The MLA 9th edition expands and improves the explanation of how to use MLA Style. To create a citation for your source, use the order of elements and the correct punctuation that divides them, in the order listed below. In most cases you will not use all these elements in a citation, only what is important or relevant to your source.
Please note that MLA citations are doubled spaced. All lines after the initial entry are indented. In a Work Cited page, you should see all the first lines of the citations along the left margin so it is easy to read. All subsequent lines will be indented. (It's opposite of a paragraph structure!)
To see examples of in-text citations in MLA format, see below.
To see examples of citations for multiple source types, see below.
Papers constructed according to MLA guidelines should adhere to the following elements:
Remember: all lines after the first line are indented. The line breaks are not formatted correctly in these examples due to changes in screen size.
One author and two authors
Kingsolver, Barbara. The Lacuna: a Novel. Faber, 2009.
Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
3 or more authors or editors
Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Utah State UP, 2004.
Article in a reference book
Havrenek, Carrie. "Patti Smith." Women Icons of Popular Music: the Rebels, Rockers, and Renegades. Vol. 2, Greenwood Press, 2009, pp. 419-438.
MAGAZINE & JOURNAL ARTICLES (from databases or online sources)
Lastname, Firstname. "Article Title." Journal Title, volume, issue, year, pages (if known). Database Name (if relevant). Day month year accessed.
Journal article from a library database
Franklin, Ruth M. and Sharon Dotger. "Sex Education Knowledge Differences between Freshmen and Senior College Undergraduates." College Student Journal, vol. 45, no. 1, 2011, pp. 199-213. Academic Search Premier. Accessed 9 Oct 2017.
Newspaper article from online source
Leonhardt, David, Ian Prasad Phillbrick, and Stuart A. Thompson. “Thoughts and Prayers and N.R.A. Funding.” New York Times. 4 October 2017. Accessed 9 Oct 2017.
JOURNAL OR MAGAZINE ARTICLES (from print sources)
Kean, Sam. "The End of Thirst." Atlantic, vol. 316, no. 5, 2015, pp. 22-24.
Include as much of the following information as possible: author or editor's name, title of page, title of website, sponsoring organization, last updated day month year, format, and day month year visited. Include the URL only if the page might be difficult to relocate.
“Dutch Fashion Designers.” Gemeente Museum, Den Haag, Netherlands. www.gemeentemuseum.nl/en/collections/dutch-fashion-designers. Accessed 10 Oct 2017.
Culligan, John, ed. "Biofuels and University Economics." School of Natural Sciences, U of Western Oregon, Oct. 2008. 25 Mar 2009. Web. Accessed 20 Aug 2015.
Movie/TV Series on Broadcast/Cable TV
Sherlock, created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, Hartswood Film, BBC, and WGBH, 2010-2016.
TV Episode on Streaming Service
"eps1.0_hellofriend.mov." Mr. Robot, written by Sam Esmail, performance by Rami Malek, season 1, episode 1, Universal Cable and Anonymous Content, 2015. Netflix. Accessed 1 July 2016.
13th. Directed by Ava DuVernay, produced by Kandoo Films & Netflix, 2016.
Online Video, Video Podcast, and Web Television
Rhodes, Sonny. "The Ballad of Serenity." Vimeo, Jan. 2013. Accessed 4 May 2016.
"The Unfinished Battle in the Capital of the Confederacy." Codeswitch, www.npr.org/podcasts/510312/codeswitch. 23 Aug 2017. Accessed 10 Oct 2017.
Image from a website
Hesse, Eva. Repetition Nineteen III, 1968, Museum of Modern Art. www.moma.org/collection/works/81930. Accessed 17 Oct 2017.
Image from a book
Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Gardner's Art Through the Ages, 10th ed., by Richard G. Tansey and Fred S. Kleiner, Harcourt Brace, p. 939.
Music from an online source
Beyoncé. “Pray You Catch Me.” Lemonade, Parkwood Entertainment, 2016, www.beyonce.com/album/lemonade-visual-album/.
Music from a CD, LP or EP
Nirvana. "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Nevermind, Geffen, 1991.
A direct quote is a word for word copy of text. The quote is enclosed in quotation marks. Include the author's last name, date of publication, and page numbers if available.
Joseph Conrad writes of the company manager in Heart of Darkness, "He was obeyed, yet he inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect" (87).
"The red tree vole is a crucial part of the spotted owl's diet" (Moone 15).
The block quote is used for direct quotations that are longer than 3 lines. Indent the entire quote 1 inch or 12-16 spaces.
At the conclusion of Lord of the Flies, Ralph and the other boys realize the horror of their actions:
He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. (186)
A paraphrase is a quotation rewritten in your own words. A summary is a condensed version of a longer passage. Both require citations. Include the author's name and the page number.
Oregon salmon populations have dramatically declined in the past decade (Lenz 27).
Kafka describes the insecurities of his youth and his rocky relationship with his father (44-46).
When possible, cite information directly. If you must cite a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase. Include the secondary source in parentheses with the abbreviation "qtd. in" (quoted in). Include the indirect source in your works cited list.
Jackson stated that... (qtd. in Johns 14).
In this example, Johns should appear in your works cited list.
Studies have shown that more teachers are changing careers. (Posamentier and Jaye 55).
Stutts el al. argue for the impact of language development on the brain (339).
The basic rule of thumb, according the Purdue OWL, is to "capitalize each word in the titles of articles, books, etc., but do not capitalize articles (the, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of the title or subtitle: Gone with the Wind, The Art of War, There Is Nothing Left to Lose."
According to the MLA Handbook, (8 ed.) (67):
The rules for capitalizing titles are strict. In a title or a subtitle, capitalize the first word, the last word, and all principal words, including those that follow hyphens in compound terms.
Therefore, capitalize the following parts of speech:
Do not capitalize the following parts of speech when they fall in the middle of a title: