- Hours and Locations
MLA Citation Style Quick-Guide
This quick-guide is for the new, 8th edition of MLA issued in June 2016.
MLA Works Cited Page Sources contain the following core elements:
The following are examples of entries for some sources you may use in your research:
PRINT SOURCES PRINT BOOK:
Author Last name, First. Title of Book . Version, Publisher, Publication date.
Toffler, Alvin. The Third Wave . Bantam, 1981.
Two authors: Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination . Yale UP, 1979.
Three or more authors: Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition . Utah State UP, 2004.
Edited PRINT BOOK:
Last name, First name, editor. Title . Publisher, Publication date.
Nunberg, Geoffrey, editor. The Future of the Book . U of California P, 1996.
ESSAY IN EDITED PRINT BOOK:
Author Last name, First. “Essay title.” Book Title , edited by First name, Last name, Publisher, Publication date, Location. Twain, Mark. “Corn-Pone Opinions.” The Best American Essays of the Century , edited by Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Atwan, Houghton Mifflin, 2000, pp. 1-5.
ARTICLE IN A PRINT SCHOLARLY JOURNAL (OR MAGAZINE) (not obtained from a database):
Mizejeweski, Linda. “Feminism, Post-feminism, Liz Lemonism: Comedy and Gender Politics on 30 Rock.” Genders , vol. 55, no. 3, 2012, pp. 13-20.
ARTICLE IN A PRINT NEWSPAPER:
Author Last Name, First. “Article Title.” Newspaper Title , Publication date, Location. Jeromack, Paul. “This Once, a David of the Art World Does Goliath a Favor.” New York Times , 13 July 2002, pp. 30-39.
ONLINE SOURCES ARTICLE IN AN ONLINE NEWSPAPER OR NEWS SERVICE:
Author Last Name, First. “Article Title.” Newspaper Title , Publication date, Location.
Samuelson, Robert J. “Are You a ‘Work Martyr’?’” Washington Post . 19 June 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/are-you-a-work-martyr/2016/06/19/d4cb30e8-34a2-11e6-8758- d58e76e11b12_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d%3Ahomepage%2Fstory.
ARTICLE IN A SCHOLARLY JOURNAL, ACCESSED FROM AN ONLINE DATABASE:
Author Last name, First. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal , Volume number, Issue number, Publication date, Location. Database, DOI (preferred) or URL (without http://)
Hensley, Jeffrey. “Trinity and freedom: A response to Molnar.” Scottish Journal of Theology , vol. 61, no. 1, 2008, pp. 83-95. ProQuest, doi: dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0036930607003857
WEB PAGE, BLOG, ETC:
Author Last name, First. “Title of Page.” Title of Site , Publication Date, URL (without http://), Date accessed.
Hollmichel, Stefanie. “The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print.” So Many Books , 2003-13, www.somanybooksblog.com/2013.04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-print/. Accessed 17 June 2016.
ENTIRE WEB SITE:
Last Name, First name, editors [if given]. Title of Site . Name of sponsoring institution or organization, URL (without http://). Date accessed.
Disney Channel . The Walt Disney Company, www.disneychannel.disney.com. Accessed 20 June 2016. GOVERNMENT, CORPORATE, OR ORGANIZATION WEB SITE:
Largest entity, smaller entity, smallest entity. Title of Website , Organization or Agency, URL (without http://). Date Accessed. United States, Congress, House of Representatives. The United States House of Representatives, www.house.gov. Accessed 20 June 2016.
Author Last name, First. “Subject line of e-mail.” Received by First name Last name, Date.
Brown, Barry. “Virtual Reality.” Received by Mitch Bernstein, 25 Jan. 2006.
Author Last name, First name, role. Title of Television Show , Production Company, Year TV show began. Kuzui, Fran Rubel, director. Buffy the Vampire Slayer , Twentieth Century Fox, 1992.
Episode Title. Television Show , created by, performance by, Season #, Episode #, Production company, Year aired. “Hush.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer , created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1999.
Note : If generally referencing a television episode, you do not need to put creator or performer in the citation. On the other hand, if you’re focusing specifically on a director or performer throughout a television show, include name of director or performer at beginning of citation.
TELEVISION EPISODE OBTAINED FROM STREAMING SITE
Episode Title. Television Show , Season #, Episode #, Publisher, Date originally aired. Streaming site, URL (without http://). “Under the Gun.” Pretty Little Liars , season 4, episode 6, ABC Family, 16 July 2013. Hulu, www.hulu.com/watch/511318.
Author Last name, First. Title of Artwork. Year, Museum Name (if applicable), Location.
Mackintosh, Charles Rennie. Chair of Stained Oak. 1897-1900, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Author Last name, First. "Title of Song." Title of Album , Production Company, Publication date, URL (without http://). Beyoncé. “Pretty Hurts.” Beyoncé , Parkwood Entertainment, 2013, www.beyonce.com/album/beyonce/?media_view=songs
MLA In-Text Citations
Below are examples of how to write your in-text citations when you present an idea in your paper that is not your own. You should include in-text citations for summaries, paraphrases, and quotations. All in-text citations should correspond to a citation on your Works Cited page.
A “signal phrase” introduces a quotation in order to help the reader understand why it is important and how it fits into the rest of the paper. In the first example below, “Robertson maintains that...” is the signal phrase.
IF THE AUTHOR IS NAMED IN A SIGNAL PHRASE:
If the author is named while introducing the quotation, or if the author can be easily assumed from surrounding material (as is often the case in literature papers), then only a page number is necessary in your citation:
Robertson maintains that “in the appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the observer is of primary importance...” (136).
According to Alvin Toffler, there have been two periods of revolutionary change in history: the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution (10).
IF THE AUTHOR IS NOT NAMED IN A SIGNAL PHRASE:
It may be true that “in the appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the observer is of primary importance...” (Robertson 136).
There have been two periods of revolutionary change in history: the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution (Toffler 10).
IF USING TWO OR MORE WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR:
In Double Vision, Northrop Frye claims that one’s death is not a unique experience, for “every moment we have lived through, we have also died out of into another order” (85).
The above example includes the article title in the signal phrase, and therefore only a page number is necessary in the citation. In the example below, the title of the article is not used, and so a recognizable abbreviation of the title belongs within the citation.
For Northrop Frye, one’s death is not a unique experience, for “every moment we have lived through, we have also died out of into another order ( Double Vision 85).
IF USING AN INTERNET OR ELECTRONIC SOURCE WITH NO AUTHOR OR PAGE NUMBER:
Use the complete title in the signal phrase or an abbreviated title in the citation: (“Trinity and freedom” 2).
Page Number Unknown: If the page number is unknown, omit it from your in-text citation: (Smith).
The following source was referenced: Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook. 8th ed. MLA, 2016.
Generate accurate MLA citations for free
- Knowledge Base
- A complete guide to MLA in-text citations
MLA In-text Citations | A Complete Guide (9th Edition)
Published on July 9, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on May 19, 2022.
An MLA in-text citation provides the author’s last name and a page number in parentheses.
If a source has two authors, name both. If a source has more than two authors, name only the first author, followed by “ et al. ”
If the part you’re citing spans multiple pages, include the full page range. If you want to cite multiple non-consecutive pages at the same time, separate the page numbers with commas.
Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr
Table of contents, where to include an mla in-text citation, citing sources with no author, citing sources with no page numbers, citing different sources with the same author name, citing sources indirectly, frequently asked questions about mla in-text citations.
Place the parenthetical citation directly after the relevant quote or paraphrase , and before the period or other punctuation mark (except with block quotes , where the citation comes after the period).
If you have already named the author in the sentence, add only the page number in parentheses. When mentioning a source with three or more authors outside of parentheses, use “and others” or “and colleagues” in place of “et al.”
- MLA is the second most popular citation style (Smith and Morrison 17–19) .
- According to Smith and Morrison , MLA is the second most popular citation style (17–19) .
- APA is by far “the most used citation style in the US” (Moore et al. 74) , but it is less dominant in the UK (Smith 16) .
- Moore and colleagues state that APA is more popular in the US than elsewhere (74) .
If a sentence is supported by more than one source, you can combine the citations in a single set of parentheses. Separate the two sources with a semicolon .
Livestock farming is one of the biggest global contributors to climate change (Garcia 64; Davies 14) .
Consecutive citations of the same source
If you cite the same source repeatedly within a paragraph, you can include the full citation the first time you cite it, then just the page number for subsequent citations.
MLA is the second most popular citation style (Smith and Morrison 17–19) . It is more popular than Chicago style, but less popular than APA (21) .
You can do this as long as it remains clear what source you’re citing. If you cite something else in between or start a new paragraph, reintroduce the full citation again to avoid ambiguity.
Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services
Discover proofreading & editing
For sources with no named author , the in-text citation must match the first element of the Works Cited entry. This may be the name of an organization, or the title of the source.
If the source title or organization name is longer than four words, shorten it to the first word or phrase in the in-text citation, excluding any articles ( a, an, and the ). The shortened title or organization name should begin with the word the source is alphabetized by in the Works Cited.
Follow the general MLA rules for formatting titles : If the source is a self-contained work (e.g. a whole website or an entire book ), put the title in italics; if the source is contained within a larger whole (e.g. a page on a website or a chapter of a book), put the title in quotation marks.
If a source does not have page numbers but is divided into numbered parts (e.g. chapters, sections, scenes, Bible books and verses, Articles of the Constitution , or timestamps), use these numbers to locate the relevant passage.
If the source does not use any numbering system, include only the author’s name in the in-text citation. Don’t include paragraph numbers unless they are explicitly numbered in the source.
Note that if there are no numbered divisions and you have already named the author in your sentence, then no parenthetical citation is necessary.
If your Works Cited page includes more than one entry under the same last name, you need to distinguish between these sources in your in-text citations.
Multiple sources by the same author
If you cite more than one work by the same author, add a shortened title to signal which source you are referring to.
In this example, the first source is a whole book, so the title appears in italics; the second is an article published in a journal, so the title appears in quotation marks.
Different authors with the same last name
To distinguish between different authors with the same last name, use the authors’ initials (or, if the initials are the same, full first names) in your in-text citations:
Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting
Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:
- Academic style
- Vague sentences
- Style consistency
See an example
Sometimes you might want to cite something that you found quoted in a secondary source . If possible, always seek out the original source and cite it directly.
If you can’t access the original source, make sure to name both the original author and the author of the source that you accessed . Use the abbreviation “qtd. in” (short for “quoted in”) to indicate where you found the quotation.
In these cases, only the source you accessed directly is included in the Works Cited list.
You must include an MLA in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book , movie , website , or article ).
Some source types, such as books and journal articles , may contain footnotes (or endnotes) with additional information. The following rules apply when citing information from a note in an MLA in-text citation :
- To cite information from a single numbered note, write “n” after the page number, and then write the note number, e.g. (Smith 105n2)
- To cite information from multiple numbered notes, write “nn” and include a range, e.g. (Smith 77nn1–2)
- To cite information from an unnumbered note, write “un” after the page number, with a space in between, e.g. (Jones 250 un)
If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.
If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .
If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).
If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:
- Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
- The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.
This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
McCombes, S. (2022, May 19). MLA In-text Citations | A Complete Guide (9th Edition). Scribbr. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/in-text-citations/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, how to format your mla works cited page, block quoting in mla style, how to cite a book in mla, what is your plagiarism score.
Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts
MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.
Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
According to MLA style, you must have a Works Cited page at the end of your research paper. All entries in the Works Cited page must correspond to the works cited in your main text.
- Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research paper. It should have the same one-inch margins and last name, page number header as the rest of your paper.
- Only the title should be centered. The citation entries themselves should be aligned with the left margin.
- Double space all citations, but do not skip spaces between entries.
- Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent.
- List page numbers of sources efficiently, when needed. If you refer to a journal article that appeared on pages 225 through 250, list the page numbers on your Works Cited page as pp. 225-50 (Note: MLA style dictates that you should omit the first sets of repeated digits. In our example, the digit in the hundreds place is repeated between 2 25 and 2 50, so you omit the 2 from 250 in the citation: pp. 225-50). If the excerpt spans multiple pages, use “pp.” Note that MLA style uses a hyphen in a span of pages.
- If only one page of a print source is used, mark it with the abbreviation “p.” before the page number (e.g., p. 157). If a span of pages is used, mark it with the abbreviation “pp.” before the page number (e.g., pp. 157-68).
- If you're citing an article or a publication that was originally issued in print form but that you retrieved from an online database, you should type the online database name in italics. You do not need to provide subscription information in addition to the database name.
- For online sources, you should include a location to show readers where you found the source. Many scholarly databases use a DOI (digital object identifier). Use a DOI in your citation if you can; otherwise use a URL. Delete “http://” from URLs. The DOI or URL is usually the last element in a citation and should be followed by a period.
- All works cited entries end with a period.
Additional basic rules new to MLA 2021
New to MLA 2021:
- Apps and databases should be cited only when they are containers of the particular works you are citing, such as when they are the platforms of publication of the works in their entirety, and not an intermediary that redirects your access to a source published somewhere else, such as another platform. For example, the Philosophy Books app should be cited as a container when you use one of its many works, since the app contains them in their entirety. However, a PDF article saved to the Dropbox app is published somewhere else, and so the app should not be cited as a container.
- If it is important that your readers know an author’s/person’s pseudonym, stage-name, or various other names, then you should generally cite the better-known form of author’s/person’s name. For example, since the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is better-known by his pseudonym, cite Lewis Carroll opposed to Charles Dodgson (real name).
- For annotated bibliographies , annotations should be appended at the end of a source/entry with one-inch indentations from where the entry begins. Annotations may be written as concise phrases or complete sentences, generally not exceeding one paragraph in length.
Capitalization and punctuation
- Capitalize each word in the titles of articles, books, etc, but do not capitalize articles (the, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of the title or subtitle: Gone with the Wind, The Art of War, There Is Nothing Left to Lose .
- Use italics (instead of underlining) for titles of larger works (books, magazines) and quotation marks for titles of shorter works (poems, articles)
Listing author names
Entries are listed alphabetically by the author's last name (or, for entire edited collections, editor names). Author names are written with the last name first, then the first name, and then the middle name or middle initial when needed:
Do not list titles (Dr., Sir, Saint, etc.) or degrees (PhD, MA, DDS, etc.) with names. A book listing an author named "John Bigbrain, PhD" appears simply as "Bigbrain, John." Do, however, include suffixes like "Jr." or "II." Putting it all together, a work by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be cited as "King, Martin Luther, Jr." Here the suffix following the first or middle name and a comma.
More than one work by an author
If you have cited more than one work by a particular author, order the entries alphabetically by title, and use three hyphens in place of the author's name for every entry after the first:
Burke, Kenneth. A Grammar of Motives . [...]
---. A Rhetoric of Motives . [...]
When an author or collection editor appears both as the sole author of a text and as the first author of a group, list solo-author entries first:
Heller, Steven, ed. The Education of an E-Designer .
Heller, Steven, and Karen Pomeroy. Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design.
Work with no known author
Alphabetize works with no known author by their title; use a shortened version of the title in the parenthetical citations in your paper. In this case, Boring Postcards USA has no known author:
Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulations. [...]
Boring Postcards USA [...]
Burke, Kenneth. A Rhetoric of Motives . [...]
Work by an author using a pseudonym or stage-name
New to MLA 9th edition, there are now steps to take for citing works by an author or authors using a pseudonym, stage-name, or different name.
If the person you wish to cite is well-known, cite the better-known form of the name of the author. For example, since Lewis Carroll is not only a pseudonym of Charles Dodgson , but also the better-known form of the author’s name, cite the former name opposed to the latter.
If the real name of the author is less well-known than their pseudonym, cite the author’s pseudonym in square brackets following the citation of their real name: “Christie, Agatha [Mary Westmacott].”
Authors who published various works under many names may be cited under a single form of the author’s name. When the form of the name you wish to cite differs from that which appears on the author’s work, include the latter in square brackets following an italicized published as : “Irving, Washington [ published as Knickerbocker, Diedrich].”.
Another acceptable option, in cases where there are only two forms of the author’s name, is to cite both forms of the author’s names as separate entries along with cross-references in square brackets: “Eliot, George [ see also Evans, Mary Anne].”.
University Libraries University of Nevada, Reno
- Skill Guides
- Subject Guides
MLA Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition): MLA 9 Intro
- Understanding Core Elements
- Formatting Appendices and Works Cited List
- Writing an Annotated Bibliography
- Academic Honesty and Citation
- In-Text Citation
- Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
- Charts, Graphs, Images, and Tables
- Class Notes and Presentations
- Interviews and Emails
- Journal and Magazine Articles
- Newspaper Articles
- Social Media
- Special Collections
- Videos and DVDs
- In Digital Assignments
- When Information Is Missing
- Citation Software
Writers, including students, must reference sources that are paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used in research papers and other assignments. MLA style is a set of guidelines for documenting sources which is an important and required part of the research and writing process. There are two key things to know:
- Make in-text citations in the body of your paper. An in-text citation points your readers to the corresponding full citation in the work-cited list. The in-text citation is a concise note directly after the idea or quote you are citing. See the In Text Citation tab for details and examples.
- Create a works-cited list that includes complete bibliographic information about each referenced source. The works-cited list, located at the end of your paper, includes all of the sources you reference in your paper. Templates and examples of common citations are included below and through the How Do I Cite tab.
Please contact us with any questions.
Contact a librarian for a specialized help session about MLA citation. We are here to help!
The MLA Handbook ninth edition was published in April 2021. The main differences between the eighth and ninth editions include:
- New chapters about inclusive language, formatting a research paper, and using notes
- An expanded description of the core elements, more descriptive explanations of in-text citations and guidelines for avoiding plagiarism
- New suggestions about citing works contained in apps and databases
- Hundred of examples about how to cite and list sources
Hard copies of the MLA Handbook are available at the Research Help Desk on the 2nd floor of the Knowledge Center.
Do you want more citation help? Choose one of the links below or contact a librarian for a specialized help session about MLA citation.
- Quick-How-Tos of MLA Citation - Short and accessible explanation and examples of basic citation.
- MLA Tricky Citations - The University's Writing Center shows examples of citing less common sources.
- Purdue's MLA Guide (Online Writing Lab - OWL) - A thorough collection of MLA 8 citation and style examples.
- MLA Style Guide FAQs - The official website of the Modern Language Association.
Below are a handful of the most common citations. You will see the source type (for example, article, book, website) followed by the formatting guideline and examples for both the full citation for the works-cited list and the short in-text citation that appears in the body of the paper.
Works Cited List: Author Last Name, First Name. Title . Publisher, Year.
In-text: (Author Last Name Page Number)
Works Cited List: Olsen, Dale A. Music of El Dorado: the Ethnomusicology of Ancient South American Cultures . UP of Florida, 2002.
In-text: (Olsen 25)
Author's Last Name, First Name. Title. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. Name of Library Database, Permalink URL.
McClean, Shilo T. Digital Storytelling: The Narrative Power of Visual Effects in Film . MIT Press, 2007. eBook Comprehensive Academic Collection (EBSCOhost) , unr.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e025xna&AN=446856&site=ehost-live&scope=site&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_Cover .
Journal Article from Database
Works Cited List: Author Last Name, First Name. "Title." Journal/Magazine/Newspaper Title , Publication Information [volume, issue/number, year, pages]. Name of Database , DOI, Permalink or shortened URL for article in the database.
Works Cited List : Latartara, John. "The Timbre of Thai Classical Singing." Asian Music , vol. 43, no. 2, 2012, pp. 88-114. Project MUSE , https://doi.org/10.1353/amu.2012.0013
In-text: (Latartara 97-8)
Works Cited List : Author Last Name, First Name. "Title of Page or Article." Title of Site , Sponsor or Publisher [include only if different from website title or author], Date of Publication or Update Date, URL. Accessed Date [optional; include date you accessed source if it is likely to help readers].
In-text : (Author Last Name or page title)
Works Cited List : Andaya, Barbara. "Introduction to Southeast Asia." Center for Global Education, Asia Society, 2017, asiasociety.org/education/introduction-southeast-asia . Accessed 17 Dec. 2021.
In-text citation: (Andaya)
Note: If an author is not listed, begin the citation with the title of the page. For example if the author was not evident on the citation above, the works cited entry would be:
"Vietnam: a Historical Introduction." Center for Global Education, Asia Society, 2017, asiasociety.org/education/vietnam. Accessed 17 Dec. 2021.
Works Cited in another Source
Sometimes an author will mention work by another author by using a quotation or paraphrased idea. For example, the Kirkey article you are reading includes a quotation by Smith. The basic rule is that in both the works-cited list and in-text citation, cite Kirkey. Use the words “qtd. in” for the in-text citation.
Works Cited List: Kirkey, Susan. "Euthanasia." The Montreal Gazette , 9 Feb. 2013, p. A.10. Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies.
In-text citation: According to a study by Smith (qtd. in Kirkey), 42% of doctors would refuse to perform legal euthanasia.
Smith (qtd. in Kirkey) states that “even if euthanasia was legal, 42% of doctors would be against this method of assisted dying” (A.10).
- Choose sources from the How Do I Cite tab drop down menu for more formatting guidelines and examples.
- You can also visit our Quick How To for MLA Citation .
Seneca College Libraries
This guide is used/adapted with the permission of Seneca College Libraries. For information please contact [email protected] .
Note: When copying this guide, please retain this box.
- Next: Understanding Core Elements >>