MLA Handbook
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MLA Overview
Tools for Formatting Your Citations
When searching library databases for your sources, use the Cite tool and select MLA to copy and paste the citation for that source.

NOTE: You must always double-check the formatting that the database provides. It is not always accurate. Look over the format of the authors' names and capitalization in particular.
MLA Practice
MLA Style and Formatting: The Basics

MLA stands for the Modern Language Association. Most papers that use MLA formatting and citation style are those written in the humanities, especially in languages and literature. In 2016, the MLA Handbook was updated in an effort to simplify much of the documentation process in MLA format.

Papers constructed according to MLA guidelines should adhere to the following elements:

  • Double-space all of the text of your paper, and use a clear font, such as Times New Roman or Courier 12-point font.
  • Use one-inch margins on all sides, and indent the first line of a paragraph one half-inch from the left margin.
  • List your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date in the upper left-hand corner of the first page. This is your heading. There is no cover page.
  • Type a header in the upper right-hand corner with your last name, a space, and then a page number. Pages should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin.
  • Provide in-text citations for all quoted, paraphrased, and summarized information in your paper.
  • Include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper that gives full bibliographic information for each item cited in your paper.

Source: MLA Style. 2019. Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL), licensed under CC BY 4.0 


MLA In-Text Citations -- General Guidelines

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Whenever you quote a source directly, paraphrase a text, or summarize an author's idea, you must use an in-text citation within your paper and also include the reference in your Works Cited list. In-text citations must include the author (or title, if no author is given) and the page number, if available. The following are examples of in-text citations in MLA style.

For more examples, visit MLA In-Text Citations (Excelsior OWL).

Single author: According to Marx, at the end of the day Wilbur made “in excess of half a million dollars” (43).

Two authors: Marx used “class” in “two different ways” (Calvert and Sennett 11).

More than two authors: Marx used “class” in “two different ways” (Calvert et al. 11).

Indirect sources: Jones claimed that runners who “drank regularly usually stopped running after a few months” (qtd. in Salazar 212).
MLA Works Cited Entries -- General Guidelines

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Marquette University

Works Cited Examples
Consult these websites for examples on constructing your MLA citations. Choose one that you like the best and read through the examples. Pay close attention to what the websites say about "containers."

Formatting a Research Paper (MLA Style Center)
Covers the basics of formatting an MLA paper, including margin and font sizes, headings, page numbers, etc. See also Sample Papers in MLA Style for pdf examples. 

MLA Works Cited: A Quick Guide
Clear examples and explanations of MLA citations, from the MLA Style Center.

MLA Citation Style Quick Guide (University of Alberta)
Downloadable/printable guide that includes color-coded Works Cited and in-text citation examples for a variety of resource types (articles, websites, books, media, interviews, etc.).

MLA Eighth Edition (Saginaw Valley State University)
Easy-to-use, color-coded guides that offer examples of MLA citation. Choose the MLA tab for guides on formatting your First pageIn-text citations, and Works Cited list.