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How to Cite the National Anthem


The soaring melody of the national anthem may be familiar, but referencing it in print takes great care. How you cite it will depend on whether you use MLA (Modern Language Association) or APA (American Psychological Association) style.

APA Style Citation

In APA style, cite the author and date within parentheses in the text after you quote it: (Key, 1999). To include the anthem in your list of sources, begin with the author’s last name, then initials, and the date in parentheses. Follow with publication information for the book or website, including the URL: Key, F.S. (1999). The Star-Spangled Banner. In The Yale Book of American Verse. Lousberry, T.R. (ed.). Retrieved from http://www.bartleby.com/102/3.html.

MLA Style Citation

For MLA style, parenthetical citation includes the author’s last name and the lines you quoted: (Key, 7-8). In your list of references, begin with the author’s last name, then his first two names, then the title. Follow with publication information, using quotation marks around the song title; italicize book and journal titles. MLA style does not call for including the URL for websites, but you must give the date you accessed it and name the type of format: Key, Francis Scott. “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The Yale Book of American Verse. Ed. by Thomas Raynesford Lounsberry. Bartleby.com, Jan. 1999. Web. July 31, 2014.

About the Author

Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.

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