How to Cite in MLA Style

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Modern Language Association Style is a method of documentation employed by schools, journals, academic departments, teachers, newsletters and magazines for more than 50 years. Writers mainly use MLA Style when writing on language and literature, so MLA citations are common in papers and scholarly articles about literature and the humanities. The citations consist of in-text parenthetical citations and a longer alphabetical works cited list at the end of the work.

In-Text Parenthetical Citations

Place your parentheses at the end of the sentence containing the information you are citing, outside quotation marks for a direct quote but inside the final punctuation. You are required to cite any information quoted directly or paraphrased from an outside source. If you fail to attribute this information, you are plagiarizing.

Type the source name inside the parentheses using these source guidelines.

For a single-authored work, put the author's last name in parentheses.

For a single-authored work where the author is named in the sentence, put only the page name in parentheses.

For a work with two or more author, put the first author's last name and second author's last name in alphabetical order.

For a work with no author, put the title of the source in either quotation marks for articles or italics for longer works.

For two works by the same author when you reference the author in the sentence, put the name of the work in either quotation marks or italics.

For an author quoted within the work of another author, put the author's last name quoted in author's or editor's last name.

For a web page, put the name of the web page in parentheses.

Type the page number where you found the phrase or paraphrased information after the source name. If there is no page number, leave it out. So, the entire parenthetical citation will read, using a single-authored work for example: (Smith 10).

Works Cited

Place the works cited page at the end of your paper on a page by itself.

Compose your bibliographic citations using these guidelines.

Book with one author: Last name, First name. Book title in italics. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication. Print.

Book with two authors, in alphabetical order: Last name, First name and First name Last name. Book title in italics. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication. Print.

Article from a printed journal: Author's last name, First name. "Journal article title." Journal title in italics (Year of publication): Page numbers. Print.

Article from an online journal: Author's last name, First name. "Article title." Journal title in italics. (Year of publication): n.pag. Web. Date you accessed website.

Magazine article: Author's last name, First name. "Article title." Magazine title in italics. Date of publication: Page numbers. Print.

Website: Name of website. Name of service hosting website, Date website was created. Web. Date you accessed website. .

Arrange all citations alphabetically by author. Separate each citation with a blank line, and indent the second line of all citations.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article


  • For easy citation making, there are many online citation generators available. You input the information about your cited work, and the website formulates your citation for you depending on your chosen style.

Things Needed

  • Research paper
  • Sources
  • MLA Handbook

About the Author

Erin Clyburn has been writing professionally since 2004. She has been published in "The Progressive Farmer" magazine, Pearson's "Student Book of College English" textbook and Birmingham's "Lipstick" magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Mississippi State University, and is pursuing a Master of Arts in children's literature from Hollins University.