Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citations: MLA Style (8th ed.)

A guide to writing and citing in MLA format.

Citation Workshop marketing banner, with title to the left and an illustrated top-down graphic of students working on laptops

About MLA Style: Fast Facts

News! MLA 9th ed. will be released in April 2021. We will not officially adopt it until fall 2021. Learn more.

 

MLA = Modern Language Association, a professional society for the humanities and the governing body of MLA Style. Current edition: 8th.

  • Times New Roman, size 12, double-spaced everywhere.
  • In the upper left corner of your first page, you should have the four-line MLA heading:
    • your name,
    • your instructor's name,
    • the course, and
    • the date.
  • In the upper right corner, inside the margin, you should have your last name and page number.

MLA Core Elements: 

MLA ElementsWhen writing a citation, first identify the  [1] creator(s) followed by the [2] title of segment (article title, episode title, etc). Each of these will be followed by a period and a space.

Container 1 Elements:

Next, look for information about where this thing was originally published. Each element will be separated by a comma and a space. [3] Title of Container could be the name of a journal, magazine, TV series, website name... whatever it is that your particular source exists as a piece of. 

[4] is where you'll specify any other contributors, like "translated by Name" or "narrated by Name." You'll probably skip this one a lot. [5] Version can also be edition, whether numeric (7th ed.) or descriptive (Updated ed., director's cut, unabridged version). [6] Number can include volume and issue, or season and episode number.

[7] Publisher is whoever put it out to the world, typically a company name. [8] is the date of that version's publication. For website comments or tweets, include the timestamp. [9] Location is pretty broad. This could be page numbers, a URL or DOI, which disc in a DVD set, or the physical location of an artwork. Note: MLA 8th ed. doesn't need place of publication for a book!

Container 2:

Repeat the elements of the first container for any additional information you need to provide. If you're looking at a source in its original context, you probably won't need to do this. However, for an article in a database, you would include element [3] Title of Container (the name of the database, e.g. Academic Search Complete) and element [9] Location, or the permalink to that article.