Examples of MLA Citations in an Essay

Modern Language Association style provides guidelines for referencing all the sources that you use to research your paper topic. In MLA, you collect all your references on a Works Cited list that appears after the last page of your paper. In addition, when you quote or paraphrase a source in your paper's text, you include an in-text citation to note it.

Reference List Citations

Step 1

Create a separate reference list page after the last page of your paper -- it should also follow any endnotes. Title this page, "Works Cited."

Step 2

List the source's author, with the last name first, followed by a comma and the first name. Then include the work's title in italics, the location and name of its publisher, the year of publication and the medium of publication -- print or Web, for example. Separate publisher location and name with a colon, and publisher name and year with a comma. All other items should be followed with a period. For instance, a book citation would appear as follows:

Keillor, Garrison. Lake Wobegon Days. New York: Penguin Books, 1986. Print.

Step 3

To cite an article from a larger work, such as a newspaper, magazine or academic journal, include the article name in quotes, followed by the larger work's name in italics. Place a period at the end of the article name, inside the quotes. Place a comma after the larger work's title, include the date of the article, a colon and the page number or numbers on which the article appears:

Gunderson, Karl. "Walleye and Carp." St. Paul Register, 13 February 2002: B3. Print.

To list a source which has more than one author, separate additional authors from the first with commas. Authors past the first are listed first name followed by last name, as follows:

Yorn, Paul, and Gleeson, Mark. "New Ideals of the Republic." Newsweek, March 2000: 17-29. Print.

Step 4

To cite an article on a website, include the name of the company that runs the website after the publication title. Note the last date you accessed the website at the end of your citation -- this is required for all MLA Web citations:

Walker, Lauren. "Human Rights Groups Call For Ban of 'Killer Robots'." Newsweek. Newsweek, 9 April 2015. Web. 9 April 2015.

To cite a website without an author, cite the name of the webpage and the name of the website organization. Use the last day the webpage was updated as the date of publication:

New York Giants News. SB Nation, 2015. Web. 9 April 2015.

In-Text Citations

Step 1

To cite a source you quote or reference in-text, include a parentheses after the quote or the sentence that contains the referenced information. Inside the parentheses, list the name of the author and the page number of the information you're referencing:

Reflecting on mortality, he thinks "about our cat, how I had fed him that morning not knowing it was his last breakfast" (Keillor 129).

Step 2

To create an in-text reference for a source with multiple authors, included both author names in the citation, separated by "and." If there are more than two articles, separate author names with commas.

New propositions see more responsibility in the hands of independent organizations (Yorn and Gleeson 19).

You can remove an author's name from your in-text citation if the author is named in the sentence.

Gunderson notes that the fish he caught were larger than any seen in the last decade (B3).

Step 3

To cite a source with no author in-text, use the name of the text instead of an author name:

The color is heraldic, appearing throughout fan sites and Web pages sponsoring the team (New York Giants News).

List your sources in alphabetical order, based on the author's last name.