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MLA Citation Style Guide

Overview of using MLA 8th ed. to format citations.

In Text Citations

All reference citations for in-text citations should appear in reference list at end of paper.
Author-page number method is to be used for in-text citation.   (Johnson 263)
If there is no known author, use a shortened version of the item's title. Place in quotation marks if it is a short work.
When citing a work by 2 authors, list authors' last names in parenthetical citation.  (Hilltop and Phillips 32)            
If there are 3 or more authors: list only first author's last name followed by et al.    (Smith et al. 142)
If citing multiple books by same author and author's name is not in sentence, then list author's last name, shortened title and page number in parentheses.    (Wilson, "Visual Works"  45)
To site multiple sources in same parenthetical reference, separate by semi-colon (Johnson 263; Smith et al. 142)
Quotations always require the page number for the source.

Example: (Gleeson and Alcedo 13)

Example: (Courtney 20)

Short Quotes (fewer than 4 typed line of text) - placed in text of paper with quotation marks.


"Short quotation exact as in text."  (Author1 and author2 p#)

Long Quotes (more than 4 lines of text)

  • set in block text using a five-space margin for every line
  • Indent the first line if you are including multiple paragraphs
  • Parenthetical citation comes after the closing punctuation mark.


Standard format: (Author page number)

Inside parenthetical reference

"Short quote from resource under 4 typed lines" (Author1 and Author2 p#) 

In text of paper

Author1 and Author2 discuss "short quote under 4 typed lines."  (p#)

When citing a work by 2 authors, list authors' last names in parenthetical citation.  
(Hilltop and Phillips 32)
3 or more authors

(Sutherland, et al., 174)

Multiple works by same author

(Wagenfeld, "Title 1" p#)

(Wagenfeld, "Title 2" p#)


Many sources on the Internet may not be appropriate for scholarly research. Be sure to check with your instructor for acceptable Internet resources. Remember to include all in-text citations in your Works Cited list.

Here are some guidelines for electronic and Internet Sources:

  • It is a good practice have record of electronic information used for your research. User can print/save screenshots of websites or create a bookmarked folder in your web browser. 
  • In-text citations include the first item appearing in the citation from the Works Cited page (author last name, article name, or website name).
  • Page and paragraph numbers are not needed.
  • Do not provide URL's in text of paper. If necessary use shortened/partial URL's such as
Unknown Author
  • Use shortened version of title in parentheses.
  • Titles of short works such as articles, book chapters and portions of a website are in quotation marks.
  • Titles of longer works such as books, reports and entire websites are italicized or underlined


("ACL Injury, Does it")

(Webster's 9th new collegiate, 25)

Organization as author 
  •  Include name of organization followed by the page number


According to the American Library Association (135), ....

  • You can also use abbreviations where appropriate to avoid long parenthetical citations


(ALA  135)