MLA Formatting and Style Guide
Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in MLA.
To see a side-by-side comparison of the three most widely used citation styles, including a chart of all MLA citation guidelines, see the Citation Style Chart.
MLA style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the English language in writing. MLA style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages.
Writers who properly use MLA also build their credibility by demonstrating accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the purposeful or accidental uncredited use of source material by other writers.
If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition). Publishing scholars and graduate students should also consult the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition). The MLA Handbook is available in most writing centers and reference libraries; it is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site. See the Additional Resources section of this handout for a list of helpful books and sites about using MLA style.
The preparation of papers and manuscripts in MLA style is covered in chapter four of the MLA Handbook, and chapter four of the MLA Style Manual. Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style.
- Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
- Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt.
- Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).
- Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
- Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
- Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
- Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
- If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).
Formatting the First Page of Your Paper
- Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
- In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
- Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
- Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking"
- Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
- Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow instructor guidelines.)
Here is a sample of the first page of a paper in MLA style:
Writers sometimes use Section Headings to improve a document’s readability. These sections may include individual chapters or other named parts of a book or essay.
MLA recommends that when you divide an essay into sections that you number those sections with an arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name.
MLA does not have a prescribed system of headings for books (for more information on headings, please see page 146 in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition). If you are only using one level of headings, meaning that all of the sections are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections that fit within them, MLA recommends that these sections resemble one another grammatically. For instance, if your headings are typically short phrases, make all of the headings short phrases (and not, for example, full sentences). Otherwise, the formatting is up to you. It should, however, be consistent throughout the document.
If you employ multiple levels of headings (some of your sections have sections within sections), you may want to provide a key of your chosen level headings and their formatting to your instructor or editor.
Sample Section Headings
The following sample headings are meant to be used only as a reference. You may employ whatever system of formatting that works best for you so long as it remains consistent throughout the document.
Level 1 Heading: bold, flush left
Level 2 Heading: italics, flush left
Level 3 Heading: centered, bold
Level 4 Heading: centered, italics
Level 5 Heading: underlined, flush left
How to Cite the Purdue OWL in MLA
The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 2010. Web. Date of access.
Contributors' names and the last edited date can be found in the orange boxes at the top of every page on the OWL.
Contributors' names. "Title of Resource." The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, Last edited date. Web. Date of access.
Russell, Tony, Allen Brizee, and Elizabeth Angeli. "MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 4 Apr. 2010. Web. 20 July 2010.
MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics
Guidelines for referring to the works of others in your text using MLA style are covered in chapter 6 of the MLA Handbook and in chapter 7 of the MLA Style Manual. Both books provide extensive examples, so it's a good idea to consult them if you want to become even more familiar with MLA guidelines or if you have a particular reference question.
Basic in-text citation rules
In MLA style, referring to the works of others in your text is done by using what is known as parenthetical citation. This method involves placing relevant source information in parentheses after a quote or a paraphrase.
- The source information required in a parenthetical citation depends (1.) upon the source medium (e.g. Print, Web, DVD) and (2.) upon the source’s entry on the Works Cited (bibliography) page.
- Any source information that you provide in-text must correspond to the source information on the Works Cited page. More specifically, whatever signal word or phrase you provide to your readers in the text, must be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry in the Works Cited List.
In-text citations: Author-page style
MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. For example:
Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).
Both citations in the examples above, (263) and (Wordsworth 263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:
Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads. London: Oxford UP, 1967. Print.
In-text citations for print sources with known author
For Print sources like books, magazines, scholarly journal articles, and newspapers, provide a signal word or phrase (usually the author’s last name) and a page number. If you provide the signal word/phrase in the sentence, you do not need to include it in the parenthetical citation.
These examples must correspond to an entry that begins with Burke, which will be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of an entry in the Works Cited:
Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method. Berkeley: U of California P, 1966. Print.
In-text citations for print sources by a corporate author
When a source has a corporate author, it is acceptable to use the name of the corporation followed by the page number for the in-text citation. You should also use abbreviations (e.g., nat'l for national) where appropriate, so as to avoid interrupting the flow of reading with overly long parenthetical citations.
In-text citations for print sources with no known author
When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name. Place the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (e.g. plays, books, television shows, entire Web sites) and provide a page number.
In this example, since the reader does not know the author of the article, an abbreviated title of the article appears in the parenthetical citation which corresponds to the full name of the article which appears first at the left-hand margin of its respective entry in the Works Cited. Thus, the writer includes the title in quotation marks as the signal phrase in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader directly to the source on the Works Cited page. The Works Cited entry appears as follows:
"The Impact of Global Warming in North America." Global Warming: Early Signs. 1999. Web. 23 Mar. 2009.
We'll learn how to make a Works Cited page in a bit, but right now it's important to know that parenthetical citations and Works Cited pages allow readers to know which sources you consulted in writing your essay, so that they can either verify your interpretation of the sources or use them in their own scholarly work.
Author-page citation for classic and literary works with multiple editions
Page numbers are always required, but additional citation information can help literary scholars, who may have a different edition of a classic work like Marx and Engels's The Communist Manifesto. In such cases, give the page number of your edition (making sure the edition is listed in your Works Cited page, of course) followed by a semicolon, and then the appropriate abbreviations for volume (vol.), book (bk.), part (pt.), chapter (ch.), section (sec.), or paragraph (par.). For example:
Citing authors with same last names
Sometimes more information is necessary to identify the source from which a quotation is taken. For instance, if two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors' first initials (or even the authors' full name if different authors share initials) in your citation. For example:
Citing a work by multiple authors
For a source with three or fewer authors, list the authors' last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:
For a source with more than three authors, use the work's bibliographic information as a guide for your citation. Provide the first author's last name followed by et al. or list all the last names.
Citing multiple works by the same author
If you cite more than one work by a particular author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it from the others. Put short titles of books in italics and short titles of articles in quotation marks.
Citing two articles by the same author:
Citing two books by the same author:
Additionally, if the author's name is not mentioned in the sentence, you would format your citation with the author's name followed by a comma, followed by a shortened title of the work, followed, when appropriate, by page numbers:
Citing multivolume works
If you cite from different volumes of a multivolume work, always include the volume number followed by a colon. Put a space after the colon, then provide the page number(s). (If you only cite from one volume, provide only the page number in parentheses.)
Citing the Bible
In your first parenthetical citation, you want to make clear which Bible you're using (and underline or italicize the title), as each version varies in its translation, followed by book (do not italicize or underline), chapter and verse. For example:
If future references employ the same edition of the Bible you’re using, list only the book, chapter, and verse in the parenthetical citation.
Citing indirect sources
Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited in another source. For such indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source you actually consulted. For example:
Note that, in most cases, a responsible researcher will attempt to find the original source, rather than citing an indirect source.
Citing non-print or sources from the Internet
With more and more scholarly work being posted on the Internet, you may have to cite research you have completed in virtual environments. While many sources on the Internet should not be used for scholarly work (reference the OWL's Evaluating Sources of Information resource), some Web sources are perfectly acceptable for research. When creating in-text citations for electronic, film, or Internet sources, remember that your citation must reference the source in your Works Cited.
Sometimes writers are confused with how to craft parenthetical citations for electronic sources because of the absence of page numbers, but often, these sorts of entries do not require any sort of parenthetical citation at all. For electronic and Internet sources, follow the following guidelines:
- Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the citation (e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
- You do not need to give paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browser’s print preview function.
- Unless you must list the Web site name in the signal phrase in order to get the reader to the appropriate entry, do not include URLs in-text. Only provide partial URLs such as when the name of the site includes, for example, a domain name, like CNN.com or Forbes.com as opposed to writing out http://www.cnn.com or http://www.forbes.com.
Miscellaneous non-print sources
In the two examples above “Herzog” from the first entry and “Yates” from the second lead the reader to the first item each citation’s respective entry on the Works Cited page:
Herzog, Werner, dir. Fitzcarraldo. Perf. Klaus Kinski. Filmverlag der Autoren, 1982. Film.
Yates, Jane. "Invention in Rhetoric and Composition." Gaps Addressed: Future Work in Rhetoric and Composition, CCCC, Palmer House Hilton, 2002. Presentation.
In the first example, the writer has chosen not to include the author name in-text; however, two entries from the same author appear in the Works Cited. Thus, the writer includes both the author’s last name and the article title in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader to the appropriate entry on the Works Cited page (see below). In the second example, “Stolley et al.” in the parenthetical citation gives the reader an author name followed by the abbreviation “et al.,” meaning, “and others,” for the article “MLA Formatting and Style Guide.” Both corresponding Works Cited entries are as follows:
Garcia, Elizabeth. "Herzog: a Life." Online Film Critics Corner. The Film School of New Hampshire, 2 May 2002. Web. 8 Jan. 2009.
Stolley, Karl, et al. "MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The OWL at Purdue. 10 May 2006. Purdue University Writing Lab. 12 May 2006.
To cite multiple sources in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon:
When a citation is not needed
Common sense and ethics should determine your need for documenting sources. You do not need to give sources for familiar proverbs, well-known quotations or common knowledge. Remember, this is a rhetorical choice, based on audience. If you're writing for an expert audience of a scholarly journal, for example, they'll have different expectations of what constitutes common knowledge.
MLA Formatting Quotations
When you directly quote the works of others in your paper, you will format quotations differently depending on their length. Below are some basic guidelines for incorporating quotations into your paper. Please note that all pages in MLA should be double-spaced.
To indicate short quotations (fewer than four typed lines of prose or three lines of verse) in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the author and specific page citation (in the case of verse, provide line numbers) in the text, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation. Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.
For example, when quoting short passages of prose, use the following examples:
When short (fewer than three lines of verse) quotations from poetry, mark breaks in short quotations of verse with a slash, ( / ), at the end of each line of verse (a space should precede and follow the slash).
For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented one inch from the left margin; maintain double-spacing. Only indent the first line of the quotation by an additional quarter inch if you are citing multiple paragraphs. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)
For example, when citing more than four lines of prose, use the following examples:
When citing long sections (more than three lines) of poetry, keep formatting as close to the original as possible.
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.
We Romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself. (quoted in Shrodes, Finestone, Shugrue 202)
When citing two or more paragraphs, use block quotation format, even if the passage from the paragraphs is less than four lines. Indent the first line of each quoted paragraph an extra quarter inch.
From its birth in the late nineteenth century, progressive education has wrestled with the conflict within industrial society between pressure to increase specialization of knowledge and of professional work (upholding disciplinary standards) and pressure to integrate more fully an ever-widerning number of citizens into intellectually meaningful activity within mass society (promoting social equity). . . . (3)
Adding or omitting words in quotations
If you add a word or words in a quotation, you should put brackets around the words to indicate that they are not part of the original text.
If you omit a word or words from a quotation, you should indicate the deleted word or words by using ellipsis marks, which are three periods ( . . . ) preceded and followed by a space. For example:
Please note that brackets are not needed around ellipses unless adding brackets would clarify your use of ellipses.
When omitting words from poetry quotations, use a standard three-period ellipses; however, when omitting one or more full lines of poetry, space several periods to about the length of a complete line in the poem:
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration . . . (22-24, 28-30)
MLA Endnotes and Footnotes
Because long explanatory notes can be distracting to readers, most academic style guidelines (including MLA and APA, the American Psychological Association) recommend limited use of endnotes/footnotes; however, certain publishers encourage or require note references in lieu of parenthetical references.
MLA discourages extensive use of explanatory or digressive notes. MLA style does, however, allow you to use endnotes or footnotes for bibliographic notes, which refer to other publications your readers may consult. The following are some examples:
Or, you can also use endnotes/footnotes for occasional explanatory notes (also known as content notes), which refers to brief additional information that might be too digressive for the main text:
Numbering endnotes and footnotes in the document body
Endnotes and footnotes in MLA format are indicated in-text by superscript arabic numbers after the punctuation of the phrase or clause to which the note refers:
Note that when a long dash appears in the text, the footnote/endnote number appears before the dash:
Do not use asterisks (*), angle brackets (>), or other symbols for note references. The list of endnotes and footnotes (either of which, for papers submitted for publication, should be listed on a separate page, as indicated below) should correspond to the note references in the text.
Formatting endnotes and footnotes
MLA recommends that all notes be listed on a separate page entitled Notes (centered, no formatting). Use Note if there is only one note. The Notes page should appear before the Works Cited page. This is especially important for papers being submitted for publication.
The notes themselves should be listed by consecutive arabic numbers that correspond to the notation in the text. Notes are double-spaced. The first line of each endnote is indented five spaces; subsequent lines are flush with the left margin. Place a period and a space after each endnote number. Provide the appropriate note after the space.
Footnotes (below the text body)
Please note that the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook does not specify explicitly how to fully format footnotes, at least not when compared to the prescriptions in the 6th edition. Consult your instructor to see what his or her preference is when formatting footnotes in MLA style.
The following comes from the 6th and 7th editions. The 6th edition of the MLA Handbook contains information on how to format footnotes, however. Begin footnotes four lines (two double-spaced lines) below the main text. Footnotes are single-space with a first-line indent. (The first line of each footnote is indented five spaces; subsequent lines are flush with the left margin.). Be sure to double-space between notes. Place a period and a space after each footnote number. Provide the appropriate note after the space.
For more information on using endnotes and footnotes, consult “Using Notes with Parenthetical Documentation” in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. sec. 6.5, 230-32), or the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, (3rd ed. sec. 7.5, 259-60).
MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format
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.
- Label the page Works Cited (do not italicize the words Works Cited or put them in quotation marks) and center the words Works Cited at the top of the page.
- 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 225-50. Note that MLA style uses a hyphen in a span of pages.
Additional basic rules new to MLA 2009
New to MLA 2009:
- For every entry, you must determine the Medium of Publication. Most entries will likely be listed as Print or Web sources, but other possibilities may include Film, CD-ROM, or DVD.
- Writers are no longer required to provide URLs for Web entries. However, if your instructor or publisher insists on them, include them in angle brackets after the entry and end with a period. For long URLs, break lines only at slashes.
- 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.
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.
- New to MLA 2009: 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 last name first; middle names or middle initials follow the first name:
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. [...]
MLA Works Cited Page: Books
When you are gathering book sources, be sure to make note of the following bibliographic items: author name(s), book title, publication date, publisher, place of publication. The medium of publication for all “hard copy” books is Print.
For more information, consult “Citing Nonperiodical Print Publications” in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition (sec. 5.5, 148-81), or the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition (sec. 6.6, 185-211).
The author’s name or a book with a single author's name appears in last name, first name format. The basic form for a book citation is:
Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.
Book with One Author
Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin, 1987. Print.
Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. Denver: MacMurray, 1999. Print.
Book with More Than One Author
The first given name appears in last name, first name format; subsequent author names appear in first name last name format.
Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Boston: Allyn, 2000. Print.
If there are more than three authors, you may choose to list only the first author followed by the phrase et al. (Latin for "and others") in place of the subsequent authors' names, or you may list all the authors in the order in which their names appear on the title page. (Note that there is a period after “al” in “et al.” Also note that there is never a period after the “et” in “et al.”).
Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Logan: Utah State UP, 2004. Print.
Wysocki, Anne Frances, Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Cynthia L. Selfe, and Geoffrey Sirc. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Logan: Utah State UP, 2004. Print.
Two or More Books by the Same Author
List works alphabetically by title. (Remember to ignore articles like A, An, and The.) Provide the author’s name in last name, first name format for the first entry only. For each subsequent entry by the same author, use three hyphens and a period.
Palmer, William J. Dickens and New Historicism. New York: St. Martin's, 1997. Print.
---. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1993. Print.
Book by a Corporate Author or Organization
A corporate author may include a commission, a committee, or a group that does not identify individual members on the title page. List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry.
American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children. New York: Random, 1998. Print.
Book with No Author
List by title of the book. Incorporate these entries alphabetically just as you would with works that include an author name. For example, the following entry might appear between entries of works written by Dean, Shaun and Forsythe, Jonathan.
Encyclopedia of Indiana. New York: Somerset, 1993. Print.
Remember that for an in-text (parenthetical) citation of a book with no author, provide the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. You may also use a shortened version of the title of the book accompanied by the page number. For more information see In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author section of In-text Citations: The Basics, which you can link to at the bottom of this page.
A Translated Book
Cite as you would any other book. Add "Trans."—the abbreviation for translated by—and follow with the name(s) of the translator(s).
Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Vintage-Random House, 1988. Print.
Books may be republished due to popularity without becoming a new edition. New editions are typically revisions of the original work. For books that originally appeared at an earlier date and that have been republished at a later one, insert the original publication date before the publication information. For books that are new editions (i.e. different from the first or other editions of the book), see An Edition of a Book below.
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. 1990. New York: Routledge, 1999. Print.
Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. 1984. New York: Perennial-Harper, 1993. Print.
An Edition of a Book
There are two types of editions in book publishing: a book that has been published more than once in different editions and a book that is prepared by someone other than the author (typically an editor).
A Subsequent Edition
Cite the book as you normally would, but add the number of the edition after the title.
Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. 3rd ed. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2004. Print.
A Work Prepared by an Editor
Cite the book as you normally would, but add the editor after the title.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Ed. Margaret Smith. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998. Print.
Anthology or Collection (e.g. Collection of Essays)
To cite the entire anthology or collection, list by editor(s) followed by a comma and "ed." or, for multiple editors, "eds" (for edited by). This sort of entry is somewhat rare. If you are citing a particular piece within an anthology or collection (more common), see A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection below.
Hill, Charles A., and Marguerite Helmers, eds. Defining Visual Rhetorics. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. Print.
Peterson, Nancy J., ed. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997. Print.
A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection
Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:
Lastname, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection. Ed. Editor's Name(s). City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page range of entry. Medium of Publication.
Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One. Ed. Ben Rafoth. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2000. 24-34. Print.
Swanson, Gunnar. "Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art: Design and Knowledge in the University and The 'Real World.'" The Education of a Graphic Designer. Ed. Steven Heller. New York: Allworth Press, 1998. 13-24. Print.
Note on Cross-referencing Several Items from One Anthology: If you cite more than one essay from the same edited collection, MLA indicates you may cross-reference within your works cited list in order to avoid writing out the publishing information for each separate essay. You should consider this option if you have several references from a single text. To do so, include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor's name as below:
Rose, Shirley K., and Irwin Weiser, eds. The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1999. Print.
Then, for each individual essay from the collection, list the author's name in last name, first name format, the title of the essay, the editor's last name, and the page range:
L'Eplattenier, Barbara. "Finding Ourselves in the Past: An Argument for Historical Work on WPAs." Rose and Weiser 131-40.
Peeples, Tim. "'Seeing' the WPA With/Through Postmodern Mapping." Rose and Weiser 153-67.
Please note: When cross-referencing items in the works cited list, alphabetical order should be maintained for the entire list.
Poem or Short Story Examples:
Burns, Robert. "Red, Red Rose." 100 Best-Loved Poems. Ed. Philip Smith. New York: Dover, 1995. 26. Print.
Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories. Ed. Tobias Wolff. New York: Vintage, 1994. 306-07. Print.
If the specific literary work is part of the author's own collection (all of the works have the same author), then there will be no editor to reference:
Whitman, Walt. "I Sing the Body Electric." Selected Poems. New York: Dover, 1991. 12-19. Print.
Carter, Angela. "The Tiger's Bride." Burning Your Boats: The Collected Stories. New York: Penguin, 1995. 154-69. Print.
Article in a Reference Book (e.g. Encyclopedias, Dictionaries)
For entries in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works, cite the piece as you would any other work in a collection but do not include the publisher information. Also, if the reference book is organized alphabetically, as most are, do not list the volume or the page number of the article or item.
"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary. 3rd ed. 1997. Print.
A Multivolume Work
When citing only one volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number after the work's title, or after the work's editor or translator.
Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Trans. H. E. Butler. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. Print.
When citing more than one volume of a multivolume work, cite the total number of volumes in the work. Also, be sure in your in-text citation to provide both the volume number and page number(s). (See Citing Multivolume Works on the In-Text Citations – The Basics page, which you can access by following the appropriate link at the bottom of this page.)
Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Trans. H. E. Butler. 4 vols. Cambridge: Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. Print.
If the volume you are using has its own title, cite the book without referring to the other volumes as if it were an independent publication.
Churchill, Winston S. The Age of Revolution. New York: Dodd, 1957. Print.
An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword
When citing an introduction, a preface, a foreword, or an afterword, write the name of the author(s) of the piece you are citing. Then give the name of the part being cited, which should not be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks; in italics, provide the name of the work and the name of the author of the introduction/preface/forward/afterward. Finish the citation with the details of publication, page range, and item type (e.g., print, web, etc.).
Farrell, Thomas B. Introduction. Norms of Rhetorical Culture. By Farrell. New Haven: Yale UP, 1993. 1-13. Print.
If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work, then write the full name of the principal work's author after the word "By." For example, if you were to cite Hugh Dalziel Duncan’s introduction of Kenneth Burke’s book Permanence and Change, you would write the entry as follows:
Duncan, Hugh Dalziel. Introduction. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose. By Kenneth Burke. 1935. 3rd ed. Berkeley: U of California P, 1984. xiii-xliv. Print.
Other Print/Book Sources
Certain book sources are handled in a special way by MLA style.
Give the name of the specific edition you are using, any editor(s) associated with it, followed by the publication information. Remember that your in-text (parenthetical citation) should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). (See Citing the Bible on In-Text Citations: The Basics.)
The New Jerusalem Bible. Ed. Susan Jones. New York: Doubleday, 1985. Print.
A Government Publication
Cite the author of the publication if the author is identified. Otherwise, start with the name of the national government, followed by the agency (including any subdivisions or agencies) that serves as the organizational author. For congressional documents, be sure to include the number of the Congress and the session when the hearing was held or resolution passed. US government documents are typically published by the Government Printing Office, which MLA abbreviates as GPO.
United States. Cong. Senate. Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearing on the Geopolitics of Oil. 110th Cong., 1st sess. Washington: GPO, 2007. Print.
United States. Government Accountability Office. Climate Change: EPA and DOE Should Do More to Encourage Progress Under Two Voluntary Programs. Washington: GPO, 2006. Print.
Cite the title and publication information for the pamphlet just as you would a book without an author. Pamphlets and promotional materials commonly feature corporate authors (commissions, committees, or other groups that does not provide individual group member names). If the pamphlet you are citing has no author, cite as directed below. If your pamphlet has an author or a corporate author, put the name of the author (last name, first name format) or corporate author in the place where the author name typically appears at the beginning of the entry. (See also Books by a Corporate Author or Organization above.)
Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System. Washington: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006. Print.
Your Rights Under California Welfare Programs. Sacramento: California Dept. of Social Services, 2007. Print.
Dissertations and Master's Theses
Dissertations and master's theses may be used as sources whether published or not. Cite the work as you would a book, but include the designation Diss. (or MA/MS thesis) followed by the degree-granting school and the year the degree was awarded.
If the dissertation is published, italicize the title and include the publication date. You may also include the University Microfilms International (UMI) order number if you choose:
Bishop, Karen Lynn. Documenting Institutional Identity: Strategic Writing in the IUPUI Comprehensive Campaign. Diss. Purdue University, 2002. Ann Arbor: UMI, 2004. Print.
Bile, Jeffrey. Ecology, Feminism, and a Revised Critical Rhetoric: Toward a Dialectical Partnership. Diss. Ohio University, 2005. Ann Arbor: UMI, 2006. AAT 3191701. Print.
If the work is not published, put the title in quotation marks and end with the date the degree was awarded:
Graban, Tarez Samra. "Towards a Feminine Ironic: Understanding Irony in the Oppositional Discourse of Women from the Early Modern and Modern Periods." Diss. Purdue University, 2006. Print.
Stolley, Karl. "Toward a Conception of Religion as a Discursive Formation: Implications for Postmodern Composition Theory." MA thesis. Purdue University, 2002. Print.
MLA Works Cited: Periodicals
Periodicals (e.g. magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals) that appear in print require the same medium of publication designator—Print—as books, but the MLA Style method for citing these materials and the items required for these entries are quite different from MLA book citations.
For more information on citing periodicals, consult “Citing Periodical Print Publications” in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition (sec. 5.4, 136-48), or the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition (sec. 6.5, 174-85).
Article in a Magazine
Cite by listing the article's author, putting the title of the article in quotations marks, and italicizing the periodical title. Follow with the date of publication. Remember to abbreviate the month. The basic format is as follows:
Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Day Month Year: pages. Medium of publication.
Poniewozik, James. "TV Makes a Too-Close Call." Time 20 Nov. 2000: 70-71. Print.
Buchman, Dana. "A Special Education." Good Housekeeping Mar. 2006: 143-48. Print.
Article in a Newspaper
Cite a newspaper article as you would a magazine article, but note the different pagination in a newspaper. If there is more than one edition available for that date (as in an early and late edition of a newspaper), identify the edition following the date (e.g., 17 May 1987, late ed.).
Brubaker, Bill. "New Health Center Targets County's Uninsured Patients." Washington Post 24 May 2007: LZ01. Print.
Krugman, Andrew. "Fear of Eating." New York Times 21 May 2007 late ed.: A1. Print.
If the newspaper is a less well-known or local publication, include the city name and state in brackets after the title of the newspaper.
Behre, Robert. "Presidential Hopefuls Get Final Crack at Core of S.C. Democrats." Post and Courier [Charleston, SC] 29 Apr. 2007: A11. Print.
Trembacki, Paul. "Brees Hopes to Win Heisman for Team." Purdue Exponent [West Lafayette, IN] 5 Dec. 2000: 20. Print.
To cite a review, include the title of the review (if available), then the abbreviation "Rev. of" for Review of and provide the title of the work (in italics for books, plays, and films; in quotation marks for articles, poems, and short stories). Finally, provide performance and/or publication information.
Review Author. "Title of Review (if there is one)." Rev. of Performance Title, by Author/Director/Artist. Title of Periodical day month year: page. Medium of publication.
Seitz, Matt Zoller. "Life in the Sprawling Suburbs, If You Can Really Call It Living." Rev. of Radiant City, dir. Gary Burns and Jim Brown. New York Times 30 May 2007 late ed.: E1. Print.
Weiller, K. H. Rev. of Sport, Rhetoric, and Gender: Historical Perspectives and Media Representations, ed. Linda K. Fuller. Choice Apr. 2007: 1377. Print.
An Editorial & Letter to the Editor
Cite as you would any article in a periodical, but include the designators "Editorial" or "Letter" to identify the type of work it is.
"Of Mines and Men." Editorial. Wall Street Journal east. ed. 24 Oct. 2003: A14. Print.
Hamer, John. Letter. American Journalism Review Dec. 2006/Jan. 2007: 7. Print.
Cite the article title first, and finish the citation as you would any other for that kind of periodical.
"Business: Global Warming's Boom Town; Tourism in Greenland." The Economist 26 May 2007: 82. Print.
"Aging; Women Expect to Care for Aging Parents but Seldom Prepare." Women's Health Weekly 10 May 2007: 18. Print.
An Article in a Scholarly Journal
In previous years, MLA required that researchers determine whether or not a scholarly journal employed continuous pagination (page numbers began at page one in the first issue of the years and page numbers took up where they left off in subsequent ones) or non-continuous pagination (page numbers begin at page one in every subsequent issue) in order to determine whether or not to include issue numbers in bibliographic entries. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 7th edition (2009) eliminates this step. Always provide issue numbers, when available.
Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Medium of publication.
Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 15.1 (1996): 41-50. Print.
Duvall, John N. "The (Super)Marketplace of Images: Television as Unmediated Mediation in DeLillo's White Noise." Arizona Quarterly 50.3 (1994): 127-53. Print.
An Article in a Special Issue of a Scholarly Journal
When an article appears in a special issue of a journal, cite the name of the special issue in the entry’s title space, in italics, and end with a period. Add the descriptor “Spec. issue of” and include the name of the journal, also in italics, followed by the rest of the information required for a standard scholarly journal citation.
Web entries should follow a similar format.
Burgess, Anthony. “Politics in the Novels of Graham Greene.” Literature and Society. Spec. issue of Journal of Contemporary History 2.2 (1967): 93-99. Print.
Case, Sue-Ellen. “Eve's Apple, or Women's Narrative Bytes.” Technocriticism and Hypernarrative. Spec. issue of Modern Fiction Studies 43.3 (1997): 631-650. Web. 10 Feb. 2010.
MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)
MLA lists electronic sources as Web Publications. Thus, when including the medium of publication for electronic sources, list the medium as Web.
It is always a good idea to maintain personal copies of electronic information, when possible. It is good practice to print or save Web pages or, better, using a program like Adobe Acrobat, to keep your own copies for future reference. Most Web browsers will include URL/electronic address information when you print, which makes later reference easy. Also, you might use the Bookmark function in your Web browser in order to return to documents more easily.
Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA
MLA no longer requires the use of URLs in MLA citations. Because Web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the Web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA explains that most readers can find electronic sources via title or author searches in Internet Search Engines.
For instructors or editors who still wish to require the use of URLs, MLA suggests that the URL appear in angle brackets after the date of access. Break URLs only after slashes.
Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. S. H. Butcher. The Internet Classics Archive. Web Atomic and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 13 Sept. 2007. Web. 4 Nov. 2008. ‹http://classics.mit.edu/›.
Abbreviations Commonly Used with Electronic Sources
If publishing information is unavailable for entries that require publication information such as publisher (or sponsor) names and publishing dates, MLA requires the use of special abbreviations to indicate that this information is not available. Use n.p. to indicate that neither a publisher nor a sponsor name has been provided. Use n.d. when the Web page does not provide a publication date.
When an entry requires that you provide a page but no pages are provided in the source (as in the case of an online-only scholarly journal or a work that appears in an online-only anthology), use the abbreviation n. pag.
Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)
Here are some common features you should try and find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every Web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible both for your citations and for your research notes:
- Author and/or editor names (if available)
- Article name in quotation marks (if applicable)
- Title of the Website, project, or book in italics. (Remember that some Print publications have Web publications with slightly different names. They may, for example, include the additional information or otherwise modified information, like domain names [e.g. .com or .net].)
- Any version numbers available, including revisions, posting dates, volumes, or issue numbers.
- Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
- Take note of any page numbers (if available).
- Medium of publication.
- Date you accessed the material.
- URL (if required, or for your own personal reference; MLA does not require a URL).
Citing an Entire Web Site
It is necessary to list your date of access because web postings are often updated, and information available on one date may no longer be available later. If a URL is required or you chose to include one, be sure to include the complete address for the site. (Note: The following examples do not include a URL because MLA no longer requires a URL to be included.)
Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if no publishing date is given.
Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available). Medium of publication. Date of access.
The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008. Web. 23 Apr. 2008.
Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003. Web. 10 May 2006.
Course or Department Websites
Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course (or the school catalog designation for the course) in italics. Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title. Remember to use n.d. if no publishing date is given.
Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England. Purdue U, Aug. 2006. Web. 31 May 2007.
English Department. Purdue U, 20 Apr. 2009. Web. 14 May 2009.
A Page on a Web Site
For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by the information covered above for entire Web sites. Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if no publishing date is given.
"Athelete's Foot - Topic Overview." WebMD. WebMD, 25 September 2014. Web. 6 July 2015.
Lundman, Susan. "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 6 July 2015.
An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)
Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, the medium of publication, and the date of access.
Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo National del Prado. Web. 22 May 2006.
Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine. 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive. Web. 22 May 2006.
If the work is cited on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, the medium of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author.
brandychloe. "Great Horned Owl Family." Photograph. Webshots. American Greetings, 22 May 2006. Web. 5 Nov. 2009.
An Article in a Web Magazine
Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the Web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, medium of publication, and the date of access. Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if no publishing date is given.
Bernstein, Mark. "10 Tips on Writing the Living Web." A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites. A List Apart Mag., 16 Aug. 2002. Web. 4 May 2009.
An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal
For all online scholarly journals, provide the author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication.
Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal
MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format (i.e. there is no corresponding print publication) that does not make use of page numbers, use the abbreviation n. pag. to denote that there is no pagination for the publication.
Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal 6.2 (2008): n. pag. Web. 20 May 2009.
Article in an Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print
Cite articles in online scholarly journals that also appear in print as you would a scholarly journal in print, including the page range of the article. Provide the medium of publication that you used (in this case, Web) and the date of access.
Wheelis, Mark. "Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention." Emerging Infectious Diseases 6.6 (2000): 595-600. Web. 8 Feb. 2009.
An Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)
Cite articles from online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services just as you would print sources. Since these articles usually come from periodicals, be sure to consult the appropriate sections of the Works Cited: Periodicals page, which you can access via its link at the bottom of this page. In addition to this information, provide the title of the database italicized, the medium of publication, and the date of access.
Note: Previous editions of the MLA Style Manual required information about the subscribing institution (name and location). This information is no longer required by MLA.
Junge, Wolfgang, and Nathan Nelson. “Nature's Rotary Electromotors.” Science 29 Apr. 2005: 642-44. Science Online. Web. 5 Mar. 2009.
Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal 50.1 (2007): 173-96. ProQuest. Web. 27 May 2009.
E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)
Give the author of the message, followed by the subject line in quotation marks. State to whom to message was sent, the date the message was sent, and the medium of publication.
Kunka, Andrew. "Re: Modernist Literature." Message to the author. 15 Nov. 2000. E-mail.
Neyhart, David. "Re: Online Tutoring." Message to Joe Barbato. 1 Dec. 2000. E-mail.
A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting
Cite Web postings as you would a standard Web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the Web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the medium of publication and the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets. Remember if the publisher of the site is unknown, use the abbreviation n.p.
Editor, screen name, author, or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site. Version number (if available). Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher). Medium of publication. Date of access.
Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek. BoardGameGeek, 29 Sept. 2008. Web. 5 Apr. 2009.
Begin with the user's name (Last Name, First Name) followed by his/her Twitter username in parentheses. Insert a period outside the parentheses. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader's time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the word "Tweet" afterwards and end with a period.
Brokaw, Tom (tombrokaw). "SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign." 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m. Tweet.
The MLA does not currently prescribe a citation style for YouTube videos. Based on MLA standards for other media formats, we feel that the following format is the most acceptable for citing YouTube videos:
Author’s Name or Poster’s Username. “Title of Image or Video.” Media Type
Text. Name of Website. Name of Website’s Publisher, date of posting. Medium. date retrieved.
Here is an example of what that looks like:
Shimabukuro, Jake. "Ukulele Weeps by Jake Shimabukuro." Online video clip.
YouTube. YouTube, 22 Apr. 2006. Web. 9 Sept. 2010.
MLA Works Cited: Other Common Sources
Several sources have multiple means for citation, especially those that appear in varied formats: films, DVDs, videocassettes; published and unpublished interviews, interviews over e-mail; published and unpublished conference proceedings. The following section groups these sorts of citations as well as others not covered in the print, periodical, and electronic sources sections.
Interviews typically fall into two categories: print or broadcast published and unpublished (personal) interviews, although interviews may also appear in other, similar formats such as in e-mail format or as a Web document.
Personal interviews refer to those interviews that you conduct yourself. List the interview by the name of the interviewee. Include the descriptor Personal interview and the date of the interview.
Smith, Jane. Personal interview. 19 May 2014.
Published Interviews (Print or Broadcast)
List the interview by the botname of the interviewee. If the name of the interview is part of a larger work like a book, a television program, or a film series, place the title of the interview in quotation marks. Place the title of the larger work in italics. If the interview appears as an independent title, italicize it. Determine the medium of publication (e.g., print, Web, DVD) and fill in the rest of the entry with the information required by that medium. For books, include the author or editor name after the book title.
Note: If the interview from which you quote does not feature a title, add the descriptor Interview (unformatted) after the interviewee’s name. You may also use the descriptor Interview by to add the name of the interview to the entry if it is relevant to your paper.
Gaitskill, Mary. Interview with Charles Bock. Mississippi Review 27.3 (1999): 129-50. Print.
Amis, Kingsley. “Mimic and Moralist.” Interviews with Britain’s Angry Young Men. By Dale Salwak. San Bernardino: Borgo, 1984. Print.
Online-only Published Interviews
List the interview by the name of the interviewee. If the interview has a title, place it in quotation marks. Cite the remainder of the entry as you would other exclusive Web content. Place the name of the Website in italics, give the publisher name (or sponsor), the publication date, the medium of publication (Web), and the date of access. Remember that if no publisher name is give, insert the abbreviation n.p.
Note: If the interview from which you quote does not feature a title, add the descriptor Interview (unformatted) after the interviewee’s name. You may also use the descriptor Interview by to add the name of the interview to the entry if it is relevant to your paper.
Zinkievich, Craig. Interview by Gareth Von Kallenbach. Skewed & Reviewed. Skewed & Reviewed, 2009. Web. 15 Mar. 2009.
Speeches, Lectures, or Other Oral Presentations (including Conference Presentations)
Provide the speaker’s name. Then, give the title of the speech (if any) in quotation marks. Follow with the name of the meeting and organization, the location of the occasion, and the date. Use the descriptor that appropriately expresses the type of presentation (e.g., Address, Lecture, Reading, Keynote Speech, Guest Lecture, Conference Presentation). Remember to use the abbreviation n.p. if the publisher is not known; use n.d. if the date is not known.
Stein, Bob. "Computers and Writing Conference Presentation." Purdue University. Union Club Hotel, West Lafayette, IN. 23 May 2003. Keynote Address.
Published Conference Proceedings
Cite published conference proceedings like a book. If the date and location of the conference are not part of the published title, add this information after the published proceedings title. The medium of publication is Print. Remember to use the abbreviation n.p. if the publisher is not known; use n.d. if the date is not known.
LastName, FirstName, ed. Conference Title that Includes Conference Date and Location. City of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication. Print.
LastName, FirstName, ed. Conference Title that Does Not Include Conference Date and Location. Conference Date, Conference Location. City of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication. Print.
To cite a presentation from a published conference proceedings, begin with the presenter’s name. Place the name of the presentation in quotation marks. Follow with publication information for the conference proceedings.
LastName, FirstName. “Conference Paper Title.” Conference Title that Includes Conference Date and Location. Ed. Conference Editor(s). City of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication. Print.
A Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph
Include the artist's name. Give the title of the artwork in italics. Provide the date of composition. If the date of composition is unknown, place the abbreviation n.d. in place of the date. Name the medium of the piece, and finally, provide the name of the institution that houses the artwork followed by the location of the institution.
Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Oil on canvas. Museo del Prado, Madrid.
For photographic reproductions of artwork (e.g. images of artwork in a book), cite the bibliographic information as above followed by the information for the source in which the photograph appears, including page or reference numbers (plate, figure, etc.).
Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Museo del Prado, Madrid. Gardener's Art Through the Ages. 10th ed. By Richard G. Tansey and Fred S. Kleiner. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace. 939. Print.
For artwork in an online format, consult “An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)” by following the link Works Cited: Electronic Sources located on the sidebar menu under "MLA Formatting and Style Guide".
Films or Movies
List films (in theaters or not yet on DVD or video) by their title. Include the name of the director, the film studio or distributor, and the release year. If relevant, list performer names after the director’s name. Use the abbreviation perf. to head the list. List film as the medium of publication. To cite a DVD or other video recording, see “Recorded Films and Movies” below.
The Usual Suspects. Dir. Bryan Singer. Perf. Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, and Benecio del Toro. Polygram, 1995. Film.
To emphasize specific performers (perf.) or directors (dir.), begin the citation with the name of the desired performer or director, followed by the appropriate abbreviation.
Lucas, George, dir. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Twentieth Century Fox, 1977. Film.
Recorded Films or Movies
List films by their title. Include the name of the director, the distributor, and the release year. If relevant, list performer names after the director’s name. Use the abbreviation perf. to head the list. End the entry with the appropriate medium of publication (e.g. DVD, VHS, Laser disc).
Ed Wood. Dir. Tim Burton. Perf. Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette. Touchstone, 1994. DVD.
Broadcast Television or Radio Program
Begin with the title of the episode in quotation marks. Provide the name of the series or program in italics. Also include the network name, call letters of the station followed by the city, and the date of broadcast. End with the publication medium (e.g. Television, Radio). For television episodes on Videocassette or DVD refer to the “Recorded Television Episodes” section below.
"The Blessing Way." The X-Files. Fox. WXIA, Atlanta. 19 Jul. 1998. Television.
Recorded Television Episodes (e.g. DVD, Videocassette)
Cite recorded television episodes like films (see above). Begin with the episode name in quotation marks. Follow with the series name in italics. When the title of the collection of recordings is different than the original series (e.g., the show Friends is in DVD release under the title Friends: The Complete Sixth Season), list the title that would help researchers to locate the recording. Give the distributor name followed by the date of distribution. End with the medium of publication (e.g. DVD, Videocassette, Laser disc).
Note: The writer may choose to include information about directors, writers, performers, producers between the title and the distributor name. Use appropriate abbreviations for these contributors (e.g. dir., writ., perf., prod.).
"The One Where Chandler Can't Cry." Friends: The Complete Sixth Season. Writ. Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen. Dir. Kevin Bright. Warner Brothers, 2004. DVD.
List sound recordings in such a way that they can easily be found by readers. Generally, citations begin with the artist name. They might also be listed by composers (comp.) or performers (perf.). Otherwise, list composer and performer information after the album title.
Use the appropriate abbreviation after the person’s name and a comma, when needed. Put individual song titles in quotation marks. Album names are italicized. Provide the name of the recording manufacturer followed by the publication date (or n.d., if date is unknown). List the appropriate medium at the end of the entry (e.g. CD, LP, Audiocassette). For MP3 recordings, see the “Digital Files” section below.
Note: If you know and desire to list the recording date, include this information before the manufacturer name. Use the abbreviation for “recorded” (Rec.) and list the recording date (dd mm year format) before the manufacturer name.
Foo Fighters. In Your Honor. RCA, 2005. CD.
Nirvana. "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Nevermind. Geffen, 1991. Audiocassette.
Beethoven, Ludwig van. The 9 Symphonies. Perf. NBC Symphony Orchestra. Cond. Arturo Toscanini. RCA, 2003. CD.
Treat spoken-word albums the same as musical albums.
Hedberg, Mitch. Strategic Grill Locations. Comedy Central, 2003. CD.
Digital Files (PDFs, MP3s, JPEGs)
Determine the type of work to cite (e.g., article, image, sound recording) and cite appropriately. End the entry with the name of the digital format (e.g., PDF, JPEG file, Microsoft Word file, MP3). If the work does not follow traditional parameters for citation, give the author’s name, the name of the work, the date of creation, and the medium of publication. Use Digital file when the medium cannot be determined.
Beethoven, Ludwig van. Moonlight Sonata. Crownstar, 2006. MP3.
Smith, George. “Pax Americana: Strife in a Time of Peace.” 2005. Microsoft Word file.
Council of Writing Program Administrators, National Council of Teachers of English, and National Writing Project. Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing. CWPA, NCTE, and NWP, 2011. PDF file.
Bentley, Phyllis. “Yorkshire and the Novelist.” The Kenyon Review 30.4 (1968): 509-22. JSTOR. PDF file.
MLA Additional Resources
It's always best to consult the current MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers for any MLA question. If you are using MLA style for a class assignment, it's also a good idea to consult your professor, advisor, TA, or other campus resources for help. They're the ones who can tell you how the style should apply in your particular case.
For extraordinary questions that aren't covered clearly in the style manual or haven't been answered by your teacher or advisor, you can make an appointment at the Writing Lab by calling (765) 494-3723 or email us at this form.
Print resources from the modern language association
MLA Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, (3rd ed.) (ISBN-13: 978-0-87352-297-7)
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, (7th ed.) (ISBN-13: 978-1-60329-024-1)
There are a few common trends in abbreviating that you should follow when using MLA, though there are always exceptions to these rules. For a complete list of common abbreviations used in academic writing, see Chapter 7 of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, (7th ed.), and Chapter 8 of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, (3rd ed.).
This guide provides only a very small portion of the abbreviations suggested by MLA. Each section cross-references the appropriate sections and page numbers of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers and the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.
Uppercase letter abbreviations
Do not use periods or spaces in abbreviations composed solely of capital letters, except in the case of proper names:
Lowercase letter abbreviations
Use a period if the abbreviation ends in a lower case letter, unless referring to an Internet suffix, where the period should come before the abbreviation:
Note: Degree names are a notable exception to the lowercase abbreviation rule.
Use periods between letters without spacing if each letter represents a word in common lower case abbreviations:
Other notable exceptions:
For more on upper- and lowercase letter abbreviation designations, see Section 7.1. Introduction (234) of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, (7th ed.), or Section 8.1. Introduction (261-62) of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, (3rd ed.).
Abbreviations in citations
Condense citations as much as possible using abbreviations.
Remember to follow common trends in abbreviating time and location within citations. Month names longer than four letters used in journal and magazine citations:
For more information on time designations, see Section 7.2. Time Designations (235) of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, (7th ed.), or Section 8.2. Time Designations (262-63) of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, (3rd ed.).
Use geographic names of states and countries. Abbreviate country, province, and state names.
For more information on time designations, see Section 7.3. Geographic Names (236-40) of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, (7th ed.), or Section 8.3. Geographic Names (264-69) of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, (3rd ed.).
List common scholarly abbreviations as they appear below:
- anon. for anonymous
- c. or ca. for circa
- comp. for compiler
- fwd. for foreword
- jour. for journal
- lib. for library
- sec. or sect. for section
- ser. for series
- var. for variant
- writ. for written by or writer
For more information on scholarly abbreviations, see Section 7.4. Common Scholarly Abbreviations and Reference Words (240-47) of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, (7th ed.), or Section 8.3. Common Scholarly Abbreviations and Reference Words (269-82) of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, (3rd ed.).
Shorten publisher's names as much as possible in book citations. You only need to provide your readers with enough information for them to identify the publisher. Many publishers can be identified by only acronyms or a shortened version of their names.
MLA suggests a few rules for you to follow when abbreviating publishers:
- Omit articles, business abbreviations (like Corp. or Inc.), and descriptive words (e.g. Press, Publishers, House)
- Cite only the last name of a publisher with the name of one person (e.g. Norton for W. W. Norton) and only the last name of the first listed for a publisher with multiple names (e.g. McGraw for McGraw-Hill)
- Use standard abbreviations when possible (e.g. Assn. or Soc.)
- Use the acronym of the publisher if the company is commonly known by that abbreviation (e.g. MLA, ERIC, GPO)
- Use only U and P when referring to university presses (e.g. Cambridge UP or U of Chicago P)
Here is a short list of publisher abbreviations that you might use. Consult Chapter 7 of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers for a more complete list.
- Acad. for Educ. Dev. (Academy for Educational Development, Inc.)
- Gale (Gale Research, Inc.)
- Harper (Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc. & HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.)
- Little (Little, Brown and Company, Inc.)
- MIT P (The MIT Press)
- NCTE (The National Council of Teachers of English)
- SIRS (Social Issues Resources Series)
- UMI (University Microfilms International)
For more information on publisher names, see Section 7.4. Publishers’ Names (247-49) of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, (7th ed.), or Section 8.3. Publishers’ Names (282-85) of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, (3rd ed.).
MLA Sample Works Cited Page
This handout provides an example of a Works Cited page in MLA 2009 format.
"Blueprint Lays Out Clear Path for Climate Action." Environmental Defense Fund. Environmental Defense Fund, 8 May 2007. Web. 24 May 2009.
Clinton, Bill. Interview by Andrew C. Revkin. “Clinton on Climate Change.” New York Times. New York Times, May 2007. Web. 25 May 2009.
Dean, Cornelia. "Executive on a Mission: Saving the Planet." New York Times. New York Times, 22 May 2007. Web. 25 May 2009.
Ebert, Roger. "An Inconvenient Truth." Rev. of An Inconvenient Truth, dir. Davis Guggenheim. rogerebert.com. Sun-Times News Group, 2 June 2006. Web. 24 May 2009.
GlobalWarming.org. Cooler Heads Coalition, 2007. Web. 24 May 2009.
Gowdy, John. "Avoiding Self-organized Extinction: Toward a Co-evolutionary Economics of Sustainability." International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 14.1 (2007): 27-36. Print.
An Inconvenient Truth. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Perf. Al Gore, Billy West. Paramount, 2006. DVD.
Leroux, Marcel. Global Warming: Myth Or Reality?: The Erring Ways of Climatology. New York: Springer, 2005. Print.
Milken, Michael, Gary Becker, Myron Scholes, and Daniel Kahneman. "On Global Warming and Financial Imbalances." New Perspectives Quarterly 23.4 (2006): 63. Print.
Nordhaus, William D. "After Kyoto: Alternative Mechanisms to Control Global Warming." American Economic Review 96.2 (2006): 31-34. Print.
---. "Global Warming Economics." Science 9 Nov. 2001: 1283-84. Science Online. Web. 24 May 2009.
Shulte, Bret. "Putting a Price on Pollution." Usnews.com. US News & World Rept., 6 May 2007. Web. 24 May 2009.
Uzawa, Hirofumi. Economic Theory and Global Warming. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003. Print.
MLA Sample Paper
This resource contains a sample MLA paper that adheres to the 2009 updates. To download the MLA sample paper, select the MLA 2009 Sample Paper PDF file in the Media box above.
MLA Tables, Figures, and Examples
The purpose of visual materials or other illustrations is to enhance the audience's understanding of information in the document and/or awareness of a topic. Writers can embed several types of visuals using most basic word processing software: diagrams, musical scores, photographs, or, for documents that will be read electronically, audio/video applications.
- Collect sources. Gather the source information required for MLA documentation for the source medium of the illustration (e.g. print, Web, podcast).
- Determine what types of illustrations best suit your purpose. Consider the purpose of each illustration, how it contributes to the purpose of the document and the reader's understanding, and whether or not the audience will be able to view and/or understand the illustration easily.
- Use illustrations of the best quality. Avoid blurry, pixilated, or distorted images for both print and electronic documents. Often pixilation and distortion occurs when writers manipulate image sizes. Keep images in their original sizes or use photo editing software to modify them. Reproduce distorted graphs, tables, or diagrams with spreadsheet or publishing software, but be sure to include all source information. Always represent the original source information faithfully and avoid unethical practices of false representation or manipulation.
- Use illustrations sparingly. Decide what items can best improve the document's ability to augment readers' understanding of the information, appreciation for the subject, and/or illustration of the main points. Do not provide illustrations for illustrations' sake. Scrutinize illustrations for how potentially informative or persuasive they can be.
- Do not use illustrations to boost page length. In the case of student papers, instructors often do not count the space taken up by visual aids toward the required page length of the document. Remember that texts explain, while illustrations enhance. Illustrations cannot carry the entire weight of the document.
Labels, captions, and source information
Illustrations appear directly embedded in the document, except in the case of manuscripts that are being prepared for publication. (For preparing manuscripts with visual materials for publication, see Note on Manuscripts below.) Each illustration must include a label, a number, a caption and/or source information.
- The illustration label and number should always appear in two places: the document main text (e.g. see fig. 1) and near the illustration itself (Fig. 1).
- Captions provide titles or explanatory notes.
- Source information documentation will always depend upon the medium of the source illustration. If you provide source information with all of your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.
Source information and note form
For source information, MLA lists sources in note form. These entries appear much like standard MLA bibliographic entries with a few exceptions:
- Author names are in First_Name—Last_Name format.
- Commas are substituted for periods (except in the case of the period that ends the entry).
- Publication information for books (location: publisher, year) appears in parentheses.
- Relevant page numbers follow the publication information.
Note: Use semicolons to denote entry sections when long series of commas make these sections difficult to ascertain as being like or separate. (See examples below.) The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 7th edition states that if the table or illustration caption provides complete citation information about the source and the source is not cited in the text, authors do not need to list the source in the Works Cited list.
Examples - Documenting source information in "Note form"
Tom Shachtman, Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999) 35. Print.
Website (using semicolons to group like information together)
United States; Dept. of Commerce; Census Bureau; Manufacturing, Mining, and Construction Statistics; Housing Units Authorized by Building Permits; US Dept. of Commerce, 5 Feb. 2008; Web; 23 Dec. 2008; table 1a.
In this example, the commas in Manufacturing, Mining, and Construction Statistics prompt the need for semicolons in order for the series information to be read easily. Even if Manufacturing, Mining, and Construction Statistics had not appeared in the entry, the multiple "author names" of United States, Dept. of Commerce, and Census Bureau would have necessitated the use of a semicolon before and after the title and between ensuing sections to the end of the entry.
Furthermore, the publisher and date in a standard entry are separated by a comma and belong together; thus, their inclusion here (US Dept. of Commerce, 5 Feb. 2008) also necessitates the semicolons.
MLA documentation for tables, figures, and examples
MLA provides three designations for document illustrations: tables, figures, and examples (see specific sections below).
- Refer to the table and its corresponding numeral in-text. Do not capitalize the word table. This is typically done in parentheses (e.g. "(see table 2)").
- Situate the table near the text to which it relates.
- Align the table flush-left to the margin.
- Label the table Table and provide its corresponding Arabic numeral. No punctuation is necessary after the label and number (see example below).
- On the next line, provide a caption for the table, most often the table title. Use standard capitalization rules.
- Place the table below the caption, flush-left, making sure to maintain basic MLA style formatting (e.g. one-inch margins).
- Below the title, signal the source information with the descriptor "Source," followed by a colon, then provide the correct MLA bibliographic information for the source in note form (see instructions and examples above). Use a hanging indent for lines after the first. If you provide source information with your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.
- If additional caption information or explanatory notes is necessary, use lowercase letters formatted in superscript in the caption information or table. Below the source information, indent, provide a corresponding lowercase letter (not in superscript), a space, and the note.
- Labels, captions, and notes are double-spaced.
In 1985, women aged 65 and older were 59% more likely than men of the same age to reside in a nursing home, and though 11,700 less women of that age group were enrolled in 1999, men over the same time period ranged from 30,000 to 39,000 persons while women accounted for 49,000 to 61,500 (see table 1).
Rate of nursing home residence among people age 65 or older, by sex and age group, 1985, 1995, 1997, 1999a
Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Older Americans 2008: Key Indicators of Well-Being, Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Mar. 2008, Web, table 35A.
a. Note: Rates for 65 and over category are age-adjusted using the 2000 standard population. Beginning in 1997, population figures are adjusted for net underenumeration using the 1990 National Population Adjustment Matrix from the U.S. Census Bureau. People residing in personal care or domiciliary care homes are excluded from the numerator.
- All visuals/illustrations that are not tables or musical score examples (e.g. maps, diagrams, charts, videos, podcasts, etc.) are labeled Figure or Fig.
- Refer to the figure in-text and provide an Arabic numeral that corresponds to the figure. Do not capitalize figure or fig.
- MLA does not specify alignment requirements for figures; thus, these images may be embedded as the reader sees fit. However, continue to follow basic MLA Style formatting (e.g. one-inch margins).
- Below the figure, provide a label name and its corresponding arabic numeral (no bold or italics), followed by a period (e.g. Fig. 1.). Here, Figure and Fig. are capitalized.
- Beginning with the same line as the label and number, provide a title and/or caption as well as relevant source information in note form (see instructions and examples above). If you provide source information with your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.
Some readers found Harry’s final battle with Voldemort a disappointment, and recently, the podcast, MuggleCast debated the subject (see fig. 2).
Figure caption (below an embedded podcast file for a document to be viewed electronically):
Fig. 2. Harry Potter and Voldemort final battle debate from Andrew Sims et al.; “Show 166”; MuggleCast; MuggleNet.com, 19 Dec. 2008; Web; 27 Dec. 2008.
- The descriptor Example only refers to musical illustrations (e.g. portions of a musical score). Example is often abbreviated Ex.
- Refer to the example in-text and provide an Arabic numeral that corresponds to the example. Do not capitalize example or ex.
- Supply the illustration, making sure to maintain basic MLA Style formatting (e.g. one-inch margins).
- Below the example, provide the label (capitalized Example or Ex.) and number and a caption or title. The caption or title will often take the form of source information along with an explanation, for example, of what part of the score is being illustrated. If you provide source information with your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.
Note on manuscripts
Do not embed illustrations (tables, figures, or examples) in manuscripts for publication. Put placeholders in the text to show where the illustrations will go. Type these placeholders on their own line, flush left, and bracketed (e.g. [table 1]). At the end of the document, provide label, number, caption, and source information in an organized list. Send files for illustrations in the appropriate format to your editor separately. If you provide source information with your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.
MLA PowerPoint Presentation
Select the MLA PowerPoint Presentation link in the Media box above to download slides that provide a detailed review of the MLA citation style.
MLA Undergraduate Sample Paper
This resource contains an undergraduate sample MLA paper that adheres to the 2009 updates. Select the Undergraduate MLA 2009 Sample Paper PDF file in the Media box above.
MLA Classroom Poster
The MLA poster at the link below is a printable jpg file you may download and print out at different sizes for use in classrooms, writing centers, or as a pocket reference. Please keep in mind that the file size, as a print-quality resource (120 dpi), is large, so it may take a while to download. You may adjust the print size of the poster from your print menu. As is, the poster is 27 x 36 inches.
Because the poster is quite large, standard printers cannot print the poster. If you do not have access to a printer that can print large documents, contact a local print shop to print the poster. The Purdue OWL cannot grant requests to print and mail posters.
If you do not have access to a print shop to print the poster, please use the resources we have available here for printing on standard 8.5 x 11 inch paper. Go to resource you would like to print, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click "Full Resource for Printing."
Also please note that the poster only contains basic MLA guidelines. For detailed instructions, please see the complete OWL MLA resources here.
The Purdue OWL MLA Classroom Poster was developed by Kate Bouwens for the Purdue Professional Writing - Purdue OWL Internship class, English 490, in spring 2009.
Purdue OWL MLA Classroom Poster (Please note: The poster is best viewed in Firefox.)
General MLA FAQs
The follow FAQs address issues in MLA citation and/or formatting. The entries in this section are based on frequently asked questions received by our former OWL Mail Tutors. Further information on MLA style and citation can be found at the Purdue OWL’s MLA Style and Formatting resource.
I have to write a paper in MLA format. Where can I learn more about writing in MLA?
The Purdue OWL maintains a rather extensive resource that deals with writing in MLA style. You can access our MLA resources by clicking here.
How do I use MLA citations and works cited in a PowerPoint presentation?
Unfortunately, the MLA does not directly address this issue. You could follow the guidelines for in-text citation in a document in your PowerPoint presentation. You could then provide a separate Works Cited slide at the end of the PowerPoint deck. However, if you feel that the audience would not gain as much from a separate Works Cited slide, you could always provide the full Works Cited entry at the bottom of the relevant slides.
How do I cite letters, or email, (Personal Communication) in MLA?
Letters fall under the MLA’s guidelines for personal communication, which are as follows:
Author’s LastName, Author’s FirstName. Letter to the author. Date of Letter.
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research papers requires that you put “TS.” After the date of the letter if it is a typed letter.
In text, you should differentiate between the letters, if you have numerous untitled letters from the same author. Although the MLA has no guidelines for this, we suggest including the date in the sentence referring to the letter. For example:
In the letter dated 14 December 2010, he writes, “…it is cold outside” (Smith).
How do I cite an unpublished manuscript/document in MLA?
The following is from page 203 of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition:
Author. Title of Manuscript/Document. date of composition (at least year; if unknown, write N.d.). form of material (MS for manuscript or work written by hand; TS for a typescript or work prepared by machine) along with "the name and location of the library, research institution, or personal collection housing the material."
Here’s an example they provide:
Henderson, George Wylie. Baby Lou and the Angel Bud. N.d. TS. Collection of Roslyn Kirkland Allen, New York.
I have been reading books on my Kindle (or Kindle enabled device), how do I cite Kindle books in MLA?
This is a very interesting question, and one that is receiving a great deal of attention in blogs and online forums. The most recent version of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers does not directly address the citation of Kindle books. However, it does cover citing digital files that exist separate from the web (see section 5.7.18). This section explains that to cite such sources in the Works Cited page you should first "determine the kind of work you are citing...and follow the relevant guidelines" for that format (211). Then, in the place for the publication medium, you should insert the file format followed by the word "file."
In the case of the Kindle, I would suggest using the following: “Kindle file” or “Kindle AZW file.” Use the latter if you know the more specific file type. For an example, see the book citation sample below:
Author Lastname, Author Firstname. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Kindle AZW file.
While the Kindle has recently deployed page numbers in their texts, the MLA has yet to formally include how to handle this in their handbook. However, a recently entry in the online handbook FAQ does offer the suggestion to avoid using the page numbers provided by e-readers. The full FAQ can be read here.
How do I cite a book that I accessed online in MLA?
The following information comes from page 187 of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. If you are citing a work on the Web that has a previous or concurrent publication in print, your citation should include the following:
1. Begin the entry as you would any book cited: Author Last Name, First
name. Title of Book. Location of publisher: Name of publisher, year of
For more information on this from the Purdue OWL, please click here.
2.Follow the above with the title of the database or Web site (in italics)
where the book is hosted.
3. Include the medium of the publication consulted (Web)
4. Include the dates of access (DD Mth. YYYY)
The following is an example from the MLA Handbook:
Cascardi, Anthony J. Ideologies of History in the Spanish Golden Age.
University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1997. Pennsylvania State Romance Studies. Web. 12 Mar. 2007.
How do I cite a definition from an online dictionary, like Dictionary.com, in MLA?
The correct citation for a definition from an online dictionary, Dictionary.com, should include both the original source the definition comes from and the information for the web access.
For instance, a proper citation should look like this:
"Perchloric acid." The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995. Dictionary.com. Web. 13 Dec. 2010.
How do I cite something that appeared as a footnote in one of my source texts in MLA?
To cite a footnote from a work in your text, according to the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook, you would use the following format:
The page number is followed—with no space in between—by an “n” to indicate “note,” which is followed—again, with no space in between—by the note number. To cite multiple notes, use “nn” rather than “n.”
How do I cite the US Constitution in MLA?
The 7th edition of the MLA handbook has this to say about citing the U.S. Constitution:
"In general, do not italicize or enclose in quotation marks the title of laws, acts, and similar documents in either the text or the list of works cited (Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, Taft-Hartley Act). Such titles are usually abbreviated, and the works are cited by sections. The years are added if relevant" (205).
Because these directives aren’t very specific, you can use the following example as a guide for the Works Cited entry:
U.S. Constitution. Art./Amend. XII, Sec. 3.
You need only provide either the article number or the amendment number as appropriate.
The complementary parenthetical citation is written as (US Const. amend. XII, sec. 3). You might also reference the U.S. Constitution in the sentence itself and only provide the amendment and section number in the parentheses at the end of the sentence.
How do I cite genealogies and birth/death certificates in MLA?
This is a very particular, and a very peculiar, case. MLA does not offer any guidelines on how to handle genealogies and birth certificates. However, after searching through web, we have found the following resources that might be useful to you:
Genealogy.com offers a method of citing birth/death certificates. Click here and scroll down to “Official Records.”
We also found the following information published by Archive.gov, which you can access by clicking here.
How do I cite information from nutrition Labels? Can I just use the label on the food item? Or, should I try to find the information elsewhere?
Part of the reason for citing things in research papers is 1) to help build our credibility—our ethos—as writers, and 2) give the reader the so-called “key features” of the sources that we are using. To that end, it would be best to try and find the nutrition information somewhere more stable than the actual item that is sitting in your cupboard. For example, don't cite the nutrition information for a cheeseburger off of the wrapper the cheeseburger came in. Rather, go to the website of the company that sold the cheeseburger and try to find the information there.
However, if this cannot be done, it may be possible to cite the nutrition label in the following way:
Corporate Author. “Nutrition Label of name of product.” City, State of Manufacture. Year.
Kraftfoods. “Nutrition Label of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.” Banbury, UK.
How do I cite an informational plaque or an information card in MLA?
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition specifies a kind of standard template, which we will use as the basis from which we can extrapolate your citation. You should include as much of the following information as possible about the information card:
Name of the Museum/Building/Location (as a Corporate Author). "Title of the Information Card." Location of the Museum/Building/Location: Name of the Museum/Building/Location (now as publisher), Year (when the exhibit, building, or artifact was put up). Medium (in this case, something like pamphlet, plaque, or information brochure).
MLA Bibliography Handouts
MLA Classroom Mini-posters
This resource contains links to classroom mini-posters that address selected topics in MLA. Currently, we have posters that explain citing online journals and journal articles accessed from an insitutional database. Our posters are available in two sizes, 22x15 inches and 8.5x11. Please click the appropriate links to download the poster of your chosing.
Citing Online Journals Mini-poster
The 22x15" poster can be found here.
The 8.5x11" poster can be found here.
Citing Journals from an Institutional Database
The 22x15" poster can be found here.
The 8.5x11" poster can be found here.
MLA Classroom Mini-posters
MLA Eighth Edition: What's New and Different
In April 2016, MLA replaced its seventh edition resources with a new eighth edition. This updated version reflects the ways in which digital publication has changed how writers and researchers document sources. Therefore, the new edition includes significant shifts in the approach to source documentation in academic writing. While earlier editions emphasized the importance of following specific guidelines for formatting, the eighth edition focuses on the practice and process of scholarly documentation. The logic here is basic: a style guide should offer a method that is widely applicable. Rather than insisting that writers follow strict citation formulas, this handbook outlines the principles of MLA documentation and explains how writers can use them in many different situations.
For this reason, the new edition focuses on the writer’s strategy and individual decisions. Not all scholarly prose is the same, and every writer should evaluate her/his readers and determine how to best engage them. The writer’s goal should be to provide a document and list of sources that is easy for readers to use, so that the reading experience is informative and enjoyable.
Like earlier editions, this handbook includes information on evaluating sources, avoiding plagiarism, using quotations, constructing abbreviations, and other topics important to the scholarly writer. But what is different about the eighth edition is that it recommends a universal set of guidelines that writers can apply to any source, in any field. In the past, writers would create an entry in a works cited list by looking at MLA’s instructions for how to cite a specific type of source. For example, if you needed to cite a film, you would consult the handbook to see the proper format for documenting film. In this new edition, MLA explains that this method is no longer practical, since types of sources are sometimes undefinable, or accessible in more than one way (for instance, a YouTube clip from a film is not the same as the original film itself). Therefore, the eighth edition offers a new model for entries in a works cited list, so that rather than consulting the handbook for the proper way to document a specific type of source, the writer creates entries by consulting MLA’s list of core elements and compiling them in the recommended order.
Core elements are those basic pieces of information that should be common to all sources, from books to articles, from lectures to tweets. The MLA core elements are as follows:
|Title of source||Publisher|
|Title of container||Publication date|
If you have included these elements and assembled them in a way that makes sense to your readers, then your works cited entries will be consistent and thorough.
Look for updates to OWLs resources and more detailed information about changes to MLA guidelines coming soon.
Since the eighth edition focuses on the principles of documenting sources, rather than on strict adherence to a particular format for each source, citations in this new edition vary only slightly from the old ways. When comparing works cited entries in the new eighth edition with the former seventh edition, see that differences in citation style are minimal; punctuation is streamlined, volume and issue numbers are identified as such, and there is no excess information such as city of publication or media type.
Note the differences in citing a print book with one author:
Eighth edition (the new way):
Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.
In this version, only the most essential information is included (author’s name, book title, publisher, and date). Note that the city of publication is not needed, and the medium of publication is eliminated.
Seventh edition (the old way):
Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
This version includes the city of publication (Oxford) and the medium (print), which the new eighth edition does not require.
The differences in citing an article from a scholarly journal:
Kincaid, Jamaica. “In History.” Callaloo, vol. 24, no. 2, Spring 2001, pp. 620-26.
This version identifies the volume (24), the number (2), and the page numbers (620-26) of the scholarly journal, rather than leaving those numbers without clear explanation. This helps readers best make sense of your citation and allows them to locate your source without getting bogged down with extra information or references that can be difficult to decipher. Also note that punctuation is simple; only commas separate the journal title, volume, number, date, and page numbers.
Kinkaid, Jamaica. “In History.” Callaloo 24.2 (Spring 2001): 620-26. Web.
This version includes the volume and number (24.2), and page numbers (620-26) of the journal, but does not explain those references. The seventh edition emphasized following a strict punctuation formula, such as parentheses around the date and the colon, while the new eighth edition focuses on providing this information in a more streamlined manner by using only commas to separate each component.
If you are already familiar with traditional MLA citation methods, continue to use them in a more simplified form. Since the eighth edition emphasizes the writer’s freedom to create references based on the expectations of the audience, consider what your readers need to know if they want to find your source.
- Think of MLA style principles as flexible guides, rather than rules. Part of your responsibility as a writer is to evaluate your readers and decide what your particular audience needs to know about your sources.
- Your goal is to inform, persuade, and otherwise connect with your audience; error-free writing, along with trustworthy documentation, allows readers to focus on your ideas.
- In-text citations should look consistent throughout your paper. The principles behind in-text citations have changed very little from the seventh to the eighth editions.
- List of works cited/works consulted needs to include basic core information, such as author’s name, title of source, publication date, and other information, depending on the type of source. Each entry should be uniform and simple, but should give enough information so that your readers can locate your sources.
- These updated MLA guidelines are based on a simple theory: once you know the basic principles of style and citation, you can apply that knowledge widely, and generate useful documentation for any type of publication, in any field.
The Purdue OWL will update its MLA resources to fit the eighth edition this summer. For updates, subcribe to the Purdue OWL News.