The UVic Writer's Guide

Plays Or Long Poems Where Line Numbers Are Given

Earlier styles of reference to plays used an upper-case Roman number for the act, lower-case Roman for the scene, and Arabic for the line numbers (IV.xiv.122); MLA style now uses Arabic for all reference numbers. Separate the parts of the reference by periods, with no spaces. The title can be omitted if it is clear what work you are referring to.


(Title [can be abbreviated] act.scene.line)

(Othello 3.3.176-192)

Note that there are no spaces between the act, scene, and line.


(Title [can be abbreviated] section [subsection.]line)

(Faerie Queene 1.3.64)

(Paradise Lost 9.113-26)

A section, even a large one, that is part of a larger work is put in quotes, not in italics:

("The Miller's Tale" 3371-3380)

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Copyright, The Department of English, The University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated September 22, 1995