Abbreviating Words In Essays Are Movies

What to call the OED: The first time you refer to the dictionary in your paper, use the full title: the Oxford English Dictionary. After the first time (which may come in the body of a paragraph or in a citation), then you may use the abbreviation OED throughout.

A side note on titles and abbreviations: This abbreviated title rule does not always apply for the body of your paper. The OED may be called the OED in the body because, although it is an abbreviated form, people actually call it this (at least this is my explanation). Generally, abbreviated titles are only acceptable within citations, e.g. a paper on Love's Labour's Lost, while referring to the entire title in the prose, may, after the play has been identified, thereafter cite simply by using LLL followed by the act, scene and line number(s). However, the author would not say, "When the acting company first performed LLL?"-this is too informal, and while I have seen it done, it is rare and best avoided for our purposes. When we get into writing papers that compare and contrast multiple texts from this course, you'll be able to abbreviate Fight Club as FC and The Talented Mr. Ripley as TTMR in your citations, after the first time you've identified the text by its full name. In general, one word titles are not truncated to a single letter, so we won't be representing Vertigo as V.

What the citation will look like: Include the particulars in your citation. If you are using one of the definitions of sympathy in your paper, you might say something like this:
Sympathy, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, canbe a "favourable attitude of mind towards a party" (OED, n. 3.d.).OR, if you've already mentioned the OED:sympathy can be a "favourable attitude of mind towards a party"(OED, n. 3.d.).OR, if you haven't yet mentioned the OED, and choose to deferidentifying the source until the citation itself, then:sympathy can be a "favourable attitude of mind towards a party"(Oxford English Dictionary, n. 3.d.).

I've attached the OED's entry for sympathy as a noun; as you'll see, there are four main definitions, and #1 and #3 have sub-definitions. The citation I use above shows my reader that I am referring first to the entry for sympathy as a noun, secondly that it is definition number 3, and thirdly that it is sub-definition d. Citing so specifically is crucial, especially since differences between various definitions can often be maddeningly subtle on first examination. If you are using a definition to shape or support your argument, you want to eliminate any possibility of misunderstanding on the part of your reader.

MLA Documentation Guide

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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