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A Quick Guide to MHRA Style

This Quick Guide summarizes the main features to be noted by authors who are following MHRA style. A full discussion will be found in the chapters and sections of the MHRA Style Guide as indicated.



2.1 In the case of verbs ending in -ize or -ise and their derivatives, the forms in -ize, -ization, etc. (e.g. civilize, civilization) are used in MHRA periodicals. Either system may be used in books published by the MHRA.

2.3 Forms that are attributive and have a single main stress are hyphenated, while predicative and other forms having two main stresses are not hyphenated:

a well-known fact                  the facts are well known

a tenth-century manuscript   in the tenth century

Adverbs ending in -ly and other polysyllabic adverbs are not hyphenated to a following adjective or participle:

a recently published novel

ever increasing quantities

4.4 A contracted form of a word that ends with the same letter as the full form, including plural -s, is not followed by a full stop:

Dr, Jr, Mme, Mr, Mrs, St, vols

5.1 (c) In an enumeration of three or more items, it is the preferred style in MHRA periodicals to insert commas after all but the last item, to give equal weight to each enumerated element, as in: ‘The University has departments of French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.’ The comma after the penultimate item may be omitted in books published by the MHRA, as long as the sense is clear.



5.7 In quotations, points indicating an ellipsis (i.e. the omission of a portion of the text) should be enclosed within square brackets:

Her enquiries […] were not very favourably answered.



8.2 In expressing inclusive numbers falling within the same hundred, the last two figures should be given, including any zero in the penultimate position:

13–15, 44–47, 100–22, 104–08, 1933–39



9.3 Short quotations (up to forty words or no more than two lines of verse) should be enclosed in single quotation marks and run on with the main text. If a verse quotation includes a line division, this should be marked with a spaced upright stroke ( | ). For a quotation within a quotation, double quotation marks should be used. Unless the quotation forms a complete sentence and is separated from the preceding passage by a punctuation mark, the final full stop should be outside the closing punctuation mark.

9.4 Long quotations (over forty words or more than two lines of verse) should be broken off by an increased space from the preceding and following lines of typescript. They should not be enclosed within quotation marks.



10.1 All notes should end with full stops.

10.3 A note reference number should follow any punctuation except a dash, which it should precede.



11.2.2 BOOKS

Tom McArthur, Worlds of Reference: Lexicography, Learning and Language from the Clay Tablet to the Computer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 59.

Jean Starobinski, Montaigne in Motion, trans. by Arthur Goldhammer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 174.

Dictionary of the Middle Ages, ed. by Joseph R. Strayer and others, 13 vols (New York: Scribner, 1982–89), vi (1985), 26.

Carlos Fuentes, Aura, ed. by Peter Standish, Durham Modern Language Series: Hispanic Texts, 1 (Durham: University of Durham, 1986), pp. 12–16 (p. 14).

Boswell: The English Experiment 1785–1789, ed. by Irma S. Lustig and Frederick A. Pottle, The Yale Edition of the Private Papers of James Boswell (London: Heinemann; New York: McGraw Hill, 1986), pp. 333–37.


Martin Elsky, ‘Words, Things, and Names: Jonson’s Poetry and Philosophical Grammar’, in Classic and Cavalier: Essays on Jonson and the Sons of Ben, ed. by Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1982), pp. 31–55 (p. 41).


Richard Hillyer, ‘In More than Name Only: Jonson’s “To Sir Horace Vere”’, MLR, 85 (1990), 1-11.

Robert F. Cook, ‘Baudouin de Sebourc: un poème édifiant?’, Olifant, 14 (1989), 115–35 (pp. 118–19).

Issue numbers are required only where each issue starts at page 1.



11.2.7 The Merchant of Venice, ii. 3. 10; The Faerie Queene, iii. 8. 26; Paradise Lost, ix. 342–50; Aeneid, vi. 215–18; Inferno, iii. 9.



11.2.8 Isaiah 22. 17; ii Corinthians 5.13-15.




Els Jongeneel, ‘Art and Divine Order in the Divina Commedia’, Literature and Theology, 21 (2007), 131–45 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frm008>

Steve Sohmer, ‘The Lunar Calendar of Shakespeare’s King Lear’, Early Modern Literary Studies, 5.2 (1999) <http://purl.oclc.org/emls/05-2/sohmlear.htm> [accessed 28 January 2000] (para. 3 of 24)

Kent Bach, ‘Performatives’, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy <http://www.rep.routledge.com> [accessed 3 October 2001]



11.3 In all references to a book or article after the first, the shortest intelligible form should be used. This will normally be the author’s name, or a short-title reference if appropriate, followed by the volume (if applicable) and page reference:

 McArthur, p. 62; Elsky, pp. 42–46 (p. 43); Dictionary of the Middle Ages, vi (1985), 26.

It may be necessary, for example when more than one work by an author has been cited, to repeat a title, in a shortened form:

 McArthur, Worlds of Reference, p. 9.


11.4 The author–date system requires all bibliographical references to be placed at the end of a book, article, or thesis in alphabetical order by names of author(s) or editor(s), followed by date of publication, as in the following examples:

Crystal, David. 1992. An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Language and Languages (Oxford: Blackwell)

MacAulay, Donald (ed.). 1992. The Celtic Languages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

Grady, Hugh. 2001. ‘Falstaff: Subjectivity between the Carnival and the Aesthetic’, MLR, 96: 609–23

Chadwick, H. Munro, and N. Kershaw Chadwick. 1932–40. The Growth of Literature. 3 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; repr. 1986)

If two or more works by the same author(s) have the same publication date, they should be arranged in alphabetical order of title and distinguished by adding letters after the date (e.g. ‘1998a’, ‘1998b’).

References in the text should give in parentheses the surname of the author, the publication date of the work, and, where necessary, a page reference, e.g. (Crystal 1992: 302). When the author’s name is given in the text, it should not be repeated in the reference; e.g. ‘Smith (1977: 66) argues that […]’.



11.6 In an alphabetical bibliography, the surname of the author or editor whose surname governs the alphabetical position will precede the forename(s) or initial(s). Do not reverse the normal order for collaborating authors or editors other than the first quoted.

Chadwick, H. Munro, and N. Kershaw Chadwick, The Growth of Literature, 3 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932–40; repr. 1986)

Cook, Robert F., ‘Baudouin de Sebourc: un poème édifiant?’, Olifant, 14 (1989), 115–35

Fuentes, Carlos, Aura, ed. by Peter Standish, Durham Modern Language Series: Hispanic Texts, 1 (Durham: University of Durham, 1986)

Johnson, Thomas H., ed., Emily Dickinson: Selected Letters, 2nd edn (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985)

Strayer, Joseph R., and others, eds, Dictionary of the Middle Ages, 13 vols (New York: Scribner, 1982–89), vi (1985)


This Quick Guide summarizes the main features to be noted by authors who are following MHRA style. A full discussion will be found in the chapters and sections of the MHRA Style Guide as indicated.


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