The Complete Guide to MLA & Citations
What You’ll Find on 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 Citation Machine’s guide on APA format.
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! Re-using a project or paper from another class or time and saying that it is 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 or viewer of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote into your project. Citations are also included in the body when you’re paraphrasing another individual’s information. These citations that are found in the body of a research paper are called in-text, or parenthetical citations. These citations are found directly after the information that was borrowed and are very brief in order to avoid becoming distracted while reading a project. Included in these brief citations is usually just the last name of the author and a page number or the year published. Scroll down below for an in-depth explanation and examples of in-text and parenthetical citations.
In-text and parenthetical citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, it doesn't include the title and other components. Look on the last page or part of a research project, where complete citations can be found in their entirety.
Complete citations are found on what is called an MLA Works Cited page, which is sometimes called a bibliography. All sources that were used to develop your research project are found on the Works Cited page. Complete citations are created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text, but also any sources that helped you develop your research project. Included in complete citations is 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? Try Citation Machine’s MLA formatter! The 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 across the site. Also, check out this article to see MLA citation in the news.
Why Does it Matter?
Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It shows that you’re a responsible researcher. It also shows that you were able to locate appropriate and reputable sources that helped back up 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.
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 science such as geography, economics, history, and others. The humanities specifically focuses 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.
Why do we use this style?
These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations was developed for numerous reasons. When scholars and researchers in the 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 recognize and understand the different components of a source. From looking at a 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 that was created 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. Currently in its 8th edition, the 8th version is a citation style that is much different than the previous formatting style.
In the 7th version, which is the format, or structure, that was previously used, researchers and scholars found it grueling to put their citations together. Why? Each source used a different citation structure. Researchers and scholars were required to look up the citation format that matched the type of source they used. So, if a person used a book, a website, a journal article, a newspaper article, and an e-book, all in one research project, they were required to look up how to cite each one of those sources because each was structured differently.
Now, with the new version of MLA formatting, which is version 8, all source types use the same citation structure. The Modern Language Association enacted this new format due to the many new and innovative ways of obtaining information. We are no longer receiving information through traditional means, such as books, websites, and articles. We can now obtain information through apps, advertisements, Tweets, other social media posts, and many other creative ways. To make the process of creating citations easier for researchers and scholars, the Modern Language Association decided to have one MLA citing format, which works for all source types.
Other changes were made as well. This includes:
- removing http:// and https:// from URLs.
- not including the city where a source was published or the name of the publisher from some source types (such as newspapers).
- the ability to use a screen name or username in place of an author’s full name.
- using the abbreviations vol. and no., for volume and number, when including information from a periodical.
A Deeper Look at Citations
What do they look like?
There are two types of citations. There are regular or complete citations, which 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.
Regular 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 URL or page range).
There are times when additional information is added into the regular 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 component of the citation.
The other 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 and parenthetical citations?
As stated above, in text citations, also called parenthetical 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 immediately after the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular citation. The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project.
Here’s what a typical in text or parenthetical citation looks like:
Throughout the novel, 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 included so that 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 them to focus on our work and research, not necessarily our sources.
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.
If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a paragraph number (use the abbreviation par. or pars.), sections (sec. or secs.), or chapters (ch. or chs.). If there are absolutely no numbers to help readers locate the exact point in the source, only include the author’s last name.
More About Quotations and How to Cite a Quote:
- Use quotes from outside sources to help illustrate and expand on your own points, but the majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas.
- Include the quote exactly as you found it. It is okay to pull and 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
- The entire paper should be double spaced, including quotes.
Example: Dorothy stated, “Toto,” then looked up and took in her surroundings, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore“ (Wizard of Oz).
- 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 in 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, start the next paragraph with the same half inch indent
- Add your in-text citation at the end of the block quote
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).
Confused about whether footnotes and endnotes should be used?
Footnotes and endnotes are not used in this style. Use in-text, or parenthetical citations, in the body of your work. In addition, create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project on the Works Cited list.
If you need help with in text and parenthetical citations, Citation Machine can help. Citation Machine’s MLA citation generator is simple and easy to use!
Specific Components of a Citation
This section explains each individual component of the citation, with examples for each section.
Name of the Author
The author’s name is usually the first item listed in the 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 citation:
Poe, Edgar Allan.
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:
First listed author’s Last Name, First name, and Second author’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.
There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This happens often with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.
To cite a source with three or more authors, place the information in this format:
First listed author’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 Citation Machine’s 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.
Is there no author listed on your source? If so, in MLA formatting, exclude the author’s information from the citation and begin the citation with the title of the source.
Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? If this is the case, 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 Citation Machine’s citation generator, you will be able to 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, Citation Machine 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 title written properly:
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 sits in, 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 this:
Pink Floyd. The Wall. Columbia, 1979.
To cite one of the songs on Pink Floyd’s album, cite it as this:
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 this:
Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories. Little Brown, 2016.
To cite a specific story, or chapter, in the book, it would be cited as this:
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 that 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 other 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 on 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, Citation Machine’s MLA formatter, or MLA cite generator, can help! MLA citing is easier when using Citation Machine’s website.
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. 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.
In MLA format citing, 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 for 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 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 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’s 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.
When MLA citing websites, make sure to remove the beginning of the URL (http:// or https://) as it is not necessary to include this information.
For page numbers, when citing a source that sits 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.
Looking for an online tool to do the work for you? Citation Machine can 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, Citation Machine’s MLA formatter will help you save time and energy when creating your citations. Check out our MLA Citation Machine page to learn more.
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic, 2008.
Chapter in an Edited Book:
Khan, Maryam. “Co-branding in the Restaurant Industry.” Managing Tourism and Hospitality Services: Theory and International Application. Edited by B. Prideaux et al., CABI, 2005, pp. 73-82.
Print Scholarly Journal Articles:
Zak, Elizabeth. “Do You Believe in Magic? Exploring the Conceptualization of Augmented Reality and its Implications for the User in the Field of Library and Information Science.” Information Technology & Libraries, vol. 33, no. 3, 2014, pp. 23-50.
Online Scholarly Journal Articles:
Kuzuhara, Kenji, et al. “Injuries in Japanese Mini-Basketball Players During Practices and Games.” Journal of Athletic Training, vol. 51. no. 2, Dec. 2016, p. 1022. Gale Health Reference Center Academic, i.ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=HRCA&sw=w&u=nypl&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA484460772&it=r&asid=91b1a34dda62a32f4cd82c768e8a6a97.
How to Cite a Website:
When citing a website, individuals are often actually citing a specific page on a website. They’re not actually citing the entire website.
Here is the most common way to cite a page on a website:
- Start the citation with the name of the author who wrote the information on the page. If there isn’t an author listed, do not include this information in the citation. Start the citation with the title.
- The title of the individual page is placed in quotation marks, followed by a period.
- Next, place the name of the website in italics, followed by a comma.
- If the name of the publisher matches the name of the author or the name of the title, do not include the publisher’s information in the citation.
- The date the page or website was published comes next.
- End the citation with the URL. When including the URL, remove http:// and https:// from the URL. Since most websites begin with this prefix, it is not necessary to include it in the citation.
Last name, First name of author. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date published, URL.
Rothfeld, Lindsay. “Smarter Education: The Rise of Big Data in the Classroom.” Mashable, 3 Sept. 2014, mashable.com/2014/09/03/education-data-video/#hViqdPbFbgqH.
(When citing websites, remember to remove http:// and https:// from the URL.)
Print Newspaper Articles:
Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara. “Medium Cool.” New York Observer, 2 Mar. 2015, pp. 14-17.
Online Newspaper Articles:
Skiba, Katherine. “Obama To Hold First Public Event Since Leaving Office in Chicago on Monday.” Los Angeles Times, 24 Apr. 2017, www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-obama-speech-20170424-story.html.
“Three Turkeys.” Modern Family, produced by Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, ABC, 19 Nov. 2014.
Home Alone. Performance by Macaulay Culkin, directed by Chris Columbus, 20th Century Fox, 1990.
DJ Mag. “Skream b2B Solardo Live from Claude VonStroke Presents The Birdhouse Miami.” YouTube, 29 Mar. 2017, youtu.be/4Q448x-LHGg.
Gates, Melinda. “Today, Bill and I were deeply humbled to accept France’s Legion of Honour award on behalf of all our foundation’s partners and grantees.” Twitter, 21 Apr. 2017, 2:36 p.m., twitter.com/melindagates/status/855535625713459200.
How to Cite an Image:
There are a variety of ways to cite an image. This section will show how to cite a digital image found on a website and an image in print
How to cite a digital image:
Use this structure to cite a digital image:
Last name, First name of the creator (if available). “Title or Description of the Image*. Title of the Website, Publisher**, Date published, URL.
*if the digital image does not have an official title, create a brief description. Do not place the description in quotation marks or italics. In addition, only capitalize the first letter in the description and any proper nouns.
**If the name of the publisher is the same as the author or the same name as the website, do not include the publisher in the citation.
“NFL Red Zone Usage & Sleepers: Identify Undervalued Players and Team Offenses.” RotoBaller, www.rotoballer.com/nfl-fantasy-football-cheat-sheet-draft-kit?src=bar.
Wondering how to cite an image found through a search engine, such as Google? Head to the site where the image “lives,” by clicking on the link that leads you to the website. Cite the image using the information from the original site.
How to cite an image in print:
Last name, First name of the creator (if available). "Title" or Description of the Image*. Title of the Container, such as a the Book Title, Magazine Title, etc., Publisher**, Date published, page or page range.
*if the digital image does not have an official title, create a brief description. Do not place the description in quotation marks or italics. In addition, only capitalize the first letter in the description and any proper nouns.
**If the name of the publisher is the same as the author or the same name as the website, do not include the publisher in the citation.
Photograph of Kate Middleton. Metro New York, 19 July 2017, p.17.
How to Cite a Magazine in Print:
To cite a magazine in print, you’ll need the following pieces of information. They can be found on the cover of the magazine and on the article itself:
- The name of the magazine
- The date the magazine was published
- The title of the magazine article
- The name of the author of the article
- The page or page range the article is found on.
On the cover of most magazines, you can find the title of the magazine as well as the date the magazine was published. On the article itself, you can find the name of the article’s author(s), the title of the article, and the page or page range that the article is found on.
If the article appears on nonconsecutive pages, include the page number for the first page the article is found on, and then add a plus sign after it. Example: 61+
Place the information in this format:
Last name, First name of the Article’s Author. “Title of the Article.” Title of the Magazine, Date published, page range.
Example for the print magazine article above:
Gopnik, Adam. “A New Man: Ernest Hemingway, Revised and Revisited.” The New Yorker, 3 July 2017, pp. 61-66.
How to Cite an Essay
An essay is an analytic writing piece that is generally short in length (compared to books and journal articles) and focuses on a specific topic or subject. Citing an essay is similar to citing a chapter in a book or a story in an anthology. Include the name of the individual author or the group of authors, the title of the essay (placed in quotation marks), the title of the book, collection, or site the essay is found on (in italics), the name of the editor (if there is one), the volume and issue number (if they are available), the publication date, and the location. The location can be either a page range or a URL.
Here is an MLA formatting example of how to cite an essay:
Hasen, Richard L. “Race or Party? How Courts Should Think About Republican Efforts to Make it Harder to Vote in North Carolina and Elsewhere.” Harvard Law Review Forum, vol. 125, no. 58, 7 Jan. 2014, harvardlawreview.org/2014/01/race-or-party-how-courts-should-think-about-republican-efforts-to-make-it-harder-to-vote-in-north-carolina-and-elsewhere/.
Click here for additional information on essays
How to Cite an Interview:
To cite interviews:
- Place the name of the person being interviewed at the beginning of the citation, in the author’s position
- The title or description of the interview comes next. If there isn’t a formal title, only use the word Interview as the title and do not place it in quotation marks or italics.
- If found online or in a book, include the title of the website or book after the title.
- After the title, it is acceptable to include the name of the interviewer. Include this information especially if it will help readers locate the interview themselves or if it’s relevant to the research paper.
- Include the publisher if it is a published interview and if it differs from any other information already found in the citation.
- Include the date that the interview was either published or the date that the interview occurred.
- If found online, include the URL. Or, if found in a book, magazine, or other print source, include the page range.
Here are two examples:
Gutman, Dan. “Interview with Children’s Author Dan Gutman.” The Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2011, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/08/AR2011030805468.html.
Lin, Brenda. Interview. By Michele Kirschenbaum. 17 July 2017.
How to Cite a PDF:
Check to see if the the PDF is written by an individual, set of authors, or an organization or company. If it is not written by an individual or a set of authors, use the name of the organization or company responsible for creating the PDF in place of the author’s name. Continue with the title of the PDF, version (if there are different versions available), the publisher (only include if the name of the publisher is different than the name of the author or the title), the publication date, and the location (usually a URL if found online).
Notice that in the example below, the name of the publisher (The American Podiatric Medical Association) is omitted since the name of the publisher is the same name as the author.
MLA format example:
American Podiatric Medical Association. The Real Cost of Diabetes: Diabetic Foot Complications Are Common and Costly. apma.files.cms-plus.com/ProductPDFs/APMA_TodaysPodiatrist_Infographic_8.5x11.pdf.
Click here for more on PDFs
How to Cite a Textbook in Print:
To cite a full textbook in print, you’ll need to find the following pieces of information:
- The name of the author(s) or editor(s)
- The title of the textbook, including any subtitles
- The version of the textbook (such as a numbered edition or revised edition)
- The name of the publisher
- The year the textbook was published
Place the pieces of information in this format:
Last name, First name of the author or Last name, First name, editor. Title of the Textbook. Version, Publisher, Year published.
If the textbook was compiled by an editor, use this format at the beginning of the citation:
Last name, First name, editor.
Examples of how to cite a textbook in print:
Lilly, Leonard S. Braunwald’s Heart Disease: Review and Assessment. 9th ed., Elsevier Saunders, 2012.
Cherny, Nathan, et al., editors. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine. 5th ed., Oxford UP, 2015.
How to Cite a Chapter from a Textbook in Print:
To cite an individual chapter, you’ll need to find the following pieces of information:
- The name of the author(s) of the individual chapter or section
- The title of the individual chapter or section
- The title of the textbook
- The name of the editors of the textbook
- The version of the textbook (such as a numbered edition or a revised edition)
- The name of the publisher
- The year the textbook was published
Place the pieces of information in this format:
Last name, First name of the chapter author. “Title of the chapter or section.” Title of the Textbook, edited by First name Last name of editor, version, Publisher, Year published, page or page range.
Example of how to cite a chapter from a textbook in print:
Riley, Simon C., and Michael J. Murphy. “Student Choice in the Undergraduate Curriculum: Student-Selected Components.” Oxford Textbook of Medical Education, edited by Kieran Walsh, Oxford UP, pp. 50-63.
How to Cite a Survey
Surveys can be found online or in print. Find the format below that matches the type of survey you’re attempting to cite.
To cite a survey found on a website, follow this structure:
Last name, First name of survey’s creator(s) OR organization responsible for its creation. “Title of the Survey.” Title of the Website, Publisher (if different than the author or website title), Publication date, URL.
International Food Information Council Foundation. “Food Decision 2016: Food & Health Survey.” Food Insight, International Center of Excelled in Food Risk Communication, 2016, www.foodinsight.org/sites/default/files/2016-Food-and-Health-Survey-Report_%20FINAL_0.pdf.
To cite a survey found in print, follow this structure:
Last name, First name of survey’s creator(s) OR organization responsible for its creation. “Title of Survey.” Title of Publication, Publisher (if different than the author or website title), Publication date, page or page range that survey is found on.
Don’t see your source type on this guide? Citation Machine’s citation generator can create your citations for you! Our website will help you develop your works cited page and in text and parenthetical citations in just a few clicks.
Looking for APA? Check out Citation Machine’s guide on APA format.
Need some more help? There is further good information here
Check out this article to see it in the news.
How to Format and Write a Paper
When it comes to formatting your paper or essay for academic purposes, there are specific guidelines to follow. The section that follows will answer the following questions: How to format an MLA paper, How to create papers, and How to write in MLA format. If you’re trying to learn how to format your essay, this section will help you too.
- 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. Click here for more on margins.
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 page 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 lies flush, against the left margin
- New paragraphs should be indented half an inch from 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.
- Number all pages, including the Works Cited page
- 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
- The Works Cited list should be at the end of the paper, on its own page.
- 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 Associatin’s official guidelines for formatting a research paper, it is not necessary to create or include an individual title 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 a 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 of 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 list 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 List 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 as “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.)
- All citations begin flush against the left margin. If the citation is long in length, and rolls onto a second or third line, the lines below the first line are indented 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.
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.
- Works Cited pages can be longer than one page. Use as many pages as necessary.
Your Ultimate MLA Format Guide & Generator
What is MLA?
MLA stands for the Modern Language Association, which is an organization that focuses on language and literature.
Depending on which subject area your class or research focuses on, your professor may ask you to cite your sources in MLA format. This is a specific way to cite, following the Modern Language Association’s guidelines. There are other styles, such as APA format and Chicago, but this citation style is often used for literature, language, liberal arts, and other humanities subjects.
What is Citing?
The Modern Language Association's Handbook is in its 8th edition and standardizes the way scholars document their sources and format their papers. When everyone documents their sources and papers in the same way, it is simple to recognize and understand the types of sources that were used for a project. Readers of your work will not only look at your citations to understand them, but to possibly explore them as well.
When you’re borrowing information from a source and placing it in your research or assignment, it is important to give credit to the original author. This is done by creating a citation. Depending on the type of information you’re including in your work, some citations are placed in the body of your project, and all are included in a “Works Cited” list, at the end of your project.
The handbook explains how to create citations. This page summarizes the information in the handbook, 8th edition.
There is also a section below on a recommended way to create a header. These headers appear at the top of your assignment. Check with your instructor if they prefer a certain MLA format heading.
What is MLA Format?
The 8th edition is the most recent and updated version of MLA citations. Released in April of 2016, this citation format is much different than previous versions.
The biggest difference and most exciting update is the use of one standard format for all source types. In previous versions, scholars were required to locate the citation format for the specific source that they used. There were different formats for books, websites, periodicals, and so on. Now, using one universal MLA citation format allows scholars to spend less time trying to locate the proper format to document their sources and focus more on their research.
Other updates include the addition of “containers.” A container is essentially what a source sits in. Chapters are found in a book, songs are found in an album, and journal articles are found in journals. What the source is found in is its container.
URLs are now encouraged to be added into citations (remove http:// and https:// when including URLs), social media pseudonyms and usernames can replace the real name of the author, volume and issue numbers are now abbreviated as vol. and no., and cities of publication and the source’s medium (such as print or web) are no longer included in citations.
When adding information into your project from another source, you are required to add an MLA citation. There are two types of MLA format citations: in-text citations and full citations.
When using a direct quote or paraphrasing information from a source, add an in-text citation into the body of your work. Direct quotes are word-for-word quotes that are pulled from a source and added into your project. A paraphrase is taking a section of information from a source and placing it in your own words. Both direct quotes and paraphrases require in-text, or parenthetical citations, to follow it.
Format your in-text citation as follows:
“Direct quote” or Paraphrase (Author’s last name and page number)
*See the section below on in-text citations for further clarification and instructions.
All sources used for a project are found on the Works Cited list, which is generally the last item in a project.
MLA Citing Format often includes the following pieces of information, in this order:
Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, other contributors, version, numbers, publisher, publication date, location.
Don’t forget, BibMe’s MLA citation generator is an MLA formatter that helps you create your citations quickly and easily!
The author is generally the first item in a citation (unless the source does not have an author). The author’s name is followed by a period.
If the source has one author, place the last name first, add a comma, and then the first name.
If your source has two authors, place them in the same order they’re shown on the source. The first author is in reverse order, add a comma and the word "and", then place the second author in standard form. Follow their names with a period.
Monsen, Avery, and Jory John.
For three or more authors, only include the first listed author’s name. Place the first author in reverse order, place a comma afterwards, and then add the Latin phrase, et al.
Borokhovic, Kenneth A., et al.
For social media posts, it’s acceptable to use a screen name or username in place of the author’s name. Start the citation with the user’s handle.
@TheOnion. “Experts Warn Number of Retirees Will Completely Overwhelm Scenic Railway Industry by 2030.” Twitter, 9 Oct. 2017, 9:50 a.m., twitter.com/TheOnion/status/917386689500340225.
No author listed? If there isn’t an author, start the citation with the title and skip the author section completely.
Citations do not need to always start with the name of the author. When your research focuses on a specific individual that is someone other than the author, it is appropriate for readers to see that individual’s name at the beginning of the citation. Directors, actors, translators, editors, and illustrators are common individuals to have at the beginning. Again, only include their name in place of the author if your research focuses on that specific individual.
To include someone other than the author at the beginning of the citation, place their name in reverse order, add a comma afterwards, and then the role of that individual followed by a comma.
Fimmel, Travis, performer. Vikings. Created by Michael Hirst, History Channel, 2013-2016.
Gage, John T., editor. The Promise of Reason: Studies in the New Rhetoric. SIU Press, 2011.
Titles and Containers
Titles follow the name of the author and are written in title capitalization form.
If you’re citing a source in its entirety, such as a full book, a movie, or a music album, then place the title in italics.
Franzen, Jonathan. The Corrections. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001.
Rufus Du Sol. Bloom. Sweat It Out! 2016.
If you’re citing a source, such as a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a journal or website, then place the title of the piece in quotations and add a period afterwards. Follow it with the title of the full source, in italics, and then add a comma. This second portion is called the container. Containers hold the sources.
MLA formatting example with containers:
Vance, Erik, and Erika Larsen. “Mind Over Matter.” National Geographic Magazine, Dec. 2016, pp. 30-55.
Beyonce. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” I am...Sasha Fierce, Sony, 2008, track 2.
Wondering what to do with subtitles? Place a colon in between the title and subtitle. Both parts are written in title capitalization form.
Nasar, Sylvia. A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash. Simon and Schuster, 2001.
If the source does not have a title, give a brief description and do not use quotation marks or italics.
Israel, Aaron. Brooklyn rooftop acrylic painting. 2012, 12 W 9th Street, New York City.
When citing a tweet, the full text of the tweet is placed where the title sits.
@LOCMaps. “#DYK the first public zoo to open in the US was the #Philadelphia Zoo? #50States.” Twitter, 9 Feb. 2017, 3:14 p.m., twitter.com/LOCMaps/status/829785441549185024.
For email messages, the subject of the email is the title. Place this information in quotation marks.
Rabe, Leor. “Fwd: Japan Itinerary.” Received by Raphael Rabe, 11 Feb 2017.
Citations with Two Containers:
It is possible for a source to sit in a second, or larger container. A journal article sits in its first container, which is the journal itself, but it can also sit in a larger container, such as a database. A song can sit in its first container, which is the album it’s found on. Then it can sit in its next container, which could be Spotify or iTunes.
It is important to include the second container because the content on one container can be different than another container.
Citing with two containers should be formatted like this:
Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, other contributors, version, numbers, Publisher, publication date, location. Title of Second Container, Other contributors, version, number, Publisher, publication date, location.
In most cases, for the second container, only the title of the second container and the location is needed. Why? In order for readers to locate the source themselves, they’ll most likely use the majority of the information found in the first part of the citation.
Examples of Citations with 2 Containers:
Sallis, James, et al. “Physical Education’s Role in Public Health: Steps Forward and Backward Over 20 Years and Hope for the Future.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, vol. 83, no. 2, Jun. 2012, pp. 125-135. ProQuest, ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1023317255?accountid=35635.
Baker, Martha. “Fashion: Isaac in Wonderland.” New York Magazine, vol. 24, no. 3, 21 Jan. 1991, pp. 50-54. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=PukCAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PP1&dq=magazine&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=magazine&f=false.
Remember, BibMe creates citations for you quickly and easily!
Format for Other Contributors:
In MLA citing, when there are other individuals (besides the author) who play a significant role in your research, include them in this section of the citation. Other contributors can also be added to help individuals locate the source themselves. You can add as many other contributors as you like.
Start this part of the citation with the individual’s role, followed by the word "by". Notice that if other contributors are added after a period, capitalize the first letter in the individual’s role. If it follows a comma, the role should start with a lowercase letter.
Gaitskill, Mary. “Twilight of the Superheroes.” The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction: 50 North American Stories Since 1970, edited by Lex Williford and Michael Martone, Simon and Schuster, 2012, pp. 228-238.
The Incredibles. Directed by Brad Bird, produced by John Walker, Pixar, 2004.
Gospodinov, Georgi. The Physics of Sorrow. Translated by Angela Rodel, Open Letter, 2015.
Format for Versions:
Sources can come in different versions. There are numerous bible versions, books can come in versions (such as numbered editions), even movies and songs can have special versions.
When a source indicates that it is different than other versions, include this information in the citation. This will help readers locate the exact source that you used for your project.
The Bible. Lexham English Version, Logos, 2011, lexhamenglishbible.com.
Crank, J. The Mathematics of Diffusion. 2nd ed., Clarendon, 1979.
Afrojack. “Take Over Control.” Beatport, performance by Eva Simons, extended version, 2011, www.beatport.com/track/take-over-control-feat-eva-simons-extended/1621534.
MLA Formatting for Numbers:
Any numbers related to a source that isn’t the publication date, page range, or version number should be placed in the numbers position of the citation. This includes volume and issue numbers for journal articles, volume or series numbers for books, comic book numbers, and television episode numbers, to name a few.
When including volume and issue numbers, use the abbreviation vol. for volume and no. for number.
Zhai, Xiaojuan, and Jingjing Wang. “Improving Relations Between Users and and Libraries: A Survey of Chinese Academic Libraries.” The Electronic Library, vol. 34, no. 4, 2016, pp. 597-616. ProQuest Research Library, ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/docview/1841764839?accountid=35635.
“Chestnut.” Westworld, directed by Richard J. Lewis, season 1, episode 2, Warner Bros., 2016.
The production of the source is done by the publisher. The publisher is placed in the citation before the date of publication. Include the publisher for any source type except for websites when the name of the publisher is the same as the name of the website. It is also not necessary to include the name of publishers for newspapers, magazines, or journal articles, since the name of the publisher is generally insignificant.
When sources have more than one publisher that share responsibility for the production of the source, place a slash between the names of the publishers.
Use the abbreviation UP when the name of the publisher includes the words University Press.
When including the date that the source was published, display the amount of information that is found on the source, whether it’s the full date, the month and year, or just the year.
In terms of display, it does not matter if the date is written in a specific order. Make sure to use the same format for all citations.
2 Nov. 2016 or Nov. 2, 2016
When multiple dates are shown on the source, include the date that is most relevant to your work and research.
The location refers to the place where the source can be found. This can be in the form of a URL, page number, disc number, or physical place.
When MLA citing websites, include URLs. Remove the beginning of the web address as it is not necessary to include http:// or https://. If a DOI number is present, use it in place of a URL.
For page numbers, use the abbreviation p. when only referring to one page, and pp. for a range of pages.
Citations for Books:
The basic entry for a book consists of the author’s name, the book title, the publisher, and the year published.
Author’s Last name, First name. Book Title. Publisher, Year published.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones, 1818.
The first author’s name should be reversed, with a comma being placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). The name should not be abbreviated and should be written exactly as it appears on the title page.
For a book written by two authors, list them in order as they appear on the title page. Only the first author’s name should be reversed, while the second author’s name is written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma, and place the word “and” before the second author’s name.
Smith, John, and Bob Anderson. The Sample Book. Books For Us, 2017.
For books with three or more authors, only include the first author, followed by a comma and the abbreviation “et al.”
Campbell, Megan, et al. The Best Book. Books For Us, 2017.
The full title of the book, including any subtitles, should be italicized and followed by a period. If the book has a subtitle, the main title should be followed by a colon (unless the main title ends with a question mark or exclamation point).
The publication information can generally be found on the title page of the book. If it is not available there, it may also be found on the copyright page. State the name of the publisher.
If you are citing a specific page range from the book, include the page(s) at the end of the citation.
Smith, John, and Bob Anderson. The Sample Book. Books For Us, 2017, pp. 5-12.
When a book has no edition number/name present, it is generally a first edition. If you have to cite a specific edition of a book later than the first, see the section below on citing edited books.
Citations for E-Books:
Author’s Last name, First name. Title of E-Book. Publisher, Year published. Title of Website, URL.
Rodgers, Tara. Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound. Duke UP, 2010. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=syqTarqO5XEC&lpg=PP1&dq=electronic%20music&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=electronic%20music&f=false.
Citations for Edited Books:
If your book is an edition later than the first, you should note this in the citation. If the book is a revised edition or an edition that includes substantial new content, include the number, name, or year of the edition and the abbreviation “ed.” after the book title. “Revised edition” should be abbreviated as “revised ed.” and “Abridged edition” should be “abridged ed.” The edition can usually be found on the title page, as well as on the copyright page, along with the edition’s date.
Author’s Last name, First name, editor. Title of Book. Numbered ed., Publisher, Year published.
Ferraro, Gary, and Susan Andreatta, editors. Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective. 10th ed., Cengage Learning, 2014.
Smith, John. The Sample Book. Revised ed., Books For Us, 2017.
If your edited book has more than one author, refer to the directions above under the heading “Authors.”
Also, BibMe helps you create your citations with more than one author quickly and easily!
Citations for Websites:
The most basic entry for a website consists of the author name(s), page title, website title, sponsoring institution/publisher, date published, and the URL.
Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Individual Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date, URL.
Fosslien, Liz, and Mollie West. “3 Ways to Hack Your Environment to Help You Create.” Huffpost Endeavor, Huffington Post, Dec. 7, 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/3-ways-to-hack-your-environment-to-help-you-createus580f758be4b02444efa569bc.
The first author’s name should be reversed, with a comma placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). The name should not be abbreviated and should be written exactly as it appears on the website.
For a page with two or more authors, list them in the order as they appear on the website. Only the first author’s name should be reversed, while the others are written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma, and place the word “and” before the last author’s name. For pages with three or more authors, only include the first author, followed by the abbreviation “et al.”
If the article was written by a news service or an organization, include it in the author position.
If no author is available, begin the citation with the page title.
The page title should be placed within quotation marks. Place a period after the page title within the quotation marks. The page title is followed by the name of the website, which is italicized, followed by a comma.
Include the sponsoring institution or publisher, along with a comma, after the website title. The sponsoring institution/publisher can usually be found at the bottom of the website in the footer. If the name of the publisher is the same as the name as the website, do not include the publisher information in your citation.
Next, state the publication date of the page. In some cases, a specific date might not be available, and the date published may only be specific to a month or even year. Provide whatever date information is available.
End the citation with the URL. Remove http:// and https:// from the beginning of the citation. End the entire citation with a period.
Looking for an MLA formatter to create your website citations quickly and easily? Check out BibMe!
Citations for Online Journal Articles:
The most basic entry for a journal consists of the author name(s), article title, journal name, volume number, issue number, year published, page numbers, name of website or database, and URL or Direct Object Identifier (DOI).
Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Journal Article.” Title of Journal, vol. number, issue no., date, page range. Database or Website Name, URL or DOI.
Snyder, Vivian. “The Effect Course-Based Reading Strategy Training on the Reading Comprehension Skills of Developmental College Students.” Research and Teaching in Developmental Education, vol. 18, no. 2, Spring 2002, pp. 37-41. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/42802532.
The first author’s name should be reversed, with a comma placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). The name should not be abbreviated and should be written exactly as it appears in the journal.
For an article written by two authors, list them in order as they appear in the journal. Only the first author’s name should be reversed, while the second is written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma, and place the word “and” before the second author’s name.
Krispeth, Klein, and Stewart Jacobs.
For articles with three or more authors, include the name of the first author in the citation, followed by a comma and the abbreviation “et al.”
The article title should be placed within quotation marks. Unless the article title ends with a punctuation mark, place a period after the article title within the quotation marks. The article title is followed by the name of the journal, which is italicized.
Include the volume number of the journal, but use the abbreviation “vol.” You may also need to include the issue number, depending on the journal. Use the abbreviation “no.” before the journal’s issue number.
Jones, Robert, et al. “Librarianship in the Future.” Libraries Today, vol. 5, no. 2, Mar. 2017, pp. 89-103. Database Life, www.dbl.com/6854.
When including the URL, make sure to exclude http:// and https:// from the citation.
Citations for Lectures:
The most basic entry for a lecture consists of the speaker’s name, presentation title, date conducted, and the name and location of the venue.
Speaker’s Last name, First name. Title of Lecture. Date conducted, Venue, Location.
Pausch, Randy. Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. 18 Sept. 2007, McConomy Auditorium, Pittsburgh.
Begin the citation with the name of the speaker. This person’s name should be reversed. If the lecture has a title, place it, along with a period, in italics after the speaker’s name. State the date on which the lecture was conducted, followed by a comma. Conclude your citation with the location/venue name and the city in which it occurred, separated by a comma.
Citations for Newspapers:
The most basic entry for a newspaper consists of the author name(s), article title, newspaper name, publication date, page numbers, and sometimes a URL, if found online. Volume numbers, issue numbers, and the names of publishers are omitted from newspaper citations.
Format if found on a website:
Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper’s Website, publication date, page range, URL.
Format if found on a database:
Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper, publication date, page range. Title of Database (if applicable), URL.
MLA format example:
This example is for a print newspaper:
Hageman, William. “Program Brings Together Veterans, Neglected Dogs.” Chicago Tribune, 4 Jan. 2015, p. 10.
The full article title should be placed within quotations. Next, state the name of the newspaper in italics.
Towards the end of the citation, include the page numbers on which the article appears, along with a period. Cite all inclusive page numbers – if the article spans pages that are not consecutive, cite only the first page, followed by a plus sign.
Don’t forget, BibMe’s MLA cite generator creates citations for you quickly and easily!
Citations for Encyclopedias
The most basic entry for an encyclopedia consists of the author name(s), article title, encyclopedia name, publisher, and year published.
Last Name, First Name. “Article title.” Encyclopedia Name, Publisher, Year published.
Smith, John. “Internet.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 2012.
Notice that the name of the publisher was not included in the example above. Only include the name of the publisher if it differs from the name of the encyclopedia. Encyclopedia Britannica is the name of the encyclopedia AND the name of the publisher. It is not necessary to include Encyclopedia Britannica twice in the citation.
If there are no authors for the article, begin the citation with the article title instead.
“Media.” World Book Encyclopedia, 2010.
If the encyclopedia arranges articles alphabetically, do not cite the page number(s) or number of volumes. If articles are not arranged alphabetically, you may want to include page number(s) and/or volume number, which is preceded by the abbreviation “vol.” The volume should be cited after the encyclopedia name (or any edition), and before any publication information. After the publication year, include the page numbers on which the article appears, along with a period. Cite all inclusive page numbers – if the article spans pages that are not consecutive, cite only the first page, followed by a plus sign.
Saunders, Bill. “Treasure.” Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 18, 2012, p. 56.
If the encyclopedia entry is found on a website, use the following structure:
Last name, First name. “Encyclopedia Entry.” Title of Encyclopedia Website, Publisher, Year published, URL.
Citations for Films:
The most basic entry for a film consists of the title, director, distributor, and year of release. You may also choose to include the names of the writer(s), performer(s), and the producer(s), depending on who your research project may focus on. You can also include certain individuals to help readers locate the exact source themselves. Include as many individuals as you’d like.
Example of a common way to cite a film:
Film Title. Directed by First name Last name, performance by First Name Last Name, Distributor, Year.
BibMe: The Movie. Directed by John Smith, performance by Jane Doe, New York Stories, 2017.
If your research focuses on a specific individual, you can begin the citation with that individual’s name (in reverse order) and their role. Format it the same way as you would an author’s name.
Doe, Jane, performer. BibMe: The Movie. Directed by John Smith, New York Stories, 2017.
If the film is dubbed in English or does not have an English title, use the foreign language title in the citation, followed by a square bracket that includes the translated title.
Citas gobiernan el mundo [Citations Rule the World]. Directed by Sara Paul, Showcase Films, 2017.
If the film was found online, include the name of the website and the URL.
“Film Title.” Website Title, directed by First Name Last Name, performance by First Name Last Name, Distributor, Year Published, URL.
Since the citation has two titles included in it (the title of the film and the title of the website), the title of the film is placed in quotation marks and the title of the website is in italics.
Citations for Magazines:
The most basic entry for a magazine consists of the author name(s), article title, magazine name, the volume and issue numbers if available, publication date, page numbers, and URL if found online.
Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Magazine Name, vol. number, issue no., publication date, page numbers or URL.
Pratt, Sybil. “A Feast of Tradition.” BookPage, Oct. 2017, p. 8.
The first author’s name should be reversed, with a comma placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). The name should not be abbreviated and should be written exactly as it appears in the magazine.
For an article written by two or more authors, list them in the order as they appear on the title page. Only the first author’s name should be reversed, while the others are written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma, and place the word “and” before the last author’s name. For articles with three or more authors, only include the first author, followed by the abbreviation “et al.”
The full article title should be placed within quotations. Unless there is punctuation that ends the article title, place a period after the title within the quotations. Next, state the name of the magazine in italics.
If volume and issue numbers are available, include them in the citation. Use the abbreviations vol. and no. before the volume number and issue number.
Example: vol. 6, no. 1
The date the magazine was published comes directly after the volume and issue number. Use whichever date the magazine includes, whether it’s a complete date, a period spanning two months, a season, or just a month and year. Follow this information with a comma.
Include the page number(s) on which the article appears. Cite all inclusive page numbers – if the article spans pages that are not consecutive, cite only the first page, followed by a plus sign.
If the magazine article was found online, include the URL. Remove http:// or https:// from the beginning of the citation. End the citation with a period.
Citations for Interviews:
Begin your citation with the name of the person interviewed. This person’s name should be reversed, with a comma placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name).
For an interview that has been broadcast or published, if there is a title, include it after the name of the person interviewed. If the interview is from a publication, program, or recording, place the title, along with a period, in quotation marks. If it was published independently, italicize it, followed by a period.
Jolie, Angelina. “Being a Mother.” Interview by Steve Kroft, 60 Minutes, CBS, 3 Feb. 2009.
While names of other individuals are generally found after the title, for interviews, include the name of the interviewee directly after the title if you feel it is important to include their name.
If there is no title, use the word “Interview” in place of a title and do not use quotation marks or italics. If the interviewer’s name is known, add it, preceded by “by”, after the word “Interview”. Do not reverse the interviewer’s name.
Jenkins, Lila. Interview. By Jessica Grossman. 5 Mar. 2017.
For published interviews found online, include the title of the website after the title of the interview. In addition, add the URL at the end of the citation.
Michaels, Jamye. “Fighting to Survive.” Women’s Magazine of Life, 2 Nov. 2016, www.womensmagazine.com/fightingtosurvive.com.
Citations for Photographs:
The most basic entry for a photograph consists of the photographer’s name, the title of photograph, the title of the book, website, or collection where the photograph can be located, the publisher of the photograph or publication where the image was located, the date the photograph was posted or taken, and the page number, location of the museum (such as a city and state) or URL if found online.
Photographer’s Last name, First name. “Title of the Photograph.” Title of the Book, Website, Collection, or other type of publication where the photograph was found, Date photograph was taken, page number, location (such as a city and state if necessary) where the photograph can be found, or URL.
Begin with the name of the photographer or main contributor (if available). This person’s name should be reversed, with a comma placed after the last name and a period after the first name (and any middle name).
For a photograph taken from a publication or website, include the title of the photograph in quotation marks followed by a period. If the photograph does not have a formal title, create a description. If you make your own description, only include a capital at the beginning of the description and at the beginning of any proper nouns. Do not place the description in italics or quotation marks.
Place the title of the publication in italics immediately following it, followed by a comma.
Digital image/photograph found online:
Photograph of the Hudson Area Public Library. JMS Collective, 19 Apr. 2016, www.jmscollective.com/hudson-ny-3/historic-hudson-armory-now-public-library/.
*Note that the above photograph does not have a formal title, so the photograph was given a description.
Photograph or Image viewed in a museum:
Vishniac, Roman. “Red Spotted Purple.” Roman Vishniac’s Science Work, early 1950s - late 1960s, International Center of Photography at Mana, New Jersey.
Photograph or Image found in a book:
Barnard, Edwin. Photograph of Murray Street, Hobart. Exiled: The Port Arthur Convict Photographs, National Library of Australia, 2010, p. 20.
Citations for TV/Radio:
The most basic citation for a radio/TV program consists of the individuals responsible for the creation of the episode (if they’re important to your research), the episode title, program/series name, broadcasting network or publisher, the original broadcast date, and the URL.
“The Highlights of 100.” Seinfeld, NBC, 2 Feb. 1995.
If your research focuses on a specific individual from the tv or radio broadcast, include their name at the beginning of the citation, in the author position. Or, begin the citation with the episode name or number, along with a period, inside quotation marks. Follow it with the name of the program or series, which is italicized, followed by a comma.
If relevant, you may also choose to include the names of personnel involved with the program. Depending if the personnel are relevant to the specific episode or the series as a whole, place the personnel names after the program/series name. You may cite narrator(s) preceded by narrated by, writer(s) preceded by written by, directors preceded by directed by, performer(s) preceded by performance by, and/or producer(s) preceded by produced by and then the individual names. Include as many individuals as you like. Write these personnel names in normal order – do not reverse the first and last names.
“The Highlights of 100.” Seinfeld, directed by Andy Ackerman, written by Peter Mehlman, NBC, 2 Feb. 1995.
Also include the name of the network on which the program was broadcasted, followed by a comma.
State the date which your program was originally broadcasted, along with a period. If including the URL, follow the date with a comma and place the URL at the end, followed by a period to end the citation. Remove http:// or https:// from the URL.
In-Text Citations and Parenthetical Citations
What is an In-Text Citation or Parenthetical Citation?
The purpose of the in-text citation is to give the reader a brief idea as to where you found your information. If the reader plans to investigate the original source further, they can find the full citation in the Works Cited list.
Format your MLA in-text citation as follows:
“Direct quote” or Paraphrase (Author’s last name and page number)
In-text citation MLA formatting example:
He goes on to say, “Jim never got back with a bucket of water under an hour - and even then somebody generally had to go after him” (Twain 8).
For sources without an author, use the main word of the title in place of the author’s name.
If your in-text citation comes from a website or another source that does not have page numbers, use the following abbreviations:
If the source has designated: - paragraph numbers, use par. or pars. - sections, use sec. or secs. - chapters, use ch. or chs.
Gregor’s sister is quite persuasive, especially when she states to her parents, "It'll be the death of both of you, I can see it coming. We can't all work as hard as we have to and then come home to be tortured like this, we can't endure it” (Kafka, chap. III).
If there aren’t page, paragraph, section, or chapter numbers, only include the author’s name in parentheses for your in-text citation.
If the original source is an audio or video recording, after the author’s name or title, place a time stamp.
To learn more about parenthetical citations, click here.
Need help creating your in-text or parenthetical citations? After creating your full citation for a source, there is an option to create a parenthetical citation.
Your Works Cited Page
An MLA Works Cited page contains all of the citations for a project and is usually found at the very end.
Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first letter found in the citation.
If there are multiple sources by the same author, only include the author’s name in the first citation. For each citation afterwards, MLA formatting requires you to include three dashes and a period.
Example of a Works Cited List with Multiple Works by Same Author:
Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Quirk, 2011.
---. Tales of the Peculiar. Dutton, 2016.
When alphabetizing by titles, ignore A, An, and The, and use the next part of the title. In addition, if the title starts with a number, place the title where it would belong if the number was spelled out.
1492 The Year Our World Began would be alphabetized under F (for fourteen)
Formatting Your Header:
The Handbook does not include a required way to format the heading of your paper. Check with your instructor to see if there is a recommended way to format your header. BibMe recommends creating your header in the following format:
In the top left corner of your paper, place the following pieces of information in this order:
Your full name
Your instructor’s name
The course or class number
Double space this information.
In the top right corners, place a running head for your MLA header. The heading should include your last name and the page number. Use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4…). Your word processing program should allow you to automatically set up the running head so that it appears at the top of every page of your project.
Using BibMe to Create Citations for your MLA Works Cited List or MLA Bibliography
Looking for an MLA Formatter? BibMe’s automatic citation generator formats your citations in MLA format. Enter a title, web address, ISBN number, or other identifying information into the MLA format template to automatically cite your sources. If you need help with BibMe, or MLA format citing, see more across the site here.
For more information on the current handbook, check out this page. There is further good information here, including MLA format examples and examples of MLA in-text citations.
In the News:
Check out this article, which shares information on helpful sites including an MLA citation machine.
Background Information and History:
The Modern Language Association was developed in 1883 and was created to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. With over 25,000 current members worldwide, the Modern Language Association continuously strives to keep its members up-to-date on the best practices, methods, and trends related to language and literature. The Modern Language Association boasts an annual conference, journal, an online communication platform, numerous area-focused committees, and one of its most popular publications, the MLA Handbook, now in its 8th edition.
Helpful Tips for Your Citation
Our citation guides provide detailed information about all types of sources in MLA, APA, Chicago and Turabian styles.
If required by your instructor, you can add annotations to your citations. Just select Add Annotation while finalizing your citation. You can always edit a citation as well.
Remember to evaluate your sources for accuracy and credibility. Questionable sources could result in a poor grade!