Ask a question

How do you write a citation for a paper?

I'm not understanding on how to write one.

10 Answers by Expert Tutors

Tutors, sign in to answer this question.
Kathleen K. | Patient and Reliable Tutor of Basic and Elementary Skills & GED PrepPatient and Reliable Tutor of Basic and ...

Now Alyson, the answer to this is simple. I would first recommend finding out which style of citation your teacher wants you to use. Then, I would recommend asking your teacher for help or a worksheet pertaining to that type of citation. You could also ask your school or public library librarians for aide. If nothing else I would look it up online. Here are some links for two different types of citation.         (This is for APA)          (This is for MLA)


Alyson, did you know that librarians have a master's degree--that they go to college for an extra four years after the bachelor's degree just so they can help people like you? Please remember librarians, at schools and local public libraries! Besides helping you find resources, such as Purdue OWL, they can show you the most current MLA and APA books so you can find out how to cite all sorts of resources. Best of luck!
Maureen C. | Microsoft Office Expert since 1994 Online or OnsiteMicrosoft Office Expert since 1994 Onlin...

MS Word has a Citation feature on the References tab that you can use to easily enter Citations into your document.  Once created, the Bibliography command will compile all Citations (at the end of your document if you select that location).

Hope this helps with how to create your document with citations.


MS Word's Citation feature has saved many students.
Theresa H. | Art, Theatre, English, Reading, Special Ed and Creativity!Art, Theatre, English, Reading, Special ...
4.9 4.9 (466 lesson ratings) (466)

On a broader note, if you are doing a bibliography for a longer paper, one valuable resource online is  It can really be a lifesaver when writing a thesis, a term paper, or even a book! Check it out!  Hope this is helpful.


Easybib has been a problem during the past version change of MLA: They didn't update as quickly as MLA came out with a new standard, so I'm hesitant to recommend it.
Kelly S. | Certified Middle/High School Social Studies/History TeacherCertified Middle/High School Social Stud...

The website that I used to help me with APA citation is KnightCite it is free and found at this site.

I used this site to double check my citations when I was in college and never got marked down for how my citations were done.

Kristina K. | Former college English instructor willing to help!Former college English instructor willin...
You first need to find out which citation style is required.  The most common are APA, MLA, and Chicago.  Start there and ask again!  K.
Francisco O. | Ph.D Candidate in Computer SciencePh.D Candidate in Computer Science
5.0 5.0 (2 lesson ratings) (2)

if you can use IEEE or ACM style, look at this

Stephanie S. | Tutor with 3 years' ESL experience, Research Paper tutorTutor with 3 years' ESL experience, Rese...
4.5 4.5 (2 lesson ratings) (2)

A great online resource that I instruct my students to use is On Citation Machine you can put in the style (APA, MLA, Chicago, or Turabian) and then it gives you a choice of the type of source. For example, if you're using a book, click book and it will tell you what information you need in order to create a citation. Once you plug the information in, click "make citation" and you will have a reference citation and in-text citation.

Allen V. | Comprehensive Mastery of German from Beginning to Advanced!Comprehensive Mastery of German from Beg...

Citing a paper properly can be a bit of a problem. This website ( OWL gives you all the information and resources you need for properly citing your papers. They even provide a great number of details and examples for citing all sorts of material. Good luck, take it easy, and do just one step at a time.

Brian W. | Highly qualified writing, english, reading, and vocabulary tutorHighly qualified writing, english, readi...
5.0 5.0 (12 lesson ratings) (12)

A citation is usually written with quotation marks.  If you are citing from a book or magazine, usual practice is to italicize and underline the book, then add page numbers, author in parenthesis following your cite.  Hope this helps.

Kelley L. | Beginning computer instructor - specializes in adult learnersBeginning computer instructor - speciali...

need to ask a few questions first.  What type of paper are you writing and what format are you using?  APA, MLA?


The easiest way to tackle this challenge is to first go to your public library's reference desk and ask to use the APA 6th Edition Style Manual. Here you can look up in detail how to cite all sources, internally (within the paper) and externally (in the Works Cited page or Bibliography). Second, there are some helpful free sites on the Internet into which you can enter your data, and the webpage will convert your information into a correct citation for you. This would be for external sources only. Some sites offer help with in-paper citations. One site that is very popular is Citation Wizard. Google the title to find the exact url. Finally, a very useful tool is called EazyPaper. It has a trial period for use to examine the program. If you like it you can buy it. It actually formats the paper as you type along. Also Google this as I'm not sure of the exact url. Hope this helps.