What is MLA and Why Do We
Have to Use It?
A Writing Center
Reasons to use it:
To avoid plagiarism
To give credit to the original author
To allow people to find out more about
Things to Remember
Any information you get from a source must be cited,
whether it is a quote, paraphrase or summary.
Basic format for in-text citations (note there is no comma
between name & page #, and no ‘p.’): (Author’s Last Name
page #) (Smith 25)
In-text citations should be placed as close to the
information from the source within the text as possible
(for example, at the end of the sentence for a quotation or
the end of the paragraph for a summary).
MLA is a 2-part system; both in-text citations and a Works
Cited page are required.
The Works Cited list is organized alphabetically by
author’s last name, or if there is no author, the first
important word in the title.
More Things to Remember
The Works Cited page is a new page in the same
document as your paper (page numbering should
It is called Works Cited; center this at the top of the page.
Double space the Works Cited page, just like the rest of
For entries more than one line long, second and
subsequent lines are indented.
Book, magazine, newspaper, journal and web site titles are
always italicized or underlined.
Titles of articles, short stories and poems are always
placed inside quotation marks.
For quotations more than four lines long, use the block
quote format – indent the entire quotation ten spaces (tab
twice) and do not place inside quotation marks.
MLA = Modern Language
The reason we use a standard form of
citing resources is so that there is no
confusion. It’s standard, therefore
someone 3,000 miles away (who also
uses MLA) will understand what your
MLA is commonly used for language and
literature based disciplines.
What does the Modern Language
The style recommended by the
association for preparing
scholarly manuscripts and
student research papers…
concerns itself with the
mechanics of writing, such as
punctuation, quotation, and
documentation of sources.
MLA is a two-part System
Works Cited Page
The in-text citations must match up
with the entries on the Works Cited
Where Do I Start?
With Basic Format…
The Works Cited Page…
What About the Citations in
In-text Citations are based on the Works
Jeffries, Martin. Haunted Minds. New York: Jack-OLantern Publications, 2005.
The area of the brain that contains past memories is
sometimes filled with “horrid distortions of past tragedy”
Sample Works Cited Page
Titles of books
are underlined or
name should be
Smith, Jane. Having Fun with Finger Paints.
Morganton, NC: Artsy Press, Inc., 2005. Print.
The state is
required only if the
location of the city
is not well-known
Use the most
Where to find this information
in a book…
(name and location)
Magazine (or Journal)…
should be in
name should be
Carter, Hank. “Sharing the Wealth.” Debt
Consolidation Monthly. 14.2 (2003): 25-31.
Where to find this information in a
Magazine title, date of
numbers, page number
Title of article
Author of article
The author’s name
should be LAST,
(if no author, skip this part)
Name of the
work (not the
looked at it)
Gerber, Patsy. “Embarking on the Future.” Science
Fiction Books of the World. 2005. Web. 10 Nov.
the web site
URL in brackets
Where to find this information on
a web site…
Title of work
Name of web
Sample In-Text Citations
Book or Magazine…
The setting of Briars on the Path is one that
enlightens the reader as well as represents
an innovative ideology – setting as
character (Jones 27).
If an article/work does not have an author, use the
first word of the citation on the Works Cited page
(if the word is in quotations, use quotations when cited parenthetically)
The art of karate is not a new concept, it has been
around for hundreds of years (“Karate” par.7). Asian
countries have participated in this discipline and are
considered the founders of the art (Hawthorne par.2).
Author’s last name and paragraph
number – since web sites do not have
UNC Citation Builder
Son of Citation Machine
Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue
Microsoft Office References
*Note that if there is a discrepancy between the way
the computer formats a citation and what your
textbook says, you should use the format in the
If you want one-to-one
Go to the Writing Center!