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Literature: Reference and More: MLA Citation Style Help


MLA Style Guidance

The most commonly used for the liberal arts and humanities, the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation 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.

MLA Handbook

The Handbook is the authoritative source on MLA Style and the best place to look for information. Always check with your professor for any specific citation requirements.

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).

Resources for MLA Style