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Citations: MLA Style

A guide to writing and citing in MLA format.

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About MLA Style: Fast Facts

  • MLA = Modern Language Association, a professional society for the humanities and the governing body of MLA Style.
  • 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.

Basic MLA Citation Anatomy:

Works Cited Page

Author Last Name, First Name. "Article Title." Name of Journal, vol. #, no. #issue, year, pp. page range. Database name, URL/DOI.

ex, Scarantino, Andrea, and Michael Nielsen. "Voodoo Dolls And Angry Lions: How Emotions Explain Arational Actions." Philosophical Studies, vol. 172, no. 11, 2015, pp. 2975-2998. Academic Search Complete.

ex, Sarnoff, Nancy. "Web's Role in House Hunt Grows.", Houston Chronicle, 1 Dec. 2007,


(Author Last Name(s) page#)
ex, (Scarantino and Nielsen 2977)


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.