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How Do I Cite in MLA?

A guide to the 9th edition of the MLA style of citation.

Preparing Your Works Cited List

Your Works Cited list should include all the sources you quoted, paraphrased, or summarized in your paper. The listing appears on its own page at the end of your paper. Pages continue to be numbered in the upper right corner. When formatting your Works Cited page, follow these guidelines:

  • Centre the heading Works Cited at the top of page. Do not italicize or use quotation marks around the heading.
  • Arrange sources in alphabetical order by the author's name (or by the title if there is no author named).
  • Double space the entire list (both within and between entries).
  • Indent the second and subsequent lines of each entry 0.5 inches (approximately five to seven spaces) from the left (also known as a hanging indent).

For more information (with an image), visit Placement of the List of Works Cited (a free chapter from the online version of the MLA Handbook, 9th ed.)

Core Elements of a Citation

MLA Template of Core Elements

When citing a work, refer to the MLA template of core elements noted below. The template identifies the information that is typically included in each entry in the list of Works Cited. The order of elements and the punctuation following each element within a citation are also shown in the template.

MLA Template of Core Elements [Image from MLA Style Center]
Author.  primary creator of the work (e.g., an individual, group of persons, organization, government or corporate entity)

Title of Source. title of the work (if absent, provide your own concise, informative description of the work as the title)

Title of Container, a work that contains another work (e.g., a journal is a container for articles, a book can be a container for a collection of poems or short stories, a vinyl album can be a container for songs)

Contributor, someone other than the author that contributes to the work (e.g., editor, film director, illustrator, music conductor, narrator, translator)

Version, the work is released in more than one form (e.g., 2nd ed., e-book ed., director's cut, version 2.36)

Number, the work is part of a sequence (e.g., volume, issue, episode, season)

Publisher, the entity primarily responsible for producing the work or making it available to the public (e.g., publisher, studio, distributor, network, theatre company)

Publication Date, when the version of the work was published (e.g, date of publication, date of revision, date of upload, date of posting, forthcoming publication date)

Location. depends on the format of the work (e.g., page range, DOI, permalink, URL, place)


NOTES:

  • If the work being cited is missing a core element, omit it from the citation.
  • To include additional information about the work, use Supplemental Elements.
  • Always end your citation entry with a period.

Formatting / Styling Core Elements

Authors

  • For individual authors, use surname, add a comma, and then the given name middle name or initial.
    e.g.,  Albrecht, Milton C.
  • If there are two authors, put them in the same order as noted in the work. Invert the first author's name (as noted in the example above) followed by a comma, the word and, then the second author's name in standard form.
    e.g.,  Farris, Pamela J., and Joanne Park
  • If there are three or more authors, list only the first author in inverted form ( i.e., surname first), followed by a comma and the abbreviation et al. (Latin phrase for "and others").
    e.g., Zerr, Paul, et al.

Titles

  • Italicize titles if the work is self-contained and independent. Titles of books, plays, films, journals, magazines, newspapers, databases, and websites are italicized.
    e.g., The Picture of Dorian Gray, The New York Times, HathiTrust Digital Library, YouTube
  • Place titles in quotation marks if the source is part of a larger work. Titles of articles, essays, chapters, poems, web pages, songs and speeches are placed in quotation marks.
    e.g., "The Road Not Taken", "All You Need Is Love", "I Have a Dream"
  • Use title case (or headline-style) for English-language titles. Always capitalize the first and last word (of both the title and subtitle), and capitalize all major words (nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs). Unsure about title case? Try the Capitalize My Title tool.
    e.g., Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, To Kill a Mockingbird, Wizard of Oz

Containers

  • Some works may have two containers. For example, a television episode's first container can be the television series itself (e.g., Seinfeld), but it can also exist in a second, larger container, such as a streaming service (e.g., Netflix).  When citing a work with two containers, the format is as follows:

Author. "Title of Source." Title of Container, Contributor(s), Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location. Title of Second Container, Contributor(s), Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

In most cases, only the title and location of the second container are included in the citation.

Below is a citation for an article residing in two containers - the first container is a journal (i.e, Modernism/Modernity) and the second container is a database (i.e., Project Muse).

Gupta, Nikhil. "Oscar Wilde’s Hair: Phobic Reactions and Novel Self-Fashioning at the Turn of the Century." Modernism/Modernity, vol. 25, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 73-91. Project Muse, https://doi.org/10.1353/mod.2018.0003.

Contributors

  • When contributors are listed, include a label describing the role they played.
    e.g., conducted by, illustrated by, produced by
  • The descriptive labels for contributors should be spelled out in full (not abbreviated).
    e.g., adapted by, edited by, translated by
  • Capitalization of the descriptive label depends on the punctuation directly preceding the label.
    If preceded by a comma, the first word is not capitalized. e.g., directed by
    If preceded by a period, the first word is capitalized.  e.g. Directed by

Version

  • Ordinal numbers should be written using Arabic numerals (1,2,3) with no superscript for the suffix.
    e.g., 3rd, 88th
  • The words revised and edition should be abbreviated.
    i.e., rev. ed., 14th ed.

Number

  • The words volume and number are abbreviated in this element.
    i.e.,  vol. ,  no. 
  • Use Arabic numerals (1,2,3) for this element.
    e.g., Volume Five becomes vol. 5,  Number XXXVI becomes no. 36
  • When a source has more than one number, identify them and separate the components with a comma
  • e.g., vol. 26, no. 5

Publisher

  • When the name of an academic press contains the words University Press, use the abbreviation UP or replace the words with the letters U and P when the words are not adjacent to each other [new for MLA 9th ed.]
    e.g., Oxford University Press becomes Oxford UP, University of Toronto Press becomes U of Toronto P
  • When the name of an academic press includes the word Press, but not the word University, spell out the word Press in full.
    e.g., MIT Press, RIT Press
  • Replace ampersands (&) or plus signs (+) in a publisher's name with the word and.
    e.g., Simon & Schuster becomes Simon and Schuster, McClelland & Stewart becomes McClelland and Stewart
  • Omit initial articles (e.g., The) and legal corporate terms such as Company (Co.), Corporation (Corp.), Incorporated (Inc.) and Limited (Ltd.) from a publisher's name.
    e.g., The Key Publishing House Inc. becomes Key Publishing House, Macmillan Publishers Ltd. becomes Macmillan Publishers

Publication Date

  • Abbreviate any months with more than four letters, followed by a period.
    i.e., Jan.  Feb.  Mar.  Apr.  Aug.  Sept.  Oct.  Nov.  Dec.
  • Seasons should not be capitalized. [new for MLA 9th ed.]
    e.g., winter 2016
  • When including complete dates, use the day-month-year format.
    e.g., 6 July 2019
  • Use Arabic numerals (1, 2,3) for years.
    e.g., MMXX becomes 2020

Location

  • The abbreviation for page numbers is p. (for page) or pp. (for pages).
  • Page numbers should use the same numeric symbols and case as the source.
    e.g., pp. v-xxii, pp. B6-B12, p. 45
  • If page numbers are not available (particularly with online sources) use par. or pars. for paragraph numbers.
  • For online sources, the location in order of preference, is the DOI, permalink or URL.
    • When a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is attached to a source (such as a scholarly journal article), use the DOI.
      Precede the DOI's alphanumeric string (e.g.,10.1353/pmc.2019.0017) with https://doi.org/. [new for MLA 9th ed.]
      e.g., https://doi.org/10.1353/pmc.2019.0017
    • When there is no DOI, use a permalink, a shorter, stable version of a URL.
      These links are often labelled Permalink, Permanent link, Persistent URL, Stable URL, Document URL or URI.
      If not readily visible, look for a Cite, Share or Actions button to find the permalink.
      e.g., https://muse.jhu.edu/article/803309
    • When a DOI or permalink are not available, the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) noted in the web browser's address bar can be used.
      e.g., https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/article-muchmusic-relaunches-tiktok-gen-z-millennials
    • The http:// or https:// protocol of a permalink or URL can be included or omitted. [option new for MLA 9th ed.]
      e.g., https://www.kanopy.com or www.kanopy.com
      The http:// or https:// protocol should be included with DOIs. [new for MLA 9th ed.]
      e.g.,  https://doi.org/10.2307/2870706
    • When a URL spans more than one line, break the URL, but do not add extra spaces or hyphens. Ensure the broken URL follows the hanging indent format.
    • If a URL is very long (greater than 3 full lines), it can be shortened to at least the host component of the URL, e.g, https://go.gale.com/ps
      Avoid using URLs generated by shortening services such as bit.ly.
    • You may choose whether or not to hyperlink URLs. 
  • Since online locations tend to change, and because there can be multiple versions of the same source online, using containers (e.g. JSTOR, Netflix, Spotify) in your citation will help the reader access and verify the source.
BOOK BY ONE AUTHOR (PRINT)

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. Shelley, Mary.
  • Title of Source. Frankenstein.
  • Title of Container,
  • Contributor,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher, Penguin Classics,
  • Publication Date, 2003.
  • Location.

Works Cited Entry:

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Penguin Classics, 2003.

 

Author. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

 

BOOK BY TWO AUTHORS (PRINT)

MLA Template of Core Elements: 

  • Author. Ferguson, Will, and Ian Ferguson.
  • Title of Source. How to Be a Canadian.
  • Title of Container, 
  • Contributor,
  • Version,
  • Number, 
  • Publisher, Douglas and McIntyre,
  • Publication Date, 2007.
  • Location.

Works Cited Entry:

Ferguson, Will, and Ian Ferguson. How to Be a Canadian. Douglas and McIntyre, 2007.

 

Authors. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

EDITED BOOK (PRINT)

MLA Template of Core Elements: 

  • Author. Foucault, Michel.
  • Title of Source. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason.
  • Title of Container,
  • Contributor, Translated by Richard Howard,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher, Vintage-Random House,
  • Publication Date, 1988.
  • Location.

Works Cited Entry:

Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Translated by Richard Howard, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

 

Author. Title of Book. Translator, Publisher, Publication Date.

BOOK (ONLINE)

MLA defines an e-book as a digital book that lacks a URL and requires software to read on a personal device such as a Kindle or a Kobo. The Version element should be used to indicate when you are citing an e-book (i.e., e-book ed.). The following online books are not considered e-book editions by MLA as they possess URLs.

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. Austen, Jane.
  • Title of Source. Pride and Prejudice.
  • Title of Container,
  • Contributor, Edited by Pat Rogers,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher, Cambridge UP,
  • Publication Date, 2006.
  • Location.
  • Title of Second Container, Scholars Portal Books,
  • Location. https://books.scholarsportal.info/uri/ebooks/ebooks2/ cambridge/2010-08-18/1/9780521825146.

Works Cited Entry:

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Edited by Pat Rogers, Cambridge UP, 2006. Scholars Portal Books, https://books.scholarsportal.info/uri/ebooks/ebooks2/cambridge/2010-08-18/1/9780521825146.

 

Author. Title of Book. Editor, Publisher, Publication Date, Database Name, URL (permalink).

CHAPTER IN A BOOK (ONLINE)

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. Diggle, James.      
  • Title of Source. "The Violence of Clytemnestra."
  • Title of Container, Rebel Women: Staging Ancient Greek Drama Today,
  • Contributor, edited by Stephen Wilmer, and John Dillon,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher, Bloomsbury Publishing,
  • Publication Date, 2005,
  • Location. pp. 215-221.
  • Title of Second Container, ProQuest Ebook Central,
  • Location. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/mcmu/detail.action?docID=1715657.

Works Cited Entry:

Diggle, James. "The Violence of Clytemnestra." Rebel Women: Staging Ancient Greek Drama Today, edited by Stephen Wilmer, and John Dillon, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005, pp. 215-221. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/mcmu/detail.action?docID=1715657.

 

Author of Chapter. "Title of Book Chapter." Title of Book, Editors, Publisher, Page Range of Chapter, Database Name, URL (permalink).

JOURNAL ARTICLE (ONLINE)

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. Huth, Kimberly.
  • Title of Source. "Figures of Pain in Early Modern English Tragedy."
  • Title of Container, Renaissance Drama,
  • Contributor,
  • Version,
  • Number, vol. 42, no. 2,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date, fall 2014,
  • Location. pp. 169-190.
  • Title of Second Container, JSTOR,
  • Location. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/678121.

Works Cited Entry:

Huth, Kimberly. "Figures of Pain in Early Modern English Tragedy." Renaissance Drama, vol. 42, no. 2, fall 2014, pp. 169-90. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/678121.

 

Author. "Title of Journal Article." Title of Journal, Volume, Issue, Publication Date, Page Range of Journal Article, Database Name, URL (permalink).

MAGAZINE ARTICLE (ONLINE)

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. Blackstock, Cindy.
  • Title of Source. "Screaming into Silence." 
  • Title of Container, Maclean's,
  • Contributor, 
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date, 30 June 2021,
  • Location. https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/residential-schools-survivors-cindy-blackstock/.

Works Cited Entry:

Blackstock, Cindy. "Screaming into Silence." Maclean's, 30 June 2021, https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/residential-schools-survivors-cindy-blackstock/.

 

Author. "Title of Magazine Article." Title of Magazine, Publication Date, URL.

NEWSPAPER ARTICLE (ONLINE)

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author.  McCullough, Kate.
  • Title of Source. "A Touch of Class: In Person, Online, Virtual, Hybrid."
  • Title of Container, The Hamilton Spectator,
  • Contributor,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date,12 July 2021,
  • Location. p. A5.
  • Title of Second Container, Nexis Uni,
  • Location. https://advance.lexis.com/api/permalink/6e9e8bac-4083-40cc-935a-b50aa98c7812/?context=1516831.

Works Cited Entry:

McCullough, Kate. "A Touch of Class: In Person, Online, Virtual, Hybrid."The Hamilton Spectator, 12 July 2021, p. A5. Nexis Uni, https://advance.lexis.com/api/permalink/6e9e8bac-4083-40cc-935a-b50aa98c7812/?context=1516831.

 

Author. "Title of News Article." Title of Newspaper, Publication Date, Page. Database Name, URL (permalink).

ARTICLE / WEB PAGE (ONLINE)

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. Weaver, Jackson.
  • Title of Source. "How Canada Is Failing Its Black Filmmakers."
  • Title of Container, CBC,
  • Contributor,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date,10 July 2021,
  • Location. https://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/black-filmmakers-canada-1.6097338.

Works Cited Entry:

Weaver, Jackson. "How Canada Is Failing Its Black Filmmakers." CBC, 10 July 2021, https://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/black-filmmakers-canada-1.6097338.

 

Author. "Title of Article/Web Page." Website, Publication Date, URL.

PAINTING (ONLINE)

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. Picasso, Pablo.
  • Title of Source. Guernica.
    • Supplemental Element.1937.
  • Title of Container, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía,
  • Contributor,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date,
  • Location. https://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/collection/artwork/guernica.

Works Cited Entry:

Picasso, Pablo. Guernica. 1937. Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia, https://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/collection/artwork/guernica.

 

Author. Title of Art Work. Date of Creation. Website, URL.

PHOTOGRAPH (ONLINE)

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. Apollo 17 Crew.
  • Title of Source. The Blue Marble.
    • Supplemental Element. 1972.
  • Title of Container, NASA,
  • Contributor,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date,
  • Location. https://images-assets.nasa.gov/image/as17-148-22727/as17-148-22727~orig.jpg.

Works Cited Entry:

Apollo 17 Crew. The Blue Marble. 1972. NASA, https://images-assets.nasa.gov/image/as17-148-22727/as17-148-22727~orig.jpg.

 

Author. Title of Photograph. Date of Creation. Website, URL.

 

MOVIE

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author.
  • Title of Source. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Title of Container,
  • Contributor, Directed by Marielle Heller,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher, Twentieth Century Fox,
  • Publication Date, 2018.
  • Location.
  • Title of Second Container, Criterion On-Demand,
  • Location. https://media3.criterionpic.com/display/006?t=F032006.

Works Cited Entry:

Can You Ever Forgive Me? Directed by Marielle Heller, Twentieth Century Fox, 2018. Criterion On-Demand, https://media3.criterionpic.com/display/006?t=F032006.

 

Title of Movie. Director, Production Company, Year of Release. Database, URL (permalink).

NOTE: When the title of source ends in a question mark (?) or exclamation point (!), a period is not required after this element.

TELEVISION EPISODE

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. 
  • Title of Source. "The Rains of Castamere."
  • Title of Container, Game of Thrones,
  • Contributor, written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter,
  • Version,
  • Number, season 3, episode 9,
  • Publisher, HBO,
  • Publication Date, 2013.
  • Location. 

Works Cited Entry:

"The Rains of Castamere." Game of Thrones, written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter, season 3, episode 9, HBO, 2013.

 

"Title of Episode." Title of Television Series, Writers and Director of Episode, Season Number, Episode Number, Production/Distribution Company, Air Date.

NOTE: If the episode was viewed on the original air date, the complete date can be provided (i.e., 2 June 2013), otherwise the year alone is adequate.

 

VIDEO
MLA Template of Core Elements:
 
  • Author. Styles, Harry.
  • Title of Source. "Watermelon Sugar."
  • Title of Container, YouTube,
  • Contributor,
  • Version, official video,
  • Number,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date, 18 May 2020,
  • Location. https://youtu.be/E07s5ZYygMg.

Works Cited Entry:

Styles, Harry. "Watermelon Sugar." YouTube, official video, 18 May 2020, https://youtu.be/E07s5ZYygMg.

 

Author. "Title of Video." Website, Version, Date Posted, URL.

PODCAST EPISODE

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author.
  • Title of Source. "Seth Rogen Returns."
  • Title of Container, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard,
  • Contributor,
  • Version,
  • Number, episode 324,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date, 10 May 2021,
  • Location. https://armchairexpertpod.com/pods/seth-rogen-returns.

Works Cited Entry:

"Seth Rogen Returns." Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, episode 324, 10 May 2021, https://armchairexpertpod.com/pods/seth-rogen-returns.

 

"Title of Episode." Title of Podcast Series, Episode Number, Air Date, URL.

TWITTER

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. Hughes, Akilah [@AkilahObviously].
  • Title of Source. "I need a playlist for when I deeply consider going to the gym but then don't."
  • Title of Container, Twitter,
  • Contributor,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date, 1 July 2015,
  • Location. https://twitter.com/AkilahObviously/status/616443679344041985.

Works Cited Entry:

Hughes, Akilah [@AkilahObviously]. "I need a playlist for when I deeply consider going to the gym but then don't." Twitter, 1 July 2015, https://twitter.com/AkilahObviously/status/616443679344041985.

 

Author [Twitter handle]. "Tweet in its entirety." Twitter, Date Posted, URL (permalink).

INSTAGRAM

MLA Template of Core Elements:

  • Author. Eugene [@world_record_egg].
  • Title of Source. "Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram."
  • Title of Container, Instagram,
  • Contributor,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Publisher,
  • Publication Date, 4 Jan. 2019,
  • Location. https://www.instagram.com/p/BsOGulcndj-/.

Works Cited Entry:

Eugene [@world_record_egg]. "Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram." Instagram, 4 Jan. 2019, https://www.instagram.com/p/BsOGulcndj-/.

 

Author [Instagram handle]. "First few words of caption." Instagram, Date Posted, URL (permalink).

OTHER - INTERVIEWS, LECTURES, SONGS, PERFORMANCES ...
  • For more information and additional Works Cited examples, visit Citations by Format (MA Style Center)
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