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MLA Citation Generator

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The complete guide to mla & citations, what you’ll find in this guide.

This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources.

Looking for APA? Check out the Citation Machine’s guide on APA format . We also have resources for Chicago citation style as well.

How to be a responsible researcher or scholar

Putting together a research project involves searching for information, disseminating and analyzing information, collecting information, and repurposing information. Being a responsible researcher requires keeping track of the sources that were used to help develop your research project, sharing the information you borrowed in an ethical way, and giving credit to the authors of the sources you used. Doing all of these things prevents plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using others’ information without giving credit or acknowledging them. There are many examples of plagiarism. Completely copying another individual’s work without providing credit to the original author is a very blatant example of plagiarism. Plagiarism also occurs when another individual’s idea or concept is passed off as your own. Changing or modifying quotes, text, or any work of another individual is also plagiarism. Believe it or not, you can even plagiarize yourself! Reusing a project or paper from another class or time and saying that it’s new is plagiarism. One way to prevent plagiarism is to add citations in your project where appropriate.

What is a Citation?

A citation shows the reader of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote to your project. Citations are also included in the body when you’re paraphrasing another individual’s information. These citations in the body of a research paper are called in-text citations. They are found directly next to the information that was borrowed and are very brief to avoid causing distraction while reading a project. These brief citations include the last name of the author and a page number. Scroll down for an in-depth explanation and examples of MLA in-text citations.

In-text citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, though they usually don't include the title and other components. Look on the last page of a research project to find complete citations.

Complete citations are found on what MLA calls a works-cited list, which is sometimes called an MLA bibliography. All sources that were used to develop a research project are found on the works-cited list. Complete citations are also created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text. Complete citations include the author’s name, the title, publisher, year published, page numbers, URLs, and a few other pieces of information.

Looking to create your citations in just a few clicks? Need an MLA format website or book citation? Visit Citation Machine.net! Our Citation Machine MLA generator, which is an MLA citation website, will create all of your citations in just a few clicks. Click here to see more styles .

Why Does it Matter?

Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It shows that you’re a responsible researcher and that you located appropriate and reputable sources that support your thesis or claim. In addition, if your work ends up being posted online or in print, there is a chance that others will use your research project in their own work!

Scroll down to find directions on how to create citations.

How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher

What is mla format.

The Modern Language Association is an organization that was created to develop guidelines on everything language and literature related. They have guidelines on proper grammar usage and research paper layouts. In addition, they have English and foreign language committees, numerous books and journal publications, and an annual conference. They are not connected with this guide, but the information here reflects the association’s rules for formatting papers and citations.

What are citations?

The Modern Language Association is responsible for creating standards and guidelines on how to properly cite sources to prevent plagiarism. Their style is most often used when writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities fields. “Liberal arts” is a broad term used to describe a range of subjects including the humanities, formal sciences such as mathematics and statistics, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and social sciences such as geography, economics, history, and others. The humanities focuses specifically on subjects related to languages, art, philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature, and ethics.

Believe it or not, there are thousands of other types of citation styles. While this citation style is most often used for the liberal arts and humanities fields, many other subjects, professors, and schools prefer citations and papers to be styled in MLA format.

What’s the difference between a bibliography and a works-cited list?

Great question. The two terms cause a lot of confusion and are consistently misused not only by students but educators as well! Let’s start with what the two words mean.

A bibliography displays the sources the writer used to gain background knowledge on the topic and also research it in-depth. Before starting a research project, you might read up on the topic in websites, books, and other sources. You might even dive a bit deeper to find more information elsewhere. All of these sources you used to help you learn about the topic would go in an MLA format bibliography. You might even include other sources that relate to the topic.

A works-cited list displays all of the sources that were mentioned in the writing of the actual paper or project. If a quote was taken from a source and placed into a research paper, then the full citation goes on the works-cited list.

Both the works-cited list and bibliography go at the end of a paper. Most teachers do not expect students to hand in both a bibliography AND a works-cited list. Teachers generally expect to see a works-cited list, but sometimes erroneously call it a bibliography. If you’re not sure what your teacher expects, a page in MLA bibliography format, a works-cited list, or both, ask for guidance.

Why do we use this MLA style?

These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations were developed for numerous reasons. When scholars and researchers in literature, language, and numerous other fields all cite their sources in the same manner, it makes it easier for readers to look at a citation and understand the different components of a source. By looking at an MLA citation, we can see who the author is, the title of the source, when it was published, and other identifiable pieces of information.

Imagine how difficult it would be to understand the various components of a source if we didn’t all follow the same guidelines! Not only would it make it difficult to understand the source that was used, but it would also make it difficult for readers to locate it themselves. This streamlined process aides us in understanding a researcher’s sources.

How is the new version different than previous versions?

This citation style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition.

The new version expands upon standards previously set in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook, including the core elements. The structure of citations remains the same, but some formatting guidance and terminology have changed.

  • DOI numbers are now formatted as https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx
  • Seasons in publishing daters are lowercased: spring 2020
  • The term “optional elements” is now “supplemental elements”
  • “Narrative in-text citations” are called “citations in prose”

In addition, new information was added on the following:

  • Hundreds of works-cited-list entries
  • MLA formatting for papers
  • Punctuation, spelling, and other mechanics of prose
  • Chapter on inclusive language
  • Notes (bibliographic and content)

For more information on MLA 9, click here .

A Deeper Look at Citations

What do they look like.

There are two types of citations. The first is a full, or complete, citation. These are found at the end of research projects. These citations are usually listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last names and include all of the information necessary for readers to be able to locate the source themselves.

Full citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a DOI, URL, or page range).

There are times when additional information is added into the full citation.

Not sure how to transfer the information from your source into your citation? Confused about the term, “containers”? See below for information and complete explanations of each citation component.

The second type of citation, called an “in-text citation,” is included in the main part, or body, of a project when a researcher uses a quote or paraphrases information from another source. See the next section to find out how to create in-text citations.

What are in-text citations?

As stated above, in-text citations are included in the main part of a project when using a quote or paraphrasing a piece of information from another source. We include these types of citations in the body of a project for readers to quickly gain an idea as to where we found the information.

These in-text citations are found directly next to the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular MLA citation. The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project, on the works-cited list.

Here’s what a typical in-text citation looks like:

In the book The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements…. Too much fire and you have a bad temper...too little wood and you bent too quickly...too much water and you flowed in too many directions” (Tan 31).

This specific in text citation, (Tan 31), is called an MLA parenthetical citation because the author’s name is in parentheses. It’s included so the reader sees that we are quoting something from page 31 in Tan’s book. The complete, regular citation isn’t included in the main part of the project because it would be too distracting for the reader. We want the reader to focus on our work and research, not get caught up on our sources.

Here’s another way to cite in the text:

In Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements... Too much fire and you have a bad temper... too little wood and you bent too quickly... too much water and you flowed in too many directions" (31).

If the reader would like to see the source’s full information, and possibly locate the source themselves, they can refer to the last part of the project to find the regular citation.

The regular citation, at the end of the project looks like this:

%%Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Penguin, 1989, p. 31.

Notice that the first word in the full citation (Tan) matches the “Tan” used in the body of the project. It’s important to have the first word of the full citation match the term used in the text. Why? It allows readers to easily find the full citation on the works-cited list.

If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a line number (use line or lines), paragraph number (use the abbreviation par. or pars.), sections (sec. or secs.), or chapters (ch. or chs.). Only use these other terms if they are actually labeled on the source. If it specifically says on the source, “Section 1,” for example, then it is acceptable to use “sec. 1” in the in-text citation.

If there are no numbers to help readers locate the exact point in the source, only include the author’s last name.

To determine how to create in-text citations for more than one author, no authors, or corporate authors, refer to the “Authors” section below.

More about quotations and how to cite a quote:

  • Use quotes from outside sources to help illustrate and expand on your own points. The majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas.
  • Include the quote exactly as you found it. It is okay to use only certain words or phrases from the quote, but keep the words (spelling and capitalization) and punctuation the same.
  • It is acceptable to break up a direct quote with your own writing.

Example from a movie:

Dorothy stated, "Toto," then looked up and took in her surroundings, "I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore" ( Wizard of Oz ).
  • The entire paper should be double-spaced, including quotes.
  • If the quote is longer than four lines, it is necessary to make a block quote. Block quotes show the reader that they are about to read a lengthy amount of text from another source.
  • Start the quote on the next line, half an inch from the left margin.
  • Do not use any indents at the beginning of the block quote.
  • Only use quotation marks if there are quotation marks present in the source.
  • If there is more than one paragraph in the block quote, indent the beginning of the paragraphs after the first one an additional half an inch from the left margin.
  • Add your in-text citation after the final period of the block quote. Do not add an additional period after the parenthetical citation.

While his parents sat there in surprise, Colton went onto say:

“Cause I could see you,” Colon said matter-of-factly. “I went up and out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying; and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.” (Burpo xxi)

How to create a paraphrase:

As stated above, the majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas. It’s acceptable to include quotes, but they shouldn’t crowd your paper. If you’re finding that you’re using too many quotes in your paper, consider adding paraphrases. When you reiterate a piece of information from an outside source in your own words, you create a paraphrase.

Here’s an example:

Readers discover in the very first sentence of Peter Pan that he doesn’t grow up (Barrie 1).

What paraphrases are:

  • Recycled information in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.
  • They’re still references! Include an in-text citation next to the paraphrased information.

What paraphrases are not:

  • A copy and pasted sentence with a few words substituted for synonyms.

Confused about whether footnotes and endnotes should be used?

Footnotes and endnotes are completely acceptable to use in this style. Use a footnote or endnote if:

  • Adding additional information will help the reader understand the content. This is called a content note .
  • You need to cite numerous sources in one small section of your writing. Instead of clogging up a small paragraph with in-text citations (which could cause confusion for the reader), include a footnote or endnote. This is called a bibliographic note .

Keep in mind that whether you choose to include in-text citations or footnotes/endnotes, you need to also include a full reference on the MLA format works-cited list.

Content note example:

Even Maurice Sendak’s work (the mastermind behind Where the Wild Things Are and numerous other popular children’s picture books) can be found on the banned books list. It seems as though nobody is granted immunity. 1

  • In the Night Kitchen ’s main character is nude on numerous pages. Problematic for most is not the nudity of the behind, but the frontal nudity.

Work Cited:

%%Sendak, Maurice. In The Night Kitchen. Harper Collins, 1996.

Bibliographic note example:

Dahl had a difficult childhood. Both his father and sister passed away when he was a toddler. He was then sent away by his mother to boarding school (de Castella). 1

  • Numerous books, such as Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG, all feature characters with absent or difficult parents.

MLA Works Cited:

Include 4 full citations for: de Castella’s article, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG .

Don’t forget to create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project.

If you need help with in-text and parenthetical citations, CitationMachine.net can help. Our MLA citation generator is simple and easy to use!

Common Knowledge: What Is It and How Will It Affect My Writing?

Footnotes, endnotes, references, proper structuring. We know it’s a lot. Thankfully, you don’t have to include a reference for EVERY piece of information you add to your paper. You can forget about including a reference when you share a piece of common knowledge.

Common knowledge is information that most people know. For example, these are a few facts that are considered common knowledge:

  • The Statue of Liberty is located in New York City
  • Tokyo is the capital of Japan
  • Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare
  • English is the language most people speak in England
  • An elephant is an animal

We could go on and on. When you include common knowledge in your paper, omit a reference. One less thing to worry about, right?

Before you start adding tons of common knowledge occurrences to your paper to ease the burden of creating references, we need to stop you right there. Remember, the goal of a research paper is to develop new information or knowledge. You’re expected to seek out information from outside sources and analyze and distribute the information from those sources to form new ideas. Using only common knowledge facts in your writing involves absolutely zero research. It’s okay to include some common knowledge facts here and there, but do not make it the core of your paper.

If you’re unsure if the fact you’re including is common knowledge or not, it doesn’t hurt to include a reference. There is no such thing as being overly responsible when it comes to writing and citing.

Wikipedia - Yay or Nay?

If you’re wondering whether it’s okay to use Wikipedia in your project, the answer is, it depends.

If Wikipedia is your go-to source for quick information on a topic, you’re not alone. Chances are, it’s one of the first websites to appear on your results page. It’s used by tons of people, it’s easily accessible, and it contains millions of concise articles. So, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the problem?”

The issue with Wikipedia is that it’s a user-generated site, meaning information is constantly added and modified by registered users. Who these users are and their expertise is somewhat of a mystery. The truth is anyone can register on the site and make changes to articles.

Knowing this makes some cringe, especially educators and librarians, since the validity of the information is questionable. However, some people argue that because Wikipedia is a user-generated site, the community of registered users serve as “watchdogs,” ensuring that information is valid. In addition, references are included at the bottom of each article and serve as proof of credibility. Furthermore, Wikipedia lets readers know when there’s a problem with an article. Warnings such as “this article needs clarification,” or “this article needs references to prove its validity” are shared with the reader, thus promoting transparency.

If you choose to reference a Wikipedia article in your research project, and your teacher or professor says it’s okay, then you must reference it in your project. You would treat it just as you would with any other web source.

However, you may want to instead consider locating the original source of the information. This should be fairly easy to do thanks to the references at the bottom of each article.

Specific Components of a Citation

This section explains each individual component of the citation, with examples for each section for full citations and in-text citations.

Name of the author

The author’s name is usually the first item listed in the MLA citation. Author names start with the last name, then a comma is added, and then the author’s first name (and middle name if applicable) is at the end. A period closes this information.

Here are two examples of how an author’s name can be listed in a full citation:

Twain, Mark.

Poe, Edgar Allan.

For in-text:

(Author’s Last name page number) or Author’s Last name... (page).

Wondering how to format the author’s name when there are two authors working jointly on a source? When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source. Place their names in this format:

Author 1’s Last Name, First name, and Author 2’s First Name Last Name.

Here are two examples of how to cite two authors:

Clifton, Mark, and Frank Riley.

Paxton, Roberta J., and Michael Jacob Fox.

(Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name page number) or Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name... (page).

There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This often happens with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.

To cite a source with three or more authors, place the information in this format:

Author 1’s Last name, First name, et al.

As you can see, only include the first author’s name. The other authors are accounted for by using “et al.” In Latin, et al. is translated to “and others.” If using the Citation Machine citation generator, this abbreviation is automatically added for you.

Here’s an example of a citation for three or more authors:

%%Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed., Nolo, 2009.

(Author 1’s Last name et al. page number)

Is there no author listed on your source? If so, exclude the author’s information from the citation and begin the citation with the title of the source.

For in-text: Use the title of the source in parentheses. Place the title in italics if the source stands alone. Books and films stand alone. If it’s part of a larger whole, such as a chapter in an edited book or an article on a website, place the title in quotation marks without italics.

( Back to the Future )

(“Citing And Writing”)

Other in-text structures:

Authors with the same last name in your paper? MLA essay format requires the use of first initials in-text in this scenario.

Ex: (J. Silver 45)

Are you citing more than one source by the same author? For example, two books by Ernest Hemingway? Include the title in-text.

Example: (Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls 12).

Are you citing a film or song? Include a timestamp in the format of hours:minutes:seconds. ( Back to the Future 00:23:86)

Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? If this is the case, in an MLA format paper, you are allowed to start the citation with the author’s handle, username, or screen name.

Here is an example of how to cite a tweet:

%%@CarlaHayden. “I’m so honored to talk about digital access at @UMBCHumanities. We want to share the @libraryofcongress collection.” Twitter , 13 Apr. 2017, 6:04 p.m., twitter.com/LibnOfCongress/status/852643691802091521.

While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors. Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. If your project focuses on someone other than the author, it is acceptable to place that person’s name first in the citation. If you’re using the MLA works cited generator at Citation Machine.net, you can choose the individual’s role from a drop-down box.

For example, let’s say that in your research project, you focus on Leonardo DiCaprio’s performances as an actor. You’re quoting a line from the movie Titanic in your project, and you’re creating a complete citation for it in the works-cited list.

It is acceptable to show the reader that you’re focusing on Leonardo DiCaprio’s work by citing it like this in the MLA works-cited list:

%%DiCaprio, Leonardo, performer. Titanic . Directed by James Cameron. Paramount, 1997.

Notice that when citing an individual other than the author, place the individual’s role after their name. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer.

This is often done with edited books, too. Place the editor’s name first (in reverse order), add a comma, and then add the word editor.

If you’re still confused about how to place the authors together in a citation, the tools at CitationMachine.net can help! Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks!

Titles and containers

The titles are written as they are found on the source and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital.

Here’s an example of a properly written title:

Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks.

Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks? It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics. If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it is from in italics.

When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics.

However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to format titles and their containers.

To cite Pink Floyd’s entire album, The Wall , cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. The Wall. Columbia, 1979.

To cite one of the songs on Pink Floyd’s album in MLA formatting, cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part I).” The Wall, Columbia, 1979, track 3.

To cite a fairy tale book in its entirety, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories. Little Brown, 2016.

To cite a specific story or chapter in the book, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Land of Stories, Little Brown, 2016, pp. 58-65.

More about containers

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone, or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. Wondering how? When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. The second container? It’s the database that the scholarly journal is found in. It is important to account for all containers, so readers are able to locate the exact source themselves.

When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix .

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation.

Use the following format to cite your source with multiple containers :

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

If the source has more than two containers, add on another full section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves.

Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found in a database. This source has two containers: the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other.

%%Zanetti, Francois. “Curing with Machine: Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” Technology and Culture, vol. 54, no. 3, July 2013, pp. 503-530. Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/article/520280.

If you’re still confused about containers, the Citation Machine MLA cite generator can help! MLA citing is easier when using the tools at CitationMachine.net.

Other contributors

Many sources have people besides the author who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word “by,” and then their name in standard order.

If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual. If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased.

Here’s an example of a citation for a children’s book with the name of the illustrator included:

%%Rubin, Adam. Dragons Love Tacos. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, 2012.

The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation.

If the source that you’re citing states that it is a specific version or edition, this information is placed in the “versions” section of the citation.

When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral. Also, abbreviate the word “edition” to “ed.”

Here is an example of a citation with a specific edition:

%%Koger, Gregory. “Filibustering and Parties in the Modern State.” Congress Reconsidered, edited by Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer, 10th ed., CQ Press, 2013, pp. 221-236. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=b7gkLlSEeqwC&lpg=PP1&dq=10th%20edition&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=10th%20edition&f=false.

Many sources have numbers associated with them. If you see a number different than the date, page numbers, or editions, include this information in the “numbers” section of the citation. For MLA citing, this includes volume and/or issue numbers (use the abbreviations vol. and no.), episode numbers, track numbers, or any other numbers that will help readers identify the specific source that you used. Do not include ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) in the citation.

It is important to include the name of the publisher (the organization that created or published the source), so that readers can locate the exact source themselves.

Include publishers for all sources except periodicals. Also, for websites, exclude this information when the name of the publisher matches the name of the website. Furthermore, the name of the publisher is often excluded from the citation for second containers, since the publisher of the second container is not necessarily responsible for the creation or production of the source’s content.

Publication dates

Publication dates are extremely important to include in citations. They allow the reader to understand when sources were published. They are also used when readers are attempting to locate the source themselves.

Dates can be written in MLA in one of two ways. Researchers can write dates as:

Day Mo. Year

Mo. Day, Year

Whichever format you decide to use, use the same format for all of your citations. If using the Citation Machine citation generator, the date will be formatted in the same way for each citation.

While it isn’t necessary to include the full date for all source citations, use the amount of information that makes the most sense to help your readers understand and locate the source themselves.

Wondering what to do when your source has more than one date? Use the date that is most applicable to your research.

The location generally refers to the place where the readers can find the source. This includes page ranges, URLs, DOI numbers, track numbers, disc numbers, or even cities and towns.

You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx .

For page numbers, when citing a source found on only one page, use p.

Example: p. 6.

When citing a source that has a page range, use pp. and then add the page numbers.

Example: pp. 24-38.

Since the location is the final piece of the citation, place a period at the end. When it comes to URLs, many students wonder if the links in citations should be live or not. If the paper is being shared electronically with a teacher and other readers, it may be helpful to include live links. If you’re not sure whether to include live links or not, ask your teacher or professor for guidance.

Looking for an online tool to do the work for you? Citation Machine citing tools could help! Our site is simple (and fun!) to use.

Need some more help? There is further good information here .

Common Citation Examples

ALL sources use this format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). *Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

*If the source does not have a second container, omit this last part of the citation.

Remember, the Citation Machine MLA formatter can help you save time and energy when creating your citations. Check out our MLA Citation Machine pages to learn more.

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How to Format a Paper

When it comes to formatting your paper or essay for academic purposes, there are specific MLA paper format guidelines to follow.

  • Use paper that is 8½-by-11 inch in size. This is the standard size for copier and printer paper.
  • Use high quality paper.
  • Your research paper or essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the paper.
  • While most word processors automatically format your paper to have one-inch margins, you can check or modify the margins of your paper by going to the “Page setup” section of your word processor.

Which font is acceptable to use?

  • Use an easily readable font, specifically one that allows readers to see the difference between regular and italicized letters.
  • Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica are recommended options.
  • Use 12-point size font.

Should I double-space the paper, including citations?

  • Double-space the entire paper.
  • There should be a double space between each piece of information in the heading.
  • Place a double space between the heading and the title.
  • Place a double space between the title and the beginning of the essay.
  • The works-cited list should be double-spaced as well. All citations are double-spaced.

Justification & Punctuation

  • Text should be left-justified, meaning that the text is aligned, or flush, against the left margin.
  • Indents signal to the reader that a new concept or idea is about to begin.
  • Use the “tab” button on your keyboard to create an indent.
  • Add one space after all punctuation marks.

Heading & Title

  • Include a proper heading and title
  • The heading should include the following, on separate lines, starting one inch from the top and left margins:
  • Your full name
  • Your teacher or professor’s name
  • The course number
  • Dates in the heading and the body of your essay should be consistent. Use the same format, either Day Month Year or Month Day, Year throughout the entire paper
  • Examples: 27 July 2017 or July 27, 2017
  • The title should be underneath the heading, centered in the middle of the page, without bold, underlined, italicized, or all capital letters.

Page numbers

  • Number all pages, including the very first page and the works-cited list.
  • Place page numbers in the top right corner, half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin.
  • Include your last name to the left of the page number. Example: Jacobson 4

Here’s an example to provide you with a visual:

The image shows an example of the first page of an MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described above under the heading How to Format a Paper.

If you need help with sentence structure or grammar, check out our paper checker. The paper checker will help to check every noun , verb , and adjective . If there are words that are misspelled or out of place, the paper checker will suggest edits and provide recommendations.

  • If a citation flows onto the second line, indent it in half an inch from the left margin (called a “hanging indent”).
  • For more information on the works-cited list, refer to “How to Make a Works Cited Page,” which is found below.

How to Create a Title Page

According to the Modern Language Association’s official guidelines for formatting a research paper, it is unnecessary to create or include an individual title page, or MLA cover page, at the beginning of a research project. Instead, follow the directions above, under “Heading & Title,” to create a proper heading. This heading is featured at the top of the first page of the research paper or research assignment.

If your instructor or professor does in fact require or ask for an MLA title page, follow the directions that you are given. They should provide you with the information needed to create a separate, individual title page. If they do not provide you with instructions, and you are left to create it at your own discretion, use the header information above to help you develop your research paper title page. You may want to include other information, such as the name of your school or university.

How to Make a Works Cited Page

The MLA Works Cited page is generally found at the end of a research paper or project. It contains a list of all the citations of sources used for the research project. Follow these directions to format the works-cited list to match the Modern Language Association’s guidelines.

  • The “Works Cited” page has its own page at the end of a research project.
  • Include the same running head as the rest of the project (Your last name and then the page number). The “Works Cited” page has the final page number for the project.
  • Name the page “Works Cited,” unless your list only includes one citation. In that case, title it in MLA “Work Cited.”
  • The title of the page (either “Works Cited” or “Work Cited”) is placed one inch from the top of the page, centered in the middle of the document.
  • Double space the entire document, even between the title of the page and the first citation.
  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the citation (usually the last name of the author or the first word in the title if the citation does not include the author’s name. Ignore “A,” “An,” and “The” if the title begins with these words.)
  • If there are multiple citations by the same author, place them in chronological order by the date published.
  • Also, instead of writing the author’s name twice in both citations, use three hyphens.

%%Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 2009.

%%---. Gather Together in My Name. Random House, 1974.

  • All citations begin flush against the left margin. If the citation is long and rolls onto a second or third line, indent the lines below the first line half an inch from the left margin. This is called a “hanging indent.” The purpose of a hanging indent is to make the citations easier to read. If you’re using our MLA citation machine, we’ll format each of your references with a hanging indent for you.

%%Wai-Chung, Ho. “Political Influences on Curriculum Content and Musical Meaning: Hong Kong Secondary Music Education, 1949-1997.” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, vol. 22, no. 1, 1 Oct. 2000, pp. 5-25. Periodicals Index Online, search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/pio/docview/1297849364/citation/6B70D633F50C4EA0PQ/78?accountid=35635.

  • MLA “Works Cited” pages can be longer than one page. Use as many pages as necessary. If you have only one source to cite, do not place the one citation below the text of your paper. In MLA, a “Work Cited” page is still created for that individual citation.

Here’s a sample paper to give you an idea of what an MLA paper could look like. Included at the end is an MLA “Works Cited” page example.

The image shows the first page of an example MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described under the heading How to Format a Paper.

Looking to add a relevant image, figure, table, or musical score to your paper? Here’s the easy way to do it, while following guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association:

  • Place the image, figure, table, or music close to where it’s mentioned in the text.
  • Provide source information and any additional notes directly below the image, figure, table, or music.

For tables:

  • Label the table as “Table” followed by an arabic numeral such as “1.” Table 1 is the table closest to the beginning of the paper. The next table mentioned in the text would be Table 2, and so on.
  • Create a title for the table and place it below the label. Capitalize all important words.
  • The label (Table 1) and the title should be flush against the left margin.
  • Double-space everything.

Example of formatting a table in MLA format.

  • A figure can be a map, photograph, painting, pie chart, or any other type of image.
  • Create a label and place it below the figure. The figure first mentioned in the text of the project is either “Figure 1” or “Fig 1.” Though figures are usually abbreviated to “Fig.” Choose one style and use it consistently. The next mentioned figure is “Figure 2” or “Fig. 2.”, and so on.
  • Place a caption next to the label. If all of the source information is included in the caption, there isn’t a need to replicate that information in the works-cited list.

Example of formatting a figure in MLA format.

MLA Final Checklist

Think you’re through? We know this guide covered a LOT of information, so before you hand in that assignment, here’s a checklist to help you determine if you have everything you need:

_ Are both in-text and full citations included in the project? Remember, for every piece of outside information included in the text, there should be a corresponding in-text citation next to it. Include the full citation at the end, on the “Works Cited” page.

_ Are all citations, both in-text and full, properly formatted in MLA style? If you’re unsure, try out our citation generator!

_ Is your paper double-spaced in its entirety with one inch margins?

_ Do you have a running header on each page? (Your last name followed by the page number)

_ Did you use a font that is easy to read?

_ Are all citations on the MLA format works-cited list in alphabetical order?

Our plagiarism checker scans for any accidental instances of plagiarism. It scans for grammar and spelling errors, too. If you have an adverb , preposition , or conjunction that needs a slight adjustment, we may be able to suggest an edit.

Common Ways Students Accidentally Plagiarize

We spoke a bit about plagiarism at the beginning of this guide. Since you’re a responsible researcher, we’re sure you didn’t purposely plagiarize any portions of your paper. Did you know students and scholars sometimes accidentally plagiarize? Unfortunately, it happens more often than you probably realize. Luckily, there are ways to prevent accidental plagiarism and even some online tools to help!

Here are some common ways students accidentally plagiarize in their research papers and assignments:

1. Poor Paraphrasing

In the “How to create a paraphrase” section towards the top of this page, we share that paraphrases are “recycled information, in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.” If you attempt to paraphrase a few lines of text and it ends up looking and sounding too close to the original author’s words, it’s a poor paraphrase and considered plagiarism.

2. Incorrect Citations

If you cite something incorrectly, even if it’s done accidentally, it’s plagiarism. Any incorrect information in a reference, such as the wrong author name or the incorrect title, results in plagiarism.

3. Forgetting to include quotation marks

When you include a quote in your paper, you must place quotation marks around it. Failing to do so results in plagiarism.

If you’re worried about accidental plagiarism, try our Citation Machine Plus essay tool. It scans for grammar, but it also checks for any instances of accidental plagiarism. It’s simple and user-friendly, making it a great choice for stress-free paper editing and publishing.

Updated June 15, 2021

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Wendy Ikemoto. Michele Kirschenbaum has been an awesome school librarian since 2006 and is an expert in citing sources. Wendy Ikemoto has a master’s degree in library and information science and has been working for Citation Machine since 2012.

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Free MLA Citation Generator

Generate accurate citations in MLA format automatically, with MyBib!

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😕 What is an MLA Citation Generator?

An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA-compliant academic paper.

The citations on a Works Cited page show the external sources that were used to write the main body of the academic paper, either directly as references and quotes, or indirectly as ideas.

👩‍🎓 Who uses an MLA Citation Generator?

MLA style is most often used by middle school and high school students in preparation for transition to college and further education. Ironically, MLA style is not actually used all that often beyond middle and high school, with APA (American Psychological Association) style being the favored style at colleges across the country.

It is also important at this level to learn why it's critical to cite sources, not just how to cite them.

🙌 Why should I use a Citation Generator?

Writing citations manually is time consuming and error prone. Automating this process with a citation generator is easy, straightforward, and gives accurate results. It's also easier to keep citations organized and in the correct order.

The Works Cited page contributes to the overall grade of a paper, so it is important to produce accurately formatted citations that follow the guidelines in the official MLA Handbook .

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's MLA Citation Generator?

It's super easy to create MLA style citations with our MLA Citation Generator. Scroll back up to the generator at the top of the page and select the type of source you're citing. Books, journal articles, and webpages are all examples of the types of sources our generator can cite automatically. Then either search for the source, or enter the details manually in the citation form.

The generator will produce a formatted MLA citation that can be copied and pasted directly into your document, or saved to MyBib as part of your overall Works Cited page (which can be downloaded fully later!).

MyBib supports the following for MLA style:

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Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / MLA Annotated Bibliography Format

MLA Annotated Bibliography Format

The mla style center provides the following guidance for formatting an mla annotated bibliography:.

  • Title your reference page as “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.”
  • Include annotations after the full, listed reference.
  • Annotations should typically not exceed a single paragraph.
  • If you do exceed one paragraph, indent each new paragraph but do not add extra space between them.
  • For more information on writing an annotation, visit the general annotated bibliography guide.

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

Book example

Website example.

  • Using-the-EasyBib-annotation-tool

Troubleshooting

Here are general mla bibliography format guidelines that also apply:.

  • Organize sources alphabetically by author or title, by the publication date, or by subject. Ask your instructor how they would like this organized if they haven’t provided specific guidance.
  • The entire bibliography MLA page or pages should be double-spaced.
  • Have 1-inch margins around the page.

If you don’t need to include annotations with your citations, this guide on creating a regular MLA works cited page can help!

MLA annotated bibliography

Forsyth, Mark. The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase . Penguin Books, 2014.

The author, Mark Forsyth, examines the rhetorical devices used in the English language, analyzing the patterns and formats that create memorable quotes. He traces the history of rhetoric to the Ancient Greeks, and provides an abridged timeline, following their use and evolution through to modern day. The author also explores the broader subject of persuasion and maps out the role that the figures of rhetoric play in it. In all, he examines over thirty devices, dissecting notable passages and phrases from pop music, the plays of William Shakespeare, the Bible, and more to explore the figures of rhetoric at work within each of them. Thorough definitions accompany this examination of structure to demonstrate how these formulas have been used to generate famously memorable expressions as well as how to reproduce their effects.

Here is another annotated bibliography example in MLA for an article on the MLA website.

example of an MLA annotated bibliography entry for a website

Citation with annotation:

“What Guidance Should I Give My Students for Preparing an Annotated Bibliography?” The MLA Style Center , The Modern Language Association, 4 Nov. 2016, style.mla.org/annotated-bibliographies/.

This article offers brief and clear directions for MLA formatting of a bibliography with annotations. Citing James Harner’s On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography , it provides guidelines for writing annotations that can be applied to either paraphrase or commentary form. It also demonstrates how writing annotations can benefit students who are tasked with researching a subject and offers instruction on the organization of entries and acceptable page titles. While the advice is tailored to respond to a question posed by an instructor, students and researchers may also benefit from the guidance that the MLA provided.

Citation without annotation:

The following is an example MLA format Works Cited citation for an article on the MLA website. This MLA bibliography example shows what the entry will look like without an annotation:

“What Guidance Should I Give My Students for Preparing an Annotated Bibliography?” The MLA Style Center, Modern Language Association, 4 Nov. 2016, style.mla.org/annotated-bibliographies/

Note that this MLA bibliography does not contain an introductory paragraph. If you are including a prefatory section, it should reside between the page title and the initial entry.

The MLA follows the rules set forth in James L. Harner’s On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography , 2nd edition, which they published in 2000. Harner submits that the typical organization for this type of work “…consists of three parts: prefatory matter, entries, and an index” (7). Following this, he adds, however, that “an electronic bibliography rarely includes an index” (7).

The “prefatory matter” functions similarly to an introduction, and “typically consists of an introduction, an explanation of editorial procedures, acknowledgements, and separate lists of abbreviations, major reference sources searched, and the subject author’s works” (7). He expands on this, “You must explain – and, if necessary, offer a rationale for – the taxonomy, the kinds of works included and excluded, and the chronological span (especially terminal date) of scholarship covered” (7).

Using the EasyBib annotation tool

If you create your citations using the EasyBib citation generator, then you can also access the annotation tool!

When you create a new or edit an existing citation, you’ll review a citation form that lists every piece of information for the citation. At the bottom of this form is a section called “More options.” In this section, simply click the “Add annotation” text to open the tool. Copy and paste your annotation here, complete your citation, and both the citation and annotation will be automatically formatted together!

Annotated bibliography tool

Always consult your instructor

Your instructor or school may have additional or different requirements for how you format and organize this page. If your teacher or professor requires an introduction, they may identify specific points to include or exclude which deviate from Harner’s definition, so it’s essential that you verify your understanding of the assignment before beginning.

If you are required to share your references in a manner other than in MLA bibliography format, there is also a guide on  APA annotated bibliographies .

Solution #1: How do I annotate a source that is an image or video?

To annotate a visual source like an image or video, describe the important elements of your visual source to your reader as you would with a textual source.

If it is a painting, for example, you do not need to describe every color you see or the mood of the painting, but it may be important to include the artistic movement of which it is a part of, the style of painting, the subject, the culture of origin, or any information about the artist.

Keep in mind the style of annotation you are using for your works-cited annotations, whether you are providing more commentary on sources or simply summarizing them. Maintain the style of annotation consistent for all your annotations. Commentary will include more information about why a source is relevant to your paper, whereas a summary will more plainly describe the source.

van Gogh, Vincent. The Starry Night . 1889, Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

MoMA.org ,   https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/vincent-van-gogh

-the-starry-night-1889/

Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night is a depiction of the night sky seen above the Saint-Paul mental asylum in Saint-Remy, France, where van Gogh received care as his mental health waned. van Gogh was born in Holland, but spent significant time in France. The influence of contemporaneous artistic styles such as Impressionism, Pointilism, and Neo-Impressionism can be seen in The Starry Night . The Starry Night combines the observable world with the world of van Gogh’s emotion, memory, and imagination.

Solution #2: How do I annotate a source that is an audio recording, song, or interview?

Annotate your works-cited MLA citation for an audio recording the same way you would for a textual source.

Keep the style of your annotations consistent, whether you are commenting on sources or simply summarizing sources.

Important elements of your audio source to consider in your annotation may include the following elements: the speaker(s) in the recording, where and when the recording was taken, the important members of the band or musicians of a song, or, if it is a clip, the context of the complete recording.

Describe your audio source as best you can in about 4-5 sentences for your annotation.

For example:

Tavernise, Sabrina. “Why Do So Many Traffic Stops Go Wrong?” The Daily , The New York Times,

1 Nov. 2021. Spotify app.

David D. Kirkpatrick, a national correspondent for the New York Times , breaks down years’ worth of investigative journalism from the NYT. Their journalism focused on casualties due to routine traffic stops performed by police nationwide. The NYT’s reporting suggested that many cities and municipalities may rely heavily on revenue generated from traffic tickets, and that officers may be encouraged to make more, even unnecessary, traffic stops. Kirkpatrick also suggested that training may encourage police to use unnecessary force and escalate encounters during traffic stops, as misleading data has been used to teach officers that traffic stops are disproportionately deadly for police.

Solution #3: How long should my annotation be?

An annotation for an MLA works-cited citation should be about a paragraph long. It shouldn’t be a few words or just one sentence.

If your annotation definitely needs to be longer than 4-5 sentences, make a new paragraph and indent it, but do not add any additional space or line breaks between the paragraphs of your annotation.

  • Works Cited

Harner, James L. On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography. 2nd ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2000.

MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

MLA Formatting Guide

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An annotated bibliography is a list containing complete information of sources (such as journals, books, and reports) cited in the text, along with a note or annotation for each source. It provides a brief description of each source in about 100–150 words. Below is an example of an annotated bibliography:

Annotated bibliography example:

Morritt, Robert D. Beringia: Archaic Migrations into North America . Cambridge Scholars Pub, 2011.

The author studies the migration of cultures from Asia to North America. The connection between the North American Athabaskan language family and Siberia is presented, together with comparisons and examinations of the implications of linguistics from anthropological, archaeological, and folklore perspectives. This book explores the origins of the earliest people in the Americas, including Siberian, Dene, and Navajo Creation myths; linguistic comparisons between Siberian Ket Navajo and Western Apache; and comparisons between indigenous groups that appear to share the same origin.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America . Metropolitan Books, 2009.

In this book, Barbara Ehrenreich shows how harmful the positive thinking movement is, how it means self-blame, victim-blaming, and national denial, inviting disaster. She shows that it wrecks efforts for education, skills, and reforms. The book analyzes how the school of mindless optimism was born, fed the subprime scandal, and has come to infect mainstream corporate management thinking.

An annotated bibliography, which contains a source and a description or an evaluation of a source, is always double-spaced.

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What Is a Citation?

In academic writing, you're asked to recognize those who've helped build your knowledge and ideas. This is done in the form of a citation and it tells your reader (usually your instructor) where you got your information.

It’s important to cite your sources every time you’re using ideas or information from someone else. This includes when you  summarize  information,  paraphrase  (put things into your own words), or use a  direct quote .

Paraphrasing  means you restate what an author said in your own words;  summarizing  is when you talk about the main concepts or points. A  direct quote  is when another person's exact words into your own writing.

Why You Must Cite Your Sources

Citing sources  adds credibility  to your argument. Citing is proof that you did research and that your conclusions are based on reliable information.

It helps you  avoid plagiarism  by giving credit to the people whose ideas and research you used to make your argument.

Citing  shares the sources you discovered  by presenting information about your sources in a standardized format that any scholar can use to track down the very same sources you consulted.

This resource offers advice on how to avoid plagiarism in your work.

Learn about when and how to cite, and how to avoid accidental plagiarism. From the UCLA Library.

TUJ's policy on plagiarism

MLA Handbook

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When to Cite

You will always cite your sources twice. The first time is in the body of the paper with a short note called an in-text citation . In MLA style, it's the author’s last name and the page number of where you found the information.  

Then you cite a second time at the end of your paper with a list of works cited . These citations have all the details your reader would need to get back to the original source like author name(s), article or book titles, dates, and a few other key elements. 

Citing Sources

MLA Citation Style

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MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Guidelines for referring to the works of others in your text using MLA style are covered throughout 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 using parenthetical citations . This method involves providing relevant source information in parentheses whenever a sentence uses a quotation or paraphrase. Usually, the simplest way to do this is to put all of the source information in parentheses at the end of the sentence (i.e., just before the period). However, as the examples below will illustrate, there are situations where it makes sense to put the parenthetical elsewhere in the sentence, or even to leave information out.

General Guidelines

  • 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 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 on the Works Cited page.

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:

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 . Oxford UP, 1967.

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 on the Works Cited page:

Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method . University of California Press, 1966.

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 sources with non-standard labeling systems

If a source uses a labeling or numbering system other than page numbers, such as a script or poetry, precede the citation with said label. When citing a poem, for instance, the parenthetical would begin with the word “line”, and then the line number or range. For example, the examination of William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” would be cited as such:

The speaker makes an ardent call for the exploration of the connection between the violence of nature and the divinity of creation. “In what distant deeps or skies. / Burnt the fire of thine eyes," they ask in reference to the tiger as they attempt to reconcile their intimidation with their relationship to creationism (lines 5-6).

Longer labels, such as chapters (ch.) and scenes (sc.), should be abbreviated.

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, following these guidelines.

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 if it is available.

Titles longer than a standard noun phrase should be shortened into a noun phrase by excluding articles. For example, To the Lighthouse would be shortened to Lighthouse .

If the title cannot be easily shortened into a noun phrase, the title should be cut after the first clause, phrase, or punctuation:

In this example, since the reader does not know the author of the article, an abbreviated title appears in the parenthetical citation, and the full title of the article appears first at the left-hand margin of its respective entry on the Works Cited page. 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. www.climatehotmap.org/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2009.

If the title of the work begins with a quotation mark, such as a title that refers to another work, that quote or quoted title can be used as the shortened title. The single quotation marks must be included in the parenthetical, rather than the double quotation.

Parenthetical citations and Works Cited pages, used in conjunction, 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:

Author-page citation for works in an anthology, periodical, or collection

When you cite a work that appears inside a larger source (for instance, an article in a periodical or an essay in a collection), cite the author of the  internal source (i.e., the article or essay). For example, to cite Albert Einstein's article "A Brief Outline of the Theory of Relativity," which was published in  Nature  in 1921, you might write something like this:

See also our page on documenting periodicals in the Works Cited .

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 two authors, list the authors’ last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:

Corresponding Works Cited entry:

Best, David, and Sharon Marcus. “Surface Reading: An Introduction.” Representations , vol. 108, no. 1, Fall 2009, pp. 1-21. JSTOR, doi:10.1525/rep.2009.108.1.1

For a source with three or more authors, list only the first author’s last name, and replace the additional names with et al.

Franck, Caroline, et al. “Agricultural Subsidies and the American Obesity Epidemic.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine , vol. 45, no. 3, Sept. 2013, pp. 327-333.

Citing multiple works by the same author

If you cite more than one work by an 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, format your citation with the author's name followed by a comma, followed by a shortened title of the work, and, when appropriate, the page number(s):

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:

John of Patmos echoes this passage when describing his vision (Rev. 4.6-8).

Citing indirect sources

Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited within 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 transcripts, plays, or screenplays

Sources that take the form of a dialogue involving two or more participants have special guidelines for their quotation and citation. Each line of dialogue should begin with the speaker's name written in all capitals and indented half an inch. A period follows the name (e.g., JAMES.) . After the period, write the dialogue. Each successive line after the first should receive an additional indentation. When another person begins speaking, start a new line with that person's name indented only half an inch. Repeat this pattern each time the speaker changes. You can include stage directions in the quote if they appear in the original source.

Conclude with a parenthetical that explains where to find the excerpt in the source. Usually, the author and title of the source can be given in a signal phrase before quoting the excerpt, so the concluding parenthetical will often just contain location information like page numbers or act/scene indicators.

Here is an example from O'Neill's  The Iceman Cometh.

WILLIE. (Pleadingly) Give me a drink, Rocky. Harry said it was all right. God, I need a drink.

ROCKY. Den grab it. It's right under your nose.

WILLIE. (Avidly) Thanks. (He takes the bottle with both twitching hands and tilts it to his lips and gulps down the whiskey in big swallows.) (1.1)

Citing non-print or sources from the Internet

With more and more scholarly work published on the Internet, you may have to cite sources you found in digital 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 on your Works Cited page.

Sometimes writers are confused with how to craft parenthetical citations for electronic sources because of the absence of page numbers. However, these sorts of entries often do not require a page number in the parenthetical citation. 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).
  • Do not provide 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

Two types of non-print sources you may encounter are films and lectures/presentations:

In the two examples above “Herzog” (a film’s director) and “Yates” (a presentor) lead the reader to the first item in each citation’s respective entry on the Works Cited page:

Herzog, Werner, dir. Fitzcarraldo . Perf. Klaus Kinski. Filmverlag der Autoren, 1982.

Yates, Jane. "Invention in Rhetoric and Composition." Gaps Addressed: Future Work in Rhetoric and Composition, CCCC, Palmer House Hilton, 2002. Address.

Electronic sources

Electronic sources may include web pages and online news or magazine articles:

In the first example (an online magazine article), 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 (a web page), a parenthetical citation is not necessary because the page does not list an author, and the title of the article, “MLA Formatting and Style Guide,” is used as a signal phrase within the sentence. If the title of the article was not named in the sentence, an abbreviated version would appear in a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence. Both corresponding Works Cited entries are as follows:

Taylor, Rumsey. "Fitzcarraldo." Slant , 13 Jun. 2003, www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/fitzcarraldo/. Accessed 29 Sep. 2009. 

"MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL , 2 Aug. 2016, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. Accessed 2 April 2018.

Multiple citations

To cite multiple sources in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon:

Time-based media sources

When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference. For example: (00:02:15-00:02:35).

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 (For example, it is expected that U.S. citizens know that George Washington was the first President.). Remember that citing sources is a rhetorical task, and, as such, can vary based on your audience. If you’re writing for an expert audience of a scholarly journal, for example, you may need to deal with expectations of what constitutes “common knowledge” that differ from common norms.

Other Sources

The MLA Handbook describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the handbook does not describe, making the best way to proceed can be unclear.

In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of MLA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard MLA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite.

You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source. For example, Norquest College provides guidelines for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers⁠ —an author category that does not appear in the MLA Handbook . In cases like this, however, it's a good idea to ask your instructor or supervisor whether using third-party citation guidelines might present problems.

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CMP 200 - Lynch-Biniek: Citing in MLA format

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  • Citing in MLA format
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MLA on the Web

Purdue university.

  • The official online site for MLA is the OWL program from Purdue University.Click here to go directly to the MLA page .
  • Use the frame on the left to find how to cite different formats in your bibliography, and how to cite sources within your analysis.
  • For an annotated bibliography, use the WORKS CITED formats.
  • When  looking for non-print sources, like TV shows, interviews, or films, pick MLA Formatting: Other Common Sources from the Menu.

Use the HELP in Microsoft Word and type in MLA Format to see a list of guides and web pages that can help. Make sure you are using the 2009, seventh edition of MLA and your version of MS Office.

There are also a number of tutorials on YouTube.

Citing articles in MLA

The source for this information is the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University .  The easiest way to get there is to Google: Purdue Owl MLA.

  MLA format for Magazine Articles:

Author's last name, Author's first name. "Title of Article: Subtitle." Title of Periodical or Magazine  Day Month Year: pages. Medium of Publication.

Here's an example:

Slouka, Mark. "Dehumanized: When Math and Science Rule the School." Harper's Magazine Sep. 2009: 38-40. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.

MLA format in EBSCO databases

Citation information in ebsco appears in two places:.

1) on the screen that displays a single article, use the cite button

2) on the SAVE or EMAIL screen, select MLA, then SAVE or SEND.  The article's citation will appear in MLA format when you retrieve it.

MLA format in Research Library (Proquest Database)

Citation information in proquest research library appears in two places:.

1) on the screen that displays a single article, use the CITE button

2) on the EMAIL screen, select MLA, then SEND.  The article's citation will appear in MLA format when you retrieve it.

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  • How to create an MLA style annotated bibliography

MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples

Published on July 13, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 14, 2022.

An annotated bibliography is a special assignment that lists sources in a way similar to the MLA Works Cited list, but providing an annotation for each source giving extra information.

You might be assigned an annotated bibliography as part of the research process for a paper , or as an individual assignment.

MLA provides guidelines for writing and formatting your annotated bibliography. An example of a typical annotation is shown below.

Kenny, Anthony. A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts . Oxford UP, 2010.

You can create and manage your annotated bibliography with Scribbr’s free MLA Citation Generator. Choose your source type, retrieve the details, and click “Add annotation.”

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Table of contents

Mla format for annotated bibliographies, length and content of annotations, frequently asked questions about annotated bibliographies.

The list should be titled either “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.” You may be told which title to use; “bibliography” is normally used for a list that also includes sources you didn’t cite in your paper or that isn’t connected to a paper at all.

Sources are usually organized alphabetically , like in a normal Works Cited list, but can instead be organized chronologically or by subject depending on the purpose of the assignment.

The source information is presented and formatted in the same way as in a normal Works Cited entry:

  • Double-spaced
  • Left-aligned
  • 0.5 inch hanging indent

The annotation follows on the next line, also double-spaced and left-aligned. The whole annotation is indented 1 inch from the left margin to distinguish it from the 0.5 inch hanging indent of the source entry.

  • If the annotation is only one paragraph long, there’s no additional indent for the start of the paragraph.
  • If there are two or more paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph , including the first, an additional half-inch (so those lines are indented 1.5 inches in total).

MLA annotated bibliography

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

MLA gives some guidelines for writing the annotations themselves. They cover how concise you need to be and what exactly you should write about your sources.

Phrases or full sentences?

MLA states that it’s acceptable to use concise phrases rather than grammatically complete sentences in your annotations.

While you shouldn’t write this way in your main text, it’s acceptable in annotations because the subject of the phrase is clear from the context. It’s also fine to use full sentences instead, if you prefer.

  • Broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day.
  • Kenny presents a broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day.

Always use full sentences if your instructor requires you to do so, though.

How many paragraphs?

MLA states that annotations usually aim to be concise and thus are only one paragraph long. However, it’s acceptable to write multiple-paragraph annotations if you need to.

If in doubt, aim to keep your annotations short, but use multiple paragraphs if longer annotations are required for your assignment.

Descriptive, evaluative, or reflective annotations?

MLA states that annotations can describe or evaluate sources, or do both. They shouldn’t go into too much depth quoting or discussing minor details from the source, but aim to write about it in broad terms.

You’ll usually write either descriptive , evaluative , or reflective annotations . If you’re not sure what kind of annotations you need, consult your assignment guidelines or ask your instructor.

An annotated bibliography is an assignment where you collect sources on a specific topic and write an annotation for each source. An annotation is a short text that describes and sometimes evaluates the source.

Any credible sources on your topic can be included in an annotated bibliography . The exact sources you cover will vary depending on the assignment, but you should usually focus on collecting journal articles and scholarly books . When in doubt, utilize the CRAAP test !

Each annotation in an annotated bibliography is usually between 50 and 200 words long. Longer annotations may be divided into paragraphs .

The content of the annotation varies according to your assignment. An annotation can be descriptive, meaning it just describes the source objectively; evaluative, meaning it assesses its usefulness; or reflective, meaning it explains how the source will be used in your own research .

No, in an MLA annotated bibliography , you can write short phrases instead of full sentences to keep your annotations concise. You can still choose to use full sentences instead, though.

Use full sentences in your annotations if your instructor requires you to, and always use full sentences in the main text of your paper .

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.

Caulfield, J. (2022, June 14). MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 12, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/mla-annotated-bibliography/

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  3. MLA Sample Paper

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  4. 8+ MLA Annotated Bibliography Templates & Samples

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  5. 9+ MLA Bibliography Templates

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  6. Sample Annotated Bibliography in MLA Style

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. MLA Sample Works Cited Page

    MLA Sample Works Cited Page Summary: MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities.

  2. Creating an MLA Bibliography

    This MLA sample paper will show you how the bibliography is incorporated into the rest of your paper. We also have a guide on APA reference pages, if you are following APA style in your paper. Works cited or bibliography? You may be wondering, what is a bibliography, and how is it different from a Works Cited page?

  3. MLA Format

    Home Knowledge Base MLA Style MLA format for academic papers and essays MLA Format | Complete Guidelines & Free Template Published on December 11, 2019 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 17, 2024 by Jack Caulfield. The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for creating MLA citations and formatting academic papers.

  4. MLA Works Cited

    Knowledge Base MLA Style How to format your MLA Works Cited page MLA Works Cited | 2021 Guidelines & Free Template Published on June 7, 2021 by Shona McCombes . Revised on January 17, 2024. In MLA style, the list of Works Cited (also known as a reference list or bibliography) appears at the end of your paper.

  5. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    Cite Using citation machines responsibly Powered by Creating a Works Cited list using the ninth edition MLA is a style of documentation that may be applied to many different types of writing.

  6. Sample Bibliography: MLA

    Directed by Jeri Cain Rossi. Mary Magdalene Films, 1992. Desmond, John. "Flannery O'Connor's Misfit and the Mystery of Evil." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature, vol. 56, no. 2, 2004, pp. 129-37. Literature Online. Dowell, B. "The Moment of Grace in the Fiction of Flannery O'Connor." College English, vol. 27, 1965, pp. 235-9.

  7. MLA Works Cited: Develop an MLA Works Cited Page!

    Below the running head is the title of the page, which should either be "Work Cited" or "Works Cited.". Only 1 reference = "Work Cited". Multiple references ="Works Cited". Whether you're making an MLA work cited page or an MLA works cited page, here are some general rules to follow: Align the title to the center of the document.

  8. Student's Guide to MLA Style (2021)

    This guide follows the 9th edition (the most recent) of the MLA Handbook, published by the Modern Language Association in 2021. To cite sources in MLA style, you need. In-text citations that give the author's last name and a page number. A list of Works Cited that gives full details of every source. Make sure your paper also adheres to MLA ...

  9. How to Write a Bibliography in MLA Format with Examples

    Below are standard formats and examples for basic bibliographic information recommended by the Modern Language Association (MLA). For more information on the MLA format, see MLA Style Center. Basics Your list of works cited should begin at the end of the paper on a new page with the centered title, Works Cited.

  10. MLA Citation Examples

    MLA Citation Examples Share to Google Classroom 3.4 ( 49) Citation Generator Source Type Search Welcome to the EasyBib MLA Citation Guide! If you've landed on this page, you're probably wondering what MLA citing is, or perhaps you need help creating an MLA citation or two.

  11. PDF Sample MLA Works Cited Page

    A Works Cited page starts on a new page and is numbered as a continuation of the paper. Items in a Works Cited list are alphabetized by author. When no author is given, alphabetize by title, ignoring "A", "An" and "The" if one of these is the first word. Use a five space (1⁄2") indentation for all lines after the first line of a ...

  12. Works Cited Examples and Formatting Tips

    How to Do a Works Cited Page. A works cited page is the last page of your MLA style paper.It follows a specific format for citations set forth by the Modern Language Association using a unique nine core element system. The system used by the Modern Language Association is designed to make creating citations for websites and other commonly used humanities research sources simple.

  13. Citation Machine®: MLA Format & MLA Citation Generator

    These citations are usually listed in alphabetical order by the author's last names and include all of the information necessary for readers to be able to locate the source themselves. Full citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format: %%Last name of the author, First name of the author. "Source's Title.".

  14. Free MLA Citation Generator

    How to cite in MLA format. MLA is one of the most common citation styles used by students and academics. This quick guide explains how to cite sources according to the 9th edition (the most recent) of the MLA Handbook.You can also use Scribbr's free citation generator to automatically generate references and in-text citations.. An MLA citation has two components:

  15. Free MLA Citation Generator [Updated for 2024]

    An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA ...

  16. General Format

    General Guidelines 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 each distinct from one another.

  17. MLA Annotated Bibliography Format

    Book example Here is the source's citation and annotation in MLA bibliography format. It contains a summary for the book The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase by UK author and blogger Mark Forsyth: Forsyth, Mark. The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase. Penguin Books, 2014.

  18. MLA In-text Citations

    Revised on May 19, 2022. An MLA in-text citation provides the author's last name and a page number in parentheses. If a source has two authors, name both. If a source has more than two authors, name only the first author, followed by " et al. " If the part you're citing spans multiple pages, include the full page range.

  19. Business

    how you compile a references page at the end of your paper; The MLA Style Center can show you how to do "In-text Citations" and how to create your "Works Cited" list. The site also answers to common MLA questions and provides other great resources, including practice templates and sample papers. QUICK LINKS. Works Cited List - Citations by Format

  20. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

    Oxford UP, 1967. 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.

  21. Citing in MLA format

    The official online site for MLA is the OWL program from Purdue University.Click here to go directly to the MLA page. Use the frame on the left to find how to cite different formats in your bibliography, and how to cite sources within your analysis. For an annotated bibliography, use the WORKS CITED formats.

  22. How to Cite a Website in MLA

    Revised on January 17, 2024. An MLA website citation includes the author's name, the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the website (in italics), the publication date, and the URL (without "https://"). If the author is unknown, start with the title of the page instead. If the publication date is unknown, or if the content ...

  23. MLA Style Annotated Bibliography

    Revised on June 14, 2022. An annotated bibliography is a special assignment that lists sources in a way similar to the MLA Works Cited list, but providing an annotation for each source giving extra information. You might be assigned an annotated bibliography as part of the research process for a paper, or as an individual assignment.