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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.
MLA Handbook by
Call Number: LB2369 .G53 2016
Publication Date: 2016-04-01
MLA recommends one universal set of guidelines, which writers can apply to any type of source. It guides writers through the principles behind evaluating sources for their research. It then shows them how to cite sources in their writing and create useful entries for the works-cited list.
- APA in-text citations include the following elements in parentheses, separated by commas:
- Author's last name
- Publication year
- Page number of the quoted or paraphrased material
- The author's last name and publication year should match the last name and publication year given in the reference list.
- If an author's name is referred to in-text, it does not need to be repeated in parantheses.
Gold (2012) notes that Edmonia Lewis created her Cleopatra sculpture for Centennial celebrations (p. 318).
Edmonia Lewis carved the Cleopatra sculpture for the Centennial (Gold, 2012, p. 318).
Morris (2014) argues that the great abolitionist schism of 1840 was less extreme in the west (p. 6).
Even as eastern abolitionist groups split in 1840, western abolitionists tended to remain affiliated with multiple organizations (Morris, 2014, p. 6).
An MLA Works Cited citation should include the following elements if they are relevant to the work. Use the punctuation shown below:
- Title of source.
- If the source has a container, you will typically put the title of source in quotation marks.
- If the source does not have a container, or if it would most commonly be published without a container, put the title of the source in italics.
- Title of container,
- Other contributors,
- Specify their role, for example, translated by.
- Abbreviate revised and edition as rev. and ed. respectively
- Use Arabic numerals for ordinal numbers
- Abbreviate volume and number as vol. and no. respectively, and separate them with a comma
- Publication date,
- Day Month Year
- Months may be abbreviated
- Print source
- Include the pages, abbreviate pages as pp.
- Digital source
- Use a DOI if one is available
- If a DOI is not available, use a permalink, and omit http:// or https://
- If a permalink is not available, use a standard url, and omit http:// or https://
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.