MLA Style

In 2016, the MLA published the eighth edition of The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. This handout reflects these updates to the newest edition of MLA. Although the eighth edition is described as incredibly new, the citations are still comparable to the previous edition. Most formatting will continue to be the same as previous styles seen in the seventh edition. The main difference that should be noted is the omission of the city of publication, medium of publication, and date accessed.

Paper Format

At the top right, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin, create a header with your last name and consecutive page numbering. Double-space your entire essay on 8.5 x 11-inch paper, with one-inch margins. No title page is needed, unless assigned by the professor. In top-left corner of first page, type your name, instructor’s name, course title, and date. Next, center your title and begin your essay immediately below the title.

An image showing MLA headings to a paper, including the header information in the top left corner, title of paper, and last name and page number in the top right.

In-Text Citations

MLA format follows the author-page method of citation. You create parenthetical citations for each summary, paraphrase, and quotation. The brief parenthetical reference corresponds to its full entry on the works-cited list at paper’s end. Author names can appear in a signal phrase introducing the source or in the parenthetical citation. Page numbers, when available in sources, appear in the parenthetical. 

Pollan says that “doing nutrition science isn’t easy” (61).

The mistakes of the past demonstrate that “doing nutrition science isn’t easy” (Pollan 61).

Hall and Kennedy asked tutors to use journals as a tool for reflection (2).

The tutors use journaling to reflect on practice in “particular sessions” (Hall and Kennedy 2).

Use first author’s last name and et al. in the signal phrase or parenthetical citation. (You may also use all the authors’ names.) 

DeCiccio et al. reported on a group activity developed to identify research goals. (2).

If you cite more than one work by an author, include a shortened title in the signal phrase or parenthetical. Use quotation marks for articles and short works, italics for books and long works. 

Pollan urges, “Avoid food products that make health claims” (In Defense of Food 154). Even the feedlot steer have been raised on a Western diet (Pollan, “Escape” 424).

Provide the entity’s name in a signal phrase or parenthetical citation. You may use a shortened form.

According to the Modern Language Association, “quotations should merely help you illustrate or explain” your ideas (75).

Some electronic sources do not list an author. The works-cited list entry begins with the title of the work. The parenthetical citation uses the same title or a shortened form. 

Surveys of voters identifying as republicans and democrats found strong feelings of fear and anger towards the opposing party (“Partisanship”).

Many electronic sources do not include stable page numbers. The name of the author, organization, or title is the only information in the citation or text.

Pew Researchers Kennedy and Funk found a perception of neutrality: “Most Americans say they think of scientists as neither politically liberal nor conservative.”

Researchers reported that 64% of Americans “think of scientists as neither politically liberal nor conservative” (Kennedy and Funk).

To cite an essay, article, short story, or other work collected in an anthology, use the name of the author who wrote the essay (not the editor of the anthology) and the page numbers from the anthology.

Although people eat less dining with others, research shows an increase in solitary eating.” (Pollan 192).

If your source quotes someone you want to quote, begin the parenthetical citation with qtd. in. Follow with source name and page number. Use name of individual quoted in a signal phrase.

Block says, “I don’t believe anything I read in nutritional epidemiology anymore” (qtd. in Pollan 78).

To cite a published interview or one conducted by you, the researcher, use the interviewee’s name in the signal phrase or the parenthetical citation.

In restaurants, vegan diners are much more demanding and inflexible than vegetarians (Ray).

During our interview at the plant, Jones described osmosis filtration as “energy intensive.”

Quotations

Long quotation

Place quotations that run longer than four typed lines in a freestanding block, and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented one-inch from the left margin, and maintain double-spacing. Place parenthetical citation after closing punctuation. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks.

Hamby describes King’s focus and strategy during the final two years of his life:

The Poor People’s Campaign underscored a shift in King’s social vision away from an emphasis upon integration and toward a more class-oriented critique of American social structure. The elements of the new approach, however, were solidly rooted in King’s theology .... [H]e was expressing more clearly than ever—in his calls for massive aid to the poor, for a new spirit of Christian brotherhood, for the salvation of American society—the Christian socialism of Walter Rauschenbusch that had so long captured his imagination. (211-12)

Adding words to a quotation

If you add words to a quotation to clarify or make it fit the grammar of your sentence, bracket the words to indicate they are not part of the original. The language added cannot alter the meaning.

Nestle reports that the “unsavory system [of renting shelf space] puts retail food stores in firm control of the marketplace” (78).

Omitting words from a quotation

Omitting words from a quotation

To shorten a quotation, use an ellipsis—three periods with a space between each. When you shorten, be careful not to alter the meaning of the original.

Pollan states, “American gas stations now make more money selling food . . . than gasoline....” (192).

Works cited List

Begin the list of works cited on a new page. Center the heading Works Cited at the top of the page, using the same font and typeface the paper does. Entries correspond to sources cited in the text and provide the information needed for a reader to locate the full sources. Double-space the entire list and arrange the entries in alphabetical order.

General Guidelines

  • The first line of an entry is flush left; subsequent lines of an entry are indented one-half inch.

  • The first author’s name is inverted (White, Tom.); if the source has more than one author, use first name first for subsequent authors (White, Tom, Jim Black, and Jan Green.)

  • If no author is given, alphabetize by the title of the work and use a shortened version of the title for parenthetical citations. When alphabetizing, do not consider the articles A, An and The.

  • If the list has more than one work by an author, order them alphabetically by title; use three hyphens in place of the author’s name for each entry after the first.

  • In the title of a work, capitalize the first word, last word, all principal words, and words that follow hyphens in compound terms. Prepositions, conjunctions, and articles are not capitalized when they appear in the middle of a title.

  • Italicize titles of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, Web sites, online databases, TV and radio broadcasts, CDs, DVDs, films, dance performances, long musical compositions, dramatic works, visual arts, and long poems.

  • Place in quotation marks the titles of journal, magazine and newspaper articles; short stories and essays; pages on Web sites; TV and radio episodes; short musical compositions and poems; lectures and speeches; and book chapters.

  • To refer to a journal article that appears on pages 145 through 180, list as 145-80.

  • The city of publication (ex. New York) and medium of publication (ex. Web or Print) is generally omitted from the citation. The medium of publication is included, however, if the work is an eBook.

  • Roles such as editor, translator, and other contributor positions are spelled out (ex. edited by...).

Author(s). Title of Book. Publisher, Year of Publication.

Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Penguin Books, 2008.

After the first listing by last name, use three hyphens and a period for the author’s name. Order alphabetically by title of works.

Pollan, Michael. “Escape from the Western Diet.” They Say/I Say. 3rd ed. Eds. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and

Russell Durst. Norton, 2015. 420-27.

---. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Penguin Books, 2008.

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Allyn and Bacon, 2000.

Note: If there are more than three authors, you may list only the first author followed et al., or you may list all the authors in the order in which their names appear on the title page.

Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. MLA, 2009.

Author(s). “Title of Work.” Title of Anthology, edited by Editor’s Name(s). Publisher, Year. Pages.

Pollan, Michael. “Escape from the Western Diet.” They Say/I Say. 3rd ed., edited by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein,

and Russell Durst. Norton, 2015. 420-27.

Author(s). “Article Title.” Publication Title, Day Month Year, Pages.

Poniewozik, James. “TV Makes a Too-Close Call.” Time, 20 Nov. 2000, pp. 70-1.

DeMoss, Nick. “Buying Back Books: UA Students Decide Where to Sell Used Textbooks for Best Price.” The Arkansas

Traveler 29 May 2009: A1+.

Note: Use three letters to abbreviate month, except May, June, and July. For newspapers, add information about section and edition, if listed, following date. Use inclusive page numbers (20-1). If the article skips pages, use first page number and plus sign (5+).

Author(s). “Article Title.” Journal Title, Volume. Issue, Year, pp. pages.

DeCiccio, Al, et al. “Work in Progress: Publishing Writing Center Scholarship.” The Writing Lab Newsletter vol. 31,

no. 7, 2007, pp. 1-2.

Web Publication

The citation for a Web site begins with author, title of the work, title of Web site (italicized), and includes the site’s publisher (if known, if not, use N.p.) and the date of publication (if unknown, use n.d.). The URL of the Web site should be included according the MLA’s 8th edition.

Author(s). “Title of the work.” Title of the Web site. Publisher, sponsor, or other contributor, Publication date or revision date, URL

Kennedy, Brian, and Cary Funk. “Majority of Americans Say Scientists Don’t Have an Ideological Slant.”

Pewinternet.org. Pew Research Center, 9 Nov. 2015, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/09/majority-of-americans-say-scientists-dont-have-an-ideological-slant/

“Partisanship and Political Animosity.” Pewinternet.org. Pew Research Center, 22 June 2016,

https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2016/06/22/partisanship-and-political-animosity-in-2016/

Follow the same basic form for a Web site shown above. If the blogger dos not title entries, omit “Title of Work” shown above. If there is no author or entry titles, you may begin with the blog site title.

Mitteldorf, Josh. “When Your Doctor Suggests Statins (Part 1: Mechanism of Action).” Aging Matters. ScienceBlog, 15

Mar. 2016, https://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/2016/03/15/when-your-doctor-suggests-statins-part-1-mechanism-of-action/

Provide the print information (if available); then add online publication information, URL if downloaded from a database or method of download if sent to electronic device.

Paine, Thomas. The Age of Reason. N. pag. Project Gutenberg. 25 July 2016.

Articles in Online Journals, Magazines, and Databases

The basic form is the same as print version (above). If electronic sources lack page numbers, use paragraph numbers, if present; otherwise use n. pag. For databases, include name, italicized.

Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, vol. #, no. #, month year, pp. #-#. Database used, URL

Morse, Steven, and Eva Smith. “Hotel Revenue Management Strategies During Fall Foliage Travel Season.” Journal of

Hotel & Business Management, vol.4, no.1, 2015, pp. 1-4. July 2016, https://www.longdom.org/open-access/hotel-revenue-management-strategies-during-fall-foliage-travel-season-2169-0286-1000111.pdf

Kim, So Young. “Public Perceptions of Climate Change and Support for Climate Policies in Asia: Evidence from

Recent Polls.” The Journal of Asian Studies, vol.70, no.2, 2011, pp. 319-31. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/41302307.pdf?seq=1

Other Types of Sources

Begin with author’s name. If no author named, start with name of government, followed by agency, document title, and publication information.

United States. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010: Understanding and Improving Health.

Washington: GPO, 2000.

Ray, Rachel. Personal interview. 16 Dec. 2014.

“Papa’s Goods.” Sons of Anarchy. Writ. Kurt Sutter. FX. 9 Dec. 2014. Television.

Elliot, Missy. “Izzy Izzy Ah.” Supa Dupa Fly. EastWest. 1997. CD.

The Other Guys. Dir. Adam McKay. Perf. Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, and Eva Mendes. Columbia, 2010. Film.

Note: To emphasize the work of a writer, director, performer, etc., begin the entry with that name.


Works Consulted

DeCiccio, Al, Lisa Ede, Neal Lerner, Beth Bouquet, and Muriel Harris. “Work in Progress: Publishing Writing Center

Scholarship.” The Writing Lab Newsletter, vol. 31, no. 7, 2007, pp. 1-2.

DeMoss, Nick. “Buying Back Books: UA Students Decide Where to Sell Used Textbooks for Best

Price.” The Arkansas Traveler, 29 May 2009: A1+.

Elliot, Missy. “Izzy Izzy Ah.” Supa Dupa Fly. EastWest. 1997.

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Allyn and Bacon, 2000.

Hall, John, and Ashley Jennedy. “Tutor Journals: A Collaborative Approach to Training.” The Writing Lab Newsletter, vol

31, no. 8, 2007, pp. 1-2.

Hamby, Alonzo. “The Politics of Prophecy: Martin Luther King, Jr.” Forging the American Character: Readings in United

States History Since 1865. 2nd edition, edited by John R. M. Wilson. Prentice Hall, 1997. 193-214.

Kennedy, Brian, and Cary Funk. “Majority of Americans Say Scientists Don’t Have an Ideological Slant.”

Pewinternet.org. Pew Research Center, 9 Nov. 2015. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/09/majority-of americans-say-scientists-dont-have-an-ideological-slant/

Kim, So Young. “Public Perceptions of Climate Change and Support for Climate Policies in Asia: Evidence from Recent

Polls.” The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 70, no. 2, 2011, pp. 319-31. JSTOR. 25 July 2016, https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/41302307.pdf?seq=1

Mitteldorf, Josh. “When Your Doctor Suggests Statins (Part 1: Mechanism of Action).” Aging Matters.

ScienceBlog, 15 Mar. 2016, https://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/2016/03/15/when-your-doctor-suggests-statins-part-1-mechanism-of-action/

Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. MLA, 2009.

Morse, Steven, and Eva Smith. “Hotel Revenue Management Strategies During Fall Foliage Travel Season.” Journal of

Hotel & Business Management, vol. 4, no.1, 2015, pp. 1-4. 25 July 2016, https://www.longdom.org/open-access/hotel-revenue-management-strategies-during-fall-foliage-travel-season-2169-0286-1000111.pdf

Nestle, Marion. “The Supermarket: Prime Real Estate.” They Say/I Say. 3rd ed. Editors Gerald Graff, Cathy

Birkenstein, and Russell Durst. Norton, 2015. 496-505.

The Other Guys. Dir. Adam McKay. Perf. Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, and Eva Mendes. Columbia, 2010. Film.

Paine, Thomas. The Age of Reason. N. pag. Project Gutenberg. 25 July 2016,

“Partisanship and Political Animosity.” Pewinternet.org. Pew Research Center, 22 June 2016,

https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2016/06/22/partisanship-and-political-animosity-in-2016/

“Papa’s Goods.” Sons of Anarchy. FX. Writ. Kurt Sutter. 9 Dec. 2014. Television.

Pollan, Michael. “Escape from the Western Diet.” They Say/I Say. 3rd ed. Editors. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and

Russell Durst. Norton, 2015. 420-27.

---. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Penguin Books, 2008.

Poniewozik, James. “TV Makes a Too-Close Call.” Time, 20 Nov. 2000: 70-1.

Ray, Rachel. Personal interview. 16 Dec. 2014.

United States. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010: Understanding and Improving Health.

Washington: GPO, 2000. Print.