MLA Citation Help

MLA-A General Guide to MLA 8

From Purdue University:

MLA style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the English language in writing. MLA style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages.

Writers who properly use MLA also build their credibility by demonstrating accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the purposeful or accidental uncredited use of source material by other writers.

If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the MLA Handbook (8th edition). Publishing scholars and graduate students should also consult the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition). The MLA Handbook is available in most writing centers and reference libraries; it is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site. See the Additional Resources section of this handout for a list of helpful books and sites about using MLA style.

Paper Format
The preparation of papers and manuscripts in MLA style is covered in chapter four of the MLA Handbook, and chapter four of the MLA Style Manual. Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style.

General Guidelines
-Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
-Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt.
-Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).
-Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
-Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
-Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
-Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
-If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. ------Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).
-Formatting the First Page of Your Paper
-Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
-In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
-Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
-Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking"
-Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
-Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow instructor guidelines.)

Sample Citations:

In-Text Citations--


In-text citations for print sources with known author

For Print sources like books, magazines, scholarly journal articles, and newspapers, provide a signal word or phrase (usually the author’s last name) and a page number. If you provide the signal word/phrase in the sentence, you do not need to include it in the parenthetical citation.

Human beings have been described by Kenneth Burke as "symbol-using animals" (3).
Human beings have been described as "symbol-using animals" (Burke 3).
These examples must correspond to an entry that begins with Burke, which will be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of an entry in the Works Cited:

Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method. Berkeley: U of California P, 1966.

Sample Works Cited:

Works Cited


Dean, Cornelia. "Executive on a Mission: Saving the Planet." The New York Times, 22 May 2007, www.nytimes.com/2007/05/22/science/earth/22ander.html?_r=0. Accessed 12 May 2016.

Ebert, Roger. Review of An Inconvenient Truth, directed by Davis Guggenheim. rogerebert.com, 1 June 2006, www.rogerebert.com/reviews/an-inconvenient-truth-2006. Accessed 15 June 2016.

Gowdy, John. "Avoiding Self-organized Extinction: Toward a Co-evolutionary Economics of Sustainability." International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, vol. 14, no. 1, 2007, pp. 27-36.

An Inconvenient Truth. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, performances by Al Gore and Billy West, Paramount, 2006.

Leroux, Marcel. Global Warming: Myth Or Reality?: The Erring Ways of Climatology. Springer, 2005.

Milken, Michael, et al. "On Global Warming and Financial Imbalances." New Perspectives Quarterly, vol. 23, no. 4, 2006, p. 63.

Nordhaus, William D. "After Kyoto: Alternative Mechanisms to Control Global Warming." American Economic Review, vol. 96, no. 2, 2006, pp. 31-34.