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Citation Guide (MLA and APA)

This guide will help you create citations in MLA or APA format. Use the navigation on the left to learn more.

MLA books


The MLA 8th edition simplifies the rules and order of core elements needed to create bibliographic citations. The basic order of the elements and the correct punctuation that divides them is 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.

  1. Author Last name, First name.
  2. Title of source. [Titles of books in italics. "Titles of articles in quotations."]
  3. Title of container, (example:  journal title, newspaper, platform, etc.) [Titles of containers in italics.]
  4. Other contributors, (example:  illustrator, book editor, etc.)
  5. Version, (example:  volume, edition, revision, etc.)
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location. (example: database name, DOI, URL, etc.)
  10. If the source is found online, add Accessed date in day month year format. (example: Accessed 11 November 2018).

To view examples of in-text citations in MLA format, see the samples in the PDF above.


Capitalization in MLA Citations

Which words to capitalize in an MLA? 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, (Eighth 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:

  • Nouns (e.g., flowers and Europe, as in The Flowers of Europe)
  • Pronouns (e.g., our, as in Save Our Children; that, as in The Mouse That Roared)
  • Verbs (e.g., watches, as in America Watches Television: is, as in What Is Literature?)
  • Adjectives (e.g., ugly, as in The Ugly Duckling: that, as in Who Said That Phrase?)
  • Adverbs (e.g., slightly, as in Only Slightly Corrupt: down, as in Go Down, Moses)
  • Subordinating conjunctions (e.g., after, although, as if, as soon as, because, before, if, that, unless, until, when, where, while, as in One If by Land and Anywhere That Chance Leads)

Do not capitalize the following parts of speech when they fall in the middle of a title:

  • Articles (a, an, the, as in Under the Bamboo Tree)
  • Prepositions (e.g., against, between, in, of, to, as in The Merchant of Venice and A Dialogue between the Soul and Body)
  • Coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet, as in Romeo and Juliet)
  • The to in infinitives (as in How to Play Chess)
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