MLA Citation Style Guide (8th ed.)

The MLA style is intended to be universal and apply to all forms of sources. MLA is among styles you are likely to encounter quite often. As such, this essential guide created by experienced academic writers is here to help you learn how to use it correctly.

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This guide is developed in line with the MLA Handbook. 8th ed., MLA, 2016.

What is MLA?

The MLA format is named after the Modern Language Association, which has developed the standard and maintained it throughout the years. The organization is devoted to the study of languages and literature and runs a publishing program in the humanities. As such, its format is intended to be universal and can be used for many different types of paper. It is adaptable and can be applied to any variety of source, unlike other styles, which are based on specific examples. However, many sciences and disciplines prefer their formats, such as APA for medicine and Harvard for universities in general. As a result, most uses of MLA are contained in the humanities, which treat MLA as their style of choice.

The Importance of Correct Citing and Referencing

Most scholarly institutions highlight the dangers of plagiarism and the severe penalties applied for it when accepting papers. Citation styles are designed to help you avoid the act, but they also have some other benefits. For example:

  • You acknowledge the contribution of others in your work, and doing so lends your paper credence. The reader can see that you have done your research and base your claims on others’ findings instead of baseless assertions.
  • You avoid plagiarism, both intentional and unintentional, by telling yourself and others that some of the text is not your own. The reader can see that you acknowledge the source, and you are reminded to compare your version with the original one and ensure that you interpreted the text instead of copying it.
  • You learn to do research, find credible sources, and use them appropriately. A reference with several authors that is published in a scientific journal will be more reliable than a webpage whose writer is anonymous.
  • You make it easier to verify the work and ensure that its contents are valid and honest. If you try to reference something the author does not say, especially in the MLA format, you will be caught and suffer the consequences.

Citation vs. Reference

Сiting

Referencing

A citation is a claim that some part of a text makes a specific statement. When you cite a source, you only require a way to identify the work (typically the authors) and the page number (if appropriate) in the MLA format.

Every citation has to be accompanied by a reference. Located at the end of the paper in the section titled “Work(s) Cited” in the MLA format, they have to provide a way to find the source.

Generally, you have to list the author, the title of the source, the title of its container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, and location.

Example

According to Barton, teenagers are influenced by marketing campaigns in social media (68).

Example

“MLA Formatting and Style Guide.” The Purdue OWL, Purdue U Writing Lab. Accessed 4 Aug. 2019.

General Principles of MLA Formatting

  • Use Arial 12 pt. font (unless the instructions require a different font), double-spaced.
  • Set 1-inch (2.54 cm) margins (all sides).
  • Page numbers have to be located in the upper-right corner.
  • Last name should be in the upper-right header preceding the page number.
  • MLA format does not require a title page (but one may be included if required).
  • In bibliographical entries, lines other than the first one are indented.
  • Use parenthetical citations in text for bibliographical entries on the Works Cited page.
  • On the first page, it is necessary to provide the MLA header in the left top corner (for papers without a title page):

MLA Title Page

Sample of Title Page in MLA Style

There is no specific title page in MLA style. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list:

  • your name,
  • your instructor’s name,
  • the course,
  • the date.

Double space between the lines. Double space again and center the title.

Write the title using Title Case (standard capitalization).

No underlining, Italics, or quotation marks should be used in title of the paper unless you refer to some book, article, or any other work. In this case, remember a simple rule – use the same format as on Works Cited page (for example, book title is written in Italics, while “quotation marks are used for article title”).

MLA Headings and Subheadings

Headings in the paper must be formatted the following way:

Level 1 Heading: Bold, Flush Left

Level 2 Heading: Italics, Flush Left

Level 3 Heading: Centered, Bold

Level 4 Heading: Centered, Italics

Level 5 Heading: Underlined, Flush Left

MLA Outline

There are 2 basic types of outlines for you to choose (unless your tutor gives you a template)

Simple outline (either alphanumeric or decimal)

Example of alphanumeric outline

Example of alphanumeric outline for MLA paper

Example of decimal outline

Example of decimal outline for MLA paper

Example of full sentence outline

Example of full sentence outline for MLA paper

MLA Works Cited List

All sources used in papers written following MLA style should be mentioned under the “Works Cited” heading on a separate page. Each entry is written separately, and it consists of core elements that are included in a specific order. Some optional elements may also be added, depending on the situation.

Sample of MLA Works Cited list

The Core Elements

Below is the list of the core elements in the order of how they should appear on a MLA reference page.

  1. Author
  2. Title of source
  3. Title of container
  4. Other contributors
  5. Version
  6. Number
  7. Publisher
  8. Publication date

Author
The author’s last name is followed by a comma and all other full names as they are mentioned in the work. The element ends with a period in the reference list, such as Jameson, Carl. The in-text variant is (Jameson 44).

Title of Source
Titl e is the next element after the author, and it is in italics (e.g., book or journal titles) or in quotation marks, not italicized (e.g., article titles). Every word in this entry and Title of Container is capitalized apart from articles and prepositions.

Title of Container
This constituent indicates if the work was a part of a larger volume or journal.

Other Contributors
This element states other contributors. Their names are preceded by such descriptions:

adapted by
directed by
edited by
illustrated by
introduction by
narrated by
performance by
translated by

Version
Version is commonly referred to an edition and may appear in the reference list entry as 8th ed.

Number
This element shows the volume used (vol. 2) or issue number of a journal (vol. 4, no. 3).

Publisher
This information can be found on the copyright page of the source, and it shows the name of the publisher followed by a comma. When an organization is both author and publisher of a work, the organization’s name is given only once, usually as the publisher. No author is stated.

Publication Date
In turn, this element indicates when the publication was produced (South-Western Cengage Learning, 2010). These aspects are the most common elements used in MLA citation style, but their format depends on the type of the publication and citation (in-text or reference list).

Works Cited in MLA

MLA Books Citation

One author

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (1 autor)

Two authors

The second author should appear as he or she is mentioned in the book.

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (2 autors)

Three and more authors

If there are three or more authors, the first author must be followed by “et al.”

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (3 and more autors)

Corporate/organization author

The corporation’s name should start the line and appear in the text instead of the author.

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Corporate/organization author)

Unknown author

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Unknown author)

Note:

  • “University” and “Press” in the names of academic presses are abbreviated to “U” and “P”.

Two or more works by the same author

Three (3) hyphens and a period at the beginning of the following line represent the same author’s name.

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (2 works by the same author)

Two or more works by the same author, same year

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (2 works, the same author, same year)

Author with an editor

The editor’s name should appear as it is presented in the book.Example:

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Author with an editor)

Author with a translator

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Author with a translator)

Editor with no author

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Editor with no author)

Work in an anthology (chapter in a book)

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Chapter in a book)

Edition other than first

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Edition other than first)

Multivolume work

Some book series may consist of several volumes. When citing such, it is necessary to state the volume of the book where the information was taken from. However, if the volume has its own name, it is formatted as a book.

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Multivolume work)

Encyclopedia/dictionary

This entry should not include information about the publisher or page number.

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Encyclopedia/dictionary)

Foreword, introduction, preface, or afterword

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Foreword, introduction, preface, afterword)

Online book

The basic book format is used here, followed by the name of the electronic library (italicized) and the URL.

MLA Books Citation Structure & Example (Online Book)

MLA Articles Citation

This section focuses on articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers. The month has to be abbreviated if used (Jan., Feb., or Mar., exceptions June, July, and Sept.). In general, the MLA citation will look like this:

Scholarly journal article

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Year, pp. xx–xx.

Example:

Zhang, Qun. “Lean Six Sigma: A Literature Review.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, vol. 3, no. 10, 2012, pp. 599–605.

Note:

  • Use “p.” if article is located on one page.

Scholarly journal article (no author)

Structure:

“Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Year, pp. xx–xx.

Example:

“Understanding Benefits and Limitations of Six Sigma.” International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, vol. 2, no. 1, 2012, pp. 1–9.

Magazine article

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Date Mon. Year, pp. xx–xx.

Example:

Park, Alice. “The Story about a Viral Photo of Opioid Overdose.” Time, 24 Jan. 2017, p. 45.

Newspaper article

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Date Mon. Year, pp. xx–xx.

Example:

Mathews, David. “From Draft Town to Gray Skies.” The Chicago Defender, 28 Apr. 2015, pp. 2–6.

Editorial in newspaper

An editorial is cited like any article in a periodical, but it is necessary to state that it is an “Editorial” after the title of the work.

Structure:

“Title of an Article.” Editorial. Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Date Mon. Year, pp. xx–xx.

Example:

“Who’s Afraid of Betsy DeVos.” Editorial. The Wall Street Journal, 17 Jan. 2017, p. 10.

Letter to the editor

Structure:

“Title of an Article.” Letter. Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Date Mon. Year, pp. xx–xx.

Example:

“Rebellion against the Weird.” Letter. The Guardian, 27 Jan. 2017, p. 12.

It uses similar principles to an editorial in a newspaper and states the type of the publication—Letter.

Book or film review

To cite a review in MLA, include the title of the review (if available), then the phrase, “Review of” and provide the title of the work (in italics for books, plays, and films; in quotation marks for articles, poems, and short stories). Finally, provide performance and/or publication information.

Structure:

Review Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Review of Performance Title, by Author/Director/Artist/Editor.” Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Date Mon. Year, pp. xx–xx.

Example:

Seitz, Matt Zoller. “Life in the Sprawling Suburbs, If You Can Really Call It Living.” Review of Radiant City, directed by Gary Burns and Jim Brown. New York Times, 30 May 2007, p. E1.

Weiller, K. H. Review of Sport, Rhetoric, and Gender: Historical Perspectives and Media Representations, edited by Linda K. Fuller. Choice, Apr. 2007, p. 1377.

Article in an online journal

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Year, www.link.com. Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

Dufresnes, Christopher, et al. “Broad-Scale Genetic Diversity of Cannabis for Forensic Applications.” PLoS ONE, vol. 12, no. 1, 2017, www.libguides.columbiansouthern.edu/ehost…789/. Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.

If the article can also be found in print, it is necessary to mention page numbers.

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Year, pp. xx-xx, www.link.com. Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

Dufresnes, Christopher, et al. “Broad-Scale Genetic Diversity of Cannabis for Forensic Applications.” PLoS ONE, vol. 12, no. 1, 2017, pp. 458–471, www.libguides.columbiansouthern.edu/ehost…789/. Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.

Article from an online database (or other electronic subscription service)

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

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Year. Database Title, Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

Chan, Evans. “Postmodernism and Hong Kong Cinema.” Postmodern Culture, vol. 10, no. 3, May 2000. Project Muse, doi:10.1353/pmc.2000.0021.

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

Article in an online magazine/newspaper

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Date Mon. Year, www.link.com. Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

Kwakkel, Erik. “The Beauty of the Injured Book.” Medieval Fragments, 02 May 2014, medievalfragments.com/2014/05/02/the-beauty-of-the-injured-book. Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.

MLA Website Citation

Entire website

When citing an entire website, it is necessary to provide the full URL (without https://) and the date when the source was accessed.

Structure:

Editor, Author, or Compiler’s Last Name, First Name. Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI, or permalink. Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

Starbucks: Coffee and Espresso. Starbucks Coffee Company, 2016, www.starbucks.com/. Accessed 24 Jan. 2016.

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

Page from website (no publication date)

Structure:

Editor, Author, or Compiler’s Last Name, First Name. “Page Title.” Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI, or permalink. Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

Pereira, Rachel. “How to Make an Interesting Art Piece Using Tree Branches.” eHow, www.ehow.com/how_2227693_art-piece-using-tree-branches.html. Accessed 24 Jan. 2017.

In this case, only the date of access is known.

Page from website with unknown author

Structure:

“Page Title.” Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI, or permalink. Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

“Antibiotic Resistant STDs: FAQs.” WebMD, 12 Jan. 2017, www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/antibiotic-resistant-std-faq. Accessed 24 Jan. 2017.

In this case, dates of posting the article and accessing it are known.

Image from website

MLA format can be used when citing famous paintings, sculptures, and artworks that are available online. Provide the artist’s name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, and the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the website in italics and the date of access.

Structure:

Artist’s Last Name, First Name. Name of Image. Year. Place of Installation, City. Database Title, URL, DOI, or permalink. Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

Gogh, Vincent. Starry Night. 1889. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. MoMA Learning, www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/vincent-van-gogh-the-starry-night-1889. Accessed 24 Jan. 2017.

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

Structure:

Artist’s Last Name, First Name. Name of Image. Year (if available). Database Title, URL, DOI, or permalink. Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

Burtinsky, Edward. “Silver Lake Operations #16. Lake Lefroy, Western Australia.” Picture Stories, National Geographic, 11 Jan. 2017, www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/01/edward-burtynsky-earth-human-landscapes/. Accessed 24 Jan. 2017.

Entire blog

The date can be usually found at the bottom of the web window along with the copyright information.

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. Blog Title. Year, URL, DOI, or permalink. Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

Daniels, Clair. Easy Recipes. 2016, www.easyrecipes.com. Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.

Single blog entry

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. “Blog Entry Title.” Blog Title, Date Mon. Year, URL, DOI, or permalink. Accessed Date Mon. Year.

Example:

Daniels, Clair. “Pumpkin Pie.” Easy Recipes, 25 Apr. 2016, www.easyrecipes.com/04/25/2016/pumpkin-pie. Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.

Video or film

If there is a general discussion of a film, the film title should be followed by the names of creators and performers. The name of the distributor is also required.

Structure:

Film Title. Directed by Director’s First Name Last Name, performance by Actor’s First Name Last Name, Distributor Company, Year.

Example:

Die Hard. Directed by John McTiernan, performance by Bruce Willis, Twentieth Century Fox, 1988.

If a there is a need to focus on a specific participant, start the line with his or her name.

Structure:

Director’s Last Name, First Name, director. Film Title. Distributor Company, Year.

Example:

McTiernan, John, director. Die Hard. Twentieth Century Fox, 1988.

Podcast/YouTube

The name of the video is followed by the name of the hosting website (italicized). The name or username of the uploader should be mentioned with the download date.

Structure:

“Podcast Title.”. YouTube, uploaded by Uploader’s Name, Date Mon. Year, www.link.com

Example:

“Planet Earth II Continues: Official Trailer.” YouTube, uploaded by BBC Earth, 25 Nov. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8yo_Sp-rGY.

MLA Dissertations / Theses Citation

Dissertation

The main elements of a dissertation citation in MLA are the same as those for a book. 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.

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Dissertation. Year. University, Document type.

Example:

Bishop, Karen Lynn. Documenting Institutional Identity: Strategic Writing in the IUPUI Comprehensive Campaign. 2002. Purdue U, PhD dissertation.

Dissertation available online

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Dissertation. Year. University, Document type. Database Title.

Example:

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.

MLA Lecture Citation

Lecture

If a lecture or other live performance is cited, the city must be mentioned. However, this should be left out if it is already in the name of the event. The name of the organization should follow the name of the meeting. The speech title is enclosed by quotation marks. A lecture or other address heard in person may be indicated as such at the end of the entry.

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. “Lecture Title.” Name of Forum. Name of Convention, Date Mon. Year, Place where conference was held, City. Lecture.

Example:

Atwood, Margaret. “Silencing the Scream.” Boundaries of the Imagination Forum. MLA Annual Convention, 29 Dec. 1993, Royal York Hotel, Toronto. Lecture.

MLA Government Documents Citation

Government publication

If the author is unknown, mention the government and the department. The name of the publishing office must follow the title of the document.

Structure:

Organization Name. Government Publication Title. Publisher, Year.

Example:

Great Britain, Ministry of Transport. Increasing Security in London Airports: Strategies for Future. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2003.

MLA In-Text Citations

The MLA style supports an approach to citing that is known as parenthetical citation. In this method, whenever you quote or paraphrase a source in a sentence, you have to put the source information in parentheses within that sentence. You will typically be expected to put the brackets at the end of the sentence to avoid interfering with its content. However, there are situations such as long compound sentences where you can put them elsewhere to make them make sense.

The main scheme for an in-text citation in MLA is the first name that appears in the source listing (usually an author’s name) followed by a page number, which is always put in parentheses.

A source without page numbers or any other form of explicit, fixed part numbering must be cited as a whole: include in the text or in parentheses enough information for the reader to find the corresponding entry in the works-cited list—usually the author’s last name.

MLA In-Text Citations

Type

Examples

Short Quotations

Short quotations are enclosed within double quotation marks, but otherwise, you should introduce them into the sentence seamlessly. At the end of the sentence, put the authors and the page number (if applicable) in parentheses without a comma to separate them.

By the time of the tale, “the Manilla rope has in the American fishery almost entirely superseded hemp” (Melville 265).

Long Quotations

Long quotations, defined as ones that constitute over four lines of prose or three lines of prose, do not use quotes and stand in a separate text block. They should be indented half an inch, maintain the original line breaks, and add the parentheses at the end.

The author uses a literary technique known as a frame story to start her novel, Frankenstein. Thus, we first witness a fictional correspondence between Captain Robert Walton and his sister:
You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.
I am already far north of London, and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight.(Shelley 15).

Summary or Paraphrase

You can write summaries and paraphrases in any manner that you prefer as long as they convey the meaning of the fragment faithfully. No special symbols are necessary, but you have to put the parentheses with the information into the sentence.

Summary: Apple was able to defeat its competitors despite being a new presence in the market by using the power of platforms and pipelines (van Alstyne et al. 4).

Paraphrase: Mrs. Gardiner notices Elizabeth’s dismissal of Mr. Darcy’s proposal, but assumes it to be temporary (Austen 228).

Author named in a signal phrase

Mention the author in the sentence, and end the sentence with a page number for paraphrased information:

Example: According to Barton, teenagers are influenced by marketing campaigns in social media (68).

Author not named in a signal phrase

Note that there is no comma between the author’s name and the page number:

Example: Teenagers are influenced by marketing campaigns in social media (Barton 68).

Unknown author

If the author is unknown, the title that appears first in the source entry should be used with the same formatting and punctuation. If it is too long, reduce to the first several words in parentheses:

Example: Many young people attended Woodstock in the 1970s (Readings on the Past Century 89).

Example: Readings on the Past Century: Music and Protest mentions that many young people attended Woodstock in the 1970s (89).

Unknown page number

If there is no page number and the source is not divided by chapters, paragraphs, or other sections, do not include it in the in-text citation. Do not count unnumbered paragraphs or other parts.

Example: Young parents tend to have higher levels of stress for their children than experienced couples (Ford).

More than one work by the same author

When you are referring to more than one work by an author, it is necessary to state a shortened version of the title. The examples show how to represent an article (title is in quotation marks):

Example: (Kotler, “Kotler on Marketing” 65), (Kotler, “Marketing Management” 76).

However, when the author’s last name is used in the sentence, the in-text reference will be formatted this way:

Example: (“Kotler on Marketing” 65), (“Marketing Management” 76).

For books, titles are provided in italics.

Two authors

When making a reference to two co-authors, it is necessary to use “and” to connect their last names.

Example: (Grey and Bell 45).

Three or more authors

If the Works Cited entry shows that a work has three or more than three authors, “et al.” is used starting from the first quote or reference.

Example: (White et al. 456).

Corporate author

If the author is an organization or corporate entity, include its full name in the in-text citation. If you refer to the organization often, mention the title in full at least once and use an abbreviation in the subsequent in-text citations.

Example: (World Trade Organization 56).

Authors with the same last name

To differentiate between authors with the same last name in in-text citations, use their initials.

Example: (R. Smith 45), (J. Smith 56).

Encyclopedia

When citing an encyclopedia or a part of it, it is necessary to put the article in quotation marks as it is stated in the reference list entry.

Example: (“Activist Media” 5).

Multivolume work

When citing information from different volumes, it is necessary to indicate a volume number. However, this is not necessary if only one volume is used.

Example: (Priestley 1: 45).

Two or more works in the same parentheses

It is necessary to use a semicolon to divide references; list them in alphabetical order.

Example: (Clark 45; Roberts 65).

Indirect sources

Provide the author of the original source in a signal phrase and include a citation of the secondary source in parentheses. Note that only the secondary source has to be included in the Works Cited.

Example: Smith argues that “personalistic systems provide the most accurate representation of a patient’s identity” (qtd. in Jones 82).

An entire work/website

When citing an entire website, book, or any other long source in MLA, the title will be shortened and presented in italics (if the author is unknown).

Example: (Starbucks).

Work in anthology

A work in an anthology is cited using the principles of general MLA format. In this case, the information in parentheses will reflect the last name of the author of the short work along with the page number.

Example: (Arnold 12).

Government publication

Governmental publications in MLA are cited as a corporate author. In this case, the in-text citation must include the full name of the department and the page or paragraph number.

Example: (United States Department of Labor 5).

Dissertation

If the author is known, use common citation rules.

Example: (Jameson 65).

Lecture

In most cases, the information about the lecturer is known.

Example: (Green 1).

Multimedia sources

Sometimes, it will be necessary to reference various multimedia sources such as a video, film, podcast, YouTube video, or image. For sources that have a particular length, it may be necessary to state particular minutes that the quotation or text refers to, such as (00:01:23-00:01:56). However, this is not a requirement.

Example: (“What is MLA” 00:02:24).

Video or film

When citing a video or a film, general rules for MLA referencing are applied. In the first example below, the title of the film is italicized as in the Works Cited (refer to example 1 in Works Cited). In the second example, the last name of the director is provided (refer to example 2 in Works Cited).

Example: (Die Hard) or (McTiernan).

Podcast/YouTube

Citing this type of source also depends on how it appears on the Works Cited page. In this case, it is reasonable to state the author (user name) if known or provide the title of the work in quotation marks.

Example: (Andersen 00:01:23-00:01:56).

Image from website

In the case of a picture or photograph, if the author is known, it is reasonable to state the author, such as (Gogh) or (Burtinsky). With an unknown author, present it the same way as it is stated in Works Cited.

Example: (Gogh).

Tables and Figures in MLA

Tables and figures are generally treated similarly in the MLA format, and their presentation is close to that of other sources, though there are some differences. You should include the tables and figures you will use in the paper at the end in a special appendix. If there is a source where you obtained the item, you have to put it under the table. Any additional notes that will help with the interpretation should be listed further down. If you intend for the table or figure to be included in the middle of the paper, replace it with a placeholder and move it to the bottom as described below.

[table 1]

You can reference your tables and figures in the text like that of other citations, though there are some differences. For tables, you should include parentheses at the end of the sentence that say “see table #”, where # is the number that you have assigned to the specific item. Similarly, you should add parentheses that say “see fig. #” at the end of the sentence when citing a figure. You should also remember that in proper MLA formatting, you should not include images in the file.

Example of referencing a table in the text

In 1985, women aged 65 and older were 59% more likely than men of the same age to reside in a nursing home, and though 11,700 less women of that age group were enrolled in 1999, men over the same time period ranged from 30,000 to 39,000 persons while women accounted for 49,000 to 61,500 (see table 1).

Example of a table in Appendix section

Example of a table in Appendix section for MLA paper

MLA 8 vs MLA 7

Released in 2016, the latest edition of MLA citation style is meant to “bring[s] one of the greatest shifts ever” according to its editors. The 8th edition of the style is to meet the needs of changing reality in academic research and writing. Below we gathered the key differences between MLA 8 and MLA 7.

MLA 8

MLA 7

No place of publication and medium of the source.

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Example:

Sepetys, Ruta. Salt to the Sea. Philomel Books, 2016.

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Publication Date. Medium (Print or Web).

Example:

Sepetys, Ruta. Salt to the Sea. New York: Philomel Books, 2016. Print.

“et al.” for three or more authors

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name, et al. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Example:

Williams, Beatriz, et al. The Forgotten Room. Berkley, 2016.

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name, Author’s Last Name, First Name, and Author’s First Last Names. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Publication Date. Medium (Print or Web).


Example:

Williams, Beatriz, White, Karen, and Lauren Willig. The Forgotten Room. New York: Berkley, 2016. Print.

No abbreviations for contributors (editors, translators, illustrators, etc. are no longer abbreviated)

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, Publisher, Publication Date.

Example:

Howells, William Dean. Their Wedding Journey. Edited by John K. Reeves, Indiana UP, 1968.

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Translated by Translator’s First Name Last Name, Publisher, Publication Date.

Example:

Eco, Umberto. The Prague Cemetery. Translated by Richard Dixon, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2010.

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Ed. Editor’s First Name Last Name, Place of Publication: Publisher, Publication Date.Medium (Print or Web).


Example:

Howells, William Dean. Their Wedding Journey. Ed. John K. Reeves, Indiana: Indiana UP, 1968. Print.

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Trans. Translator’s First Name Last Name, Place of Publication: Publisher, Publication Date.Medium (Print or Web).


Example:

Eco, Umberto. The Prague Cemetery. Trans. Richard Dixon, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2010. Print.

“vol.”, “no.” and “pp./p.” are written before journal volume and/or issue as well as before page numbers in articles and book chapters.

Year is no longer written in parentheses in articles’ entries.

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, Year, pp. xx–xx.

Example:

Zhang, Qun. “Lean Six Sigma: A Literature Review.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, vol. 3, no. 10, 2012, pp. 599–605.

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of an Article.” Title of Periodical volume.number (Year): page numbers. Medium.


Example:

Zhang, Qun. “Lean Six Sigma: A Literature Review.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business 3.10 (2012): 599–605. Print.

For online sources, either doi or url (without <> and https://) and date of access are included.

Online books

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date. Electronic Library, www.link.com

Example:

Gikandi, Simon. Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Cambridge UP, 2000. ACLS Humanities E-book, hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.07588.0001.001.

Websites

Structure:

Editor, Author, or Compiler’s Last Name, First Name. Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI, or permalink. Accessed Date Mon. Year.


Example:

Starbucks: Coffee and Espresso. Starbucks Coffee Company, 2016, www.starbucks.com/. Accessed 24 Jan. 2016.

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

Structure:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Publication Date. Electronic Library, Company, Post Date. Medium. Date Mon. Year of Access.

Example:

Gikandi, Simon. Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000. ACLS Humanities E-book, ACLS Humanitites, 2000. Web. 21 Dec. 2019.

Structure:

Editor, Author, or Compiler’s Last Name, First Name. Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), Medium. Date Mon. Year of Access.

Example:

Starbucks: Coffee and Espresso. Starbucks Coffee Company, 2016. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003. Web. 10 May 2018. <https://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/>.

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