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The MLA Style Center

What is mla style.

Building confidence in the information and ideas we share with one another is perhaps more important today than ever before, and for nearly a century it has been the driving principle behind MLA style, a set of standards for writing and documentation used by writers to find and evaluate information, alert their audience to the trustworthiness of their findings through citation, and shape the expression of their ideas in conversation with others. 

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MLA Handbook , 9th Edition

The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook , published in spring 2021, builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements—facts common to most sources, like author, title, and publication date—that allows writers to cite any type of work, from books, e-books, and journal articles in databases to song lyrics, online images, social media posts, dissertations, and more. With this focus on source evaluation as the cornerstone of citation, MLA style promotes the skills of information and digital literacy so crucial today. The new edition offers

  • New chapters on grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, numbers, italics, abbreviations, and principles of inclusive language
  • Guidelines on setting up research papers in MLA format with updated advice on headings, lists, and title pages for group projects
  • Revised, comprehensive, step-by-step instructions for creating a list of works cited in MLA format that are easier to learn and use than ever before
  • A new appendix with hundreds of example works-cited-list entries by publication format, including websites, YouTube videos, interviews, and more
  • Detailed examples of how to find publication information for a variety of sources
  • Newly revised explanations of in-text citations, including comprehensive advice on how to cite multiple authors of a single work
  • Detailed guidance on using notes in MLA style
  • Instructions on quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, and avoiding plagiarism
  • Annotated bibliography examples
  • Numbered sections throughout for quick navigation
  • Advanced tips for professional writers and scholars

The MLA Style Center offers free online resources on MLA style, including an interactive MLA format template, answers to common questions on Ask the MLA, advice from the MLA editors, and more. Get updates by signing up for The Source newsletter, and follow us on Twitter @MLAstyle .

Table of Contents

Collaboration, information literacy, writing process.

  • © 2023 by Joseph M. Moxley - University of South Florida , Barbara McLain - The Out-of-Door Academy , Jennifer Janechek - IBM Quantum

What is MLA Format?

MLA Format refers to the formatting guidelines published by the MLA (Modern Language Association) for writers of research papers (see MLA Handbook, 9th Edition ).

Related Concepts: Annotated Bibliography ; Intellectual Property ; Page Design ; Plagiarism

Select a readable font such as Times New Roman, and an easily legible font size (usually 10- to 12-point font).

MLA Page Layout

For the entire paper, set all margins at 1” and double-space throughout.

Each new paragraph should be indented. There should be no extra spaces anywhere, from the first line of your heading, all the way to the last line of your text.

MLA First Page

Course information.

On separate lines, type

  • Your first and last name
  • Your instructor’s name
  • The course title
  • Day month year.

Items in the heading should be double-spaced, in the same 12-point font as the rest of the paper.

mla 10 format

MLA Page Header

Using the automatic header feature of your word processor, set a running head .5” from the top of the page with your last name and the automatic page number feature.

Each page of your MLA formatted paper, including page one, should have a header in the upper right margin. The header should include your first name followed by the page number:

mla 10 format

MLA Block Quotations

If you are quoting a selection that is longer than 3 typed lines, MLA requires that you block the quotation. This means introducing the quote as you normally do, but starting the quote on a new line. The entire quote will still be double spaced, but also indented.

mla 10 format

Note that block quotations do not have quotation marks around them and that the citation comes after the punctuation.

MLA Headings and Subheadings

Section headings and subheadings are styled according to prominence, and the MLA designates 5 levels:

Here is what a heading looks like in the text of a paper:

mla 10 format

MLA Works Cited

The header will continue on to the works cited page in the upper right corner. The title (Works Cited) should be centered at the top of the page. Your bibliographic entries should be alphabetized according to the first item in each entry, double-spaced, with a hanging indentation. There are no extra spaces between entries. 

mla 10 format

MLA Annotated Bibliography

The formatting of an annotated bibliography will be similar to a works cited page. The bibliographic entries will be identical, but annotations will be added. Start the annotation on a new line, and indent again. The entire annotation should be indented.

mla 10 format

Note: If the annotated bibliography is a stand alone assignment, you should begin with a header, title, and heading, just as you would for an essay.

MLA Footnotes – MLA Endnotes

There are two types of information that can be included in footnotes and endnotes:

  • at the bottom of the page
  • at the end of the document, as an endnote.

MLA footnotes and MLA Endnotes MLA discourages the use of footnotes and endnotes for lengthy asides, but does have rules in the event that these notes are needed.

To format a footnote or endnote, add a superscript number following the sentence that requires either explanation or citation. Most word-processing programs will automatically create a corresponding place for an entry at the foot of the page or the end of the document. You only need to place your cursor where you want to superscript number to go, click on “insert,” and then select footnote or endnote.

Footnotes themselves will be single-spaced with an extra space between entries.

mla 10 format

MLA Format Example

The following is a full essay in MLA format:

mla 10 format

MLA Checklist

General Formatting

1. Is the heading in the upper left-hand corner of the first page? 

2. Does the heading include:

  • Your Instructor’s name?
  • The course name?

3. Does the paper have an original title (other than something like “Final Paper”)? Is the title presented without being bolded, italicized, or placed in quotation marks?

4. Does the paper have 1″ margins on all sides?

5. Is the paper written in Times New Roman (or another standard font your professor allows) and in 12-pt. font?

6. Is everything double-spaced (including any notes and the works cited page)?

7. Are your last name and the page number in the upper right-hand corner of each page (0.5″ from the top, or inserted using the “header” function in Word)?

Formatting Evidence

8. Are all direct quotes in quotation marks?

9. Does all paraphrase and summary clearly indicate that it comes from other sources?

10. Does each in-text reference include a parenthetical citation that includes the author’s last name (unless it is obvious from the context of the sentence who you are referencing) and the page number from which the information was taken?

11. If a quotation is 4 lines or more, is it block-quoted? (i.e. double-spaced, indented 1 inch from the left margin)

12. Have you clearly indicated where you found all information you did not previously know?

Formatting the Works Cited

13. If you’ve used outside sources, do you have a works cited page?

14. Is it titled “Works Cited” (without the quotation marks)?

15. Does it have a header?

16. Are the entries in your list of works cited in alphabetical order?

17. Are the entries double-spaced, with no extra spaces in between entries?

18. Does each entry include a hanging indentation?

19. Does each source have an entry on the works cited page?

MLA Template

The following is an MLA template for Microsoft Word. Feel free to use it to ensure that you’re properly formatting your papers.

Related Articles:

MLA Format Example: Sample MLA Format Essay

MLA Format Example: Sample MLA Format Essay

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Don't let plagiarism errors spoil your paper

The complete guide to mla & citations, what you’ll find in this guide.

This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources.

Looking for APA? Check out the Citation Machine’s guide on APA format . We also have resources for Chicago citation style as well.

How to be a responsible researcher or scholar

Putting together a research project involves searching for information, disseminating and analyzing information, collecting information, and repurposing information. Being a responsible researcher requires keeping track of the sources that were used to help develop your research project, sharing the information you borrowed in an ethical way, and giving credit to the authors of the sources you used. Doing all of these things prevents plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using others’ information without giving credit or acknowledging them. There are many examples of plagiarism. Completely copying another individual’s work without providing credit to the original author is a very blatant example of plagiarism. Plagiarism also occurs when another individual’s idea or concept is passed off as your own. Changing or modifying quotes, text, or any work of another individual is also plagiarism. Believe it or not, you can even plagiarize yourself! Reusing a project or paper from another class or time and saying that it’s new is plagiarism. One way to prevent plagiarism is to add citations in your project where appropriate.

What is a Citation?

A citation shows the reader of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote to your project. Citations are also included in the body when you’re paraphrasing another individual’s information. These citations in the body of a research paper are called in-text citations. They are found directly next to the information that was borrowed and are very brief to avoid causing distraction while reading a project. These brief citations include the last name of the author and a page number. Scroll down for an in-depth explanation and examples of MLA in-text citations.

In-text citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, though they usually don't include the title and other components. Look on the last page of a research project to find complete citations.

Complete citations are found on what MLA calls a works-cited list, which is sometimes called an MLA bibliography. All sources that were used to develop a research project are found on the works-cited list. Complete citations are also created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text. Complete citations include the author’s name, the title, publisher, year published, page numbers, URLs, and a few other pieces of information.

Looking to create your citations in just a few clicks? Need an MLA format website or book citation? Visit Citation Machine.net! Our Citation Machine MLA generator, which is an MLA citation website, will create all of your citations in just a few clicks. Click here to see more styles .

Why Does it Matter?

Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It shows that you’re a responsible researcher and that you located appropriate and reputable sources that support your thesis or claim. In addition, if your work ends up being posted online or in print, there is a chance that others will use your research project in their own work!

Scroll down to find directions on how to create citations.

How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher

What is mla format.

The Modern Language Association is an organization that was created to develop guidelines on everything language and literature related. They have guidelines on proper grammar usage and research paper layouts. In addition, they have English and foreign language committees, numerous books and journal publications, and an annual conference. They are not connected with this guide, but the information here reflects the association’s rules for formatting papers and citations.

What are citations?

The Modern Language Association is responsible for creating standards and guidelines on how to properly cite sources to prevent plagiarism. Their style is most often used when writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities fields. “Liberal arts” is a broad term used to describe a range of subjects including the humanities, formal sciences such as mathematics and statistics, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and social sciences such as geography, economics, history, and others. The humanities focuses specifically on subjects related to languages, art, philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature, and ethics.

Believe it or not, there are thousands of other types of citation styles. While this citation style is most often used for the liberal arts and humanities fields, many other subjects, professors, and schools prefer citations and papers to be styled in MLA format.

What’s the difference between a bibliography and a works-cited list?

Great question. The two terms cause a lot of confusion and are consistently misused not only by students but educators as well! Let’s start with what the two words mean.

A bibliography displays the sources the writer used to gain background knowledge on the topic and also research it in-depth. Before starting a research project, you might read up on the topic in websites, books, and other sources. You might even dive a bit deeper to find more information elsewhere. All of these sources you used to help you learn about the topic would go in an MLA format bibliography. You might even include other sources that relate to the topic.

A works-cited list displays all of the sources that were mentioned in the writing of the actual paper or project. If a quote was taken from a source and placed into a research paper, then the full citation goes on the works-cited list.

Both the works-cited list and bibliography go at the end of a paper. Most teachers do not expect students to hand in both a bibliography AND a works-cited list. Teachers generally expect to see a works-cited list, but sometimes erroneously call it a bibliography. If you’re not sure what your teacher expects, a page in MLA bibliography format, a works-cited list, or both, ask for guidance.

Why do we use this MLA style?

These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations were developed for numerous reasons. When scholars and researchers in literature, language, and numerous other fields all cite their sources in the same manner, it makes it easier for readers to look at a citation and understand the different components of a source. By looking at an MLA citation, we can see who the author is, the title of the source, when it was published, and other identifiable pieces of information.

Imagine how difficult it would be to understand the various components of a source if we didn’t all follow the same guidelines! Not only would it make it difficult to understand the source that was used, but it would also make it difficult for readers to locate it themselves. This streamlined process aides us in understanding a researcher’s sources.

How is the new version different than previous versions?

This citation style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition.

The new version expands upon standards previously set in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook, including the core elements. The structure of citations remains the same, but some formatting guidance and terminology have changed.

  • DOI numbers are now formatted as https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx
  • Seasons in publishing daters are lowercased: spring 2020
  • The term “optional elements” is now “supplemental elements”
  • “Narrative in-text citations” are called “citations in prose”

In addition, new information was added on the following:

  • Hundreds of works-cited-list entries
  • MLA formatting for papers
  • Punctuation, spelling, and other mechanics of prose
  • Chapter on inclusive language
  • Notes (bibliographic and content)

For more information on MLA 9, click here .

A Deeper Look at Citations

What do they look like.

There are two types of citations. The first is a full, or complete, citation. These are found at the end of research projects. These citations are usually listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last names and include all of the information necessary for readers to be able to locate the source themselves.

Full citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a DOI, URL, or page range).

There are times when additional information is added into the full citation.

Not sure how to transfer the information from your source into your citation? Confused about the term, “containers”? See below for information and complete explanations of each citation component.

The second type of citation, called an “in-text citation,” is included in the main part, or body, of a project when a researcher uses a quote or paraphrases information from another source. See the next section to find out how to create in-text citations.

What are in-text citations?

As stated above, in-text citations are included in the main part of a project when using a quote or paraphrasing a piece of information from another source. We include these types of citations in the body of a project for readers to quickly gain an idea as to where we found the information.

These in-text citations are found directly next to the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular MLA citation. The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project, on the works-cited list.

Here’s what a typical in-text citation looks like:

In the book The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements…. Too much fire and you have a bad temper...too little wood and you bent too quickly...too much water and you flowed in too many directions” (Tan 31).

This specific in text citation, (Tan 31), is called an MLA parenthetical citation because the author’s name is in parentheses. It’s included so the reader sees that we are quoting something from page 31 in Tan’s book. The complete, regular citation isn’t included in the main part of the project because it would be too distracting for the reader. We want the reader to focus on our work and research, not get caught up on our sources.

Here’s another way to cite in the text:

In Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements... Too much fire and you have a bad temper... too little wood and you bent too quickly... too much water and you flowed in too many directions" (31).

If the reader would like to see the source’s full information, and possibly locate the source themselves, they can refer to the last part of the project to find the regular citation.

The regular citation, at the end of the project looks like this:

%%Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Penguin, 1989, p. 31.

Notice that the first word in the full citation (Tan) matches the “Tan” used in the body of the project. It’s important to have the first word of the full citation match the term used in the text. Why? It allows readers to easily find the full citation on the works-cited list.

If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a line number (use line or lines), paragraph number (use the abbreviation par. or pars.), sections (sec. or secs.), or chapters (ch. or chs.). Only use these other terms if they are actually labeled on the source. If it specifically says on the source, “Section 1,” for example, then it is acceptable to use “sec. 1” in the in-text citation.

If there are no numbers to help readers locate the exact point in the source, only include the author’s last name.

To determine how to create in-text citations for more than one author, no authors, or corporate authors, refer to the “Authors” section below.

More about quotations and how to cite a quote:

  • Use quotes from outside sources to help illustrate and expand on your own points. The majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas.
  • Include the quote exactly as you found it. It is okay to use only certain words or phrases from the quote, but keep the words (spelling and capitalization) and punctuation the same.
  • It is acceptable to break up a direct quote with your own writing.

Example from a movie:

Dorothy stated, "Toto," then looked up and took in her surroundings, "I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore" ( Wizard of Oz ).
  • The entire paper should be double-spaced, including quotes.
  • If the quote is longer than four lines, it is necessary to make a block quote. Block quotes show the reader that they are about to read a lengthy amount of text from another source.
  • Start the quote on the next line, half an inch from the left margin.
  • Do not use any indents at the beginning of the block quote.
  • Only use quotation marks if there are quotation marks present in the source.
  • If there is more than one paragraph in the block quote, indent the beginning of the paragraphs after the first one an additional half an inch from the left margin.
  • Add your in-text citation after the final period of the block quote. Do not add an additional period after the parenthetical citation.

While his parents sat there in surprise, Colton went onto say:

“Cause I could see you,” Colon said matter-of-factly. “I went up and out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying; and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.” (Burpo xxi)

How to create a paraphrase:

As stated above, the majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas. It’s acceptable to include quotes, but they shouldn’t crowd your paper. If you’re finding that you’re using too many quotes in your paper, consider adding paraphrases. When you reiterate a piece of information from an outside source in your own words, you create a paraphrase.

Here’s an example:

Readers discover in the very first sentence of Peter Pan that he doesn’t grow up (Barrie 1).

What paraphrases are:

  • Recycled information in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.
  • They’re still references! Include an in-text citation next to the paraphrased information.

What paraphrases are not:

  • A copy and pasted sentence with a few words substituted for synonyms.

Confused about whether footnotes and endnotes should be used?

Footnotes and endnotes are completely acceptable to use in this style. Use a footnote or endnote if:

  • Adding additional information will help the reader understand the content. This is called a content note .
  • You need to cite numerous sources in one small section of your writing. Instead of clogging up a small paragraph with in-text citations (which could cause confusion for the reader), include a footnote or endnote. This is called a bibliographic note .

Keep in mind that whether you choose to include in-text citations or footnotes/endnotes, you need to also include a full reference on the MLA format works-cited list.

Content note example:

Even Maurice Sendak’s work (the mastermind behind Where the Wild Things Are and numerous other popular children’s picture books) can be found on the banned books list. It seems as though nobody is granted immunity. 1

  • In the Night Kitchen ’s main character is nude on numerous pages. Problematic for most is not the nudity of the behind, but the frontal nudity.

Work Cited:

%%Sendak, Maurice. In The Night Kitchen. Harper Collins, 1996.

Bibliographic note example:

Dahl had a difficult childhood. Both his father and sister passed away when he was a toddler. He was then sent away by his mother to boarding school (de Castella). 1

  • Numerous books, such as Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG, all feature characters with absent or difficult parents.

MLA Works Cited:

Include 4 full citations for: de Castella’s article, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG .

Don’t forget to create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project.

If you need help with in-text and parenthetical citations, CitationMachine.net can help. Our MLA citation generator is simple and easy to use!

Common Knowledge: What Is It and How Will It Affect My Writing?

Footnotes, endnotes, references, proper structuring. We know it’s a lot. Thankfully, you don’t have to include a reference for EVERY piece of information you add to your paper. You can forget about including a reference when you share a piece of common knowledge.

Common knowledge is information that most people know. For example, these are a few facts that are considered common knowledge:

  • The Statue of Liberty is located in New York City
  • Tokyo is the capital of Japan
  • Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare
  • English is the language most people speak in England
  • An elephant is an animal

We could go on and on. When you include common knowledge in your paper, omit a reference. One less thing to worry about, right?

Before you start adding tons of common knowledge occurrences to your paper to ease the burden of creating references, we need to stop you right there. Remember, the goal of a research paper is to develop new information or knowledge. You’re expected to seek out information from outside sources and analyze and distribute the information from those sources to form new ideas. Using only common knowledge facts in your writing involves absolutely zero research. It’s okay to include some common knowledge facts here and there, but do not make it the core of your paper.

If you’re unsure if the fact you’re including is common knowledge or not, it doesn’t hurt to include a reference. There is no such thing as being overly responsible when it comes to writing and citing.

Wikipedia - Yay or Nay?

If you’re wondering whether it’s okay to use Wikipedia in your project, the answer is, it depends.

If Wikipedia is your go-to source for quick information on a topic, you’re not alone. Chances are, it’s one of the first websites to appear on your results page. It’s used by tons of people, it’s easily accessible, and it contains millions of concise articles. So, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the problem?”

The issue with Wikipedia is that it’s a user-generated site, meaning information is constantly added and modified by registered users. Who these users are and their expertise is somewhat of a mystery. The truth is anyone can register on the site and make changes to articles.

Knowing this makes some cringe, especially educators and librarians, since the validity of the information is questionable. However, some people argue that because Wikipedia is a user-generated site, the community of registered users serve as “watchdogs,” ensuring that information is valid. In addition, references are included at the bottom of each article and serve as proof of credibility. Furthermore, Wikipedia lets readers know when there’s a problem with an article. Warnings such as “this article needs clarification,” or “this article needs references to prove its validity” are shared with the reader, thus promoting transparency.

If you choose to reference a Wikipedia article in your research project, and your teacher or professor says it’s okay, then you must reference it in your project. You would treat it just as you would with any other web source.

However, you may want to instead consider locating the original source of the information. This should be fairly easy to do thanks to the references at the bottom of each article.

Specific Components of a Citation

This section explains each individual component of the citation, with examples for each section for full citations and in-text citations.

Name of the author

The author’s name is usually the first item listed in the MLA citation. Author names start with the last name, then a comma is added, and then the author’s first name (and middle name if applicable) is at the end. A period closes this information.

Here are two examples of how an author’s name can be listed in a full citation:

Twain, Mark.

Poe, Edgar Allan.

For in-text:

(Author’s Last name page number) or Author’s Last name... (page).

Wondering how to format the author’s name when there are two authors working jointly on a source? When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source. Place their names in this format:

Author 1’s Last Name, First name, and Author 2’s First Name Last Name.

Here are two examples of how to cite two authors:

Clifton, Mark, and Frank Riley.

Paxton, Roberta J., and Michael Jacob Fox.

(Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name page number) or Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name... (page).

There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This often happens with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.

To cite a source with three or more authors, place the information in this format:

Author 1’s Last name, First name, et al.

As you can see, only include the first author’s name. The other authors are accounted for by using “et al.” In Latin, et al. is translated to “and others.” If using the Citation Machine citation generator, this abbreviation is automatically added for you.

Here’s an example of a citation for three or more authors:

%%Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed., Nolo, 2009.

(Author 1’s Last name et al. page number)

Is there no author listed on your source? If so, exclude the author’s information from the citation and begin the citation with the title of the source.

For in-text: Use the title of the source in parentheses. Place the title in italics if the source stands alone. Books and films stand alone. If it’s part of a larger whole, such as a chapter in an edited book or an article on a website, place the title in quotation marks without italics.

( Back to the Future )

(“Citing And Writing”)

Other in-text structures:

Authors with the same last name in your paper? MLA essay format requires the use of first initials in-text in this scenario.

Ex: (J. Silver 45)

Are you citing more than one source by the same author? For example, two books by Ernest Hemingway? Include the title in-text.

Example: (Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls 12).

Are you citing a film or song? Include a timestamp in the format of hours:minutes:seconds. ( Back to the Future 00:23:86)

Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? If this is the case, in an MLA format paper, you are allowed to start the citation with the author’s handle, username, or screen name.

Here is an example of how to cite a tweet:

%%@CarlaHayden. “I’m so honored to talk about digital access at @UMBCHumanities. We want to share the @libraryofcongress collection.” Twitter , 13 Apr. 2017, 6:04 p.m., twitter.com/LibnOfCongress/status/852643691802091521.

While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors. Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. If your project focuses on someone other than the author, it is acceptable to place that person’s name first in the citation. If you’re using the MLA works cited generator at Citation Machine.net, you can choose the individual’s role from a drop-down box.

For example, let’s say that in your research project, you focus on Leonardo DiCaprio’s performances as an actor. You’re quoting a line from the movie Titanic in your project, and you’re creating a complete citation for it in the works-cited list.

It is acceptable to show the reader that you’re focusing on Leonardo DiCaprio’s work by citing it like this in the MLA works-cited list:

%%DiCaprio, Leonardo, performer. Titanic . Directed by James Cameron. Paramount, 1997.

Notice that when citing an individual other than the author, place the individual’s role after their name. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer.

This is often done with edited books, too. Place the editor’s name first (in reverse order), add a comma, and then add the word editor.

If you’re still confused about how to place the authors together in a citation, the tools at CitationMachine.net can help! Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks!

Titles and containers

The titles are written as they are found on the source and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital.

Here’s an example of a properly written title:

Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks.

Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks? It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics. If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it is from in italics.

When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics.

However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to format titles and their containers.

To cite Pink Floyd’s entire album, The Wall , cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. The Wall. Columbia, 1979.

To cite one of the songs on Pink Floyd’s album in MLA formatting, cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part I).” The Wall, Columbia, 1979, track 3.

To cite a fairy tale book in its entirety, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories. Little Brown, 2016.

To cite a specific story or chapter in the book, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Land of Stories, Little Brown, 2016, pp. 58-65.

More about containers

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone, or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. Wondering how? When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. The second container? It’s the database that the scholarly journal is found in. It is important to account for all containers, so readers are able to locate the exact source themselves.

When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix .

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation.

Use the following format to cite your source with multiple containers :

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

If the source has more than two containers, add on another full section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves.

Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found in a database. This source has two containers: the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other.

%%Zanetti, Francois. “Curing with Machine: Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” Technology and Culture, vol. 54, no. 3, July 2013, pp. 503-530. Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/article/520280.

If you’re still confused about containers, the Citation Machine MLA cite generator can help! MLA citing is easier when using the tools at CitationMachine.net.

Other contributors

Many sources have people besides the author who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word “by,” and then their name in standard order.

If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual. If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased.

Here’s an example of a citation for a children’s book with the name of the illustrator included:

%%Rubin, Adam. Dragons Love Tacos. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, 2012.

The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation.

If the source that you’re citing states that it is a specific version or edition, this information is placed in the “versions” section of the citation.

When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral. Also, abbreviate the word “edition” to “ed.”

Here is an example of a citation with a specific edition:

%%Koger, Gregory. “Filibustering and Parties in the Modern State.” Congress Reconsidered, edited by Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer, 10th ed., CQ Press, 2013, pp. 221-236. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=b7gkLlSEeqwC&lpg=PP1&dq=10th%20edition&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=10th%20edition&f=false.

Many sources have numbers associated with them. If you see a number different than the date, page numbers, or editions, include this information in the “numbers” section of the citation. For MLA citing, this includes volume and/or issue numbers (use the abbreviations vol. and no.), episode numbers, track numbers, or any other numbers that will help readers identify the specific source that you used. Do not include ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) in the citation.

It is important to include the name of the publisher (the organization that created or published the source), so that readers can locate the exact source themselves.

Include publishers for all sources except periodicals. Also, for websites, exclude this information when the name of the publisher matches the name of the website. Furthermore, the name of the publisher is often excluded from the citation for second containers, since the publisher of the second container is not necessarily responsible for the creation or production of the source’s content.

Publication dates

Publication dates are extremely important to include in citations. They allow the reader to understand when sources were published. They are also used when readers are attempting to locate the source themselves.

Dates can be written in MLA in one of two ways. Researchers can write dates as:

Day Mo. Year

Mo. Day, Year

Whichever format you decide to use, use the same format for all of your citations. If using the Citation Machine citation generator, the date will be formatted in the same way for each citation.

While it isn’t necessary to include the full date for all source citations, use the amount of information that makes the most sense to help your readers understand and locate the source themselves.

Wondering what to do when your source has more than one date? Use the date that is most applicable to your research.

The location generally refers to the place where the readers can find the source. This includes page ranges, URLs, DOI numbers, track numbers, disc numbers, or even cities and towns.

You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx .

For page numbers, when citing a source found on only one page, use p.

Example: p. 6.

When citing a source that has a page range, use pp. and then add the page numbers.

Example: pp. 24-38.

Since the location is the final piece of the citation, place a period at the end. When it comes to URLs, many students wonder if the links in citations should be live or not. If the paper is being shared electronically with a teacher and other readers, it may be helpful to include live links. If you’re not sure whether to include live links or not, ask your teacher or professor for guidance.

Looking for an online tool to do the work for you? Citation Machine citing tools could help! Our site is simple (and fun!) to use.

Need some more help? There is further good information here .

Common Citation Examples

ALL sources use this format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). *Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

*If the source does not have a second container, omit this last part of the citation.

Remember, the Citation Machine MLA formatter can help you save time and energy when creating your citations. Check out our MLA Citation Machine pages to learn more.

  • Journal Articles

How to Format a Paper

When it comes to formatting your paper or essay for academic purposes, there are specific MLA paper format guidelines to follow.

  • Use paper that is 8½-by-11 inch in size. This is the standard size for copier and printer paper.
  • Use high quality paper.
  • Your research paper or essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the paper.
  • While most word processors automatically format your paper to have one-inch margins, you can check or modify the margins of your paper by going to the “Page setup” section of your word processor.

Which font is acceptable to use?

  • Use an easily readable font, specifically one that allows readers to see the difference between regular and italicized letters.
  • Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica are recommended options.
  • Use 12-point size font.

Should I double-space the paper, including citations?

  • Double-space the entire paper.
  • There should be a double space between each piece of information in the heading.
  • Place a double space between the heading and the title.
  • Place a double space between the title and the beginning of the essay.
  • The works-cited list should be double-spaced as well. All citations are double-spaced.

Justification & Punctuation

  • Text should be left-justified, meaning that the text is aligned, or flush, against the left margin.
  • Indents signal to the reader that a new concept or idea is about to begin.
  • Use the “tab” button on your keyboard to create an indent.
  • Add one space after all punctuation marks.

Heading & Title

  • Include a proper heading and title
  • The heading should include the following, on separate lines, starting one inch from the top and left margins:
  • Your full name
  • Your teacher or professor’s name
  • The course number
  • Dates in the heading and the body of your essay should be consistent. Use the same format, either Day Month Year or Month Day, Year throughout the entire paper
  • Examples: 27 July 2017 or July 27, 2017
  • The title should be underneath the heading, centered in the middle of the page, without bold, underlined, italicized, or all capital letters.

Page numbers

  • Number all pages, including the very first page and the works-cited list.
  • Place page numbers in the top right corner, half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin.
  • Include your last name to the left of the page number. Example: Jacobson 4

Here’s an example to provide you with a visual:

The image shows an example of the first page of an MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described above under the heading How to Format a Paper.

If you need help with sentence structure or grammar, check out our paper checker. The paper checker will help to check every noun , verb , and adjective . If there are words that are misspelled or out of place, the paper checker will suggest edits and provide recommendations.

  • If a citation flows onto the second line, indent it in half an inch from the left margin (called a “hanging indent”).
  • For more information on the works-cited list, refer to “How to Make a Works Cited Page,” which is found below.

How to Create a Title Page

According to the Modern Language Association’s official guidelines for formatting a research paper, it is unnecessary to create or include an individual title page, or MLA cover page, at the beginning of a research project. Instead, follow the directions above, under “Heading & Title,” to create a proper heading. This heading is featured at the top of the first page of the research paper or research assignment.

If your instructor or professor does in fact require or ask for an MLA title page, follow the directions that you are given. They should provide you with the information needed to create a separate, individual title page. If they do not provide you with instructions, and you are left to create it at your own discretion, use the header information above to help you develop your research paper title page. You may want to include other information, such as the name of your school or university.

How to Make a Works Cited Page

The MLA Works Cited page is generally found at the end of a research paper or project. It contains a list of all the citations of sources used for the research project. Follow these directions to format the works-cited list to match the Modern Language Association’s guidelines.

  • The “Works Cited” page has its own page at the end of a research project.
  • Include the same running head as the rest of the project (Your last name and then the page number). The “Works Cited” page has the final page number for the project.
  • Name the page “Works Cited,” unless your list only includes one citation. In that case, title it in MLA “Work Cited.”
  • The title of the page (either “Works Cited” or “Work Cited”) is placed one inch from the top of the page, centered in the middle of the document.
  • Double space the entire document, even between the title of the page and the first citation.
  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the citation (usually the last name of the author or the first word in the title if the citation does not include the author’s name. Ignore “A,” “An,” and “The” if the title begins with these words.)
  • If there are multiple citations by the same author, place them in chronological order by the date published.
  • Also, instead of writing the author’s name twice in both citations, use three hyphens.

%%Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 2009.

%%---. Gather Together in My Name. Random House, 1974.

  • All citations begin flush against the left margin. If the citation is long and rolls onto a second or third line, indent the lines below the first line half an inch from the left margin. This is called a “hanging indent.” The purpose of a hanging indent is to make the citations easier to read. If you’re using our MLA citation machine, we’ll format each of your references with a hanging indent for you.

%%Wai-Chung, Ho. “Political Influences on Curriculum Content and Musical Meaning: Hong Kong Secondary Music Education, 1949-1997.” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, vol. 22, no. 1, 1 Oct. 2000, pp. 5-25. Periodicals Index Online, search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/pio/docview/1297849364/citation/6B70D633F50C4EA0PQ/78?accountid=35635.

  • MLA “Works Cited” pages can be longer than one page. Use as many pages as necessary. If you have only one source to cite, do not place the one citation below the text of your paper. In MLA, a “Work Cited” page is still created for that individual citation.

Here’s a sample paper to give you an idea of what an MLA paper could look like. Included at the end is an MLA “Works Cited” page example.

The image shows the first page of an example MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described under the heading How to Format a Paper.

Looking to add a relevant image, figure, table, or musical score to your paper? Here’s the easy way to do it, while following guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association:

  • Place the image, figure, table, or music close to where it’s mentioned in the text.
  • Provide source information and any additional notes directly below the image, figure, table, or music.

For tables:

  • Label the table as “Table” followed by an arabic numeral such as “1.” Table 1 is the table closest to the beginning of the paper. The next table mentioned in the text would be Table 2, and so on.
  • Create a title for the table and place it below the label. Capitalize all important words.
  • The label (Table 1) and the title should be flush against the left margin.
  • Double-space everything.

Example of formatting a table in MLA format.

  • A figure can be a map, photograph, painting, pie chart, or any other type of image.
  • Create a label and place it below the figure. The figure first mentioned in the text of the project is either “Figure 1” or “Fig 1.” Though figures are usually abbreviated to “Fig.” Choose one style and use it consistently. The next mentioned figure is “Figure 2” or “Fig. 2.”, and so on.
  • Place a caption next to the label. If all of the source information is included in the caption, there isn’t a need to replicate that information in the works-cited list.

Example of formatting a figure in MLA format.

MLA Final Checklist

Think you’re through? We know this guide covered a LOT of information, so before you hand in that assignment, here’s a checklist to help you determine if you have everything you need:

_ Are both in-text and full citations included in the project? Remember, for every piece of outside information included in the text, there should be a corresponding in-text citation next to it. Include the full citation at the end, on the “Works Cited” page.

_ Are all citations, both in-text and full, properly formatted in MLA style? If you’re unsure, try out our citation generator!

_ Is your paper double-spaced in its entirety with one inch margins?

_ Do you have a running header on each page? (Your last name followed by the page number)

_ Did you use a font that is easy to read?

_ Are all citations on the MLA format works-cited list in alphabetical order?

Our plagiarism checker scans for any accidental instances of plagiarism. It scans for grammar and spelling errors, too. If you have an adverb , preposition , or conjunction that needs a slight adjustment, we may be able to suggest an edit.

Common Ways Students Accidentally Plagiarize

We spoke a bit about plagiarism at the beginning of this guide. Since you’re a responsible researcher, we’re sure you didn’t purposely plagiarize any portions of your paper. Did you know students and scholars sometimes accidentally plagiarize? Unfortunately, it happens more often than you probably realize. Luckily, there are ways to prevent accidental plagiarism and even some online tools to help!

Here are some common ways students accidentally plagiarize in their research papers and assignments:

1. Poor Paraphrasing

In the “How to create a paraphrase” section towards the top of this page, we share that paraphrases are “recycled information, in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.” If you attempt to paraphrase a few lines of text and it ends up looking and sounding too close to the original author’s words, it’s a poor paraphrase and considered plagiarism.

2. Incorrect Citations

If you cite something incorrectly, even if it’s done accidentally, it’s plagiarism. Any incorrect information in a reference, such as the wrong author name or the incorrect title, results in plagiarism.

3. Forgetting to include quotation marks

When you include a quote in your paper, you must place quotation marks around it. Failing to do so results in plagiarism.

If you’re worried about accidental plagiarism, try our Citation Machine Plus essay tool. It scans for grammar, but it also checks for any instances of accidental plagiarism. It’s simple and user-friendly, making it a great choice for stress-free paper editing and publishing.

Updated June 15, 2021

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Wendy Ikemoto. Michele Kirschenbaum has been an awesome school librarian since 2006 and is an expert in citing sources. Wendy Ikemoto has a master’s degree in library and information science and has been working for Citation Machine since 2012.

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Free MLA Citation Generator

Generate accurate citations in MLA format automatically, with MyBib!

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😕 What is an MLA Citation Generator?

An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA-compliant academic paper.

The citations on a Works Cited page show the external sources that were used to write the main body of the academic paper, either directly as references and quotes, or indirectly as ideas.

👩‍🎓 Who uses an MLA Citation Generator?

MLA style is most often used by middle school and high school students in preparation for transition to college and further education. Ironically, MLA style is not actually used all that often beyond middle and high school, with APA (American Psychological Association) style being the favored style at colleges across the country.

It is also important at this level to learn why it's critical to cite sources, not just how to cite them.

🙌 Why should I use a Citation Generator?

Writing citations manually is time consuming and error prone. Automating this process with a citation generator is easy, straightforward, and gives accurate results. It's also easier to keep citations organized and in the correct order.

The Works Cited page contributes to the overall grade of a paper, so it is important to produce accurately formatted citations that follow the guidelines in the official MLA Handbook .

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's MLA Citation Generator?

It's super easy to create MLA style citations with our MLA Citation Generator. Scroll back up to the generator at the top of the page and select the type of source you're citing. Books, journal articles, and webpages are all examples of the types of sources our generator can cite automatically. Then either search for the source, or enter the details manually in the citation form.

The generator will produce a formatted MLA citation that can be copied and pasted directly into your document, or saved to MyBib as part of your overall Works Cited page (which can be downloaded fully later!).

MyBib supports the following for MLA style:

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Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

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  • A complete guide to MLA in-text citations

MLA In-text Citations | A Complete Guide (9th Edition)

Published on July 9, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on March 5, 2024.

An MLA in-text citation provides the author’s last name and a page number in parentheses.

If a source has two authors, name both. If a source has more than two authors, name only the first author, followed by “ et al. ”

If the part you’re citing spans multiple pages, include the full page range. If you want to cite multiple non-consecutive pages at the same time, separate the page numbers with commas.

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Table of contents

Where to include an mla in-text citation, citing sources with no author, citing sources with no page numbers, citing different sources with the same author name, citing sources indirectly, frequently asked questions about mla in-text citations.

Place the parenthetical citation directly after the relevant quote or paraphrase , and before the period or other punctuation mark (except with  block quotes , where the citation comes after the period).

If you have already named the author in the sentence, add only the page number in parentheses. When mentioning a source with three or more authors outside of parentheses, use “and others” or “and colleagues” in place of “et al.”

  • MLA is the second most popular citation style (Smith and Morrison 17–19) .
  • According to Smith and Morrison , MLA is the second most popular citation style (17–19) .
  • APA is by far “the most used citation style in the US” (Moore et al. 74) , but it is less dominant in the UK (Smith 16) .
  • Moore and colleagues state that APA is more popular in the US than elsewhere (74) .

Combining citations

If a sentence is supported by more than one source, you can combine the citations in a single set of parentheses. Separate the two sources with a semicolon .

Livestock farming is one of the biggest global contributors to climate change (Garcia 64; Davies 14) .

Consecutive citations of the same source

If you cite the same source repeatedly within a paragraph, you can include the full citation the first time you cite it, then just the page number for subsequent citations.

MLA is the second most popular citation style (Smith and Morrison 17–19) . It is more popular than Chicago style, but less popular than APA (21) .

You can do this as long as it remains clear what source you’re citing. If you cite something else in between or start a new paragraph, reintroduce the full citation again to avoid ambiguity.

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For sources with no named author , the in-text citation must match the first element of the Works Cited entry. This may be the name of an organization, or the title of the source.

If the source title or organization name is longer than four words, shorten it to the first word or phrase in the in-text citation, excluding any articles ( a, an, and the ). The shortened title or organization name should begin with the word the source is alphabetized by in the Works Cited.

Follow the general MLA rules for formatting titles : If the source is a self-contained work (e.g. a whole website or an entire book ), put the title in italics; if the source is contained within a larger whole (e.g. a page on a website or a chapter of a book), put the title in quotation marks.

If a source does not have page numbers but is divided into numbered parts (e.g. chapters, sections, scenes, Bible books and verses, Articles of the Constitution , or timestamps), use these numbers to locate the relevant passage.

If the source does not use any numbering system, include only the author’s name in the in-text citation. Don’t include paragraph numbers unless they are explicitly numbered in the source.

Note that if there are no numbered divisions and you have already named the author in your sentence, then no parenthetical citation is necessary.

If your Works Cited page includes more than one entry under the same last name, you need to distinguish between these sources in your in-text citations.

Multiple sources by the same author

If you cite more than one work by the same author, add a shortened title to signal which source you are referring to.

In this example, the first source is a whole book, so the title appears in italics; the second is an article published in a journal, so the title appears in quotation marks.

Different authors with the same last name

To distinguish between different authors with the same last name, use the authors’ initials (or, if the initials are the same, full first names) in your in-text citations:

Sometimes you might want to cite something that you found quoted in a secondary source . If possible, always seek out the original source and cite it directly.

If you can’t access the original source, make sure to name both the original author and the author of the source that you accessed . Use the abbreviation “qtd. in” (short for “quoted in”) to indicate where you found the quotation.

In these cases, only the source you accessed directly is included in the Works Cited list.

You must include an MLA in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book , movie , website , or article ).

Some source types, such as books and journal articles , may contain footnotes (or endnotes) with additional information. The following rules apply when citing information from a note in an MLA in-text citation :

  • To cite information from a single numbered note, write “n” after the page number, and then write the note number, e.g. (Smith 105n2)
  • To cite information from multiple numbered notes, write “nn” and include a range, e.g. (Smith 77nn1–2)
  • To cite information from an unnumbered note, write “un” after the page number, with a space in between, e.g. (Jones 250 un)

If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.

If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .

If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).

If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:

  • Rajaram  argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
  • The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”

Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.

This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .

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If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2024, March 05). MLA In-text Citations | A Complete Guide (9th Edition). Scribbr. Retrieved April 2, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/in-text-citations/

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Consider your source's credibility. ask these questions:, contributor/author.

  • Has the author written several articles on the topic, and do they have the credentials to be an expert in their field?
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  • Are there ads?
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  • Does the publication date make sense in relation to the information presented to your argument?
  • Does the source even have a date?
  • Was it reproduced? If so, from where?
  • If it was reproduced, was it done so with permission? Copyright/disclaimer included?

What You Need to Know About MLA Formatting

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Documenting Legal Works in MLA Style

Gaining familiarity with the legal-citation practices used to document legal works may be impractical for student writers and sometimes even for scholars working in nonlegal fields. Nonspecialists can use MLA style to cite legal sources in one of two ways: strict adherence to the MLA format template or a hybrid method incorporating the standard legal citation into the works-cited-list entry. In either case, titles of legal works should be standardized in your prose and list of works cited according to the guidelines below.

Legal Style

Legal publications have traditionally followed the style set forth in the Harvard Law Review Association’s Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation , although some law reviews, such as the University of Chicago Law Review , have published their own style manuals. A more streamlined version of the Bluebook ’s legal-citation method, the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation , was introduced in 2000. The Legal Information Institute, a nonprofit associated with Cornell Law School, publishes an online guide to legal citation geared toward practitioners and nonspecialists instead of academics.

Those working in law are introduced to the conventions of legal citation during their professional training. Legal style is a highly complex shorthand code with specialized terminology that helps legal scholars and lawyers cite legal sources succinctly. It points specialists to the authoritative publication containing the legal opinion or law, regardless of the version the writer consulted.

Students and scholars working outside the legal profession and using MLA style should follow the MLA format template to cite laws, public documents, court cases, and other related material. Familiarize yourself with the guidelines in the MLA Handbook , sections 5.17–22, for corporate authors and government authors.

Following one of the fundamental principles of MLA style, writers citing legal works should document the version of the work they consult—not the canonical version of the law, as in legal style. As with any source in MLA style, how you document it will generally depend on the information provided by the version of the source you consulted.

Titles pose the greatest challenge to citing legal works in MLA style. Since MLA style keys references in the text to a list of works cited (unlike court filings, which cite works in the text of the brief, or academic legal writings, which cite works in footnotes ), writers should, with a few exceptions (noted below), standardize titles of legal sources in their prose and list of works cited. Following the MLA Handbook , italicize the names of court cases (70):

Marbury v. Madison

When you cite laws, acts, and political documents, capitalize their names like titles and set them in roman font (69):

Law of the Sea Treaty
Civil Rights Act
Code of Federal Regulations

When a legal source is contained within another work—for example, when the United States Code appears on a website that has a separate title—follow the MLA Handbook and treat the source as an independent publication (27). That is, style the title just as you would in prose—in italics if it is the name of a court case, in roman if it is a law or similar document; even though the legal source appears within a larger work, do not insert quotation marks around the title:

United States Code. Legal Information Institute , Cornell Law School, www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text.

For more on titles in legal citations in MLA style, see “Tips on Titles,” below.

Commonly Cited Sources

A few examples of using MLA style for commonly cited legal sources follow.

United States Supreme Court Decisions

United states supreme court dissenting opinions, federal statutes (united states code), public laws, federal appeals court decisions, federal bills, executive orders, state court of appeals, unpublished decisions, state senate bills, constitutions, international governing bodies.

Where you read the opinion of a United States Supreme Court decision will dictate how you cite it in MLA style. Legal-citation style, in contrast, points to the opinion published in the United States Reports , the authoritative legal source for the United States Supreme Court’s decisions, and cites the elements of that publication.

For example, the case Brown v. Board of Education is commonly abbreviated “347 U.S. 483” in legal citations: 347 is the volume number of United States Reports ; “U.S.” indicates that the opinion is found in United States Reports , which is the official reporter of the Supreme Court and indicates the opinion’s provenance; and the first page number of the decision is 483. (The American Bar Association has published a useful and concise overview of the components of a Supreme Court opinion .)

Regardless of the version you consult, you must understand a few basic things about the source: that it was written by a member of the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the majority and that, when you cite the opinion, the date on which the case was decided is the only date necessary to provide.

Following are examples of works-cited-list entries in MLA style for Brown v. Board of Education . The entries differ depending on whether the information was found on the Legal Information Institute website, published by Cornell University Law School, or on the Library of Congress website.

Legal Information Institute

mla 10 format

The works-cited-list entry includes

  • the government entity as author
  • the name of the case (“Title of source” element)
  • the year of the decision; it would also not be incorrect to include the day and month if it appears in your source
  • the title of the website containing the case (“Title of container” element)
  • the publisher of the website
  • the website’s URL (“Location” element)
United States, Supreme Court. Brown v. Board of Education . 17 May 1954. Legal Information Institute , Cornell Law School, www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/347/483.

Library of Congress

mla 10 format

The Library of Congress site allows researchers to link to or download a PDF of the opinion from the United States Reports . To locate the case, the researcher must know the volume number of the United States Reports in which Brown v. Board of Education was published. A works-cited-list entry in MLA style would include the author (the government entity) and the title of the case, as well as the following information for container 1:

  • United States Reports (“Title of container” element)
  • vol. 347 (“Number” element)
  • the date of the decision (“Publication date” element)
  • page range (“Location” element)

Container 2 includes the name of the website publishing the case and its location, the URL. The publisher of the site is omitted since its name is the same as that of the site.

United States, Supreme Court. Brown v. Board of Education . United States Reports , vol. 347, 17 May 1954, pp. 483-97. Library of Congress , tile.loc.gov/storage-services/service/ll/usrep/usrep347/usrep347483/usrep347483.pdf.

Sometimes, Supreme Court justices write dissenting opinions that accompany the published majority opinion. They are part of the legal record but not part of the holding—that is, the court’s ruling. If you cite only the dissent, you can treat it as the work you are citing:

Ginsburg, Ruth Bader. Dissenting opinion. Lilly Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. United States Reports , vol. 550, 29 May 2007, pp. 643-61. Supreme Court of the United States , www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/boundvolumes/550bv.pdf.

In MLA style, it will generally be clearest to create an entry for the United States Code in its entirety and cite the title and section number in the text, especially if you are referring to more than one section of the code.

If an online search directs you to the web page for a specific section of the United States Code, it would not be incorrect to cite the page for that section alone. For example, if you want to use MLA style to document title 17, section 304, of the United States Code—commonly abbreviated 17 U.S.C. § 304 in legal citations—title 17 can be treated as the work and thus placed in the “Title of source” slot on the MLA template, or if you cite the United States Code in its entirety, title 17 can be placed in the “Number” slot.

Your entry will once again depend on the version you consult. Below are examples from various websites.

website for the United States Code

mla 10 format

On the website for the United States Code, you would likely determine that the United States House of Representatives is the author of the code. The United States Code is the title of the source, and since the source constitutes the entire website, no container needs to be specified: the source is self-contained, like a book (see p. 34 of the MLA Handbook ). The site lists the Office of the Law Revision Counsel as publisher, so you would include that name in the “Publisher” slot, followed by the date on which the code was last updated, and the URL as the location:

United States, Congress, House. United States Code. Office of the Law Revision Counsel, 14 Jan. 2017, uscode.house.gov.

The body of your text or your in-text reference must mention title 17 and section 304 so the reader can locate the information you cite. It would not be wrong to include chapter 3 as well (title 17, ch. 3, sec. 304), although a discerning researcher will note that section numbers (304) incorporate chapter numbers (3), making “chapter 3” unnecessary to include.

mla 10 format

If you do not include title 17 and section 304 in the text, you must include that information in the works-cited-list entry:

United States, Congress, House. United States Code. Title 17, section 304, Office of the Law Revision Counsel, 14 Jan. 2017, uscode.house.gov.

A nonspecialist would not be able to determine from the Legal Information Institute site that the United States House of Representatives is the author of the United States Code. A basic citation would include the title of the code as displayed on the site, the title of the website as the title of the container, the publisher of the website, and the location:

Government Publishing Office website

The website of the Government Publishing Office (variously referred to as the Government Printing Office) displays each statute heading (or “title”) as a web page:

mla 10 format

You can treat title 17 as the work and the United States Code as the title of the container, as follows:

Title 17. United States Code, U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2011, www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title17/html/USCODE-2011-title17.htm.

Or you can treat the United States Code as the title of the source and title 17 as a numbered section within the code, by placing title 17 in the “Number” slot on the MLA template:

United States Code. Title 17, U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2011, www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title17/html/USCODE-2011-title17.htm.

Below are examples of how to cite other common legal sources in MLA style.

United States, Congress. Public Law 111-122. United States Statutes at Large , vol. 123, 2009, pp. 3480-82. U.S. Government Publishing Office , www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-123/pdf/STATUTE-123.pdf.

mla 10 format

United States, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Moss v. Colvin . Docket no. 15-2272, 9 Jan. 2017. United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit , www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions.html. PDF download.

It is customary to title court cases by using the last name of the first party on each side of the v . You may also wish to shorten a long URL, as we have done here .

United States, Congress, House. Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act of 2016. Congress.gov , www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/6394/text. 114th Congress, 2nd session, House Resolution 6394, passed 6 Dec. 2016.
United States, Congress, House, Committee on Education and Labor. The Future of Learning: How Technology Is Transforming Public Schools . U.S. Government Publishing Office, 16 June 2009, www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-111hhrg50208/html/CHRG-111hhrg50208.htm. Text transcription of hearing.

After a president signs an executive order, the Office of the Federal Register gives it a number. It is then printed in the Federal Register and compiled in the Code of Federal Regulations. Executive orders usually also appear as press releases on the White House website upon signing.

United States, Executive Office of the President [Barack Obama]. Executive order 13717: Establishing a Federal Earthquake Risk Management Standard. 2 Feb. 2016. Federal Register , vol. 81, no. 24, 5 Feb. 2016, pp. 6405-10, www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-02-05/pdf/2016-02475.pdf.
Minnesota State, Court of Appeals. Minnesota v. McArthur . 28 Sept. 1999, mn.gov/law-library-stat/archive//ctapun/9909/502.htm. Unpublished opinion.
Wisconsin State, Legislature. Senate Bill 5. Wisconsin State Legislature , 20 Jan. 2017, docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2017/related/proposals/sb5.

If a constitution is published in a named edition, treat it like the title of a book:

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription . National Archives , U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 28 Feb. 2017, www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript.
The Constitution of the United States, with Case Summaries . Edited by Edward Conrad Smith, 9th ed., Barnes and Noble Books, 1972.

References to the United States Constitution in your prose should follow the usual styling of titles of laws:

the Constitution

But your in-text reference should key readers to the appropriate entry:

( Constitution of the United States, with Case Summaries )

If the title does not indicate the country of origin, specify it in the entry:

France. Le constitution. 4 Oct. 1958. Legifrance , www.legifrance.gouv.fr/Droit-francais/Constitution/Constitution-du-4-octobre-1958.
Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. United Nations, 1998, nfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.pdf. Multilateral treaty.
United States, Senate. Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. Congress.gov , www.congress.gov/114/cdoc/tdoc8/CDOC-114tdoc8.pdf. Treaty between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.
Swiss Confederation. Bundesverfassung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft. 18 Apr. 1999. Der Bundesrat , 1 Jan. 2016, www.admin.ch/opc/de/classified-compilation/19995395/index.html.
United Nations, General Assembly. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Resolution 217 A, 10 Dec. 1948. United Nations , www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/. PDF download.

Writing for Specialists: A Hybrid Method

A writer using MLA style to document a legal work for a specialized readership that is likely to be familiar with the conventions of legal documentation may wish to adopt a hybrid method: in place of the author and title elements on the MLA format template, identify the work by using the Bluebook citation. Then, follow the MLA format template to list publication information for the version of the source you consulted.

For example, to cite the United States Code using the hybrid method, treat the section cited as the work. As above, you can omit the title of the website, United States Code , since the code constitutes the entire website and is thus a self-contained work.

17 U.S.C. § 304. Office of Law Revision Counsel, 14 Jan. 2017, uscode.house.gov.

If you are citing a court case, begin the entry with the title of the case before listing the Bluebook citation. In the hybrid style, cite Brown v. Board of Education as found on the Legal Information Institute website thus:

Brown v. Board of Education . 347 U.S. 483. Legal Information Institute , Cornell Law School, www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/347/483.

Other sources (public laws, federal appeals court decisions, etc.) can be handled similarly.

If using the hybrid method, do not follow the handbook’s recommendation to alphabetize works that start with a number as if the number is spelled out. Instead, list works beginning with numbers before the first lettered entry and order numbered works numerically.

TIPS ON TITLES Styling titles when you document legal sources in MLA style may be challenging. Below are some guidelines. Standardize titles of legal sources in your prose unless you refer to the published version: as the MLA Handbook indicates, italicize the names of court cases, but capitalize the names of laws, acts, and political documents like titles and set them in roman font. When a legal source is contained within another work—for example, when the United States Code appears on a website with another title—follow the MLA Handbook , page 27, and treat the work as an independent publication. That is, style the title just as you would in prose—in italics if it is the name of a court case, in roman if it is a law or similar document; even though the legal source appears in a larger work, do not insert quotation marks around the title. In the names of court cases, use the abbreviation v. consistently, regardless of which abbreviation is used in the version of the work you are citing. To determine the name of a court case, use only the name of the first party that appears on either side of “v.” or “vs.” in your source; if the name is a personal name, use only the surname. To shorten the name of a court case in your prose after introducing it in full or in parenthetical references, use the name of the first-listed nongovernmental party. Thus, the case NLRB v. Yeshiva University becomes Yeshiva . If your list of works cited includes more than one case beginning with the same governmental party, list entries under the governmental party but alphabetize them by the first nongovernmental party: NLRB v. Brown University
NLRB v. Yeshiva University

Refer to the nongovernmental party in your prose and parenthetical reference, alerting readers to this system of ordering in a note .

Special thanks to Noah Kupferberg, of Brooklyn Law School, for assistance with these guidelines.

30 Comments

Laurie nebeker 08 august 2017 at 02:08 pm.

My eleventh-grade English students write research papers about Supreme Court cases. In the MLA 7th edition (5.7.14) there was a note about italicizing case titles in the text but not in the list of works cited or in parenthetical references. Has this changed for the 8th edition? Also, you've given examples about formatting SCOTUS rulings, but most of the resources my students use are articles about the cases from news sources, specialty encyclopedias, etc. Should case titles be italicized when they appear within article titles? Thanks!

Your e-mail address will not be published

Angela Gibson 09 August 2017 AT 07:08 AM

You are correct to note this change. To make legal works a bit easier to cite, we now recommend that writers italicize the names of court cases both in the text and the list of works cited. When the name of a court case is contained within another work, style the title just as you would anywhere else. Thus, a SCOTUS ruling in the title of a news article would appear in italics. Thanks for reading; I hope this helps!

Nia Alexander 31 January 2018 AT 06:01 PM

How would I cite the 2015 National Content Report? It contains information similar to that of a census.

Angela Gibson 01 February 2018 AT 07:02 AM

There is an example here: https://style.mla.org/citing-tables/.

Nathan Hoepner 12 February 2018 AT 01:02 AM

One of my students wants to use the Versailles Treaty (officially, "Treaty of Peace with Germany"). The Library of Congress has a pdf copy posted. Should he list the treaty in his sources with the URL, or, since is just a copy of the official treaty, just list title, date, and "multilateral treaty"?

ben zuk 17 March 2018 AT 06:03 PM

how would I cite Supreme Court case from Justia?

Patricia Morris 27 March 2018 AT 10:03 AM

Can you give an example for citing the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics?

Michael Park 03 May 2018 AT 12:05 PM

How do i cite a introduced bill into congress

ML Chilson 04 November 2018 AT 05:11 PM

How do I cite a pending case that is still at the trial court level, including citation to the briefs that have been filed by the various parties?

Blah 08 November 2018 AT 11:11 AM

how do you cite a complaint in mla format

Marlow Chapman 10 December 2018 AT 08:12 PM

How would one cite a Title (specifically Title VII) from the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

Angela Gibson 11 December 2018 AT 05:12 PM

How you cite it will depend on where you access it. Some points: following the MLA format template, your entry will start with the title of the law. This will either be Civil Rights Act or Title 7 (see the discussion of Federal Statutes above for considerations about which title to begin your entry with). Your in-text citation (whether in prose or parentheses) should direct the reader to the first element in your works-cited list (in other words, the title).

Jeff Jeskie 04 February 2019 AT 08:02 AM

How do my students properly list the Supreme Court cases that are linked on the Exploring Constitutional Law site by Doug LInder at UMKC Law School site?

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/home.html?

Patricia Moseley 14 February 2019 AT 10:02 AM

I need help. My 8th grade history class is answering questions on the US Constitution and citing their answer.

There are five rights in the First Amendment, which include freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the government for a redress of their grievances (U.S. Constitution).

Is this in-text citation done correctly? Also, are the amendments spell out or does one use the Roman numeral in text?

Thank You!!!

Angela Gibson 15 February 2019 AT 10:02 AM

If U.S. Constitution is the first element in the works-cited-list entry, the in-text citation is correct. Spell out ordinal numbers (First Amendment), but use numerals for numbers of count (Amendment V) and, by convention, use Roman numerals for divisions of legal works that use them.

Ella 05 December 2019 AT 08:12 PM

How would you cite a state supreme court case?

Ana 06 December 2019 AT 09:12 AM

How would I cite an Act? More precisely, I want to cite The New York State Dignity for All Students Act. How would I do it on in-text citations and on the work cited page? Thanks!

Amanda 17 April 2020 AT 05:04 PM

How would I cite a tribal constitution? Do I use the date of the original publication or the most recent amendment or resolution?

most are found on their tribal government websites so would i treat it like this:

(italicized) Title of Document: Subtitle if Given (italicized) . Edition if given and is not first edition, Name of Government Department, Agency or Committee, Publication Date, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

yet, I still do not know what date to use. Or should i just cite it from a print publication or Nat. Archives so I can use the example given in your list above?

Angela Gibson 20 April 2020 AT 09:04 AM

Cite the version you're looking at and use the date of access if it's the only date you can provide.

Marissa 25 October 2020 AT 05:10 PM

How would you cite The Declaration of Independence?

Jennifer A. Rappaport 26 October 2020 AT 08:10 PM

Thanks for your question. Please consult Ask the MLA: https://style.mla.org/category/ask-the-mla/

Carol Holyoke 19 January 2021 AT 10:01 PM

Could you please tell me how to cite the Declaration of Independence? Do I put it in the Works Cited List?

Angela Gibson 20 January 2021 AT 09:01 AM

It is generally a good idea to create a works-cited-list entry for the version of the document you are transcribing a quotation from (e.g., see our example for the Constitution). Create your entry just as you would for any other source--follow the template of core elements and list any relevant elements that apply.

Diane 23 February 2021 AT 07:02 PM

How do I correctly cite a Congressional public law In Text? I can only find how to cite in works cited pages. Thank you!

Rowena 28 April 2021 AT 09:04 AM

If I quote sections from a piece of legislation does it need to be italicised as well as quotation marks?

Charlotte Norcross 15 November 2021 AT 11:11 AM

How do I correctly cite the congressional record from a specific session? Thanks!

Carl Sandler 02 February 2022 AT 02:02 PM

I am submitting a report to an attorney consisting of investigative findings related to an automobile accident. Some of the information in my report will be technical in nature and other information will be in the form of my opinion(s) based on conclusions drawn from deposition testimony of witnesses and persons knowledgeable of the event. Considering the report will be read by both legal professionals and others not of the legal profession, what approach and format (with examples, please) should be used to cite deposition testimony and also Exhibits presented during the taking of the deposition? I am familiar with Bluebook style of legal citations, however not all persons reading my report would have this same understanding.

Lev 18 April 2022 AT 11:04 AM

Dear MLA Editor: When citing court cases in another language (French), should I keep the title of the case in the original language, translate it, or provide a translation in brackets? The same question goes for the name of the docket number, court, date of publication, and other elements. The MLA manual does not offer any guidance on this! Thanks in advance for any help.

Heidi 27 April 2023 AT 10:04 AM

What is the proper way to reference a recently filed lawsuit (a pending case) in legal writing (letters and memos)? Thanks!

Jennifer Washington 13 February 2024 AT 11:02 PM

How are state educational codes shaping standards for textbooks and materials cited in-text and on works cited?

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MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

The MLA Handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.

However, this guide will highlight a few concerns when citing digital sources in MLA style.

Best Practices for Managing Online Sources

Because online information can change or disappear, it is always a good idea to keep personal copies of important electronic information whenever possible. Downloading or even printing key documents ensures you have a stable backup. You can also use the Bookmark function in your web browser in order to build an easy-to-access reference for all of your project's sources (though this will not help you if the information is changed or deleted).

It is also wise to keep a record of when you first consult with each online source. MLA uses the phrase, “Accessed” to denote which date you accessed the web page when available or necessary. It is not required to do so, but it is encouraged (especially when there is no copyright date listed on a website).

Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA

Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as Youtube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.

Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL.

Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.

Abbreviations Commonly Used with Electronic Sources

If page numbers are not available, use par. or pars. to denote paragraph numbers. Use these in place of the p. or pp. abbreviation. Par. would be used for a single paragraph, while pars. would be used for a span of two or more paragraphs.

Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)

Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available); last names first.
  • "Article name in quotation marks."
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
  • DOI (if available, precede it with "https://doi.org/"), otherwise a URL (without the https://) or permalink.
  • Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed). While not required, saving this information it is highly recommended, especially when dealing with pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.

Use the following format:

Author. "Title." Title of container (self contained if book) , Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2 nd container’s title , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Citing an Entire Web Site

When citing an entire website, follow the same format as listed above, but include a compiler name if no single author is available.

Author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), DOI (preferred), otherwise include a URL or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site . Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites . The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Apr. 2008.

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory . Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/. Accessed 10 May 2006.

Course or Department Websites

Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course (or the school catalog designation for the course) in italics. Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title.

Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England . Purdue U, Aug. 2006, web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/241/241/Home.html. Accessed 31 May 2007.

English Department . Purdue U, 20 Apr. 2009, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/. Accessed 31 May 2015.

A Page on a Web Site

For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by an indication of the specific page or article being referenced. Usually, the title of the page or article appears in a header at the top of the page. Follow this with the information covered above for entire Web sites. If the publisher is the same as the website name, only list it once.

Lundman, Susan. “How to Make Vegetarian Chili.”  eHow , www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html. Accessed 6 July 2015.

“ Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview. ”   WebMD , 25 Sept. 2014, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/athletes-foot-topic-overview.

Citations for e-books closely resemble those for physical books. Simply indicate that the book in question is an e-book by putting the term "e-book" in the "version" slot of the MLA template (i.e., after the author, the title of the source, the title of the container, and the names of any other contributors).

Silva, Paul J.  How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. E-book, American Psychological Association, 2007.

If the e-book is formatted for a specific reader device or service, you can indicate this by treating this information the same way you would treat a physical book's edition number. Often, this will mean replacing "e-book" with "[App/Service] ed."

Machiavelli, Niccolo.  The Prince , translated by W. K. Marriott, Kindle ed., Library of Alexandria, 2018.

Note:  The MLA considers the term "e-book" to refer to publications formatted specifically for reading with an e-book reader device (e.g., a Kindle) or a corresponding web application. These e-books will not have URLs or DOIs. If you are citing book content from an ordinary webpage with a URL, use the "A Page on a Web Site" format above.

An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)

Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, and the date of access.

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV . 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado , www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-family-of-carlos-iv/f47898fc-aa1c-48f6-a779-71759e417e74. Accessed 22 May 2006.

Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine . 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive , www.artchive.com/artchive/K/klee/twittering_machine.jpg.html. Accessed May 2006.

If the work cited is available on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author.

Adams, Clifton R. “People Relax Beside a Swimming Pool at a Country Estate Near Phoenix, Arizona, 1928.” Found, National Geographic Creative, 2 June 2016, natgeofound.tumblr.com/.

An Article in a Web Magazine

Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, URL, and the date of access.

Bernstein, Mark. “ 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web. ”   A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites , 16 Aug. 2002, alistapart.com/article/writeliving. Accessed 4 May 2009.

An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal

For all online scholarly journals, provide the author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. Include a DOI if available, otherwise provide a URL or permalink to help readers locate the source.

Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal

MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format (i.e. there is no corresponding print publication) that does not make use of page numbers, indicate the URL or other location information.

Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/60/362. Accessed 20 May 2009.

Article in an Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print

Cite articles in online scholarly journals that also appear in print as you would a scholarly journal in print, including the page range of the article . Provide the URL and the date of access.

Wheelis, Mark. “ Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. ”   Emerging Infectious Diseases , vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/00-0607_article. Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.

An Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)

Cite online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services as containers. Thus, provide the title of the database italicized before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access if you wish.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. “ Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates. ”   Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library , https://doi.org/10.1002/tox.20155. Accessed 26 May 2009.

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest , https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)

Give the author of the message, followed by the subject line in quotation marks. State to whom the message was sent with the phrase, “Received by” and the recipient’s name. Include the date the message was sent. Use standard capitalization.

Kunka, Andrew. “ Re: Modernist Literature. ”  Received by John Watts, 15 Nov. 2000.

Neyhart, David. “ Re: Online Tutoring. ” Received by Joe Barbato, 1 Dec. 2016.

A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting

Cite web postings as you would a standard web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets.

Author or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site , Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), URL. Date of access.

Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek , 29 Sept. 2008, boardgamegeek.com/thread/343929/best-strategy-fenced-pastures-vs-max-number-rooms. Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.

Begin with the user's Twitter handle in place of the author’s name. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader's time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the date accessed if you deem necessary.

@tombrokaw. “ SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign. ”   Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.

@PurdueWLab. “ Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week. ”   Twitter , 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m., twitter.com/PurdueWLab/status/176728308736737282.

A YouTube Video

Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. If the author is different from the uploader, cite the author’s name before the title.

McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube , uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

“8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

A Comment on a Website or Article

List the username as the author. Use the phrase, Comment on, before the title. Use quotation marks around the article title. Name the publisher, date, time (listed on near the comment), and the URL.

Not Omniscient Enough. Comment on “ Flight Attendant Tells Passenger to ‘Shut Up’ After Argument Over Pasta. ”  ABC News, 9 Jun 2016, 4:00 p.m., abcnews.go.com/US/flight-attendant-tells-passenger-shut-argument-pasta/story?id=39704050.

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  2. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

  3. General Format

    General Guidelines. Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Double-space the text of your paper and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are each distinct from one another.

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    MLA Formatting and Style Guide Overview of how to create MLA in-text citations and reference lists In-Text Citations. Resources on using in-text citations in MLA style. The Basics General guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay Works Cited Page. Resources on writing an MLA style works cited page, including citation formats ...

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    Using the automatic header feature of your word processor, set a running head .5" from the top of the page with your last name and the automatic page number feature. Each page of your MLA formatted paper, including page one, should have a header in the upper right margin. The header should include your first name followed by the page number:

  8. MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

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  10. Modern Language Association

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  22. MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.