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MLA Style Guide: HOME

This Guide covers the basics of the 8th edition of the MLA Style Manual and includes sample citations and additional resources.


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APA Style Help

Looking for help with APA? See the APA Style Guide.

LibGuides @ Fontbonne

Other Guides you might find useful:

MLA: Changes in the Eighth Edition

The recently released EIGHTH edition is a whole new ballgame -- we have recently updated our guide to reflect the changes. In addition to this guide, check out this quick overview HERE.

Or the copy on the shelf in the Info Commons: LB2369 .G53 2016.

***NEW*** MLA guidelines:

  • include one standard citation format that applies to every source type.
  • strongly recommend include the URL in your citation.  
  • recommended to include the date of access to your citation especially when there is no copyright date listed.
  • allow pseudonyms for author names.
  • ​require the abbreviations vol. and no. to magazine and journal article citations.
  • no longer require publication type (Print, Web, etc.) listed for each Works Cited entry.  
  • no longer require the city of publication in your Works Cited entry. 

Things that are the same as MLA 7:

  • The use of in-text citations and works cited pages

For more information you can check out this MLA 8 vs MLA 7 comparison. 

About This Guide

WHY do we use bibliographic standards like MLA?

We use them so that our readers can easily find the sources to which we are referring; if that information were not given in a standardized format, we would all have great difficulty finding the sources on our own.

MOST students who are serious learners do not purposely set out to commit plagiarism just to fool professors or to steal the ideas of other scholars to sell for millions.  Instead, students usually plagiarize unintentionally, as an act of desperation that reflects in an unsophisticated writing style and a total lack of understanding of how to avoid plagiarizing.

SO...I will spare you the tired, old lecture about how copying a source word for word, buying or borrowing papers and cutting/pasting blocks of texts from the Internet is only cheating yourself. By now you have probably learned what plagiarism is and a few basic rules about avoiding it. You know about summarizing, using quotes, and citing sources properly. However, even students who know all of the rules sometimes encounter difficulty in developing a writing style that does not plagiarize. Developing a few essential skills will lead to a writing style that will automatically prevent plagiarizing.

Ultimately, avoiding plagiarism boils down to one essential skill: the ability to write and recognize a good paraphrase.

MLA Style Basics

Use these basic guidelines when preapring your final draft:

  • Paper: Prefer white, 8-1/2 by 11-inch paper.
  • Margins: Use one-inch margins all around.
  • Spacing: Double-space throughout.
  • Paragraphing: Indent the first word of each paragraph 5 spaces (1/2 inch) from the left margin. Indent long quotes (those more than 4-lines/40 words) 5 spaces from left margin.
  • Font: Choose a clean 12-point font.
  • Titles (books, periodicals, films, etc.) are italicized.

Librarian & Instruction Liaison

Katie Bava's picture
Katie Bava
Jack C. Taylor Library
Fontbonne University

MLA Quick Guide

Below is a link to a Quick Reference Guide to basic citation rules (with examples, including citations for social media and general layout guidelines).

Print it out for quick reference. Paper copies are available in the Handout Rack in the Information Commons.

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