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MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

Welcome to an overview of “What is MLA Format?” in relation to paper formatting. You’ll find in-depth guidelines, examples, and visual samples to help you easily format your paper. This guide does not serve as a reference for MLA citation format.

For help determining the proper structure for citing, refer to the other guides on EasyBib.com. Here is another informative site which may help with further understanding of MLA citation format.

Guidelines for Formatting a Paper in MLA

  • Use white 8 ½  x 11” paper.
  • Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides.
  • The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch.
  • Indent set-off or block quotations one half inch from the left margin.
  • Use any type of font that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman. Make sure that italics look different from the regular typeface.
  • Use 12-point size.
  • Double space the entire research paper, even the Works Cited page.
  • Leave one space after periods and other punctuation marks, unless your instructor tells you to leave two spaces.

These guidelines come from the MLA Style Center’s web page “Formatting a Research Paper.”

MLA Guide Overview

There are various sections in this guide. Each section provides an in-depth overview of the different components to keep in mind when developing an MLA paper.

This guide includes the following sections:

  • Format background
  • General paper formatting
  • MLA heading format & title page instructions
  • Running head & page numbers
  • Paraphrases
  • Abbreviations
  • Numbers (includes the use of numbers in MLA outline format)
  • Images, tables, and musical scores
  • MLA works cited format
  • MLA citation format (for in-depth citation rules visit this MLA citation guide or MLA in-text citation guide)
  • Edits & proofreading

If you need more guidance, a website like EasyBib.com usually has guides and tools to help you out. There’s also resources on other styles, like our guide on “ APA reference page ”, otherwise known as a “References” page.

MLA Format Background

The Modern Language Association (MLA) is an organization responsible for developing MLA format. It was developed as a means for researchers, students, and scholars in the literature and language fields to uniformly format their papers and assignments. This uniform, or consistent, method to developing a paper or assignment allows for easy reading. Today, MLA is not only used in literature and language subject areas; many others have adopted it as well.

The Modern Language Association released the 9th and most current edition of their MLA Handbook in April 2021. The Handbook provides thorough instructions on citing, as well as guidelines for submitting work that adheres to the Modern Language Association’s rules and standards. Although we’re not affiliated with the MLA, our citation specialists bring you this thoughtful and informative guide on the format.

Looking for information about previous editions to the Handbook ? Want to learn more about the origin of “What is MLA format?” Click here to learn about the previous editions to the Handbook .

Actually, are you looking for help on using another style? See how to cite an APA journal , learn to create an APA book citation , and more!

Formatting the Header in MLA

To create a header for your first page, follow these steps:

  • Begin one inch from the top of the first page and flush with the left margin.
  • Type your name, your instructor’s name, the course name and number, and the date on separate lines, using double spaces between each.
  • Double space once more and center the title. Do NOT underline, bold, or type the title in all capital letters. Only italicize words that would normally be italicized in the text. Example: Character Development in The Great Gatsby
  • Do not place a period after the title or after any headings
  • Double space between the title and first lines of the text

MLA Formating Paper

General Paper Formatting

Paper choice.

While many professors, instructors, and publications allow electronic submission, some prefer printed, hard copies of papers. This section focuses on the type of paper to use for printed submission.

If you choose to print your paper, use white paper only. Do not use ivory, off-white, or any other shades or colors.

Choose a standard, high quality paper to print your project on. Do not use cardstock. It is not necessary to use resum é paper. Use typical, high quality printer or copy paper.

When it comes to size, 8 ½-by-11-inch paper is the recommended size. If you’d like to use a different size, ask your teacher prior to submission.

Use One-Inch Margins in MLA

Use one-inch margins around the entire page. The running head should be the only item seen in the one inch margin (see below for more on running heads).

Most word processing programs automatically default to using one inch margins. Check the page settings section of the program to locate the margin size.

Indenting Paragraphs in MLA

Indent the first word in every paragraph. Sentences should begin one half inch from the left margin.

It is not necessary to manually measure half an inch. Use the “tab” button on the keyboard to create a half inch space.

Double Space Paragraphs in MLA

MLA research paper format requires that the entire research paper or MLA format essay includes double-spaced lines. Double-spaced lines should be found in between the written body of the work, in the heading, and also on the MLA reference page.

While it may seem tempting to place a few extra lines between the heading, title, and beginning of the paper, lines should all be double spaced.

Font and Font Size in MLA

In an MLA paper, it is acceptable to use any font type that is easy to read. Many source types, such as books and articles, use fonts that are easy to read, so if you’re seeking an appropriate font style, look at other sources for guidance. Two of the most commonly used fonts are Arial and Times New Roman.

It is important for the reader to be able to distinguish the difference between italicized and regular font, so if you choose a font style different than Arial or Times New Roman, make sure the difference between the two type styles is evident.

The use of a 12-point font size is recommended as this is the default size for many word processing programs. It is acceptable to use another standard size, such as 11-point or 11.5-point.

Some professors or instructors will provide guidance on how to secure hard copies of projects. If your instructor does not provide you with any expectations or guidance, a simple staple in the top left corner should suffice. If a stapler is not available, some instructors allow paper or binder clips.

Do not fold the top left corner down to secure the pages together. The page could easily unfold, causing a mess of papers. While binders and plastic holders are cute, in reality, they add bulk to a professor or instructor who may like to take the papers home for grading purposes. Keep the binding simple and clean. Staples work best, and binder and paper clips are the next best option.

As always, follow any instructions your professor or teacher may provide. The guidelines found here are simply recommendations.

MLA Heading & Title Page Instructions

The web page “Formatting a Research Paper” gives two options when it comes to creating the header for your project:

  • An MLA format heading can be placed at the top of the first page
  • A title page can grace the front of the assignment. If you choose to create a title page, keep in mind that there aren’t any official title page or cover page guidelines in MLA format. See more information below.

If choosing option one, creating an MLA heading, you’ll need to include four main components:

  • Your full name
  • Your instructor’s name
  • The name and number of the course or class
  • The assignment’s due date

The first item typed on the paper should be your full name.

  • Position your name one inch from the top and left margins of the page.
  • Add a double space beneath your name, and type the name of your instructor.
  • Below the professor or instructor’s name should be a double space, followed by the name of the course, class, or section number (if available).
  • Below it, include another double space and add the assignment’s due date (Day Month Year).

Here’s an example:

mla citation format research paper

The assignment’s title should be placed below the due date, after a double space. Align the title so it sits in the center of the MLA format paper. The title should be written in standard lettering, without underlines, bold font, italicized font, or any quotation marks. Only include italics or quotation marks if your title includes the title of another source.

Here is an example of an MLA header for an MLA format essay, paper, or assignment:

Neal E. Bibdarsh

Professor Haujeemoto

English 201

The Trials and Tribulations of Lincoln’s Reciting of “The Gettysburg Address”

*Note: The quotation marks here are around the title of a speech included in the paper’s title.

Most research papers use a standard MLA format heading, like the one seen above. If your instructor requires you to create a standalone title page, ask him or her for specifications. MLA does not have specific instructions for developing an MLA title page. We recommend you use an MLA header for your project.

If your teacher or professor requires a standalone title page, but has not provided any guidance or specifications, here are a few suggestions from EasyBib.com and this MLA guide :

  • Center and double space all of the text on your page.
  • Place the name of your school at the top of the page.
  • Skip down to about the center of the page and type the title of your paper. Do not bold the title, italicize the entire title, place quotation marks around it, or type the title out in capital letters.
  • Use italics for the titles of any sources in the title of your paper. Example: An Analysis of Mythical Creatures in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • first letter of the title
  • first letter of the last word
  • first letter of any adjectives, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, and verbs
  • If your paper has a subtitle, include on the next line below your title.
  • Skip down to the bottom third of the page and add your name, the the name of your instructor, the name/number of the course or class, and the assignment’s due date on four separate lines.
  • Keep the font size at 12 pt., or a size close to it, to make it look professional.
  • Use the same font as the text of the paper. The Modern Language Association recommends any font that is easy to read and has a clear distinction between italics and standard font. Times New Roman and Arial are recommended, but many other fonts work as well.
  • Include a page number in the top right corner of the paper. For more information on how to style page numbers, check out the next section, “Running Head and Page Numbers.”
  • We do not recommend adding any images or cover art to the title page. 

Click  additional information about essays to see an example of a formatted header.

You can either create a title page using the EasyBib Title Page creator or omit the title page completely and use a header.

mla citation format research paper

Running Head & Page Numbers in MLA

A running head is a brief heading that is placed in the top right corner of every page in a project. The Modern Language Association Style Center (online) states that the running head consists of:

  • Last name of the paper’s author
  • Page number

General tips to keep in mind:

  • The running head is placed in the upper right-hand corner, half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin of the page.
  • Type your last name before the page number.
  • The last name and page number should be separated by a single space.
  • Do not place the word “page” or use an abbreviation, such as p. or pg., before the page number.
  • Quite often, the running head begins on the second page, but your instructor may ask you to include the running head on the first page of the assignment. As always, if your instructor provides you with specific directions, follow his or her guidelines.

APA formatting page number

Before adding this information manually onto every single page, check to see if the word processor you’re using has the capability to automatically add this information for you. Try looking in the settings area where page numbers or headers can be added or modified.

Google Docs: Adding a header

  • Go to the menu section “Insert.”
  • Select “Page numbers” and select the option that places the page number in the upper-right corner.
  • A page number will appear; your cursor will blink next to it.
  • Move your cursor to the left of the page number.
  • Type your last name. Add a space between your name and the page number.
  • You should now have a properly formatted header on every page!

Microsoft Word Document: Adding a header

  • Double-click in the space at the top of the page (where the page number is).
  • OR Go to the “Insert” menu, select “Header,” and select “Edit Header.”
  • Type your last name next to page number. If it isn’t already right-aligned, go to the “Home” menu and right-align your name.

Quotations in MLA

Quotes are added into assignments to help defend an argument, prove a point, add emphasis, or simply liven up a project.

Quotes should not take up the majority of your paper or assignment. Quotes should be sprinkled sparingly throughout, and quotes longer than 4 lines should be formatted as MLA block quotes . Use direct quotes from outside sources to enhance and expand on your own writing and ideas.

Words from quotes belong to the individual who spoke or wrote them, so it is essential to credit that individual’s work. Credit him or her by adding what is called an “in-text citation” into the body of the project.

There are three ways to add quotes: 1. With the author’s name in the sentence (a citation in prose).

Dan Gutman shares a glimpse into the overall plot by stating, “I didn’t know it at the time, but a baseball card—for me—could function like a time machine” (5).

In the above example, Dan Gutman is the author of the book that this quote is pulled from.

2. Without the author’s name in the sentence (a parenthetical citation).

The main character’s confusing experience is realized and explained when he states “I didn’t know it at the time, but a baseball card—for me—could function like a time machine” (Gutman 5).

In the above example, Dan Gutman’s name isn’t included in the sentence. It’s included in the parentheses at the end of the sentence. This is an example of a proper MLA style citation in the body of a project.

3. In a block quote, which is used when a large quote, of 4 lines or more, is added into a project.

Using footnotes and endnotes

The Modern Language Association generally promotes the use of references as described in the sections above, but footnotes and endnotes are also acceptable forms of references to use in your paper.

Footnotes and endnotes are helpful to use in a variety of circumstances. Here are a few scenarios when it may seem appropriate to use this type of referencing:

  • When you are referring to a number of various sources, by various authors, in a section of your paper. In this situation, it is a good idea to use a footnote or endnote to share information for parenthetical references. This will encourage the reader to stay focused on the text of the research paper, instead of having to read through all of the reference information.
  • When you are sharing additional information that doesn’t quite fit into the scope of the paper, but is beneficial for the reader. These types of footnotes and endnotes are helpful when explaining translations, adding background information, or sharing counterexamples to research.

To include a footnote or endnote, add a superscript number at the end of the sentence the footnote or endnote refers to. They can be included mid-sentence if necessary, but be sure to add it after any punctuation, such as commas or periods. Find a location that doesn’t distract the reader from the content and flow of the paper.

Within the text example:

Numerous well-known children’s books include characters from a wide range of races and ethnicities, thus promoting diversity and multiculturalism.¹

At the bottom of the page (footnote) or at the end of the section (endnote):

¹See Isadora, Parr, and Velazquez. While Parr’s work features characters of various colors, such as pink or blue, children easily correlate it with individuals of different races and ethnicities.

On the last page of the assignment, the writer includes the full references for the books by Isadora, Parr, and Velazquez.

For more on block quotes and a further, detailed explanation on the use of quotes, including MLA footnotes, refer to our MLA In-Text Citation and Parenthetical Citations Guide. In this guide you’ll find further information including directions for the use of quotes without an author, page numbers, and how to properly credit work from electronic sources.

For guides on citations in another style, check out APA parenthetical citation and APA in-text citation .

Paraphrases in MLA

Paraphrases are created when text or speech from another source are added into a project, but the writer chooses to summarize them and weave in his or her own writing and writing style.

Even though the writer modifies the information from another source, it is still necessary to credit the source using proper format ( Handbook 98). Paraphrased information uses the same MLA reference format as stated in the section directly above this one.

Here is an acceptable paraphrase:

Original text:

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Steve Jobs

Paraphrase:

Steve Jobs encouraged students at Stanford to continue with their determination, drive, and ambitious behavior. They should never be simply satisfied with the status quo. They should continue to push themselves despite possible obstacles and failures.

To develop a well-written paraphrase, follow these simple, step-by-step instructions.

  • Find a phrase, sentence, paragraph, or section of original text you’d like to turn into a paraphrase.
  • Read the text carefully and make sure you fully comprehend its meaning. A writer can only develop a well-written paraphrase if the information has been fully grasped and understood. If you’re having difficulty understanding the information, take a few minutes to read up on tricky words and background information. If all else fails, ask a friend to see if they’re able to make sense of the concepts.
  • After analyzing and completely understanding the original text, put it to the side. Take a moment to think about what you’ve read and connect the idea to your own assignment.
  • Now that the information is completely understood, take a moment to rewrite what you’ve read, in your own words and writing style. Do not simply substitute words in the original text with synonyms. That’s plagiarism! Show off and demonstrate your ability to process the original information, connect it to the content in your paper, and write it in your own individual and unique writing style.
  • Include an in-text reference next to the paraphrase. All paraphrases include references, similar to direct quotes. See the “Quotations” section of this guide to learn how to properly attribute your paraphrased information.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back! Paraphrasing is an important part of the research and writing process.

Wondering if it’s better to quote or paraphrase?

An essential part of the research process involves adding direct quotes and paraphrases into projects. Direct quotes provide word-for-word evidence and allow writers to use another author’s eloquent words and language in their own projects. When it comes to paraphrases, writers are able to take a block of text and shrink the scope of it into the their papers. Paper writers can also use paraphrases to demonstrate their ability to analyze and reiterate information in a meaningful and relevant way.

If you’re wondering which one is better to consistently use, quotes or paraphrases, there’s a clear winner. Paraphrases come out on top. Sure, direct quotes are incredibly beneficial, but copying and pasting too many of these into a project can cause a reader to lose sight of the writer’s own voice. Mixing your own voice with another author’s too much can make for choppy and disjointed reading.

The ultimate goal of a research project is to have your voice and research merged together as one. Paraphrases allow just that. When you combine information from outside sources with your own writing style, it demonstrates your ability as a researcher to showcase your understanding and analyzation of a topic.

Remember, whether you’re adding direct quotes or paraphrases into a project, both types of additions need references. References are placed after the quotes and paraphrases, and also at the end of an assignment.

If you’re looking for additional help with your punctuation or grammar, check out the EasyBib plagiarism checker !

mla citation format research paper

Using Abbreviations in MLA

Abbreviations are commonly used in many source types including websites, blog posts, books, and journal articles. It is acceptable to use abbreviations in all of these sources.

When it comes to school and research assignments, however, the MLA   Handbook states that abbreviations should be used rarely in the prose of your paper (293). Spelling out abbreviations into their full words and meanings is recommended. This ensures understanding and avoids any confusion from your reader.

There are times when you may feel it is perfectly acceptable to use an abbreviation rather than its typed out counterpart in a paper. If you do abbreviate, be sure you are using commonly accepted abbreviations, which you can find in the dictionary. You can also review Appendix 1 in the  MLA Handbook .

General Abbreviation Tips

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus can be abbreviated to HIV, not H.I.V.
  • United States should be US, not U.S.
  • Digital video disc should be DVD, not D.V.D.
  • For lower case abbreviations, it is acceptable to include periods between the letters.
  • The abbreviation, “For example” = e.g.
  • If there is a mix of lower case and upper case letters, do not use periods if the majority of the letters are upper case. Examples include PhD and EdD

Abbreviating Months

Type out entire month names when being used in the body of a research paper or assignment.

She rented out the beach house from May through September

When it comes to references, MLA bibliography format requires months longer than four letters to be abbreviated.

  • July = July
  • November = Nov.

Other abbreviations that are perfectly acceptable to use in a bibliography (not the body of a project) include:

  • p. or pp. for page and page numbers
  • ch. for chapter
  • ed. for edition
  • trans. for translation or translated
  • vol. for volume
  • no. for number
  • rev. for revised

Again, these abbreviations should only be used in the final page(s) of a project, the MLA Works Cited list. They should not be used in the body of a project.

For more information on bibliographies, see our MLA format Works Cited List page.

Abbreviating Publishers

One of the quirkiest things about this particular style is how publisher names are structured on the final page of references. Certain words are abbreviated, some words are omitted, and other words are written in full.

Words describing what type of business the publisher is are omitted from the works cited. Here’s a breakdown of the words that should be excluded:

  • Co. (Company)
  • Corp. (Corporation)
  • Inc. (Incorporated)
  • Ltd. (Limited)
  • The (when at the beginning of the name)

If a publisher’s name contains the words “University” and “Press” (or the equivalent in another language), the words should be abbreviated to the letters “U” and “P” in your citation. But if only one of the words appears, it should be written out normally.

Here are a few examples:

  • University of Delaware
  • U College of London P

All other words related to the names of publishers should be written out in full.

Abbreviating Titles

Certain classical and biblical works are abbreviated in a bibliography, but also in any parenthetical references in the text.

The official handbook provides a lengthy list, spanning over multiple pages, of the preferred abbreviations to use for classical and biblical works ( Handbook 295-301), but here’s a quick snapshot of some of the commonly used ones:

Hebrew Bible or Old Testament = OT

  • Deut. = Deuteronomy
  • Gen. = Genesis
  • Lev. = Leviticus
  • Num. = Numbers
  • Ps. = Psalms

New Testament = NT

  • 1 Cor. = 1 Corinthians
  • Jas. = James
  • Matt. = Matthew

Shakespeare:

  • Ado = Much Ado about Nothing
  • 3H6 = Henry VI, Part 3
  • JC = Julius Caesar
  • Mac. = Macbeth
  • MND = A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Oth. = Othello
  • Rom. = Romeo and Juliet

Again, the titles above are allowed to be abbreviated both in references in parentheses in the body of a project and also on the final page of references. If you’re wondering why, it’s because they’re cited often and it’s unnecessary to type out the entire title names.

Formatting Numbers in MLA

Use of numerals.

If the project calls for frequent use of numbers (such as a scientific study or statistics), use numerals that precede measurements.

  • 247 milligrams

Other items to keep in mind:

In divisions, use numbers, ex: In page 5 of the study

Arabic Numbers

When including a number in a paper, spell out the number if it can be written as one word (such as six ) or two words (such as sixty-two ). For fractions, decimals, or longer numbers, type them out using digits. For larger numbers, write the number itself ( Handbook 82-84).

  • twenty-seven
  • one hundred

If the number comes before a unit of measurement or label, type the number using digits.

  • 8 tablespoons
  • 3 July 2018
  • 25 King Street

More on Numbers

Starting a sentence with a number is generally frowned upon. Try modifying the sentence so that the number, or number word, is found elsewhere.

Instead of:

225 children were found in the warehouse, some malnourished and diseased.

Use this sentence:

A total of 225 children were found in the warehouse, some malnourished and diseased.

If modifying the sentence is not possible or does not work well with the flow of the assignment or paper, type out the written number:

Two hundred twenty five children were found in the warehouse, some malnourished and diseased.

Do not include any ISBN numbers in your paper.

Outline Format

The Modern Language Association does not have any requirements regarding the structure of an outline. If your teacher asks you to create an MLA outline, we recommend using roman numerals, capital and lowercase letters, and numbers.

Here is an example of a recommended outline structure:

mla citation format research paper

In addition to outlines, use roman numerals for suffixes.

  • King George IV

Using Images, Tables, & Musical Scores in MLA

Photographs, data sets, tables, graphs, and other images are often added into projects or papers to promote or aid understanding. They provide meaningful visuals for the reader. If the illustration or visual image does not enhance the quality of the paper, do not include it in the project.

Tables and illustrations should be placed as close as possible to the text that they most closely refer to.

For an image to be significant and easily identifiable, place it as close as possible to the text in the project where it is discussed.

It is not acceptable to simply place an image in a project without including identifiable information. All images must include information about its origin.

Here are the directions to properly attribute an image:

  • Assign an Arabic number. The image closest to the beginning of the project should be labeled as Fig. 1. The next image in the project should be Fig. 2. and so on.
  • Provide a caption. The caption should be a brief explanation or the title of the contents of the image. Place the caption directly next to the label.
  • Immediately following the caption, it is acceptable to include attribution information. If the image is not discussed further in the rest of the paper or project, it is acceptable to include the MLA bibliography format citation below the image and omit it from the bibliography or MLA format works cited page.

In the text of the project or paper where the figure is discussed, include the label in parentheses to ensure the reader knows where to find the figure in your paper.

In the text:

Sarah’s tattoo design was filled with two of her favorite flowers: lilies and daffodils along a thinly curved vine (fig. 1).

Image formatting:

(Image Would Be Here) Fig. 1. Sarah’s Tattoo. barneyWILLIAMSable, Deviant Art , 2011, barneywilliamsable.deviantart.com/art/Sarah-s-Tattoo-design-193048938.

APA image caption

Fig. 1. White Studio. “Houdini and Jennie, the Elephant, Performing at the Hippodrome, New York.” Library of Congress , www.loc.gov/item/96518833/.

When adding a table or data set into a project, it is formatted a little differently. Above the data set, include the label “Table” with an Arabic numeral, and title it. The table number and title should be located flush left and on separate lines. The first table seen in the project is labeled as Table 1. The second table in the project is Table 2, and so on. The table’s title should be written in title case form (the first letter of each word is capitalized, except for small, insignificant words).

Underneath the table, provide the source and any notes. Notes should be labeled with a letter, rather than a numeral, so the reader is able to differentiate between the notes of the text and the notes of the table.

International Scholars from India Enrolled at Yale University a

Source: “International Scholars Academic Year 2015-2016.” Yale University , Office of International Students and Scholars, yale.app.box.com/v/scholar-2015-2016. a. The numbers reflect students who are enrolled full-time.

The information included above and below any images or table should be double spaced, similar to the rest of the project or paper.

mla citation format research paper

Musical Scores

Musical scores need to be labeled as well. When including a musical score in a project, label musical scores with “Ex.” which is short for example. This label should be placed below the musical score. Next to the abbreviation “Ex.”, assign the score an Arabic numeral. The first musical score in the project should be labeled as Ex. 1. The second musical score found in an assignment should be labeled as Ex. 2., and so on.

If possible, provide a caption after to the label. If the caption below the sheet music includes enough information about the source, it is not necessary to include the full reference at the end of the assignment.

Here is an example of a possible label and caption:

Ex. 4. Scott Joplin, The Entertainer, piano, C major.

Another example:

Music sheet APA formatting caption

Here’s more on tables and illustrations.

Using Lists in MLA

It’s appropriate to add lists into an MLA format essay as long as the proper rules are followed.

Lists created using MLA essay format look different than a grocery list or any other type of vertical listing of items. Items in a list are included in your prose, rather than the traditional vertical style.

Often, you will use a colon between the introductory sentence and the list. But you should not include a colon if the first item in the list is part of the sentence.

List Example #1

Here is an example of how a list may look incorporated into the prose of a research project or assignment:

William Shakespeare wrote numerous plays, many of which were considered tragedies: Romeo and Juliet , Hamlet , Macbeth , Othello , Julius Caesar , and King Lear .

List Example #2 Here is an example of how a list may look in a research project or assignment when the list is part of the introductory sentence:

Many of William Shakespeare’s were tragedies. Some of his most popular tragedies include Romeo and Juliet , Hamlet , Macbeth , Othello , Julius Caesar , and King Lear.

MLA Works Cited Format

EasyBib.com has a full, comprehensive guide to creating a proper works cited MLA format , but here are a few items to keep in mind when developing this portion of a project:

  • The list of citations should be the very last page of a research project or essay.
  • The top of the page should include the running head and the page number.
  • All entries should be placed in alphabetical order by the first item in the MLA format citation.
  • The entire page should be double spaced.

For more detailed information, make sure to check out the EasyBib guide to MLA format Works Cited pages.

MLA Citation Format

The majority of this guide focuses on MLA formatting in regards to MLA paper format rules and guidelines. If you’re seeking information related to the proper formatting of an MLA citation, refer to our individual pages and posts on various types of citations.

If you’re simply looking for the general structure for full references, which are found on the final pages of projects, here’s the proper order:

Author’s Last name, Author’s First name. “Title of Source.”* Title of Container , Names of other contributors along with their specific roles, version of the source (if it differs from the original or is unique), any key numbers associated with the source that aren’t dates (such as journal issue numbers or volume numbers), Name of the Publisher, publication date, location (such as the URL or page numbers).

*Note: A title may be in italics instead of quotation marks, depending of the type of source. The general rule is that works that are self-contained (like books, journals, or television shows) are formatted in italics. Works that are part of a larger work (like articles, chapters, or specific episodes) are formatting in quotation marks. 

MLA Format Citing FAQs:

“What in the world are containers?”

Containers are what hold the source. If you’re creating a reference for a chapter in a book, the title of the chapter is the title of the source , and the container is the title of the book . The book holds the chapter, so it’s the container. If you’re searching for how to cite a website, here’s a tip: the title of the source is the name of the individual page and the title of the container is the name of the full website.

“This seems like a lot of information for a reference. Is it all necessary?”

The short answer is “No!” When citing, only include the components that help the reader locate the exact same source themselves.

It isn’t necessary to go digging for items such as numbers, version types, or names of other individuals or contributors associated with the source if they aren’t applicable. If you think it’s beneficial for the reader, then include it.

Related to citations, here are helpful pages on:

  • MLA citation website format
  • Citing a book
  • Citing a journal
  • What is a DOI ?
  • More on PDFs

If you’re looking for an MLA citation generator, head to the EasyBib homepage. Our formatter will help you create citations quickly and easily!

Need APA, too? There are also EasyBib tools and an APA citation website reference guide to help you learn the basics.

Edits and Proofreading

Editing and proofreading your assignment prior to submission is an incredibly important step in the research process. Editing involves checking the paper for the following items:

  • Spelling : Are all words spelled correctly? Review all proper names, places, and other unique words to ensure correct spelling. When finished, run the project through a spell checker. Many word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word and Google Drive, provide a free spell checking feature. While spell checks are beneficial, they do not always spot every mistake, so make sure you take the time to read through the assignment carefully. If you’re still not sure if your project contains proper spelling, ask a friend to read through it. They may find a mistake you missed!
  • Grammar : Check your assignment to make sure you’ve included proper word usage. There are numerous grammar checkers available to review your project prior to submission. Again, take the time to review any recommendations from these programs prior to accepting the suggestions and revisions.
  • Punctuation : Check to make sure the end of every sentence has an ending punctuation mark. Also make sure commas, hyphens, colons, and other punctuation marks are placed in the appropriate places.
  • Attribution : Do all quotes and paraphrases include a citation? Did you create an in-text citation for each individual piece of information?

Smart idea: running your paper through a paper checker before you turn it in. EasyBib Plus offers a checker that scans for grammar errors and unintentional plagiarism. 

Check out our MLA sample papers . Also, check out the EasyBib MLA Annotated Bibliography Guide.

Don’t forget to use the EasyBib citation generator to develop your Modern Language Association style references.EasyBib.com also has helpful guides on APA format and more styles . Lastly, stay up-to-date on what’s coming by following our EasyBib Twitter account.

Works Cited

“Formatting a Research Paper.” The MLA Style Center , Modern Language Association of America, style.mla.org/formatting-papers/.

MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

Published October 31, 2011. Updated July 25, 2021.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau . Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. You can find her here on Twitter. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

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Citation Examples

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The works-cited list provides the reader full information so that a reader can locate the source for further use.

Basic formatting

The works-cited list appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes if they are present.

Page margins

All margins (top, bottom, left, and right) should be set at 1 inch.

Running head

Write the running head in the top right of the page at 0.5 inch from the top. Use the running head “Surname Page #.”

The font should be clear enough to read. For example, Times New Roman font set to 12 points.

Formatting entries

Entries should be double-spaced, including a double-space between the heading and the first entry. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent line(s) 0.5 inch from the left margin.

Formatting the title

The title should be “Works Cited.” Center the title. Do not bold, italicize, or underline the title. If you cite only one source in the list, the title should be “Work Cited.” If you include sources that you only consulted and didn’t cite directly, the title should be changed accordingly to “Works Cited and Consulted.”

Arranging works cited

Works-cited-list entries are arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name (or the editor’s last name for entire edited collections). Double-space all entries. Begin each entry flush with the left margin. If any entry runs over more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) 0.5 inch from the left margin (sometimes called a hanging indent).

Example works cited

Damasio, Antonio. The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness . Vintage, 2000.

Hill, R. T. “Legitimizing Colonial Privilege: Native Americans at a Quincentenary of Discourse.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 16, no. 1, 1996, pp. 92–100.

MacDonald, Shauna M. “Performance as Critical Posthuman Pedagogy.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 34, no. 2, 2014, pp. 164–81.

Zilio, M. “Canada Will Not Move Embassy to Jerusalem, Federal Government Says.” The Globe and Mail . 7 Sept. 2017, www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canada-will-not-move-embassy-to-jerusalem-federal-government-says/article37219576/ .

An in-text citation is a short citation that is placed in the text. It is styled in two ways: a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation.

The basic element needed for an in-text citation is the author’s name . The publication year is not required in in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when directly quoting text from the source being cited. When including a page number, do not include a comma or any other punctuation mark between the author’s surname and the page number.

Parenthetical citations usually add only the author’s surname at the end of the sentence in parentheses. Sometimes they include a page number or other locator. An example of a parenthetical citation is given below:

The spiritual geography of the landscape is explained (Cooper).

If you want to cite a chapter number, a scene, or a line number, follow the abbreviation guidelines below:

When including a more specific locator number rather than a page number, place a comma between the author’s surname and the label.

(Cooper, ch. 2).

Here are a few examples of in-text citations for sources with different numbers or types of authors:

Use only the surname of the author in parenthetical citations. If you want to add a page number (or another indicator of the place in a work), add it after the author’s surname without any punctuation between the surname and the page number.

(Abraham 7).

Two authors

Add only the surnames of the authors. Use “and” to separate the two authors.

(Langmuir and Einstein).

Three or more authors

Add only the surname of the first author followed by “et al.”

(Low et al.).

Corporate author

Shorten the organization name wherever possible, excluding any initial articles and using the shortest noun phrase (e.g., shorten Literary Society of Tamil Culture to Literary Society).

(Literary Society).

If there is no author for the source, use the source title in place of the author’s surname.

When you add such in-text citations, italicize the text of the title. If the source title is longer than a noun phrase, use a shortened version of the title. For example, the title Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is shortened to Fantastic Beasts .

( Fantastic Beasts 160).

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  • Books vs. Articles

General Information (MLA 9th ed.)

Modern language association style manual, additional mla resources, mla in-text citations, song lyrics and tv scripts citation examples (mla).

  • Turabian, SBL & Chicago
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  • Cited References

For articles in databases, when a DOI  ( opens new window Digital Object Identifier ) is not available, use the permalink, if available. A permalink is a URL that is static, persistent, or permanent. To get a permalink in EBSCOhost, click "Permalink" in the right sidebar under "Tools."

In MLA, the accessed date is not required, but may be provided if you wish. Check with your professor's guidelines.

  • For an online work , use a DOI, permalink, or URL.
  • Precede a DOI with http:// or https:// . (i.e., https://doi.org/10.1111/jch.12223.) (MLA Handbook, 9th ed., p. 194 [5.93])
  • For a URL https:// or http:// at the beginning may be omitted. (MLA Handbook, 9th ed., p. 195 [5.95])
  • For a web source , copy the URL from the browser. The http:// or https:// may be omitted. (MLA Handbook, 9th ed., p. 195 [5.95])
  • For articles in EBSCOhos t , if the work is available in full text (not just the article abstract or record), use EBSCOhos t as the container.   Note: Databases within the EBSCOhost platform, such as Academic Search Complete or ERIC, are considered "filters," not the container. ( MLA Handbook , 9th ed., pp. 134-137 [5.31-34], for notes on website containers.)

See Citation Examples: COMP-102 MLA Citations

Cover Art

Digital Object Identifiers, or DOIs, are persistent links used in scientific and scholarly publishing to provide a permanent electronic address to avoid the problems of broken, outdated or changed links. opens new window The DOI System provides a means for managing information in changing digital environments.

A DOI consists of digits and letters that lead to the source location. Journal articles are often assigned DOIs. So, for MLA documentation, if a source has a DOI,use it instead of the persistent link (or URL).

MLA Style Center (Modern Language Association)

To organize key elements in your citation, use the opens new window MLA Interactive Practice Template from MLA Handbook (8th ed.), PDF, by the Modern Language Association (style.mla.org),

- opens new window How to cite an online video? - opens new window Using MLA Format - opens new window Works Cited: A Quick guide - FAQs, MLA Style Center

  • MLA Citation Style 8th edition HD (Hayden Memorial Library)
  • opens new window Citation Help for MLA, 8th Edition (College of St. Scholastica)
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  • opens new window Scribbr - Provides interactive MLA citation generator

MLA format for in-text citations follows the author-page method. The author's last name may be included with the page number(s) in parenthesis following the quote or paraphrase, or used in the sentence with the page number(s) following in parenthesis. Examples:

Smith noted that fake news... (27). (Smith 27)

When page numbers are not fixed (the numbers are not the same in all formats) or not available , use a label identifying abbreviation for the number reference. Use a comma to separate the author from a reference that is not a page number . Examples:

(Smith, par. 6) paragraph 6 (Smith, pars. 6-7) paragraphs 6 and 7 (Smith, ch. 4) chapter 4

See: MLA Handbook , 8th edition (pp. 36, 123-127) - Call # opens new window LB2369.G53 2016 The Little, Brown Handbook , 13th edition (pp. 638-640) - Call # opens new window PE1112.F644 2016 .

The examples below show elements to include in the citation. Use the print style manual and your professor's requirement to correctly format the citations.

SONG LYRICS (from an album or CD) Writer / lyricist last name, first name. “Song title.” Recording date. Album name. Recording label. Year of release.

Child, Desmond, Jon Bon Jovi, and Richard Sambora. “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Slippery When Wet. Island/Mercury, 2017.

SONG LYRICS (from a website) Writer / lyricist last name, first name. “Song title.”Website name,URL

Child, Desmond, Jon Bon Jovi, and Richard Sambora. “Livin’ on a Prayer.” SongLyrics , songlyrics.com/bon-jovi/livin-on-a-prayer-lyrics/.

TELEVISION SCRIPT Writer. "Title of source." Title of container (in italics), series, episode, Title of second container (in italics), publisher, location.

Litt, Davidand Lee Aronsohn. "The Luminious Fish Effect." Big Bang Theory , story by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, series 01, episode 04. Big Bang Theory Transcripts , WordPress, bigbangtrans.wordpress.com/.

"The Big Bran Hypothesis." Big Bang Theory , series 01, episode 02, 5 Oct. 2007. Big Bang Theory Transcripts , Forever Dreaming, transcripts.foreverdreaming.org/viewtopic.php?f=159&t=8537.

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In-text citation

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The MLA 9th style uses author-date in-text citations, used when quoting or paraphrasing people’s work. 

Two types of in-text citations

1. author prominent format .

Use this format if you want to emphasise the author. Their name becomes part of your sentence.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," wrote Charles Dickens of the eighteenth century (5).

2. Information prominent format

Use this format if you want to emphasise the information. It cites the author’s name, typically at the end of a sentence.

as demonstrated in the opening line, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" (Dickens 5).

Examples of in-text citations

Less than three lines of text.

If a prose quotation is no more than four lines and does not require special emphasis, put it in quotation marks and incorporate it into the text. Include the page number(s) in brackets.

"It was the best of times it was the worst of times" wrote Charles Dickens of the eighteenth century (5).

  • See Plays and Poetry sections below for how to cite these in-text.

More than three lines of text

If a quotation is longer than three lines, set it off from your text by beginning a new line, indenting half an inch from the left margin. Quotation marks around the text are not required. Introduce the quotation with a colon. Place the parenthetical reference after the last line. For example, the above discusses John Corner in his book, The Art of Record: A Critical Introduction to Documentary , which refers to Brian Winston's revaluation of the documentary tradition in the writings of John Grierson.

Winston's reassessment of Grierson finds the play-off between creativity and realness unconvincing: Grierson's taxonomic triumph was to make his particular species of non-fiction film, the non-fiction genre while at the same time allowing the films to use the significant fictionalising technique of dramatisation. (Winston 103)

This is a usefully provocative point, though agreement with it will largely rest on certain, contestable ideas about 'fictionalisation' and 'dramatisation'. The issue is dealt with directly in Chapter Two, as part of considering the debate around drama-documentary forms, and it occurs in relation to specific works throughout this book.

Two authors

In prose, the first time the two authors are mentioned, use both first and second names. In a parenthetical citation use 'and', not '&' to connect the two surnames.

Others, like Cheryl Brown and Laura Czerniewicz argue that the idea of a generation of ‘digital natives’ is flawed (359). The Brown and Czerniewicz article focuses on…

(Brown and Czerniewicz 359)

Three or more authors

When citing a source with three or more authors in prose you only refer to the first coauthor and can follow the additional authors by “and others“ or “and colleagues.” A parenthetical citation requires the first author's surname, followed by et al.

Laura Czerniewicz and colleagues argue…

(Czerniewicz et al. 53)

Different authors, same surname

If you use works from more than one author with the same last name, eliminate any ambiguity by including the author's first initial as well (or if the initial is also the same, the full first name).

(N. Palmer 45)

(N. Palmer 45; M. Palmer 102)

Citing more than one author

If you are citing more than one source at the same point, place them in the same parentheses, separated by a semi-colon.

(Jackson 41; Smith 150)

Same author, two or more works

If you cite multiple works by the same author, include a shortened title in each in-text citation to establish which work you are referring to. To avoid overly lengthy in-text citations, shorten the title to a simple noun phrase, or a few words.

The first example references Said's book, so the title is italicised. The second example references Said's journal article, so it is in quotation marks.

For more tips on how to abbreviate titles of sources, see 6.10 of the MLA Handbook .

..."the Orient was a scholar's word, signifying what modern Europe had recently made of the still peculiar East" (Said, Orientalism 92).

..."there is something basically unworkable or at least drastically changed about the traditional frameworks in which we study literature" (Said, "Globalizing Literary Study" 64).

Anonymous or no author

For works that are anonymously authored, or have no author, include a shortened version of the title in the in-text citation (do not list the author as "anonymous", nor as "anon.").

It has been argued that the hat symbolised freedom (Wandering Merchant 157).

Corporate author

Abbreviate terms that are commonly abbreviated (e.g. Department becomes Dept.), so as to not disrupt the flow of your text with overly long in-text citations.

If the corporate author is identified in the works-cited list by the names of administrative units separated by commas, give all the names in the parenthetical citation.

The Australian Research Council found that there are limited policies and procedures in place to manage foreign interference (4).

(Monash University 176)

Citing an author within another source

An indirect source is a source that is cited in another source. To quote this second-hand source, use “qtd. in” (quoted in), and then include the information of the source you actually consulted. Similarly, for the reference list use the source that you actually consulted (i.e. the indirect source). Keep in mind that it is good academic practice to seek out and use the original source, rather than the second-hand one, however this is not always possible.

For the below example, the student is using Petrarch's quote which is found in Hui. The page number refers to the source actually consulted (Hui), and the reference list would only list Hui, as shown below:

Hui, Andrew. The Poetics of Ruins in Renaissance Literature. Fordham UP, 2016.

For more information, see section 6.77 of the MLA Handbook .

Petrarch laments that Cicero’s manuscripts are “in such fragmentary and mutilated condition that it would perhaps have been better for them to have perished” (qtd. in Hui 4).

Author in a translation

If you think your audience would require a translation for your quoted material, then provide one. Give the source of the translation, as well as the source of the quote.

If you did the translation yourself, then insert my trans. where you would usually put the translation source, as shown in the example above.

If you're quoting in a language that does not use the Latin alphabet (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, etc.), then consistently use the original writing system for your quotes or romanisation. Note that proper nouns are usually romanised.

For more information, see 6.75 Translations of Quotations in the MLA Style Guide .

Mme d'Aulnoy's heroine is "la chatte blanche" ("the white cat"; my trans.; 56)

Poetry - Short quotations

Quotations from poetry from part of a line up to three lines in length, which do not need particular emphasis, may be added, placed in quotation marks, within your text as part of a sentence. Use a slash with a space on either side ( / ) to indicate a new line of poetry.

If the poem you are referencing has line numbers, then omit page numbers all-together and cite by line number instead. Do not use the abbreviation l. or ll. , but instead in your first citation, use the word line, or lines as shown in the example below. After the first citation, it can be assumed that the numbers refer to lines, so you can include the numbers alone.

More's distress that she had not written about the problems of the slave trade earlier are expressed in the poem: "Whene'er to Afric's shores I turn my eyes, / Horrors of deepest, deadliest guilt arise" (line 5).

Poetry - Block quotations

When quoting a block of poetry, introduce it in the same manner as a prose block quotation, i.e. begin the quote on a new line and indent each line as below. There is no need to add quotation marks. A reference to the page or line number should be included in parenthesis at the end of the last line. If the original text is creatively spaced or indented, then try to replicate the original as best you can.

Judith Wright 's poetry explores the Australian environment:

And have we eaten in the heart of the yellow wheat the sullen unforgetting seed of fire? And now, set free by the climate of man's hate, that seed sets time ablaze (14)

If you quote the lines of more than one actor or if the piece you are quoting is long, the quotation should not be integrated into your text. The rules in MLA for presenting this text are:

  • Leave a line between your text and the quotation
  • Begin each part of the dialogue with the character's name, indented half an inch from the margin, in upper case and with a full-stop, e.g. BODYGUARDS.
  • Start dialogue after full-stop or match spacing shown in original source
  • Indent all dialogue an additional amount, as shown below
  • End each piece of dialogue with a full-stop
  • End the last line of the quotation with a full-stop and then add the section and line numbers in parentheses.

For more information, see section 6.40 of the MLA 9th Handbook .

TARTUFFE. Yes, my brother, I am a sinner, a guilty man. An unhappy sinner full of iniquity. (III. vi.)

In-text citation general checklist

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LAI203: How to Create In-Text Citations in MLA

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MLA 9th In Text Citations

An in-text citation helps the reader of your work locate where you got the information from. Formatting an MLA 9th in-text citation can be tricky, but when you locate all the necessary information, it is quite easy.

Please use the information below to assist you in making an accurate in-text citation to ensure you are not plagiarizing borrowed information.

Basic Formatting

If a page number is provided, follow the formats below:

In-Text Citation

(Jones 378).

In-Text Citation, Two Authors

​List the two author's last names.

(Jones and Miller 378).

In-Text Citation, Three or More Authors

You will put et al. to indicate after the first author's last name to indicate  and others .

(Jones et al. 378).

When no page number is provided, please follow the formats below:

In-Text Citation, No Page Number Provided

In-Text Citation, Two Authors, No Page Number Provided

List the two author's last names.

(Jones and Miller).

In-Text Citation, Three or More Authors, No Page Number Provided

You will put et al. to indicate after the first author's last name to indicate  and others ​.

(Jones et al.).

If no author is provided, please follow the format below:

In-Text Citation, No Author. ("Use Title Instead").

If the source is titled "Clay Pot Snowman Tutorial", your in-text citation will be (“Clay Pot Snowman Tutorial”).

A Real Example

Flores-Cornejo, Fiorela, et al. “Association between Body Image Dissatisfaction and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents.” Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria , vol. 39, no. 4, Oct. 2017, pp. 316–322. Academic Search Complete, doi:10.1590/1516-4446-2016-1947.

If I were to quote a line from page 320 of the above article, it would look like this:

"Those who had ever used alcohol were 40% more likely to report depressive symptoms, while those who had ever used tobacco were 50% more likely to endorse such symptoms, after adjusting for all variables in the equation" (Flores-Cornejo et al. 320).

**REMEMBER: The In-text Citation should match the  first item  listed for that citation in the Works Cited*

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MLA Sample Works Cited Page

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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Note: We have chosen to include the date of access for the online sources below. The latest MLA guidelines specify that this is optional, but strongly recommended for sources whose date of publication is unavailable.

Note also: The citation for  An Inconvenient Truth  below assumes the film has been cited by its title in the text. If it had been cited by the name of its director, the citation would need to begin with Guggenheim's surname. MLA guidelines specify that both styles are acceptable (see, e.g., this  "Ask the MLA" page ).

Works Cited

Dean, Cornelia. "Executive on a Mission: Saving the Planet." The New York Times , 22 May 2007, www.nytimes.com/2007/05/22/science/earth/22ander.html?_r=0. Accessed 29 May 2019.

Ebert, Roger. Review of  An Inconvenient Truth , directed by Davis Guggenheim.  Ebert Digital LLC , 1 June 2006, www.rogerebert.com/reviews/an-inconvenient-truth-2006. Accessed 15 June 2019.

Gowdy, John. "Avoiding Self-Organized Extinction: Toward a Co-Evolutionary Economics of Sustainability." International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, vol. 14, no. 1, 2007, pp. 27-36.

Harris, Rob, and Andrew C. Revkin. “Clinton on Climate Change.”  The New York Times , 17 May 2007, www.nytimes.com/video/world/americas/1194817109438/clinton-on-climate-change.html. Accessed 29 July 2016.

An Inconvenient Truth . Directed by Davis Guggenheim, Paramount, 2006.

Leroux, Marcel. Global Warming: Myth or Reality?: The Erring Ways of Climatology . Springer, 2005.

Milken, Michael, et al. "On Global Warming and Financial Imbalances." New Perspectives Quarterly , vol. 23, no. 4, 2006, p. 63.

Nordhaus, William D. "After Kyoto: Alternative Mechanisms to Control Global Warming." American Economic Review , vol. 96, no. 2, 2006, pp. 31-34.

---. "Global Warming Economics." Science, vol. 294, no. 5545, 9 Nov. 2001, pp. 1283-84, DOI: 10.1126/science.1065007.

Regas, Diane. “Three Key Energy Policies That Can Help Us Turn the Corner on Climate.” Environmental Defense Fund , 1 June 2016, www.edf.org/blog/2016/06/01/3-key-energy-policies-can-help-us-turn-corner-climate. Accessed 19 July 2016.

Revkin, Andrew C. “Clinton on Climate Change.” The New York Times , 17 May 2007, www.nytimes.com/video/world/americas/1194817109438/clinton-on-climate-change.html. Accessed 29 July 2016.

Shulte, Bret. "Putting a Price on Pollution." US News & World Report , vol. 142, no. 17, 14 May 2007, p. 37. Ebsco, Access no: 24984616.

Uzawa, Hirofumi. Economic Theory and Global Warming . Cambridge UP, 2003.

GEG 120-001 - Benson-Lira - Spring 2024

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MLA Citations Quick Links

  • MLA Sample Works Cited Page Provides an example of a Works Cited page in 8th edition MLA format.
  • MLA Formatting and Style Guide Click here for sample 8th edition MLA citations for online sources.
  • MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics How to cite in the body of your paper.

APA Citations Quick Links

  • APA Style Works Cited Basic Rules This page gives basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper.
  • APA Style in-text citations Learn how to cite sources in the body of your paper.

Try Some Citation Tools.

We recommend always double-checking citations created by citation generators.

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Practice Citing in MLA

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APA Style (7th ed.): Citation Guide

  • Getting Started with APA

Formatting a Paper in APA

Apa paper visual guide.

  • Citing Sources in APA
  • APA Citation Examples
  • Other APA Resources
  • Citation Guides Homepage

Sample Student Paper

  • Sample APA Paper

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  • Paper Formatting
  • Headings within the Paper
  • References Page

APA Basic Formatting Rules for Student Papers

The following guidelines are the basic formatting rules outlined in the  APA Publication Manual  7th edition. If your instructor sets different requirements, always use your instructor's guidelines first.

  • clearly legible, regular-sized font
  • recommendations: 12pt Times New Roman, 11pt Arial, 11pt Calibri, 10pt Lucida Sans Unicode, 11pt Georgia
  • double spaced throughout all parts of the paper including title, headings, and footnotes
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph by 1/2-inch (tab)
  • left-justified for the body of the paper

Running Head & Page Numbers:

  • not required to include shortened version of the title for student papers- unless requested by your instructor
  • include the page number in the top right corner of all pages

APA Title Page for Student Papers

Page number:.

  • include the page number in the top right margin. (It will be 1 for the Title Page. Continue numbering throughout the paper and References page.)

Heading about a 1/3 of the way down the page:

  • Paper Title : bold, centered
  • Author : your name
  • Institutional Affiliation : Lone Star College- Online
  • Course : your course number and the name of the course (ex. PSYC 2301: General Psychology)
  • Instructor : your instructor's name (ex- Prof. Jane Smith)
  • Due Date:  Month day, year format (ex- January 1, 2024)

APA Headings within the Body of the Paper

Paper title:.

  • include on the first line of the first page of the body of your paper
  • bold and centered

Headings and Sub-headings (use when needed)

  • APA uses a hierarchy of five levels for headings within the paper
  • short paper may not need headings at all

References Page Formatting

The following guidelines are the basic formatting rules outlined in the APA Publication Manual  7th edition. If your instructor sets different requirements, always use your instructor's guidelines first.

  • needs to start on a new page following the end of your paper
  • include the title References centered on the first line of the page
  • everything after the title is left-justified
  • listed in alphabetical order by the first part of the citation (usually the author)
  • double spaced throughout all parts
  • Each citation should have a hanging indent- or it should start at the left margin and then have all lines after it indented by 1/2-inch

Click on the information circles for tips on how to use Microsoft Word to format your paper in APA Style.

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  • Last Updated: Feb 20, 2024 2:24 PM
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Generate accurate MLA citations for free

  • Knowledge Base
  • How to cite a website in MLA

How to Cite a Website in MLA | Format & Examples

Published on July 17, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on January 17, 2024.

An MLA website citation includes the author’s name , the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the website (in italics), the publication date , and the URL (without “https://”).

If the author is unknown, start with the title of the page instead. If the publication date is unknown, or if the content is likely to change over time, add an access date at the end instead.

Websites don’t usually have page numbers, so the in-text citation is just the author name in parentheses. If you already named the author in your sentence, you don’t need to add a parenthetical citation.

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

The format differs for other types of online content, such as YouTube videos , TED Talks , and podcasts .

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Table of contents

Citing online articles, citing web pages with no author or date, citing an entire website, publishers in mla website citations, frequently asked questions about mla style.

The format for citing an article from an online newspaper , magazine, or blog is the same as a general web page citation. If the article is a PDF of a print article, the format differs slightly .

Write the article title in title case (all major words capitalized). Use the most recent publication date on the page, including the day, month, and year if available.

Note, however, that a different format is used when citing online articles from academic journals.

Learn how to cite journal articles in MLA

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

If no author is credited, leave out this element, and start with the title of the page or article instead.

Use a shortened version of the title in your in-text citation. The shortened title must match the first words of your Works Cited entry.

If no publication date is available, leave out this element, and include the date on which you accessed the page at the end.

Note that a specific format exists for citing online dictionary entries .

If you cite a whole website, there is usually no named author, so the Works Cited entry begins with the name of the website in italics.

If the website has a publication or copyright date (usually found in the footer), include this; if not, add the date when you accessed the website at the end of the citation.

When should you cite a whole website?

Most of the time, you should cite the specific page or article where you found the information. However, you might have to cite the entire website if you are giving a general overview of its content, referring only to the homepage, or quoting text that appears on many different pages across the site (such as a company’s slogan).

If you cite multiple pages or articles from the same website, you should include a separate Works Cited entry for each one.

Website publisher in an MLA website citation

If the publisher is the same as the name of the website, you leave it out of the citation to avoid repetition.

If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .

If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).

If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:

  • Rajaram  argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
  • The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”

If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.

Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.

This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .

The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style , but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals , newspapers , websites , or any other publication. Use italics for the title of the source where the article was published. For example:

Use the same formatting in the Works Cited entry and when referring to the article in the text itself.

The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator .

Search by book title, page URL, or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2024, January 17). How to Cite a Website in MLA | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/website-citation/

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Sample Essays: Writing with MLA Style

Congratulations to the students whose essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style! Essays were selected as examples of excellent student writing that use MLA style for citing sources. Essays have been lightly edited. 

If your institution subscribes to MLA Handbook Plus , you can access annotated versions of the essays selected in 2022 and 2023. 

Writing with MLA Style: 2023 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2023 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut (chair); Rachel Ihara, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York; and Tarshia L. Stanley, Wagner College.

Caroline Anderson (Pepperdine University)

“ L’Appel du Vide : Making Spaces for Sinful Exploration in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ”

Hunter Daniels (University of South Carolina, Aiken)

“Biblical Legalism and Cultural Misogyny in The Tragedy of Mariam ”

Aspen English (Southern Utah University)

“Putting the ‘Comm’ in Comics: A Communication-Theory-Informed Reading of Graphic Narratives”

Raul Martin (Lamar University)

“The Book-Object Binary: Access and Sustainability in the Academic Library”

Grace Quasebarth (Salve Regina University)

“Finding a Voice: The Loss of Machismo Criticisms through Translation in Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits ”

Writing with MLA Style: 2022 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2022 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2022 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut; Jessica Edwards, University of Delaware (chair); and Deborah H. Holdstein, Columbia College Chicago.

Kaile Chu (New York University, Shanghai)

“Miles Apart: An Investigation into Dedicated Online Communities’ Impact on Cultural Bias”

Sietse Hagen (University of Groningen)

“The Significance of Fiction in the Debate on Dehumanizing Media Portrayals of Refugees”

Klara Ismail (University of Exeter)

“Queering the Duchess: Exploring the Body of the Female Homosexual in John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi ”

Yasmin Mendoza (Whittier College)

“Banning without Bans”

Niki Nassiri (Stony Brook University)

“Modern-Day US Institutions and Slavery in the Twenty-First Century”

Samantha Wilber (Palm Beach Atlantic University)

“‘Pero, tu no eres facil’: The Poet X as Multicultural Bildungsroman”

Writing with MLA Style: 2019 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2019 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2019 selection committee was composed of Jessica Edwards, University of Delaware; Deborah H. Holdstein, Columbia College Chicago (chair); and Liana Silva, César E. Chavez High School, Houston, Texas.

Catherine Charlton (University of King’s College, Nova Scotia)

“‘Coal Is in My Blood’: Public and Private Representations of Community Identity in Springhill, Nova Scotia”

Alyiah Gonzales (California Polytechnic State University)

“Disrupting White Normativity in Langston Hughes’s ‘I, Too’ and Toni Morrison’s ‘Recitatif’”

Meg Matthias (Miami University, Ohio)

“Prescriptions of (Living) Historical Happiness: Gendered Performance and Racial Comfort in Reenactment”

Jennifer Nguyen  (Chaminade University of Honolulu)

“The Vietnam War, the American War: Literature, Film, and Popular Memory”

Emily Schlepp (Northwest University)

“A Force of Love: A Deconstructionist Reading of Characters in Dickens’s  Great Expectations ”

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COMMENTS

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    Research and Citation MLA Style MLA Formatting and Style Guide MLA Formatting and Style Guide MLA Formatting and Style Guide The following overview should help you better understand how to cite sources using MLA 9 th edition, including how to format the Works Cited page and in-text citations.

  2. PDF Formatting a Research Paper

    Formatting a Research Paper If your instructor has specific requirements for the format of your research paper, check them before preparing your final draft. When you submit your paper, be sure to keep a secure copy. The most common formatting is presented in the sections below: Margins Text Formatting Heading and Title

  3. MLA Format

    The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for creating MLA citations and formatting academic papers. This quick guide will help you set up your MLA format paper in no time. Start by applying these MLA format guidelines to your document: Times New Roman 12 1″ page margins Double line spacing ½" indent for new paragraphs

  4. MLA Sample Paper

    MLA Sample Paper #1 If you've been wondering how to produce a research paper that is strong in both formatting and writing, you've come to the right place. Check out our first sample paper below. It is a helpful and clearly labeled visual aid to refer to.

  5. Student's Guide to MLA Style (2021)

    Home Knowledge Base MLA Style Student's Guide to MLA Style (2021) | Citation & Format MLA style citations are commonly used by students and academics in the humanities. This guide follows the 9th edition (the most recent) of the MLA Handbook, published by the Modern Language Association in 2021. To cite sources in MLA style, you need

  6. MLA Works Cited

    Like the rest of an MLA format paper, the Works Cited should be left-aligned and double-spaced with 1-inch margins. You can use the free Scribbr Citation Generator to create and manage your Works Cited list. Choose your source type and enter the URL, DOI or title to get started. Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

  7. MLA: Citing Within Your Paper

    How do I format an MLA In-Text Citation? An in-text citation can be included in one of two ways as shown below: 1. Put all the citation information at the end of the sentence: 2. Include author name as part of the sentence (if author name unavailable, include title of work): Each source cited in-text must also be listed on your Works Cited page.

  8. MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

    MLA research paper format requires that the entire research paper or MLA format essay includes double-spaced lines. Double-spaced lines should be found in between the written body of the work, in the heading, and also on the MLA reference page. ... "Formatting a Research Paper." The MLA Style Center, Modern Language Association of America ...

  9. MLA Formatting

    Type the title of your paper in the top, center of the first page following the standard rules for titles in MLA Style. Include your last name and page numbers, consecutively on all pages in the upper right-hand corner. Include a list of works cited beginning on a new page at the end of your paper.

  10. Formatting Your Research Project

    Formatting Your Research Project To learn how to set up your research project in MLA format, visit our free sample chapter on MLA Handbook Plus , the only authorized subscription-based digital resource featuring the MLA Handbook, available for unlimited simultaneous users at subscribing institutions.

  11. MLA Style Center

    Principle Citation Generators and MLA Style Which es: A Guide to Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Clauses To cite a video game, follow the template of core elements, as you would for any other source. Below we provide in-depth explanations for each…

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    MLA Handbook, 9th edition by The Modern Language; The Modern Language Association of America Relied on by generations of writers, the MLA Handbookis published by the Modern Language Association and is the only official, authorized book on MLA style. The new, ninth edition builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements--facts, common to most sources ...

  13. How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA

    An MLA Works Cited entry for a journal article contains the author (s); article title; journal name; volume and issue; month and year; page range; and a DOI if accessed online. In the in-text citation, include the author's last name and the page number. Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

  14. In-text citation

    If two or more works by the same author appear in the Works cited list, add a title to your in-text citation, e.g. author mentioned in text: ( Beloved 35), author's name and title in text: (35), author's name and title not included in text (Morrison, Beloved 35). Where no author, use title. If an entry in the Works cited list begins with a ...

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    Formatting an MLA 9th in-text citation can be tricky, but when you locate all the necessary information, it is quite easy. Please use the information below to assist you in making an accurate in-text citation to ensure you are not plagiarizing borrowed information.

  17. Free MLA Citation Generator

    How to cite in MLA format. MLA is one of the most common citation styles used by students and academics. This quick guide explains how to cite sources according to the 9th edition (the most recent) of the MLA Handbook.You can also use Scribbr's free citation generator to automatically generate references and in-text citations.. An MLA citation has two components:

  18. MLA Sample Works Cited Page

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  20. In-Text Citations: An Overview

    In-Text Citations: An Overview. In-text citations are brief, unobtrusive references that direct readers to the works-cited-list entries for the sources you consulted and, where relevant, to the location in the source being cited. An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that di­rects your reader to the entry in the ...

  21. Formatting a Paper in APA

    APA Headings within the Body of the Paper. The following guidelines are the basic formatting rules outlined in the APA Publication Manual 7th edition. If your instructor sets different requirements, always use your instructor's guidelines first. Paper Title: include on the first line of the first page of the body of your paper; bold and centered

  22. How to Cite a Website in MLA

    Revised on January 17, 2024. An MLA website citation includes the author's name, the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the website (in italics), the publication date, and the URL (without "https://"). If the author is unknown, start with the title of the page instead. If the publication date is unknown, or if the content ...

  23. Sample Essays: Writing with MLA Style

    Essays were selected as examples of excellent student writing that use MLA style for citing sources. Essays have been lightly edited. If your institution subscribes to MLA Handbook Plus, you can access annotated versions of the essays selected in 2022 and 2023. Writing with MLA Style: 2023 Edition