MLA References

Learn to Create MLA References.

MLA (Modern Language Association) style requires a list of sources that were used throughout the research paper. Instead of an MLA references, there is an MLA works cited page. These two lists of sources serve the same need; however, the terms that are used to refer to these lists are entirely different. It is the APA (American Psychological Association) style that refers to its list of sources as a reference list. The MLA style refers to its list of references as the works cited list.

MLA References: The Basics


Definition of MLA References

An MLA references page is referred to as a works cited list. The purpose of the works cited list is to provide all of source information used in a paper in greater detail. Any parenthetical citation used in an MLA research paper must also be included in the MLA works cited page. This allows readers to refer to the original source in order to collect greater information or to verify the information. The works cited also brings credibility to the content that the writer has provided.

MLA References Example

MLA References - MLA References example of a first page.

Example of a first page.

MLA References: Parenthetical Citations

The parenthetical citation is a method used to refer to the works of others within the text of a MLA research paper.  The 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, or MLA references list, 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 References - MLA References example of a first page.

Citation example.

MLA References: Works Cited

The correct term for an MLA references page is works cited page. Because the APA writing style is commonly used and refers to its list of sources as the reference page, many people mistakenly refer to the MLA works cited page as the MLA references page. Although both lists serve the same purpose, it is important for writers to know that the correct term for an MLA list of resources is works cited page. Just like the APA references page, it lists all of the references used within the work.

Every parenthetical citation that is used within a research paper must also be included in the works cited page. Each works cited entry includes: author’s 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 References Example: Works Cited

MLA References

Example of a Works Cited page.

MLA References: Works Cited Guidelines

  • The correct term for a MLA references page is works cited page.
  • MLA 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 MLA works cited entry must be double-spaced.
  • When citing online sources, the MLA citation must include a sponsor or publisher.
  • When citing print publications such as a book or journal article, you must include the word “Print” within the citation.


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