MLA Citation

Learn to write your research paper using the MLA citation.

The most commonly used style to write papers and cite sources is the MLA (Modern Language Association) style. Under this form of writing style, an MLA citation is used to credit sources from which information was collected. By doing so, writers can prevent accusations of plagiarism and bring credibility to their work

MLA Citation Basics


Definition of MLA Citation

An MLA citation is the way that writers bring credit and attention to outside sources of information. The MLA citation comes in two different forms: the parenthetical citation and the works cited page.

MLA Citation Example


MLA Citation example

Citation example

MLA Citation: Parenthetical Guidelines

The parenthetical citation is a method used to refer to the works of others within the text of your work. An MLA citation requires the author’s last name and the page from which a quotation or paraphrase was obtained. The full details of the reference must be included in the works cited page located at the end of the document. When a source has multiple authors or when the author is unknown, the format of the MLA citation will change. For this reason, it is very important to refer to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition).

MLA Citation: Works Cited

The works cited page is essentially a list of all of the references used within the work. Every parenthetical citation that is used within a work must also be included in the works cited page of that document. Each works cited entry contains greater detail then the parenthetical citation. These entries include: authors name, form of publication, date of publication, and date of access. With this information provided, the audience is able to access the source of information in order to validate the content or to learn more about the content.

MLA Citation: Works Cited Guidelines

  • Works Cited page is on a separate page titled “Works Cited.”
  • Works Cited entries must be in alphabetical order.
  • Book, magazines, and film titles must be italicized.
  • Titles of poems, short stories, and articles must be in quotations.
  • Internet sources do not require URLs.
  • The 2nd and subsequent lines of each works cited entry must be indented.
  • Each works cited entry must be double-spaced.
  • Each citation entry under the works cited page must include the medium of publication. Such mediums include: Audiocassette, CD, DVD, Film, Print, Radio, Web, Film, Videocassette, DVD, Performance, Lecture, and PDF file.
  • When citing online sources, the MLA citation must include a sponsor or publisher.
  • If a source has no sponsor or publisher, use the abbreviation “N.p.” (for “No publisher”) in the sponsor position.
  • When citing print publications such as a book or journal article, you must include the word “Print” within the citation.
  • A date must follow the sponsor name, if the online source does not include a date of publication then use the abbreviation “n.d.” which means “no date.”


MLA Citation

Example of a Works Cited page.


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