MLA is most often used in English, Rhetoric, foreign language, and the humanities. Citations are created using both a detailed works cited list appearing at the end of a paper and brief in-text citations that direct readers to particular sources from that reference list.
The examples and rules described on this page are intended as a quick reference for general MLA citation. For more sources with exhaustive rules, exceptions to rules, and types of sources not described here, see the MLA resources below.
An MLA in-text citation to a print source should include the author's last name and the page number. If the source is electronic and formatted such that page numbers are not available, the source title can substituted in place of the page number. Put the source title in quotation marks if using it.
Gold notes that Edmonia Lewis created her Cleopatra sculpture for Centennial celebrations (318).
Edmonia Lewis carved the Cleopatra sculpture for the Centennial (Gold 318).
Morris argues that the great abolitionist schism of 1840 was less extreme in the west (6).
Even as eastern abolitionist groups split in 1840, western abolitionists tended to remain affiliated with multiple organizations (Morris 6).
An MLA Works Cited citation should include the following elements if they are relevant to the work. Use the punctuation shown below:
Gold, Susanna W. "The Death of Cleopatra /the Birth of Freedom: Edmonia Lewis at the New World's Fair." Biography, vol. 35, no. 2, 2012, pp. 318-341.
Morris, J. B. Oberlin, Hotbed of Abolitionism: College, Community, and the Fight for Freedom and Equality in Antebellum America. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2014.