MHRA Style Guide

The MHRA Style Guide is an essential reference for scholars, students and editors in the Modern Humanities. MHRA style was originally codified for the Association's own journals and books, but it is now used much more widely. Many universities require theses and other written assignments to conform to MHRA style. The Guide gives guidance and clarity on such points as spelling and usage; names; abbreviations; punctuation; capitals; italics; dates, numbers, currency, and weights and measures; quotations and quotation marks; footnotes and endnotes; references, and so on.

Examples. MHRA styled citations are used throughout this website. Whenever they appear, there are also links to explanations of how they were produced, and reading a few of these is the quickest way to learn MHRA citation. Here are: a typical monograph, a typical collected volume, a special number of a journal cited as a book, and a typical translation; and here are: a chapter in an edited book, an article in a special number of a journal, and an article in an electronic journal.

Suggestions. Suggestions for amendments or additions that might be incorporated in future editions are welcomed and may be sent to: style@mhra.org.uk. The MHRA regrets that it is unable to enter into private correspondence about questions of style.

This Quick Guide summarizes the main features to be noted by authors who are following MHRA style. References such as 11.2.2 are to the numbered subheadings of the full Guide, where fuller discussion can be found.

SPELLING AND PUNCTUATION

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.

ELLIPSES

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.

NUMBERS

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

QUOTATIONS AND QUOTATION MARKS

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.

FOOTNOTES AND ENDNOTES

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.

FIRST REFERENCES

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.

11.2.3 CHAPTERS OR ARTICLES IN BOOKS

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).

11.2.4 ARTICLES IN JOURNALS

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.

PLAYS AND LONG WORKS

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.

THE BIBLE

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

ONLINE PUBLICATIONS

11.2.12 

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]

LATER REFERENCES

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.

CITATION BY THE AUTHOR–DATE SYSTEM

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 […]’.

BIBLIOGRAPHIES

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)

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Editorial Committee

  • Chair: Professor Chloe Paver
  • Professor Derek Connon (General Editor, MLR)
  • Professor Malcolm Cook (Hon Chairman, MHRA)
  • Gerard Lowe (for Texts and Translations)
  • Graham Nelson (for Legenda)

MHRA Style Guide

Edited by Brian Richardson

MHRA Style Guide

Modern Humanities Research Association

1 January 2013  •  120pp

ISBN: 978-1-781880-09-8 (paperback)  •  RRP £9.50, $19, €12

Bibliography


The MHRA Style Guide is intended primarily for use in connection with books and periodicals published by the Modern Humanities Research Association, but it is also widely useful to students and other authors, to editors, and to publishers of texts written mainly in English. Its chapters deal with preparing material for publication; spelling and usage; names; abbreviations; punctuation; capitals; italics; dates, numbers, currency, and weights and measures; quotations and quotation marks; footnotes and endnotes; references; the preparation of indexes; useful works of reference; and proof correction.

This third edition (2013, reprinted with minor corrections 2015) has been revised and updated in the light of developments in technology and means of communication, and of suggestions made by users of the second edition. It introduces a Quick Guide to the main features of MHRA style, and it gives fuller information on referencing, including online publications and social media, and on indexing.

The first edition of the Style Book was published in 1971. Though originally designed for use in connection with the publications of the MHRA, it quickly proved to be of value to authors and editors of other publications.

The second, third, and fourth editions (1978, 1981, and 1991 (reprinted with amendments 1995)) broadened the scope with the addition of an index and glossary. The fifth edition (1996) was revised to take account of changes in printing technology and modern editorial practice, and added guidance on: preparation of copy on computer disk; preparation of camera-ready copy; and electronic publishing. The next edition was published in 2002 as the Style Guide, reflecting the move to simultaneous publication in print and online. A second edition was published in 2008 which took account of the widespread use of electronic means of text preparation, submission, and publication. Over 50,000 copies (all editions) have been sold worldwide.

See other MHRA publications by: Brian Richardson (16)

Bibliography entry:

Richardson, Brian (ed.), MHRA Style Guide (Cambridge: MHRA, 2013)

First footnote reference: 35 MHRA Style Guide, ed. by Brian Richardson (Cambridge: MHRA, 2013), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Richardson, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Richardson, Brian (ed.). 2013. MHRA Style Guide (Cambridge: MHRA)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Richardson 2013: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Richardson 2013: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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