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Penrose Library

Citation Styles and Tools: Modern Language Association (MLA)

How to construct citations in MLA, Chicago, APA, ACS, and ASA, and tools that can help you

MLA Style

Here are some basic guidelines for MLA style citations. For more technical or specific questions, the MLA Handbook has a solution for practically any situation you might encounter.

For in-text citations, MLA uses parenthetical citations. The key point is the initial identifying information about the source from the full bibliographic citation, such as the title if no author name is apparent, and something that will identify where in the source the citation is coming from, such as a paragraph number if there is no page number. Most often this involves the author name and page number as follows (Author's last name page number).

Example: Reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (Baron 194).

If you cite the author earlier in the sentence, you only need to provide the page number.

Example: According to Baron, reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (194).

For Works Cited, the list is in alphabetical order based on author name. Please consult the full MLA guide for any other source type you might need to cite.

For any source, MLA citations follow the same format with whatever element is necessary for that work:

Format: Author. Title of Source. Title of Container, Other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, location. Title of Container, Other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, location.

You may think we copied something twice, but we didn't! For example, if it's a stand-alone book, it is not within a container, but the rest of the first section would be filled in. However, if it was an e-book, the second section would be filled in with information about where the e-book is found. This can be confusing, but look at the examples below and see if you can see how it maps out with the practice template.

Online journal articles example: Goldman, Anne. "Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante." The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, 2010, pp. 69-88. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41403188.

Books example: Gikandi, Simon. Ngugi wa Thiong'o. Cambridge UP, 2000. ALCS Humanities E-book, hdl.handle.net/2027/heb/07588.0001.001.

Edited volume example: Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Masque of the Red Death." The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by James A. Harrison, vol. 4, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1902, pp. 250-58. Hathitrust Digital Library, babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924079574368;view=1up;seq=266.

Print Resources

Practice Template

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