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How to Cite an Email


Emails are often used to get firsthand information in high school and college essays. They are often used to interview people. The writer of the paper can send an email with the interview questions and use quotes from the responses he gets from an expert or other person knowledgeable in the topic being written about. A cited email is usually listed at the end of an essay as a reference. Citations in the references section of an essay are required only in MLA format, the format mostly used in high school essays. Other formats, such as APA used in college and Chicago Style used by professionals, require in-text citations of email interviews.

Write the author of the email message with a period after it if you are citing the email in MLA format. For example, Bamberg, Matthew. APA format doesn't require you cite emails in the reference section of the paper. Instead, write citation in-text for the quote you are using from an email. Write first initial and last name of the person you emailed, the words "personal communication" followed by the date. Separate each with a comma. For example, (J. Smucker, personal communication, January 4, 2001). Chicago Style doesn't require email citations in the bibliography sections of papers. Instead, write in-text citation for the quote from the email you are using followed by the person's first and last name, email message to author, December 15, 2008. For example, (Harry Baker, email message to author, December 15, 2008).

Write the subject line in quotation marks format next to the author of the email message for MLA format. Put a period before the ending quotation mark. For example, "RE: Biography for Book."

Write the name of the person to whom the message was sent followed by a period next to the subject line of the email for MLA format. For example, Message to Julia Smucker.

Write the date sent listed on the message followed by a period last for MLA format. For example, 18 Nov. 2010.

Write the word "Email" followed by a period for MLA format. The entire MLA citation should look like this: Bamberg, Matthew. "RE: Biography for Book." Message to Julia Smucker. 18 Nov. 2010. Email.

Tip
  • There is no citation in the references section for an email in APA format or in the bibliography in Chicago Style.
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About the Author

Matthew Bamberg is the author of several photography books, as well as an adjunct instructor at the University of Phoenix, National University and UC Riverside. He teaches English composition, sociolinguistics and photography, previously serving as a public school teacher in California for 14 years.

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