Skip to main content

Citation Style Guides: MLA Style Guide

Citation Style Pages providing an overview of select citation styles

What is MLA

Welcome to the MLA resource page. The Modern Language Association style of writing is commonly used for formatting papers in the liberal arts or humanities fields. The tabs on the left provide details for citing specific resource types.

Examples in this guide are based on the MLA Handbook 8th edition.

"The MLA Style Center." The MLA Style Center,  style.mla.org. Accessed 19 July 2017.


Web Resources:

General Guidelines

Sections of MLA style paper:

Papers done in MLA format, generally do not have a separate title page. The author's name, instructor's name, course number and date appear at the start of the paper aligned to the left-hand side of the page. 

Endnotes begin on a new page following last paragraph of paper and before the Works Cited section. Entries are double-spaced and are indented .5" from the margin.

Work Cited page is a list of all sources cited in the paper beginning on a new page following either the final paper paragraph or Endnotes page. 

** Always check with your instructor, for specific formatting and paper instructions.


General Formatting Guidelines:

Font - 12-point Times News Roman

Spacing - Double-space entire paper, including quotations, EndNotes and Works Cited pages.

Margins - 1" on all sides.

Page Numbers - Number all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from top. The format is Last Name #. Do not use "p" before the page number. Check with instructor if the first page needs to be numbered.

Parenthetical References - Used in text of paper for all sources of information/data, whether paraphrased or direct quote; format is author-page method. Page numbers required.

Works Cited page - requires hanging indents, where the first line of each citation is not indented but all following lines are indented one-half inch. 


MLA Core Elements:

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

‚ÄčNotes: 

Any element that does not exist for a source should be omitted. 
The last element should be followed by a period.

Book Citation Formats

Book - Single author

Author Last, First name. Source. Publisher, Date of publication.

Examples:

Herr, John. Creative Resources for the Early Childhood Classroom. Wadsworth& Cengage Learning, 2013.

 

Reese, Nancy Berryman, and William Bandy. Joint Range of Motion and Muscle Length Testing. 3rd ed., Elsevier, 2017.

Source. Publisher, Date of publication.

Example:

Webster's ninth new collegiate dictionary. Merriiam-Webster, 1990.

When there are multiple authors, their names should be listed as they are presented in the book. The first author is listed, last name, First and additional authors are listed first name last name format.

Book - 2 authors

Author, First, and First Author2. Source. Publisher, Date of publication.

Example:

Reese, Nancy Berryman, and William Bandy. Joint Range of Motion and Muscle Length Testing. 3rd ed., Elsevier, 2017.

 

Book - more than 3 authors - When there ar more than 3 authors, list first author followed by phrase "et al." in place of other authors' names.

Example:

Law, Mary. C., et al. Measuring Occupational Performance: Supporting Best Practice in Occupational Therapy. 3rd ed., SLACK Incorporated, 2017.

eBook citations follow same rules as citations for print books with the exception that the name of the database where book was retrieved from and URL are needed.

Author Last, First Name. Source. Publisher, Date of publication. Container, permanent link.

 

 

eBook from a library database:(include the name of the database)

Example:

Doenges, Marilynn E. Nursing Care Plans: Guidelines for Individualizing Client Care Across the LIfe Span. F.A. Davis Co., 2010. EBSCOhost,  https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=cat05408a&AN=gan.196305&site=eds-live.

 

eBook found online:(include the URL)

Example:

Gosling, Jonathan, et al. Key concepts in leadership. Sage Publications, Ltd., 2012. http://sk.sagepub.com/books/key-concepts-in-leadership.

 

Example:

Guillermo C. J. & Pulos, E. (n.d.). Animal Rights and CSR. In Good Corporation, Bad Corporation: Corporate Social Responsibility in the Global Economy Retrieved July 13, 2017, from https://milnepublishing.geneseo.edu/good-corporation-bad-corporation/

Kindle or downloaded eBook:

If resource is downloaded to personal device and there is no URL, then the type should be included following source and edition information

Author Last, First Name. Source. Kindle ed., Publisher, Date of publication.

 

Chapter in eBook:

Author, A. A.  "Title of chapter," Title of ebook, edited by First name Last name, Publisher, Year. Container, Retrieved from http://xxxxxxxx

Entire Edited Book

Example:

Author/Editor, A. A.  Title of Book, Publisher, Year.

Example:

Wagenfeld, Amy, et al., editors. Foundations of Pediatric Practice for Occupational Assistant. SLACK Incorporated, 2017.

Book with Author and Editor

Author, A. A.  Title of Book, edited by First name Last name, Publisher, Year.

Example:

Austen, Jane. The Annotated Emma, edited by D. M. Shapard, Anchor. (2012).

Author, A. A.  "Title of chapter," Title of Book, edited by First name Last name, Publisher, Year, page range (pp. ## - ##).

Notes:

When listing page numbers of chapters/section of edited book in parentheses after title, use "pp." before the numbers.

Example:

O'Neil, James M., and Jean Egan. "Men's and Women's Gender Role Journeys: A Metaphor for Healing, Transition, and Transformation," Gender Issues Across the Life Cycle (pp. 107-123). edited by B. R. Wainrib, Springer.(1992).

Print Encyclopedia:

Author, A. A. "Title of Encyclopedia Entry." Title of Book, vol. ##, Publisher, Year. pp. xx-xx.

Example:

Eisenberg, Theodore. "Bankruptcy Reform Act." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, edited by Leonard W. Levy et al., vol. 1, Macmillan, 1986, p. 100.

No Author, Online Encyclopedia:

"Title of Encyclopedia entry." Title of Encyclopedia. edited by Editor first name, Last name, (if available) edition/version note, Publisher. Year, Online Source/Database name, http:xxxxxxx

Journal Citation Formats

 

Author(s). Title of Article." Title of Periodical, vol. ##, no. ##,  Day Month Year, pages. Database, DOI or permalink. Accessed date.

Notes:

  • For electronic articles, if a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead
  • The access date is now optional, check with your instructor to see if they should be included.

Example:

Yerxa, Emerita J. "In Search of Good Ideas for Occupational Therapy." Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol. 21, Sep 2014, pp. 11-19. EBSCOhost, doi: 10.3109/11038128.2014.952882

Example:

Wilson-Lopez, Amy, and Stacie Gregory. "Integrating Literacy and Engineering Instruction for Young Learners." Reading Teacher, vol. 69, no. 1. July 2015, pp. 25-33. EBSCOhost, https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=eric&AN=EJ1065921&site=eds-live&custid=s8879186

 

Article - two authors

Author last, First name, and First Name, Last Author2. "Title of Article." Title of Periodical, vol. #, no. #, Day Month Year, pp. ##-##. Database, doi:########.

 

Article - more than 2 authors

Author1 last, First name. A., et al. "Title of Article." Title of Periodical, vol. #, no. #, Day Month Year, pp. ##-##. Database, doi:########.

Example:

Raghuram, Sumita, et al. "A Vision of International HRM Research." International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 28, no. 12, 12 April 2017, pp. 1625-1639. Taylor & Francis, doi:10.1080/09585192.20171308416.

 

Author, A. A. "Article Title." Newspaper Title, Day Month Year, pp. ##.

Notes:

  • If more than one edition for a date, identify after Newspaper Title
  • If using a less well-known or local publication, include the city in brackets after Newspaper Title.

Example:

Barrett, Devlin, and Damian Paletta. "Officials masked severity of Hack."  Wall Street Journal - Eastern Edition, 25 June 2015, pp. A1-A4.

Note: If the article is printed on non-consecutive pages, use the following: pp. B3+

Electronic Newspaper:

Freely available online:

Author, First. "Article Title." Newspaper Title, Day Month Year, URL.

Bontemps, Tim. "How the NBA Made Summer League a Real Thing and Stole July in the Process." Washington Post, 20 July 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2017/07/20/how-the-nba-made-summer-league-a-real-thing-and-stole-july-in-the-process/?tid=pm_sports_pop&utm_term=.6ca27169a2ee.

From Library Database:

Sigmund, Chris. "Weather Creates Uncertainty for Lake Erie's Ice Cover." Erie Times-News (PA), 20 Feb. 2016. EBSCOhost, https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=nfh&AN=2W61386346122&site=eds-live&custid=s8879186

For when you find an online article on the internet (not via a library database). Check with your instructor to see if accessed date is needed.

Author(s). Title of Article." Title of Webpage, Day Month Year, URL.

General Example:

Hutson, Matthew. "Beyond the Five Senses: Telepathy, echolocation, and the future of perception." The Atlantic, Jul./Aug. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/07/beyond-the-five-senses/528699/.

Scholarly Example:

Courtney, Carol A., et al. "Frida Kahlo: Portrait of chronic pain." Physical Therapy, vol. 97, no. 1, 25 Aug. 2016, academic.oup.com/ptj/article/97/1/90/2896952/Frida-Kahlo-Portrait-of-Chronic-Pain. Accessed 16 July 2017.

Internet Sources/Website Citation Formats

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.

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. 

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Website/Internet sources can be difficult to cite because not all the information may be available to the user.

  • Only include the portion of the URL following the http://
  • The general rule is to include as much information at possible. Only cite entire website if you used all of it.
  • Accessed date is not required, it is recommended for pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.

Individual Page on Website:

Author(s). Title of Article." Title of website, Date created/copyright, URL (minus https://) Accessed date.

Example:

Gleeson, Jill. "The 20 best places to camp in national parks." Country Living, www.countryliving.com/life/travel/g4452/best-places-to-camp-nationalparks/. Accessed 14 July 2017.

Example:

ACL Injury: Does it require surgery?-OrthoInfo-AAOS. Sep 2009. orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00297.

General Format:

Author, First Name A. "Title of video." Source, Day Month Year Created/Posted, URL (minus http://). Accessed date.

YouTube:

EBSCO Information Services. "Creating an advanced search - EBSCOhost Tutorial." YouTube, 19 August 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT1kzWfWxiE.

Online Documentary/Video:

"Frontline: Supplements and Safety." PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, 2016, www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/supplements-and-safety/. Accessed 14 July 2017.

TED Talk - TED Talks Website:

Speaker, First Name. Title of TED Talk. TED Talks, Day Month Year, www.ted.com/talks/.... Accessed Day Month Year.

Image of painting, sculpture or photograph:

Artist's last name, First name. Work of art. Date of Creation, Institution and city where work housed, Name of Website, URL (minus http://). Accessed date.

Blog Post Example:

Author name/Screen name. Title of posting. Name of Website, Date item posted to website, URL (minus http://). Accessed Day Month Year.

Author, A. A. or Government Name. Government Agency, Title of document: Subtitle. URL (minus http://). Accessed date.

Example::

Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 edition. www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm. Accessed 14 Mar. 2017.

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.

Example:

"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 CNN.com
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

Examples:

("ACL Injury, Does it")

(Webster's 9th new collegiate, 25)

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

Example:

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

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

Example:

(ALA  135)