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How to Cite the MLA Handbook


The Modern Language Association handbook provides a helpful set of guidelines for formatting research papers in MLA style. Sometimes, however, you need to cite the handbook itself. When referencing the MLA handbook, use the same guidelines for citing printed books, remembering that the edition number and publication dates may vary depending the book you use.

In-Text Citation

Similar to other MLA in-text citations, references to the MLA handbook involve parenthetical citations including both the author and page number. However, books written by an organization do not have individual author names in their citation. In this case, the organization is the Modern Language Association, so list "Modern Language Association" where you would normally list the author's last name, followed by the page number. Do not put a comma between the name and the page number. For example: (Modern Language Association 42).

Works Cited

Books written by an organization do not use individual author names, so list Modern Language Association first, followed by a period. Then, list the title of the handbook, MLA handbook for Writers of Research Papers, in italics, followed by a period. Note the edition by listing the number, followed by "ed." Then list the city of publication (New York), followed by a colon, then the publisher (Modern Language Association) followed by a comma, then the year of publication followed by a period. Next note the medium, followed by a period, for example:

Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language Association, 2009. Print.

About the Author

Gale Marie Thompson's work has been published in "Denver Quarterly," "Los Angeles Review" and "Best New Poets 2012." Thompson holds a BA in English and creative writing from the College of Charleston, a MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is working on a PhD at the University of Georgia.

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