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How Do I Cite in MLA?

MLA Citation

Citing Sources in the Text

  • Provide an in-text citation when quoting/paraphrasing someone else’s work
  • In-text citations should direct the reader to the entry on the Works Cited

Examples

Author not named in text
Macbeth is socially inept because of Lady Macbeth’s controlling nature (Magnusson 25).

Author named in text
According to Magnusson, Macbeth is socially inept because of Lady Macbeth’s controlling nature (25).

Two or three authors
Macbeth is socially inept because of Lady Macbeth’s controlling nature (Magnusson and Willard 25).

Tips

  • If a source has more than three authors, you may state the first author’s name followed by “et al.”
    Example: Smith et al. argue…
  • Use italics if referring to an entire book and use quotation marks if the text is part of a larger work (i.e. if it is an article, poem, short story, etc.).
    Example:  When analyzing the poem, "Kubla Khan," P. Smith notes...
  • Anonymous works are referred to by full or shortened title.
    Example: One article notes that young offenders generally benefit more from personal counselling and vocational training (“Alberta” 36).
    (This citation refers to an unsigned article titled “Alberta Surplus Funds Education").
  • When an information source contains no page numbers just include the author’s name in the text or in parentheses.
    Example: One website describes the side effects associated with this drug (King). 

Note: In-text citations for media (e.g. movies or podcasts) can be referenced by including the range of hours, minutes, or seconds you discuss in the text. For example: (00:1:20-00:01:135).

Preparing the Works Cited

Your “Works Cited” list should include all the sources you quoted, paraphrased, or summarized in your assignment. This listing appears at the end of your assignment. When formatting your “Works Cited,” follow these standards:

  1. Arrange your sources in alphabetical order by the last name of the author or title if no author is named.
  2. Double space the entire list (both within and between entries)
  3. Indent the second and subsequent lines of each entry fives spaces from the left

Avoiding Plagiarism Checklist

  • Is each use of someone else’s material noted in your assignment?
  • Did you reference your sources for graphs, statistics and other borrowed data?
  • Are quotations from another persons’ work exact. Did you use quotation marks?
  • If you paraphrased or summarized someone else’s material did you use your own words and sentence structure?
  • Does your works cited include all the sources you referred to in your assignment?

Citing Print Sources

Below is the general format for any citation:

Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Book

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Example

Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. MacMurray, 1999.

For examples of how to cite multiple authors, Corporate or Organizational Authors, a book with no authors, a translated book, etc. please see this OWL guide.

*Note on abbreviations:  In previous editions certain abbreviations could be used, such as "UP" when referring to a University Press, "ed." for "editor, ", or "trans." for "translated by". Based on the 8th edition these words should be spelled out fully. You should still abbreviate months with four or more letters (e.g. "December" is written as "Dec.").

Citing Electronic Sources

Note on Using URLs in MLA: In lieu of the fact that web addresses tend to change, and because there can be multiple versions of the same document on the web, MLA specifies that using containers (e.g. JSTOR, Netflix, Spotify) in your citation will help the reader access and verify the source.

With MLA you are only required to use the www. address. Do not use the https:// when citing URLs.

If a DOI (digital object identifier) is attached to the document (such as a scholarly journal article) then you are expected to use the DOI instead of the URL.

Online newspapers and magazines often include a “permalink”- this is a shorter, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to find this. Use a permalink instead of a URL if this option is available to you.

Note on Using Abbreviations with Electronic Sources: If page numbers aren’t available, use “par.” or “pars.” (instead of “p.” or “pp.” for page numbers) to note which note the paragraph numbers.

It isn’t required to note the date you accessed the webpage on, but including an “Accessed on” notation in your citation, if one is available, is encouraged. This is particularly encouraged if there is no copyright date listed on the website.

Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Databases): Note that not all web pages will provide the following information. Your job is to collect as much of the following information as possible for your citations:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available)
  • Article name in quotation marks.
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
  • Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed).
  • URL (without the https://)  DOI or permalink.
  • Remember to cite containers after your regular citation. Examples of containers are collections of short stories or poems, a television series, or even a website. A container is anything that is a part of a larger body of works.

Use the following format:

Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

For examples on how to cite Online Scholarly Journal Articles, E-mails, Blog posts, Tweets, YouTube videos and more please visit this OWL guide.

Citing Other Sources

For examples of how to cite lectures, interviews, TV shows and films in MLA please visit this OWL webpage.

Print

Mills Memorial Library (5th floor) LB 2369 .G53 2016. 
 
Websites

The Owl at Purdue

Concordia University Libraries: MLA Style Guide

The MLA Style Center

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