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  • Dr. V

Always Reference Your Style Guide

Sentence: This study explores the impact of important sociological movements of the early 20th century.


Edited Sentence: This study explores the impact of important sociological movements of the early Twentieth Century.


Explanation: When referencing specific centuries in scholarly writing, MLA style dictates that the words should be written out and capitalized. However, APA style has different guidelines.


In the first sentence above, the number is used instead of the word. Also, century is not capitalized. However, the edited sentence has the correct usage of the word for MLA style. According to MLA, even when referencing a title that has century as a number, a writer should spell out the word. The only exception is “if it precedes an abbreviation in a title: The Ekopolitan Project: Migrant Histories and Family Genealogies from 19th and 20th c. Lagos” (https://style.mla.org/styling-names-of-centuries/). Also, MLA does not require a hyphen between the two words.


Since English is my discipline, I adhere to MLA style. As an editor, I work with clients who must adhere to APA style, Chicago style and other style guidelines. Often, I have seen styles like APA contradict what MLA requires. So, I always reference the style handbook when a questions arises.


As a scholar, you are responsible for knowing the formatting guidelines of your discipline. Tips like today do not refer to just English rules, but style rules! Know the difference!!!

Until next week, Happy Writing!!! Dr. V Writing Coach-Editor-Speaker

Author of I'm Not a Writer...I am Just in Graduate School (order your copy at https://www.amazon.com/Not-Writer-Just-Graduate-School/dp/1533392919)

Available in hard copy and on Kindle



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