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How to Cite the Tao Te Ching


The Tao Te Ching is a work of ancient Chinese philosophy related to Taoism, a system of morality and virtue. Although debated, the author is thought to be Lao Tsu of the sixth century B.C.E. English versions of Tao Te Ching vary because the Chinese language renders translation into English open to many different interpretations. Citing the Tao Te Ching requires reference to the translator and edition as well as the author, title and chapter.

Decide whether your citation is an in-text citation or bibliography reference. The in-text citations refer the reader to the text quoted or referenced. Bibliography citations provide a full citation of the works cited in the text and other books that have influenced the ideas represented in the essay.

To begin an in-text citation, open parentheses at the end of the quotation or reference. Enter the translator's last name or Lao Tsu, the author. Type a comma and then hit the space bar. Abbreviate chapter as "ch." and enter the chapter number. Close the parentheses. Adding the chapter number as opposed to the page number is important because each page of the Tao Te Ching can contain several chapters. If, however, the book you are referencing lists only one chapter per page, enter the page number instead of the chapter number.

Confirm whether you used the author's name or translator's last name for your in-text citation. Which you chose will determine how you list the full citation of the Tao Te Ching on your work's "cited" or bibliography page.

List the name of the author, if this was used to cite the work in the text. Type a period (.) at the end. Enter Tao Te Ching and underline the title. Insert a period at the end. Type "Translated by" and then add the translator's name. Insert a period. Enter the name of the city where the translation was published. Insert a colon (:) and then add the name of the publisher. Add a comma followed by the publishing year. Insert a period to finalize. The result should look similar to this: Lao Tsu. The Tao Te Ching. Translated by Someone Special. New York: Best Publisher Ever, 1998.

Type the name of the translator (Last, First), if this was used to cite the Tao Te Ching in the text. Type a comma and add the abbreviation of translator as "trans." Enter the title, punctuated by a period. Underline the title. Enter the name of the city where the translation was published. Insert a colon (:) and then add the name of the publisher. Add a comma followed by the publishing year. Insert a period to finalize. The result should look similar to this: Special, Someone, trans. The Tao Te Ching. New York: Best Publisher Ever, 1998.

About the Author

Kristin Jennifer began writing professionally in 2010, with her work appearing on eHow. She has five years of experience working as an immigration specialist in Houston and New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in economics from Barnard College.

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