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What is MLA?
The Modern Language Association (MLA) style exists to provide consistency amongst writers and
researchers and ensure conventions are followed in a particular manner.
Writers who use MLA format correctly identify their source, thus giving their work more credibility.
Additionally, those who use MLA properly protect themselves from plagiarizing.
MLA has guidelines for formatting papers, referencing sources used through parenthetical
documentation and works cited pages.
Formatting Your Paper
When compiling your paper, there are specific guidelines to stay consistent with MLA formatting. They
are as follows:
The paper should be typed and printed on standard, white 8 ½ x 11 paper
Double space the text of your paper and use a 12 point font (including quotations, notes, and
works cited) DO NOT increase spacing between paragraphs
Choose an easily readable typeface (e.g. New Times Roman)
Leave only 1 space after punctuation marks
Margins of the document should be set at 1 inch on all sides
Use the Tab key to indent the first line of each paragraph
Number all pages consecutively by using a header in the upper right-hand corner (generally
suggested that the header contain the authors last name, followed by page number)
Formatting the First Page
A paper using MLA format should not have a separate title page. Instead, in the upper left-hand corner
of the first page, list your name, instructors name, course, and date, followed by a centered title (all
double spaced). Do not italicize, underline, boldface or use caps lock on your title.
In order to appropriately cite your sources used in a paper, both a works cited page and parenthetical
(in-text) citations are required. This process identifies to your readers exactly what information come
from each source. The most common way to document this is to insert parenthesis after using another’s
words, facts, or ideas. The parenthesis should include the original author’s last name and page number.
It may be true that “in the appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the observer is of primary
importance . . .” (Robertson 136).
You may also choose to cite your source within your text, such as the example below:
It may be true, as Robertson maintains, that “in the appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the
observer is of primary importance . . .” (136).
In many instances, an author or page number may not be available. In such an occasion, your in-text
source information must be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of your Works Cited
The most important thing to remember is that the in-text citations must direct you to the appropriate
source in your Works Cited page.
If you do not have the author or page number, use the following formats:
In-Text Citations: Citing a Work with No Page Number (film, performance, web)
It is preferred to reference the source in the text, rather than in parenthesis; however, you are unable to
acknowledge your source in the text, it is acceptable to just refer to the author in parenthesis.
The utilitarianism of the Victorians “attempted to reduce decision-making about human actions to a
‘felicific calculus’” (Everett).
In-Text Citations: Citing a Work without an Author
If the work you are using has no author, use the title (or an abbreviated version of the work’s title)
The nine grades of mandarins were “distinguished by the color of the button on the hats of office”
In-Text Citations: Citing Authors with the Same Last Name
Occasionally, it will be necessary to add an author’s first initial to delineate between authors who have
the same last name. An author’s full first name may also be necessary if sources share the same first
Although some medical ethicists claim that cloning will lead to designer children (R. Miller 12), others
note that the advantages for medical research outweigh this consideration (A. Miller 46).
In-Text Citations: Citing a Multi-Volume Work
When citing a multi-volume work (such as an encyclopedia), a page number is required but additional
citation information is helpful. If using a multivolume work, try to include both the page number and
volume in the parenthetical documentation. Separate the volume and page number with colon and a
Between 1945 and 1972, the political-party system in the United States underwent profound changes
(Schlesinger, vol. 4: 112).
In-Text Citations: Citing Multiple Works
To cite multiple works in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon.
(Fukuyama 42; McRae 101-33)
In-Text Citations: Citing a Work with Multiple Authors
Citing a source with three or fewer authors requires you to list the last name of each author.
Although writings describing utopia have always seemed to take place far from the everyday world, in
fact “all utopian fiction whirls contemporary actors through a costume dance no place else but here”
(Rabkin, Greenberg, and Olander).
If citing a source with more than three authors, provide the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”
Legal experts counter Smith, Yang and Moore’s argument by noting that the current spike in gun
violence in America compels law makers to adjust gun laws (Jones et al. 4).
In-Text Citations: Citing Works by the Same Author
To reference works by the same author, put a comma after the author’s last name and add the title of
the work being referenced and the relevant page reference (if available).
Shakespeare’s King Lear has been called a “comedy of the grotesque” (Frye, Anatomy 237).
In-Text Citations: Citing the Bible
Each version of the bible varies in its translation; therefore, when citing references to the Bible, you
need to distinguish which version you are using. The name of the Bible should be italicized, followed by
the book, then chapter and verse.
Ezekiel saw “what seemed to be four living creatures,” each with faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an
eagle (New Jerusalem Bible, Esekiel 1.5-10)
Once establishing the Bible edition, all future references to the same Bible can just cite book, chapter,
In-Text Citations: Citing an Indirect Source
The definition of an indirect source is a source cited within another source. It is recommended that you
try to find the original source; however, sometimes citing an indirect source may be necessary. In order
to do so, use “qtd. in” to indicate the source you actually consulted.
Samuel Johnson admitted that Edmund Burke was an “extraordinary man” (qtd. in Boswell 2: 450).
It is common to quote sources word-for-word when completing a paper. When directly quoting the
words of others, it is necessary to format differently, based on the length of the quote.
For short quotations (less than three typed lines), enclose a quotation mark around the statement and
provide the author and page number immediately afterwards or cite within your text. Question marks
and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if it is part of the quoted passage;
however, the punctuation should appear after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.
“He was obeyed,” writes Joseph Conrad of the company manager in Heart of Darkness, “yet he
inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect” (87).
A free-standing block should be used for longer quotations (more than three typed lines). Follow these
guidelines: 1) omit quotation marks 2) start the quote on a new line 3) indent the entire quote one inch
from the left margin 4) maintain double spacing 5) only indent first line of the quotation by a half inch if
you are citing multiple paragraphs 6) the citation should come at the end after the closing punctuation
At the conclusion of Lord of the Flies, Ralph and the other boys realize the horror of their
The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the
first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his
whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of
the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob
Adding or Omitting Words In Quotations
If you must add or delete any verbiage from a quotation, it is required that you indicate as such.
If you add words, you must put brackets around the words to indicate they are not a component of the
He claimed he could provide “hundreds of examples *of court decisions+ to illustrate the historical
tension between church and state.”
If you omit (delete) word/words from a quotation, you should signify this by using ellipsis marks (. . . )in
the portion that was deleted.
In surveying various responses to plagues in the Middle Ages, Barbara W. Tuchman writes, “Medical
thinking . . . stressed air as the communicator of disease, ignoring sanitation or visible carriers” (10102).
It is common for instructors to require an outline to accompany the final draft of your paper. If it is a
requirement to turn in an outline of your paper, the labeling should conform to MLA format.
Works Cited Page
A works cited page is a requirement for any paper containing information from another source. All
entries within the Works Cited page must correspond to the works cited in the text of your paper.
The Works Cited page must be on a separate sheet of paper, removed from the body of your
Continue the same one-inch margin and header as the rest of your paper
Title the page Works Cited (do not italicize or place in quotation marks) and make sure the title
Double space all citations; however, do not skip spaces between citation entries
Indent the second(and all subsequent)lines of the entry (1/2 inch or 5 spaces)
The works cited page must be alphabetized by the first word of the citation entry
***NEW TO MLA***
For EVERY REFERENCE in your works cited page, you must determine the medium of the
publication. You must indicate that the source is one of the following: Print, Web, Film, CD-ROM,
DVD, Radio, Television, CD, Performance, Photograph, Interview, Address, Lecture, Keynote
speech, Reading, E-mail, PDF file, Microsoft Word file, JPEG file, MP3 file, XML file
URLs are no longer required for website entries. You must provide enough information in the
citation that it can be located without the URL. If you are unable to provide enough information,
you should likely opt not to use the source.
If you are citing an article from an online database, you should name the database (in italics) but
you need not provide the subscription information.
Use italics (instead of underlining) for titles and quotation marks for shorter works (poems,
If you are citing an article or publication that was originally issued in print format but that was
retrieved electronically, you should provide enough information that the reader can locate it in
its original print form or online.
Abbreviations are expected for electronic sources in the following instances:
o n.p. to indicate the lack of publisher or sponsor name
o n.d. to indicate when a webpage does not have a publication date
o n. pag. to indicate no page (as in the case of online-only journals or periodicals)
Print resources are all the publications that are tangible or a “hard copy.”
Print: Basic Entry
Author’s last name, First name.Title of the book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.
Medium of Publication.
Franke, Damon. Modernist Heresies: British Literary History, 1883-1924. Columbus: Ohio State UP,
Print: Book with More Than One Author
Author’s last name, First name, and Subsequent Author(s) Name.Title of Book. Place of Publication:
Publisher, Year of Publication.Medium of Publication.
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 2nd ed.
Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003. Print.
Broer, Lawrence R., and Gloria Holland. Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female
Note: If there are more than three authors, you may choose to list only the first author followed by the
Voice. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2002. Print.
phrase et al.
Plag, Ingo, et al. Introduction to English Linguistics. Berlin: Mouton, 2007. Print.
Print: Two or More Books by the Same Author
Give the name of the author in the first entry only. Thereafter, in place of the author’s name, place three
hyphens, followed by a period.
---. Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.
Borroff, Marie. Language and the Poet: Verbal Artistry in Frost, Stevens, and Moore. Chicago: U of
Chicago P, 1979. Print.
---, trans. Pearl. New York: Norton, 1977. Print.
---. “Sound Symbolism as Drama in the Poetry of Robert Frost.” PMLA 107.1 (1992): 131-44. JSTOR.
Web. 13 May 2008.
---, ed. Wallace Stevens: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1963. Print.
Print: Book with No Author
For books with no author or editor listed, list the book on your works cited page by the title of the book.
Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.
American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style. Boston: Houghton, 2005. Print.
Print: Poem or Short Story (Anthology)
Author’s last name, First name.“Title of Poem.”Title of Book. Ed. Editor Name. Place of Publication:
Publisher, Year of Publication.Page Number.Medium of Publication.
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More, Hannah. “The Black Slave Trade: A Poem.” British Women Poets of the Romantic Era. Ed. Paula
R. Feldman. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997. 472-82. Print.
Print: Article in a Reference Book
“Title of Article or Entry.”Name of Reference Book.Edition.Year of Publication.Medium of Publication.
“Ginsburg, Ruth Bader.” Who’s Who in America. 62nd ed. 2008. Print.
Print: The Bible
Specific Name of the Edition. Ed. Editor Name. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.
Medium of Publication.
The English Standard Version Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments with Apocrypha.
Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
“Word looked up.” Definition number.Dictionary Name.Edition.Year.Medium of Publication.
“Noon.” Def. 4b. The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. Print.
Periodicals are publications printed on a regular basis, such as magazines, newspapers, and scholarly
journals. Periodicals are considered print resources, the same as books, however are cited differently to
designate the differences that exist between periodicals and books.
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Author(s).“Title of Article.”Title of Periodical Day Month Year: Pages. Medium of Publication.
Weintraub, Arlene, and Laura Cohen. “A Thousand-Year Plan for Nuclear Waste.” Business Week 6
May 2002: 94-96. Print.
When citing a newspaper, you should eliminate the introductory article (i.e. New York Times vs. The New
York Times). If the newspaper is national, you need not include the city of publication.
Author(s).“Title of Article.”Newspaper Name Day Month Year, Edition (if available): Pages. Medium of
Jeromack, Paul. “This Once, a David of the Art World Does Goliath a Favor.” New York Times 13 July
2002, late ed.: B7+. Print.
If the newspaper is less well-known or a local publication, include the city name and state in brackets
after the title of the newspaper
Alaton, Salem. “So, Did They Live Happily Ever After?” Globe and Mail [Toronto] 27 Dec. 1997: D1+.
Print: Anonymous Articles
Cite the article title first, and finish the citation as you would any other for that kind of periodical.
Print: Article in a Scholarly Journal
Author(s).“Title of Article.”Title of Journal Volume. Issue (Year): pages. Medium of Publication.
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Piper, Andrew. “Rethinking the Print Object: Goethe and the Book of Everything.” PMLA 121.1 (2006):
Electronic Sources and Web Publications
Remember that not every web page will provide all the source information. Instead, you must use the
appropriate abbreviation to indicate when source information is not available (n.p. if no publisher name
is available and n.d. if a publishing date is not given).
Web: Web Site
Author, Editor or Compiler Name.“Title of Page.”Name of Entire Site. Name of Institution
or Organization Affiliated With the Site (use n.p. if not available), Date of Creation (use n.d. if no
date). Medium of Publication.Date of Access.
Quade, Alex. “Elite Team Rescues Troops Behind Enemy Lines.” CNN.com. Cable News Network, 19
Mar. 2007. Web. 15 May 2008.
Web: Online Video
Author’s Name or Poster’s Username.“Title of Image or Video.”Media Type. Name of Website.Name of
Website’s Publisher, Date of Posting.Medium. Date retrieved.
Shimabukuro, Jake. "Ukulele Weeps by Jake Shimabukuro." Online Video.YouTube. YouTube, 22
Apr. 2006. Web. 9. Sept. 2010.
Web: Teacher, Course, or Department Web Site
Instructor’s Last Name, First Name. Title of the Course. Department and/or School Name, Day Month
Year.Medium of Publication.Date of Access.
Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England. Purdue U, Aug. 2006. Web. 31 May 2007.
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Web: An Image (including Painting, Sculpture, Photograph)
Artist’s name.Name of the Work.Date of Creation. Institution, City Where the Art is Housed. Name
Of the Website.Medium of Publication.Date of Access.
Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine. 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Archive. Web.
22 May 2006.
Web: Article in a Web Magazine
Author’s Name. “Article Name.”Title of Web Magazine.Publisher Name, Day Month Year. Medium
of Publication. Date Accessed.
Bernstein, Mark. “10 Tips on Writing the Living Web.” A List Apart Magazine. 16 Aug. 2002. Web.
4 May 2009.
Web: Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)
An article from an online database should be cited just as it would be in print (refer to specific source in
Print section of this guide). Additionally, add the title of the database, the medium of publication, and
the date of access.
Evangelista, Stefano. Rev. of Victorian and Edwardian Responses to the Italian Renaissance, ed. John
E. Law and Lene Østermark-Johansen. Victorian Studies 46.4 (2006): 729-31. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 12 Mar. 2007.
Tolson, Nancy. “Making Books Available: The Role of Early Libraries, Librarians, and Booksellers in the
Promotion of African American Children’s Literature.” African American Review 32.1 (1998):
9-16. JSTOR. Web. 5 June 2008.
Author’s Name. Title of Book.Edition. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Name of Database. Medium
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of Publication. Date of Access.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island. McHenry, Ill: Follett Digital Press, 2005. Follett Digital
Reader. Web. 1 Feb. 2010.
Web: eBook (encyclopedia)
“Article Title.”Title of Encyclopedia. Editor Name. Volume. City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page(s).
Name of Database.Medium of Publication.Date of Access.
“Ray Charles. ”UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. Laura B. Tyle, ed. Detroit: UXL, 2003. 1989. p
431-433. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web 13 Jan. 2010.
Web: E-mail (including Interviews)
Author of the Message.“Subject Line.”Receiver of the Message. Date E-mail was Sent. Medium of
Kunka, Andrew. “Re: Modernist Literature.” Message to the Author. 15 Nov. 2000. E-mail.
Web: A Listserve/ Discussion Group
Citing Web postings should follow the guidelines of a standard web page entry. It is acceptable to
include screen names as author names; however, if both an author name and screen name are available,
place the author’s name in brackets.
Salmar1515 *Sal Hernandez+. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?”
BoardGameGeek, 29 Sept. 2008. Web. 5 Apr. 2009.
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Web: Blog Post
Author Name.“Title of the Blog Post.”Blog Title. Publisher. Date Posted. Medium. Date Accessed.
Meosha. “Teesha//4A/B Natural Hair Style Icon.” Blackgirllonghair.com. Black Girl With Long Hair. 7
Nov. 2013. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.
Author Name (username).“Tweet Text in Entirety.” Date Posted, Time Posted. Medium.
Brokaw, Tom (tombrokaw). "SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this
campaign." 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m. Tweet.
Purdue Writing Lab (PurdueWLab). “Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be
open next week.” 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m. Tweet.
Author Name.“Facebook Post in Entirety.”Facebook. Date Posted. [Date accessed. <web address>]
St. George News. “St. George Turkey Trot for Dixie Care & Share – this Saturday. Register
online before the race. Gobble. Gobble.” Facebook. 15 Nov. 2013. *28 Nov. 2013.
Web: YouTube Video
Title of Video.Date of Publication of Video.YouTube. Date Accessed.
World War II Submarine Warfare – rare footage. 18 Mar 2013. YouTube. 25 Nov 2013.
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Other Common Sources
Interviewee Name.Descriptor of Type of Interview.Day Month Year of Interview.
Pei, I. M. Personal interview. 22 July 1993.
Reed, Ishmael. Telephone or Broadcast)
Published Interviews (Print interview. 10 Dec. 2007.
Interviewee Name.“Title of the Interview.”Source of Interview.Medium of Publication. Complete the
Remainder With Information Required for that Medium.
Gordimer, Nadine. Interview. New York Times 10 Oct. 1991, late ed.: C25. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Interview by Ted Koppel. Nightline. ABC. WABC, New York. 18 Apr. 2002. Television.
Speeches, Lectures and Other Oral Presentations
Speaker’s Name. “Title of Speech.” (if known) Meeting and Sponsoring Organization.Location.Day Month
Year.Medium of Publication.
Alter, Robert, and Marilynne Robinson. “The Psalms: A Reading and Conversation.” 92nd Street Y,
New York. 17 Dec. 2007. Reading.
Matuozzi, Robert. “Archive Trauma.” Archive Trouble. MLA Annual Convention. Hyatt Regency,
Chicago. 29 Dec. 2007. Address.
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Films or Movies
Title of Film. Director Name. Distributor, Year of Release.Medium of Publication.
Note: additional information, such as performers or producers can be added between the title and
distributor if considered pertinent.
It’s a Wonderful Life. Dir. Frank Capra. RKO, 1946. Film.
It’s a Wonderful Life. Dir. Frank
Broadcast Television or Radio Capra. Perf. James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, and
Thomas Mitchell. 1946. Republic, 2001. DVD.
“Title of the Episode or Segment.”Title of the Program or Series.Name of Network (if any). Call Letters
and City of the Station (if any), Broadcast Date. Medium of Publication.
“Death and Society.” Weekend Edition Sunday. Natl. Public Radio. WUWM, Milwaukee, 25 Jan. 1998.
Artist, Performer or Composer Name.“Song Title.”Album Name.Recording Manufacturer, Date.
Medium of Publication.
Note: Use abbreviations of (comp.) for composer, (narr.) for narrator and (perf.) for performers. Treat
spoken word recordings as sound recordings.
Ellington, Duke, cond. First Carnegie Hall Concert. Duke Ellington Orch. Rec. 23 Jan. 1943. Prestige,
Hermann, Edward, narr. John Adams. By David McCullough. Simon, 2001. Audiocassette.
Holiday, Billie. The Essence of Billie Holiday. Columbia, 1991. CD.
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Due to the varied formats of today’s sources, the likelihood of having multiple means of citation is
increased. Oftentimes, sources will fit into more than one category. Remember that your goal is to guide
your reader tosources; you choose which citation is best for such a task.
Brizee, Allen. “MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide.”OWL at Purdue. Perdue University, 7 Oct. 2009. Web. 21
Hacker, Diana. The Bedford Handbook: Seventh Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Print
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.Seventh Ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.Seventh Ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America.
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