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How to Cite SparkNotes

Introduction

When you use quotes, analysis, or other excerpts from our guides in an essay or assignment, you should always remember to cite us. We put together this guide to give you some tips for creating MLA, APA, and Chicago Manual of Style-format citations, but make sure to ask your teacher if they have specific instructions or requirements. Please keep in mind that the examples we provide below apply specifically to content on our site; to cite other content, such as books, online articles, etc, please refer to an MLA, APA, and/or Chicago Manual of Style guide.

If you don’t cite your sources, you run the risk of plagiarizing, which can have very serious consequences; you could fail your assignment, get a lower grade in your class, be suspended, and worse. For more information on plagiarism and how to avoid it, please see our FAQs.

If you have any questions about how to use or include references to SparkNotes in your work, you can write us at custserv@bn.com.

FAQs

How can I find the name of the author for a specific SparkNote?

For every guide on our site (including No Fear Literature, No Fear Shakespeare, and theSparkNotes in our “Other Subjects” section), please cite “SparkNotes Editors” in place of an author. Our guides are created by a team of writers and editors, so we don’t attribute them to a specific author.

In the examples below, we will write “SparkNotes Editors” in the space intended for an author attribution, but for other sources, you should use the “Author Last Name, Author First Name” format.

What should I use as the publication date for a SparkNotes?

For all SparkNotes, please use “2005” as the publication date.

Can I copy the citations you provided below?

The examples below were created specifically for the No Fear Hamlet guide, The Great Gatsby SparkNote, and a translated quote from No Fear Romeo and Juliet. If you are citing one of those guides, or that exact quote, then you can copy the citations. If you’re using a different guide or quote, you should switch in the relevant title/quote when writing your citation.

What counts as plagiarism?

Great question! In simple terms, plagiarism is copying the words or the ideas of another person or institution without acknowledging that you got those words or ideas from that source. Our guides were created to enhance your understanding of a text—we’re not here to help you cheat, and we strongly condemn plagiarism. Our hope is that our content will help you draw your own conclusions about a book, so that you can craft a unique opinion for tests and papers. To avoid plagiarism, you have to follow this basic rule: Acknowledge all non-original words and ideas.

If you express someone else's ideas entirely in your own words and you properly acknowledge the source of every non-original idea in your work, you’re in the clear.

Proper acknowledgement can entail writing citations, including quotations to indicate that the language you're using was taken verbatim from another source, and more. This can seem daunting and confusing—which is why we created this guide to show you how to do it!

MLA Citations

An MLA citation follows this format:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of the Article or Individual Page.” Title of the Website, Name of the Publisher, Date of Publication in Day Month Year format, URL.

As we discussed in the FAQ section, you will always use “SparkNotes Editors” in place of an author’s name, and the year 2005 as the publication date (instead of a more specific date written in the day-month-year format).

Please note that for an MLA citation, you should remove the “http://” and “https://” from the beginning of the URL. Also please note that the most recent revision of MLA citation format no longer requires you to include the date you accessed our site. However, if your teacher asks you to include it, write it in italics after the URL like this: “Accessed Day Month Year.”

Taking the above into account, an MLA citation for a SparkNote will be in the below format. (Please consult your MLA guide when creating citations for other sources.)

SparkNotes Editors. “Title of SparkNote.” SparkNotes.com, SparkNotes LLC, 2005, URL.

Examples

No Fear Shakespeare or No Fear Literature

We’re using No Fear Hamlet as our example. To create a citation for the No Fear text you’re reading, just use the title of that book/guide in place of “Hamlet”.

SparkNotes editors. “No Fear Hamlet.” SparkNotes.com, SparkNotes LLC, 2005, www.sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/hamlet/.

SparkNote

We’re using The Great Gatsby as our example. To create a citation for the guide you’re reading, just use the title of that book/guide in place of The Great Gatsby.

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNotes: The Great Gatsby.” SparkNotes.com, SparkNotes LLC, 2005, www.sparknotes.com/lit/gatsby/.

APA Format

An APA citation follows the below format:

Author Last Name, First Name. (Year, Month Date of publication). Title of webpage/article. Retrieved from URL.

An APA citation for a SparkNote will be in the below format. (Please consult your APA guide when creating citations for other sources.)

SparkNotes Editors. (2005). SparkNote page title. Retrieved from URL.

Examples

No Fear Shakespeare or No Fear Literature

We’re using No Fear Hamlet as our example. To create a citation for the No Fear text you’re reading, just use the title of that book/guide in place of “Hamlet”.

SparkNotes Editors. (2005). No Fear Hamlet. Retrieved from www.sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/hamlet/.

SparkNote

We’re using the SparkNote for The Great Gatsby as our example. To create citation for the text you’re reading, just use the title of that book/guide in place of The Great Gatsby.

SparkNotes Editors. (2005). SparkNotes: The Great Gatsby. Retrieved from www.sparknotes.com/lit/gatsby/.

Chicago Manual of Style Format

A Chicago Manual of Style citation follows the below format:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Website Title. Month Date, Year of publication. Publication/Updated Month Date, Year OR Accessed Month Date, Year of access. URL.

An Chicago MoS citation for a SparkNote will be in the below format. (Please consult your Chicago MoS guide when creating citations for other sources.)

SparkNotes Editors. “Title of SparkNotes.” SparkNotes.com. 2005. Accessed Month Date, Year of access.* URL.

*Please note that you’ll need to change this date depending on when you accessed the page; the date we use below is just an example.

Examples

No Fear Shakespeare or No Fear Literature

We’re using No Fear Hamlet as our example. To create a citation for the No Fear text you’re reading, just use the title of that book/guide in place of “Hamlet”.

SparkNotes Editors. “No Fear Hamlet.” SparkNotes.com. 2005. Accessed December 12, 2019. www.sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/hamlet/

SparkNote

We’re using the SparkNotes for The Great Gatsby as our example. To create a citation for the text you’re reading, just use the title of that book/guide in place of The Great Gatsby.

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNotes: The Great Gatsby.” SparkNotes.com. 2005. December 12, 2019. www.sparknotes.com/lit/gatsby/.

In-text Citations

You should use in-text citations when you include a direct quote from our content. Please note that you have to cite us as the source when you use our No Fear translations (the material that appears on the right side of a translation page), but you do not have to cite us as the source for Shakespeare’s original words (which appear on the left side).

Because in-text citations are so brief, most teachers will ask that you also include a corresponding citation for the work on your Works Cited/Bibliography page.

For the below examples, we’ll be citing a line of our translation (“Night is over, and day is coming”) from the No Fear Romeo and Juliet guide. To create your citation, just switch in the quote that you’d like to incorporate.

Examples of In-text Citations

MLA

In MLA style, in-text citations are done in the parenthetical format, which means that you’ll include relevant information about your source in parenthesis at the end of a sentence.

An in-text MLA citation for an online source follows the below format:

Your “quote” (author’s name).

For the quote we listed above, you would write the citation like this:

“Night is over, and day is coming” (SparkNotes Editors).

To help your teacher identify the corresponding Works Cited entry, be sure to begin it with “SparkNotes Editors”, then write the rest of the entry according to the MLA guidelines we included above. Here’s what it would look like for this specific quote:

SparkNotes Editors. “No Fear Romeo and Juliet” SparkNotes.com, SparkNotes LLC, 2005, sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/romeojuliet/page_186/.

APA

In APA style, in-text citations should come right after the title, word, or phrase to which they’re referring (instead of appearing at the end of the sentence), and they should always precede punctuation marks.

An in-text APA citation for an online source follows the below format:

Your “quote” (Author’s name, Year of Publication).

For the quote we listed above, you would write the citation like this:

“Night is over, and day is coming” (SparkNotes Editors, 2005).

The corresponding entry in the Works Cited section should follow the APA guidelines we included above. Here’s what it would look like for this specific quote:

SparkNotes Editors. (2005). No Fear Romeo and Juliet. Retrieved from www.sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/romeojuliet/page_186/

The Chicago Manual of Style

This citation style can be tricky, so don’t hesitate to ask your teacher if you have any questions! When you’re citing a source within the text, the Chicago Manual of Style requires the use of notes(footnotes or endnotes), instead of parenthetical citations. To create an in-text citation, put a superscript number immediately following the content you’ve quoted. Then, create a corresponding entry on your Works Cited page. So, the in-text citation would look like this:

Your words here “Night is over, and day is coming” 1 .

The full citation on the Works Cited page should begin with the same number as the superscript number that appears with the in-text citation, and it should follow the Chicago Manual of Style guidelines we included above. Here’s what it would look like for this specific quote:

1. SparkNotes Editors. “No Fear Romeo and Juliet” SparkNotes.com. 2005. Accessed December 12, 2019*. www.sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/romeojuliet/page_186/.

*Remember to adjust this date according to when you accessed the site; this date is just an example.

If you cite our content more than once, you can use a shortened note for the subsequent references. So, for example, if you reference our No Fear Romeo and Juliet guide for a second time, you would include a superscript “2” next to the reference. In the notes, you would write a shorter version of the full citation. The shorter version is comprised of the author and the title of the content, and would look like this:

2. SparkNotes Editors, No Fear Romeo and Juliet.