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MLA Style Guidance
MLA (Modern Language Association) Citation Style
The most commonly used for the liberal arts and humanities. MLA Style also includes standards for formatting, page layout, and style. MLA updated the Handbook to the 8th edition in 2016. Make sure you're using the correct edition!
Characteristics of MLA Style
- In-text citations follow author-page format (author page number) and appear in parentheses at the end of sentence before the period.
- 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.
- A Works Cited page at the end of the document has full citations in alphabetical order formatted with a hanging indent.
General format for any citation
Author. Title. Title of container (if applicable), 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).
The MLA Handbook is the authoritative source on MLA Style and the best place to look for information. For formats, guidelines and examples online, visit the Purdue OWL MLA Formatting & Style Guide.
Always check with your professor for any specific citation requirements.
Resources for MLA Style
Purdue OWL MLA Formatting & Style Guide
MLA document format, in-text citation format, and reference list citation format from the Purdue writing center.
MLA Style Center
The official website for the Modern Language Association with works cited templates, formatting help, and more.
Using MLA Format
One page quick guide from the MLA Style Center. Learn how to document sources, set up your paper, and improve your teaching and writing.
MLA How-to Video Playlist
Includes Basics and Formatting: list of works cited.