I am using MLA format and am lost for an equivalent to what the Chicago Manual of Style describes as "words and phrases used as words".
In my entire paper, I have chosen to put quotation marks in the following cases:
The term "power" is very important here because...
Whenever there is the signal term or phrase and then the word I use quotation marks.
Is there any MLA rule to back me up on this?
I have problems now with the following examples.
Theorist xyz introduces the concept of power in his volume ABC. By power, he means ...
Should I have quotation marks in this case as well to stick to my style:
By 'power', he means ...
or is it not necessary?
Any hint would be greatly appreciated.
This is what the CMOS has to say about this:
When is it appropriate to use quotation marks to set off a term that is being defined or described in academic writing? I edit casebooks and journal articles for law professors, and authors will often write sentences such as:
It will be helpful first to explore the meaning of the concepts of “public health” and the “common good.”
I find quotation marks unnecessary unless they are used to set off words coined by the author or if their usage is not standard. What do you think?
A. I agree that the quotation marks aren’t needed in the sentence you cite, but the difference between that sentence and one like the following, where the quotation marks would be standard, is subtle:
It will be helpful first to explore the meaning of the phrases “public health” and the “common good.”
Although those phrases aren’t coined by the author or used in a nonstandard way, it’s conventional to quote or use italics for words or phrases being introduced or defined (CMOS 7.58). For that reason, I wouldn’t fuss if an author wanted to keep the quotation marks in sentences like the one you quote.