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

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

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

How to be a responsible researcher or scholar

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

What is Plagiarism?

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

What is a Citation?

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

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

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

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

Why Does it Matter?

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

Scroll down to find directions on how to create citations.

How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher

What is mla format.

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

What are citations?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do we use this MLA style?

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

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

How is the new version different than previous versions?

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

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

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

In addition, new information was added on the following:

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

For more information on MLA 9, click here .

A Deeper Look at Citations

What do they look like.

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

Full citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:

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

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

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

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

What are in-text citations?

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s another way to cite in the text:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More about quotations and how to cite a quote:

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

Example from a movie:

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

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

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

How to create a paraphrase:

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

Here’s an example:

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

What paraphrases are:

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

What paraphrases are not:

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

Confused about whether footnotes and endnotes should be used?

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

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

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

Content note example:

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

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

Work Cited:

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

Bibliographic note example:

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

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

MLA Works Cited:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wikipedia - Yay or Nay?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Specific Components of a Citation

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

Name of the author

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

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

Twain, Mark.

Poe, Edgar Allan.

For in-text:

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

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

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

Here are two examples of how to cite two authors:

Clifton, Mark, and Frank Riley.

Paxton, Roberta J., and Michael Jacob Fox.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Back to the Future )

(“Citing And Writing”)

Other in-text structures:

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

Ex: (J. Silver 45)

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

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

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

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

Here is an example of how to cite a tweet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Titles and containers

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

Here’s an example of a properly written title:

Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More about containers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other contributors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Publication dates

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

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

Day Mo. Year

Mo. Day, Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

Example: p. 6.

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

Example: pp. 24-38.

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

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

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

Common Citation Examples

ALL sources use this format:

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

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

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

  • Journal Articles

How to Format a Paper

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

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

Which font is acceptable to use?

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

Should I double-space the paper, including citations?

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

Justification & Punctuation

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

Heading & Title

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

Page numbers

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

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

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

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

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

How to Create a Title Page

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

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

How to Make a Works Cited Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For tables:

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

Example of formatting a table in MLA format.

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

Example of formatting a figure in MLA format.

MLA Final Checklist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Common Ways Students Accidentally Plagiarize

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

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

1. Poor Paraphrasing

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

2. Incorrect Citations

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

3. Forgetting to include quotation marks

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

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

Updated June 15, 2021

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

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The MLA Style Center

What is mla style.

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

Resources for MLA Style

Our new, subscription-based digital platform, MLA Handbook Plus is

  • Trusted: The only authorized subscription-based digital resource featuring the latest edition of the MLA Handbook is available for unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Evolving: Get the same content as the print edition, plus seamless annual updates and forthcoming additional resources such as videos and companion titles.
  • Dynamic: Features an easy-to-search interface, cross-linking of related material, and a split view that lets students see illustrations while reading corresponding content.
  • Flexible: Whether on campus, at home, or in a coffee shop, students can access the platform from anywhere—perfect for remote or hybrid learning environments.
  • Affordable: Tiered pricing model based on full-time undergraduate enrollments in US higher education institutions (with custom pricing options for secondary schools, consortia, international schools, campus systems, and other organizations).
  • Accessible: Meets current accessibility standards—ensuring that learning MLA style is available to all.

Contact [email protected] for more info.

MLA Handbook , 9th Edition

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

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

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

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Citing Sources: MLA Style

What is mla style.

MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is widely used in the humanities , especially in writing on language and literature. MLA style uses brief parenthetical citations in the text that refer to an alphabetical list of works cited appearing at the end of the work. 

MLA Style is used most heavily in disciplines that engage deeply with specific texts, including English, Literatures, Languages and Philosophy.

Note: the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook was released in May 2021. Many sites and citation generators may not yet be updated to reflect changes in this edition. 

Official Guidance from the MLA

  • MLA Style Center Official website for the MLA Handbook, with sections on citing sources, writing and research, sample papers, and FAQ.
  • Works Cited: A Quick Guide Examples and an interactive practice template for constructing citations using the MLA's system of core elements.
  • Citations by Format Example citations for five basic source types, using the MLA's template of core elements.
  • Ask the MLA Frequently asked questions about MLA Style.

Other MLA Guides

  • MLA Style, from the Excelsior Online Writing Lab Detailed tutorial on using APA Style, including guidance on formatting papers,and references, along with sample papers, activities, and videos.

Books on MLA Style

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / MLA Citation Examples

MLA Citation Examples

Welcome to the EasyBib MLA Citation Guide! If you’ve landed on this page, you’re probably wondering what MLA citing is, or perhaps you need help creating an MLA citation or two. This page is fully stocked with the information you need to be an MLA citing machine.

While EasyBib isn’t officially affiliated with the Modern Language Association, we’ve included page numbers throughout this guide to demonstrate that the information on this page reflects the content from the official Handbook . Click here to learn more about the 9th edition of the handbook.

If you’re wondering, “What is MLA?” and are in need of some background information on the organization, take a peek at the Modern Language Association ’s site. You’ll find tons of handy information related to referencing and writing mechanics. 

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

What’s an MLA citation?

  • 3 or more authors

Organization authors

Using the EasyBib MLA Citation Generator

  • Edited book
  • Chapter in an edited book
  • E-book from the Internet
  • Online journal article
  • Print journal article
  • Online magazine
  • Print magazine
  • Online newspaper
  • Print newspaper
  • Online image
  • Print image
  • Images viewed in real life
  • Online video
  • Streamed show
  • Streamed music
  • Sheet music
  • Social media examples

Any time a piece of information from another source is added into your MLA style paper, you must create two citations, or references, to show the reader where the information originated. One reference is placed in the written text of the paper, and the other is placed at the end of the project.

The reference that is placed in the written text of the paper, called an in-text citation , comes immediately next to any borrowed information. It provides a glimpse for the reader to see who the original author is and where the information was found. When creating in-text citations, it’s also important to know how to format page numbers in MLA .

Here’s an MLA example:

Lark knows how to handle life on the river: “I try to count the seconds before I hear the thunder, so I know how far the storm is, but I’m too rattled” (Wingate 12).

Check out the full EasyBib MLA in-text & parenthetical citations guide to learn more about styling these types of references.

The other type of reference, which we’ll call a full reference , is placed at the end of the project. It includes enough information about the source so the reader can locate the source themselves, if they choose to do so, whether online or at their library.

Here’s the full reference, which corresponds to the in-text citation above:

Wingate, Lisa. Before We Were Yours . Random House, 2017.

Notice that the beginning of the reference in the text, Wingate, corresponds with the first word in the full reference. This is very important! It allows for the reader to find the full reference on the MLA works cited page.

Wondering if you can create MLA footnotes instead? You sure can! However, in this style, it’s more common to use references in the text of your paper.

If it’s help with an APA in-text citation or APA parenthetical citation you’re after, you’re in luck! Our comprehensive guides are here for you!

Various types of styles

There are many different ways to style references, and following MLA’s guidelines are just one way to do so. Two other well-known and popular styles to structure references include APA and Chicago.

Your teacher probably told you which style to create your references in. If you were told to use a different style, such as APA or Chicago, here are some links to help you get started.

The EasyBib APA citations guide has everything you need to learn how to create references in this style. Or, if you’re looking for help with structuring the paper itself (spacing, font, margins, etc.), check out the EasyBib APA format page. If you need help with more styles , EasyBib always has your back, with thousands of styles available!

A Standard Formula

The great thing about MLA citations is that full references follow one standard formula. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re attempting to reference a book, newspaper article, or Facebook post, as almost every source type is structured the same way, following an MLA template.

Here’s a step-by-step guide that gives you the key to the secret sauce:

1. Who created the source?

Is your source written or created by an individual? If yes, place their name in reverse order, with a period at the end, like this:

Jackson, Michael.

If there are multiple individuals responsible for the work, place them in the order they’re shown on the source

Two Authors

Last Name, First Name, and First Name Last Name.

Owens, Michael, and Scott Abrahams.

Three or More Authors

According to page 112 of the Handbook , only include the first listed author’s name, in reverse order, followed by a comma, and omit all other names. Replace the additional names with the Latin phrase, et al.

Last Name, First Name, et al.

Preston, Rebekah, et al.

If an organization is responsible for the work, you may include the organization’s name. However, in many cases, an organization is listed as BOTH the author and publisher. When this is the case, you can leave the author out, start the citation with the source’s title, and include the organization name only as the publisher.

Dinosaur Facts . American Museum of Natural History, www.amnh.org/dinosaurs/dinosaur-facts.

2. What’s the title?

Sometimes there are two titles related to your source, and sometimes there’s only one.

If the source you’re referencing has two title parts, place the smaller part in quotation marks, followed by a period, and the larger part in italics, followed by a comma.

Think about the song, “Beat It,” by Michael Jackson. “Beat It” is the title of the song, but there’s another title too. The title of the album! The title of the album is Thriller.

Here’s how the two titles would be structured:

“Beat It.” Thriller ,

The album, Thriller , serves as the “container” for the song itself.

The term “ container ” is used extensively throughout the official guide. In addition to songs and albums, other types of titles and their containers can include:

  • “Web Page Articles.” Websites ,
  • “Book Chapters.” Titles of Books ,
  • “Journal Articles.” Titles of Journals ,

…plus many more!

To make things even more interesting, there are times when there’s more than one container! Think about an episode of a television show. The television series is the first container, but if you watched it on a streaming site, the streaming site would be the second container.

If there are two containers , the second one is added at the end of the reference.

“The Miseducation of Lisa Simpson.” Performances by John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, and Zach Woods. The Simpsons , season 31, episode 12, Fox Broadcasting, 16 Feb. 2020. Hulu , www.hulu.com/simpsons/miseducation.

Let’s break that down:

  • Container 2 : Hulu

There are times when two titles aren’t included in a reference. If, instead of referencing the song “Beat It,” you’re referencing the entire album, exclude the quotation marks. Only include the one title and place it in italics, without quotation marks.

Here’s how you would reference the entire album, rather than one song on the album:

Jackson, Michael. Thriller . Produced by Quincy Jones, Westlake Recording Studios, 1982.

For more on titles and containers, head to pages 134-145 of the official Handbook .

If you decide to use EasyBibs citation generator MLA creator, we’ll help you structure the titles and containers in just a few clicks!

3. Any other contributors?

If there are any other people, besides the author, who had a significant role, and you feel it would be helpful to include their name in the reference, this information is added after the title. Include their role and name in standard order, followed by a comma.

Produced by Quincy Jones,

For other types of sources, there may be other roles and individuals to highlight. Here are a few examples:

  • Performance by Sid Caesar,
  • Translated by Sarah Martin,
  • Narrated by Rita Williams-Garcia,

4. Are you referencing a specific version?

Perhaps there is a specific edition of a book, song version, or movie cut. Include this information next, followed by a comma.

Google Play Exclusive Edition,

Other examples could include:

  • Director’s cut,
  • Unedited ed.,
  • Instrumental version,

5. Got numbers?

Any numbers associated with the source, such as a volume and issue number, or episode number, are added next, followed by a comma.

For example, many journal articles have volume and issue numbers. Use vol. before the volume number and no. before the issue number.

vol. 2, no. 3,

Wondering what to exclude from your citations MLA paper? ISBN numbers! They’re never added into references.

6. Who published the source?

This information is added next in the reference, followed by a comma. Since the publisher listed is usually the formal name of a company or organization, use title case.

Random House,

Marvel Studios,

7. When was it published?

The date the source was published comes next, followed by a comma.

In the official Handbook , the references are displayed as Day Month Year. If the month is longer than 4 letters, abbreviate it.

4 Nov. 2019,

28 July 2015,

If you can’t find the source date, simply leave it out. Note: Some teachers want students to make a source with “no date” as “n.d.” If you’re unsure what your teacher wants, check in with them.

8. Where can you find the source?

The final component of the formula is the location.

  • If the source was found online, this should be a website address. Make sure to omit https:// from the front of the string.
  • It can be an actual location too, if the source is something you saw in a museum or elsewhere in real life.
  • Or, it can also be a page number or page range.
  • Always close out the reference with a period.

Now, let’s put all of the pieces together. Here’s what we come up with for our MLA citation example:

Jackson, Michael. “Beat It.” Thriller , produced by Quincy Jones, Google Play Exclusive Edition, Epic, 1982, play.google.com/store/music/album/Thriller?id=Bzs3hkvcyvinz5tkilucmmoqjhi&hl=en_US.

Example breakdown:

Some things to keep in mind:

1. It’s not necessary to include every piece to the puzzle. Only include the information that the reader would need in order to successfully locate the source themselves.

For example, in the Thriller example above, you’ll see there aren’t any specific numbers (besides the publication date) in the reference. Why? There aren’t any numbers associated with the source.

2. If you’re looking for help, the EasyBib MLA citation creator helps you develop your references. Give it a whirl! It’s free and easy to use! Nervous to try it out? Here’s a quick rundown on how to use it.

Reserve the precious time you have for researching and writing, rather than wrapping your head around MLA guidelines, rules, and structures. The EasyBib citing tool is here to help you easily create citations for all your papers and turn you into a citing, MLA machine!

Follow these steps:

  • Find your source. We have over 50 types of sources to choose from.
  • Our automatic generator (shown below) creates references using source data already available on the Internet. Simply type in a few key pieces of information about the source and click “Search.”
  • Our manual form creates your references based on the information you enter. Fill out the form and click “Complete Citation.”
  • The easy-to-follow directions guide you through the remainder of the process. Follow the steps on the screen and watch the magic happen in a few clicks and keystrokes!
  • Copy and paste your completed reference into your project or export it to your document.

The EasyBib MLA format generator isn’t all that’s available. There are also tons of other nifty features, all available on our homepage, including an MLA title page maker and an innovative plagiarism checker ! That’s not all, there are many other thorough guides to help you with your referencing needs. Check out the EasyBib APA reference page , plus many more!

MLA citing is easier when you have visuals and examples to take a peek at. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the most common source types that students and scholars reference. If you’re trying to reference a book, newspaper article, website, or tweet, you’ll find the structures you need to get on the right track.

Pro tip: Don’t leave your references for the last minute! In your MLA outline or notes, keep track of the sources you use. This will help make the entire process easier for you! Some instructors may even have you complete an MLA annotated bibliography before writing your paper so that you can cite, organize, and become familiar with your sources in advance.

Below are examples for these sources:

If, instead, you need help with referencing an APA book citation , the linked guide walks you through the process!

EDITED BOOK

This information is located on page 112-113 of the official Handbook .

CHAPTER IN AN EDITED BOOK

E-book from the internet.

If you’re attempting to reference an e-book from an e-reader, such as a Nook or Kindle, use the EasyBib MLA citation generator. We’ll help you structure your e-book references in no time!

If you need more information on how to cite websites in MLA , check out the full-length EasyBib guide! Or, take the guesswork out of forming your references and try the EasyBib automatic MLA citation machine!

Need an APA citation website or help with another popular referencing style? EasyBib Plus may be exactly what you need.

ONLINE JOURNAL ARTICLE

To see an online journal example in action, check out the EasyBib MLA sample paper, which is discussed at the bottom of this guide. Also, don’t forget about the easy-to-use, EasyBib automatic generator. Stop typing into Google “citation maker MLA” and go to EasyBib.com instead!

PRINT JOURNAL ARTICLE

If it’s referencing an APA journal you’re after, click on the link for the informative EasyBib guide on the topic.

If you’re looking for an MLA citation maker to help you build your bibliography, try out the EasyBib MLA generator. Type in a few key pieces of information about your source and watch the magic happen!

ONLINE MAGAZINE

*In the above example, Natarajan’s article only sits on one page, so it’s unnecessary to include the page number in the reference in the text.

PRINT MAGAZINE

Print magazines are always fun to read, but know what else is a party? Brushing up on your grammar skills! Check out the thorough EasyBib grammar guides on adverb , determiner , and preposition pages!

ONLINE NEWSPAPER

*You do not need to include the city name in your citation if the city name is in the name of the newspaper or if it is a national or international newspaper.

**Since the above article is only on one page, it’s not necessary to include the page number in the text reference of your MLA style citation.

Need help? Use the EasyBib MLA citation machine, which guides you through the process of making newspaper references! Quit searching on Google for “how to MLA citation” and visit  EasyBib.com today!

PRINT NEWSPAPER

If your periodical article falls on nonconsecutive page numbers, add a plus sign after the first page number and omit the additional pages from any full references. Example: pp. B1+ (This information is located on page 193 in the official Handbook ). Don’t forget, the EasyBib citation machine MLA creator can help you structure all your citation information!

ONLINE IMAGE

If you’re still confused about referencing online images, give the EasyBib MLA format generator a whirl. In just a few clicks, you’ll have well-structured MLA citations!

PRINT IMAGE

If you’re looking to reference an image seen in a print book, use the structure below. Or, use the “Cartoon,” “Photo,” “Painting,” or “Map” forms found on the EasyBib MLA generator for citations.

In need of a citation machine MLA maker to help save some of your precious time? Try EasyBib’s generator. Head to the EasyBib homepage and start developing your references today!

IMAGE VIEWED IN REAL LIFE

If you viewed an image in real life, whether at a museum, on display in a building, or even on a billboard, this EasyBib MLA citation guide example includes the most common way to reference it.

ONLINE VIDEO

For the majority of online video references, the reference should start with the title of the video. The information about the account that uploaded the video should be included in the “Other Contributors” space.

For more on learning how to cite MLA timestamps, turn to page 250 in the official Handbook .

It’s common to see online videos featured in an annotated bibliography . Have a look at the useful guide to learn how to create one from scratch!

STREAMED SHOW

Streamed shows (sometimes called online or streamed “television shows”) are watched using a service such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or another subscription streaming site.

If you accessed a streamed show through an app, the name of the app can be displayed at the end of the citation as “[ Name of Service ] app” instead of including the URL.

After you’re through binging on your favorite shows, give yourself some brain fuel by taking a glance at the EasyBib grammar guides. Take your writing up a notch with the guides on interjection , conjunction , and verb pages!

STREAMED MUSIC

*If you accessed a streamed song through an app, the name of the app can be displayed at the end of the citation as “[ Name of Service ] app” instead of including the URL.

Streamed music can be tricky to reference, especially with the wide variety of streaming services available on the web and through apps. Don’t worry, the EasyBib MLA citation maker can come in and save the day for you. Try it out now! To make it even easier, bookmark the EasyBib citation machine MLA maker for quick access!

SHEET MUSIC

*You can include the original composition date as supplemental information between the title and publisher. It may be helpful to include this information if the piece was composed much earlier than the sheet music you are citing or if the arrangement has significantly changed from the original.

SOCIAL MEDIA EXAMPLES

Notable individuals consistently share pictures, videos, and ideas on social media, which is why social media is often referenced in today’s research papers . If you’re looking to add a reference for Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or Instagram in your MLA paper, check out the structures and examples below.

*When the account name and username are similar, the username can be excluded from the citation. For example, if the account’s username was @FirstNameLastName or @OrganizationName.

If the tweet is composed of just an image or video, create a description for it and do not place it in quotation marks. For example:

DJ Snake. Video of studio controls with music playing. Twitter , 11 Feb. 2020, twitter.com/djsnake/status/1227267455095123968.

Odds are, you could spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the latest news and gossip. Why not spend some time scrolling through the EasyBib grammar guides instead? Check out these informative noun and adjective guides to help keep your writing in check!

Looking for other types of sources, such as government and archival documents? Here’s more info .

mla citation style

Now that you’ve figured out how to style your references, the next step is structuring your written work according to this style’s guidelines. The thorough EasyBib MLA format guide provides you with the information you need to structure the font, MLA title page (or MLA cover page), paper margins, spacing, plus more! There’s even a sample MLA paper, too!

MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

Published April 9, 2020. Updated July 25, 2021.

Written by Michele Kirschenbaum. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and is the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

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  • Sample Paper
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Citation Examples

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It’s 100% free to create MLA citations. The EasyBib Citation Generator also supports 7,000+ other citation styles. These other styles—including APA, Chicago, and Harvard—are accessible for anyone with an EasyBib Plus subscription.

No matter what citation style you’re using (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) the EasyBib Citation Generator can help you create the right bibliography quickly.

Yes, there’s an option to download source citations as a Word Doc or a Google Doc. You may also copy citations from the EasyBib Citation Generator and paste them into your paper.

Creating an account is not a requirement for generating MLA citations. However, registering for an EasyBib account is free and an account is how you can save all the citation you create. This can help make it easier to manage your citations and bibliographies.

Yes! Whether you’d like to learn how to construct citations on your own, our Autocite tool isn’t able to gather the metadata you need, or anything in between, manual citations are always an option. Click here for directions on using creating manual citations.

If any important information is missing (e.g., author’s name, title, publishing date, URL, etc.), first see if you can find it in the source yourself. If you cannot, leave the information blank and continue creating your citation.

It supports MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, and over 7,000 total citation styles.

An in-text citation is a short citation that is placed next to the text being cited. The basic element needed for an in-text citation is the author’s name . The publication year is not required in in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when text is quoted from the source being cited. In-text citations are mentioned in the text in two ways: as a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation.

Citation in prose

Citations in prose are incorporated into the text and act as a part of the sentence. Usually, citations in prose use the author’s full name when cited the first time in the text. Thereafter, only the surname is used. Avoid including the middle initial even if it is present in the works-cited-list entry. An example of the first citation in prose for one author is given below:

Carol Fitzerald explains the picture of the area.

Parenthetical

Parenthetical citations add only the author’s surname at the end of the sentence in parentheses. An example of a parenthetical citation is given below:

The picture of the area is explained (Fitzgerald).

When are other components included?

When you quote a specific line from the source, you can include a page number or a line number in in-text citations. Examples of both a citation in prose and a parenthetical citation are given below. Do not add “p.” or “pp.” before the page number(s).

Swan says, “Postglacial viability and colonization in North America is to be studied” (47).

Though some researchers claim that “Postglacial viability and colonization in North America is to be studied” (Swan 47).

In-text citations should be concise. Do not repeat author names in parentheses if the name is mentioned in the text (the citation in prose).

To cite a periodical such as a journal, magazine, or newspaper, in the text, the basic element needed is the author’s name . The publication year is not required for in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when text is quoted from the source being cited. In-text citations are mentioned in the text in two ways: as a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation. The example below shows how to cite a periodical in the text.

Citations in prose use the author’s full name when citing for the first time. Thereafter, only use the surname. Avoid including the middle initial even if it is present in the works-cited-list entry. An example of a citation in prose for a periodical with one author is below:

First time: Kathy Goldstein explains the picture of the area.

Subsequent occurrences: Goldstein explains the picture of the area.

Parenthetical citations add only the author’s surname at the end of the sentence in parentheses. An example of a parenthetical citation is below:

The picture of the area is explained (Goldstein).

An MLA citation generator is a tool that can help you easily create MLA formatted citations and works cited entries. You can try the EasyBib MLA citation generator at https://www.easybib.com/mla/source .

For some source types, only a single piece of information is needed in order to generate a citation. For example, the ISBN of a book, the DOI of a journal article, or the URL of a website. For other source types, a form will indicate what information is needed for the citation, and then automatically formats the citation.

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mla citation style

A Short Guide to MLA Format Citations

How to create mla format citations, how to write a full mla citation.

Example of a MLA style citation

How to write an in-text MLA citation

In-Text MLA format

MLA Format Citations vs. Other Formats

How to cite (almost) anything in mla format, strong writing, proper citations, good grades.

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Generate accurate citations in MLA format automatically, with MyBib!

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😕 What is an MLA Citation Generator?

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

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

👩‍🎓 Who uses an MLA Citation Generator?

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

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

🙌 Why should I use a Citation Generator?

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

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

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

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

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

MyBib supports the following for MLA style:

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

In-text citation

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The MLA 9th style uses author-date in-text citations, used when quoting or paraphrasing people’s work. 

Two types of in-text citations

1. author prominent format .

Use this format if you want to emphasise the author. Their name becomes part of your sentence.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," wrote Charles Dickens of the eighteenth century (5).

2. Information prominent format

Use this format if you want to emphasise the information. It cites the author’s name, typically at the end of a sentence.

as demonstrated in the opening line, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" (Dickens 5).

Examples of in-text citations

Less than three lines of text.

If a prose quotation is no more than four lines and does not require special emphasis, put it in quotation marks and incorporate it into the text. Include the page number(s) in brackets.

"It was the best of times it was the worst of times" wrote Charles Dickens of the eighteenth century (5).

  • See Plays and Poetry sections below for how to cite these in-text.

More than three lines of text

If a quotation is longer than three lines, set it off from your text by beginning a new line, indenting half an inch from the left margin. Quotation marks around the text are not required. Introduce the quotation with a colon. Place the parenthetical reference after the last line. For example, the above discusses John Corner in his book, The Art of Record: A Critical Introduction to Documentary , which refers to Brian Winston's revaluation of the documentary tradition in the writings of John Grierson.

Winston's reassessment of Grierson finds the play-off between creativity and realness unconvincing: Grierson's taxonomic triumph was to make his particular species of non-fiction film, the non-fiction genre while at the same time allowing the films to use the significant fictionalising technique of dramatisation. (Winston 103)

This is a usefully provocative point, though agreement with it will largely rest on certain, contestable ideas about 'fictionalisation' and 'dramatisation'. The issue is dealt with directly in Chapter Two, as part of considering the debate around drama-documentary forms, and it occurs in relation to specific works throughout this book.

Two authors

In prose, the first time the two authors are mentioned, use both first and second names. In a parenthetical citation use 'and', not '&' to connect the two surnames.

Others, like Cheryl Brown and Laura Czerniewicz argue that the idea of a generation of ‘digital natives’ is flawed (359). The Brown and Czerniewicz article focuses on…

(Brown and Czerniewicz 359)

Three or more authors

When citing a source with three or more authors in prose you only refer to the first coauthor and can follow the additional authors by “and others“ or “and colleagues.” A parenthetical citation requires the first author's surname, followed by et al.

Laura Czerniewicz and colleagues argue…

(Czerniewicz et al. 53)

Different authors, same surname

If you use works from more than one author with the same last name, eliminate any ambiguity by including the author's first initial as well (or if the initial is also the same, the full first name).

(N. Palmer 45)

(N. Palmer 45; M. Palmer 102)

Citing more than one author

If you are citing more than one source at the same point, place them in the same parentheses, separated by a semi-colon.

(Jackson 41; Smith 150)

Same author, two or more works

If you cite multiple works by the same author, include a shortened title in each in-text citation to establish which work you are referring to. To avoid overly lengthy in-text citations, shorten the title to a simple noun phrase, or a few words.

The first example references Said's book, so the title is italicised. The second example references Said's journal article, so it is in quotation marks.

For more tips on how to abbreviate titles of sources, see 6.10 of the MLA Handbook .

..."the Orient was a scholar's word, signifying what modern Europe had recently made of the still peculiar East" (Said, Orientalism 92).

..."there is something basically unworkable or at least drastically changed about the traditional frameworks in which we study literature" (Said, "Globalizing Literary Study" 64).

Anonymous or no author

For works that are anonymously authored, or have no author, include a shortened version of the title in the in-text citation (do not list the author as "anonymous", nor as "anon.").

It has been argued that the hat symbolised freedom (Wandering Merchant 157).

Corporate author

Abbreviate terms that are commonly abbreviated (e.g. Department becomes Dept.), so as to not disrupt the flow of your text with overly long in-text citations.

If the corporate author is identified in the works-cited list by the names of administrative units separated by commas, give all the names in the parenthetical citation.

The Australian Research Council found that there are limited policies and procedures in place to manage foreign interference (4).

(Monash University 176)

Citing an author within another source

An indirect source is a source that is cited in another source. To quote this second-hand source, use “qtd. in” (quoted in), and then include the information of the source you actually consulted. Similarly, for the reference list use the source that you actually consulted (i.e. the indirect source). Keep in mind that it is good academic practice to seek out and use the original source, rather than the second-hand one, however this is not always possible.

For the below example, the student is using Petrarch's quote which is found in Hui. The page number refers to the source actually consulted (Hui), and the reference list would only list Hui, as shown below:

Hui, Andrew. The Poetics of Ruins in Renaissance Literature. Fordham UP, 2016.

For more information, see section 6.77 of the MLA Handbook .

Petrarch laments that Cicero’s manuscripts are “in such fragmentary and mutilated condition that it would perhaps have been better for them to have perished” (qtd. in Hui 4).

Author in a translation

If you think your audience would require a translation for your quoted material, then provide one. Give the source of the translation, as well as the source of the quote.

If you did the translation yourself, then insert my trans. where you would usually put the translation source, as shown in the example above.

If you're quoting in a language that does not use the Latin alphabet (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, etc.), then consistently use the original writing system for your quotes or romanisation. Note that proper nouns are usually romanised.

For more information, see 6.75 Translations of Quotations in the MLA Style Guide .

Mme d'Aulnoy's heroine is "la chatte blanche" ("the white cat"; my trans.; 56)

Poetry - Short quotations

Quotations from poetry from part of a line up to three lines in length, which do not need particular emphasis, may be added, placed in quotation marks, within your text as part of a sentence. Use a slash with a space on either side ( / ) to indicate a new line of poetry.

If the poem you are referencing has line numbers, then omit page numbers all-together and cite by line number instead. Do not use the abbreviation l. or ll. , but instead in your first citation, use the word line, or lines as shown in the example below. After the first citation, it can be assumed that the numbers refer to lines, so you can include the numbers alone.

More's distress that she had not written about the problems of the slave trade earlier are expressed in the poem: "Whene'er to Afric's shores I turn my eyes, / Horrors of deepest, deadliest guilt arise" (line 5).

Poetry - Block quotations

When quoting a block of poetry, introduce it in the same manner as a prose block quotation, i.e. begin the quote on a new line and indent each line as below. There is no need to add quotation marks. A reference to the page or line number should be included in parenthesis at the end of the last line. If the original text is creatively spaced or indented, then try to replicate the original as best you can.

Judith Wright 's poetry explores the Australian environment:

And have we eaten in the heart of the yellow wheat the sullen unforgetting seed of fire? And now, set free by the climate of man's hate, that seed sets time ablaze (14)

If you quote the lines of more than one actor or if the piece you are quoting is long, the quotation should not be integrated into your text. The rules in MLA for presenting this text are:

  • Leave a line between your text and the quotation
  • Begin each part of the dialogue with the character's name, indented half an inch from the margin, in upper case and with a full-stop, e.g. BODYGUARDS.
  • Start dialogue after full-stop or match spacing shown in original source
  • Indent all dialogue an additional amount, as shown below
  • End each piece of dialogue with a full-stop
  • End the last line of the quotation with a full-stop and then add the section and line numbers in parentheses.

For more information, see section 6.40 of the MLA 9th Handbook .

TARTUFFE. Yes, my brother, I am a sinner, a guilty man. An unhappy sinner full of iniquity. (III. vi.)

In-text citation general checklist

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ENG 114: Craig

  • Introduction
  • Statistics & Data
  • MLA Citations

How to Cite Social Explorer in MLA Style

  • Citing Social Explorer maps and data

Works Cited & Bibliography

Author Last Name, First Name. Book Title. The Publisher, Publication Date.

2. Work in an Anthology/Book Chapter/Encyclopedia Entry

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Selection/Chapter.” Book Title , edited by Editor Name, The Publisher, Publication Date, pp. Page Numbers.

3. Article from a Database Accessed Through a Subscription Service

Author Last Name, First Name.  “Title of the Work.” Publication Information. Name of the Database , Location. Date of Access.

4. Article from an Online Scholarly Journal

Author Last Name, First Name. "Title of the Work." Publication Information, Location. Date of Access.

Note : If the journal is online-only and does not include page numbers, you can omit them from your citation.

5. Work from a Website

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Document.” Website Name , Date of Publication, Location. Date of Access.

Adapted from: Everyday Writer, 4th ed. (Lunsford)

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ENGL 197: Climate Fiction (Shewry, Winter 2024): MLA Citation Style

  • Subject Headings
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MLA Citation Style

What is a citation.

A citation is the  basic information that you need to find an article, book, or other resource .

Citations are a form of shorthand -- they look complicated because they cram a lot of information into just a few lines, but once you learn how to read them they begin to make sense.

An article citation will always tell you :

  • The author's name
  • The title of the article
  • The name of the magazine or journal in which it appears
  • The volume number of the magazine or journal (and sometimes the issue number)
  • The page numbers on which the article is located
  • The date when the article was published

A book citation will tell you :

  • The title of the book
  • The publication date
  • The city in which the book was published
  • The book's publisher
  • << Previous: Google Scholar

Some article databases will format citations for you in the cite, save, or email  options but be careful -- they are not always accurate.

The Library reference desk has the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook that you are welcome to consult.

  • Purdue Owl Citation Guide
  • MLA Documentation Guide From the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
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In-Text Citations: An Overview

In-text citations are brief, unobtrusive references that direct readers to the works-cited-list entries for the sources you consulted and, where relevant, to the location in the source being cited.

An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that di­rects your reader to the entry in the works-cited list. Thus, it begins with what ever comes first in the entry: the author’s name or the title (or descrip­tion) of the work. The citation can appear in your prose or in parentheses.

Citation in prose  Naomi Baron broke new ground on the subject. Parenthetical citation At least one researcher has broken new ground on the subject (Baron). Work cited Baron, Naomi S. “Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media.” PMLA , vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193–200. 

When relevant, an in-text citation also has a second component: if a specific part of a work is quoted or paraphrased and the work includes a page number, line number, time stamp, or other way to point readers to the place in the work where the information can be found, that location marker must be included in parentheses.

Parenthetical citation According to Naomi Baron, reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (194).

The author or title can also appear alongside the page number or other loca­tion marker in parentheses.

Parenthetical citation Reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (Baron 194).

All in-text references should be concise. Avoid, for instance, providing the author’s name or title of a work in both your prose and parentheses.

Citation (incorrect) According to Naomi Baron, reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (Baron 194). Citation (correct) According to Naomi Baron, reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (194).

For more on what to include in an in-text citation and how to style it, see sections 6.3–6.30 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook ).

55 Comments

Brandi unruh 10 april 2021 at 11:04 am.

Hello! I am a high school English teacher trying to answer a question that came up during our research unit. I can’t seem to find a definitive answer online. When using a shortened title in an in-text citation, does an ellipsis need to be included? For example, if the title was “The Problem of Poverty in America: A Historical and Cultural Analysis”, would the in-text citation be (“The Problem of Poverty in America...”) or (“The Problem of Poverty in America”)? Thank you for your time and expertise!

Your e-mail address will not be published

Laura Kiernan 12 April 2021 AT 11:04 AM

No, an ellipsis would not be used in an in-text citation. We provide extensive guidance on shortening titles in 6.10 of the new ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

angel 10 May 2021 AT 02:05 PM

hii How to write an in text citation of an entry from encyclopedia which has an editor but no separate authors for each entry ?

William Feeler 11 May 2021 AT 01:05 PM

I see no mention of paragraph numbers for unpaginated prose or sections/lines for drama. are these practices gone?

Laura Kiernan 18 May 2021 AT 01:05 PM

This post provides a general overview of our approach to in-text citations. The complete guidelines appear in sections 6.1–6.30 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Vonceil Park 11 May 2021 AT 01:05 PM

Dear MLA Staff, A professor at my College demands students to provide paragraph number in the in-text citation for online articles that have no page number nor paragraph number. Do we just count the paragraph number and put them in the parenthesis, for example: (para. 3)?

Laura Kiernan 18 May 2021 AT 12:05 PM

Thank you for your question. Your approach to modifying our style in accordance with your professor's instructions works, but we would suggest confirming that styling with your professor.

Arathi Babu 17 May 2021 AT 08:05 AM

How to write an in text citation of an unsigned entry from a reference work?

Laura Kiernan 08 June 2021 AT 11:06 AM

If the entry was in a print work, the in-text citation would include the entry’s title or a shortened version of the entry’s title and the page number of the quotation. If the entry was in a reference work without page numbers, the in-text citation should just contain the title or shortened title of the entry.

Sethu 17 May 2021 AT 02:05 PM

For example: Can I give an in-text citation like the following: Shakespeare, in his work Hamlet, quotes: "To be or not to be" (7).

For citing commonly studied verse works, see 6.22 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Trinity Klein 21 May 2021 AT 11:05 AM

Can you please help with proper in-text citation placement for an embedded quotation? Does the citation come immediately after the quotation or at the very end of the sentence? For example, is this correct: He asks her to take him home “in the voice of a child afraid of the dark” which comes as a shock to Scout because he has so long held a bold and rebellious reputation (372). Or should the (372) come immediately after ...dark"...? Thank you!

For more information about the placement of a parenthetical citations, see 6.43 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Karima 30 May 2021 AT 05:05 PM

Dear MLA staff, 1) In case i am quoting from multiple sources by the same author, am i required to introduce again the source i am quoting from in the beginning of my sentence? (Quotes are used in multiple paragraphs)

For guidance on citing multiple sources by the same author, see 6.8 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Yves 23 June 2021 AT 06:06 PM

Hello, is there a specific rule about how to format a range of page numbers in the parenthetical citation? For example, could (Eden 44-45) be written as (Eden 44-5), or is only one example correct?

Laura Kiernan 24 September 2021 AT 02:09 PM

For information about styling number ranges, see section 2.139 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Faliravo 11 August 2021 AT 05:08 AM

Good morning MLA team, My professor insists that I include the year of publication for in-text citations. Is it going to be okay if I insert the year between the author and the page number?

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Laura Kiernan 24 September 2021 AT 01:09 PM

Your approach to modifying our style in accordance with your professor’s instructions works, but we would suggest confirming that styling with your professor.

Pauline 14 September 2021 AT 11:09 PM

How do I cite an entire work. For example, if I want to say Toni Morrison's the "Bluest Eye" has been used as a textbook for many English literature classes, I suppose I shouldn't put any page number in the parenthetical citation. But I can't find any MLA references on this.

See section 4.14 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

myron glassenberg 04 February 2022 AT 01:02 PM

if source is the whole book, how do I cite in text and in works cited pages. e.g. freud (no page number) Freud , ( 1892) The Pleasure Principle.

Rita Rozzi 20 September 2023 AT 07:09 PM

There is no section 4.14 in the ninth edition. Do you have any updated information? Thank you.

Laura Kiernan 21 September 2023 AT 03:09 PM

Section 4.14, which is titled "Passing Mentions," can be found in chapter 4 of the ninth edition of the handbook.

Lauren McFall 13 October 2021 AT 02:10 PM

Students often refer to the same source consecutively across more than one sentence. I'm having a hard time finding information about the preferred approach according to the MLA. As a parallel, APA makes a specific recommendation - "cite the source in the first sentence in which it is relevant and do not repeat the citation in subsequent sentences as long as the source remains clear and unchanged" https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/appropriate-citation

Laura Kiernan 20 October 2021 AT 04:10 PM

See 6.45 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Ruth Schafer 01 December 2022 AT 07:12 PM

6.45 out of the MLA Handbook's ninth edition does not provide an example of how to cite a multi-sentence paraphrase when using an unpaginated source. Can you give an example of how to cite a multi-sentence paraphrase where the source does not have published page numbering?

Should I introduce the source in my prose and then again at the end of the multi-sentence paraphrase in parentheses when I have finished citing the paraphrase? Example: John Smith from Smith Architecture explains that crawl space foundations are...blah blah blah. These foundations are most commonly used in midwestern constructions where the frost line is...blah, blah, blah. Keep writing the paraphrase and then at the end of the final sentence instead of a page citation write the author's last name (Smith). This way if you switch to a different source, at least the reader knows that you have finished with the Smith source and have moved on to your own commentary or another source's information. Usually, I'd use a page citation at the end of the paraphrase, but when dealing with a source that does not have page numbering, I'm unsure what to do.

Lizzie 18 October 2021 AT 10:10 PM

If I only use textual evidence from the novel I'm examining, do I need to include the authors name with each in text citation? There are no other works cited, so it seems redundant/clutter-y to me

Kayden 29 October 2021 AT 05:10 PM

If I'm trying to cite multiple paragraphs from the same source would it be correct to say (par. 3 and 13) or should it be (par. 3, 13) and is it different if they are next to each other too like (par. 6-7) or (par. 6 and 7).

Laura Kiernan 04 November 2021 AT 11:11 AM

See sections 6.18–6.20 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Rachel 17 November 2021 AT 01:11 PM

When citing from an online source without pagination, if you include the author's name in the introduction to the quote, do you need to include anything in parentheses like the article title?

Laura Kiernan 22 November 2021 AT 12:11 PM

See section 6.26 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

July 25 November 2021 AT 05:11 PM

When quoting an online source (e.g. a website), do I have to indicate the fact that it's an online source in the in-text-citations as in (Name [online]) or is the author's name enough?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

Laura Kiernan 29 November 2021 AT 10:11 AM

According to MLA style, an in-text citation for an online work should not note that the work is online.

Pinkie 19 March 2022 AT 08:03 PM

If I'm writing a response paper, and I need to summarize the whole article to introduce it, then should I use in-text citation?

Laura Kiernan 25 March 2022 AT 01:03 PM

For guidance on paraphrasing, see sections 4.5–4.8 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Kay 09 April 2022 AT 06:04 PM

Hi, am I supposed to include the DOI when one is available in the citation? If I cite the print version of a journal article that has a DOI, still include the DOI in the citation? Thank you!

Laura Kiernan 11 April 2022 AT 11:04 AM

Thank you for your questions. For guidance on including a DOI in your works-cited-list entry, see sections 5.84 and 5.93 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Mike 16 April 2022 AT 05:04 PM

Website in-text Citation...

When I'm writing an in-text citation for a website, I'm seeing all manner of different things to include. Do I need to add the author name and year of publishing for the article?\ Do I just need the website name? I'm not really understanding what I need to add or obtain for such a citation within the text I'm writing.

I'm writing a book on my life, and I'm quoting a particular webpage to show one particular angle of an argument I'm making, and, of course, it's not common knowledge, so I want to make sure that I follow all the rules for this kind of thing, so I don't get in trouble with the author(s) of the sources I have quoted from...

Laura Kiernan 18 April 2022 AT 02:04 PM

Thank you for your questions about MLA style. For guidance on in-text citations for web pages, see section 6.26 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Cynthia 21 May 2022 AT 10:05 PM

When you're doing an In-text citations do you put the quotations over the chapter title and then quotations over what you get from the text or do you italicize the title?

Laura Kiernan 25 May 2022 AT 03:05 PM

Thank you for your question. For guidance on how to style chapter titles, see 2.109 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Napatsi 15 August 2022 AT 07:08 PM

I'm trying to find how to put in the in-text citation for a UN declaration article but can only find the "Resolutions of International Governing Bodies" on page 446 of the 9th edition but not how to out it in without an author.

Kim 27 September 2022 AT 12:09 PM

I'm quoting a passage from an unpublished manuscript, and it is not the only work I'm citing by the author, but the only one without a year. So using "Smith 1995, 82" is not possible. What would an in-text citation for this case look like?

Jen 17 November 2022 AT 08:11 PM

How do I cite a news cast for in-text citation like ABC News?

Samantha 04 December 2022 AT 05:12 PM

Hi, For MLA format, should a quote where you need to de-capitalize the first letter be written as "you want" or "(y)ou want". Thanks!

Laura Kiernan 07 December 2022 AT 01:12 PM

Thank you for your question. For guidance on how to indicate that you have lowercased the first letter of a quotation, see 6.56 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Maria Albeti 07 February 2023 AT 01:02 PM

Stewart, David W. Focus groups. In: Frey, B.B. (ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation, vol. 2, pp. 687–692. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications 2018 In this case, how is the correct form to write, because the article is IN the the book?

Eros Karadzhov 15 February 2023 AT 02:02 PM

If we have a sentence that is a statement, but at the end we quote a question, which punctuation mark do we keep, the question mark or the period; maybe both? Example: (1) The author ends his poem with the following question on purpose: "Or does it explode?" (Hughes 11). (2) The author ends his poem with the following question on purpose: "Or does it explode" (Hughes 11)?

Which would be correct, or maybe both are wrong?

Thank you in advance!

Laura Kiernan 16 February 2023 AT 03:02 PM

Thank you for your question. For guidance on quotations ending in a question mark, see section 6.53 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Anonymous 08 March 2023 AT 05:03 PM

What about online articles with no known author or multiple authors? What should the in-text citation look like?

Maria 25 March 2023 AT 04:03 PM

Please settle a dispute with my colleagues. I encourage composition students to avoid listing the title of journal articles within the essay unless it is especially relevant because it clutters their arguments. I came to this conclusion from my interpretation of this statement from MLA: "All in-text references should be concise. Avoid, for instance, providing the author’s name or title of a work in both your prose and parentheses." Could someone please provide an answer or further clarification?

Erika Suffern 30 March 2023 AT 04:03 PM

You are right to identify a principle of concision in our guidelines. That said, it is not wrong to mention a title in prose, but it should be done, as you note, when relevant–not as a de rigeur practice or for “filler.” As Eric Hayot notes in The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities (Columbia UP, 2014), “giving the title” in prose “suggests fuller forthcoming treatment” (159). Another reason for including the title in prose might be to call attention to something about it. Many writers who do mention a title in prose fear having an incomplete citation and are tempted also to include the title in a parenthetical reference, which is unnecessary.

Jay 29 April 2023 AT 12:04 AM

How do I in-text cite a direct quote from the introduction of an ebook with no page numbers? Would I write (Author "Introduction") or just write (Author)?

Kiara 11 February 2024 AT 03:02 PM

Hello! I am a university student who is currently creating works cited entries and in-text citations for a reflection essay. How do I properly cite professor and peer comments?

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These OWL resources will help you learn how to use the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation and format style. This section contains resources on in-text citations and Works Cited pages, as well as MLA sample papers, slide presentations, and the MLA classroom poster.

MLA Overview and Workshop

This page provides an overview of MLA style and where to find help with different MLA resources. It also presents an annotated list of links to all of our MLA materials, making it an excellent place to begin learning about MLA format.

MLA Formatting and Style Guide

MLA style is most commonly used to cite sources within the language arts, cultural studies, and other humanities disciplines. This resource, revised according to the 9th edition of the MLA manual published in April 2021, offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, and the Works Cited page. For more information, please consult the official MLA Handbook (9th ed.).

Welcome to the OWL Workshop on MLA Style. This workshop will introduce you to the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style for writing and formatting research papers. To get the most out of this workshop, you should begin with the introductory material below, which covers what MLA Style is, why it is used, and who should apply this style to their work. Then you are invited to browse through the OWL's various handouts on different aspects of MLA Formatting and Citations standards, both as sources appear in-text and in final reference page.

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

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Zotero  is a free easy to use citation manager tool.  ZoteroBib  is a quick tool to create a bibliography.

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EDUC 1100 - Harris - Spring 2024 by Kara Dixon: Citing Sources

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Citing your sources

When you borrow someone's information, data or words you must give credit to the original author.  The style of documentation, or citation style you use depends on the disciplinary area of the course you are taking, e.g., English or Nursing. Your instructor will tell you which style to use.   Use the information below to help format your citations correctly.

Avoiding Plagiarism

To cite or not to cite... Plagiarism means using the words and ideas of another person as if they were your own.  This includes both using the exact words or ideas of another. 1. Always acknowledge the contributions of others in your work. 2. Always use quotation marks when including verbatim text and include a citation. 3. Identify the source when paraphrasing or summarizing. 4. Information about common knowledge doesn't need a citation. But when in doubt, cite!)

How Library Stuff Works - MLA Citations

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Citation Generators

Check out these websites to help with creating your citations. Always double check against our style guides !

Citation Machine A citation generator for MLA, APA, Turabian and Chicago styles

KnightCite A citation generator created by the Hekman Library of Calvin College.  It assists with creating citations in MLA, APA and Chicago for all types of resources.  You have the option to register for additional features such as saving and exporting citations.  

NoodleTools NoodleBib Express quickly creates citations in MLA or APA.  You can also register for a NoodleBib MLA Starter account for additional feature such as the ability to save citations and format a works cited page. 

Zotero A Firefox extension that helps with the collection, management and citation of sources (for Firefox only)

Database Citation Tools

Most of our databases include tools that automatically generate citations for every article, video, eBook that you open.  The citation tools may look different depending on which database you use.  Look for the icons below in your resources to quickly access a citation that you can copy and past into your assignment.  Don't forget to check these auto-generated citations for occasional errors (use the ACC Library Style Guides !)

Most databases offer tools that will generate a citation for your article.  Screenshot shows different icons for citation tools in different databases.

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MLA Style Resources

MLA Citation Guide created by ACC Librarians Covers basic citation rules and provides citation examples of commonly used source types.

The MLA Style Center Writing sources and support from the Modern Language Association

MLA Formatting and Style Guide Created by the Purdue Online Writing Lab

APA Style Resources

APA Citation Guide created by ACC Librarians Covers basic citation rules and provides citation examples of commonly used source types.

APA Style  The authority on APA Style rules and support

APA Formatting and Style Guide Created by the Purdue Online Writing Lab

CSE Style Resources

CSE Citation Guide created by ACC Librarians -- Name-Year Method Covers basic citation rules and provides citation examples of commonly used source types

CSE Citation Guide created by ACC Librarians -- Citation-Sequence System Covers basic citation rules and provides citation examples of commonly used source types

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  • How to cite a website in MLA

How to Cite a Website in MLA | Format & Examples

Published on July 17, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on January 17, 2024.

An MLA website citation includes the author’s name , the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the website (in italics), the publication date , and the URL (without “https://”).

If the author is unknown, start with the title of the page instead. If the publication date is unknown, or if the content is likely to change over time, add an access date at the end instead.

Websites don’t usually have page numbers, so the in-text citation is just the author name in parentheses. If you already named the author in your sentence, you don’t need to add a parenthetical citation.

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

The format differs for other types of online content, such as YouTube videos , TED Talks , and podcasts .

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Table of contents

Citing online articles, citing web pages with no author or date, citing an entire website, publishers in mla website citations, frequently asked questions about mla style.

The format for citing an article from an online newspaper , magazine, or blog is the same as a general web page citation. If the article is a PDF of a print article, the format differs slightly .

Write the article title in title case (all major words capitalized). Use the most recent publication date on the page, including the day, month, and year if available.

Note, however, that a different format is used when citing online articles from academic journals.

Learn how to cite journal articles in MLA

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

If no author is credited, leave out this element, and start with the title of the page or article instead.

Use a shortened version of the title in your in-text citation. The shortened title must match the first words of your Works Cited entry.

If no publication date is available, leave out this element, and include the date on which you accessed the page at the end.

Note that a specific format exists for citing online dictionary entries .

If you cite a whole website, there is usually no named author, so the Works Cited entry begins with the name of the website in italics.

If the website has a publication or copyright date (usually found in the footer), include this; if not, add the date when you accessed the website at the end of the citation.

When should you cite a whole website?

Most of the time, you should cite the specific page or article where you found the information. However, you might have to cite the entire website if you are giving a general overview of its content, referring only to the homepage, or quoting text that appears on many different pages across the site (such as a company’s slogan).

If you cite multiple pages or articles from the same website, you should include a separate Works Cited entry for each one.

Website publisher in an MLA website citation

If the publisher is the same as the name of the website, you leave it out of the citation to avoid repetition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style , but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals , newspapers , websites , or any other publication. Use italics for the title of the source where the article was published. For example:

Use the same formatting in the Works Cited entry and when referring to the article in the text itself.

The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator .

Search by book title, page URL, or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.

Cite this Scribbr article

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

McCombes, S. (2024, January 17). How to Cite a Website in MLA | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/website-citation/

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Citation basics - mla style.

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COMMENTS

  1. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    Learn how to cite sources using MLA 9th edition, including how to format the Works Cited page and in-text citations. Follow the general rules and guidelines for each element of a citation, such as author, title, container, and other contributors. See examples of citations for different types of sources and formats.

  2. Student's Guide to MLA Style (2021)

    Learn how to cite sources in MLA style with this comprehensive guide that follows the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook. Find out the nine core elements of MLA citations, how to create Works Cited entries, and how to use a free citation generator.

  3. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    Learn how to cite your sources in MLA style with this comprehensive guide from Purdue OWL. Find out the basics of MLA format, in-text citations, works cited page, and more.

  4. MLA Format

    Learn how to set up your MLA format paper in no time with this quick guide. Find out the formatting requirements for header, title, running head, Works Cited page, citations, headings, tables and figures. Download a free Word or Google Docs template and use the citation generator to create accurate MLA citations.

  5. MLA Style Center

    Learn how to cite sources using the MLA Handbook, the ninth edition of which was published in April 2021. Find teaching resources, citation generators, and interviews with experts on MLA style and writing.

  6. Free MLA Citation Generator

    Generate accurate MLA citations for websites, books, articles, and more with Scribbr's citation generator. Search by title, URL, ISBN, or DOI and get verified results. Learn how to cite in MLA style with tips, guides, and examples.

  7. Citations by Format

    Learn how to cite five basic source types in the MLA template of core elements. See examples of works-cited-list entries for books, online works, songs, movies, and images. Find links to more information and posts with more examples.

  8. Using MLA Format

    Get started with MLA style. Learn how to document sources, set up your paper, and improve your teaching and writing. Document Sources Works Cited Quick Guide Learn how to use the MLA format template. Digital Citation Tool Build citations with our interactive template. In-Text Citations Get help with in-text citations. Endnotes and Footnotes Read our …

  9. Citation Machine®: MLA Format & MLA Citation Generator

    Learn how to cite your sources in MLA format with this easy-to-use citation generator and comprehensive guide. Find out what MLA is, how to avoid plagiarism, and how to create complete citations and in-text citations for your paper.

  10. MLA Style

    Annotated bibliography examples Numbered sections throughout for quick navigation Advanced tips for professional writers and scholars The MLA Style Center The MLA Style Center offers free online resources on MLA style, including an interactive MLA format template, answers to common questions on Ask the MLA, advice from the MLA editors, and more.

  11. MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

    MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here Certain features require a modern browser to function. Please use a different browser, like Firefox, Chrome, or Safari Citation Generator APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator Harvard Referencing Generator Writing Resources Grammar Guides Plagiarism Guide Writing a Paper Videos & Infographics

  12. Citing Sources: MLA Style

    Research Guides Citing Sources MLA Style Citing Sources: MLA Style An overview of tips, tools, and resources for all your citation needs What is MLA Style? MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is widely used in the humanities, especially in writing on language and literature.

  13. MLA Citation Examples

    Learn how to create MLA citations for different source types, such as books, websites, journal articles, and more. Follow the standard formula and format for in-text and full references, and use the EasyBib citation generator for easy referencing. Find examples of MLA citation styles and tips for writing mechanics.

  14. The Writing Center

    Use the complete title in the signal phrase or an abbreviated title in the citation: ("Trinity and freedom" 2). Page Number Unknown: If the page number is unknown, omit it from your in-text citation: (Smith). The following source was referenced: Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook. 8th ed. MLA, 2016.

  15. MLA Citation Generator Hub

    Learn what MLA style is, when to use MLA-format citations, and how to create in-text and full MLA citations for all sorts of sources below. How to Create MLA Format Citations. How to write a full MLA citation. Full MLA citations should be listed on your paper's works cited page, and their exact content varies depending on the source you're citing.

  16. Free MLA Citation Generator [Updated for 2024]

    MyBib supports the following for MLA style: Generate MLA format citations and create your works cited page accurately with our free MLA citation generator. Now fully compatible with MLA 8th and 9th Edition.

  17. MLA In-text Citations

    MLA in-text citation examples. MLA is the second most popular citation style (Smith and Morrison 17-19). According to Smith and Morrison, MLA is the second most popular citation style (17-19). APA is by far "the most used citation style in the US" (Moore et al. 74), but it is less dominant in the UK (Smith 16).

  18. In-text citation

    If two or more works by the same author appear in the Works cited list, add a title to your in-text citation, e.g. author mentioned in text: ( Beloved 35), author's name and title in text: (35), author's name and title not included in text (Morrison, Beloved 35). Where no author, use title. If an entry in the Works cited list begins with a ...

  19. PDF SCCC Library MLA Citation and Style Guide (9th edition)

    the MLA style of documenting sources and formatting papers. The MLA style is used by writers in the arts, humanities, business, and political science. The most current version of the MLA Handbook is the ninth edition. WHO USES MLA AT SCCC? At SCCC, English composition classes use MLA. Other classes use APA or Chicago.

  20. MLA Citations

    3. Article from a Database Accessed Through a Subscription Service. Author Last Name, First Name. "Title of the Work.". Publication Information. Name of the Database, Location. Date of Access. Example: Collins, Ross F. "Cattle Barons and Ink Slingers: How Cow Country Journalists Created a Great American Myth." American Journalism, vol. 24 ...

  21. MLA Citation Style

    MLA Citation Style. Some article databases will format citations for you in the cite, save, or email options but be careful -- they are not always accurate. The Library reference desk has the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook that you are welcome to consult. Purdue Owl Citation Guide.

  22. In-Text Citations: An Overview

    In-Text Citations: An Overview. In-text citations are brief, unobtrusive references that direct readers to the works-cited-list entries for the sources you consulted and, where relevant, to the location in the source being cited. An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that di­rects your reader to the entry in the ...

  23. MLA Style Introduction

    Powered by MLA Overview and Workshop This page provides an overview of MLA style and where to find help with different MLA resources. It also presents an annotated list of links to all of our MLA materials, making it an excellent place to begin learning about MLA format. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

  24. Guides @ UF: UF Hawkins Center Strategy Tutors: Citing Sources

    is a free easy to use citation manager tool. ZoteroBib is a quick tool to create a bibliography. provides guidelines for paper format, in-text citations, mechanics of style, bias-free language, tables and figures, references, and grammar. <<. Library Resources >>.

  25. EDUC 1100

    Check out these websites to help with creating your citations. Always double check against our style guides! Citation Machine A citation generator for MLA, APA, Turabian and Chicago styles. KnightCite A citation generator created by the Hekman Library of Calvin College. It assists with creating citations in MLA, APA and Chicago for all types of ...

  26. How to Cite a Website in MLA

    Revised on January 17, 2024. An MLA website citation includes the author's name, the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the website (in italics), the publication date, and the URL (without "https://"). If the author is unknown, start with the title of the page instead. If the publication date is unknown, or if the content ...

  27. Cite Your Sources

    Citation Basics - MLA Style. This quick video will teach about the parts that make a citation and how you can use citations for your research. ... Video. APA Style. Click on this link and use your computer's media player to view a short video (6 min, 53 sec) about APA Style for in-text citations and reference lists/bibliographies. << Previous ...