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MLA Style

Your guide to citations and works cited in MLA Style (8th ed.)

General Format

Remember that the specific format for references varies depending on the type of source. The general format for sources in the Works Cited list and in-text citations are as follows:

Works Cited

Author. Title of source. Title of container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

In-text Citation

(Author page).

Multiple Authors

1 Author
For sources with only one author, begin the Works Cited entry with the author's last name, followed by a comma and the rest of the name as presented in the work.

Jones, John R.E. Fish and River Pollution. Butterworth, 1964.

Follow this example for in-text citations:

(Jones 15).

2 Authors
For sources with two authors, include them in the order in which they appear on the source. Begin the Works Cited entry with the first author's last name, followed by a comma and the rest of the name. Follow the first author's name with the word and then the second author's name in the normal order (first name initials last name).

Jones, Thomas B. and Nenad G. Nenadic. Electromechanics and MEMS. Cambridge UP, 2013.

In-text citations include both author last names and the page number:

(Jones and Nenadic 144).

3 or more Authors
For sources with more than 3 authors, include the first author followed by a comma and et al.

Friedman, Marilyn M., et al. Family Nursing: Research, Theory, & Practice, Prentice Hall, 2003.

In-text citations include only the first author's last name followed by et al. and the page number:

(Friedman et al. 213).

Corporate Author

When a corporate entity is the author of a source, use the corporate name:

Public Health Agency of Canada. Curbing Childhood Obesity: A Federal, Provincial and Territorial Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights. Government of Canada, 2012, http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/framework-cadre/pdf/ccofw-eng.pdf

 When a source is published by an organization that is also it's author, begin the entry with the title, skipping the author element, and list the organization only as publisher:

Bridging Learning Gaps for Youth: UNESCO Regional Education Response Strategy for the Syria Crisis (2016-2017). UNESCO, 2016,  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002443/244333e.pdf

Container

When a source is part of a larger whole, for example a chapter in a book or an article in a journal, the larger whole is the container.

In the Works Cited list, the part (article, section, chapter or web page) is listed in quotation marks. The container or whole (journal, book, entire website) is listed in italics.

For example, T.S. Eliot's poem "Rum Tum Tugger" appears in the anthology of verse, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. The Works Cited entry includes the poem (source) and the anthology (container):

Eliot, T.S. "Rum Tum Tugger." Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, illustrated by Edward Gorey, Harcourt Brace, 1982, pp. 13-16.

Location

How you specify a source's location depends on the format of the source. 

Print Sources

A range of page numbers preceded by pp. specifies the location of a chapter, section or article in a book or journal.

Online Sources

A web address or URL indicates the location of an online source.

When possible, include a DOI number instead of a URL for online sources. 

For eBooks and articles from library databases, include the database or platform name in italics.

Punctuation & In-text Citations

Citations are part of your sentence structure, and closing punctuation follows the citation.

Citations mid-sentence

When a quote appears in the middle of a sentence, follow the quote with the in-text citation, then complete your sentence immediately following the citation.

Blah blah blah blah, "this is a direct quote from a source in the middle of a sentence" (Author page) blah blah blah blah.

Citations at the end of a sentence

When a quote appears at the end of your sentence, close the quote with double quotation marks and follow immediately with the in-text citation. Follow the citation with the closing punctuation for the sentence.

Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah "this is a direct quote from a source, note the period comes after the citation" (Author page).

Access Date

In the new 8th edition of the MLA Handbook, including an access date for online sources is optional

If you choose to include an access date, it appears after the location information (URL or DOI).

Publication Date

Write the date as it is presented on your source in the format Day Month Year, Time. Use as much information as is available and relevant to the retrieval of the source.

For example, year of publication is sufficient for books, while Day Month and Year is required for daily newspapers.

Months longer than 4 letters should be abbreviated.

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