Citation Guide

Overview of MLA Style

MLA MLA Citation Handout: a three-page quick guide to citing in MLA format

Every time you quote or paraphrase someone else’s work, you must tell us:

  • who wrote the work
  • what is it called
  • and where can we find a copy.

You give us this information in two places:

  1. In the paragraph where you are quoting or paraphrasing. This is called an In-Text Citation because you will put brief information about the work in the text of your paper. Check out our guidelines and examples in the left-hand column.
  2. In the Works Cited page at the end of the paper. This is where you put all of the information we need to find a copy of the works you used in your paper. Check out our guidelines and examples in the left-hand column.

Left arrowCheck out our guidelines and examples in the left-hand column.

We also recommend these resources:

Quiz Yourself on MLA!

Check out the Citations Module of the Research Skills Tutorial for the MLA Citations (Quiz): If you are completing the quiz for a grade, enter your name, instructor's name, and email address. Otherwise, just click the Submit button.

Feeling unsure about in-text citations? The MLA Style Center has a Practicing In-Text Citations Handout and Answer Key.

Paper Format

The official MLA Style Center includes a section on Formatting a Research Paper (PDF version), which covers:

The Excelsior Online Writing Lab also has MLA Sample Papers.

Title & Heading Example

Works Cited Page Format

MLA In-Text Citations

MLA In-Text Citations Overview

In-text citations are brief 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.

When you quote or paraphrase from a source (book, article, or webpage) in your paper, you need to insert an in-text citation. This typically consists of author's last name and page numbers (if there are any) or "the title of article or web resource" and page numbers (if there are any). 

The author's name can appear in a sentence (referred to as citation in prose) or in parentheses at the end of a sentence (referred to as parenthetical citation). The page number always appears in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

According to librarian Julie Chapman, "it is important for everyone, not just librarians, to critically evaluate information" (4).

According to a local librarian, "it is important for everyone, not just librarians, to critically evaluate information" (Chapman 4).

What if there's more than one author, or no author?

Quoting

Direct Quoting - When you are using someone else's exact words.

  1. If you are using a quote that is less than 4 lines, enclose the quote in quotation marks and add the author’s name (unless it is already in the sentence) and page numbers in parentheses.  Place this reference where a pause would occur or at the end of the sentence.  Punctuation marks should be placed after the parenthetical citation. You also will need to add each work from which you cite to your Works Cited page. Here are two examples:
    • The article goes on to say that “People don't do derby just for exercise but usually because it becomes a part of who they are” (Fagundes 1098).

    • Fagundes believes that roller derby gives participants "a chance to feel like a superstar" (1098).

  2. If you are using a quote that is more than 4 lines, do not use quotation marks. Instead, put the quote on a new line and indent the whole block approximately 1 inch from the left margin. Keep the quote double-spaced. Remember to add a parenthetical citation and put the work on your Works Cited page.  For example,

He asserts the following:

More importantly, though, the notion of competing under derby names was a perfect fit with the recent reimagination of the sport as a punk-rock spectacle that allowed, and encouraged, participants to develop outrageous public personas. The story of derby-name emergence probably has more to do with coincidence and path dependence than with conscious design. Derby pioneer Ivanna S. Pankin’s classic derby name pre-dated her founding of Arizona Roller Derby in 2003. Rather, it was a handle and email address she used as a musician in Phoenix’s punk rock scene. When she publicized her nascent league using the alias Ivanna S. Pankin, and the entire Austin scene was already using skate names, the leagues that popped up in their wake followed suit, and the practice of using colorful nicknames has been used by virtually all derby leagues and skaters since. (Fagundes 1093-1094)

Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing or Referring to Works - Acknowledging the sources you used in your research.

  • If you mention the author’s name in the paragraph, then just put the page number in parentheses.: 

Fagundes believes it is hard to pin down when the practice of skating under a pseudonym began (1104).

  • If you do not mention the author’s name in the paragraph, include the author’s name in parentheses before the page number.

It is hard to pin down when the practice of skating under a pseudonym began (Fagundes 1104).

Works Cited Page

This is a separate page at the end of your paper. Each citation in the text must be listed on the Works Cited page; each listing on the Works Cited page must appear in the text.

  • The title of the page should be centered and labeled Works Cited

  • List the citations alphabetically by author. If no author is listed, start with the title of the article, book or web resource

  • All text is double-spaced, just like the rest of the paper.

  • Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inch to create a hanging indent.

    • To do this, highlight the citation and type CTRL-T.  

    • OR Go to the Paragraph ribbon in Word. Click the arrow in the bottom right hand corner. This opens a box: under “special”, click on “hanging”.  

Paragraph ribbon   Hanging Indent

Sample Works Cited Page

Works Cited

Barlow, David H., and Katherine Ann Kennedy. "New Approaches to Diagnosis and Treatment in Anxiety and Related Emotional Disorders: A

Focus on Temperament." Canadian Psychology, vol. 57, no. 1, 2016, pp. 8-20. ProQuest, dx.doi.org/10.1037/cap0000039.

“Basics about Diabetes.” Diabetes Home. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Mar. 2015, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html.

Bradley, Heather. Design Funny: A Graphic Designer's Guide to Humor. 1st ed., HOW Books, 2015.

Curthoys, Ann. “The Magic of History: Harry Potter and Historical Consciousness.” Agora, vol. 49, no. 4, 2014, pp. 23-31. EbscoHost,

ezproxy.nwtc.edu:2048/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=102630773&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Grazer, Brian, and Charles Fishman. A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life. Simon & Schuster, 2015.

Hallett, Vicky. "Prancercise, a Celebration of Self-Expression." The Washington Post, 18 Sept. 2013. EbscoHost, ezproxy.nwtc.edu:2048/login?

url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgov&AN=edsgcl.343280158&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Kang-Brown, Jason, et al. "Zero-Tolerance Policies Do Not Make Schools Safer." School Safety, edited by Noah Berlatsky, Greenhaven Press,

2016, pp. 50-52.

Klausen, Jytte. The Cartoons That Shook the World. e-book, Yale University Press, 2009.

 

Author Names

Two authors

  • List both authors' last names and page numbers (if there are any):
  • (Morin and Chapman 25)
  • (Huss and Rettler)

Three or more authors

  • List only the first author’s last name, and replace the additional names with et al.
  • (Mueller et al. 498)
  • (Parish et al.)

No author

  • If no author is listed, use a shortened title of the work. Put the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (books, entire Web sites) and include page numbers (if there are any).
  • For example, if you had a Web site article with the title "Practical Oral Care for People with Intellectual Disability", the parenthetical citation would be
  • ("Practical Oral").

 

Authors in Works Cited Page

Two authors

  • The first name appears in last name, first name order; 2nd author name appear in first name last name format.
  • Knowles-Carter, Beyonce, and Shawn Carter.

Three or more authors:  

  • List only the first author followed by the phrase et al.
  • Chapman, Joel Walter, et al.

No author:

  • Start the citation with the title of the article or book. Put the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (books, entire Web sites)
  •  "Practical Oral Care for People with Intellectual Disability." 

Books

Basic Book Format

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Book with One Author

  • Bradley, Heather. Design Funny: A Graphic Designer's Guide to Humor. 1st ed., HOW Books, 2015.
  • In-text citation: According to Bradley, "this is a citation" (16). OR "This is a citation" (Bradley 16).

Book with Two Authors

  • Grazer, Brian, and Charles Fishman. A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life. Simon & Schuster, 2015.
  • In-text citation: According to Grazer and Fishman, "this is a citation" (16). OR "This is a citation" (Grazer and Fishman 16).

Book with Three or More Authors

  • Shachter, Daniel L., et al. Introducing Psychology. Worth Publishers, 2013.
  • In-text citation: According to Schacter et al., "this is a citation" (16). OR "This is a citation" (Schachter et al. 16).

Chapter in a Book

  • Kang-Brown, Jason, et al. "Zero-Tolerance Policies Do Not Make Schools Safer." School Safety, edited by Noah Berlatsky, Greenhaven Press, 2016, pp. 50-52.
  • In-text citation: According to Kang-Brown et al., "this is a citation" (16). OR "This is a citation" (Kang-Brown et al. 16).

E-Book 

  • Klausen, Jytte. The Cartoons That Shook the World. e-book, Yale University Press, 2009.
  • In-text citation: According to Klausen, "this is a citation" (16). OR "This is a citation" (Klausen 16).

Articles from Online Sources

Article found in a library database

  • Author(s). "Article Title: Subtitle of Article." Title of Journal, Magazine or Newspaper, volume/issue/number, date of publication, page numbers. Library Database Title, url or DOI without the http://.

Article found elsewhere online

  • Author(s). "Article Title: Subtitle of Article." Title of Journal, Magazine or Newspaper, volume/issue/number, date of publication, page numbers, url or DOI without the http://.

Guidelines for Article Citations

In general, MLA recommends the following:

  • Include the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) instead of a URL.
  • If there is no DOI, include the permanent URL or permalink.
  • If there is no permanent URL given, use whatever URL is present.

And remember, whether you use a DOI or permalink, remove the http:// or https://

Abbreviate all months with five or more letters 

MLA does NOT require that you include a date of access; however, if your instructor asks you to include an access date, place the access date at the end of the entry:

  • Emanuel, Ekeziel J. "Big Pharma's Go-To Defense of Soaring Drug Prices Doesn't Add Up." The Atlantic, 23 Mar. 2019, www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/03/drug-prices-high-cost-research-and-development/585253/. Accessed 1 Aug. 2019. 

Newspaper Articles

Hallett, Vicky. "Prancercise, a Celebration of Self-Expression." The Washington Post, 18 Sept. 2013, p. 11. EbscoHost, ezproxy.nwtc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgov&AN=edsgcl.343280158&site=eds-live&scope=site.

In-text citation:

According to Hallett, "this is a citation" (11).

OR

"This is a citation" (Hallett 11).

Magazine Articles

Begley, Sharon. "Could This Be the End of Cancer?" Newsweek, vol. 158, no. 25, 19 Dec. 2011, pp. 36-39. EbscoHost, ezproxy.nwtc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=tru e&db=f5h&AN=9707771&site=eds-live&scope=site.

In-text citation:

According to Begley, "this is a citation" (37).

OR

"This is a citation" (Begley 37).

Scholarly Journal Article with DOI

Barlow, David H., and Katherine Ann Kennedy. "New Approaches to Diagnosis and Treatment in Anxiety and Related Emotional Disorders: A Focus on Temperament." Canadian Psychology, vol. 57, no. 1, 2016, pp. 8-20. ProQuest, dx.doi.org/10.1037/cap0000039.

In-text citation:

According to Barlow and Kennedy, "this is a citation" (9).

OR

"This is a citation" (Barlow and Kennedy 9).

Scholarly Article without DOI

Curthoys, Ann. "The Magic of History: Harry Potter and Historical Consciousness." Agora, vol. 49, no. 4, 2014, pp. 23-31. EbscoHost, ezproxy.nwtc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh &AN=102630773&site=eds-live&scope=site. 

In-text citation:

According to Curthoys, "this is a citation" (23).

OR

"This is a citation" (Curthoys 23).

Webpage with Author

Author. "Title of Specific Page." Title of Website, Publisher, date of publication, url.

Sheldon, Kathryn. “Brief History of Black Women in the Military.” The Women’s Memorial, Women’s Memorial Foundation, 2017, www.womensmemorial.org/history-of-black-women.

Torpey, Elka. “Earning Green by Working Green: Wages and Outlook in Careers Protecting the Planet.” Career Outlook, United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019, www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2019/article/careers-protecting-the-planet.htm.

Webpage with No Individual Author

According to the MLA Handbook (2.1.3 Corporate Authors), when an organization such as a government agency is both the author and the publisher, start your citation with the work's title and list the organization/agency as the publisher.

So let's say I want to cite this Centers for Disease Control (CDC) resource: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/index.html 

  • “Diabetes Basics.” Diabetes Home, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 May 2019, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html.

In-text citation:

  • According to “Diabetes Basics”, “this is a citation” OR “This is a citation” (“Diabetes Basics”).

Entire Website

Title of Web Site. Publisher, Publication date, URL [remove the http://].

American Nurses Association. American Nurses Association, 2016, nursingworld.org.

In-text citation:

According to the American Nurses Association, "this is a citation".

OR

"This is a citation" (American Nurses Association).

Date of Access

MLA does NOT require that you include a date of access; however, if your instructor asks you to include an access date, place the access date at the end of the entry:

  • "Captain Marvel (2019)". IMDb, IMDb, 2019, www.imdb.com/title/tt4154664/. Accessed 10 Feb. 2019.

YouTube Video

If the creator's name is the same as the uploader's name, the basic MLA format is

  • Author. "Title of Video." Title of Web Site, Publication Date, URL.
  • sayerb123. "Husky Puppy Talking Saying 'I Love You'." YouTube, 13 Dec. 2009, youtu.be/N_Qqs0Q2w5CE.
  • In-text citation: In the video posted by sayerb123, “this is a citation”. OR  “This is a citation” (sayerb123).
 
If the author/director/creator's name is different than the uploader's name, the basic MLA format is
  • Author. "Title of Video." Title of Web Site, uploaded by Name, Publication Date, URL.
  • McGonigal, Jane. "Gaming and Productivity." YouTube, uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

PowerPoint Presentations

Basic Format

Instructor Last Name, First Name. "Title of PowerPoint Presentation." Title of Course, Date of PowerPoint presentation, College Name. Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. 

Example

Chapman, Julie M. "Overview of Citations: What's New with MLA."  English Composition 2,  6 Jan. 2018, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.

Discussion Board Post

Name of person posting. “Title of post.” Description of Item. Title of Listserv or Discussion List. Blackboard, date of posting, URL. Accessed day month year.

Chapman, Julie. "Discussion 2: Library Help." Discussion Board. English Composition 1. Blackboard, 25 Jan. 2017, blackboard.nwtc.edu. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Format adapted from Mohawk Valley Community College MLA 8th Edition Citation Guide

Blog Post

Author. "Title of Blog Post." Name of Blog, date, URL.  Accessed day month year.

Spofford, Mike. "Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on Cover of Sports Illustrated." Green Bay Packers Official Blog, 16 Feb. 2017, blog.packers.com/2017/01/17/packers-qb-aaron-rodgers-on-cover-of-sports-illustrated/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Tweets and Twitter Threads

 

General rules:

  • For the author, use the Twitter handles of the original tweet’s author and of any participants in the thread. Include real names, if known, in parentheses. @chrissyteigen (Christine Teigen).
  • For a tweet under 140 characters, use the full text of the tweet as the title. 
  • Shorten tweets longer than 140 characters by using an ellipsis ... at the end: "if you were to go vegan, what would you miss the most?..."

Example for a Tweet:

  • @TheRock (Dwayne Johnson). "Here’s a peek at my new Iron Paradise I built out here in the country on my Virginia farm..." Twitter, 20 July 2019, twitter.com/TheRock/status/1152650347963387904.

Example for a Twitter thread:

  • @chrissyteigen (Christine Teigen) et al. "Is twitter different or did I accidentally click on old lady mode?" Twitter, 18 July 2019, twitter.com/chrissyteigen/status/1152039678142365696.

Personal Interview

Lipa, Dua. Interview. Conducted by Julie Chapman. 10 Aug. 2020.

Wikipedia Entry

"Evil Clown." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Sept. 2017, 12:46 pm, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_clown. Accessed 28 Sept. 2017.

Dissertation or Thesis

Last Name, First Name. Title of Dissertation. Publication Date. Name of University, PhD Dissertation. Name of Repository, url.

Last Name, First Name. Title of Dissertation. Publication Date. Name of University, EdD Dissertation. Name of Repository, url.

Last Name, First Name. Title of Thesis. Publication Date. Name of University, MA Thesis. Name of Repository, url.

Last Name, First Name. Title of Thesis. Publication Date. Name of University, MS Thesis. Name of Repository, url.

Last Name, First Name. Title of Thesis. Publication Date. Name of University, MFA Thesis. Name of Repository, url.

 

Examples

Rivera, Luis Eduardo. Dual Enrollment Participation in the United States: Findings from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009.  2017. U of Texas at El Paso, EdD Dissertation. UTEP ScholarWorks, scholarworks.utep.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1539&context=open_etd. 

Lindmark, Sarah Allison. "Watching Their Souls Speak": Interpreting the New Music Videos of Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. 2019. UC Irvine, MFA Thesis. University of California eScholarship, escholarship.org/content/qt5gw3v7bf/qt5gw3v7bf.pdf.

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