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Citation Help: MLA

MLA Citations, 9th edition

MLA requires two parts: In-text citations throughout your paper and a Works Cited page at the end. 

Jump to: In-text Citations | Works Cited

MLA Templates

Works Cited

A Works Cited page at the end of your document has full citations in alphabetical order formatted with a hanging indent.

General Formatting Rules

  • A "container" in MLA Style is the item that holds the source you used. For example, an article would be your source and the journal it came from is the container. The database you found it in is the second container.
  • MLA style for dates is day-month-year order, with the month abbreviated if it's five or more letters long. 
  • Include the date of access for an online work if a publication date is not provided, if the page content has or may change, or if the web page is no longer accessible.
  • If the resource has no author, then move the title element to the position of the author.

Books or Single Containers

Last name, First name. Title of Container. Publisher, Year.

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. Knopf, 1993.

Sánchez Prado, Ignacio M., editor. Mexican Literature in Theory. Bloomsbury, 2018.

Bearden, Romare. The Train. 1975, MOMA, www.moma.org/collection/works/65232?locale=en.

Smaller Works Inside a Container

Last name, First name. “Title of Smaller Work.” Title of Container, edited by First name Last name, Version, Number, Publisher, Year, Location (Pages, URL, or DOI).

Include as many of the above elements as possible. It is possible to have a second container as part of the Location; sometimes this is the database name, and it should also be italicized. For example:

Book Chapters or Short Stories

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Masque of the Red Death." The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by James A. Harrison, vol. 4, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1902, pp. 250-58.

Articles

Simmons, William J. "Bad Feminism: On Queer-Feminist Relatability and the Production of Truth in Fleabag." Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, vol. 61, no. 1, 2020, pp. 32–46, Project Muse, doi.org/10.13110/framework.61.1.0032.

Multimedia

Beyoncé. "Single Ladies." I Am... Sasha Fierce, Columbia Records, 2008.

For images or graphics reproduced in your document, you can either cite the source only in the caption, if the image is not otherwise referred to in-text, or include brief citation information in the caption and then include a full citation in the Works Cited. For example: 
Figure 1. 

 

Websites

"Places to Study." Southern Methodist University Libraries, www.smu.edu/libraries/spaces/places-study. Accessed 9 March 2022.

Data

Data sets are not specifically covered in the MLA manual. Thus, if it is retrieved from online, cite it as similarly to a website as possible. Include accessed date if the data set will change.

Code Compliance Services Department, Consumer Health Division. "Restaurant and Food Establishment Inspections (Oct. 2016 to Present)." City of Dallas, 2023. www.dallasopendata.com/Services/Restaurant-and-Food-Establishment-Inspections-Octo/dri5-wcct. Accessed 15 May 2023.

ChatGPT

Before using any generative AI tool, such as ChatGPT, for class assignments, refer to your syllabus and check with your professor for guidance.

For guidelines on citing generative AI in MLA, see the official MLA style website.

News/Magazine Article with an Author from a Database

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Newspaper [city of newspaper if local, or less well-known publication], Date of Publication, Page Number if Given. Name of Database.

Einhorn, Catrin. “This Year, Heat Stress Hits Reefs Even Earlier: Foreign Desk.” The New York Times, 2024. ProQuest Central.

Online News/Magazine Article with an Author

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Article.” Title of Website. Publication Date, URL. Accessed Day Month Year

Lozano, Juan A., and Oyekanmi. “Hundreds Rescued from Flooding as Water Continues Rising in Houston and Rual East Texas.” Los Angles Times. 4 May 2024. www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2024-05-04/hundreds-rescued-from-flooding-in-texas-as-water-continue-rising-in-houston. Accessed 16 May 2024.

News/Magazine Article with No Author

If the author's name is not listed, begin the citation with the title of the article.

"Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Newspaper [city of newspaper if local, or less well-known publication], Date of Publication. Name of Database. “AI Does Not Jeopardize the Jobs of Marketing Specialists, Not Yet.” CE Noticias Financieras [Miami], English ed., 2023. Proquest.

“AI Does Not Jeopardize the Jobs of Marketing Specialists, Not Yet.” CE Noticias Financieras [Miami], English ed., 2023. Proquest

Images Reproduced in a Book

One option for citing an image reproduced in a book is to reference the image in text, and then include the book in your work cited list.

In-Text

One artist’s set design included a portrait of the Queen of England repeated four times (Klingelhoefer, fig. 5.7).

Works Cited

Klingelhoefer, Robert. The Craft and Art of Scenic Design : Strategies, Concepts, and Resources. 1st edition, Routledge, 2017, https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315676173.

Another option would be to cite the image as a work contained in another work. Use all the information provided by the source then give the publication information for the source.

Haring, Keith. Untitled. 1988. Keith Haring’s Line: Race and the Performance of Desire, by Ricardo Montez, Duke University Press, 2020, pg. 20. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781478012191.

Images from Websites

If the image cited is available on the web only, provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website.

Artist Last Name, Artist First Name. “Title of Image.” Name of Website, URL.

Berryman, Clifford Kennedy. “Votes for Women Bandwagon.” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/2016679510/

In-text Citations

In-text citations include the author and page number and usually appear in parentheses at the end of a sentence before the period.

Parenthetical Citations

The author's name and page number are placed at the end of a sentence, before the closing punctuation mark.

  • One author: Citations help readers follow your research... (Naess 25).
  • Two authors: Researchers agree that citing is important... (Miller and Jones 63).
  • Three or more authors: Discussions are ongoing on this topic... (Hamilton et al. 498).
  • No author and no page number: Researchers discuss the importance... ("Sustainable Management").

Author or Title Included in Signal Phrase

If preferred, include the author or title of the cited work in the signal phrase by which you introduce the content. Then, the parentheses only contains the page number. 

  • One author: Naess noted the importance of... (25). 
  • Two authors: Miller and Jones found that... (63). 
  • Three or more authors: Hamilton et al. argue that... (246). 
  • No author and no page number: The article "Sustainable Management" discusses...

Short Quotes

For short quotations, which consist of four typed lines or fewer of prose and three lines of verse, add quotation marks around the words and incorporate the quote into your own text. Include the author and page number in the parenthetical citation.

  • According to Johnson, citations are "breadcrumbs that all researchers can follow” (725).
  • Researchers should "follow citation guidelines as closely as possible" to avoid plagiarism (Rivera 47). 

Block Quotes

For longer quotations of more than 4 typed lines of text or more than 3 lines of poetic verse, format the quote in its own paragraph, with the entire section indented 1/2". Do not use quotation marks around it, and include the standard citation information at the end. 

For example, if you wished to quote a longer section from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, that would be formatted as a block quote: 

When the rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat pocket, and looked at it and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat pocket or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge. (Carroll 10)

Multiple Sentences in a Paragraph from the Same Source 

When borrowing more than one time from the same source in a single paragraph, there are multiple options citing.You can give a parenthetical citation at the end of each sentence. If the reader can easily determine that the same source is being cited, then use of the page number alone is sufficient.

Octavia Butler’s work asserts that “humans, as a species, won’t behave more decently toward each other ... until we have literally no other choice” (Canavan 150 – 51). Accordingly, readers will find “no manifestos or utopias” in Butler’s writings (4).

Another option would be using a single parenthetical citation after the last borrowed source.

Octavia Butler’s work asserts that “humans, as a species, won’t behave more decently toward each other ... until we have literally no other choice.” Accordingly, readers will find “no manifestos or utopias” in Butler’s writings (Canavan 150 – 51, 4).

Keep in mind that you may need to reintroduce a source, either in prose or in parenthetical citation, for clarity. Such as after citing a different source or including your own ideas.

Resources for MLA Style

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Missing Infomation?

Missing page numbers? 

On occasion, page numbers might not be provided for some sources, such as online materials. In these instances, leave pages numbers out of the citation. 

Missing author? 

Do not use “Anonymous” as an author’s name. Begin the citation with the title of the source you’re citing, if an author or creator is not given. Use the first to three main words from the title for in-text citations, in quotation marks or italics. It should be clear which work from your Works Cited list you’re referring to.  

  • In-text citation: (“Places”) 
  • Works Cited: 

    "Places to Study." Southern Methodist University Libraries,www.smu.edu/libraries/spaces/places-study. Accessed 9 March 2022. 

Missing date? 

It’s okay to skip the date, if that information is not provided. Instead, list the date you accessed the work at the end of the citation in your Works Cited list. Give the access date after the word “Accessed.  

  • Format: Day Month (abbreviated) Year  
  • Works Cited: 

    "Places to Study." Southern Methodist University Libraries, www.smu.edu/libraries/spaces/places-study. Accessed 9 March 2022.