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Citation Styles: A Brief Guide to APA, MLA and Turabian

Sample bibliography: mla.

  • Journal Articles
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  • In Text Citations
  • Sample Bibliography: APA
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The basic format for a book citation requires listing the author's name, the title of the book, the publisher's name, and the date of publication. Edited books, when cited in full, will list the editor's name instead of an author’s name. 

Works Cited

Black Hearts Bleed Red . Directed by Jeri Cain Rossi. Mary Magdalene Films, 1992.

Desmond, John. "Flannery O'Connor's Misfit and the Mystery of Evil." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature, vol. 56, no. 2, 2004, pp. 129-37. Literature Online.

Dowell, B. "The Moment of Grace in the Fiction of Flannery O'Connor." College English, vol. 27, 1965, pp. 235-9.

Evans, Robert C. "Poe, O'Connor, and the Mystery of the Misfit." Flannery O'Connor Bulletin, vol. 25, 1997, pp. 1-12.

Fike, Matthew. "The Timothy Allusion in 'A Good Man is Hard to Find'." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature , vol. 52, no. 4, 2000, pp. 311-9. Literature Online.

Gentry, Marshall Bruce. "He Would Have Been a Good Man: Compassion and Meanness in Truman Capote and Flannery O'Connor." Flannery O'Connor's Radical Reality . Eds. Jan Nordby Gretlund and Karl-Heinz Westarp. U of South Carolina P, 2006, pp. 42-55.

A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories . Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 2008.

Hewitt, Avis. "'Someone to Shoot Her Every Minute of Her Life': Maternity and Violent Death in Helena María Viramontes and Flannery O'Connor." Flannery O'Connor Review,  vol. 4, 2006, pp. 12-26.

Keetley, Dawn. "'I Forgot What I Done': Repressed Anger and Violent Fantasy in 'A Good Man is Hard to Find'." 'On the Subject of the Feminist Business': Re-Reading Flannery O'Connor,  edited by Teresa Caruso. Peter Lang, 2004, pp. 74-93.

Link, Alex. "Means, Meaning, and Mediated Space in 'A Good Man is Hard to Find'." Southern Quarterly: A Journal of the Arts in the South , vol. 44, no. 4, 2007, pp. 125-38.

Shinn, T. J. "Flannery O'Connor and the Violence of Grace." Contemporary Literature,  1968, pp. 58-73.

Sloan, Gary. "Mystery, Magic, and Malice: O'Connor and the Misfit." Journal of the Short Story in English , vol. 30, 1998, pp. 73-83.

Tsai, Hsiu-chih. "Violence as the Road to Transformation: O'Connor's 'A Good Man is Hard to Find'." NTU Studies in Language and Literature,  vol. 13, 2004, pp. 59-98.

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  • Last Updated: Sep 1, 2022 9:39 AM
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MLA Citation Generator

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Avoid plagiarism — quickly check for missing citations and check for writing mistakes., your ultimate mla format guide & generator, what is mla.

MLA stands for the Modern Language Association , an organization that focuses on language and literature.

Depending on which subject area your class or research focuses on, your professor may ask you to cite your sources in MLA style. This is a specific way to cite, following the Modern Language Association's guidelines. There are other styles, such as APA format and Chicago citation style , but MLA format is often used for literature, language, liberal arts, and other humanities subjects. This guide extensively covers this format but is not associated with the organization.

What is MLA Citing?

The Modern Language Association Handbook is in its 9th edition and standardizes the way scholars document their sources and format their papers. When everyone documents their sources and papers in the same way, it is simple to recognize and understand the types of sources used for a project. Readers of your work will look at your citations not only to understand them but possibly to explore them as well.

When you're borrowing information from a source and placing it in your research or assignment, it’s important to give credit to the original author. This is done by creating an MLA citation. Depending on the type of information you're including in your work, you may place citations in the body of your project and in a works-cited list at the end of your project.

The handbook explains how to create MLA citations. This page summarizes the information in the handbook’s 9th edition.

There is also a section below on a recommended way to create an MLA header. These headers appear at the top of your assignment’s pages. Check with your instructor on whether they prefer a certain MLA format for the header.

What is MLA Format?

The 9th edition is the most recent and updated version for MLA citations. Released in April 2021, the citation format differs slightly from previous versions. This update follows the 2016 update for the 8th edition that contained many significant changes from previous editions.

For the 8th edition, the biggest difference and most exciting update was the use of one standard format for all source types. In previous versions, scholars were required to locate the citation format for the specific source that they used. There were different formats for books, websites, periodicals, and so on. After 2016, using one universal MLA citation format allowed scholars to spend less time trying to locate the proper format to document their sources and focus more on their research .

Other updates included the addition of “containers.” A container provides details on a work contained within a larger work. For example, books contain chapters, albums contain songs, and journals contain journal articles. The source is the larger work, such as a website, while the container is a smaller work within that source, such as a short story on the website.

MLA now encourages you to add DOIs or URLs to citations. Use a DOI instead of a URL when it’s available. According to the MLA 9th edition, you can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx).

Social media pseudonyms and usernames can replace the real name of the author. Volume and issue numbers are now abbreviated as “vol.” and “no.” Cities of publication and the source’s medium (such as print or web) are no longer included in citations. For academic presses/publishers, with the words “university” or “press,” shorten “university” to “U”, and “press” to “P” (Cambridge UP). Lowercase seasons when using them in the date field of a citation (spring 2021 not Spring 2021).

Bibliography vs. Works Cited - What's the Difference?

You may have heard the two terms, "Bibliography" and "Works Cited" thrown around interchangeably. The truth is that they are two different words with two completely different meanings.

A bibliography is a list of sources that the writer recommends for further reading. A works-cited list is a list of sources that were included in the author's writing.

Want to suggest some books and websites to your reader? Create an MLA format bibliography by creating a list of full citations and label the page as "Bibliography."

Did you use any quotes or place any paraphrases in your writing? Create in-text citations and place them in the body of your work. Then, create a list of full citations and place them at the end of the project. Label the page as "Works Cited."

The good news is that references in MLA bibliography format and regular works-cited lists are structured the exact same way.

Citing Basics

When adding information to your project from another source, you are required to add an MLA citation. There are two types of MLA format citations: in-text citations and full citations.

Full Citation Basics:

All sources used for a project are found on the MLA format “Works Cited” page, which is generally the last portion of a project.

MLA citing format often includes the following pieces of information, in this order:

Author's Last name, First name. "Title of Source." Title of Container , Other contributors, Version, Numbers, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

For more information about each individual element and for proper formatting rules, see the sections below on author names, titles, containers, names of other contributors, source versions, numbers, publishers, publication dates, and locations.

Find more in-depth rules regarding the works-cited list in MLA format on the page down below, along with a sample page.

Don't forget, our BibMe MLA citation generator is an MLA formatter that helps you create your citations quickly and easily!

Citation Components

The author's name is generally the first item in a citation (unless the source does not have an author). The author's name is followed by a period.

If the source has one author , place the last name first, add a comma, and then the first name.

MLA format:

Lee, Harper.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott.

If your source has two authors , place them in the same order they're shown on the source. The first author is in reverse order, add a comma and the word "and", then place the second author in standard form. Follow their names with a period.

Monsen, Avery, and Jory John.

For three or more authors , only include the first listed author's name. Place the first author's name in reverse order (Last name, First name) place a comma afterwards, and then add the Latin phrase "et al."

Borokhovic, Kenneth A., et al.

For social media posts, it's acceptable to use a screen name or username in place of the author's name. Start the citation with the user's handle.

@TheOnion. "Experts Warn Number of Retirees Will Completely Overwhelm Scenic Railway Industry by 2030." Twitter , 9 Oct. 2017, 9:50 a.m., twitter.com/TheOnion/status/917386689500340225.

No author listed? If there isn't an author, start the citation with the title and skip the author section completely.

Citations do not need to always start with the name of the author. When your research focuses on a specific individual that is someone other than the author, it is appropriate for readers to see that individual's name at the beginning of the citation. Directors, actors, translators, editors, and illustrators are common individuals to list at the beginning. Again, only include their name in place of the author if your research focuses on that specific individual.

To include someone other than the author at the beginning of the citation, place their name in reverse order, add a comma afterwards, and then the role of that individual followed by a period.

Fimmel, Travis, performer. Vikings . Created by Michael Hirst, History Channel, 2013-2016.

Gage, John T., editor. The Promise of Reason: Studies in the New Rhetoric . SIU Press, 2011.

Here's a helpful table to refer to when structuring author names:

Works Cited in MLA

Titles and Containers:

Titles follow the name of the author and are written in title capitalization form.

If you're citing a source in its entirety, such as a full book, a movie, or a music album, then place the title in italics.

Franzen, Jonathan. The Corrections . Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001.

Rufus Du Sol. Bloom . Sweat It Out! 2016.

If you're citing a source, such as a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a journal or website, then place the title of the piece in quotations and add a period afterwards. Follow it with the title of the full source, in italics, and then add a comma. This second portion is called the container . Containers house smaller works, such as songs, in larger comprehensive works, such as albums.

Examples with containers:

Wondering what to do with subtitles? Place a colon in between the title and subtitle. Write both parts in title capitalization form.

Nasar, Sylvia. A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash . Simon and Schuster, 2001.

If the source does not have a title , give a brief description and do not use quotation marks or italics.

Israel, Aaron. Brooklyn rooftop acrylic painting. 2012, 12 W 9th Street, New York City.

For a tweet , the full text of the tweet is placed where the title sits.

@LOCMaps. "#DYK the first public zoo to open in the US was the #Philadelphia Zoo? #50States." Twitter , 9 Feb. 2017, 3:14 p.m., twitter.com/LOCMaps/status/829785441549185024.

For email messages, the subject of the email is the title. Place this information in quotation marks.

Rabe, Leor. "Fwd: Japan Itinerary." Received by Raphael Rabe, 11 Feb 2017.

Citations with Two Containers:

It is possible for a source to sit in a second or larger container. A journal article sits in its first container, which is the journal itself, but it can also sit in a larger container, such as a database. A song can sit in its first container, which is the album it's found on. Then it can sit in its next container, which could be Spotify or iTunes.

It is important to include the second container because the content on one container may differ from content from another container.

MLA citing with two containers should be formatted like this:

Author's Last name, First name. "Title of Source." Title of Container , Other Contributors, Version, Numbers, Publisher, Publication Date, Location. Title of Second Container , Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

In most cases, for the second container, only the title of the second container and the location is needed. Why? For readers to locate the source themselves, they'll most likely use the majority of the information found in the first part of the citation.

Examples of Citations with 2 Containers:

Sallis, James, et al. "Physical Education's Role in Public Health: Steps Forward and Backward Over 20 Years and Hope for the Future." Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport , vol. 83, no. 2, Jun. 2012, pp. 125-135. ProQuest , ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1023317255?accountid=35635.

Baker, Martha. "Fashion: Isaac in Wonderland." New York Magazine , vol. 24, no. 3, 21 Jan. 1991, pp. 50-54. Google Books , books.google.com/books?id=PukCAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PP1&dq=magazine&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=magazine&f=false.

Remember, BibMe has an MLA works-cited generator that creates citations for you quickly and easily!

Format for Other Contributors:

In MLA citing, when there are other individuals (besides the author) who play a significant role in your research, include them in this section of the citation. Other contributors can also be added to help individuals locate the source themselves. You can add as many other contributors as you like.

Start this part of the citation with the individual's role, followed by the word "by". Notice that when adding other contributors after a period, you capitalize the first letter of the individual's role. When adding other contributors after a comma, you lowercase the first letter of the individual’s role.

Gaitskill, Mary. "Twilight of the Superheroes." The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction: 50 North American Stories Since 1970, edited by Lex Williford and Michael Martone, Simon and Schuster, 2012, pp. 228-238.

The Incredibles . Directed by Brad Bird, produced by John Walker, Pixar, 2004.

Gospodinov, Georgi. The Physics of Sorrow . Translated by Angela Rodel, Open Letter, 2015.

Format for Versions:

Sources can come in different versions. There are numerous bible versions; books can come in versions (such as numbered editions), and even movies and songs can have special versions.

When a source indicates that it is different than other versions, include this information in the citation. This will help readers locate the exact source that you used for your project.

The Bible . Lexham English Version, Logos, 2011, lexhamenglishbible.com.

Crank, J. The Mathematics of Diffusion . 2nd ed., Clarendon, 1979.

Afrojack. "Take Over Control." Beatport , performance by Eva Simons, extended version, 2011, www.beatport.com/track/take-over-control-feat-eva-simons-extended/1621534.

Format for Numbers:

Any numbers related to a source that isn't the publication date, page range, or version number should be placed in the numbers position of the citation. This includes volume and issue numbers for journal articles, volume or series numbers for books, comic book numbers, and television episode numbers, to name a few.

When including volume and issue numbers, use the abbreviation “vol.” for volume and “no.” for number.

Zhai, Xiaojuan, and Jingjing Wang. "Improving Relations Between Users and Libraries: A Survey of Chinese Academic Libraries." The Electronic Library , vol. 34, no. 4, 2016, pp. 597-616. ProQuest Research Library , ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/docview/1841764839?accountid=35635.

"Chestnut." Westworld , directed by Richard J. Lewis, season 1, episode 2, Warner Bros., 2016.

Publishers:

The publisher produces the source. In the citation, place the publisher before the date of publication. Include the publisher for any source type except websites when the name of the publisher is the same as the name of the website. Also, it’s not necessary to include the name of publishers for newspapers, magazines, or journal articles, since the name of the publisher is generally insignificant.

When sources have more than one publisher that share responsibility for the production of the source, place a slash between the names of the publishers.

Use the abbreviation “UP” when the name of the publisher includes the words “University Press.”

Cambridge UP

Publication Dates:

When including the date that the source was published, display the amount of information that is found on the source, whether it's the full date, the month and year, or just the year.

If the date includes a season rather than a month, make sure to lowercase the season (spring 2021 not Spring 2021). Do not capitalize the season.

2 Nov. 2016 or Nov. 2, 2016

When multiple dates are shown on the source, include the date that is most relevant to your work and research.

Abbreviate months longer than 4 letters.

The location refers to the place where the source can be found. This can be in the form of a URL, page number, disc number, or physical place.

When citing websites in MLA, include DOIs or URLs. Copy the DOI or URL directly from the address bar or link in your browser window. If a DOI number is present, use it in place of a URL. You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx.

For page numbers, use the abbreviation “p.” when referring to only one page, and “pp.” for a range of pages.

In-Text & Parenthetical Citation Basics:

When using a direct quote or paraphrasing information from a source, add an in-text or parenthetical citation into the body of your work. Direct quotes are word-for-word quotes pulled from a source and added to your project. A paraphrase is when you take a section of information from a source and put it in your own words. Both direct quotes and paraphrases require an in-text or parenthetical citation to follow it.

Format your parenthetical or in-text citation in MLA as follows:

"Direct quote" or paraphrase (Author's last name and page number).

Author's last name said that "Direct Quote" or paraphrase (page number).

*See the comprehensive section below on MLA in-text citations for further clarification and instructions.

MLA In-Text and Parenthetical Citations

What is an in-text citation or parenthetical citation.

You used information from websites, articles, books, and other sources for your paper, right? Hopefully, you did, because the best research and writing projects validate claims using information from other sources.

The purpose of an in-text citation is to give the reader a brief idea about where you found the information used in your writing.

When you place a line of text, word for word (called a direct quote), or an idea (called a paraphrase) from another source into your writing, you, the writer, must display:

  • who created that information (the original author's name)
  • the page number you found it on

Check out this example:

"A main clause has to have a finite verb " (Cameron 94).

No author? No problem! Include the title, and if it's lengthy, shorten it.

The major thing to keep in mind is that whichever information you include in the in-text or parenthetical citation, whether it's the author's name or the title, it needs to match the first word in the full citation. The full citation is found on the “Works Cited” page in MLA.

Format your parenthetical and MLA in-text citation as follows:

"Direct quote" or Paraphrase (Author's last name and page number). This is an MLA parenthetical citation as the author's name is in parentheses.

Author's Last Name states, "Direct Quote" or paraphrase (page number). This is an MLA citation in prose as the author's name is in the prose of your sentence.

"Jim never got back with a bucket of water under an hour—and even then somebody generally had to go after him" (Twain 8).

Twain went on to say, “Jim never got back with a bucket of water under an hour—and even then somebody generally had to go after him” (8).

Other things to keep in mind:

If your in-text citation comes from a website or another source that does not have page numbers, use the following abbreviations:

  • If the source has designated paragraph numbers, use par. or pars.
  • If the source has designated sections, use sec. or secs.
  • If the source has designated chapters, use ch. or chs.
  • If the source has designated lines, use line or lines.

Example in MLA formatting:

Gregor's sister is quite persuasive, especially when she states to her parents, "It'll be the death of both of you, I can see it coming. We can't all work as hard as we have to and then come home to be tortured like this, we can't endure it" (Kafka, ch. 3).

  • If there aren't page, paragraph, section, or chapter numbers, only include the author's name in the in-text or parenthetical citation.
  • If the original source is an audio or video recording, after the author's name or title, place a timestamp.

The girl's affection towards Marley is clear when she blushes upon his arrival and shares that she would like to accompany him to the theater ( Tales of Times Ago 12:45).

  • Two authors : place both names in the reference.

Malcolm and Knowles state... (12).

The smaller the class size, the more attention a student receives, which greatly impacts learning (Malcolm and Knowles 12).

  • Three or more authors : place all three names in the in-text citation. It's also acceptable to use the phrase, "and others," or another cohesive term. For parenthetical citations, use the abbreviation et al.

Smith, Baker, and Klein share that.... (78). OR Smith and others share that.... (78).

Many lizards, including the Carolina anole, only eat when they're hungry. They'll ignore food until their body sends a signal to eat (Smith et al. 78).

  • Authors with the same last name : Include the first initial of the author’s first name in the in-text or parenthetical citation.

One study shows that the average time spent on homework is 52 minutes (R. Brown 17). However, a more recent study, released in 2018, found that the average student spends 42 minutes completing homework (S. Brown 966).

  • Quoted text : Share in the text that the quote comes from another individual.

Lawrence shares his insight by stating that “instructions need to be shared, not assumed” (Young 55).

Common Examples:

Citations for books:.

The basic entry for a book consists of the author's name, the book title, the publisher, and the year published.

Author's Last name, First name. Book Title . Publisher, Year Published.

MLA book citation example:

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein . Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones, 1818.

The first author's name should be reversed, with a comma after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). The name should not be abbreviated and should be written exactly as it appears on the title page.

For a book written by two authors:

  • List them in order as they appear on the cover or title page.
  • Only the first author's name should be reversed, while the second author's name is written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma, and place the word "and" before the second author's name.

Smith, John, and Bob Anderson. The Sample Book . Books For Us, 2017.

  • For books with three or more authors, only include the first author, followed by a comma and the abbreviation "et al."

Campbell, Megan, et al. The Best Noun Book . Books For Us, 2017.

The full title of the book, including any subtitles, should be italicized and followed by a period. If the book has a subtitle, the main title should be followed by a colon (unless the main title ends with a question mark or exclamation point).

The Best Books for Kids: A Complete Anthology.

Publication information can generally be found on the title page of a book. If it is not available there, it may also be found on the copyright page. State the name of the publisher.

If you are citing a specific page range from the book, include the page(s) at the end of the citation.

Smith, John, and Bob Anderson. The Sample Book . Books For Us, 2017, pp. 5-12.

When a book has no edition number/name present, it is generally a first edition. If you have to cite a specific edition of a book later than the first, see the section below on citing edited books.

Citations for Translated Books:

If the translation is the focus of your project, include the translator's name at the beginning of the citation, like this:

Translator's Last name, First name, translator. Title . By Original Author's First name Last name, Publisher, Year published.

If it's not the actual translation that is the focus, but the text itself, include the translator's name in the "other contributors" position, like this:

Original Author's Last name, First name. Title . Translated by First Name Last name. Publisher, Year published.

Citations for E-Books:

E-books are formatted differently than print books. Why? Some e-books have different, or extra, information than print books. In addition, e-book pages are often numbered differently. Since the content and format may differ from print books, e-book citations are structured differently. When citing an e-book from a website, format the e-book citation with the website title and URL. When citing an e-book in a digital book format, which lacks a URL or that requires software on an e-reader device, include “e-book ed.” for the Version element of the citation. If you know that the e-book file format (EPUB, MOBI, etc.) varies depending on the e-book publication, you may also include the file format as a supplemental element at the end of the entry.

Format for an e-book found on the Internet:

Author's Last name, First name. Title of E-Book . Publisher, Year Published. Title of Website , URL.

Rodgers, Tara. Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound . Duke UP, 2010. Google Books , books.google.com/books?id=syqTarqO5XEC&lpg=PP1&dq=electronic%20music&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=electronic%20music&f=false.

Format for an e-book found on an e-reader:

Author's Last name, First name. Title of E-book. . E-Book ed., Publisher, Year Published.

Rodgers, Tara. Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound . E-book ed., Duke UP, 2010. EPUB.

Author's Last name, First name. Title of E-book. E-Book ed., Publisher, Year Published. File Format.

Rodgers, Tara. Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound . E-Book ed., Duke UP, 2010. EPUB.

Citations for Chapters in Books:

Individual chapters are cited when a writer uses a book filled with many chapters, each written by different authors. When citing a specific chapter in a book or an anthology, structure the citation like this:

Last name, First name of Chapter's Author. "Title of Chapter." Title of Book , Other Contributors and their roles, Version (if there's a specific edition), Publisher, Year Published, Page or Page Range.

Levi-Strauss, Claude. "The Structural Study of Myth." Literary Adverb Theory: An Anthology , edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, 3rd ed., Wiley Blackwell, 2017, pp. 178-195.

Citations for Edited Books:

If your book is not a first edition, you should note this in the citation. If the book is a revised edition or an edition that includes substantial new content, include the number, name, or year of the edition and the abbreviation "ed." after the book title. "Revised edition" should be abbreviated as "Revised ed." and "Abridged edition" should be "Abridged ed." The edition can usually be found on the title page, as well the copyright page, along with the edition's date.

Author's Last name, First name, editor. Title of Book . Numbered ed., Publisher, Year Published.

Ferraro, Gary, and Susan Andreatta, editors. Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective . 10th ed., Cengage Learning, 2014.

Smith, John. The MLA Sample Paper Book . Revised ed., Books For Us, 2017.

If your edited book has more than one author, refer to the directions above under the heading "Authors."

Also, BibMe.org helps you create your citations with more than one author quickly and easily! Try our MLA formatter!

Citations for Websites:

Wondering how to cite a website in MLA? The most basic entry for an MLA website citation consists of the author name(s), page title, website title, sponsoring institution/publisher, date published, and the DOI or URL.

Author's Last name, First name. "Title of Individual Web Page." Title of Website , Publisher, Date, DOI or URL.

Fosslien, Liz, and Mollie West. "3 Ways to Hack Your Environment to Help You Create." Huffpost Preposition Endeavor , Huffington Post, Dec. 7, 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/3-ways-to-hack-your-environment-to-help-you-create us 580f758be4b02444efa569bc.

The first author's name should be reversed, with a comma placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). The name should not be abbreviated and should be written exactly as it appears on the website.

For a page with two or more authors, list them in the order they appear on the website. Only the first author's name should be reversed, with the others written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma, and place the word "and" before the last author's name. For pages with three or more authors, only include the first author, followed by the abbreviation "et al."

If no author is available, begin the citation with the page title.

The page title should be placed within quotation marks. Place a period after the page title within the quotation marks. The page title is followed by the name of the website, which is italicized, followed by a comma.

After the website title, include the sponsoring institution or publisher followed by a comma. The sponsoring institution/publisher can usually be found at the bottom of the website, in the footer. If the name of the publisher is the same as the name as the website, do not include the publisher information in your citation. In MLA format, it is not recommended to include duplicate information for a website.

Next, state the publication date of the page.In some cases, a specific date might not be available, and the date published may only be specific to a month or even a year. Provide whatever date information is available.

End the citation with the URL. You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx. End the entire citation with a period.

Looking for an MLA formatter to create your website citations quickly and easily? Check out the BibMe MLA citation machine! Our MLA format website creates your citations in just a few clicks.

Citations for Online Journal Articles:

The most basic entry for a journal consists of the author name(s), article title, journal name, volume number, issue number, year published, page numbers, name of website or database where the article was found, and URL or Direct Object Identifier (DOI).

Author's Last name, First name. "Title of Journal Article." Title of Journal , vol. number, issue no., Date, Page Range. Database or Website Name , URL or DOI.

Snyder, Vivian. "The Effect Course-Based Reading Strategy Training on the Reading Comprehension Skills of Developmental College Students." Research and Teaching in Developmental Education , vol. 18, no. 2, spring 2002, pp. 37-41. *JSTOR , www.jstor.org/stable/42802532.

*According to MLA 9th edition, lowercase seasons (spring 2002 not Spring 2002). Do not capitalize seasons.

Most online journal articles have two containers. The first is the journal that the article is in, and the second is the website or database the journal is in.

The first author's name should be reversed, with a comma after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). The name should not be abbreviated and should be written exactly as it appears in the journal.

For an article written by two authors, list them in the order they appear in the journal. Only the first author's name should be reversed, while the second is written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma, and place the word "and" before the second author's name.

Krispeth, Klein, and Stewart Jacobs.

For articles with three or more authors, include the name of the first author in the citation, followed by a comma and the abbreviation "et al."

Jones, Langston, et al.

The article title should be placed within quotation marks. Place a period after the article title within the quotation marks, unless the article title ends with a question mark or exclamation mark. The article title is followed by the name of the journal, which is italicized.

Include the volume number of the journal, but use the abbreviation "vol." You may also need to include the issue number, depending on the journal. Use the abbreviation "no." before the journal's issue number.

Jones, Robert, et al. "Librarianship in the Future." Libraries Today , vol. 5, no. 2, Mar. 2017, pp. 89-103. Database Life , www.dbl.com/6854.

You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx. If the article has a DOI, use the DOI instead of the URL.

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

Simply put, a Digital Object Identifier (usually abbreviated as “DOI”) is an identification number or source link for a document or file. It’s a system that is widely used by journals today. The DOI is comprised of symbols, numbers, and letters.

Example: https://doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1805-z.

This unique number system is very beneficial to readers and authors since it can be used to immediately locate an exact document, even if a host web page or database has altered an article’s URL.

How do I find an article’s DOI?

In print or PDF form, the first place to check is the front page of the article. If it is an online article, look for the DOI near the top of the article, at the very end of the article, or wherever citation information is located. Here are a few examples:

Here is an example from The New England Journal of Medicine:

DOI example 1

Here is an example from the bottom of a Nature article:

DOI example 2

Where in a citation is the DOI included?

If a DOI for an article exists, place it at the end of the citation. Here’s an example for the New England Journal of Medicine article previously shown:

Thomas, Cristina, et al. “Facing Uncertainty.” New England Journal of Medicine , vol. 381, no. 23, 2019, pp. 2253–2259, https://doi:10.1056/nejmcps1906037.

Citations for Blogs:

Blogs can be good sources to use for research papers and projects since many are regularly updated and written by influencers and experts.

Blogs can belong to a single individual, a group of people, or a company. Most entries for a blog include a title for that day’s entry, the date it was posted, and the information.

To cite a blog, you’ll need the following pieces of information: * The author’s name(s) or the name of the company who posted the blog * The title of the individual blog post * The title of the blog * The name of the publisher (if it differs from the name of the author(s) or title of the blog) * The date the blog post was posted * The website address (URL) for the blog post

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Blog Post.” Title of Blog , Publisher, Date Published, URL.

BibMe. “How to Spell in English: British vs. American.” BibMe Blog, www.bibme.org/blog/writing-tips/how-to-spell-in-english-british-vs-american/.

Notice in the above example, the date is missing. If there is no date shown on the blog post, omit it from the full citation.

Williams, Lindsay. “How to Get the Most from Your Online Language Lessons with a Tutor.” Lindsay Does Languages , 2019 Feb. 12, www.lindsaydoeslanguages.com/how-to-get-the-most-from-your-online-language-lessons-with-a-tutor/.

Cite a blog post in the text of the paper using this format:

(Author’s Last name) OR Author’s Last name...

Since there isn’t a page number, only use the author’s last name.

Citations for Newspapers:

The most basic entry for a newspaper consists of the author name(s), article title, newspaper name, publication date, page numbers, and sometimes a URL if found online. Omit volume numbers, issue numbers, and the names of publishers from newspaper citations.

Format if found on a website:

Author's Last name, First name. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper's Website , Publication Date, URL.

Format if found on a database:

Author's Last name, First name. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper , Publication Date, Page or Page Range (if available). Title of Database , URL.

MLA format example:

This example is for a print newspaper:

Hageman, William. "Program Brings Together Veterans, Neglected Dogs." Chicago Tribune , 4 Jan. 2015, p. 10.

The full article title should be placed within quotations. Next, state the name of the newspaper in italics.

Towards the end of the citation, include the page numbers on which the article appears with a period. Cite all inclusive page numbers --- if the article spans pages that are not consecutive, cite only the first page, followed by a plus sign.

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Citations for Photographs:

The most basic entry for a photograph consists of the photographer's name, the title of the photograph, the title of the book, website, or collection where the photograph can be located, the publisher of the photograph or publication where the image was located, the date the photograph was posted or taken, and the page number, location of the museum (such as a city and state), or URL if found online.

Photographer's Last name, First name. "Title of the Photograph." Title of the Book, Website, Collection, or other type of publication where the photograph was found , Date photograph was taken, Page Number (if applicable), Location (such as a city and state if necessary) where the photograph can be found, or URL.

Begin with the name of the photographer or main contributor (if available). This person's name should be reversed, with a comma placed after the last name and a period after the first name (and any middle name).

For a photograph taken from a publication or website, include the title of the photograph in quotation marks followed by a period. If the photograph does not have a formal title, create a description. If you make your own description, only include a capital at the beginning of the description and at the beginning of any proper nouns. Do not place the description in italics or quotation marks.

Place the title of the publication in italics immediately following the description, followed by a comma.

Digital Image/Photograph found online:

Photograph of the Hudson Area Public Library. JMS Collective , 19 Apr. 2016, www.jmscollective.com/hudson-ny-3/historic-hudson-armory-now-public-\ library/.

*Note that the above photograph does not have a formal title, so the photograph citation contains a description instead.

Photograph or Image viewed in a museum:

Vishniac, Roman. "Red Spotted Purple." Roman Vishniac's Science Work , early 1950s - late 1960s, International Center of Photography at Mana, New Jersey.

Photograph or Image found in a book:

Barnard, Edwin. Photograph of Murray Street, Hobart. Exiled: The Port Arthur Convict Photographs , National Library of Australia, 2010, p. 20.

Citing Social Media in MLA Format:

It's not uncommon to see social media posts included in research projects and papers. Most social media citations use the following structure:

@Username (First name Last name, if known, and differs from handle). "Text of post." Social Media Platform , Date posted, URL.

If the post is a photo or image instead of text, include a description of the image. Only capitalize the first letter in the description and the first letter for any proper nouns. Do not place the description in quotation marks.

If the post is long or includes emojis or links, it is acceptable to include only the beginning of the tweet with an ellipsis at the end of the included portion.

Citing a Twee:

@BibMe. "Need help with MLA essay format? Here are 6 steps to getting it done..." Twitter , 3 Dec. 2018, twitter.com/bibme/status/1069682724716204032.

Citing a Facebook Post:

DeGeneres, Ellen. "Holiday party goals..." Facebook , 21 Dec. 2018, www.facebook.com/ellentv/photos/a.182755292239/10157188088077240/?type=3&theater.

Citing an Instagram Post:

@dualipa. "A lil Hollywood glam brunch! Thank you @variety for by Breakthrough Artist of the Year award and thank you for your continuous support...." Instagram , 2 Dec. 2018, www.instagram.com/p/Bq33SC2BAsr/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link.

Citations for Music:

Citing a Song from the Internet:

To cite this type of source, structure the reference as follows:

Singer's Last Name, First name OR Band Name. "Title of Song." Title of Website or Service , Other Contributors and their roles (if applicable), Version, Date Published, URL.

Lopez, Jennifer. "Us." Spotify , 2 Feb. 2018, open.spotify.com/track/2MMvonKGALz6YOJwaKDO3q.

Citing a song from an album or downloaded:

Singer's Last name, First name OR Band Name. "Title of Song." Title of Album , Other Contributors and their roles (if applicable), Version, Publisher, Date Published or Released.

Lopez, Jennifer. "On the Floor." LOVE? , performance by Pitbull, Island, 2011.

Citations for Films:

The most basic entry for a film consists of the title, director, publisher, and year of release. You may also choose to include the names of the writer(s), performer(s), and the producer(s), depending on who your research focuses on. You can also include certain individuals to help readers locate the exact source themselves.

Example of a common way to cite a film:

Film Title . Directed by First name Last name, performance by First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year.

BibMe: The Movie . Directed by John Smith, performance by Jane Doe, New York Stories, 2017.

If your research focuses on a specific individual, you can begin the citation with that individual's name (in reverse order) and their role. Format it the same way as you would an author's name.

Doe, Jane, performer. BibMe: The Movie . Directed by John Smith, New York Stories, 2017.

If the film is dubbed in English or does not have an English title, use the foreign language title in the citation, followed by a square bracket that includes the translated title.

Citas gobiernan el mundo [ Citations Rule the World ]. Directed by Sara Paul, Showcase Films, 2017.

If the film was found online, such as YouTube or another site, include the name of the website and the URL.

Last name, First name of Individual who posted the video OR Account name. "Film Title." Website Title , other individuals and their roles (if applicable), Publisher, Year Published, URL.

The New York Public Library. "2018 National Book Awards Finalists at NYPL." YouTube , 15 Nov. 2018, youtu.be/edJqg3NuF2Q.

*Note that the New York Public Library was not listed as the publisher of the video. Adding "The New York Public Library" in the citation twice is not necessary.

Since the citation has two titles included (the title of the film and the title of the website), the title of the film is placed in quotation marks and the title of the website is in italics.

Citations for TV/Radio:

The most basic MLA format citation for a radio/TV program consists of the individuals responsible for the creation of the episode (if they're important to your research), the episode title, program/series name, broadcasting network or publisher, the original broadcast date, and the URL.

"The Highlights of 100." Seinfeld , NBC, 2 Feb. 1995.

If your research focuses on a specific individual from a TV or radio broadcast, include their name at the beginning of the citation in the author position.

If relevant, you may also choose to include the names of personnel involved with the program. Depending if the personnel are relevant to the specific episode or the series as a whole, place the personnel names after the program/series name. You may cite narrator(s) preceded by "narrated by", writer(s) preceded by "written by", directors preceded by "directed by", performer(s) preceded by "performance by", and/or producer(s) preceded by "produced by" and then the individual names. Include as many individuals as you like. Write these personnel names in normal order --- do not reverse the first and last names.

"The Highlights of 100." Seinfeld , directed by Andy Ackerman, written by Peter Mehlman, NBC, 2 Feb. 1995.

Also include the name of the network on which the program was broadcasted, followed by a comma.

State the date on which your program was originally broadcasted, followed by a period. When including the URL, follow the date with a comma and place the URL at the end, followed by a period to end the citation. You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them.

Citations for Lectures:

The most basic entry for a lecture consists of the speaker's name, presentation title, date conducted, and the name and location of the venue.

Speaker's Last name, First name. Title of Lecture . Date Conducted, Venue, Location.

Pausch, Randy. Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams . 18 Sept. 2007, McConomy Auditorium, Pittsburgh.

Begin the citation with the name of the speaker. This person's name should be reversed. If the lecture has a title, place it in the citation in italics, followed by a period. State the date on which the lecture was conducted, followed by a comma. Conclude your citation with the location/venue name and the city in which it occurred, separated by a comma.

Citations for Encyclopedias

The most basic entry for an encyclopedia consists of the author name(s), article title, encyclopedia name, publisher, and year published.

Last Name, First Name. "Article Title." Encyclopedia Name , Publisher, Year Published.

Smith, John. "Internet." Encyclopedia Britannica , 2012.

Notice that the name of the publisher was not included in the example above. Only include the name of the publisher if it differs from the name of the encyclopedia. Encyclopedia Britannica is the name of the encyclopedia AND the name of the publisher. It is not necessary to include Encyclopedia Britannica twice in the citation.

If there are no authors for the article, begin the citation with the article title instead.

"Media." World Book Encyclopedia , 2010.

If the encyclopedia arranges articles alphabetically, do not cite the page number(s) or number of volumes. If articles are not arranged alphabetically, you may want to include page number(s) and/or volume number, which is preceded by the abbreviation "vol." The volume should be cited after the encyclopedia name (or any edition), and before any publication information. After the publication year, include the page numbers on which the article appears, along with a period. Cite all inclusive page numbers --- if the article spans pages that are not consecutive, cite only the first page, followed by a plus sign.

Saunders, Bill. "Treasure." Encyclopedia Britannica , vol. 18, 2012, p. 56.

If the encyclopedia entry is found on a website, use the following structure:

Last name, First name. "Encyclopedia Entry." Title of Encyclopedia Website , Publisher, Year published, URL.

Citations for Magazines:

The most basic entry for a magazine consists of the author name(s), article title, magazine name, the volume and issue numbers (if available), publication date, page numbers, and URL if found online.

Last name, First name. "Article Title." Magazine Name , vol. number, issue no., Publication Date, Page Numbers or URL.

Print example:

Pratt, Sybil. "A Feast of Tradition." BookPage , Oct. 2017, p. 8.

Online example:

Geagan, Kate. "Sweeter Swaps: How to Choose Sustainable Sweeteners." Clean Eating , no. 83, Nov./Dec. 2018, pp. 36-37. Flipster , cleaneating.eoncontent.ebscohost.com/1927216#&pageSet=19.

The first author's name should be reversed, with a comma placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). The name should not be abbreviated and should be written exactly as it appears in the magazine.

For an article written by two or more authors, list them in the order as they appear on the title page. Only the first author's name should be reversed, while the others are written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma, and place the word "and" before the last author's name. For articles with three or more authors, only include the first author, followed by the abbreviation "et al."

The full article title should be placed within quotations. Unless there is punctuation that ends the article title, place a period after the title within the quotations. Next, state the name of the magazine in italics.

If volume and issue numbers are available, include them in the citation. Use the abbreviations “vol.” and “no.” before the volume number and issue number.

Example: vol. 6, no. 1

The date the magazine was published comes directly after the volume and issue number. Use whichever date the magazine includes, whether it's a complete date, a period spanning two months, a season (lowercased), or just a month and year. Follow this information with a comma.

Include the page number(s) on which the article appears. Cite all inclusive page numbers --- if the article spans pages that are not consecutive, cite only the first page, followed by a plus sign.

If the magazine article was found online, include the DOI or URL. Use a DOI instead of a URL when it is available. You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx. End the citation with a period.

Citations for Interviews:

Begin your citation with the name of the person interviewed. This person's name should be reversed, with a comma placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name).

For an interview that has been broadcast or published, if there is a title, include it after the name of the person interviewed.

Jolie, Angelina. "Being a Mother." Interview conducted by Steve Kroft, 60 Minutes , CBS, 3 Feb. 2009.

If there is no title, use the word "Interview" in place of a title and do not use quotation marks or italics. If the interviewer's name is known, add it, preceded by "Conducted by", after the word "Interview". Do not reverse the interviewer's name.

Jenkins, Lila. Interview. Conducted by Jessica Grossman. 5 Mar. 2017.

For published interviews found online, include the title of the website after the title of the interview. In addition, add the URL at the end of the citation.

Michaels, Jamye. "Fighting to Survive." Women's Magazine of Life , 2 Nov. 2016, www.womensmagazine.com/fightingtosurvive.com.

Citations for Dissertations and Theses:

In order to obtain a degree, most colleges and universities require students to submit a dissertation or thesis towards the end of their academic track. Dissertations and theses are lengthy essays or in-depth research projects that relate to the scope of the student’s learning.

For example, if a student is close to obtaining their Master’s in Library Science, the student could study and write about the Internet searching habits of elderly individuals, or perhaps focus on the research skills of economically disadvantaged adults.

Upon completion, this individual assignment is often presented to the main directors, committee members, or professors at the school for approval.

A dissertation is generally assigned to students who are completing their doctorate degree, and many graduate schools require students to hand in a thesis to obtain a master’s degree.

Since so much research and work went into these scholarly projects, and new ideas and conclusions are often produced, many colleges and universities publish the completed papers. You can find these projects on many school websites and databases.

Here’s one way you can reference a dissertation or thesis:

Author’s Last Name, First name. Title of Dissertation or Thesis . Year Completed. University or College, Degree Abbr. Database , DOI or URL.

Kim, Kee Han. Development of an Improved Methodology for Analyzing Existing Single-Family Residential Energy Use . 2014. Texas A & M U, PhD. ProQuest , https://ezproxy.nypl.org/socabs/docview/1665251619/abstract/E9D36166E31040AEPQ/1?accountid=35635.

Fletcher, Marissa. Influences of Nutrition and Pathogenicity from a Microbial Diet on Immunity and Longevity in Caenorhabditis Elegans . 2012. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD. DSpace@MIT , https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/120633.

Using Visuals

Including a visual in your project is a great way to make information come to life, as visuals can complement written work and enhance understanding.

Photographs, maps, charts, graphs, line drawings, musical scores, and tables are images that can be included in a project.

Follow these directions to add an image to your research paper:

  • Images should be placed close to where they’re mentioned in the text.
  • Provide a brief explanation about the image in the written portion of the paper, but do not write out all data shown in the image. Doing so would make the image unnecessary. (See the visual “Table example” at the end of this section.)

Correct example: Table 1 shows commonly used words in Shakespeare’s plays and their English translation.

Incorrect example: Table 1 shows commonly used words in Shakespeare’s plays and their English translation. Brave translates to handsome , character means a letter or word , egal means equal , fancy is a term for desire , and honest translates to pure .

  • Tables are titled Table X, figures are Fig. X, and examples are Ex. X.
  • Any type of image that includes an illustration is considered a “Figure”.
  • Musical scores or sheet music are considered “Examples”.
  • If the information below the image contains all of the source information, a full reference on the “Works Cited” page is not necessary.
  • Double space everything.
  • The image should have the same 1-inch margins as the rest of the paper.

Check out the examples below to see how tables, figures, and musical scores are arranged.

Table Example:

MLA table citation

Figure Example:

MLA figure citation

Musical score example:

MLA musical score citation

Your “Works Cited” Page

An MLA "Works Cited" or MLA "Work Cited" page contains all of the citations for a project.

  • This page sits on its own and is found at the end of a project.
  • If there is only one citation on the page, title the page: Work Cited. While it might seem silly to have a full page dedicated to one citation, a “Work Cited” page in MLA is still necessary. If there are multiple citations on the page, title the page: Works Cited.
  • Double space the entire list of works cited.
  • Include the writer's last name and the page number, at the top right corner of the page.
  • Every in-text or parenthetical citation in the body of the project should correspond with its full citation listed on the MLA “Works Cited” or “Work Cited” page.
  • All full citations in MLA formatting have a hanging indent. This means that the first line of the citation sits flush against the left margin. The second line, and any subsequent lines, are indented in another half inch. If you need a visual, all full citations on this page have a hanging indent.
  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first letter found in the citation.
  • If there are multiple sources by the same author, only include the author's name in the first citation. For each citation afterwards, MLA formatting requires you to include three dashes and a period. Organize the citations by the title.

Example of a Works-Cited List with Multiple Works by Same Author:

Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children . Quirk, 2011.

---. Tales of the Peculiar . Dutton, 2016.

  • When alphabetizing by titles, ignore “A,” “An,” and “The,” and use the next part of the title.
  • If the title starts with a number, place the title where it would belong if the number was spelled out.

MLA formatting example:

1492: The Year Our World Began would be alphabetized under F (for fourteen)

Sample Works Cited:

Works Cited in MLA

Formatting Your Header:

The first page of your MLA format paper should include a header. An MLA cover page, or MLA title page, that sits on its own isn't necessary or recommended.

MLA heading format includes the following pieces of information, styled like this, in this order:

Your professor or teacher's name

The class and/or course number

Date of submission

  • Double space everything on the page.
  • In the top right corner, include your last name and the page number.
  • The title should be centered in the middle of the page.
  • Use any type of font that is easy to read for the entire paper.
  • MLA paper format requires 12-point font, or another size close to it.

Sample MLA Header:

MLA Header

Using BibMe.org to Create Citations for your MLA Works Cited Page or MLA Bibliography

Wondering how to use MLA format? The BibMe automatic MLA format generator formats your citations for you. Enter a title, web address, ISBN number, or other identifying information into the MLA format template to automatically cite your sources. If you need help with BibMe.org or our citation machine in MLA, click here on more styles .

Try This Out:

The BibMe service is an extremely helpful resource that helps you create your citations for your project, but there's more. The BibMe service also has a feature that will help to proofread your entire MLA format essay. The BibMe Plus paper checker scans for proper spelling, punctuation, language elements, and syntax. It will tell you if a language element, such as a preposition , conjunction , or interjection , is a bit off. It also has a built-in plagiarism checker , which scans papers for instances of accidental plagiarism. Try it out now!

More Information:

Here's more information on the previous handbooks. There's further good information here , including MLA format examples and examples of MLA in-text citations.

Background Information and History:

The Modern Language Association was developed in 1883 and was created to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. With over 25,000 current members worldwide, the Modern Language Association continuously strives to keep its members up-to-date on the best practices, methods, and trends related to language and literature. The Modern Language Association boasts an annual conference, journal, an online communication platform, numerous area-focused committees, and one of its most popular publications, the MLA Handbook, now in its 9th edition.

Updated June 25, 2021

Edited and written by Elise Barbeau and Michele Kirschenbaum. Elise is a citation expert and has her master’s degree in public history/library science. She has experience in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing. Michele is a certified library media specialist who loves citations and teaching. She’s been writing about citing sources since 2014.

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😕 What is an MLA Citation Generator?

An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA-compliant academic paper.

The citations on a Works Cited page show the external sources that were used to write the main body of the academic paper, either directly as references and quotes, or indirectly as ideas.

👩‍🎓 Who uses an MLA Citation Generator?

MLA style is most often used by middle school and high school students in preparation for transition to college and further education. Ironically, MLA style is not actually used all that often beyond middle and high school, with APA (American Psychological Association) style being the favored style at colleges across the country.

It is also important at this level to learn why it's critical to cite sources, not just how to cite them.

🙌 Why should I use a Citation Generator?

Writing citations manually is time consuming and error prone. Automating this process with a citation generator is easy, straightforward, and gives accurate results. It's also easier to keep citations organized and in the correct order.

The Works Cited page contributes to the overall grade of a paper, so it is important to produce accurately formatted citations that follow the guidelines in the official MLA Handbook .

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's MLA Citation Generator?

It's super easy to create MLA style citations with our MLA Citation Generator. Scroll back up to the generator at the top of the page and select the type of source you're citing. Books, journal articles, and webpages are all examples of the types of sources our generator can cite automatically. Then either search for the source, or enter the details manually in the citation form.

The generator will produce a formatted MLA citation that can be copied and pasted directly into your document, or saved to MyBib as part of your overall Works Cited page (which can be downloaded fully later!).

MyBib supports the following for MLA style:

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Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

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The complete guide to mla & citations, what you’ll find in this guide.

This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources.

Looking for APA? Check out the Citation Machine’s guide on APA format . We also have resources for Chicago citation style as well.

How to be a responsible researcher or scholar

Putting together a research project involves searching for information, disseminating and analyzing information, collecting information, and repurposing information. Being a responsible researcher requires keeping track of the sources that were used to help develop your research project, sharing the information you borrowed in an ethical way, and giving credit to the authors of the sources you used. Doing all of these things prevents plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using others’ information without giving credit or acknowledging them. There are many examples of plagiarism. Completely copying another individual’s work without providing credit to the original author is a very blatant example of plagiarism. Plagiarism also occurs when another individual’s idea or concept is passed off as your own. Changing or modifying quotes, text, or any work of another individual is also plagiarism. Believe it or not, you can even plagiarize yourself! Reusing a project or paper from another class or time and saying that it’s new is plagiarism. One way to prevent plagiarism is to add citations in your project where appropriate.

What is a Citation?

A citation shows the reader of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote to your project. Citations are also included in the body when you’re paraphrasing another individual’s information. These citations in the body of a research paper are called in-text citations. They are found directly next to the information that was borrowed and are very brief to avoid causing distraction while reading a project. These brief citations include the last name of the author and a page number. Scroll down for an in-depth explanation and examples of MLA in-text citations.

In-text citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, though they usually don't include the title and other components. Look on the last page of a research project to find complete citations.

Complete citations are found on what MLA calls a works-cited list, which is sometimes called an MLA bibliography. All sources that were used to develop a research project are found on the works-cited list. Complete citations are also created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text. Complete citations include the author’s name, the title, publisher, year published, page numbers, URLs, and a few other pieces of information.

Looking to create your citations in just a few clicks? Need an MLA format website or book citation? Visit Citation Machine.net! Our Citation Machine MLA generator, which is an MLA citation website, will create all of your citations in just a few clicks. Click here to see more styles .

Why Does it Matter?

Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It shows that you’re a responsible researcher and that you located appropriate and reputable sources that support your thesis or claim. In addition, if your work ends up being posted online or in print, there is a chance that others will use your research project in their own work!

Scroll down to find directions on how to create citations.

How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher

What is mla format.

The Modern Language Association is an organization that was created to develop guidelines on everything language and literature related. They have guidelines on proper grammar usage and research paper layouts. In addition, they have English and foreign language committees, numerous books and journal publications, and an annual conference. They are not connected with this guide, but the information here reflects the association’s rules for formatting papers and citations.

What are citations?

The Modern Language Association is responsible for creating standards and guidelines on how to properly cite sources to prevent plagiarism. Their style is most often used when writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities fields. “Liberal arts” is a broad term used to describe a range of subjects including the humanities, formal sciences such as mathematics and statistics, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and social sciences such as geography, economics, history, and others. The humanities focuses specifically on subjects related to languages, art, philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature, and ethics.

Believe it or not, there are thousands of other types of citation styles. While this citation style is most often used for the liberal arts and humanities fields, many other subjects, professors, and schools prefer citations and papers to be styled in MLA format.

What’s the difference between a bibliography and a works-cited list?

Great question. The two terms cause a lot of confusion and are consistently misused not only by students but educators as well! Let’s start with what the two words mean.

A bibliography displays the sources the writer used to gain background knowledge on the topic and also research it in-depth. Before starting a research project, you might read up on the topic in websites, books, and other sources. You might even dive a bit deeper to find more information elsewhere. All of these sources you used to help you learn about the topic would go in an MLA format bibliography. You might even include other sources that relate to the topic.

A works-cited list displays all of the sources that were mentioned in the writing of the actual paper or project. If a quote was taken from a source and placed into a research paper, then the full citation goes on the works-cited list.

Both the works-cited list and bibliography go at the end of a paper. Most teachers do not expect students to hand in both a bibliography AND a works-cited list. Teachers generally expect to see a works-cited list, but sometimes erroneously call it a bibliography. If you’re not sure what your teacher expects, a page in MLA bibliography format, a works-cited list, or both, ask for guidance.

Why do we use this MLA style?

These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations were developed for numerous reasons. When scholars and researchers in literature, language, and numerous other fields all cite their sources in the same manner, it makes it easier for readers to look at a citation and understand the different components of a source. By looking at an MLA citation, we can see who the author is, the title of the source, when it was published, and other identifiable pieces of information.

Imagine how difficult it would be to understand the various components of a source if we didn’t all follow the same guidelines! Not only would it make it difficult to understand the source that was used, but it would also make it difficult for readers to locate it themselves. This streamlined process aides us in understanding a researcher’s sources.

How is the new version different than previous versions?

This citation style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition.

The new version expands upon standards previously set in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook, including the core elements. The structure of citations remains the same, but some formatting guidance and terminology have changed.

  • DOI numbers are now formatted as https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx
  • Seasons in publishing daters are lowercased: spring 2020
  • The term “optional elements” is now “supplemental elements”
  • “Narrative in-text citations” are called “citations in prose”

In addition, new information was added on the following:

  • Hundreds of works-cited-list entries
  • MLA formatting for papers
  • Punctuation, spelling, and other mechanics of prose
  • Chapter on inclusive language
  • Notes (bibliographic and content)

For more information on MLA 9, click here .

A Deeper Look at Citations

What do they look like.

There are two types of citations. The first is a full, or complete, citation. These are found at the end of research projects. These citations are usually listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last names and include all of the information necessary for readers to be able to locate the source themselves.

Full citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a DOI, URL, or page range).

There are times when additional information is added into the full citation.

Not sure how to transfer the information from your source into your citation? Confused about the term, “containers”? See below for information and complete explanations of each citation component.

The second type of citation, called an “in-text citation,” is included in the main part, or body, of a project when a researcher uses a quote or paraphrases information from another source. See the next section to find out how to create in-text citations.

What are in-text citations?

As stated above, in-text citations are included in the main part of a project when using a quote or paraphrasing a piece of information from another source. We include these types of citations in the body of a project for readers to quickly gain an idea as to where we found the information.

These in-text citations are found directly next to the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular MLA citation. The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project, on the works-cited list.

Here’s what a typical in-text citation looks like:

In the book The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements…. Too much fire and you have a bad temper...too little wood and you bent too quickly...too much water and you flowed in too many directions” (Tan 31).

This specific in text citation, (Tan 31), is called an MLA parenthetical citation because the author’s name is in parentheses. It’s included so the reader sees that we are quoting something from page 31 in Tan’s book. The complete, regular citation isn’t included in the main part of the project because it would be too distracting for the reader. We want the reader to focus on our work and research, not get caught up on our sources.

Here’s another way to cite in the text:

In Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements... Too much fire and you have a bad temper... too little wood and you bent too quickly... too much water and you flowed in too many directions" (31).

If the reader would like to see the source’s full information, and possibly locate the source themselves, they can refer to the last part of the project to find the regular citation.

The regular citation, at the end of the project looks like this:

%%Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Penguin, 1989, p. 31.

Notice that the first word in the full citation (Tan) matches the “Tan” used in the body of the project. It’s important to have the first word of the full citation match the term used in the text. Why? It allows readers to easily find the full citation on the works-cited list.

If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a line number (use line or lines), paragraph number (use the abbreviation par. or pars.), sections (sec. or secs.), or chapters (ch. or chs.). Only use these other terms if they are actually labeled on the source. If it specifically says on the source, “Section 1,” for example, then it is acceptable to use “sec. 1” in the in-text citation.

If there are no numbers to help readers locate the exact point in the source, only include the author’s last name.

To determine how to create in-text citations for more than one author, no authors, or corporate authors, refer to the “Authors” section below.

More about quotations and how to cite a quote:

  • Use quotes from outside sources to help illustrate and expand on your own points. The majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas.
  • Include the quote exactly as you found it. It is okay to use only certain words or phrases from the quote, but keep the words (spelling and capitalization) and punctuation the same.
  • It is acceptable to break up a direct quote with your own writing.

Example from a movie:

Dorothy stated, "Toto," then looked up and took in her surroundings, "I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore" ( Wizard of Oz ).
  • The entire paper should be double-spaced, including quotes.
  • If the quote is longer than four lines, it is necessary to make a block quote. Block quotes show the reader that they are about to read a lengthy amount of text from another source.
  • Start the quote on the next line, half an inch from the left margin.
  • Do not use any indents at the beginning of the block quote.
  • Only use quotation marks if there are quotation marks present in the source.
  • If there is more than one paragraph in the block quote, indent the beginning of the paragraphs after the first one an additional half an inch from the left margin.
  • Add your in-text citation after the final period of the block quote. Do not add an additional period after the parenthetical citation.

While his parents sat there in surprise, Colton went onto say:

“Cause I could see you,” Colon said matter-of-factly. “I went up and out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying; and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.” (Burpo xxi)

How to create a paraphrase:

As stated above, the majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas. It’s acceptable to include quotes, but they shouldn’t crowd your paper. If you’re finding that you’re using too many quotes in your paper, consider adding paraphrases. When you reiterate a piece of information from an outside source in your own words, you create a paraphrase.

Here’s an example:

Readers discover in the very first sentence of Peter Pan that he doesn’t grow up (Barrie 1).

What paraphrases are:

  • Recycled information in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.
  • They’re still references! Include an in-text citation next to the paraphrased information.

What paraphrases are not:

  • A copy and pasted sentence with a few words substituted for synonyms.

Confused about whether footnotes and endnotes should be used?

Footnotes and endnotes are completely acceptable to use in this style. Use a footnote or endnote if:

  • Adding additional information will help the reader understand the content. This is called a content note .
  • You need to cite numerous sources in one small section of your writing. Instead of clogging up a small paragraph with in-text citations (which could cause confusion for the reader), include a footnote or endnote. This is called a bibliographic note .

Keep in mind that whether you choose to include in-text citations or footnotes/endnotes, you need to also include a full reference on the MLA format works-cited list.

Content note example:

Even Maurice Sendak’s work (the mastermind behind Where the Wild Things Are and numerous other popular children’s picture books) can be found on the banned books list. It seems as though nobody is granted immunity. 1

  • In the Night Kitchen ’s main character is nude on numerous pages. Problematic for most is not the nudity of the behind, but the frontal nudity.

Work Cited:

%%Sendak, Maurice. In The Night Kitchen. Harper Collins, 1996.

Bibliographic note example:

Dahl had a difficult childhood. Both his father and sister passed away when he was a toddler. He was then sent away by his mother to boarding school (de Castella). 1

  • Numerous books, such as Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG, all feature characters with absent or difficult parents.

MLA Works Cited:

Include 4 full citations for: de Castella’s article, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG .

Don’t forget to create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project.

If you need help with in-text and parenthetical citations, CitationMachine.net can help. Our MLA citation generator is simple and easy to use!

Common Knowledge: What Is It and How Will It Affect My Writing?

Footnotes, endnotes, references, proper structuring. We know it’s a lot. Thankfully, you don’t have to include a reference for EVERY piece of information you add to your paper. You can forget about including a reference when you share a piece of common knowledge.

Common knowledge is information that most people know. For example, these are a few facts that are considered common knowledge:

  • The Statue of Liberty is located in New York City
  • Tokyo is the capital of Japan
  • Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare
  • English is the language most people speak in England
  • An elephant is an animal

We could go on and on. When you include common knowledge in your paper, omit a reference. One less thing to worry about, right?

Before you start adding tons of common knowledge occurrences to your paper to ease the burden of creating references, we need to stop you right there. Remember, the goal of a research paper is to develop new information or knowledge. You’re expected to seek out information from outside sources and analyze and distribute the information from those sources to form new ideas. Using only common knowledge facts in your writing involves absolutely zero research. It’s okay to include some common knowledge facts here and there, but do not make it the core of your paper.

If you’re unsure if the fact you’re including is common knowledge or not, it doesn’t hurt to include a reference. There is no such thing as being overly responsible when it comes to writing and citing.

Wikipedia - Yay or Nay?

If you’re wondering whether it’s okay to use Wikipedia in your project, the answer is, it depends.

If Wikipedia is your go-to source for quick information on a topic, you’re not alone. Chances are, it’s one of the first websites to appear on your results page. It’s used by tons of people, it’s easily accessible, and it contains millions of concise articles. So, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the problem?”

The issue with Wikipedia is that it’s a user-generated site, meaning information is constantly added and modified by registered users. Who these users are and their expertise is somewhat of a mystery. The truth is anyone can register on the site and make changes to articles.

Knowing this makes some cringe, especially educators and librarians, since the validity of the information is questionable. However, some people argue that because Wikipedia is a user-generated site, the community of registered users serve as “watchdogs,” ensuring that information is valid. In addition, references are included at the bottom of each article and serve as proof of credibility. Furthermore, Wikipedia lets readers know when there’s a problem with an article. Warnings such as “this article needs clarification,” or “this article needs references to prove its validity” are shared with the reader, thus promoting transparency.

If you choose to reference a Wikipedia article in your research project, and your teacher or professor says it’s okay, then you must reference it in your project. You would treat it just as you would with any other web source.

However, you may want to instead consider locating the original source of the information. This should be fairly easy to do thanks to the references at the bottom of each article.

Specific Components of a Citation

This section explains each individual component of the citation, with examples for each section for full citations and in-text citations.

Name of the author

The author’s name is usually the first item listed in the MLA citation. Author names start with the last name, then a comma is added, and then the author’s first name (and middle name if applicable) is at the end. A period closes this information.

Here are two examples of how an author’s name can be listed in a full citation:

Twain, Mark.

Poe, Edgar Allan.

For in-text:

(Author’s Last name page number) or Author’s Last name... (page).

Wondering how to format the author’s name when there are two authors working jointly on a source? When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source. Place their names in this format:

Author 1’s Last Name, First name, and Author 2’s First Name Last Name.

Here are two examples of how to cite two authors:

Clifton, Mark, and Frank Riley.

Paxton, Roberta J., and Michael Jacob Fox.

(Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name page number) or Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name... (page).

There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This often happens with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.

To cite a source with three or more authors, place the information in this format:

Author 1’s Last name, First name, et al.

As you can see, only include the first author’s name. The other authors are accounted for by using “et al.” In Latin, et al. is translated to “and others.” If using the Citation Machine citation generator, this abbreviation is automatically added for you.

Here’s an example of a citation for three or more authors:

%%Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed., Nolo, 2009.

(Author 1’s Last name et al. page number)

Is there no author listed on your source? If so, exclude the author’s information from the citation and begin the citation with the title of the source.

For in-text: Use the title of the source in parentheses. Place the title in italics if the source stands alone. Books and films stand alone. If it’s part of a larger whole, such as a chapter in an edited book or an article on a website, place the title in quotation marks without italics.

( Back to the Future )

(“Citing And Writing”)

Other in-text structures:

Authors with the same last name in your paper? MLA essay format requires the use of first initials in-text in this scenario.

Ex: (J. Silver 45)

Are you citing more than one source by the same author? For example, two books by Ernest Hemingway? Include the title in-text.

Example: (Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls 12).

Are you citing a film or song? Include a timestamp in the format of hours:minutes:seconds. ( Back to the Future 00:23:86)

Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? If this is the case, in an MLA format paper, you are allowed to start the citation with the author’s handle, username, or screen name.

Here is an example of how to cite a tweet:

%%@CarlaHayden. “I’m so honored to talk about digital access at @UMBCHumanities. We want to share the @libraryofcongress collection.” Twitter , 13 Apr. 2017, 6:04 p.m., twitter.com/LibnOfCongress/status/852643691802091521.

While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors. Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. If your project focuses on someone other than the author, it is acceptable to place that person’s name first in the citation. If you’re using the MLA works cited generator at Citation Machine.net, you can choose the individual’s role from a drop-down box.

For example, let’s say that in your research project, you focus on Leonardo DiCaprio’s performances as an actor. You’re quoting a line from the movie Titanic in your project, and you’re creating a complete citation for it in the works-cited list.

It is acceptable to show the reader that you’re focusing on Leonardo DiCaprio’s work by citing it like this in the MLA works-cited list:

%%DiCaprio, Leonardo, performer. Titanic . Directed by James Cameron. Paramount, 1997.

Notice that when citing an individual other than the author, place the individual’s role after their name. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer.

This is often done with edited books, too. Place the editor’s name first (in reverse order), add a comma, and then add the word editor.

If you’re still confused about how to place the authors together in a citation, the tools at CitationMachine.net can help! Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks!

Titles and containers

The titles are written as they are found on the source and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital.

Here’s an example of a properly written title:

Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks.

Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks? It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics. If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it is from in italics.

When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics.

However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to format titles and their containers.

To cite Pink Floyd’s entire album, The Wall , cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. The Wall. Columbia, 1979.

To cite one of the songs on Pink Floyd’s album in MLA formatting, cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part I).” The Wall, Columbia, 1979, track 3.

To cite a fairy tale book in its entirety, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories. Little Brown, 2016.

To cite a specific story or chapter in the book, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Land of Stories, Little Brown, 2016, pp. 58-65.

More about containers

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone, or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. Wondering how? When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. The second container? It’s the database that the scholarly journal is found in. It is important to account for all containers, so readers are able to locate the exact source themselves.

When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix .

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation.

Use the following format to cite your source with multiple containers :

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

If the source has more than two containers, add on another full section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves.

Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found in a database. This source has two containers: the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other.

%%Zanetti, Francois. “Curing with Machine: Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” Technology and Culture, vol. 54, no. 3, July 2013, pp. 503-530. Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/article/520280.

If you’re still confused about containers, the Citation Machine MLA cite generator can help! MLA citing is easier when using the tools at CitationMachine.net.

Other contributors

Many sources have people besides the author who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word “by,” and then their name in standard order.

If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual. If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased.

Here’s an example of a citation for a children’s book with the name of the illustrator included:

%%Rubin, Adam. Dragons Love Tacos. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, 2012.

The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation.

If the source that you’re citing states that it is a specific version or edition, this information is placed in the “versions” section of the citation.

When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral. Also, abbreviate the word “edition” to “ed.”

Here is an example of a citation with a specific edition:

%%Koger, Gregory. “Filibustering and Parties in the Modern State.” Congress Reconsidered, edited by Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer, 10th ed., CQ Press, 2013, pp. 221-236. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=b7gkLlSEeqwC&lpg=PP1&dq=10th%20edition&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=10th%20edition&f=false.

Many sources have numbers associated with them. If you see a number different than the date, page numbers, or editions, include this information in the “numbers” section of the citation. For MLA citing, this includes volume and/or issue numbers (use the abbreviations vol. and no.), episode numbers, track numbers, or any other numbers that will help readers identify the specific source that you used. Do not include ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) in the citation.

It is important to include the name of the publisher (the organization that created or published the source), so that readers can locate the exact source themselves.

Include publishers for all sources except periodicals. Also, for websites, exclude this information when the name of the publisher matches the name of the website. Furthermore, the name of the publisher is often excluded from the citation for second containers, since the publisher of the second container is not necessarily responsible for the creation or production of the source’s content.

Publication dates

Publication dates are extremely important to include in citations. They allow the reader to understand when sources were published. They are also used when readers are attempting to locate the source themselves.

Dates can be written in MLA in one of two ways. Researchers can write dates as:

Day Mo. Year

Mo. Day, Year

Whichever format you decide to use, use the same format for all of your citations. If using the Citation Machine citation generator, the date will be formatted in the same way for each citation.

While it isn’t necessary to include the full date for all source citations, use the amount of information that makes the most sense to help your readers understand and locate the source themselves.

Wondering what to do when your source has more than one date? Use the date that is most applicable to your research.

The location generally refers to the place where the readers can find the source. This includes page ranges, URLs, DOI numbers, track numbers, disc numbers, or even cities and towns.

You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx .

For page numbers, when citing a source found on only one page, use p.

Example: p. 6.

When citing a source that has a page range, use pp. and then add the page numbers.

Example: pp. 24-38.

Since the location is the final piece of the citation, place a period at the end. When it comes to URLs, many students wonder if the links in citations should be live or not. If the paper is being shared electronically with a teacher and other readers, it may be helpful to include live links. If you’re not sure whether to include live links or not, ask your teacher or professor for guidance.

Looking for an online tool to do the work for you? Citation Machine citing tools could help! Our site is simple (and fun!) to use.

Need some more help? There is further good information here .

Common Citation Examples

ALL sources use this format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). *Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

*If the source does not have a second container, omit this last part of the citation.

Remember, the Citation Machine MLA formatter can help you save time and energy when creating your citations. Check out our MLA Citation Machine pages to learn more.

  • Journal Articles

How to Format a Paper

When it comes to formatting your paper or essay for academic purposes, there are specific MLA paper format guidelines to follow.

  • Use paper that is 8½-by-11 inch in size. This is the standard size for copier and printer paper.
  • Use high quality paper.
  • Your research paper or essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the paper.
  • While most word processors automatically format your paper to have one-inch margins, you can check or modify the margins of your paper by going to the “Page setup” section of your word processor.

Which font is acceptable to use?

  • Use an easily readable font, specifically one that allows readers to see the difference between regular and italicized letters.
  • Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica are recommended options.
  • Use 12-point size font.

Should I double-space the paper, including citations?

  • Double-space the entire paper.
  • There should be a double space between each piece of information in the heading.
  • Place a double space between the heading and the title.
  • Place a double space between the title and the beginning of the essay.
  • The works-cited list should be double-spaced as well. All citations are double-spaced.

Justification & Punctuation

  • Text should be left-justified, meaning that the text is aligned, or flush, against the left margin.
  • Indents signal to the reader that a new concept or idea is about to begin.
  • Use the “tab” button on your keyboard to create an indent.
  • Add one space after all punctuation marks.

Heading & Title

  • Include a proper heading and title
  • The heading should include the following, on separate lines, starting one inch from the top and left margins:
  • Your full name
  • Your teacher or professor’s name
  • The course number
  • Dates in the heading and the body of your essay should be consistent. Use the same format, either Day Month Year or Month Day, Year throughout the entire paper
  • Examples: 27 July 2017 or July 27, 2017
  • The title should be underneath the heading, centered in the middle of the page, without bold, underlined, italicized, or all capital letters.

Page numbers

  • Number all pages, including the very first page and the works-cited list.
  • Place page numbers in the top right corner, half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin.
  • Include your last name to the left of the page number. Example: Jacobson 4

Here’s an example to provide you with a visual:

The image shows an example of the first page of an MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described above under the heading How to Format a Paper.

If you need help with sentence structure or grammar, check out our paper checker. The paper checker will help to check every noun , verb , and adjective . If there are words that are misspelled or out of place, the paper checker will suggest edits and provide recommendations.

  • If a citation flows onto the second line, indent it in half an inch from the left margin (called a “hanging indent”).
  • For more information on the works-cited list, refer to “How to Make a Works Cited Page,” which is found below.

How to Create a Title Page

According to the Modern Language Association’s official guidelines for formatting a research paper, it is unnecessary to create or include an individual title page, or MLA cover page, at the beginning of a research project. Instead, follow the directions above, under “Heading & Title,” to create a proper heading. This heading is featured at the top of the first page of the research paper or research assignment.

If your instructor or professor does in fact require or ask for an MLA title page, follow the directions that you are given. They should provide you with the information needed to create a separate, individual title page. If they do not provide you with instructions, and you are left to create it at your own discretion, use the header information above to help you develop your research paper title page. You may want to include other information, such as the name of your school or university.

How to Make a Works Cited Page

The MLA Works Cited page is generally found at the end of a research paper or project. It contains a list of all the citations of sources used for the research project. Follow these directions to format the works-cited list to match the Modern Language Association’s guidelines.

  • The “Works Cited” page has its own page at the end of a research project.
  • Include the same running head as the rest of the project (Your last name and then the page number). The “Works Cited” page has the final page number for the project.
  • Name the page “Works Cited,” unless your list only includes one citation. In that case, title it in MLA “Work Cited.”
  • The title of the page (either “Works Cited” or “Work Cited”) is placed one inch from the top of the page, centered in the middle of the document.
  • Double space the entire document, even between the title of the page and the first citation.
  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the citation (usually the last name of the author or the first word in the title if the citation does not include the author’s name. Ignore “A,” “An,” and “The” if the title begins with these words.)
  • If there are multiple citations by the same author, place them in chronological order by the date published.
  • Also, instead of writing the author’s name twice in both citations, use three hyphens.

%%Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 2009.

%%---. Gather Together in My Name. Random House, 1974.

  • All citations begin flush against the left margin. If the citation is long and rolls onto a second or third line, indent the lines below the first line half an inch from the left margin. This is called a “hanging indent.” The purpose of a hanging indent is to make the citations easier to read. If you’re using our MLA citation machine, we’ll format each of your references with a hanging indent for you.

%%Wai-Chung, Ho. “Political Influences on Curriculum Content and Musical Meaning: Hong Kong Secondary Music Education, 1949-1997.” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, vol. 22, no. 1, 1 Oct. 2000, pp. 5-25. Periodicals Index Online, search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/pio/docview/1297849364/citation/6B70D633F50C4EA0PQ/78?accountid=35635.

  • MLA “Works Cited” pages can be longer than one page. Use as many pages as necessary. If you have only one source to cite, do not place the one citation below the text of your paper. In MLA, a “Work Cited” page is still created for that individual citation.

Here’s a sample paper to give you an idea of what an MLA paper could look like. Included at the end is an MLA “Works Cited” page example.

The image shows the first page of an example MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described under the heading How to Format a Paper.

Looking to add a relevant image, figure, table, or musical score to your paper? Here’s the easy way to do it, while following guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association:

  • Place the image, figure, table, or music close to where it’s mentioned in the text.
  • Provide source information and any additional notes directly below the image, figure, table, or music.

For tables:

  • Label the table as “Table” followed by an arabic numeral such as “1.” Table 1 is the table closest to the beginning of the paper. The next table mentioned in the text would be Table 2, and so on.
  • Create a title for the table and place it below the label. Capitalize all important words.
  • The label (Table 1) and the title should be flush against the left margin.
  • Double-space everything.

Example of formatting a table in MLA format.

  • A figure can be a map, photograph, painting, pie chart, or any other type of image.
  • Create a label and place it below the figure. The figure first mentioned in the text of the project is either “Figure 1” or “Fig 1.” Though figures are usually abbreviated to “Fig.” Choose one style and use it consistently. The next mentioned figure is “Figure 2” or “Fig. 2.”, and so on.
  • Place a caption next to the label. If all of the source information is included in the caption, there isn’t a need to replicate that information in the works-cited list.

Example of formatting a figure in MLA format.

MLA Final Checklist

Think you’re through? We know this guide covered a LOT of information, so before you hand in that assignment, here’s a checklist to help you determine if you have everything you need:

_ Are both in-text and full citations included in the project? Remember, for every piece of outside information included in the text, there should be a corresponding in-text citation next to it. Include the full citation at the end, on the “Works Cited” page.

_ Are all citations, both in-text and full, properly formatted in MLA style? If you’re unsure, try out our citation generator!

_ Is your paper double-spaced in its entirety with one inch margins?

_ Do you have a running header on each page? (Your last name followed by the page number)

_ Did you use a font that is easy to read?

_ Are all citations on the MLA format works-cited list in alphabetical order?

Our plagiarism checker scans for any accidental instances of plagiarism. It scans for grammar and spelling errors, too. If you have an adverb , preposition , or conjunction that needs a slight adjustment, we may be able to suggest an edit.

Common Ways Students Accidentally Plagiarize

We spoke a bit about plagiarism at the beginning of this guide. Since you’re a responsible researcher, we’re sure you didn’t purposely plagiarize any portions of your paper. Did you know students and scholars sometimes accidentally plagiarize? Unfortunately, it happens more often than you probably realize. Luckily, there are ways to prevent accidental plagiarism and even some online tools to help!

Here are some common ways students accidentally plagiarize in their research papers and assignments:

1. Poor Paraphrasing

In the “How to create a paraphrase” section towards the top of this page, we share that paraphrases are “recycled information, in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.” If you attempt to paraphrase a few lines of text and it ends up looking and sounding too close to the original author’s words, it’s a poor paraphrase and considered plagiarism.

2. Incorrect Citations

If you cite something incorrectly, even if it’s done accidentally, it’s plagiarism. Any incorrect information in a reference, such as the wrong author name or the incorrect title, results in plagiarism.

3. Forgetting to include quotation marks

When you include a quote in your paper, you must place quotation marks around it. Failing to do so results in plagiarism.

If you’re worried about accidental plagiarism, try our Citation Machine Plus essay tool. It scans for grammar, but it also checks for any instances of accidental plagiarism. It’s simple and user-friendly, making it a great choice for stress-free paper editing and publishing.

Updated June 15, 2021

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Wendy Ikemoto. Michele Kirschenbaum has been an awesome school librarian since 2006 and is an expert in citing sources. Wendy Ikemoto has a master’s degree in library and information science and has been working for Citation Machine since 2012.

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WRT 200 (Prof. Ilknur Sancak-Marusa) Research Guide

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MLA Citation Examples

Citation tools in library databases, mla citation tutorials, annotated bibliography.

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MLA Style Examples:

Works Cited List:  Olsen, Dale A.  Music of El Dorado: the Ethnomusicology of Ancient South American Cultures . UP of Florida, 2002.

In-text: (Olsen 25)

Scholarly Article:

Works Cited List : Latartara, John. "The Timbre of Thai Classical Singing."  Asian Music , vol. 43, no. 2, 2012, pp. 88-114.  Project MUSE ,  https://doi.org/10.1353/amu.2012.0013

In-text:  (Latartara 97-8)

Online Website:

Works Cited List : Andaya, Barbara. "Introduction to Southeast Asia."  Center for Global Education,  Asia Society, 2017,  asiasociety.org/education/introduction-southeast-asia . Accessed 17 Dec. 2021.

In-text citation:  (Andaya)

Note: If an author is not listed, begin the citation with the title of the page. For example if the author was not evident on the citation above, the works cited entry would be:

"Vietnam: a Historical Introduction."  Center for Global Education,  Asia Society, 2017, asiasociety.org/education/vietnam. Accessed 17 Dec. 2021.

Adapted from  https://guides.library.unr.edu/mlacitation  

MLA Formatting and Style Guide (OWL at Purdue)

Covers all aspects of MLA formatting, including the paper itself and references. From The Writing Lab and  The Owl  at Purdue University.

MLA Documentation

Covers MLA formatting of citations and works cited list. From the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

EBSCO databases (e.g. Academic Search Ultimate) provide citation tools for your to create citations based on different citation styles. Click the article title , you will find the following tools list on the right of the screen. Use the Cite tool to create citations.

mla bib example

ProQuest Databases (e.g. Wall Street Journal Online) also provide citation tools. Click the title of the article , the following tools are listed on the top of the screen above the title of the article, use the Cite tool to create citations.

mla bib example

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  • How to cite the Bible in MLA

How to Cite the Bible in MLA | Format & Examples

Published on January 21, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 16, 2022.

MLA in-text citations of the Bible differ from other book citations in that they list the book, chapter, and verse rather than the page number.

In the Works Cited entry, it’s important to list the version of the Bible you used, not just “The Bible.” Include a URL if you accessed an online version of the Bible.

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Table of contents

Mla in-text citations of the bible, version information in the works cited entry, frequently asked questions about mla citations.

In your in-text citations, MLA recommends abbreviating the names of the different books of the Bible. A list of standard abbreviations can be found here .

Additionally, chapter and verse numbers are separated by a period in MLA style, not a colon—unlike in some other styles.

  • (Ezek. 1:5)
  • (Ezek. 1.5)

Use an en dash to indicate a range of verses. If the range extends across chapters, include the new chapter number after the dash; otherwise, don’t repeat the chapter number.

  • (Ezek. 1.5–1.6)
  • (Ezek. 1.5–6)
  • (Ezek. 1.5–2.1)

The first Bible citation in your text should include the Bible’s title , abbreviated if necessary (and always omitting “ The ” from the beginning).

You can omit this part in subsequent citations. However, if you are citing multiple different versions of the Bible, include the title each time to clarify which you’re referring to, and include a separate entry for each version in your Works Cited list.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

The format of the Works Cited entry varies depending on whether the version is already clear from the title or needs to be clarified afterwards. Use the following format if the version is already clear from the title.

If the version needs to be clarified, do so after the title. This version information is capitalized but not italicized, and it is separated from the title with a period.

If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .

If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).

If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:

  • Rajaram  argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
  • The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”

In MLA style , book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example:

The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.

The title of a part of a book—such as a chapter, or a short story or poem in a collection—is not italicized, but instead placed in quotation marks.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2022, June 16). How to Cite the Bible in MLA | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 15, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/bible-citation/

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MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Guidelines for referring to the works of others in your text using MLA style are covered throughout the  MLA Handbook  and in chapter 7 of the  MLA Style Manual . Both books provide extensive examples, so it's a good idea to consult them if you want to become even more familiar with MLA guidelines or if you have a particular reference question.

Basic in-text citation rules

In MLA Style, referring to the works of others in your text is done using parenthetical citations . This method involves providing relevant source information in parentheses whenever a sentence uses a quotation or paraphrase. Usually, the simplest way to do this is to put all of the source information in parentheses at the end of the sentence (i.e., just before the period). However, as the examples below will illustrate, there are situations where it makes sense to put the parenthetical elsewhere in the sentence, or even to leave information out.

General Guidelines

  • The source information required in a parenthetical citation depends (1) upon the source medium (e.g. print, web, DVD) and (2) upon the source’s entry on the Works Cited page.
  • Any source information that you provide in-text must correspond to the source information on the Works Cited page. More specifically, whatever signal word or phrase you provide to your readers in the text must be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry on the Works Cited page.

In-text citations: Author-page style

MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. For example:

Both citations in the examples above, (263) and (Wordsworth 263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:

Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads . Oxford UP, 1967.

In-text citations for print sources with known author

For print sources like books, magazines, scholarly journal articles, and newspapers, provide a signal word or phrase (usually the author’s last name) and a page number. If you provide the signal word/phrase in the sentence, you do not need to include it in the parenthetical citation.

These examples must correspond to an entry that begins with Burke, which will be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of an entry on the Works Cited page:

Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method . University of California Press, 1966.

In-text citations for print sources by a corporate author

When a source has a corporate author, it is acceptable to use the name of the corporation followed by the page number for the in-text citation. You should also use abbreviations (e.g., nat'l for national) where appropriate, so as to avoid interrupting the flow of reading with overly long parenthetical citations.

In-text citations for sources with non-standard labeling systems

If a source uses a labeling or numbering system other than page numbers, such as a script or poetry, precede the citation with said label. When citing a poem, for instance, the parenthetical would begin with the word “line”, and then the line number or range. For example, the examination of William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” would be cited as such:

The speaker makes an ardent call for the exploration of the connection between the violence of nature and the divinity of creation. “In what distant deeps or skies. / Burnt the fire of thine eyes," they ask in reference to the tiger as they attempt to reconcile their intimidation with their relationship to creationism (lines 5-6).

Longer labels, such as chapters (ch.) and scenes (sc.), should be abbreviated.

In-text citations for print sources with no known author

When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name, following these guidelines.

Place the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (e.g. plays, books, television shows, entire Web sites) and provide a page number if it is available.

Titles longer than a standard noun phrase should be shortened into a noun phrase by excluding articles. For example, To the Lighthouse would be shortened to Lighthouse .

If the title cannot be easily shortened into a noun phrase, the title should be cut after the first clause, phrase, or punctuation:

In this example, since the reader does not know the author of the article, an abbreviated title appears in the parenthetical citation, and the full title of the article appears first at the left-hand margin of its respective entry on the Works Cited page. Thus, the writer includes the title in quotation marks as the signal phrase in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader directly to the source on the Works Cited page. The Works Cited entry appears as follows:

"The Impact of Global Warming in North America." Global Warming: Early Signs . 1999. www.climatehotmap.org/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2009.

If the title of the work begins with a quotation mark, such as a title that refers to another work, that quote or quoted title can be used as the shortened title. The single quotation marks must be included in the parenthetical, rather than the double quotation.

Parenthetical citations and Works Cited pages, used in conjunction, allow readers to know which sources you consulted in writing your essay, so that they can either verify your interpretation of the sources or use them in their own scholarly work.

Author-page citation for classic and literary works with multiple editions

Page numbers are always required, but additional citation information can help literary scholars, who may have a different edition of a classic work, like Marx and Engels's  The Communist Manifesto . In such cases, give the page number of your edition (making sure the edition is listed in your Works Cited page, of course) followed by a semicolon, and then the appropriate abbreviations for volume (vol.), book (bk.), part (pt.), chapter (ch.), section (sec.), or paragraph (par.). For example:

Author-page citation for works in an anthology, periodical, or collection

When you cite a work that appears inside a larger source (for instance, an article in a periodical or an essay in a collection), cite the author of the  internal source (i.e., the article or essay). For example, to cite Albert Einstein's article "A Brief Outline of the Theory of Relativity," which was published in  Nature  in 1921, you might write something like this:

See also our page on documenting periodicals in the Works Cited .

Citing authors with same last names

Sometimes more information is necessary to identify the source from which a quotation is taken. For instance, if two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors' first initials (or even the authors' full name if different authors share initials) in your citation. For example:

Citing a work by multiple authors

For a source with two authors, list the authors’ last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:

Corresponding Works Cited entry:

Best, David, and Sharon Marcus. “Surface Reading: An Introduction.” Representations , vol. 108, no. 1, Fall 2009, pp. 1-21. JSTOR, doi:10.1525/rep.2009.108.1.1

For a source with three or more authors, list only the first author’s last name, and replace the additional names with et al.

Franck, Caroline, et al. “Agricultural Subsidies and the American Obesity Epidemic.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine , vol. 45, no. 3, Sept. 2013, pp. 327-333.

Citing multiple works by the same author

If you cite more than one work by an author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it from the others. Put short titles of books in italics and short titles of articles in quotation marks.

Citing two articles by the same author :

Citing two books by the same author :

Additionally, if the author's name is not mentioned in the sentence, format your citation with the author's name followed by a comma, followed by a shortened title of the work, and, when appropriate, the page number(s):

Citing multivolume works

If you cite from different volumes of a multivolume work, always include the volume number followed by a colon. Put a space after the colon, then provide the page number(s). (If you only cite from one volume, provide only the page number in parentheses.)

Citing the Bible

In your first parenthetical citation, you want to make clear which Bible you're using (and underline or italicize the title), as each version varies in its translation, followed by book (do not italicize or underline), chapter, and verse. For example:

If future references employ the same edition of the Bible you’re using, list only the book, chapter, and verse in the parenthetical citation:

John of Patmos echoes this passage when describing his vision (Rev. 4.6-8).

Citing indirect sources

Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited within another source. For such indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source you actually consulted. For example:

Note that, in most cases, a responsible researcher will attempt to find the original source, rather than citing an indirect source.

Citing transcripts, plays, or screenplays

Sources that take the form of a dialogue involving two or more participants have special guidelines for their quotation and citation. Each line of dialogue should begin with the speaker's name written in all capitals and indented half an inch. A period follows the name (e.g., JAMES.) . After the period, write the dialogue. Each successive line after the first should receive an additional indentation. When another person begins speaking, start a new line with that person's name indented only half an inch. Repeat this pattern each time the speaker changes. You can include stage directions in the quote if they appear in the original source.

Conclude with a parenthetical that explains where to find the excerpt in the source. Usually, the author and title of the source can be given in a signal phrase before quoting the excerpt, so the concluding parenthetical will often just contain location information like page numbers or act/scene indicators.

Here is an example from O'Neill's  The Iceman Cometh.

WILLIE. (Pleadingly) Give me a drink, Rocky. Harry said it was all right. God, I need a drink.

ROCKY. Den grab it. It's right under your nose.

WILLIE. (Avidly) Thanks. (He takes the bottle with both twitching hands and tilts it to his lips and gulps down the whiskey in big swallows.) (1.1)

Citing non-print or sources from the Internet

With more and more scholarly work published on the Internet, you may have to cite sources you found in digital environments. While many sources on the Internet should not be used for scholarly work (reference the OWL's  Evaluating Sources of Information  resource), some Web sources are perfectly acceptable for research. When creating in-text citations for electronic, film, or Internet sources, remember that your citation must reference the source on your Works Cited page.

Sometimes writers are confused with how to craft parenthetical citations for electronic sources because of the absence of page numbers. However, these sorts of entries often do not require a page number in the parenthetical citation. For electronic and Internet sources, follow the following guidelines:

  • Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the citation (e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
  • Do not provide paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browser’s print preview function.
  • Unless you must list the Web site name in the signal phrase in order to get the reader to the appropriate entry, do not include URLs in-text. Only provide partial URLs such as when the name of the site includes, for example, a domain name, like  CNN.com  or  Forbes.com,  as opposed to writing out http://www.cnn.com or http://www.forbes.com.

Miscellaneous non-print sources

Two types of non-print sources you may encounter are films and lectures/presentations:

In the two examples above “Herzog” (a film’s director) and “Yates” (a presentor) lead the reader to the first item in each citation’s respective entry on the Works Cited page:

Herzog, Werner, dir. Fitzcarraldo . Perf. Klaus Kinski. Filmverlag der Autoren, 1982.

Yates, Jane. "Invention in Rhetoric and Composition." Gaps Addressed: Future Work in Rhetoric and Composition, CCCC, Palmer House Hilton, 2002. Address.

Electronic sources

Electronic sources may include web pages and online news or magazine articles:

In the first example (an online magazine article), the writer has chosen not to include the author name in-text; however, two entries from the same author appear in the Works Cited. Thus, the writer includes both the author’s last name and the article title in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader to the appropriate entry on the Works Cited page (see below).

In the second example (a web page), a parenthetical citation is not necessary because the page does not list an author, and the title of the article, “MLA Formatting and Style Guide,” is used as a signal phrase within the sentence. If the title of the article was not named in the sentence, an abbreviated version would appear in a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence. Both corresponding Works Cited entries are as follows:

Taylor, Rumsey. "Fitzcarraldo." Slant , 13 Jun. 2003, www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/fitzcarraldo/. Accessed 29 Sep. 2009. 

"MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL , 2 Aug. 2016, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. Accessed 2 April 2018.

Multiple citations

To cite multiple sources in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon:

Time-based media sources

When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference. For example: (00:02:15-00:02:35).

When a citation is not needed

Common sense and ethics should determine your need for documenting sources. You do not need to give sources for familiar proverbs, well-known quotations, or common knowledge (For example, it is expected that U.S. citizens know that George Washington was the first President.). Remember that citing sources is a rhetorical task, and, as such, can vary based on your audience. If you’re writing for an expert audience of a scholarly journal, for example, you may need to deal with expectations of what constitutes “common knowledge” that differ from common norms.

Other Sources

The MLA Handbook describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the handbook does not describe, making the best way to proceed can be unclear.

In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of MLA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard MLA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite.

You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source. For example, Norquest College provides guidelines for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers⁠ —an author category that does not appear in the MLA Handbook . In cases like this, however, it's a good idea to ask your instructor or supervisor whether using third-party citation guidelines might present problems.

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / MLA Website Citation

How to Cite a Website in MLA

If you are a student faced with creating an MLA website citation for the first time, you may be confused about where to begin. This guide is here to answer all of your questions and take the guesswork out of creating an MLA citation for websites.

All academic fields require students and researchers to document their sources. Those studying the humanities, including fields in language literature, will typically follow MLA format when structuring their papers as well as when documenting sources.

Citing your sources is a necessary part of any research paper or project. This element serves both to give credit to the researchers and authors whose work informed yours, as well as to preserve academic integrity. Any source that provided you with ideas or information that you have included in your work and which are not considered common knowledge must be included, including websites.

The Modern Language Association is not associated with this guide. All of the information, however, is based on the MLA Handbook, Ninth Edition as well as the MLA website, and is presented as guidance for students writing in this style.

If you are looking for help with APA format , our reference library can provide you with guidance for this and more styles .

What You Need

To cite a website, you should have the following information:

  • Title of source.
  • Title of the container ,
  • Other contributors (names and roles),
  • Publication date,
  • Location of the source (such as DOI, URL, or page range).

The Modern Language Association refers to these guidelines as “core elements” on page 105 of the Handbook. If your teacher has asked you to cite your sources in this format, these elements will form the foundation for each MLA website citation included in your MLA Works Cited list, as well as the entries for sources in any other format.

If one of the elements does not apply, students may omit it. Supplemental items may also be included when necessary. In addition to the supplemental details discussed below, a list of additional supplemental components can be found on the MLA website.

If it’s an APA citation website page or an APA reference page you need help with, we have many other resources available for you!

Table of Contents

This guide includes the following sections:

  • MLA9 Changes
  • Citing websites with an author
  • Citing websites with no author
  • Citing websites with no formal title
  • Citing social media websites
  • In-text citations

Changes to MLA Citation for Websites in Ninth Edition

In previous editions, students and researchers creating an MLA website citation were not required to include the URL. However, beginning with MLA 8, it is recommended that you include the URL when creating a citation for a website unless your teacher instructs you otherwise. Even though web pages and URLs can be taken down or changed, it is still possible to learn about the source from the information seen in the URL.

When including URLs in a citation, http:// and https:// should be omitted from the website’s address ( Handbook 195). Additionally, If you are creating a citation that will be read on a digital device, it is helpful to make the URL clickable so that readers can directly access the source themselves.

If the website’s publisher includes a permalink or DOI (Digital Object Identifier), these are preferable as they are not changeable in the same manner as URLs. Whether you include a URL, permalink, or DOI, this information should be included in the location portion of your citation.

Another change that occurred with the eighth edition that impacts how to cite a website in MLA is the removal of the date the website was accessed. While you may still find it useful to include this information or your teacher may request it, it is no longer a mandatory piece of your citation. Should you choose to add this optional information, you may list it after the URL in the following manner:

  • Accessed Day Month Year.
  • Accessed 2 May 1998.
  • Accessed 31 Apr. 2001.
  • Accessed 17 Sept. 2010.

For an overview of additional formatting changes in the ninth edition, including resources to help with writing an annotated bibliography , check out the rest of EasyBib.com’s writing and citation guides, and try out our plagiarism checker for help with grammar and to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

MLA 9: Citing Websites With an Author

To make an MLA 9 citation for a website, you will need the following pieces of information:

  • author’s name
  • title of the article or page
  • title of the website
  • name of the publisher (Note: Only include the name of the publisher when it differs from the name of the website.)
  • date the page or site was published (if available)

Citing a Website in MLA

Place the author’s name in reverse order, the last name first, followed by a comma, and then the first name followed by a period. The title of the web page or article is placed in quotation marks, with a period before the end quotation. The title of the website is written in italics followed by a comma. If the name of the publisher differs from the name of the website, include it after the title. Immediately following the publisher is the date that the page or article was published or posted. Finally, end with the URL, permalink, or DOI, followed by a period.

View Screenshot | Cite your source

In-text website citation with one author

The in-text citation for a website with an author is reflected as the author’s last name in parentheses, followed by a period. Unless the website includes numbered paragraphs or sections, you should not include any additional information. For the website used in the example above, the in-text citation would be written as follows:

Cite your source

An APA parenthetical citation is similar, except it also includes the year the source was published.

To learn more about formatting MLA in-text & parenthetical citations , be sure to check out the rest of EasyBib.com’s resources and citation guides.

How to cite a website with two authors in MLA 9

According to Section 5.7 of the Handbook , for a website with two authors, place the authors’ names in the same order as the source (similar to an APA citation ). The first name should be formatted in reverse order as was done for a single author. The second name, however, is written as First Name Last Name and is followed by a period, as demonstrated in the template that follows:

In-text website citation with two authors

The in-text citation for a website with two authors should include both authors’ last names, in the order in which they are listed in the source and your works cited:

How to cite a website with three or more authors in MLA 9

For a source with three or more authors, you should place the authors’ names in the same order as the source. The first name is listed in reverse order and is followed by a comma and et al. Et al is the abbreviation for et alia, a gender-neutral Latin phrase meaning “and others.”

In-text website citation with 3+ authors

The in-text citation for a website with three or more authors should contain only the first author’s last name, followed by et al. ( Handbook 232):

Click on this page if you’re looking for information on how to create an APA in-text citation .

MLA 9 Citation for Websites with No Author

Sometimes, websites do not state who wrote the information on the page. When no author is listed, you may omit the author information from the MLA citation for the website and begin, instead, with the title ( Handbook 108).

Note about web pages by organizations/corporations:  Often, web pages are published by organizations or corporations with no author indicated. In these cases, you can assume that the publisher also authored the web page (like the example above). Since the author and publisher are the same in these cases, you can skip showing an author and just indicate the organization /corporation as the publisher ( Handbook 119 ).

In-text website citation with no author

The in-text citation for a website without an author is noted with the first noun phrase or words in the title in quotations and parenthesis, followed by a period. Unless the website includes numbered paragraphs or sections, you should not include any additional information. For the website used in the example above, the in-text citation would be written as follows:

MLA 9 Citation for Websites Without a Formal Title

When citing a web page that does not include a formal title, it is acceptable to include a description of the page. Do not place the description in italics or quotation marks. Follow the description with the name of the website.

In-text website citation without a title

The in-text citation for a website without a formal title uses a shortened version of the webpage description for the in-text citation. Use the first noun phrase of the description from your Works Cited citation in parenthesis, followed by a period. For the website used in the example above, the in-text citation would be written as follows:

MLA 9 Citation for Social Media Websites

In an increasingly digital world, social media platforms have become one of the most popular sources students turn to when writing a research paper. From Black history facts , to quotes from notable people, such as Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill , social media has become a mega influence in our world.

When citing social media in your work,  follow the same format as an MLA citation for a website. Here are some examples of ways you can cite various social media platforms in your work:

How to cite Twitter in MLA 9

Many notable individuals use Twitter as a platform to share intriguing ideas. It’s a shame Twitter was unavailable to long-gone scientists, authors, and presidents such as Albert Einstein , Mark Twain , and Abraham Lincoln . Luckily, we have the Twitter profiles of today’s great minds at our fingertips!

To cite a tweet, you will begin with the account holder’s name and their Twitter handle in square brackets, followed by a period ( Handbook 118). After this, in quotations, you should enter the full text of the tweet, including any hashtags. The publisher, Twitter, is then listed in italics, followed by the date the tweet was posted in day, month, year format. Finally, include a URL to the tweet followed by a period.

Note:  When the account name and username are similar, the username can be excluded from the citation. For example, if the account’s username was @FirstNameLastName or @OrganizationName.

In-text website citation of a Twitter post

The in-text citation for a Twitter post is reflected as the author’s last name in parentheses, followed by a period. For the tweet used in the example above, the in-text citation would be written as follows:

How to cite Instagram in MLA 9

To cite an Instagram post, begin with the account holder’s name and their username in square brackets. In quotations, list the title of the photo, if it is given. If there is no title, write a brief description of the picture but do not place it in italics or quotation marks. The publisher, Instagram, is then listed in italics. Any other contributors (such as the photographer, if it is not the same as the account holder) are then listed, after which you will add the date the photo was published and the URL.

In-text website citation of an Instagram post

The in-text citation for an Instagram post is reflected as the author’s last name or the name of the account in parentheses, followed by a period. For the Instagram post used in the example above, the in-text citation would be written as follows:

How to cite Facebook in MLA 9

To cite a Facebook post, begin with the account holder’s name or username. In quotations, list the title or caption of the post, if it is given. If there is no title or caption, write a brief description of the post, but do not place it in italics or quotation marks. Examples: Image of Malcolm X, or, Muhammed Ali headshot.

The publisher, Facebook, is then listed in italics, after which you will add the date posted and URL.

In-text website citation of a Facebook post

The in-text citation for a Facebook post is reflected as the author’s last name or the name of the account in parentheses, followed by a period. For the Facebook post used in the example above, the in-text citation would be written as follows:

Social media and website comments

Citing the comments left on social media or a website begins with the commenter’s name or username. To indicate that you are citing a comment, follow the name with a period and then the words Comment on , followed by the title of the source (for example, the name of the article) in quotation marks. This is then followed by the title of the website in italics, and the publisher, if applicable. The date is then listed, followed by the URL, permalink, or DOI.

In-text citation of a social media comment

The in-text citation for a social media comment is reflected as the author’s last name in parentheses, followed by a period. For the post used in the example above, the in-text citation would be written as follows:

In-text Citations for Websites

In-text citations generally consist of parentheses and the last names of the authors or the first few words of the web page title.

Since there are no page numbers, unless the web page includes numbered paragraphs or sections, you don’t need to include any additional information.

When you have multiple authors, place them in the same order they are listed in the source.

MLA website in-text citations

If what you really need is an APA book citation or a reference for an APA journal , there are more guides on EasyBib.com for you to explore.

Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.

Troubleshooting

Solution #1: when and how to reference entire websites versus specific pages in mla.

Reference an entire website when your information comes from multiple pages or if you are describing the entirety of the website. If your information is only from one page, only cite the singular page.

Whole website, author known

  • Write the author’s name in last name, first name format with a period following.
  • Next, write the name of the website in italics.
  • Write the contributing organization’s name with a comma following.
  • List the date in day, month, year format with a comma following.
  • Lastly, write the URL with a period following.

Works cited example:

Night, Samuel. Food Creations , International Hypothetical Chefs’ Club, 21 May 2021,                 www.foodcreationshypotheticalwebsite.com/best_macaroni_recipe.

In-text example:

Whole website, author unknown

  • If there is no specific author, begin the citation by writing the website name in italics.

Food Creations , International Hypothetical Chefs’ Club, 21 May 2021, www.foodcreationshypotheticalwebsite.com/best_macaroni_recipe.

( Food Creations )

Webpage, author known

If information is from only a few pages or the pages cover multiple topics, reference each page

  • If an author is named, write the author’s name in last name, first name format.
  • If a title is not provided, create your own description of the page.
  • List the title of the website in italics with a comma following.
  • Write the date that the page was created followed by a comma.
  • Lastly, list the URL followed by a period.

Blake, Evan. “Best Southern Macaroni Recipe.” Food Creations , International Hypothetical Chefs’ Club, 21 May 2021, www.foodcreationshypotheticalwebsite.com/best_macaroni_recipe.

Webpage, author unknown

If an author is not named, write the name of the page in quotation marks with a period following.

“Best Southern Macaroni Recipe.” Food Creations , International Hypothetical Chefs’ Club, 21 May 2021, www.foodcreationshypotheticalwebsite.com/best_macaroni_recipe.

(“Best Southern Macaroni Recipe”)

Solution #2: Referencing a conversation on social media in MLA

The in-text citation should identify the author and talk about the format (e.g., video, post, image, etc.) in prose.

Lilly West’s photo of traditional Japanese sweets shows an example of nature influencing Japanese design.

The basic structure of a works-cited reference for social media stays the same no matter the format or the social media service (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Here are works- cited-list entry guidelines:

  • The name is listed in last name, first name format with a period following. If an organization, just write the organization’s name as it’s usually presented.
  • If the username is very different from the author’s real name, include it in brackets after the user’s real name but before the period.
  • Write the title, post text, or description of the post in quotation marks. End it with a period.
  • Write the website name in italics with a comma afterward.
  • List the day, month, and year that the post was created followed by a comma.
  • List the URL followed by a period. Leave out “https://” and “http://”.

Facebook example:

West, Lily. “Kyoto Japanese sweets.” Facebook , 30 May 2021, www.facebook.com/hypotheticalexample/thispostisnotreal.

Twitter reference example:

West, Lily [@lilianhypotheticalwestbest]. “Kyoto Japanese sweets.” Twitter, 30 May 2021, www.twitter.com/hypotheticalexample/thispostisnotreal.

Instagram reference example:

West, Lily [@lilianhypotheticalwestbest]. “Kyoto Japanese sweets.” Instagram , 30 May 2021,            www.instagram.com/hypotheticalexample/thisphotoisnotreal.

Solution #3: How to cite a social media post without a title or text

If there is no text or title where the title element usually goes, instead describe the post without quotation marks. Example:

West, Lily [@lilianhypotheticalwestbest]. Photo of traditional Japanese sweets on a green plate. Instagram , photographed by Bethany Lynn, 30 May 2021,   www.instagram.com/hypotheticalexample/thisphotoisnotreal.

Solution #4: How to cite a social media post with a long title or text

If the text is very long, you can shorten it by adding ellipsis at the end of the text. Example:

West, Lily [@lilianhypotheticalwestbest]. “Nothing is better in life than feeling like all of the effort you’ve invested has finally. . . .” Twitter, 17 Feb. 2021, www.twitter.com/hypotheticalexample/thispostisnotreal.

  • Works Cited

MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

Published October 31, 2011. Updated June 5, 2021.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Sample Paper
  • MLA 8 Updates
  • MLA 9 Updates
  • View MLA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all MLA Examples

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It’s 100% free to create MLA citations. The EasyBib Citation Generator also supports 7,000+ other citation styles. These other styles—including APA, Chicago, and Harvard—are accessible for anyone with an EasyBib Plus subscription.

No matter what citation style you’re using (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.), the EasyBib Citation Generator can help you create the right bibliography quickly.

Yes, there’s an option to download source citations as a Word Doc or a Google Doc. You may also copy citations from the EasyBib Citation Generator and paste them into your paper.

Creating an account is not a requirement for generating MLA citations. However, registering for an EasyBib account is free, and an account is how you can save all the citations you create. This can help make it easier to manage your citations and bibliographies.

Yes! Whether you’d like to learn how to construct citations on your own, our Autocite tool isn’t able to gather the metadata you need, or anything in between, manual citations are always an option. Click here for directions on using creating manual citations.

If any important information is missing (e.g., author’s name, title, publishing date, URL, etc.), first see if you can find it in the source yourself. If you cannot, leave the information blank and continue creating your citation.

It supports MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, and over 7,000 total citation styles.

If there is no author, the title becomes the website page’s identifier.

In-text example (no author): ( Honey Bee Medley )

Works cited example (no author): Honey Bee Medley . Hivemind Press, 2018, www.hivebees.com/honey-bees.

If there is no publication date, include an accessed date instead.

Works cited example (no author, no date): Honey Bee Medley . Hivemind Press, www.hivebees.com/honey-bees. Accessed 17 Nov. 2020.

If there is no title, briefly describe the source.

Works cited example (no author, no date, no title): Collage of honey bees. Hivemind Press, www.hivebees.com/honey-bees. Accessed 17 Nov. 2020.

To cite a website that has no page number in MLA, it is important that you know the name of the author, title of the webpage, website, and URL. The templates for an in-text citation and works-cited-list entry of a website that has no page number, along with examples, are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

You can use a time stamp if you are referring to an audio or video. Otherwise, use only the author’s surname.

(Author Surname)

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

Author or Organization Name. “Title of the Webpage.” Website Name . Publication Date, URL.

Dutta, Smita S. “What is Extra Sensory Perception?” Medindia . 16 Nov. 2019, www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/extra-sensory-perception.htm#3 .

Abbreviate the month in the date field.

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