Everything You Need to Know About MLA Format and Citations
MLA format is a set of formatting and citation guidelines for how an academic paper should look, similar to other styles such as Chicago or APA format. We use MLA format for topics in the humanities, including languages, philosophy, and the arts, but not history (which uses Chicago) or the social sciences, like psychology or education (which use APA format).
Since most schools’ requirements include humanities courses, there’s a good chance you’ll write a paper in MLA format at some point. Below, we explain how the MLA format works and what sets it apart from Chicago and APA formats. We’ll also cover how to cite sources in MLA format, with examples.
What is MLA format?
MLA format was developed by the Modern Language Association to provide a uniform way for academics in the arts and humanities fields to format their works and cite their sources. MLA format, like other academic styles, includes specific guidelines for a paper’s heading, in-text citations, works cited page, quotations, abbreviations, and even the size of the margins.
This format (like other academic formats) takes the guesswork out of formatting your academic writing and ensures that your sources are cited and credited properly, leaving you, and your readers, to focus on your paper’s content.
When to use MLA format
Use MLA format for the final draft of every piece of academic writing , including essays, reports , and research papers, that you do in your arts and humanities courses. That means English, arts, philosophy, religion, and ethics courses and any other classes you take that fall within these subjects.
If you aren’t sure if you need to use MLA or whether a specific formatting style is necessary for a particular assignment, ask your instructor.
Use MLA format for every part of an assignment you submit. That includes any essay outline , research proposal , literature review , or list of sources your instructor asks you to submit before or alongside your final paper.
There’s no need to format your first draft or any other documents that your professor won’t see, though you certainly can use MLA format throughout the writing process if you’d prefer. One benefit of doing this is that you’ll see approximately how many pages your final draft will span before you reach that stage.
MLA vs. APA, Chicago, and other formats
MLA is one of the most commonly used academic styles, especially for high school and undergraduate students. You might also be familiar with APA format , the American Psychological Association’s style, or Chicago , short for the Chicago Manual of Style . These styles each include instructions for formatting citations, crediting sources, using quotations in your work, and other aspects of writing academic papers.
Because the MLA format deals with the humanities, it places more emphasis on authorship than the other styles do. That means the names of creators are prominent in the text. By contrast, APA format emphasizes dates, and Chicago emphasizes supplemental notes like footnotes and endnotes .
Although the three styles have some common approaches to citing sources, each format has its own unique way of doing things for each source type. Make sure you understand the rules for the format you’re using so you don’t follow another style’s rules by mistake.
How to set up your paper in MLA format
Mla formatting rules.
1 The sources page is referred to as the works cited page. It appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes.
2 The entire paper is double-spaced, including block quotations and the references on the works cited page.
3 Use block quotes for quotations that are four lines or longer.
4 Abbreviations do not include periods between the letters (e.g., US instead of U.S. ).
5 The paper is printed on 8½-by-11-inch paper .
6 Place a 1-inch margin along all sides of the paper (with the exception of the running head).
7 Write in Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica font. The text size should be between 11 and 13.
8 Each page must include a running head with the author’s last name and the page number in the top-right corner. The running head follows the right margin but is only 1.5-inch from the top of the page.
9 A title page is not required.
10 The heading on the first page is left-justified and includes:
- Author’s name
- Instructor’s name
- Course number
- Date the paper is due
MLA style rules
1 MLA format uses the Oxford comma , aka the serial comma.
2 Spell out numbers or fractions that can be written in one or two words (e.g., eighty-eight , five million , or two-thirds ). Use numerals for when more than two words are needed (e.g., 101 ; 2,981 ; or 2 ½ ). However, when these numbers are mixed together, or when numbers are discussed frequently, use numerals (e.g., between 3 and 125 people ).
3 Use numerals for items in a series (e.g., chapter 6 , page 12 , or room 34 ).
4 Always spell out a number if it begins a sentence. Even better, try rephrasing the sentence with a different opening.
5 Do not abbreviate dates. You can use either the month-day-year or day-month-year formats, but be consistent throughout the entire work.
6 Use a person’s full name the first time they are mentioned, unless they are commonly referred to by their surname alone, like Cervantes or Cicero. Any subsequent mentions of the person use only their surname, including particles like de , O’ , or von .
How to cite sources in MLA: citation examples
For every academic paper you write, you need to cite sources —that is, mention where your evidence or points came from. This is necessary not only to avoid plagiarism but also to validate your ideas with proof.
According to the MLA Handbook , you must cite sources “when the work of others informs your ideas.” That means every idea that is not your own requires its own citation, even if there are two in the same sentence.
How to present evidence and quotes in MLA
There are two ways to reference another work: paraphrasing and direct quotes.
Paraphrasing involves restating the original idea in your own words. However, your paraphrased text must be fundamentally different from the source text—you must do more than just replace a few words with synonyms. It’s best to change both the wording and the sentence structure.
You can also directly quote a passage from a source, especially if the original wording is important. However, relying too heavily on direct quotes might suggest you’re relying too much on others’ ideas rather than your own. It’s best to use them sparingly and only when they’re truly necessary. Furthermore, when you do use quotations, try to keep the quotes as brief as possible, even as short as a single word.
Regardless of whether you use paraphrasing or quotations, you still need to cite the source.
In-text citations in MLA
MLA format prefers in-text citations, which involves citing the source directly in the text right next to its reference. There are two types of in-text citations: parenthetical and narrative.
Parenthetical citations are miniature or condensed citations that include only the bare minimum of information. In MLA format, they include only the author’s or creator’s last name, although a page number, line number, or time stamp is optional.
The Greek myth of Sisyphus provides the perfect analogy for humankind’s struggle of living with the absurdity of life (Camus 78).
Narrative citations are when you mention the author’s name in the text, which makes the second mention of it in the citation redundant. In this case, parenthetical citations are necessary only if you’re mentioning the page number or location.
Camus finds the Greek myth of Sisyphus to be the perfect analogy for humankind’s struggle of living with the absurdity of life (78).
Both kinds of in-text citations still require a full citation for the source in the works cited page.
If the author’s name is unavailable, use whatever comes first for that entry in the works cited page, which is typically the work’s title.
Footnotes and endnotes in MLA
Footnotes and endnotes are not common in MLA format, which prefers in-text citations instead. However, there are few situations when they are called for:
- A series of sources: If the same passage requires multiple citations in the same line, it’s better to cite them all in a note than in an in-text citation.
- Deviations from standard documentation: Use a note if you’re not following a normal documentation practice, such as when you’re citing line numbers instead of page numbers for poetry. You only need to mention this the first time you reference the source.
- Flagging editions or translations: Some texts, especially classic works, have multiple versions. Use a note to mention which edition or translation you’re using. Again, you only need to mention this the first time you reference the source.
- Content notes: You can use notes to mention supplemental—but nonessential—information, such as personal commentary or to explain a word choice. Footnotes and endnotes are good for these sorts of tangential asides that don’t fit in the main text.
Papers written in MLA format use either footnotes or endnotes but not both. Make sure to choose one form and stick with it. Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page they reference, endnotes are written on a separate page titled “Notes” or “Endnotes” at the end of a section, chapter, or entire work.
To signal a note, place a superscript number ( 1 ) at the end of the sentence the note refers to. If a note is needed in the middle of a sentence, place it after a punctuation mark like a comma, colon, or semicolon. The exception is the dash; note numbers come before a dash.
Certain translations use an alternative word choice. 1
Although some have disagreed with this assessment, 2 Camus seems to almost admire Sisyphus’s determination.
Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra 3 —now known as Corinth.
Each note number in the text corresponds to either a footnote or an endnote later in work.
Notes are written in the order of their numbers. Each note begins with the superscript number corresponding to its place in the text.
1 Thomas Warren suggests Camus’s use of la mesure should be translated into English as “measurement” instead of the popular translation “moderation.”
2 See Thomas Nagel’s paper, “The Absurd.”
3 Corinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the land that connects the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, according to Wikipedia.
MLA prohibits the abbreviation ibid .
Works cited page for MLA
According to MLA format guidelines, any source used in your paper must have a corresponding full citation in the works cited page , a page at the end of a book or paper that lists all the sources and their bibliographic information.
The works cited page comes at the end of a work, after any endnotes. This page is titled simply “Works Cited” and mostly follows the same text and formatting guidelines as the rest of the work. For example, it has one-inch page margins and size 11 to 13 text.
Entries are listed in alphabetical order by the first word of each entry, usually the author’s or creator’s last name.
The one particular formatting rule about the works cited page is the use of the hanging indent. Basically, every line after the first one in a single entry is indented by a half-inch .
Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. Translated by Justin O’Brien, New York, Random House, 1955.
How to cite different types of sources in MLA format
Each type of source, like books, journal articles, documentaries, etc., has its own particular rules for MLA citations. Feel free to check out our previous guides below, which cover the details of how to cite each source in MLA.
- How to Cite a Book in MLA Format
- How to Cite a Website in MLA Format
- How to Cite an Image or Photo in MLA Format
- How to Cite a Movie in MLA Format
- How to Cite a TV Show in MLA Format
- How to Cite Wikipedia in MLA Format
- How to Cite a YouTube Video in MLA Format
- How to Cite a PDF in MLA Format
- How to Cite a Lecture or Speech in MLA Format
MLA format FAQs
MLA format is the academic style developed by the Modern Language Association. It’s the standard format for academic papers in the arts and humanities. MLA has specific guidelines for citing books , films , TV shows , newspaper articles , PDFs , and other types of sources.
How is it different from other formats?
There are numerous differences between MLA format and other academic formats. One of the most notable is how sources are cited.
What are some examples of MLA citations?
In-text citation: (Lamott 28).
Reference listed on the works cited page: Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me . Spiegel & Gray, 2015.
Grammarly helps you cite with confidence
Grammarly is meeting students’ needs by simplifying the citation process. Our citation features expand on Grammarly’s trusted support for students, which includes grammar and spelling suggestions and plagiarism detection that identifies missing citations. Auto-citations generates citations for online sources in seconds, without your having to enter any info manually or even leave the web page. And when you’re ready to edit your paper, citation style formatting will proofread your in-text and full citations to ensure they’re mistake-free and consistent.
Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / MLA Citation Examples
MLA Citation Examples
Welcome to the EasyBib MLA Citation Guide! If you’ve landed on this page, you’re probably wondering what MLA citing is, or perhaps you need help creating an MLA citation or two. This page is fully stocked with the information you need to be an MLA citing machine.
While EasyBib isn’t officially affiliated with the Modern Language Association, we’ve included page numbers throughout this guide to demonstrate that the information on this page reflects the content from the official Handbook . Click here to learn more about the 9th edition of the handbook.
If you’re wondering, “What is MLA?” and are in need of some background information on the organization, take a peek at the Modern Language Association ’s site. You’ll find tons of handy information related to referencing and writing mechanics.
Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:
What’s an MLA citation?
- 3 or more authors
Using the EasyBib MLA Citation Generator
- Edited book
- Chapter in an edited book
- E-book from the Internet
- Online journal article
- Print journal article
- Online magazine
- Print magazine
- Online newspaper
- Print newspaper
- Online image
- Print image
- Images viewed in real life
- Online video
- Streamed show
- Streamed music
- Sheet music
- Social media examples
Any time a piece of information from another source is added into your MLA style paper, you must create two citations, or references, to show the reader where the information originated. One reference is placed in the written text of the paper, and the other is placed at the end of the project.
The reference that is placed in the written text of the paper, called an in-text citation , comes immediately next to any borrowed information. It provides a glimpse for the reader to see who the original author is and where the information was found. When creating in-text citations, it’s also important to know how to format page numbers in MLA .
Here’s an MLA example:
Lark knows how to handle life on the river: “I try to count the seconds before I hear the thunder, so I know how far the storm is, but I’m too rattled” (Wingate 12).
Check out the full EasyBib MLA in-text & parenthetical citations guide to learn more about styling these types of references.
The other type of reference, which we’ll call a full reference , is placed at the end of the project. It includes enough information about the source so the reader can locate the source themselves, if they choose to do so, whether online or at their library.
Here’s the full reference, which corresponds to the in-text citation above:
Wingate, Lisa. Before We Were Yours . Random House, 2017.
Notice that the beginning of the reference in the text, Wingate, corresponds with the first word in the full reference. This is very important! It allows for the reader to find the full reference on the MLA works cited page.
Wondering if you can create MLA footnotes instead? You sure can! However, in this style, it’s more common to use references in the text of your paper.
If it’s help with an APA in-text citation or APA parenthetical citation you’re after, you’re in luck! Our comprehensive guides are here for you!
Various types of styles
There are many different ways to style references, and following MLA’s guidelines are just one way to do so. Two other well-known and popular styles to structure references include APA and Chicago.
Your teacher probably told you which style to create your references in. If you were told to use a different style, such as APA or Chicago, here are some links to help you get started.
The EasyBib APA citations guide has everything you need to learn how to create references in this style. Or, if you’re looking for help with structuring the paper itself (spacing, font, margins, etc.), check out the EasyBib APA format page. If you need help with more styles , EasyBib always has your back, with thousands of styles available!
A Standard Formula
The great thing about MLA citations is that full references follow one standard formula. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re attempting to reference a book, newspaper article, or Facebook post, as almost every source type is structured the same way, following an MLA template.
Here’s a step-by-step guide that gives you the key to the secret sauce:
1. Who created the source?
Is your source written or created by an individual? If yes, place their name in reverse order, with a period at the end, like this:
If there are multiple individuals responsible for the work, place them in the order they’re shown on the source
Last Name, First Name, and First Name Last Name.
Owens, Michael, and Scott Abrahams.
Three or More Authors
According to page 112 of the Handbook , only include the first listed author’s name, in reverse order, followed by a comma, and omit all other names. Replace the additional names with the Latin phrase, et al.
Last Name, First Name, et al.
Preston, Rebekah, et al.
If an organization is responsible for the work, you may include the organization’s name. However, in many cases, an organization is listed as BOTH the author and publisher. When this is the case, you can leave the author out, start the citation with the source’s title, and include the organization name only as the publisher.
Dinosaur Facts . American Museum of Natural History, www.amnh.org/dinosaurs/dinosaur-facts.
2. What’s the title?
Sometimes there are two titles related to your source, and sometimes there’s only one.
If the source you’re referencing has two title parts, place the smaller part in quotation marks, followed by a period, and the larger part in italics, followed by a comma.
Think about the song, “Beat It,” by Michael Jackson. “Beat It” is the title of the song, but there’s another title too. The title of the album! The title of the album is Thriller.
Here’s how the two titles would be structured:
“Beat It.” Thriller ,
The album, Thriller , serves as the “container” for the song itself.
The term “ container ” is used extensively throughout the official guide. In addition to songs and albums, other types of titles and their containers can include:
- “Web Page Articles.” Websites ,
- “Book Chapters.” Titles of Books ,
- “Journal Articles.” Titles of Journals ,
…plus many more!
To make things even more interesting, there are times when there’s more than one container! Think about an episode of a television show. The television series is the first container, but if you watched it on a streaming site, the streaming site would be the second container.
If there are two containers , the second one is added at the end of the reference.
“The Miseducation of Lisa Simpson.” Performances by John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, and Zach Woods. The Simpsons , season 31, episode 12, Fox Broadcasting, 16 Feb. 2020. Hulu , www.hulu.com/simpsons/miseducation.
Let’s break that down:
- Container 2 : Hulu
There are times when two titles aren’t included in a reference. If, instead of referencing the song “Beat It,” you’re referencing the entire album, exclude the quotation marks. Only include the one title and place it in italics, without quotation marks.
Here’s how you would reference the entire album, rather than one song on the album:
Jackson, Michael. Thriller . Produced by Quincy Jones, Westlake Recording Studios, 1982.
For more on titles and containers, head to pages 134-145 of the official Handbook .
If you decide to use EasyBibs citation generator MLA creator, we’ll help you structure the titles and containers in just a few clicks!
3. Any other contributors?
If there are any other people, besides the author, who had a significant role, and you feel it would be helpful to include their name in the reference, this information is added after the title. Include their role and name in standard order, followed by a comma.
Produced by Quincy Jones,
For other types of sources, there may be other roles and individuals to highlight. Here are a few examples:
- Performance by Sid Caesar,
- Translated by Sarah Martin,
- Narrated by Rita Williams-Garcia,
4. Are you referencing a specific version?
Perhaps there is a specific edition of a book, song version, or movie cut. Include this information next, followed by a comma.
Google Play Exclusive Edition,
Other examples could include:
- Director’s cut,
- Unedited ed.,
- Instrumental version,
5. Got numbers?
Any numbers associated with the source, such as a volume and issue number, or episode number, are added next, followed by a comma.
For example, many journal articles have volume and issue numbers. Use vol. before the volume number and no. before the issue number.
vol. 2, no. 3,
Wondering what to exclude from your citations MLA paper? ISBN numbers! They’re never added into references.
6. Who published the source?
This information is added next in the reference, followed by a comma. Since the publisher listed is usually the formal name of a company or organization, use title case.
7. When was it published?
The date the source was published comes next, followed by a comma.
In the official Handbook , the references are displayed as Day Month Year. If the month is longer than 4 letters, abbreviate it.
4 Nov. 2019,
28 July 2015,
If you can’t find the source date, simply leave it out. Note: Some teachers want students to make a source with “no date” as “n.d.” If you’re unsure what your teacher wants, check in with them.
8. Where can you find the source?
The final component of the formula is the location.
- If the source was found online, this should be a website address. Make sure to omit https:// from the front of the string.
- It can be an actual location too, if the source is something you saw in a museum or elsewhere in real life.
- Or, it can also be a page number or page range.
- Always close out the reference with a period.
Now, let’s put all of the pieces together. Here’s what we come up with for our MLA citation example:
Jackson, Michael. “Beat It.” Thriller , produced by Quincy Jones, Google Play Exclusive Edition, Epic, 1982, play.google.com/store/music/album/Thriller?id=Bzs3hkvcyvinz5tkilucmmoqjhi&hl=en_US.
Some things to keep in mind:
1. It’s not necessary to include every piece to the puzzle. Only include the information that the reader would need in order to successfully locate the source themselves.
For example, in the Thriller example above, you’ll see there aren’t any specific numbers (besides the publication date) in the reference. Why? There aren’t any numbers associated with the source.
2. If you’re looking for help, the EasyBib MLA citation creator helps you develop your references. Give it a whirl! It’s free and easy to use! Nervous to try it out? Here’s a quick rundown on how to use it.
Reserve the precious time you have for researching and writing, rather than wrapping your head around MLA guidelines, rules, and structures. The EasyBib citing tool is here to help you easily create citations for all your papers and turn you into a citing, MLA machine!
Follow these steps:
- Find your source. We have over 50 types of sources to choose from.
- Our automatic generator (shown below) creates references using source data already available on the Internet. Simply type in a few key pieces of information about the source and click “Search.”
- Our manual form creates your references based on the information you enter. Fill out the form and click “Complete Citation.”
- The easy-to-follow directions guide you through the remainder of the process. Follow the steps on the screen and watch the magic happen in a few clicks and keystrokes!
- Copy and paste your completed reference into your project or export it to your document.
The EasyBib MLA format generator isn’t all that’s available. There are also tons of other nifty features, all available on our homepage, including an MLA title page maker and an innovative plagiarism checker ! That’s not all, there are many other thorough guides to help you with your referencing needs. Check out the EasyBib APA reference page , plus many more!
MLA citing is easier when you have visuals and examples to take a peek at. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the most common source types that students and scholars reference. If you’re trying to reference a book, newspaper article, website, or tweet, you’ll find the structures you need to get on the right track.
Pro tip: Don’t leave your references for the last minute! In your MLA outline or notes, keep track of the sources you use. This will help make the entire process easier for you! Some instructors may even have you complete an MLA annotated bibliography before writing your paper so that you can cite, organize, and become familiar with your sources in advance.
Below are examples for these sources:
If, instead, you need help with referencing an APA book citation , the linked guide walks you through the process!
This information is located on page 112-113 of the official Handbook .
CHAPTER IN AN EDITED BOOK
E-book from the internet.
If you’re attempting to reference an e-book from an e-reader, such as a Nook or Kindle, use the EasyBib MLA citation generator. We’ll help you structure your e-book references in no time!
If you need more information on how to cite websites in MLA , check out the full-length EasyBib guide! Or, take the guesswork out of forming your references and try the EasyBib automatic MLA citation machine!
Need an APA citation website or help with another popular referencing style? EasyBib Plus may be exactly what you need.
ONLINE JOURNAL ARTICLE
To see an online journal example in action, check out the EasyBib MLA sample paper, which is discussed at the bottom of this guide. Also, don’t forget about the easy-to-use, EasyBib automatic generator. Stop typing into Google “citation maker MLA” and go to EasyBib.com instead!
PRINT JOURNAL ARTICLE
If it’s referencing an APA journal you’re after, click on the link for the informative EasyBib guide on the topic.
If you’re looking for an MLA citation maker to help you build your bibliography, try out the EasyBib MLA generator. Type in a few key pieces of information about your source and watch the magic happen!
*In the above example, Natarajan’s article only sits on one page, so it’s unnecessary to include the page number in the reference in the text.
Print magazines are always fun to read, but know what else is a party? Brushing up on your grammar skills! Check out the thorough EasyBib grammar guides on adverb , determiner , and preposition pages!
*You do not need to include the city name in your citation if the city name is in the name of the newspaper or if it is a national or international newspaper.
**Since the above article is only on one page, it’s not necessary to include the page number in the text reference of your MLA style citation.
Need help? Use the EasyBib MLA citation machine, which guides you through the process of making newspaper references! Quit searching on Google for “how to MLA citation” and visit EasyBib.com today!
If your periodical article falls on nonconsecutive page numbers, add a plus sign after the first page number and omit the additional pages from any full references. Example: pp. B1+ (This information is located on page 193 in the official Handbook ). Don’t forget, the EasyBib citation machine MLA creator can help you structure all your citation information!
If you’re still confused about referencing online images, give the EasyBib MLA format generator a whirl. In just a few clicks, you’ll have well-structured MLA citations!
If you’re looking to reference an image seen in a print book, use the structure below. Or, use the “Cartoon,” “Photo,” “Painting,” or “Map” forms found on the EasyBib MLA generator for citations.
In need of a citation machine MLA maker to help save some of your precious time? Try EasyBib’s generator. Head to the EasyBib homepage and start developing your references today!
IMAGE VIEWED IN REAL LIFE
If you viewed an image in real life, whether at a museum, on display in a building, or even on a billboard, this EasyBib MLA citation guide example includes the most common way to reference it.
For the majority of online video references, the reference should start with the title of the video. The information about the account that uploaded the video should be included in the “Other Contributors” space.
For more on learning how to cite MLA timestamps, turn to page 250 in the official Handbook .
It’s common to see online videos featured in an annotated bibliography . Have a look at the useful guide to learn how to create one from scratch!
Streamed shows (sometimes called online or streamed “television shows”) are watched using a service such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or another subscription streaming site.
If you accessed a streamed show through an app, the name of the app can be displayed at the end of the citation as “[ Name of Service ] app” instead of including the URL.
After you’re through binging on your favorite shows, give yourself some brain fuel by taking a glance at the EasyBib grammar guides. Take your writing up a notch with the guides on interjection , conjunction , and verb pages!
*If you accessed a streamed song through an app, the name of the app can be displayed at the end of the citation as “[ Name of Service ] app” instead of including the URL.
Streamed music can be tricky to reference, especially with the wide variety of streaming services available on the web and through apps. Don’t worry, the EasyBib MLA citation maker can come in and save the day for you. Try it out now! To make it even easier, bookmark the EasyBib citation machine MLA maker for quick access!
*You can include the original composition date as supplemental information between the title and publisher. It may be helpful to include this information if the piece was composed much earlier than the sheet music you are citing or if the arrangement has significantly changed from the original.
SOCIAL MEDIA EXAMPLES
Notable individuals consistently share pictures, videos, and ideas on social media, which is why social media is often referenced in today’s research papers . If you’re looking to add a reference for Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or Instagram in your MLA paper, check out the structures and examples below.
*When the account name and username are similar, the username can be excluded from the citation. For example, if the account’s username was @FirstNameLastName or @OrganizationName.
If the tweet is composed of just an image or video, create a description for it and do not place it in quotation marks. For example:
DJ Snake. Video of studio controls with music playing. Twitter , 11 Feb. 2020, twitter.com/djsnake/status/1227267455095123968.
Odds are, you could spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the latest news and gossip. Why not spend some time scrolling through the EasyBib grammar guides instead? Check out these informative noun and adjective guides to help keep your writing in check!
Looking for other types of sources, such as government and archival documents? Here’s more info .
Now that you’ve figured out how to style your references, the next step is structuring your written work according to this style’s guidelines. The thorough EasyBib MLA format guide provides you with the information you need to structure the font, MLA title page (or MLA cover page), paper margins, spacing, plus more! There’s even a sample MLA paper, too!
MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.
Published April 9, 2020. Updated July 25, 2021.
Written by Michele Kirschenbaum. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and is the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com.
MLA Formatting Guide
- Annotated Bibliography
- Block Quotes
- et al Usage
- In-text Citations
- Page Numbers
- Sample Paper
- Works Cited
- MLA 8 Updates
- MLA 9 Updates
- View MLA Guide
- Book Chapter
- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Website (no author)
- View all MLA Examples
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No matter what citation style you’re using (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) the EasyBib Citation Generator can help you create the right bibliography quickly.
Yes, there’s an option to download source citations as a Word Doc or a Google Doc. You may also copy citations from the EasyBib Citation Generator and paste them into your paper.
Creating an account is not a requirement for generating MLA citations. However, registering for an EasyBib account is free and an account is how you can save all the citation you create. This can help make it easier to manage your citations and bibliographies.
Yes! Whether you’d like to learn how to construct citations on your own, our Autocite tool isn’t able to gather the metadata you need, or anything in between, manual citations are always an option. Click here for directions on using creating manual citations.
If any important information is missing (e.g., author’s name, title, publishing date, URL, etc.), first see if you can find it in the source yourself. If you cannot, leave the information blank and continue creating your citation.
It supports MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, and over 7,000 total citation styles.
An in-text citation is a short citation that is placed next to the text being cited. The basic element needed for an in-text citation is the author’s name . The publication year is not required in in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when text is quoted from the source being cited. In-text citations are mentioned in the text in two ways: as a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation.
Citation in prose
Citations in prose are incorporated into the text and act as a part of the sentence. Usually, citations in prose use the author’s full name when cited the first time in the text. Thereafter, only the surname is used. Avoid including the middle initial even if it is present in the works-cited-list entry. An example of the first citation in prose for one author is given below:
Carol Fitzerald explains the picture of the area.
Parenthetical citations add only the author’s surname at the end of the sentence in parentheses. An example of a parenthetical citation is given below:
The picture of the area is explained (Fitzgerald).
When are other components included?
When you quote a specific line from the source, you can include a page number or a line number in in-text citations. Examples of both a citation in prose and a parenthetical citation are given below. Do not add “p.” or “pp.” before the page number(s).
Swan says, “Postglacial viability and colonization in North America is to be studied” (47).
Though some researchers claim that “Postglacial viability and colonization in North America is to be studied” (Swan 47).
In-text citations should be concise. Do not repeat author names in parentheses if the name is mentioned in the text (the citation in prose).
To cite a periodical such as a journal, magazine, or newspaper, in the text, the basic element needed is the author’s name . The publication year is not required for in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when text is quoted from the source being cited. In-text citations are mentioned in the text in two ways: as a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation. The example below shows how to cite a periodical in the text.
Citations in prose use the author’s full name when citing for the first time. Thereafter, only use the surname. Avoid including the middle initial even if it is present in the works-cited-list entry. An example of a citation in prose for a periodical with one author is below:
First time: Kathy Goldstein explains the picture of the area.
Subsequent occurrences: Goldstein explains the picture of the area.
Parenthetical citations add only the author’s surname at the end of the sentence in parentheses. An example of a parenthetical citation is below:
The picture of the area is explained (Goldstein).
An MLA citation generator is a tool that can help you easily create MLA formatted citations and works cited entries. You can try the EasyBib MLA citation generator at https://www.easybib.com/mla/source .
For some source types, only a single piece of information is needed in order to generate a citation. For example, the ISBN of a book, the DOI of a journal article, or the URL of a website. For other source types, a form will indicate what information is needed for the citation, and then automatically formats the citation.
Other Citation Styles
Upload a paper to check for plagiarism against billions of sources and get advanced writing suggestions for clarity and style.
MLA Citation Guide: Citing in the body of your paper
- "Works Cited" List Outlined
- MLA Online Tutorials
- Citing in the body of your paper
- Books and book chapters
In-Text Citations (see pages 54 - 58, 116 - 128 of the MLA Handbook, 8th Edition)
In the body of your paper, use parenthetical documentation (Chapter 5 of MLA Handbook ). The purpose of your documentation is for your readers to be able to locate the sources which you cite in your text when they look at your bibliography ("Works Cited") located at the end of your paper. You give the minimum of information necessary for your readers to do this, such as just the author's last name and the page(s) to which you refer.
- When you omit the author's name in your sentence:
This point has already been argued (Tannen 178-85).
- When you include the author's name in your sentence:
Tannen has argued this point (178-85).
- When you cite more than one work by the same author (shortened version of title is acceptable, using first words:
Shakespeare's King Lear has been called a "comedy of the grotesque" (Frye, Anatomy 237).
- When the work has more than one author:
Others hold the opposite point of view (e.g., Kerrigan and Braden 210-15).
- When the work has no author, use title (shortened form is ok) of article or book:
A New York Times editorial called Ralph Ellison "a writer of universal reach" ("Death").
- If your source uses explicit paragraph numbers rather than page numbers -- as some publications on the web do -- give the relevant number or numbers, preceded by the label par. or pars . Change the label appropriately if another kind of part is numbered in the source instead of pages, such as sections ( sec., secs .) or chapters ( ch., chs .). If the author's name begins such a citation, place a comma after the name.
There is little evidence here for the claim that "Eagleton has belittled the gains of postmodernism" (Chan, par.41).
- When a source has no page numbers or any other kind of part number, no number should be given in a parenthetical citation. Do not count unnumbered paragraphs or other parts.
"As we read we . . . construct the terrain of a book" (Hollmichel), something that is more difficult when the text reflows on a screen.
- In parenthetical citations of a literary work available in multiple editions, such as commonly studied novel, play, or poem, it is often helpful to provide division numbers in addition to, or instead of, page numbers, so that readers can find references in any edition of the work.
Austen begins the final chapter of Mansfield Park with a dismissive "Let other pens dwell," thereby announcing her decision to avoid dwelling on the professions of love made by Fanny and Edmund (533; vol.3, ch.17).
- For works in time-based media, such as audio and video recordings, cite relevant time or range of times. Give the numbers of the hours, minutes and seconds as displayed on your media player, separating the numbers with colons.
Buffy's promise that "there's not going to be incidents like at my old school" is obviously not one on which she can follow through ("Buffy" 00:03:16-17).
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MLA In-text Citations and Sample Essay 9th Edition
Listing your sources at the end of your essay in the Works Cited is only the first step in complete and effective documentation. Proper citation of sources is a two-part process . You must also cite, in the body of your essay, the source your paraphrased information or where directly quoted material came from. These citations within the essay are called in-text citations . You must cite all quoted, paraphrased, or summarized words, ideas, and facts from sources. Without in-text citations, you are in danger of plagiarism , even if you have listed your sources at the end of the essay. In-text citations point the reader to the sources’ information in the works cited page, so the in-text citation should be the first item listed in the source’s citation on the works cited page, which is usually the author’s last name (or the title if there is no author) and the page number, if provided.
Two Ways to Cite Your Sources In-text
Cite your source in parentheses at the end of quoted or paraphrased material.
Example with a page number: In regards to paraphrasing, "It is important to remember to use in-text citations for your paraphrased information, as well as your directly quoted material" (Habib 7).
Example without a page number : Paraphrasing is "often the best choice because direct quotes should be reserved for source material that is especially well-written in style and/or clarity" (Ruiz).
Within the sentence, through the use of a "signal phrase" which signals to the reader the specific source the idea or quote came from. Include the page number(s) in parentheses at the end of the sentence, if provided.
Example with a page number: According to Habib, "It is important to remember to use in-text citations for your paraphrased information, as well as your directly quoted material" (7).
Example without a page number: According to Ruiz, paraphrasing is "often the best choice because direct quotes should be reserved for source material that is especially well-written in style and/or clarity."
*See our handout "Signal Phrases" for more examples and information on effective ways to use signal phrases for in-text citations.
Do you need to include a page number in your in-text citation?
Printed materials such as books, magazines, journals, or internet and digital sources with PDF files that show an actual printed page number need to have a page number in the citation.
Internet and digital sources with a continuously scrolling page without a page number do not need a page number in the citation.
Commonly used in-text citations in parentheses
Notes on quotes, block quotation format.
When using long quotations that are over four lines of prose or over three lines of poetry in length, you will need to use block quotation format. Block format is indented one inch from the margin (you can hit the "tab" button twice to move it one inch). Additionally, block quotes do not use quotation marks, and the parenthetical citation comes after the period of the last sentence. Please see the following sample essay for an example block quote.
Signal Phrase Examples and Ideas
Please see the following sample essay for different kinds of signal phrases and parenthetical in-text citations, which correspond with the sample Works Cited page at the end. The Writing Center also has a handout on signal phrases with many different verb options.
Learn more about the MLA Works Cited page by reviewing this handout .
For information on STLCC's academic integrity policy, check out this website .
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How to Cite an Essay
Last Updated: February 4, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Diya Chaudhuri, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Diya Chaudhuri holds a PhD in Creative Writing (specializing in Poetry) from Georgia State University. She has over 5 years of experience as a writing tutor and instructor for both the University of Florida and Georgia State University. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 549,549 times.
If you're writing a research paper, whether as a student or a professional researcher, you might want to use an essay as a source. You'll typically find essays published in another source, such as an edited book or collection. When you discuss or quote from the essay in your paper, use an in-text citation to relate back to the full entry listed in your list of references at the end of your paper. While the information in the full reference entry is basically the same, the format differs depending on whether you're using the Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), or Chicago citation method.
Template and Examples
- Example: Potter, Harry.
- Example: Potter, Harry. "My Life with Voldemort."
- Example: Potter, Harry. "My Life with Voldemort." Great Thoughts from Hogwarts Alumni , by Bathilda Backshot,
- Example: Potter, Harry. "My Life with Voldemort." Great Thoughts from Hogwarts Alumni , by Bathilda Backshot, Hogwarts Press, 2019,
- Example: Potter, Harry. "My Life with Voldemort." Great Thoughts from Hogwarts Alumni , by Bathilda Backshot, Hogwarts Press, 2019, pp. 22-42.
MLA Works Cited Entry Format:
LastName, FirstName. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection , by FirstName Last Name, Publisher, Year, pp. ##-##.
- For example, you might write: While the stories may seem like great adventures, the students themselves were terribly frightened to confront Voldemort (Potter 28).
- If you include the author's name in the text of your paper, you only need the page number where the referenced material can be found in the parenthetical at the end of your sentence.
- If you have several authors with the same last name, include each author's first initial in your in-text citation to differentiate them.
- For several titles by the same author, include a shortened version of the title after the author's name (if the title isn't mentioned in your text).
- Example: Granger, H.
- Example: Granger, H. (2018).
- Example: Granger, H. (2018). Adventures in time turning.
- Example: Granger, H. (2018). Adventures in time turning. In M. McGonagall (Ed.), Reflections on my time at Hogwarts
- Example: Granger, H. (2018). Adventures in time turning. In M. McGonagall (Ed.), Reflections on my time at Hogwarts (pp. 92-130). Hogwarts Press.
APA Reference List Entry Format:
LastName, I. (Year). Title of essay. In I. LastName (Ed.), Title of larger work (pp. ##-##). Publisher.
- For example, you might write: By using a time turner, a witch or wizard can appear to others as though they are actually in two places at once (Granger, 2018).
- If you use the author's name in the text of your paper, include the parenthetical with the year immediately after the author's name. For example, you might write: Although technically against the rules, Granger (2018) maintains that her use of a time turner was sanctioned by the head of her house.
- Add page numbers if you quote directly from the source. Simply add a comma after the year, then type the page number or page range where the quoted material can be found, using the abbreviation "p." for a single page or "pp." for a range of pages.
- Example: Weasley, Ron.
- Example: Weasley, Ron. "Best Friend to a Hero."
- Example: Weasley, Ron. "Best Friend to a Hero." In Harry Potter: Wizard, Myth, Legend , edited by Xenophilius Lovegood, 80-92.
- Example: Weasley, Ron. "Best Friend to a Hero." In Harry Potter: Wizard, Myth, Legend , edited by Xenophilius Lovegood, 80-92. Ottery St. Catchpole: Quibbler Books, 2018.
' Chicago Bibliography Format:
LastName, FirstName. "Title of Essay." In Title of Book or Essay Collection , edited by FirstName LastName, ##-##. Location: Publisher, Year.
- Example: Ron Weasley, "Best Friend to a Hero," in Harry Potter: Wizard, Myth, Legend , edited by Xenophilius Lovegood, 80-92 (Ottery St. Catchpole: Quibbler Books, 2018).
- After the first footnote, use a shortened footnote format that includes only the author's last name, the title of the essay, and the page number or page range where the referenced material appears.
Tip: If you use the Chicago author-date system for in-text citation, use the same in-text citation method as APA style.
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- ↑ https://style.mla.org/essay-in-authored-textbook/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_books.html
- ↑ https://utica.libguides.com/c.php?g=703243&p=4991646
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_in_text_citations_the_basics.html
- ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
- ↑ https://guides.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/c.php?g=27779&p=170363
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/in_text_citations_the_basics.html
- ↑ http://libguides.heidelberg.edu/chicago/book/chapter
- ↑ https://librarybestbets.fairfield.edu/citationguides/chicagonotes-bibliography#CollectionofEssays
- ↑ https://libguides.heidelberg.edu/chicago/book/chapter
About This Article
To cite an essay using MLA format, include the name of the author and the page number of the source you’re citing in the in-text citation. For example, if you’re referencing page 123 from a book by John Smith, you would include “(Smith 123)” at the end of the sentence. Alternatively, include the information as part of the sentence, such as “Rathore and Chauhan determined that Himalayan brown bears eat both plants and animals (6652).” Then, make sure that all your in-text citations match the sources in your Works Cited list. For more advice from our Creative Writing reviewer, including how to cite an essay in APA or Chicago Style, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No
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MLA Works Cited Page: Books
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
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.
When you are gathering book sources, be sure to make note of the following bibliographic items: the author name(s), other contributors such as translators or editors, the book’s title, editions of the book, the publication date, the publisher, and the pagination.
The 8 th edition of 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.
Please note these changes in the new edition:
- Commas are used instead of periods between Publisher, Publication Date, and Pagination.
- Medium is no longer necessary.
- Containers are now a part of the MLA process. Commas should be used after container titles.
- DOIs should be used instead of URLS when available.
- Use the term “Accessed” instead of listing the date or the abbreviation, “n.d."
Below is the general format for any citation:
Author. Title. Title of container (do not list container for standalone books, e.g. novels), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI). 2 nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).
Basic Book Format
The author’s name or a book with a single author's name appears in last name, first name format. The basic form for a book citation is:
Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.
* Note: the City of Publication should only be used if the book was published before 1900, if the publisher has offices in more than one country, or if the publisher is unknown in North America.
Book with One Author
Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science . Penguin, 1987.
Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House . MacMurray, 1999.
Book with More Than One Author
When a book has two authors, order the authors in the same way they are presented in the book. Start by listing the first name that appears on the book in last name, first name format; subsequent author names appear in normal order (first name last name format).
Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring . Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
If there are three or more authors, list only the first author followed by the phrase et al. (Latin for "and others") in place of the subsequent authors' names. (Note that there is a period after “al” in “et al.” Also note that there is never a period after the “et” in “et al.”).
Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition . Utah State UP, 2004.
Two or More Books by the Same Author
List works alphabetically by title. (Remember to ignore articles like A, An, and The.) Provide the author’s name in last name, first name format for the first entry only. For each subsequent entry by the same author, use three hyphens and a period.
Palmer, William J. Dickens and New Historicism . St. Martin's, 1997.
---. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History . Southern Illinois UP, 1993.
Book by a Corporate Author or Organization
A corporate author may include a commission, a committee, a government agency, or a group that does not identify individual members on the title page.
List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry.
American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children . Random House, 1998.
When the author and publisher are the same, skip the author, and list the title first. Then, list the corporate author only as the publisher.
Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.
Book with No Author
List by title of the book. Incorporate these entries alphabetically just as you would with works that include an author name. For example, the following entry might appear between entries of works written by Dean, Shaun and Forsythe, Jonathan.
Encyclopedia of Indiana . Somerset, 1993.
Remember that for an in-text (parenthetical) citation of a book with no author, you should provide the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. You may also use a shortened version of the title of the book accompanied by the page number. For more information see the In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author section of In-text Citations: The Basics .
A Translated Book
If you want to emphasize the work rather than the translator, cite as you would any other book. Add “translated by” and follow with the name(s) of the translator(s).
Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason . Translated by Richard Howard, Vintage-Random House, 1988.
If you want to focus on the translation, list the translator as the author. In place of the author’s name, the translator’s name appears. His or her name is followed by the label, “translator.” If the author of the book does not appear in the title of the book, include the name, with a “By” after the title of the book and before the publisher. Note that this type of citation is less common and should only be used for papers or writing in which translation plays a central role.
Howard, Richard, translator. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason . By Michel Foucault, Vintage-Random House, 1988.
Books may be republished due to popularity without becoming a new edition. New editions are typically revisions of the original work. For books that originally appeared at an earlier date and that have been republished at a later one, insert the original publication date before the publication information.
For books that are new editions (i.e. different from the first or other editions of the book), see An Edition of a Book below.
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble . 1990. Routledge, 1999.
Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine . 1984. Perennial-Harper, 1993.
An Edition of a Book
There are two types of editions in book publishing: a book that has been published more than once in different editions and a book that is prepared by someone other than the author (typically an editor).
A Subsequent Edition
Cite the book as you normally would, but add the number of the edition after the title.
Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students . 3rd ed., Pearson, 2004.
A Work Prepared by an Editor
Cite the book as you normally would, but add the editor after the title with the label "edited by."
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre, edited by Margaret Smith, Oxford UP, 1998.
Note that the format for citing sources with important contributors with editor-like roles follows the same basic template:
...adapted by John Doe...
Finally, in the event that the source features a contributor that cannot be described with a past-tense verb and the word "by" (e.g., "edited by"), you may instead use a noun followed by a comma, like so:
...guest editor, Jane Smith...
Anthology or Collection (e.g. Collection of Essays)
To cite the entire anthology or collection, list by editor(s) followed by a comma and "editor" or, for multiple editors, "editors." This sort of entry is somewhat rare. If you are citing a particular piece within an anthology or collection (more common), see A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection below.
Hill, Charles A., and Marguerite Helmers, editors. Defining Visual Rhetorics . Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.
Peterson, Nancy J., editor. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches . Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.
A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection
Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:
Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection , edited by Editor's Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.
Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One , edited by Ben Rafoth, Heinemann, 2000, pp. 24-34.
Swanson, Gunnar. "Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art: Design and Knowledge in the University and The 'Real World.'" The Education of a Graphic Designer , edited by Steven Heller, Allworth Press, 1998, pp. 13-24.
Note on Cross-referencing Several Items from One Anthology: If you cite more than one essay from the same edited collection, MLA indicates you may cross-reference within your works cited list in order to avoid writing out the publishing information for each separate essay. You should consider this option if you have several references from a single text. To do so, include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor's name as below:
Rose, Shirley K, and Irwin Weiser, editors. The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher . Heinemann, 1999.
Then, for each individual essay from the collection, list the author's name in last name, first name format, the title of the essay, the editor's last name, and the page range:
L'Eplattenier, Barbara. "Finding Ourselves in the Past: An Argument for Historical Work on WPAs." Rose and Weiser, pp. 131-40.
Peeples, Tim. "'Seeing' the WPA With/Through Postmodern Mapping." Rose and Weiser, pp. 153-67.
Please note: When cross-referencing items in the works cited list, alphabetical order should be maintained for the entire list.
Poem or Short Story Examples :
Burns, Robert. "Red, Red Rose." 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Philip Smith, Dover, 1995, p. 26.
Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories , edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.
If the specific literary work is part of the author's own collection (all of the works have the same author), then there will be no editor to reference:
Whitman, Walt. "I Sing the Body Electric." Selected Poems, Dover, 1991, pp. 12-19.
Carter, Angela. "The Tiger's Bride." Burning Your Boats: The Collected Stories, Penguin, 1995, pp. 154-69.
Article in a Reference Book (e.g. Encyclopedias, Dictionaries)
For entries in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works, cite the entry name as you would any other work in a collection but do not include the publisher information. Also, if the reference book is organized alphabetically, as most are, do not list the volume or the page number of the article or item.
"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary. 3rd ed. 1997.
A Multivolume Work
When citing only one volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number after the work's title, or after the work's editor or translator.
Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria . Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980.
When citing more than one volume of a multivolume work, cite the total number of volumes in the work. Also, be sure in your in-text citation to provide both the volume number and page number(s) ( see "Citing Multivolume Works" on our in-text citations resource .)
Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria . Translated by H. E. Butler, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. 4 vols.
If the volume you are using has its own title, cite the book without referring to the other volumes as if it were an independent publication.
Churchill, Winston S. The Age of Revolution . Dodd, 1957.
An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword
When citing an introduction, a preface, a foreword, or an afterword, write the name of the author(s) of the piece you are citing. Then give the name of the part being cited, which should not be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks; in italics, provide the name of the work and the name of the author of the introduction/preface/foreword/afterword. Finish the citation with the details of publication and page range.
Farrell, Thomas B. Introduction. Norms of Rhetorical Culture , by Farrell, Yale UP, 1993, pp. 1-13.
If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work , then write the full name of the principal work's author after the word "By." For example, if you were to cite Hugh Dalziel Duncan’s introduction of Kenneth Burke’s book Permanence and Change, you would write the entry as follows:
Duncan, Hugh Dalziel. Introduction. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose, by Kenneth Burke, 1935, 3rd ed., U of California P, 1984, pp. xiii-xliv.
Book Published Before 1900
Original copies of books published before 1900 are usually defined by their place of publication rather than the publisher. Unless you are using a newer edition, cite the city of publication where you would normally cite the publisher.
Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions . Boston, 1863.
Italicize “The Bible” and follow it with the version you are using. Remember that your in-text (parenthetical citation) should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). (See Citing the Bible at In-Text Citations: The Basics .)
The Bible. Authorized King James Version , Oxford UP, 1998.
The Bible. The New Oxford Annotated Version , 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2001.
The New Jerusalem Bible. Edited by Susan Jones, Doubleday, 1985.
A Government Publication
Cite the author of the publication if the author is identified. Otherwise, start with the name of the national government, followed by the agency (including any subdivisions or agencies) that serves as the organizational author. For congressional documents, be sure to include the number of the Congress and the session when the hearing was held or resolution passed as well as the report number. US government documents are typically published by the Government Printing Office.
United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearing on the Geopolitics of Oil . Government Printing Office, 2007. 110th Congress, 1st session, Senate Report 111-8.
United States, Government Accountability Office. Climate Change: EPA and DOE Should Do More to Encourage Progress Under Two Voluntary Programs . Government Printing Office, 2006.
Cite the title and publication information for the pamphlet just as you would a book without an author. Pamphlets and promotional materials commonly feature corporate authors (commissions, committees, or other groups that does not provide individual group member names). If the pamphlet you are citing has no author, cite as directed below. If your pamphlet has an author or a corporate author, put the name of the author (last name, first name format) or corporate author in the place where the author name typically appears at the beginning of the entry. (See also Books by a Corporate Author or Organization above.)
Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System . American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006.
Your Rights Under California Welfare Programs . California Department of Social Services, 2007.
Dissertations and Master's Theses
Dissertations and master's theses may be used as sources whether published or not. Unlike previous editions, MLA 8 specifies no difference in style for published/unpublished works.
The main elements of a dissertation citation are the same as those for a book: author name(s), title (italicized) , and publication date. Conclude with an indication of the document type (e.g., "PhD dissertation"). The degree-granting institution may be included before the document type (though this is not required). If the dissertation was accessed through an online repository, include it as the second container after all the other elements.
Bishop, Karen Lynn. Documenting Institutional Identity: Strategic Writing in the IUPUI Comprehensive Campaign . 2002. Purdue University, PhD dissertation.
Bile, Jeffrey. Ecology, Feminism, and a Revised Critical Rhetoric: Toward a Dialectical Partnership . 2005. Ohio University, PhD dissertation.
Mitchell, Mark. The Impact of Product Quality Reducing Events on the Value of Brand-Name Capital: Evidence from Airline Crashes and the 1982 Tylenol Poisonings. 1987. PhD dissertation. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.
List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry if the author and publisher are not the same.
Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.
Citation Generators and MLA Style
In previous posts on the Style Center , we have advised writers to use caution when working with online citation generators and provided a lesson plan for instructors to help students work with and correct citations from these generators. Citation generators function by culling bibliographic details associated with published sources in online databases. So the citations generated depend on both how the developers programmed the generator and the specific details about the sources in the databases. For this reason, the quality of the citations can vary according to the accuracy of the programming instructions and the bibliographic information. Some citation generators include warnings to double-check the accuracy of the citations and some do not.
In this post I discuss three representative examples of automatically generated citations in MLA style and show how to correct them using the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook . All three examples refer to a 1995 edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby .
Example 1: WorldCat
The website WorldCat.org provides an option to cite any book found in its database. The button to cite a source is located underneath the image of the book’s cover and displays a quotation mark. If you navigate to the page for the 1995 edition of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby , click the citation button, and then choose “MLA 9th Edition” from the dropdown menu, the following citation is displayed:
Fitzgerald F. Scott and Matthew J Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby : The Authorized Text . Simon & Schuster 19951992.
There are a few problems with this citation. First is that the author should be Fitzgerald only, not Fitzgerald and Bruccoli. The website specifies that Bruccoli has provided notes for the edition. He is not listed as the editor, so it is not necessary to include his name in the entry, though you can do so if you prefer. Further, the Author element needs a comma: “Fitzgerald, F. Scott.”
The title also needs a bit of revision. Since “The Great Gatsby” is a title within the longer title, it should appear roman: The Great Gatsby : The Authorized Text . Also, according to MLA style, the ampersand in the publisher should be changed to “and.” Finally, the citation generator has mashed two dates together in the Publication Date element at the end. This edition is a 1995 reprint of an edition first published in 1992. Only the date of the specific edition is needed, so the date should read 1995 and be preceded by a comma. Here is the corrected entry:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby : The Authorized Text . Simon and Schuster, 1995.
Or, with Bruccoli’s role specified:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby : The Authorized Text . Notes by Matthew J. Bruccoli, Simon and Schuster, 1995.
WorldCat.org does not include a warning to double-check its citations, but as with all citation generators you should approach its citations as starting points and not as final products.
Example 2: University of Michigan Library
The record for the same book on the University of Michigan Library’s website shows much the same information as the record on WorldCat.org . But when you click the button with the quotation mark that says “Citation,” you get a much different citation:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby . 1st Scribner Paperback Fiction ed., Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995.
This citation is listed simply as “MLA citation” and does not specify which edition of the handbook is used. It is fairly close to the ninth edition format, however. The Author element is correctly formatted with a comma. The title is italicized. The Publisher and Publication Date elements are correctly formatted. The only change I would make is to remove the information about the edition. It’s usually not necessary to specify that a work is the first edition. Readers will assume it is the first edition unless otherwise noted in the entry. So the revised entry reads as follows:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby . Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995.
The University of Michigan does include a warning: “These citations are generated from a variety of data sources. Remember to check citation format and content for accuracy before including them in your work.” This particular citation is fairly close to the MLA’s current guidelines, but the quality of other citations generated on the website might vary.
Example 3: University of North Carolina Library
Like the entries on WorldCat.org and the University of Michigan Library’s website, the entry for the book on the University of North Carolina Library’s website includes all the basic information about the edition. When you click on the button with the quotation mark that reads “Cite,” you get yet another version of the citation:
Fitzgerald, F S. The Great Gatsby . New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995. Print.
This citation is listed under “MLA,” but it clearly is based on the seventh edition of the handbook. The place of publication and the word “Print” at the end are the giveaways. The MLA eliminated those two requirements in the eighth edition. The citation is mostly correct for the seventh edition, except for the Author element, which has omitted Fitzgerald’s middle name and the period after the “F.” To update to the ninth edition, correct the Author element and remove the place and medium of publication:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby . Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995.
The University of North Carolina includes this warning: “These citations are automatically generated and may not always be correct. Double-check your citations to make sure they match an official citation manual or guide.” In this case, it is helpful to know that citation generators will not always specify which version of a citation guide they are using to generate citations. Citation formatting in style guides like the MLA Handbook does sometimes change with new editions, so be sure you are consulting the latest version or the version specified by your instructor or publisher.
Interactive Practice Template
While the MLA does not offer its own citation generator, it does offer an interactive practice template where users can produce their own works-cited-list entries. Users enter the details of their source in the various element slots, and the site generates the entry bit by bit on the top right. This helps students and other writers practice producing their own entries by looking at the details of the sources they’re citing. Online citation generators can be a useful place to start the citation process, but they should always be supplemented by official citation guides like the MLA Handbook and resources like the MLA’s interactive practice template.
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- Knowledge Base
- How to cite a journal article in MLA style
How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA | Format & Examples
Published on April 16, 2019 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on June 16, 2022.
An MLA Works Cited entry for a journal article contains the author(s); article title; journal name; volume and issue; month and year; page range; and a DOI if accessed online. In the in-text citation, include the author’s last name and the page number.
Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr
Table of contents, citing an online journal article, articles with multiple authors, articles in special issue journals, frequently asked questions about mla style.
When citing an online journal article, first look for a DOI , as this is more stable and less likely to change than a URL. A DOI should be formatted as a full link beginning with “https://”, even if not listed as such on the page with the article.
If there is no DOI, you can add a URL instead. If the article is in PDF form, you can optionally note this in your reference .
Citing an article in a database
For sources that you accessed via a database, include the database name along with the DOI or permanent URL.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
In MLA style, up to two authors are included in citations. List them in the order they appear in the source, separated by commas, and don’t invert the second author’s name.
If an article has three or more authors, include only the first author’s name, followed by “ et al. ”
Special issue journals focus on a specific theme, are written by a specific group of authors, or are compiled from a special event.
In these cases, include the special issue name, the phrase “special issue of,” and the journal’s regular name. If the special issue lists editors or other contributors, their names should also be included.
The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style , but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals , newspapers , websites , or any other publication. Use italics for the title of the source where the article was published. For example:
Use the same formatting in the Works Cited entry and when referring to the article in the text itself.
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.
In MLA style citations , format a DOI as a link, including “https://doi.org/” at the start and then the unique numerical code of the article.
DOIs are used mainly when citing journal articles in MLA .
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)
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 ).
Cite this Scribbr article
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.
Gahan, C. (2022, June 16). How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/journal-citation/
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SSCI 381: Computational Social Science
- Key Resources
- Create a Search Strategy
- Evaluate Sources
Writing a Literature Review
Avoid plagiarism, cite properly, other citation resources.
- Class Activity
Online Learning Librarian
A literature review, or lit review for short, is an overview of the information that has been published on a subject by researchers and scholars. Your purpose in a literature review is to give your readers a sense of the current state of research on a topic - what knowledge and ideas have been established? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do various authors differ in their conclusions on this topic? What is unknown still?
A literature is not just a list of people or articles who have studied a topic, nor is it simply a summary of resources; a literature review should involve synthesis and analysis of the themes and trends on a topic.
- The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It From the University of Toronto's Health Sciences Writing Centre, this page provides tips and helpful questions for researching and writing your lit review.
- Writing A Literature Review and Using a Synthesis Matrix This document introduces the Synthesis Matrix, a tool to help make sure you're not just summarizing the sources you've found, and includes examples. Created by NC State University Writing and Speaking Tutorial Service Tutors.
- Plagiarism and Avoiding It From IIT, this page from "The Writing Process" Writing Guide covers what plagiarism is and is not, as well as tips for how to avoid it.
You can always use the library search or a database to automatically generate a citation, but make sure you double check that it's accurate! Automatically generated citations tend to have errors, like missing author names, incorrect page ranges, or unnecessary information.
Use the resources below to double check that your citations are accurate and contain all the information you need.
- APA Style's Reference Examples From the official APA Style guide, these examples cover the citation style for most types of references, including Journal Article References.
- Excelsior Online Writing Lab - APA Style Online guide to APA from Excelsior University, which covers most common formatting for in-text and References page citations.
- MLA Style Center The MLA Style Center has some basic examples that cover the citation style for most types of references, including books, online works, audio, and visual works.
- Excelsior Online Writing Lab - MLA Style Online guide to MLA from Excelsior University, which covers most common formatting for in-text and References page citations.
- Zoterobib ZoteroBib is a free service that helps you quickly create a bibliography in any citation style. Like any service that automatically generates citations, you should double check that the style looks correct before using it.
- Zotero Guide The library's guide to Zotero, a free open source tool that allows you to save citations as you research and easily enter them into your paper as you write.
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- Next: Class Activity >>
- Last Updated: Nov 8, 2023 11:12 AM
- URL: https://guides.library.iit.edu/ssci381
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How to cite in an essay: what MLA and APA are
Citing an essay: getting acquainted with MLA and APA
It doesn’t matter if you are just a high school student or you are already a professional writer: you should be able to cite the sources you use with a specific style of formatting. Two most popular and commonly used in citing styles are MLA and APA . They make sure there is no plagiarism in the text and provide the readers with the link where they can find more info about the paper.
As citations are very important part of your essay, you should directly follow the instructions. So let’s consider the requirements for each of the given styles.
MLA basic rules
- Write the last name of the author followed by a comma and the first name followed by a period. Then put the essay name in quotations (the period must be inside the last one) and make the first letters of words capital.
- Write the title in italics (if you hand write, then just underline it). Before you write the name of the editor, use “Ed.”.
- Location of the book should be written followed by a colon and then – name of the publisher.
You can use the following example to understand what we mean: Harris, Muriel. “Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers.” A Tutor’s Guide: Helping Writers One to One. Ed. Ben Rafoth. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000. 24-34. Print.
APA basic rules
APA is the abbreviation from the American Psychological Association, and this formatting style is actively used in business, social sciences and nursing. How to cite an article in an essay according to APA style?
- Write the last name of the author followed by a comma and the first name followed by a period.
- Write the essay title ending it with a period. You should capitalize only the first letter in the first word and not all of them like in MLA.
- Write it in italics or underline and then end it with a period.
You can use the following example to understand what we mean: Bjork, R. A. (1989). Retrieval inhibition as an adaptive mechanism in human memory. In H. L. Roediger III, & F. I. M. Craik (Eds.), Varieties of memory & consciousness (pp. 309-330). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
How to cite a website in an essay
MLA formatting style does not require adding the URL, However, they require you to include the publisher of the website or its sponsor (and usually it is a corporation, not an individual).
For instance: Last, First M. “Article Title.”Website Title. Website Publisher, Date Month Year Published. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.
In APA you should just cite a general website article with the author.
By the way, to make sure your citation is made in the proper way – use online citation generator tools, which are able help with the formatting style
How to cite a quote in an essay
According to MLA, you when citing a quote you should omit quotation marks, start it with the new line, use double spacing and include the citation after the punctuation ends. And in APA you should just include the last name of the author, the year and also the page number.
That is it 🙂
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