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Citation

What is MLA Citation?

MLA 9 Format

General Paper Format:

  • Use Times New Roman or another legible font; italics should clearly contrast plain text.
  • 12-point font size recommended; minimum 10-point.
  • 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Your last name and page number in upper right header.
  • Double-space paper throughout.
  • Indent first line of each paragraph one half-inch.

First Page of Paper:

  • On upper left corner, on separate lines, list your:     

            Name

            Course Number

            Instructor’s Name

            Date (Day Month Year)          

  • Title of paper is centered and in standard text and font size, not boldfaced or otherwise embellished.
MLA Citation requires two elements—
1. List of Works Cited: An alphabetized list at the end of your paper which gives comprehensive author and publication information about each source. Enough information must be provided for your readers to find the sources for themselves.
2. In-Text Citations: In your paper, a short note in parentheses after each quote or rephrased point directing the reader to the corresponding alphabetical entry in your Works Cited list.

 

MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

Include an in-text citation every time you mention information from your sources.

  • In-text citations are indicated in parentheses at the end of the sentence before the period.
    • The information in parentheses must match the beginning of the source’s entry in the Works Cited. 

 

  • The author's last name should be the first thing listed.  
Periodic breaks in a study routine are helpful for retention (Sears).
  • If you don’t know the author’s name, the title should be the first thing listed.  
This is distressful for the patient ("Dissociative Identity Disorder" 292).
  • If you are using more than one source by the same author, indicate which one you are referring to by listing the author’s last name and the first few words of the title.   
Studies indicate that there may be biological reasons why some people prefer to listen to rock music at high volume levels (Owen, Volume Control 48).
  • If the source has page numbers, the author or title should be followed by the page number the information cited appears on.
The researcher did relate limitations worth noting in his study (McCabe 97). 
  • If your source has two authors, list both last names separated by “and.”
The health impacts of these practices are significant (Smith and Tully 179).
  • If your source has three or more authors, list the first author by last name followed by “et al.”
Studies of mobile phone data suggest a connection between gender, poverty and mobility in urban areas. (Carlyle et al. 44).
  • When quoting a source word-for-word, indicate this with quotation marks.
One researcher stated "the results cannot be generalized between studies" (Holt 93).
  • For quotes longer than four lines of text or three lines of verse: 
    • present the quote as a block of text indented ½ inch from the left margin. 
    • include a citation after the final punctuation.   
    • do not use quotation marks for block quotes.
At the close of chapter 96, Ishmael comments: 
Give not thyself, then, up to fire, lest it invert thee, deaden thee; as for the time it did me. There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar. (Melville 531)

 

MLA Citation requires two elements—
1. List of Works Cited: An alphabetized list at the end of your paper which gives comprehensive author and publication information about each source. Enough information must be provided for your readers to find the sources for themselves.
2. In-Text Citations: In your paper, a short note in parentheses after each quote or rephrased point directing the reader to the corresponding alphabetical entry in your Works Cited list.

 

Formatting the Works Cited List

  • Your list of sources will begin on a new page after the end of your paper.
  • The title, Works Cited, should appear at the top of the page, centered but not bold, italicized or in quotation marks.
  • The Works Cited list is double-spaced.
  • The list is alphabetized by first element in each entry.
  • Each entry has a hanging indent, meaning the first line is flush with the left margin and all following lines are indented one half-inch.  
  • Entries will look different based on type of source and availability of information. 

Order of Elements in MLA Works Cited Entry

1 Author(s) Last Name, First Name
2 Title of Source If source is not part of a larger work, skip to element 3.
3 Title of Container Title of larger work containing element 2.
4 Other Contributor(s) Editor, translator, compiler, etc. 
5 Version 3rd edition, Unabridged Edition, Director's Cut, etc.
6 Number Volume, Issue, etc.
7 Publisher Chief producer of source; publishing company, organization, production company, etc.
8 Publication Date As it appears on source. Day month year.
9 Location  Page number(s), URL, DOI, etc.  

Note: If source is contained in another larger collection (e.g. an article in a journal stored in a database), repeat elements 3-9 to describe the second container.  

Arrange the elements in a hanging indent like this:

Author(s). "Title of Source." Title of Container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location. Title of Second Container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

  • Use quotation marks around titles of articles, web pages, entries in larger works, poems and TV episodes..  
  • Italicize titles of books, websites, magazines, journals, movies, TV shows and databases.
  • Begin the entry with title if author is unknown. 
  • Provide a date of access at the end of the citation for online sources without publication dates. 

Multiple Authors:

If a source has two authors, list the first by last name, a comma, and first name. Follow that author’s first name with a comma, then “and” followed by the second author’s first and last name.

Chen, Wei, and Emily Wong. Globalization and Its Discontents. Cambridge University Press, 2018.

If there are three or more authors, List the author’s last name, a comma, and then first name followed by a comma and “et al.”

Patel, Rajesh, et al. Digital Innovation and Society. Oxford University Press, 2020.

MLA 9 Sample Paper