Citing Resources in MLA Style

The MLA citation style is typically used by English and other academic departments in the humanities.

NOTE: Significant changes were made to the MLA Style in 2009. Please review the changes and contact a librarian if you have any questions.


Current copies of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers can be found on RESERVE at:
LB2369. G53 2009.

Remember that your list of resources should be presented in alphabetical order by author's last name.

Sample Citations
Online Help
Annotated Bibliographies

Sample Citations
When writing a citation in the MLA style, pay particular attention to italics, punctuation, indentation, and capitalization. With the MLA Style, quotations and borrowed phrases are indicated as such within the text, with the author's name and page number cited in parentheses. This variation is used instead of footnotes or endnotes.

Keep the following in mind:
  • A book citation must always include author(s), title (and subtitle), city of publication, publisher, and date of publication.  Other necessary elements, if applicable, include editor, translator, edition, revision, volume number, and source type.
  • An article citation must always include author, title (and subtitle) of article, title of journal/magazine, date of publication, volume/issue number, page numbers, and soure type. 
  • The author always comes first with last name followed by first name, separated with a comma.  Names of subsequent authors are written naturally.  For four or more authors, the abbreviation “et al.” (“and others”) is used after the name of the first author.
  • Titles of articles and essays are always put in quotation marks.
  • Titles of books and journals are always italicized.
  • Second and subsequent lines are always indented.
  • Every entry must include a medium of publication designation, such as the following: Print, Web, Radio, Television, CD, Audiocassette, Film, Videocassette, DVD, Performance, Lecture, and PDF file.
  • For an article in an online journal or an article from a database, give page numbers if they are available; if they are not, use the abbreviation “n. pag."

Many more samples of citations presented in the MLA style can be found in the Seventh Edition of The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers on Reserve in the library. Please consult this book or a librarian for help with unusual resources.


Book with Two Authors:
Note: italicize the title of the book.

(Note indents, order of authors' names and use of periods.)
Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The
     Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination
. New
     Haven: Yale Universtiy Press, 1979. Print.


Scholarly Article:
Note: put the title of the article in quotes and italicize the title of the journal. This sample includes the volume (50) and issue (4) numbers after the title.

(In a bibliography. Note indents, page numbers, and use of periods and colons.)
Albada, Kelly F. "The Public and Private Dialogue about the American
     Family on Television." Journal of Communication 50.4 (2000): 79-110. PDF file.


Popular Article (with two authors):
Note: put the title of the article in quotes and italicize the title of the journal.

(In a bibliography. Note order of author's names, indents, page numbers, and use of periods and colons.)
Weintraub, Arlene, and Laura Cohen. "A Thousand-Year Plan for Nuclear
     Waste." Business Week 6 May 2002: 94-96. Print.

Newspaper Article:
(In a bibliography. Names of cities not part of titles of foreign newspapers are added in brackets after the title and are not italicized.)
Alaton, Salem. "So, Did They Live Happily Ever After?" Globe and Mail [Toronto]
     27 Dec. 1997: D1+. Web.

(Only the main part of the website is necessary. Do not include codes beyond .edu, .org, .gov, .com, etc.)

Wohl, Anthony S. "Race and Class Overview: Parallels in Racism and Class      Prejudice." The Victorian Web, 2006. Web.



Online Help

Samples of papers written using the MLA style can be found at the following websites:

MLA Style
Official site from the Modern Language Association.

Research and Documentation Online
Diana Hacker's online guide for all citation styles.

Slate Citation Machine
Excellent tool for citing sources in MLA and APA style. Simply fill in the form for the type of source you are citing, I.E. a book, journal article, web site etc. and this tool will show you the way to cite the reference. Be careful of your capitalization and indentation.

  Updated: October 26, 2010