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Citation Guides: MLA Style

Quick reference to frequently used citation formats for APA, APSA, Chicago/Turabian, and MLA styles. For more information, please reach out to you Friendly Lanier Tech Librarian.

More Information

MLA style format can be complex.  For more information on how to cite other common sources or for more in depth explanations of citation formats, please open the pdf below, refer to the official MLA Guide found in your campus library or consult with your instructor or campus librarian.

URL Formats & Access Dates

Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as YouTube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.

The exception to eliminating all https:// from URLs is when a DOI is in use. Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL.  Always precede the DOI number string with the following:

Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL (these sometimes have problems with format so be sure to double check it when using). If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.  

***MLA uses the phrase, “Accessed” to denote which date you accessed the web page when available or necessary. It is not required to do so, but it is encouraged (especially when there is no copyright date listed on a website).  It is also good practice especially because videos, movies, and music come and go from streaming services.

General Format Requirements

1.1 Margins:  1" on all four edges of the page

1.2 Text Formatting:  Always choose an easily readable typeface (Times New Roman is just one example) in which the regular type style contrasts clearly with the italic and set it to anywhere between 11 and 13 points, unless your instructor specifies a different font size. Do not justify the lines of text at the right margin and turn off the automatic hyphenation feature in your word processing program.  Double-space the entire research paper, including quotations, notes, and the list of works cited.  Indent the first line of a paragraph half an inch from the left margin.  Indent block quotations half an inch as well.  Leave one space after a period or other concluding punctuation mark, unless your instructor prefers two spaces.

*MLA Handbook. Ninth edition., The Modern Language Association of America, 2021, p.1-2.

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Watch & Learn

Print Book

Image of an MLA citation example format of a print book citation

Electronic Book

Image of an MLA citation example format of an ebook citation

Scholarly Article from a Library Database

Image of an MLA citation example format of a scholarly journal article citation


Image of an MLA citation example format of a video citation

Individual Webpage from a Website

Image of an MLA format citation of an entire website and an individual page from a website

In-Text Citations

How to Insert an In-Text Citation into Your Paper

Author-Page Style

MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence.

Sample Citation:

Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).

Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).

In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author


(Shortened Title for a Short Work) or Italicize Shortened Title for a Longer Work

Sample Citation:

We see so many global warming hotspots in North America likely because this region has "more readily accessible climatic data and more comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change . . ." ("Impact of Global Warming").

Author-Page Citation for Classic and Literary Works with Multiple Editions

Page numbers are always required, but additional citation information can help literary scholars, who may have a different edition of a classic work, like Marx and Engels's The Communist Manifesto. In such cases, give the page number of your edition (making sure the edition is listed in your Works Cited page, of course) followed by a semicolon, and then the appropriate abbreviations for volume (vol.), book (bk.), part (pt.), chapter (ch.), section (sec.), or paragraph (par.).

Sample Citation:

Marx and Engels described human history as marked by class struggles (79; ch. 1).

Citing Authors with Same Last Names

Sample Citation:

Although some medical ethicists claim that cloning will lead to designer children (R. Miller 12), others note that the advantages for medical research outweigh this consideration (A. Miller 46).

Citing a Work by Multiple Authors

Two Authors: (Last Name of First Author and Last Name of Second Author Page Number)

Sample Citation:

The authors claim that surface reading looks at what is “evident, perceptible, apprehensible in texts” (Best and Marcus 9).

Three or More Authors: (Last Name of First Author et al. Page Number)

Sample Citation:

The authors claim that one cause of obesity in the United States is government-funded farm subsidies (Franck et al. 327).

Citing Multiple Works by the Same Author

If you cite more than one work by an author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it from the others. Put short titles of books in italics and short titles of articles in quotation marks.

Sample Citation:

Citing two articles by the same author:

Lightenor has argued that computers are not useful tools for small children ("Too Soon" 38), though he has acknowledged elsewhere that early exposure to computer games does lead to better small motor skill development in a child's second and third year ("Hand-Eye Development" 17).

Citing two books by the same author:

Murray states that writing is "a process" that "varies with our thinking style" (Write to Learn 6). Additionally, Murray argues that the purpose of writing is to "carry ideas and information from the mind of one person into the mind of another" (A Writer Teaches Writing 3).

Citing Electronic Sources

Electronic sources may include web pages and online news or magazine articles.

Sample Citation:

One online film critic stated that Fitzcarraldo "has become notorious for its near-failure and many obstacles" (Taylor, “Fitzcarraldo”).