Citing Sources

MLA Quick Guide

MLA Style Basics

Use these basic guidelines when preparing your final draft:

  • Margins: Use one-inch margins all around.
  • Double-space throughout.
  • 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.
  • Choose a clean 12-point font.
  • Titles (books, periodicals, films, etc.) are italicized.

MLA Style Citation Examples

MLA style is most commonly used to cite sources within the language arts, cultural studies, and other humanities disciplines. Below are the requirements and examples for citing secondary sources accurately in MLA Style, including examples of how to incorporate citations into the text of your paper and a Works Cited page of references at the end of your paper. 

IN-TEXT CITATIONS In MLA Style, when referring to the works of others in your text you will use parenthetical citation. This includes the author and page(s) from the quotation or paraphrase in parentheses. Common examples are below. See more at Purdue OWL MLA In-Text Citations

Standard Format Authors can appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase. The page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses.

  • Human beings have been described by Kenneth Burke as "symbol-using animals" (3).
  • Human beings have been described as "symbol-using animals" (Burke 3).

Anthology, Periodical, or Collection Cite the author of the internal source (article, essay) you are using. 

  • Relativity's theoretical foundations can be traced to earlier work by Faraday and Maxwell (Einstein 782).

Multiple Authors If two authors, list both either in the text or parentheses:

  • Jones and Zweiler argue that one should read a text for what it says on its surface, rather than looking for some hidden meaning (9).
  • The authors claim that surface reading looks at what is “evident, perceptible, apprehensible in texts” (Jones and Zweiler 9).

If there are three or more authors, list the first and then add et al.:

  • According to Franck et al., “Current agricultural policies in the U.S. are contributing to the poor health of Americans” (327).
  • The authors claim that one cause of obesity in the United States is government-funded farm subsidies (Franck et al. 327).

WORKS CITED PAGE OF REFERENCES In MLA style, you must have a Works Cited page at the end of your research paper. All entries in the Works Cited page must correspond to the works cited in your main text. Find more information and examples at Purdue Owl MLA Works Cited Page.
The general format for any citation:
Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).
One Author 
  • Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. MacMurray, 1999.
Multiple Authors Order the authors in the same way they are presented in the book. 
  • Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Allyn and Bacon, 2000.



Below is the "generic" citation for periodicals provided by the MLA.Omit any information that does not apply:

Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publisher Date, Location (pp.). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Pub date, Location.

Online article Include: author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. Add URL, DOI, or permalink to help readers locate the source.

  • Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, Accessed 20 May 2009.
  • Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest, doi:10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

Print article

  • Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, vol. 15, no. 1, 1996, pp. 41-50.

Magazine article Include: author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, URL, and the date of access.

  • Bernstein, Mark. “10 Tips on Writing the Living Web.” A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 16 Aug. 2002, Accessed 4 May 2009.

Newspaper article

  • Krugman, Andrew. "Fear of Eating." New York Times, late ed., 21 May 2007, p. A1.


Entire Website 

  • Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, Accessed 10 May 2006.

Page on a Website 

  • “Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview.” WebMD, 25 Sept. 2014,

A Tweet 

  • @tombrokaw. “SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign.” Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m.,

A Youtube Video

  • “8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016,

A Blog, Discussion Group or Listserv 

Editor, screen name, author, or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site, Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), URL. Date of access.

  • Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek, 29 Sept. 2008, Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.

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