Citation Guide: Modern Language Association (MLA)

Modern Language Association (MLA) style, used primarily in the humanities, emphasizes the authors of a source and the pages on which information is located in the source. Writers who use the MLA documentation system cite, or formally acknowledge, source information within their text using parentheses, and they provide a list of sources in a works cited list at the end of their document. For more information about MLA style, consult the MLA Handbook, Eighth Edition. Information about the MLA Handbook can also be found at www.mla.org.

[Guide Updated Jul 2017]

Citing Sources within Your Document

MLA style uses parentheses for in-text citations to acknowledge the use of another author’s words, facts, and ideas. When you refer to a source within your text, provide the author’s last name and specific page number(s) – if the source is paginated. Your reader can then go to the works cited list at the end of your document to find a full citation.

Examples of MLA In-Text Formatting Rules

1. Basic Format for a Source Not Named in Your Text

Format:
If you have not mentioned the author in your sentence, you must place the author’s name and the page number in parentheses after the quotation, paraphrase or summary. The period follows the closing parenthesis.

Example:

It would have been impossible for early humans to digest red meat, as their stomachs lacked the necessary acids to break down the muscle and tissue before delivery to the intestines (Tattersall 46).


2. Basic Format for a Source Named in Your Text

Format:
Most often, you will want to name the author of a source within your sentence rather than in a parenthetical citation. By doing so, you create a context for the material (words, facts, or ideas) that you are including, and you indicate where the information from the author begins. When you are using a direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary from a source and have named the author in your sentence, place only the page number in parentheses after the borrowed material. The period follows the closing parenthesis.

When you are using a block (or extended) quotation, the parenthetical citation comes after the final punctuation and a single space.

If you continue to refer to a single source for several sentences in a row within one paragraph – and without intervening references to another source – you may place your reference at the end of the paragraph. However, be sure to include all relevant page numbers.

Example:

According to Tattersall, when early humans emerged from the dense forests to the adjacent woodlands, their mobility and diet were forced to change dramatically (45).

MLA Directory of Variations to In-Text Formatting Rules

1. Citing an Unknown Author

Format:
When no author is listed on the title or copyright page, begin the entry with the title of the work. Alphabetize the entry by the first word of the title other than A, An, or The.

Example:

The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. Macmillan, 2012.


2. Citing a Short Work from a Website

Format:
Provide the name of the author; the title of the work in quotation marks; the title of the website, italicized; the date of publication in reverse order, and the URL.

Example:

Enzinna, Wes. “Syria’s Unknown Revolution.” Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, 24 Nov. 2015, pulitzercenter.org/projects/middle-east-syria-enzinna-war-rojava/.

Format:
If there is no author given, begin the citation with the title of the work and proceed with the rest of the publication information. If the title of the website does not indicate the sponsoring organization, list the sponsor before the URL. If there is no date of publication, give the date of access after the URL.

Example:

“Social and Historical Context: Vitality.” Arapesh Grammar and Digital Language Archive Project, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, www.arapesh.org/socio_historical_context_vitality.php/. Accessed 22 Mar. 2016.


3.Citing an Academic Course or Department Website

Format:
For a course page, give the name of the instructor, the course title, the institution in italics, year, and the URL. For a department page, give the department name, a description such as “Department home page,” the institution in italics, the date of the last update, and the URL.

Example:

Masiello, Regina. ENG 101: Expository Writing. Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, 2016, wp.rutgers.edu/courses/55-355101.

Film Studies. Department Home page. Wayne State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 2016, clas.wayne.edu/FilmStudies/.


4.Citing a Message Posted to a Newsgroup, Electronic Mailing List, or Online Discussion Forum

Format:
Cite the name of the person who posted the message and the title (from the subject line, in quotation marks); if the posting has no title, add the phrase “Online posting.” Then add the name of the website (italicized), the sponsor or publisher, the date of the message, and the URL.

Example:

Robin, Griffith. “Write for the Reading Teacher.” Developing Digital Literacies, NCTE, 23 Oct. 2015, ncte.connected community.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=1693&MID=24520&tab=digestviewer&CommunityKey=628d2ad6-8277-4042-a376-2b370ddceabf.


5.Citing a Blog

Format:
To cite an entry or a comment on a blog, give the author of the entry or comment (if available), the title of the entry or comment in quotation marks, the title of the blog (italicized), the sponsor or publisher, the date the material was posted, and the URL.

Example:

Cimons, Marlene. “Why Cities Could Be the Key to Solving the Climate Crisis.” Thinkprogress.org, Center for American Progress Action Fund, 10 Dec. 2015, thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/12/10/3730938/cities-key-to-climate-crisis/.


6.Citing an E-mail Message

Format:
Start with the sender of the message. Then give the subject line in quotation marks, followed by a period. Identify the recipient of the message and provide the date of the message.

Example:

Thornbrugh, Caitlin. “Coates Lecture.” Received by Rita Anderson, 20 Oct. 2015.


7.Citing a Facebook Post or Comment

Format:
Follow the general format for citing a short work on a website.

Example:

Bedford English. “Stacey Cochran explores Reflective Writing in the Classroom and as a Writer.” Facebook, 15 Feb.2016, www.facebook.com/BedfordEnglish/posts/10153415001259607/.


8.Citing a Twitter Post (Tweet)

Format:
Provide the entire tweet in place of the title, and include the time after the date.

Example:

Curiosity Rover. “Can you see me waving? How to spot #Mars in the night sky: https://youtu.be/hv8hVvJlcJQ.” Twitter, 5 Nov. 2015, 11:00 a.m., twitter.com/marscuriosity/status/672859022911889408/.


9.Citing Computer Software, an App, or Video Game

Format:
Cite computer software, an App or Video Game as you would a book.

Example:

Words with Friends. Version 5.84. Zynga, 2013.


10.Citing Other Online Sources

Format:
For other online sources, adapt the guidelines to the medium. Include as much information as necessary for you readers to easily find your source. The example below is for a podcast. Because no publication date is given, the citation ends with the access date instead.

Example:

Tanner, Laura. “Virtual Reality in 9/11 Fiction.” Literature Lab, Department of English, Brandeis U, www.brandeis.edu/departments/english/literaturelab/tanner.html/. Accessed 14 Feb. 2016


11. Citing Two or More Works by the Same Author

Format:
For references to authors with more than one work in your works cited list, insert a short version of the title between the author and the page number, separating the author and the title with a comma.

Example:

(Sacks, Hallucinations 77)

(Sacks, Mind’s Eye 123)


12. Citing Two or More Authors with Same Last Name

Format:
Include the first initial and last name in the parenthetical citation.

Example:

(F. McCourt 27)

(M. McCourt 123)


13. Citing Sources with Two Authors

Format:
Include the last name of each author in your citation.

Example:

In the year following Hurricane Katrina, journalist and activist Jane Wholey brought together a group of twenty New Orleans middle schoolers in an effort to reimagine their school system’s food environment from the ground up (Gottlieb and Joshi 2).


14. Citing Sources with Three or More Authors

Format:
Use only the last name of the first author and the abbreviation “et al” (Latin for “and others”). There is no comma between the author’s name and “et al.”

Example:

(Johnson et al. 17)


15. Citing Sources with Corporate, Group, or Government Authors

Format:
Cite the corporation, group or government agency as you would an individual author. You may use abbreviations for the source in subsequent references if you add the abbreviation in parentheses at the first mention of the name.

Example:

The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that a twenty-year-old has a three in ten chance of becoming disabled before he or she reaches retirement age (4). If a worker does become disabled, SSA assigns a representative to review the case individually (7).


16. Citing a Source Quoted in Another Source

Format:
Ideally, you should track down the original source of the quotation. If you must use a quotation cited by another author, use the abbreviation “qtd. in” (for “quoted in”) when you cite the source.

Example:

When Henry Ford introduced the Model T, he insisted on making it a practical and affordable family car, maintaining that “no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces” (qtd. in Booth 9).


17. Citing a Multivolume Work

Format:
End with the total number of volumes and the abbreviation “vols.”

Example:

Stark, Freya. Letters. Edited by Lucy Moorehead, Compton Press, 1974-82. 8 vols.


18. Citing Novels and Short Stories

Format:
When citing literary works, it is often necessary to include books, numbers, chapter numbers, verses, lines, acts, scenes, or other appropriate section types.

Example:

In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens describes the aptly named Stryver, who "had a pushing way of shouldering himself (morally and physically) into companies and conversations, that argued well for his shouldering his way up in life" (110; bk. 2, ch. 4).


19. Citing Plays

Format:
When citing literary works, it is often necessary to include books, numbers, chapter numbers, verses, lines, acts, scenes, or other appropriate section types.

Example:

Taking on such an "unladylike" project as the representation of Love, Iago says, "is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will" (Othello 1.3.326).


20. Citing Poems

Format:
When citing literary works, it is often necessary to include books, numbers, chapter numbers, verses, lines, acts, scenes, or other appropriate section types.

Example:

"The world is too much with us; late and soon/Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers" (lines 1-2).


21. Citing Two or More Authors Contributing to a Fact or Idea

Format:

If you wish to cite two or more authors as contributors to a particular idea you are using in your paper, you may cite both names as you normally would in the parentheses. Simply separate them with a semicolon.

Example:

However, African American scholars have normally suggested just the opposite (Brown 15-16; Turner 80-87). " up to Menu


22. Citing an Entire Source

Format:
If you are referring to an entire source rather than to a specific page or pages, you do not need a parenthetical citation.

Example:

Author Jhumpa Lahiri adapted the title of her book of stories Unaccustomed Earth from a line in the first chapter of Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

Citing Sources at the End of Your Document

MLA-style research documents include a reference list titled “Works Cited,” which begins on a new page at the end of the document. If you wish to acknowledge sources that you read but did not cite in your text, you may include them in a second list titled “Works Consulted.” In longer documents, the lists of works cited may be given at the end of each chapter or section. In digital documents that use links, such as a website, the list of works cited is often a separate page to which other pages are linked.

If you wish to acknowledge sources that you read but did not cite in your text, you may include them in a second list titled “Works Consulted.” In longer documents, the lists of works cited may be given at the end of each chapter or section. In digital documents that use links, such as a website, the list of works cited is often a separate page to which other pages are linked.

MLA Works Cited Formatting

The list is alphabetized by author. If the author’s name is unknown, alphabetize the entry using the title of the source. If you cite more than one work by the same author, alphabetize the group under the author’s last name, with each entry listed alphabetically by title.

All entries in the list are double-spaced, with no extra space between entries. Entries are formatted with a hanging indent: the first line of an entry is flush with the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented one-half inch. Unless otherwise noted, use commas to separate items within each entry. Titles f longer works, such as books, journals, or websites, are italicized. Titles of short works, such as articles or chapters, are enclosed in quotation marks. MLA generally indicates the “container” of the source – the larger object, if any, in which the source can be found. Some sources may have multiple levels of containers, such as a periodical article that is accessed via a database. Occasionally, sources may be identified by a descriptive label (editorial, map, letter, photograph, and so on.

MLA Works Cited formatting rules call for the end documentation to begin on a new page at the end of your document and that it carry the next sequential number available. For instance, if your paper is 6½ pages long, the Works Cited should begin on page 8, not halfway down page 7.

Note: Unless otherwise informed, you can count on your instructor not counting the Works Cited page into the total count of an eight page assignment.

The page itself should be formatted in the following way:

  • The title of the page-Works Cited-should be centered one inch from the top of the page.
  • Double space between the title and the first entry, then double space all entries.

Individual entries should be formatted in the following way:

  • The first line of an entry is flush with the left margin.
  • When the entry has a second line, give that line a hanging indent five spaces in from the margin.
  • Entries are listed alphabetically by author: last name first.
  • Use only one space after periods and colons.
  • Spell out months containing up to four letters; abbreviate all others to three letters (i.e., July, Dec.).

Specific rules depend on whether or not an author's name is mentioned in the sentence where the citation occurs.

MLA Directory of Works Cited Formatting Rules

The following pages provide rules for general categories of sources.

Books, Anthologies and Collections

1. Book with One Author

Format:
List the author’s last name first, followed by a comma and the first name. Italicize the book title and subtitle, if any. List the publisher (abbreviating University Press as UP), then insert a comma and the publication year. End with a period.

Example:

Bowker, Gordon. James Joyce: A New Biography. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012.

Format:
Cite an online book as you would a print book, providing the website and DOI (digital object indentifier, a unique number assigned to specific content). If a DOI is not available, provide a stable URL.

Example:

Piketty, Thomas. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer, Harvard UP, 2014. Google Books, books.google.com/books?isbn=0674369556/.

Format:
Cite an e-Book as you would a print book, then provide the name of the e-reader.

Example:

Doerr, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See. Scribner, 2014. Nook.


2. Book with Two Authors

Format:
List both authors in the same order as on the title page, last name first for only the first author listed. Use a comma to separate author’s names.

Example:

Stiglitz, Joseph E., and Bruce C. Greenwald. Creating a Learning Society: A New Approach to Growth, Development, and Social Progress. Columbia UP, 2015


3. Book with Three or More Authors

Format:
Provide the first author’s name (last name first), followed by a comma, and then the abbreviation “et al” (Latin for “and others”).

Example:

Cunningham, Stewart, et al. Media Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.


4. Book with a Corporate or Group Author

Format:
Write out the full name of the corporation or group, and cite the name as you would an author. This name is often also the name of the publisher.

Example:

Human Rights Watch. World Report of 2015: Events of 2014. Seven Stories Press, 2015.


5. Book with an Unknown Author

Format:
When no author is listed on the title or copyright page, begin the entry with the title of the work. Alphabetize the entry by the first word of the title other than A, An, or The.

Example:

The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. Macmillan, 2012.


6. Two or More Books by the Same Author

Format:
Use the author’s name in the first entry. Thereafter, use three hyphens followed by a period in place of the author’s name. List the entries alphabetically by title.

Example:

García, Cristina. Dreams of Significant Girls. Simon and Schuster, 2011.

---. The Lady Matador’s Hotel. Scribner, 2010.


7. Citing the Editor(s) of a Book

Format:
Use the descriptive label “editor” or “editors” after the editors’ names.

Example:

Horner, Avril, and Anne Rowe, editors. Living on Paper: Letters from Iris Murdoch. Princeton UP, 2016.


8. Citing an Author of a Book When There is an Editor or a Translator

Format:
Start with the author’s name, then give the title. Include the label “Edited by” or “Translated by” and the name of the editor or translator, first name first.

Example:

Ferrante, Elena. The Story of the Last Child. Translated by Ann Goldstein, Europa Editions, 2015.


9. Citing a Graphic Narrative or Illustrated Work

Format:
List the primary author/illustrator in the first position. If the author is also the illustrator, simply list him or her in the first position.

Example:

Gaiman, Neil. The Sandman: Overture. Illustrated by J.H. Williams III, DC Comics, 2015.

Kerascoet, illustrator. Beautiful Darkness. By Fabien Vehlmann, Drawn and Quarterly, 2014.

Smith, Lane. Abe Lincoln’s Dream. Roaring Book Press, 2012.


10. Citing an Edition Other Than the First Edition

Format:
Include the number of the edition and the abbreviation “ed” (meaning “edition”) after the title.

Example:

Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. 3rd ed., U of Minnesota P, 2008.

Nadakavukaren, Anne. Our Global Environment: A Health Perspective. 7th ed., Waveland Press, 2011. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=NXkbAAAAQBAJ&dq/.


11. Citing a Republished Book

Format:
Indicate the original date of publication after the title. Include any information relevant to republication, such as a new introduction. For online books, give the website and URL.

Example:

Trilling, Lionel. The Liberal Imagination. 1950. Introduction by Louis Menand, New York Review of Books, 2008.

Langer, Judith A., and Arthur N. Applebee. How Writing Shapes Thinking: A Study of Teaching and Learning. 1987. WAC Clearinghouse, 2011. WAC Clearinghouse, wac.colostate.edu/books/langer_applebee/.


12. Citing a Multivolume Work

Format:
End with the total number of volumes and the abbreviation “vols.”

Example:

Stark, Freya. Letters. Edited by Lucy Moorehead, Compton Press, 1974-82. 8 vols.

Format:
If you have used only one of the volumes in your document, include the volume number after the title. List the total number of volumes after the publication information.

Example:

Stark, Freya. Letters. Edited by Lucy Moorehead, vol. 5, Compton Press, 1974-82. 8 vols.


13. Citing a Work in an Edited Collection or Anthology

Format:
Give the author, then the title in quotation marks. Follow with the title of the collection in italics, the label “edited by” and the name(s) of the editor(s) (first name first), the publication information, and the inclusive page numbers for the selection of the chapter.

Example:

Sayrafiezadeh, Saïd. “Paranoia.” New American Stories, edited by Ben Marcus, Vintage Books, 2015, pp. 3-29

Format:
If you are using multiple selections from the same anthology, include the anthology itself in your list of works cited and cross-reference it in the citations for individual works.

Example:

Eisenberg, Deborah. “Some Other, Better Otto.” Marcus, pp. 94-136.

Marcus, Ben, editor. New American Stories. Vintage Books, 2015.

Sayrafiezadeh, Saïd. “Paranoia.” Marcus, pp. 3-29.


14. Citing a Foreword, Introduction, Preface, or Afterword

Format:
Begin with the author of the part your are citing and the name of that part. Add the title of the work; “by” or “edited by” and the work’s author or editor (first name first); and publication information. Then give the inclusive page numbers for the part.

Example:

Dunham, Lena. Foreword. The Liar’s Club, by Mary Karr, Penguin Classics, 2015, pp. xi-xiii.

Format:
If the part has a title, include the title in quotation marks directly after the author.

Example:

Sullivan, John Jeremiah. “The Ill-Defined Plot.” Introduction. The Best American Essays 2014, edited by Sullivan, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, pp. xvii-xxvi.


15. Citing a Sacred Text

Format:
Include the title of the version as it appears on the title page. If the title does not identify the version, place that information directly after the title.

Example:

The Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Edited by Herbert G. may and Bruce M. Metzger, Revised Standard Version, Oxford UP, 1965.

Journals, Magazines and Newspaper Articles

1. Article in a Journal

Format:
Enclose the article title in quotation marks. After the journal title, list the volume number, issue number, season and year of publication and inclusive page numbers.

Example:

Matchie, Thomas. “Law versus Love in The Round House.” Midwest Quarterly, vol. 56, no. 4, Summer 2015, pp. 353-64.

Format:
For an electronic journal, provide the print information, if given, and end with the URL.

Example:

Amao, Olumuyiwa Babatunde, and Ufo Okeke-Uzodike. “Nigeria, Afrocentrism, and Conflict Resolution: After Five Decades – How Far, How Well?” African Studies Quarterly, vol. 15, no.4, Sept. 2015, pp. 1-23, asq.africa.ufl.edu/files/Volume-15-Issue-4-OLUMUYIWA-BABATUNDE-AMAO.pdf/.

Format:
If the article is assigned a DOI (digital object identifier, a unique number assigned to specific content), cite the source as you would a print article, then give the DOI. For an article from a database, cite the database name before the DOI.

Example:

Coles, Kimberly Anne. “The Matter of Belief in John Donne’s Holy Sonnets.” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 68, no. 3, Fall 2015, pp. 899-931. JSTOR, doi:10.1086/683855/.


2. Citing an Article in a Monthly or Bimonthly Magazine

Format:
After the author’s name and title of the article, list the title of the magazine, the date (use abbreviations for all months except May, June, and July), and inclusive page numbers.

Example:

Bryan, Christy. “Ivory Worship.” National Geographic, Oct. 2012, pp. 28-61.


3. Citing an Article in a Weekly or Biweekly Magazine

Format:
Give the exact date of publication, inverted.

Example:

Grossman, Lev. “A Star Is Born.” Time, 2 Nov. 2015, pp. 30-39.

Format:
Cite online articles the same as you would a print article, and then give the URL.

Example:

Leonard, Andrew. “The Surveillance State High School.” Salon, 27 Nov. 2012, www.salon.com/2012/11/27/the_surveillance_state_high_school/.


4. Citing an Article in a Newspaper

Format:
If the newspaper is not a national newspaper (such as the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, or Chronicle of Higher Education) or if the city of publication is not part of its name, add the city in square brackets after the name of the newspaper: “[Salem],” List the date in inverted order, followed by the page numbers (use the section letter before the page number if the newspaper uses letters to designate sections). If the article does not appear on consecutive pages, write only the first page number and a plus sign (+), with no space between.

Example:

Sherry, Allison. “Volunteers’ Personal Touch Turns High-Tech Data into Votes.” The Denver Post, 30 Oct. 2012, pp. 1A+.

Format:
For newspaper articles found online, cite as you would a print article and give the URL.

Example:

Humphrey, Tom. “Politics Outweigh School Vouchers.” Knoxville News Sentinel, 24 Jan. 2016, www.knoxnews.com/opinion/columnists/tom-humphrey/tom-humphrey-politics-outweigh-arguments-about-school-vouchers-29c77b33-9963-0ef8-e053-0100007fcba4-366300461.html/.


5. Citing an Unsigned Article

Format:
Begin with the title of the article.

Example:

“Zika Virus.” World Health Organization, 6 Sept. 2016, www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zik/en/.


6. Citing an Editorial

Format:
Include the word “Editorial” after the page number or URL.

Example:

“City’s Blight Fight Making Difference.” The Columbus Dispatch, 17, Nov. 2015, www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2015/11/17/1-citys-blight-fight-making-difference.html/. Editorial.


7. Citing a Letter to the Editor

Format:
Include the word “Letter” after the page number or URL.

Example:

Adrouny, Salpi. “Our Shockingly Low Local Voter Turnout.” AJC.com, 8 Nov. 2015, www.ajc.com/news-old/news/opinion/readers-write-nov-8/npHrS/. Letter.


8. Citing a Review

Format:
Start with the author and title of the review, then the words “Review of” followed by the title of the work under review. Insert a comma and the word “by” or “editor” (for an edited book) or “director” (for a play or film) and the name of the author or director. Continue with publication information for the review. Use this citation format for all reviews, including books, films, and video games.

Example:

Walton, James. “Noble, Embattled Souls.” Review of The Bone Clocks and Slade House, by David Mitchell, The New York Review of Books, 3 Dec. 2015, pp. 55-58.

Format:
Cite online reviews as you would a print review, then give the URL.

Example:

Savage, Phil. “Fallout 4 Review.” Review of Fallout 4, by Bethesda Game Studios. PC Gamer, Future Publishing, 8 Nov. 2015, www.pcgamer.com/fallout-4-review/.


9. Citing a Published Interview

Format:
Begin with the person interviewed. If the published interview has a title, give it in quotation marks. If not, write the word “Interview.” If an interview is identified and relevant to your project, give that name next. Then supply the publication information.

Example:

Weddington, Sarah. “Sarah Weddington: Still Arguing for Roe.” Interview by Michele Kort. Ms., Winter 2013, pp. 32-35.

Format:
Cite an online interview as you would a print interview, then give the URL.

Example:

Jaffrey, Madhur. “Madhur Jaffrey on How Indian Cuisine Won Western Taste Buds.” Interview by Shadrach Kabango. Q, CBC Radio, 29 Oct. 2015, www.cbc.ca/1.3292918/.

Dissertations and Theses

1. Citing an Unpublished Dissertation or Thesis

Format:
Last Name of Author, First Name of Author. "Title of Dissertation or Thesis." Descriptive Label for Type of Document (Dissertation. or Thesis). Name of Degree Granting Institution, year written.

Example:

Hughey, Annie Catherine. "The Treatment of the Negro in South Carolina Fiction." Thesis. U of South Carolina, 1933.


2. Citing a Published Dissertation or Thesis

Format:
Cite as you would a book, but include an appropriate label such as “Dissertation” or “Thesis” after the title. Add the school and the year.

Example:

Kidd, Celeste. Rational Approaches to Learning and Development. Dissertation, U of Rochester, 2013.

Media and Field Sources

1. Citing a Film or Video

Format:
Generally begin with the title of the film or recording. If you want to emphasize an individual’s role, such as the director or actor, list that name first. Always supply the name of the director (followed by a comma and the label “director”), the distributor, and the year of original release. You may also insert other relevant information, such as the names of the performers or screenplay writers, before the distributor.

Example:

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, performances by Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, and Naomi Watts, Fox Searchlight, 2014.

Damon, Matt. The Martian. Directed by Ridley Scott, Twentieth Century Fox, 2015.

Format:
For videos found on the Web, give the URL after the publication information.

Example:

Fletcher, Antoine. “The Ancient Art of the Atlatl.” Russell Cave National Monument, narrated by Brenton Bellomy, National Park Service, 12 Feb. 2014, www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=C92C0D0A-1DD8-B71C-07CBC6E8970CD73F/.


2. Citing a Sound Recording or Audio Clip

Format:
Begin with the name of the person whose work you want to highlight: the composer, the conductor, or the performer. Next list the title, followed by the names of other artists (composer, conductor, performers). The recording information includes the manufacturer and the date.

Example:

Bizet, Georges. Carmen. Performances by Jennifer Larmore, Thomas Moser, Angela Gheorghiu, and Samuel Ramey, Bavarian State Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli, Warner, 1996.

Format:
If you wish to cite a particular track on the recording, give its performer and title (in quotation marks), and then proceed with the information about the recording. For live recordings, include the date of the performance between the title and the recording information. For recordings found online, include the URL, after the publication date.

Example:

Adele. “Hello.” 25. XL, 2015.

Goldbarth, Albert. “Fourteen Pages.” The Poetry Foundation, 15 Apr. 2016, www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audio/detail/89129/.


3. Citing a Television or Radio Program

Format:
Begin with the title of the episode in quotation marks. Then give the title of the program, italicized, and relevant information about the program, such as the writer, director, performers, or narrator. Then provide the episode number (if any), the network, and the date of broadcast. If the material you are citing is an interview, include the word “Interview” and, if relevant, the name of the interviewer.

Example:

“Federal Role in Support of Autism.” Washington Journal, narrated by Robb Harleston, C-SPAN, 1 Dec. 2012.

“The Key to Zen for Tony Bennett: ‘Life Is a Gift.’” Talk of the Nation, narrated by Neal Conan, NPR, 20 Nov. 2012.

Format:
If you accessed the program on the Web, include the URL after the date of publication.

Example:

“Take a Giant Step.” Prairie Home Companion, narrated by Garrison Keillor, American Public Media, 27 Feb. 2016, prairiehome.publicradio.org/listen/full/?name=phc/2016/02/27/phc_20160227_128/.


4. Lectures or Speeches

Format:
Last Name of Lecturer or Speaker, First Name of Lecturer or Speaker. "Title or Description of Speech/Lecture." Meeting and Sponsoring Organization (if applicable). Place of Event, Day Month (abbreviated version) Year of Event.

Example:

Sofos, John. "Food Safety in the 90's." Colorado State U. Ft. Collins, 23 Oct. 1998.


5. Interviews Conducted by the Writer

Format:
Last Name of Person You Interviewed, First Name of Person You Interviewed. Personal interview. Day(s) Month (abbreviated) Year of Interview.

Note: If your interview was conducted over the telephone or email, insert "Telephone interview" or "Email interview" in the place of "Personal interview."

Example:

Neuhoff, Christine S. Personal interview. 15 Sep. 1998.


6. Surveys Conducted by the Writer

Format:
Name of Survey. Personal Survey. Day Month (abbreviated version) Year of Survey.

Example:

Human Rights Ordinances Questionnaire. Personal survey. 5 Oct. 1998.


7. Citing a Work of Art, Photograph, or Other Image

Format:
Give the name of the artist; the title of the work (italicized); the date of composition; the name of the collection, museum, or owner; and the city. If you are citing artwork published in a book, add the publication information for the book. If you are citing a photograph, add the label “Photograph” after the city.

Example:

Bradford, Mark. Let’s Walk to the Middle of the Ocean. 2015, Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Feinstein, Harold. Hangin’ Out, Sharing a Public Beach, NYC. 1948, Panopticon Gallery, Boston, Photograph.

Format:
For online visuals, including charts or graphs, include the website (italicized), and the URL.

Example:

Hura, Sohrab. Old Man Lighting a Fire. 2015, Magnum Photos, www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&ALID=2K1HRG681B/.

Brazilian Waxing and Waning: The Economy. The Economist, 1 Dec. 2015, www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/12/economic-backgrounder/.


8. Citing an Advertisement

Format:
Provide the name of the product, service, or organization being advertised, followed by the usual publication information. End with the word “Advertisement.” For advertisements found online, include the URL before “Advertisement.”

Example:

AT&T. National Geographic, Dec. 2015, p. 14. Advertisement.

Toyota, The Root, Slate Group, 28 Nov. 2015, www.theroot.com/. Advertisement.


9. Citing a Cartoon

Format:
Treat a cartoon like an article in a newspaper or magazine. Give the cartoonist’s name, the title of the cartoon if there is one (in quotation marks), the publication information for the source, and the word “Cartoon.”

Example:

Zyglis, Adam. “City of Light.” Buffalo News, 8 Nov. 2015, adamzyglis.buffalonews.com/2015/11/08/city-of-light/. Cartoon.


10. Citing a Live Performance

Format:
Generally begin with the title of the performance. Then give the author and director; the major performers; and the theater, city, an date.

Example:

The Draft. By Peter Snoad, directed by Diego Arciniegas, Hibernian Hall, Boston, 10 Sept. 2015.


11. Citing a Personal Interview

Format:
Place the name of the person interviewed first, words to indicate how the interview was conducted (“Personal interview,” “Telephone interview,” or “E-mail interview”), and the date. (Note the MLA style is to hyphenate e-mail.)

Example:

Akufo, Dautey. Personal interview, 11 Apr. 2016.


12. Citing an Unpublished Letter

Format:
If the letter was written to you, give the writer’s name, the words “Letter to the author” (no quotation marks), and the date the letter was written. If the letter was written to someone else, give that name rather than “the author.”

Example:

Primak, Shoshana. Letter to the author, 6 May 2016.


13. Citing a Lecture or Public Address

Format:
Give the speaker’s name and title of the lecture (if there is one). If the lecture was part of a meeting or convention, identify that event. Conclude with the event information, including venue, city, and date. End with the appropriate label (“Lecture,” “Panel discussion,” “Reading”).

Example:

Smith, Anna Deavere. “On the road: A Search for American Character.” National Endowment for the Humanities, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, 6 Apr. 2015. Address.

Format:
For lectures and public addresses found on the Web, provide the URL after the date. End with the appropriate label (“Lecture,” “Panel discussion,” “Reading”).

Example:

Khosla, Raj. “Precision Agriculture and Global Food Security.” US Department of State: Diplomacy in Action, 26 Mar. 2013, www.state.gov/e/stas/series/212172.htm/. Address.

Database Sources

1. Portable Periodical Databases

Information is often collected in portable databases such as CD-ROM, diskette, or magnetic tapes. Just as print journals, newspapers, magazines, and indexes are published and updated periodically, so are some of these; they should be treated like similarly, with additional information about the electronic format:

  1. title of database,
  2. publication medium (like "CD-ROM," "Diskette," or "Magnetic Tape"),
  3. name of the vendor (the manufacturer or distributor of the CD-ROM, etc.), if relevant, and
  4. date of electronic publication (which is likely to be different from the date of print publication).

Format:
Last Name of Author [when there is an author], First Name of Author. "Title of Article in the Database." Journal or Book in Which the Print Version Could be Found. Day Month (abbreviated version) and Year of publication of the print version, Information about Edition, Release, or Version (if relevant): Page Numbers. Title of Database. Publication Medium (i.e., CD-ROM, Diskette, or Magnetic Tape). Vendor of the Database. Date of electronic publication.

Example:

"The Events of Yesterday." The Charleston Mercury 28 Dec. 1860. The Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective. CD-ROM. Folio Corporation. 1990.


2. Portable Non-Periodical Databases

Unlike online databases, which exist on a computer service or network and subject to continual revision, formats for sources on CD-ROM, diskette, or magnetic tape vary according to whether or not the database is published periodically.

Non-periodical databases, like books, are published at a single, specific time. They might be updated, or different versions of them might be issued, but updates/versions are not released in any regular manner. Because these databases are like books, they should be treated like them as much as possible, with an entry listing the basic bibliographic information first, then adding in the information specific to the electronic medium.

Format:
[What follows is the format for a typical entry of this kind.]

Author's Last Name [if author is given], Author's First Name. "Title of the Part of the Work" (if relevant, and underlined if it is a book-length source). Title of Database or Product. Edition, Release, or Version (if relevant). Publication Medium [i.e., CD-ROM, Diskette, or Magnetic Tape]. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.

Example:

Sheehy, Donald, ed. Robert Frost: Poems, Life, Legacy. CD-ROM. New York: Holt, 1997.

Digital Sources

1. Citing a Scholarly Reference or Scholarly Project Databases

Note: Not all of the following information will be available in every case.

Format:
Begin with the author's name if given (last name first). "Title of Short Work Within the Database or Scholarly Project." [if citing a particular part] Title of Database or Scholarly Project. Name of Editor, if given. Version [if applicable]. Date of Electronic Publication or Last Update. Name of Sponsoring Institution or Organization. Date of Access .

Example:

The Einstein Papers Project. Ed. Robert Schulmann. 18 Feb. 1998. Boston U. 10 Mar. 1998 .


2. Citing Personal or Professional Web Sites

Note: Not all of the following information will be available in every case.

Format:
Provide the last name and the first Name of Creator [if available]. Include the title of the website, the date of electronic publication or the date when last updated and the date accessed.

Examples:

Watson, Chad J. Home page. 27 Jan. 1998. 10 Mar. 1998 . Nature Conservancy, The. New York's Tug Hill Plateau. No date. 2 July 2002. .


3. Citing Online Computer Services Articles

Note: Not all of the following information will be available in every case.

Format:
Provide the last name and first Name of the author. Include the title of the article (in quotation marks), the title of the journal or book where the print version of the source can be found (underlined), the date of publication. Include information about the edition, release or version (if relevant), the page numbers (if available), the title of the database (underlined), and include the word “Online. Finish with the name of the computer service and the day, month, and year accessed.

Examples:

Wever, Katharine. "In a Painting, Gershwin Packed the House." New York Times 30 Aug. 1998, late ed.: sec. 2, p. 30. New York Times Fulltext. Online. Dialog. 21 Sep. 1998. Boynton, Robert S. "The New Intellectuals." Atlantic Monthly Mar. 1993. Atlantic Monthly Online. Online. America Online. 3 Mar. 1995.


4. Citing a Short Work from a Website

Format:
Provide the name of the author; the title of the work in quotation marks; the title of the website, italicized; the date of publication in reverse order, and the URL.

Example:

Enzinna, Wes. “Syria’s Unknown Revolution.” Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, 24 Nov. 2015, pulitzercenter.org/projects/middle-east-syria-enzinna-war-rojava/.

Format:
If there is no author given, begin the citation with the title of the work and proceed with the rest of the publication information. If the title of the website does not indicate the sponsoring organization, list the sponsor before the URL. If there is no date of publication, give the date of access after the URL.

Example:

“Social and Historical Context: Vitality.” Arapesh Grammar and Digital Language Archive Project, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, www.arapesh.org/socio_historical_context_vitality.php/. Accessed 22 Mar. 2016.


5.Citing an Academic Course or Department Website

Format:
For a course page, give the name of the instructor, the course title, the institution in italics, year, and the URL. For a department page, give the department name, a description such as “Department home page,” the institution in italics, the date of the last update, and the URL.

Example:

Masiello, Regina. ENG 101: Expository Writing. Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, 2016, wp.rutgers.edu/courses/55-355101.

Film Studies. Department Home page. Wayne State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 2016, clas.wayne.edu/FilmStudies/.


6.Citing a Message Posted to a Newsgroup, Electronic Mailing List, or Online Discussion Forum

Format:
Cite the name of the person who posted the message and the title (from the subject line, in quotation marks); if the posting has no title, add the phrase “Online posting.” Then add the name of the website (italicized), the sponsor or publisher, the date of the message, and the URL.

Example:

Robin, Griffith. “Write for the Reading Teacher.” Developing Digital Literacies, NCTE, 23 Oct. 2015, ncte.connected community.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=1693&MID=24520&tab=digestviewer&CommunityKey=628d2ad6-8277-4042-a376-2b370ddceabf.


7.Citing a Blog

Format:
To cite an entry or a comment on a blog, give the author of the entry or comment (if available), the title of the entry or comment in quotation marks, the title of the blog (italicized), the sponsor or publisher, the date the material was posted, and the URL.

Example:

Cimons, Marlene. “Why Cities Could Be the Key to Solving the Climate Crisis.” Thinkprogress.org, Center for American Progress Action Fund, 10 Dec. 2015, thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/12/10/3730938/cities-key-to-climate-crisis/.


8.Citing an E-mail Message

Format:
Start with the sender of the message. Then give the subject line in quotation marks, followed by a period. Identify the recipient of the message and provide the date of the message.

Example:

Thornbrugh, Caitlin. “Coates Lecture.” Received by Rita Anderson, 20 Oct. 2015.


9.Citing a Facebook Post or Comment

Format:
Follow the general format for citing a short work on a website.

Example:

Bedford English. “Stacey Cochran explores Reflective Writing in the Classroom and as a Writer.” Facebook, 15 Feb.2016, www.facebook.com/BedfordEnglish/posts/10153415001259607/.


10.Citing a Twitter Post (Tweet)

Format:
Provide the entire tweet in place of the title, and include the time after the date.

Example:

Curiosity Rover. “Can you see me waving? How to spot #Mars in the night sky: https://youtu.be/hv8hVvJlcJQ.” Twitter, 5 Nov. 2015, 11:00 a.m., twitter.com/marscuriosity/status/672859022911889408/.


11.Citing Computer Software, an App, or Video Game

Format:
Cite computer software, an App or Video Game as you would a book.

Example:

Words with Friends. Version 5.84. Zynga, 2013.


12.Citing Other Online Sources

Format:
For other online sources, adapt the guidelines to the medium. Include as much information as necessary for you readers to easily find your source. The example below is for a podcast. Because no publication date is given, the citation ends with the access date instead.

Example:

Tanner, Laura. “Virtual Reality in 9/11 Fiction.” Literature Lab, Department of English, Brandeis U, www.brandeis.edu/departments/english/literaturelab/tanner.html/. Accessed 14 Feb. 2016

Reference Works

1. Citing an Entry in a Dictionary or an Encyclopedia (Including a Wiki)

Format:
Unless the entry is signed, begin your citation with the title of the entry in quotation marks, followed by a period. Give the title of the reference work (beginning with the first word other than A, An, or The), italicized, and the edition (if available) and year of publication. If there is no date of publication, include your date of access.

Example:

“Balls in Your Court, The.” The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Format:
Cite an online entry as you would a print entry, then give the URL.

Example:

“House Music,” Wikipedia, 16 Nov. 2015, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_music.


2. Citing a Map or Chart

Format:
Generally treat a map or chart as you would a book without authors, listing its title and publication information. For a map in an atlas or other volume, give the map title (in quotation marks), followed by the publication information for the atlas and page numbers for the map. If the creator of the map or chart is listed, use his or her name as you would an author’s name.

Example:

“Greenland.” Atlas of the World. 19th ed., Oxford UP, 2012, p.153.

Format:
For a map or chart found online, cite as you would a print source, then give the URL.

Example:

“Map of Sudan.” Global Citizen, Citizens for Global Solutions, 2011, globalsolutions.org/blog/bashir#.VthzNMfi_/.


3. Citing a Government Publication

Format:
In most cases, cite the government agency as the author. If there is a named author, editor, or compiler, provide that name after the title.

Example:

Canada, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Norther Development. 2015-16 Report on Plans and Priorities. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2015.

United States, Department of Agriculture. Eligibility Manual for School Meals: Determining and Verifying Eligibility. National School Lunch Program. Food and Nutrition Service, July 2015, www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cn/SP40_CACFP18_SFSP20-2015a1.pdf/.


4. Citing a Brochure or Pamphlet

Format:
Format the entry as you would for a book.

Example:

The Legendary Sleepy Hollow Cemetary. Friends of Sleepy Hollow Cemetary, 2008.

MLA Directory of Variations to Works Cited Formatting Rules

1. Citing Two or More Works by the Same Author in Works Cited

Format:
For references to authors with more than one work in your works cited list, insert a short version of the title between the author and the page number, separating the author and the title with a comma.

Example:

(Sacks, Hallucinations 77)

(Sacks, Mind’s Eye 123)


2. Citing an Anonymous Source or If No Author is Named on Title Page

Format:
If you are citing a source that has no known author; such as the book A Woman in Berlin, use a brief version of the title in the parenthetical citation.

Example:

The narrator pays particular attention to the culture of rape in Berlin during World War II, calling it a “collective experience” and claiming that German women comforted one another by speaking about it – something they never would have considered during peacetime (Woman 147).


3. Citing a Literary Work

Format:
Along with the page number(s), give other identifying information, such as a chapter, scene, or line number, that will help readers find the passage.

Example:

One prominent motif introduced at the opening of Beloved is bestiality, exemplified in Sethe’s being described as “down on all fours” at the first appearance of her dead daughter’s ghost (Morrison 27; ch. 1).


4. Citing a Source Without Page Numbers

Format:
Give a section, paragraph, or screen number, if remembered, in the parenthetical citation.

Example:

First-time American mothers and fathers both have aged an average of three to four years since 1970 (Shulevitz, par. 4).

It is adults, not children, who present the greatest challenge in gift giving, as adults tend to long for intangibles – like love or career success – that are harder to pin down (Rothman).


5. Citing a Work in an Edited Collection or Anthology

Format:
Cite the author of the work, not the editor of the collection or anthology. Give the author, then the title in quotation marks. Follow with the title of the collection in italics, the label “edited by” and the name(s) of the editor(s) (first name first), the publication information, and the inclusive page numbers for the selection or chapter.

Example:

In his satirical essay “A Presidential Candidate,” Mark Twain outlines his plan to thwart the opposition, insisting that “if you know the worst about a candidate, to begin with, every attempt to spring things on him will be checkmated” (3).

Sayrafiezadeh, Saïd. “Paranoia.” New American Stories, edited by Ben Marcus, Vintage Books, 2015, pp. 3-29.

(Sacks, Mind’s Eye 123)

Additional MLA Style Resources

Print Resources:

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 8th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

Online Resources:

The official Modern Language Association website, updated regularly, is the comprehensive guide to all things MLA: the organization, its journals, products and services.

Citation Information

Will Allen, Mike Palmquist, Peter Connor, Heidi Scott, and Laurel Nesbitt. (1994-2023). Citation Guide: Modern Language Association (MLA) . The WAC Clearinghouse. Colorado State University. Available at https://wac.colostate.edu/repository/resources/writing/guides/.

Copyright Information

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