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MLA Formatting and Style Guide
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Resources on using in-text citations in MLA style
Works Cited Page
Resources on writing an MLA style works cited page, including citation formats
Other MLA Resources
Penn State University Libraries
Mla quick citation guide.
- In-text Citation
- Citing Generative AI
- Citing Web Pages and Social Media
- Citing Articles
- Citing Books
- Other formats
- MLA Style Quiz
Using In-text Citation
Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your reference list.
MLA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the page number from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken, for example: (Smith 163). If the source does not use page numbers, do not include a number in the parenthetical citation: (Smith).
For more information on in-text citation, see the MLA Style Center .
Example paragraph with in-text citation
A few researchers in the linguistics field have developed training programs designed to improve native speakers' ability to understand accented speech (Derwing et al. 246; Thomas 15). Their training techniques are based on the research described above indicating that comprehension improves with exposure to non-native speech. Derwing and others conducted their training with students preparing to be social workers, but note that other professionals who work with non-native speakers could benefit from a similar program (258).
Derwing, Tracey M., et al. "Teaching Native Speakers to Listen to Foreign-accented Speech." Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, vol. 23, no. 4, 2002, pp. 245-259.
Thomas, Holly K. Training Strategies for Improving Listeners' Comprehension of Foreign-accented Speech. University of Colorado, Boulder, 2004.
Citing Web Pages In Text
Cite web pages in text as you would any other source, using the author if known. If the author is not known, use the title as the in-text citation.
Your in-text citation should lead your reader to the corresponding entry in the reference list. Below are examples of using in-text citation with web pages.
Entire website with author: In-text citation Parents play an important role in helping children learn techniques for coping with bullying (Kraizer).
Reference entry Kraizer, Sherryll. Safe Child. Coalition for Children, 2011, www.safechild.org.
Web page with no author: In-text citation The term Nittany Lion was coined by Penn State football player Joe Mason in 1904 ("All Things Nittany").
Reference entry "All Things Nittany." About Penn State. Penn State University, 2006, www.psu.edu/ur/about/nittanymascot.html.
In MLA style the author's name can be included either in the narrative text of your paper, or in parentheses following the reference to the source.
Author's name part of narrative:
Gass and Varonis found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic (163).
Author's name in parentheses:
One study found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic (Gass and Varonis 163).
Group as author: (American Psychological Association 123)
Multiple works: (separate each work with semi-colons)
Research shows that listening to a particular accent improves comprehension of accented speech in general (Gass and Varonis 143; Thomas 24).
One study found that “the listener's familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (Gass and Varonis 85).
Gass and Varonis found that “the listener’s familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (85).
Note: For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, display quotations as an indented block of text (one inch from left margin) and omit quotation marks. Place your parenthetical citation at the end of the block of text, after the final punctuation mark.
In addition to awareness-raising, practicing listening to accented speech has been shown to improve listening comprehension. This article recommends developing listening training programs for library faculty and staff, based on research from the linguistics and language teaching fields. Even brief exposure to accented speech can help listeners improve their comprehension, thereby improving the level of service to international patrons. (O'Malley 19)
Works by Multiple Authors
When citing works by multiple authors, always spell out the word "and." When a source has three or more authors, only the first one shown in the source is normally given followed by et al.
One author: (Field 399)
Works Cited entry: Field, John. "Intelligibility and the Listener: The Role of Lexical Stress." TESOL Quarterly , vol. 39, no. 3, 2005, pp. 399-423.
Two authors: (Gass and Varonis 67)
Works Cited entry: Gass, Susan, and Evangeline M. Varonis. "The Effect of Familiarity on the Comprehensibility of Nonnative Speech." Language Learning , vol. 34, no. 1, 1984, pp. 65-89.
Three or more authors: (Munro et al. 70)
Works Cited entry: Munro, Murray J., et al. "Salient Accents, Covert Attitudes: Consciousness-raising for Pre-service Second Language Teachers." Prospect , vol. 21, no. 1, 2006, pp. 67-79.
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Consider your source's credibility. ask these questions:, contributor/author.
- Has the author written several articles on the topic, and do they have the credentials to be an expert in their field?
- Can you contact them? Do they have social media profiles?
- Have other credible individuals referenced this source or author?
- Book: What have reviews said about it?
- What do you know about the publisher/sponsor? Are they well-respected?
- Do they take responsibility for the content? Are they selective about what they publish?
- Take a look at their other content. Do these other articles generally appear credible?
- Does the author or the organization have a bias? Does bias make sense in relation to your argument?
- Is the purpose of the content to inform, entertain, or to spread an agenda? Is there commercial intent?
- Are there ads?
- When was the source published or updated? Is there a date shown?
- Does the publication date make sense in relation to the information presented to your argument?
- Does the source even have a date?
- Was it reproduced? If so, from where?
- If it was reproduced, was it done so with permission? Copyright/disclaimer included?
What You Need to Know About MLA Formatting
Writing a paper soon? If your assignment requires the use of Modern Language Association (MLA) style, then you're in luck! EasyBib® has tools to help you create citations for over 50 source types in this style, as well as a guide to show you how an MLA paper should be formatted. Review the guide to learn how to format a paper's title page, paragraphs, margins, quotations, abbreviations, numbers, tables, and more! There are even tips on editing, as well as on the type of paper you choose to print your paper on—yes, it's that comprehensive!
A Handy Guide for Using APA Format
Ever wonder how to cite a book with no author in APA style? Do you know how graphics should be formatted in a paper? Thanks to our EasyBib® guide on citing and formatting in American Psychological Association (APA) style, you don't have to guess anymore! We break down the guidelines for you into separate, digestible chunks of information that range from the ways to present headers, to use of abbreviations, to how to format titles for citations. There are also several helpful citation examples for you to review. Read up and start learning today!
Chicago Style Simplified
Jump start your knowledge of the Chicago Manual of Style (or Turabian style) with our structured EasyBib® guides. Each one will teach you the structure of a Chicago-style citation, followed by a real-life citation example for you to examine. Begin with our "“"Quick Guide" on citing common source types (books, magazines, newspapers, and websites). Then, discover why we have footnotes and how they work, or choose a "How to Cite" guide based on the source type you're using (e.g. photo, film, tweet, journal, blog, video on YouTube, conference paper, etc.). You're in charge of your own learning path!
Student & Teacher Blog for Better Papers
Keep your citing skills current and your writing skills fresh by reading our weekly EasyBib® Blog. You'll find articles about citing interesting source types (know how to cite a meme?), the latest updates to our tools and services, writing tips and tricks, and more! Aside from content that students (or any writer) could benefit from, we also feature posts written by educators, for educators! They discuss writing and information literacy pedagogy, present resource recommendation lists, and generally share their experience and knowledge.
Discover the EasyBib® Writing Center
Visit our writing center and explore our library of engaging guides, articles, videos, lesson plans, infographics, and other informative resources on citing, writing, and the research process. Best of all, it's free, and you can visit it anytime you need assistance. Need it now? Simply go to our homepage and input keywords based on your topic into the search bar. From there, any relevant guides will be listed with a brief description, allowing you to make an educated selection. Click on a result that fits your needs and begin reading! Easy peasy.
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MLA Style Guide: In-Text Citations
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- List of Works Cited
Citing sources no longer means endnotes or footnotes. It is a simple way of noting that you are borrowing an author's words or ideas by inserting a brief parenthetical acknowledgement in your paper that includes the author's last name and the page reference:
"It is vital for a designer to learn to see each element as a shape as well as a signifier of meaning" (White 39).
When the reader sees this reference to White, they know to refer to the Works Cited portion of the paper to find the complete bibliographic citation.
The overuse of quotations may take away from the style or presentation of your essay; therefore, you may want to paraphrase the content or put the ideas of an author into your own words. If you are paraphrasing, you need to cite the author and include a page number, but do not use quotation marks.
Citing Web Sites :
For web sites or other electronic sources that do not provide page numbers, you may simply cite the entire work or include a reference to the work in the text of your essay. If the paragraphs are numbered, you may also cite the relevant paragraph number preceded by the abbreviation par. , e.g. (Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, par. 4). If the author's name precedes the paragraph number in the citation, follow the name with a comma. Do not include unnumbered paragraphs.
Source : Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers . 7th ed. New York: MLA, 2009.
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How to cite a book.
To create a basic works-cited-list entry for a book, list the author, the title, the publisher, and the publication date. You may need to include other elements depending on the type of book you are citing (e.g., an edited book, a translation) and how it is published (e.g., in print, as an e-book, online). Below are sample entries for books along with links to posts containing many other examples.
Book by One Author
Mantel, Hilary. Wolf Hall . Picador, 2010.
Book by an Unknown Author
Beowulf . Translated by Alan Sullivan and Timothy Murphy, edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson, 2004.
An Edited Book
Sánchez Prado, Ignacio M., editor. Mexican Literature in Theory . Bloomsbury, 2018.
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- How to cite a journal article in MLA style
How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA | Format & Examples
Published on April 16, 2019 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on June 16, 2022.
An MLA Works Cited entry for a journal article contains the author(s); article title; journal name; volume and issue; month and year; page range; and a DOI if accessed online. In the in-text citation, include the author’s last name and the page number.
Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr
Table of contents, citing an online journal article, articles with multiple authors, articles in special issue journals, frequently asked questions about mla style.
When citing an online journal article, first look for a DOI , as this is more stable and less likely to change than a URL. A DOI should be formatted as a full link beginning with “https://”, even if not listed as such on the page with the article.
If there is no DOI, you can add a URL instead. If the article is in PDF form, you can optionally note this in your reference .
Citing an article in a database
For sources that you accessed via a database, include the database name along with the DOI or permanent URL.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
In MLA style, up to two authors are included in citations. List them in the order they appear in the source, separated by commas, and don’t invert the second author’s name.
If an article has three or more authors, include only the first author’s name, followed by “ et al. ”
Special issue journals focus on a specific theme, are written by a specific group of authors, or are compiled from a special event.
In these cases, include the special issue name, the phrase “special issue of,” and the journal’s regular name. If the special issue lists editors or other contributors, their names should also be included.
The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style , but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals , newspapers , websites , or any other publication. Use italics for the title of the source where the article was published. For example:
Use the same formatting in the Works Cited entry and when referring to the article in the text itself.
If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.
In MLA style citations , format a DOI as a link, including “https://doi.org/” at the start and then the unique numerical code of the article.
DOIs are used mainly when citing journal articles in MLA .
Some source types, such as books and journal articles , may contain footnotes (or endnotes) with additional information. The following rules apply when citing information from a note in an MLA in-text citation :
- To cite information from a single numbered note, write “n” after the page number, and then write the note number, e.g. (Smith 105n2)
- To cite information from multiple numbered notes, write “nn” and include a range, e.g. (Smith 77nn1–2)
- To cite information from an unnumbered note, write “un” after the page number, with a space in between, e.g. (Jones 250 un)
You must include an MLA in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book , movie , website , or article ).
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Gahan, C. (2022, June 16). How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 28, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/journal-citation/
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How to Cite a Book in MLA Format
Introduction: How to Cite a Book in MLA Format
Modern Language Association (MLA) is the most common style used when citing sources and writing papers within the liberal arts and humanities. Therefore, the basics of this format is essential for almost any writer. Though there are many sources to consider citing, this Instructable will simply show you the basics by learning the process in which to cite a printed book.
- A writing utensil and piece of paper, or a computer with Word
Estimated Completion Time:
- Less than 5 minutes
For this Instructable, the book being used is The Wedding by Julie Garwood and the citation will be on a Word document.
Step 1: Write the Author's Name
The required information can usually be found on the first few pages of the book. When writing the author's name for citation, the last name must appear before the first name, separated by a comma. Also, a period must follow the author's name in order to separate this piece of information from the next.
If the author's name is unknown, skip to Step 2.
If there is more than one author, the author whose last name is first alphabetically will be written first. Also, the second author's name will be written normally, with the first name followed by the last name.
Step 2: Write the Title of the Book (In Italics)
If Step 1 was skipped, this piece of information will begin your citation.
Italicize the title and end with a period.
Step 3: Write the City of Publication
The city of publication can be found on the first few pages of the book. This piece of information must be followed by a period.
If the city is not listed in your book, skip to Step 4.
Step 4: Write the Name of the Publisher and the Year of Publication
This information can also be found on the first few pages. The name of the publisher should come before the year of publication, and the information should be separated by a comma and end with a period.
Usually, the year of publication will have the copyright symbol by it and the name of the publishing company is repeated multiple times.
Step 5: Write the Medium of Publication
The medium of publication is considered the form in which the source has been written. For instance, anything physical would be considered "print," whereas anything online would be considered "web."
This piece of information must be followed by a period.
Step 6: Adding Other Citations
If you are citing more books, make sure to place the citations in alphabetical order by last name. Also, if a citation drops down to the next line, the following lines must be indented.
You should now have a correct citation for a printed book! One option to ensure you have all the correct information is to enter the information into an online citation machine that automatically creates a citation. However, such tools can result in errors.
Step 7: Additional Information!
Being able to cite a printed book is just a small glimpse into the MLA world. Among printed works, there are journals, newspapers, magazines, etc. The use of the web encompasses many more digital resources. Each type of resource utilizes its own MLA format.
In order to learn more about citing such sources, Purdue OWL provides a great basis for understanding MLA formatting. Moreover, the website allows readers to explore APA formatting.
If you would like to simply find a reliable, automatic citation machine, Citation Machine offers both styles of formatting in a user-friendly setup.
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Cite a Journal in MLA
Don't let plagiarism errors spoil your paper, citing journal articles in mla.
Journals are important sources. They are published regularly and represent the top research of scholars and subject experts. If you’re writing a research paper, you’ll probably want some journal articles in the mix.
Let Citation Machine citing tools help you create references and citations for your journal articles. Easily begin by entering your article title, DOI number, or author name(s) in the search box. Citation Machine citing tools will identify sources that match your search query and present you with your journal article options.
From here, you can choose the correct article and Citation Machine citing tools will try to find not only the article title and author but also the journal article’s volume, issue number, and page number(s) — all necessary information for a journal article citation.
Scholarly journal articles in print
Zak, Elizabeth. “Do You Believe in Magic? Exploring the Conceptualization of Augmented Reality and its Implications for the User in the Field of Library and Information Science.” Information Technology & Libraries, vol. 33, no. 3, 2014, pp. 23-50.
Online Scholarly Journal Articles:
Kuzuhara, Kenji, et al. “Injuries in Japanese Mini-Basketball Players During Practices and Games.” Journal of Athletic Training, vol. 51. no. 2, Dec. 2016, p. 1022. Gale Health Reference Center Academic, https://doi.org/10.6017/ital.v33i4.5638. .
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MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Annotated Bibliography
- What Kind of Source Is This?
- Books, eBooks & Pamphlets
- Book Reviews
- Class Handouts, Presentations, and Readings
- Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
- Government Documents
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- Interviews and Emails (Personal Communications)
- Journal Articles
- Magazine Articles
- Newspaper Articles
- Primary Sources
- Religious Texts
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- No Author, No Date etc.
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Annotated Bibliography Template
- MLA Annotated Bibliography Template
This sample annotated bibliography shows you the structure you should use to write an MLA annotated bibliography and gives examples of evaluative and summary annotations.
It can be used as a template to set up your assignment.
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
Useful Links for Annotated Bibliographies
- Annotated Bibliographies Overview of purpose and form of annotated bibliographies from the Purdue OWL.
- Annotated Bibliography Sample Sample annotations in an MLA and an APA annotated bibliography. From the Purdue OWL.
- Annotated Bibliography Breakdown An example of an MLA annotated bibliography. From the Purdue OWL.
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a Works Cited page but includes an annotation after each source cited. An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source. Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.
Types of Annotations
A summary annotation describes the source by answering the following questions: who wrote the document, what the document discusses, when and where was the document written, why was the document produced, and how was it provided to the public. The focus is on description.
An evaluative annotation includes a summary as listed above but also critically assesses the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. Evaluative annotations can help you learn about your topic, develop a thesis statement, decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment, and determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project. The focus is on description and evaluation.
Writing an Evaluative Annotation
- Cite the source using MLA style.
- Describe the main ideas, arguments, themes, theses, or methodology, and identify the intended audience.
- Explain the author’s expertise, point of view, and any bias he/she may have.
- Compare to other sources on the same topic that you have also cited to show similarities and differences.
- Explain why each source is useful for your research topic and how it relates to your topic.
- Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each source.
- Identify the observations or conclusions of the author.
Basic Tips on Writing and Formatting
- Each annotation should be one paragraph, between three to six sentences long (about 150- 200 words).
- Start with the same format as a regular Works Cited list.
- All lines should be double-spaced. Do not add an extra line between the citations.
- If your list of citations is especially long, you can organize it by topic.
- Try to be objective, and give explanations if you state any opinions.
- Use the third person (e.g., he, she, the author) instead of the first person (e.g., I, my, me)
Sample Evaluative Annotation
London, Herbert. “Five Myths of the Television Age.” Television Quarterly , vol. 10, no. 1, Mar. 1982, pp. 81-69. Herbert London, the Dean of Journalism at New York University and author of several books and articles, explains how television contradicts five commonly believed ideas. He uses specific examples of events seen on television, such as the assassination of John Kennedy, to illustrate his points. His examples have been selected to contradict such truisms as: “seeing is believing”; “a picture is worth a thousand words”; and “satisfaction is its own reward.” London uses logical arguments to support his ideas which are his personal opinion. He does not refer to any previous works on the topic. London’s style and vocabulary would make the article of interest to any reader. The article clearly illustrates London’s points, but does not explore their implications leaving the reader with many unanswered questions.
"How to Write Annotated Bibliographies." Memorial University Libraries , www.library.mun.ca/researchtools/guides/writing/annotated_bibl/. Accessed 29 June 2016.
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