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Cite Sources: MLA Style

Help with the various citation styles (APA, MLA, etc)

Introduction

Here's some examples of common MLA style citations. These rules and examples follow the rules outlined in the 8th edition of the MLA handbook, which is the most recent edition.

Book

If you need to check a specific rule for MLA Style, you should consult the MLA Handbook. We have several copies available. 

Example Paper

Sometimes it's helpful to see an example of all of the parts of a citation style in action. This Sample Paper, courtesy of the Purdue OWL, shows what a perfectly-formatted MLA paper should look like. 

Parenthetical Citations

MLA Style uses parenthetical citations for in-text citations.  In general, these in-text citations are formatted as (LastName Page#). If you use the source's last name within the sentence you're citing, all you need to include in the parenthesis is the page number.  

For a non-print source (such as a website) you don't need to include page numbers. Instead, you'll just need to use the first item that appears in the Works Cited entry that corresponds to the citation. This could be an author name, an article name, the name of the website, etc.

See below for some examples. 

Author and page:

Tolkien's work on translating Old English words may have influenced his Middle-Earth imagery (Lee 29).

According to Lee, Tolkien's work on translating Old English words may have influenced his Middle-Earth imagery (29). 

Website with no author:

This database contains information from multiple sources, including the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art ("Online Coins of the Roman Empire").

Need more help? More information, including even more examples, can be found on the Purdue OWL's MLA In-Text Citations page.  

Books

The basic formula for a book citation looks like this: 

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.

However, if the books has an editor, or is an ebook, you'll need to add additional information to the citation. See the examples below:

One author or editor:

Cornwall, Jeffrey. Bootstrapping. Prentice Hall, 2010. 

More than one author or editor:

Chandler, Marthe, and Ronnie Littlejohn, editors. Polishing the Chinese Mirror: Essays in Honor of Henry Rosemont, Jr. Global Scholarly Publications, 2008.

Work in an edited collection:

Fingarette, Herbert. "Getting Rights Right." Polishing the Chinese Mirror: Essays in Honor of Henry Rosemont, Jr., edited by Marthe Chandler and Ronnie Littlejohn, Global Scholarly Publications, 2008, pp. 110-126. 

Ebook:

Kelly, Evelyn B. Stem Cells. Ebook, Greenwood, 2007.

Need more help? More information, including even more examples, can be found on the Purdue OWL's Works Cited Page: Books.  

Articles

The basic formula for articles (whether it came from a scholarly journal, newspaper, or magazine) citations looks like this: 

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Periodical, Day Month Year, pages.

If you accessed the article in a database, you'll need to add the name of the database and either the DOI or the URL. The date of access is optional.

Journal:

Bullington, Judy. "Thelma Johnson Streat and Cultural Synthesis on the West Coast." American Art, vol.19, no. 2, 2005, pp. 92-107. 

Magazine:

Cranford, John. "Taking It to the Limit." CQ Weekly, 24 Jan. 2011, pp. 200-205.

Newspaper:

Cornwall, Jeff. "Service Gives Small Businesses Edge Over Big Guys." Tennessean,  20 June 2011, p. B3. 

Article from a database:

Bullington, Judy. "Thelma Johnson Streat and Cultural Synthesis on the West Coast." American Art, vol. 19. no. 2, 2005, pp. 92-107. JSTOR, doi:10.1086/444483. Accessed 23 Jan. 2020. 

Need more help? More information, including even more examples, can be found on the Purdue OWL's MLA Works Cited Page: Periodicals page

Websites

The basic formula for an MLA website citation looks like this: 

Editor, author, or compiler name. Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation, URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access.

The date of access is optional but encouraged. In addition, sometimes you won't be able to find all of the information in the formula. That's ok; just try to make it as complete as possible. See the examples below.

Page from a web site:

Zielinski, Sarah. "Henrietta Lacks' 'Immortal' Cells." smithsonianmag.com. 22 Jan. 2010, www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/henrietta-lacks-immortal-cells-6421299/. 

Entire web site:

CMT.  Country Music Television, www.cmt.com. Accessed 7 Sept. 2016.

Need more help? Curious about how you cite a tweet, email or Youtube comment?  Check out the Purdue OWL's MLA Works Cited: Electronic Resources page for more information and examples!