How to Cite References in the MLA Format

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MLA, or Modern Language Association, is a popular citation style, particularly in history, philosophy and literature. By citing your references in MLA style, you make it easier for the reader to understand and locate the sources you have used in a written paper. MLA has strict style guidelines to ensure consistency throughout your work.

Use in-text citations. After you have quoted or paraphrased someone else's work, you must include a reference to their work throughout your text. Do this by including the writer's name and the relevant page numbers in parentheses.

Make a references/works cited page. This should consist of a separate page at the end of your written paper and should be centrally labeled "References." Remember to double-space all citations.

Cite printed books. Include the author's name, the title (in italics), the place of publication, the publisher's name, year of publication and medium of publication. For books with multiple authors, include each name, separated by a semicolon. Book chapters require the title of the chapter, the editor's details and inclusive page numbers.

Cite any articles. Include the author's name, the title of the article in double quotation marks, the journal title in italics, volume and issue of the journal, the year in parentheses, inclusive page numbers and the medium of publication.

Cite online sources. Include the author's name, the title of the page in double quotation marks, the title of the website in italics, the publisher's information and date of publication, the date you accessed the material and the URL of the website.


  • List all references in alphabetical order.
  • Always include the medium of publication.


About the Author

Kaye Jones has been a freelance writer since 2009, specializing in history, education and mental health. Her undergraduate dissertation was published by the Internet Journal of Criminology. Jones has a first-class honors Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Manchester.

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