Modern Language Association (MLA) style is commonly used to write essays and cite sources. By using MLA format, the writer is able to increase the credibility of his/her work.
Writers who correctly use MLA are protecting themselves from accusations of plagiarism; thus, the proper use of the MLA format is an important part of any research project, now and beyond the walls of Hamden High School.
- In-text Citations
- Works Cited entries - Core Elements
- Works Cited - Common Entries
- Works Cited - Formatting Guide
- Works Cited - Sample page
In MLA style, in-text citations, also called parenthetical citations, are used to document information cited in your paper. The parenthetical citations direct readers to the complete entry on the Works Cited page, located at the end of your paper. Use the following format for in-text citations.
If the author's name is written in the text
If the author's name is used to introduce the source material, then cite the page number in parentheses:
Ray Bradbury wrote, "There's more than one way to burn a book" (189).
If the author's name is not in the text
If the author's name is not used in the sentence introducing the source material, then include the author's last name in the parenthetical citation before the page number. Note that no comma appears between the author's name and the page number.
Human beings have been described as "symbol-using animals" (Burke 3).
If no author is identified
If a source does not include an author's name, substitute for the author's name for the title (or an abbreviated title) in the text or parenthetical citation. Underline the title if the source is a book; if the source is an article, use quotation marks:
Abraham Lincoln's birthplace was designated as a National Historical Site in 1959 ("National Park Service").
The works cited list is simply a list of all the sources that were cited within the text of the paper. Do not include sources that are not cited within the paper. Use the following format to complete your works cited entries.
Basic Book Format
Last name, First name of author. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Copyright.
Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.
Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources.Because web addresses change often and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as Youtube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.
Electronic Source Format:
Last name, First name of author. "Title (of article or webpage)". Title of container (Name of online journal/newspaper/magazine or webpage title). Publisher, Publication Date. Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). Date of Access (if applicable).
The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Apr. 2008.
Article from on Online Database Sample:
Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest, doi:10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.
Use the checklist below to make sure your Works Cited page is correctly formatted.
- The Works Cited list appears on a new page at the end of your paper.
- Each entry begins at the left margin. If the entry takes up more than one line, the subsequent lines are indented five (5) spaces.
- Author's last name is before his/her first name.
- Each word in the title is capitalized.
- Titles of books and periodicals are italicized.
- Titles of articles and chapters are in quotation marks.
- The entries are listed in alphabetical order.
- Entries are not numbered or bulleted.
- The title of the page (Works Cited) is centered at the top of the page.
- URLs are not written as hyperlinks.
- The entire page is double spaced.
- Only those sources that are cited within the paper are listed.