English 120: Citation Exercise

English 120: Citation Exercise

This assignment is required in order to earn credit for English 120.  The Citation Exercise demonstrates your ability to incorporate and cite sources following MLA guidelines and enables me to screen for problems before you complete the research essay. It is worth up to 10 points. Incomplete submissions cannot earn a passing score. Late submissions cannot earn points. As always, submit polished work: proofread/edit. Length: 450-500 words.

The article Hughes (235) from the book The Little, Brown Reader. Eds. Marcia Stubbs and Sylvan Barnet. 12th ed. and write a summary of and response to it. The two parts of this assignment need to be separate. It should be obvious to your reader where one stops and the next begins. You may label the two parts, if you like.

Part I: Summary: The summary is the academic exercise. It tells you and your reader how well you understand the original text. You are simply translating the author’s main points into your words.

  1. Be concise (exclude details, examples, specifics).
  2. Be accurate in conveying the writer’s main points.
  3. Remain neutral (exclude opinion, interpretation, analysis).
  4. In first sentence of the summary, include the writer’s full name, the title of the text, and the writer’s thesis statement (in your own words).
  5. Use your own words throughout (exclude quotations).
  6. List the page numbers of the text (first-last) in parentheses at the end of the summary, followed by a period.


Part 2: Response: The response allows you some freedom. Ultimately, I need to see you connect with the text in a specific way. Focus on a section of the original, an idea, etc. Respond in any way you like, as long as your main focus is on the text.

  1. Demonstrate your critical thinking about the text. Focus on your thinking—your reaction, your opinion, your response, your interpretation.
  2. Include at least one quotation from the reading in MLA format (include the page number in parentheses, followed by a period, after the quote). See the example in the course document “MLA Format.”


  1. Include at least one paraphrase from the reading in MLA format (include the page number in parentheses followed by a period, after the paraphrase).



  1. Meet the required length of 450 words to earn a passing grade (aim for 450-500 words). Going much beyond this length turns this assignment into a very different task. Focus on being concise. That can involve the often-difficult task of excluding and omitting unnecessary material.
  2. Submit polished work—proofread and edited.
  3. Include a works cited entry in MLA format for the reading you use (required to earn a passing score). See the sample entry in the document “MLA Format.”

Have some fun. Keep in mind: you are writing for an audience. The more interested you are in what you write, the more interesting your writing will be.


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