MLA Citation Style (7th Edition)

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  • MLA Guidelines

    Based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.

    Formatting Your MLA Paper

    • Use 1" margins on all sides and double space.  Include your last name and page number on all pages.
    • Single space after all punctuation.
    • Indent five spaces or one-half inch after the first line of each entry.

    In-text (Parenthetical) Citations in MLA

    • All sources cited in the text should be listed on the Works Cited page.
    • The author's name may be included in the text and only the page numbers in parentheses. "As Allison asserts (97), the...." Many instructors prefer this method.
    • Alternately, use the first part of your citation for parenthetical documentation; this usually will be the author or authors' last names. Follow with the page number. (Brown and Proper 17).
    • Use as little information as possible while making a unique identification. If there are two books by the same author, you must include part of the title. (Allison, Whatever 97).
    • When you are quoting person A in who was quoted in person B's essay, your parenthetical reference should acknowledge that: "Allison believes such and such (qtd. in Brown and Proper 256)."
    • If you have no page numbers, it usually flows better to include an indirect reference in the text, such as, "According to Allison, the..."

    MLA Works Cited

    • Begin the list on a new page and number each page, continuing the page numbers of the text.
    • Alphabetize your Works Cited page by author's last name, or, if the author's name is not given, by the first word of the title. Numbers are alphabetized as spelled.
    • If some information is missing, indicate with n. pag. (no pagination), n.p. (no publisher), n.d. (no date).
    • Note the medium of publication: Print, Web, Video, Personal interview, CD, Television, etc.
    • Inculding URL is optional. If you add a URL, give it immediately following the date of access, a priod, and a space.  Enclose the the URL in angle brackets < >, and conclude with a period.  If a URL must be divided between two lines, break it only after the double slashes or a single slash; do not introduce a hyphen at the break or allow your word processing program to do so.
    •  Italicize titles of books, magazines, scholarly journals, and web sites. Enclose titles of articles, essays, poems, and short stories in quotation marks.
    • When certain information, such as an author, is missing, skip it and go on to the next part.
    • For pages that are not consecutive, such as newspapers, use a plus sign: 192+. If you have only the starting page number of an article's original print publication, give the number followed by a hyphen, a space, and a period: 192-. 
    • Use a shortened form of the publisher's name: New York: Morrow, 2004 rather than William Morrow & Company. When the publisher has an imprint, ie, Avon Book, published by HarperCollins, use both: Avon-Harper.

    Books (MLA style)

    Author. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.

    • Book with One Author [MLA 5.5.2] Hoover, John. Time Management: Set Priorities to Get the Right Things Done. New York: Collins, 2007. Print.
    • Two or Three Authors [MLA 5.5.4] Brown, Nathan, and Sheryle A. Proper. The Everything Paying for College Book. Avon: Adams, 2005. Print.
    • An Editor [MLA 5.5.10] Vecchione, Patrice, ed. Faith and Doubt: An Anthology of Poems. New York: Holt, 2007. Print.


    Encyclopedias (MLA style)

    • An Article in a Reference Book: Specialized Work [MLA 5.5.7] "Stepmothers." The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales. Ed. Donald Haase. Vol. 3. Westport: Greenwood, 2008. Print.
    • An Article in a Reference Book: Encyclopedia Article, Signed [MLA 5.5.7] Epps, Helen H. "Textiles." World Book Encyclopedia. 2003 ed. Print.
    • An Article in a Reference Book: Dictionary or Encyclopedia Article, Unsigned [MLA 5.5.7] "Onomatopoeia." Entry 1. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 11th ed. 2003. Print.

    Periodicals, Journals, and Newspapers (MLA style)

    Author. "Article Title." Journal Title Day Month Year: pages. Medium of Publication.

    • Article from a Weekly Magazine and Weekly News Service [MLA 5.4.6] Kluger, Jeffrey. "Why We Love." Time 28 Jan. 2008: 55-60. Print.
    • Article from a Monthly Magazine [MLA 5.4.6] Hitchens, Christopher. "A Breath of Dust." Atlantic Monthly July-Aug. 2005: 142-46. Print.
    • Article in a Scholarly Journal [MLA 5.4.2] Warner, Megan B., et al. "The Longitudinal Relationship of Personality Traits and Disorders." Journal of Abnormal Psychology 113.2 (2004): 217-27. Print.
    • Newspaper Article [MLA 5.4.5] Feder, Barnaby J. "For Job Seekers, a Toll-Free Gift of Expert Advice." New York Times 22 Mar. 1994, late ed.: A1+. Print

    Online Databases (MLA style)

    Author. "Article Title." Journal Title Complete Date:Pages. Medium of Publication. Date of Access. <URL Optional>

    • Weekly or Biweekly Magazine in an Online Database [MLA 5.6.4] Clemmitt, Marcia. "Student Aid." CQ Researcher 25 Jan. 2008: 73-96. CQ Researcher Online. Web. 2 Feb. 2008. <URL address if required by your teacher>
    • Newspaper in an Online Database[MLA 5.6.4] Lieber, Ron. "In China, G.M. Stands as a Powerful Player." New York Times 22 Apr. 2009, late ed. (East Coast): B1. ProQuest Newspapers. Web. 8 June 2009. <URL address if required by your teacher>
    • Book Article in an Online Database [MLA 5.6.4 and 5.5.7] Hardy, Sarah Madson. "Recitatif." Short Stories for Students. Gale Group, 1999. N. pag. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 Apr. 2008. <URL address if required by your teacher>
    • E-Books[MLA 5.6.2c] Sweet, William. Kicking the Carbon Habit: Global Warming and the Case for Renewable and Nuclear Energy.  New York: Columbia UP, 2006. NetLibrary. Web. 14 Sept. 2007. <URL address if required by your teacher>.
    • Scholarly Journal in an Online Database [MLA 5.6.4] Massaro, John. "Press Box Propoganda? The Cold War and Sports Illustrated 1956." Journal of American Culture (2003): 361-70. Academic Search Complete. Web. 23 Jan. 2008. <URL address if required by your teacher>.

    Web Sites (MLA style)

    Author. "Title of Article." Web Site. Editor. Site Publisher or N.p., Date of Publication or n.d. Medium of Publication (Web). Date of access. <URL optional>.

    • Work Cited only on the Web, with URL [MLA 5.6.1] Lye, John. "Some Notes on Realism." Dept. of English Language and Literature, Brock U. 22 Apr. 2008. Web. 25 Aug. 2009. <>.
    • Author, no publication date[MLA 5.6.2b] Mazer, Cary M. Bernard Shaw: A Brief Biography. Dept. of English, U of Pennsylvania, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2007. <URL address if required by your teacher>
    • Title, No Author [MLA 5.6.2b] "Parenting Corner Q&A: Immunizations." American Academy of Pediatrics. Amer. Acad. of Pediatrics, Feb. 2009. Web. 4 June 2009. <URL address if required by your teacher>
    • Online Periodical [MLA 5.6.2b] Sarnoff, Nancy. "Web's Role in House Hunt Grows." Houston Chronicle, 1 Dec. 2007. Web.  18 Feb. 2008. <URL address if required by your teacher>
    • Online Government Publication [MLA 5.5.20] (Note: This includes Occupational Outlook.) United States. Congress. Congressional Budget Office. Nuclear Power's Role in Generating Electricity. By Justin Robert Falk. Washington: GPO, 2008. Web. 22 May 2009. <URL address if required by your teacher>
    • Online Video [MLA 5.6.2b] Bradley, Becky. "The Sun Also Rises: Hemingway in Spain." The Sun Also Rises. Lone Star College-Kingwood Library. Video. April 2007. Web. 17 Jan. 2008. <URL address if required by your teacher>
    • Online Video with Publication Data for Another Medium [MLA 5.6.2d] The Great Information Exchange. 13 Feb. 2008. Freedom Museum. YouTube. Web. 2 June 2009. <URL address if required by your teacher>

    Media and Interviews (MLA style)

    • Personal Interview [MLA 5.7.7] Persson, Katherine. Personal interview. 11 Aug 2009.
    • Film or Video Recording [MLA 5.7.3] Note: Start with the information you want to emphasize - title, performer, director or author: • Patton. Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner. Perf. George C. Scott. 1970. 20th Century Fox, 2006. DVD. • Scott, George C., Perf. Patton. Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner. 1970. 20th Century Fox, 2006. DVD.
    • Sound Recording [MLA 5.7.2] • Streep, Meryl. 'The Winner Takes It All.' By Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Mamma Mia! The Movie Sound Track Featuring the Songs of Abba. Decca, 2008. CD.
    • Visual Art. In a Museum. [MLA 5.7.6] Exekias. The Suicide of Ajax. c. 540 BCE. Ceramic. Château-Musée, Boulogne-sur-Mer.
    • Visual Art. In a Book. [MLA 5.7.6] Exekias. The Suicide of Ajax. c. 540 BCE. Château-Musée, Boulogne-sur-Mer. Art History. By Marilyn Stokstad. New York: Abrams, 1995. Plate 5-29. Print.

    For more detailed guide and examples: