrency, or makeup! You just need to find a group of people who are interested in the topic that you intend to discuss.

5. Use the grandma rule

Remember that no social media content is created in a bubble. Beyond the question of where the data is stored, someone can easily take a screenshot of your post and hang on to it.

The gray areas become a lot more black-and-white when you follow the grandma rule: don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother (or someone you hold in high esteem) to see. Would you be embarrassed if they saw the Facebook post you are about to make? If so, don’t post it.

6. Include a question to the audience

The final way to write better Facebook posts is simple: include a question to the audience.

If you want your friends to like your posts or comment on them, you need to let them know that. Otherwise, they’ll likely react to your post in their heads and keep scrolling. Help them out with a quick discussion starter. You may even want to leave your answer to the question in a comment to get the conversation started.

You’re now ready to tackle Facebook with a fantastic post that will get your friends talking. Happy posting!

When your social media break is over, get back into study mode by learning how to do a works cited page and how to write an annotated bibliography!  

The Proper Noun We Always Forget to Capitalize

It’s easy to let a proper noun slip past your “shift” key while writing. There are some trademarked words that just seem so…generic. Check out this list and never be fooled by a proper noun masquerading as a common noun again.

Can you pass me a Kleenex?

In a haze of pollen, it’s easy to forget that Kleenex is actually a brand name, and thus a capitalized proper noun. Blow your nose on a tissue, however, and you won’t have any such concerns.

I need to make a Xerox.

This one is quickly becoming obsolete, but we still make copies from time to time. That’s right—copies. Xerox refers to the company that makes the machines, so should be capitalized as a proper noun. (Which also means that technically, you can’t use it in Scrabble. Good luck using up all those X’s.)

Who’s up for Frisbee in the quad?

When you get together a game of Ultimate, you’re throwing around a capital-F “Frisbee.” That flying plastic disk is a trademark of Wham-O, which kindly reminds you on its website: “If your disc doesn’t say Frisbee® – it is not real!” And don’t you forget it.

Grab me a Coke from the fridge, please.

This soft drink has become so ubiquitous, it’s easy forget to capitalize it when writing. But as Pepsi fans will remind you, Coke is just one brand of cola, thus necessitating a big “C” like all other proper nouns.  

Ugh, how long do I have to wait on hold listening to this terrible Muzak?

Yep, those sleepy strings you hear in elevators and waiting rooms everywhere was actually the patented creation of Mood Media. As this article explains, the company created Muzak in the 1930s in order to get people in a more spendy mood while they shopped. Beware the power of the bland.

Spell check should catch any errant lowercase proper nouns, but it’s even better to learn them by heart. You wouldn’t want to offend one by forgetting to capitalize it, rendering it nothing but a common noun.


Here’s a bonus: words that used to be proper nouns, but became plain ol’ common nouns through continued use. Perhaps one of these origin stories will spark an idea for your next
research paper.

Take the Motorstair to the 3rd floor

Before the Otis Elevator Co. relinquished its trademark on the word, other escalator manufacturers called their products the Motorstair, the Electric Stairway, and Moving Stairs.

I’ll pack you some soup in a Dewar flask.

The thermos, known generically as a “vacuum flask” or “Dewar flask” after its original inventor, has a long and complicated history. After a trademark war in the Mad Men era, a court declared “thermos” a generic term. The Thermos Company is still alive and kicking, though, and we can bet their employees never suffer the indignity of cold coffee.

Call me (clamshell) maybe

Hang on tight for this throwback: The term “flip phone” was once patented by Motorola, which manufactured the first of these 90s-era gems, known generically as clamshell phones. No need to capitalize flip phone anymore—just make sure you don’t exceed your minutes.

Learn more about all kinds of nouns, common and proper, and make sure your writing is capital-A “Amazing” with BibMe’s grammar checker!  

It’s vs. Its: What’s the Difference?

The English language is a tough business. So much so, it’s unimaginable to have mastered all its intricacies. (See what I did there?)

Determining whether to use “it’s” or “its” is an essential building block of good writing, but it’s easy to let this little word topple your Jenga tower. Even the most seasoned writers are apt to forget an apostrophe every now and again. (That’s why even experienced writers can benefit from an online grammar check like the one right here on BibMe!) 

Take the following text message exchange:

A: When do you want to see that superhero adventure movie no one can stop talking about, the superhero adventure movie to END ALL SUPERHERO ADVENTURE MOVIES???
B: Its playing at 8 tonight. Wanna go?
B: *it’s
B: *it’s playing at 8 tonight
B: That was all autocorrect. I know the difference between it’s and its, I swear. PLEASE YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE MEEEE.

Ok, maybe things aren’t always this dramatic. But knowing the difference between a regular ol’ pronoun and a possessive pronoun is essential for understanding English grammar (and using it to express yourself in writing). Especially when it comes to that tiny, impossible-to-define, root of all description: it.

When do you use “it’s” and when, “its”? We hope this comic will help set the record straight.


What's the Difference Between It's and Its? Cartoon - BibMe blog

Bonus: here’s a practical tip for making sure you’re using the right form of it’s: run the “it is” test

If you’re not sure whether to put in the apostrophe, see if your version of “its” works as two words: it is.

It is nice out.
I’m sure it is going to work.


In these instances, “it is” can be replaced by
it’s:

It’s nice out.
I’m not sure it’s going to work.  

Lovely!

For the other version, take these sentences:

Put the toy back in its place, won’t you please.
The robot took its sweet time making my dinner.

You wouldn’t say “the robot took it is sweet time,” now, would you? There you go: no apostrophe needed.

Not sure your paper is free of rogue apostrophes, reckless subject verb agreement, or other wilding grammar errors? Take our free grammar check for a spin!

 Illustrations by Liv Bishop

Impress Your English Teacher with These 3 Sources

You will write a ton of papers throughout your school life, but that doesn’t mean they all have to be the same. The difference between an ok paper and one that “wows” your teacher may not be entirely related to your writing skills. The types of resources that you use to conduct your research can also set your work apart and demonstrate your willingness to think outside of the box.

Here are some out of the ordinary source types that you should consider using in your next research paper:

1. Maps
Writing a paper on a specific period in history? (The Elizabethan era of Shakespeare, perhaps?) Is your topic focused on a particular part of the world? (For example, Greece, if you’re studying Greek mythology.) Including a map in your works cited page could help provide context to your topic. Also, who doesn’t love a visual aid?

For example, did you read All the Light We Cannot See and are writing about World War II? Using a map can help communicate which countries were associated with the Allies, the Axis, or neutral. Another map could show the progression of attacks and offensives.

If you’re interested in using a map for your paper, consider checking library databases for copies of historical maps, or find an atlas that shows geographical charts for your desired timeframe. Some libraries also have special map collections, so ask your librarian for help.

2. Interviews
Interviews express a person’s thoughts on a given topic in a very focused and concise way. They are often also very personal and can provide a human element to even the most scientific or static topic—which is especially useful in persuasive essays. The best part is, interviews are easy to find, and are often used in newspapers, magazines, or even as part of popular T.V. shows. When including interviews in your project or paper, be sure to account for or acknowledge bias—your teacher will appreciate your insight.

3. Letters/Correspondence
Including letters or even emails as sources in your reference list is a great way to add a personal touch to your paper. For instance, including a snippet of a letter from George Washington describing Benedict Arnold would be a great addition to your Revolutionary War research paper. Copies of historical letters and other correspondence can be found in places like the National Archives at https://www.archives.gov/. Libraries, universities, and museums are also great places to look.

All of these source types and more can be easily cited with the help of BibMe.org. Our citation tools can show you how to cite a website, create an APA reference page, generate an MLA citation, and much more! In addition, BibMe Plus has a grammar check to help you write well-written papers. Try it today!

Feature Focus: BibMe’s Intuitive Annotation Tool

Were you asked to create an annotated bibliography? Wondering how to write an annotated bibliography? Or even what it is? Look no further, because BibMe’s free Annotation Tool can help!

Bibliographies are generally found on the final page of an assignment or research paper and contain citations for sources used in a project. Annotated bibliographies take it one step further and include the full citation PLUS commentary about the source. 

The commentary about the source is the annotation. Included in this commentary, or annotation, is:
    • A summary of the source (one to three sentences)
    • Your evaluation of the source and how or why you found it beneficial (one to three sentences)
      Here’s an example of an annotated bibliography, in APA format, created with BibMe’s free Annotation Tool:

Civil Rights Movement. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2018, from http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-movement

This website features articles, videos, pictures, and speeches that pertain to the Civil Rights Movement. Included are brief summaries of historical events and notable people, including the March on Washington, Bloody Sunday, and the Little Rock Nine. I appreciate the brief overview of many significant events and the primary sources throughout were beneficial for this assignment.

Lee, H. (2002). To kill a mockingbird. New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

Based in Alabama in the early 1960s, Atticus Finch defends a black man during his rape trial. Scout Finch, Atticus Finch’s brave 6 year old daughter, narrates the story and walks us through a time of racial and social injustice. The novel shed light on life in Alabama right before the civil rights movement took off and allowed me to understand the time through an innocent child’s eyes.

Ready to make your own annotated bibliography with BibMe’s Annotation Tool? To do so, create your citations as you normally would on BibMe. At the final step, you’ll see “Add Annotation” at the bottom of the citation form. You can also get here by clicking on the “Edit” link on an existing citation.

Image of annotated bibliography tool
Add your summary and evaluation in the box. BibMe will format your citation, with annotation, in the proper format and in the style you choose (MLA style, APA format, Chicago, or another style). After you create your citation with its annotation, copy and paste it into your bibliography, download it to Word, or save it for later use. It’s simple, easy, and free! Doesn’t get better than that!

Image of annotated bibliography tool

If you need more help with your bibliography, works cited list, or reference list, check out our citation guides. We also have a great grammar check feature to help you build a paper you’re proud of.

About the Author

Wendy is a Content Manager at BibMe, a Chegg Service. She loves using her library science background to promote an appreciation of citations and writing. Her interests include chats about books, cats, and good food.

Smart Tips to Choosing a College

So, you’ve been accepted to college—congratulations! No more gathering transcripts, asking for recommendation letters, stressing over application essays (and running them through a grammar checker), or waiting for responses. But choosing where to go to after you’ve gotten in can be a difficult decision. After all, different schools have different perks, and even if you’ve already done extensive research, it can be tough narrowing down a list to just one place.

To make the process a bit more manageable, we are criteria you can take into account when figuring out where to go.

Consider the Financial Aspect

College costs a lot of money, and there’s no reason school price shouldn’t factor into your decision. You shouldn’t make the decision based on price alone, but if you get a scholarship to one school and not another—or if one institution is private while another is public—that information is worth taking into account.

Visit the Schools

While it won’t always be possible to visit every school—due to time, distance or money—visiting your top choices is a great way to decide if they’re really be right place for you. Oftentimes, you get a feeling just from visiting a place. Visualizing the campus’ layout and the students without actually stepping foot on campus is challenging, so try to find a way to visit in person if you can.

Talk Out the Decision

Discussing your thoughts with family or friends might be helpful, but talking out the decision to yourself could also prove a helpful strategy for determining the right choice for you. You also might want to write out your thoughts on Post-It notes as you go, if you’re a visual learner.

Speak With Current Students

Talking with students who currently attend a school can go a long way toward determining whether that’s the place for you. While reading in guidebooks and online information can help you get an idea of what a student’s experience might be like, there’s no substitute for talking with a student over the phone or in person. Connect with someone from your high school who’s a current student at that college, or if you don’t know anyone who goes there, ask your regional admissions officer if they can put you in touch with an enrolled student.

Go With your Gut

Although it’s best to make an informed decision after conducting research, you may find yourself pulled toward one school, whether it’s for the academic programs or because it just felt like the right fit. If you still feel conflicted after making a pro-con list, go with your gut—do what you think is right, taking into account criteria including strength of academic programs, money and social experiences.

Take Your Time

For most schools, you have until May 1 to say whether or not you’re coming, a full month after the latest acceptable letters come in. There’s no problem with waiting until May 1. Deciding where to go to college is a big decision—after all, you’re planning to spend four years at that institution. There’s nothing wrong with taking that month to mull things over; there’s no perk to accepting an offer in early April.

Deciding on a college may be hard, but creating citations in high school and college can be easy with BibMe. Cite sources quickly and automatically in MLA format, APA format, and thousands of other styles.

Which Citation Format Should I Use?

So, you’re writing a paper and want to make sure that you’re citing your sources correctly. Great! Ensuring that you properly cite and reference your sources will prevent lost marksor even a failed paper, or worsefor accidental plagiarism. However, in order to correctly cite your sources, you first need to know which citation format to use.

There are numerous citation styles, although MLA format, APA format and Chicago/Turabian are the most commonly used.

The bottom line, when deciding which citation format to use, ask your teacher or professor. They’re the person best placed to advise you, as the preferred style often depends on the subject in question. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect a university or college to ask for the same citation format across the board. You should also be careful not to assume that assignments for your major and minor subjects require you to use the same style of citations. If in any doubt, ask!

To give you a general idea, here’s a breakdown of citation formats and the subjects that they’re usually used for:

Popular Formats

APA Format (American Psychological Association) – Used for social science subjects such as psychology, criminology, business and journalism.

MLA Format (Modern Languages Association) – Used for literature and humanities subjects such as literature, philosophy, religion, theater and communications.

Chicago Manual of Style – Used in humanities and social sciences such as anthropology, art history, business, computing, criminology, history, philosophy and religion.

Turabian Style – A variation of Chicago Manual of Style used across humanities, social sciences and natural science subjects such as art history, history and music.

Less-Commonly Used Formats (single subject specific)

Harvard Business School — business

ACS (American Chemical Society) — chemistry

AIP (American Institute of Physics) — physics

ALWD (Association of Legal Writing Directors) — law

AMA (American Medical Association) — medicine

AMS (American Mathematical Society) — math

APSA (American Political Science Association) — politics, international studies

ASA (American Sociological Association) — sociology

AP (Associated Press) — journalism, PR

Bluebook — legal studies

CSE (Council of Science Editors) — biology

LSA (Linguistics Society of America) — linguistics

Maroonbook — legal studies

NLM (National Library of Medicine) — medicine

As you’ll note from the above list, there’s some subject crossover with the popular citation formats. Others are very subject specific. Whichever subject you’re studying at your college or university, check your teacher’s preference before undertaking the task of creating your citations — time is precious as a busy student, and the last thing you want is to have to complete the same task twice, or lose marks unnecessarily.

Once you know which citation style you need to select, head over to the BibMe’s citation generator for help with their creation.