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MLA citation format

Citing sources in the text


In MLA style, writers place references to sources in thepaper to briefly identify them and enable readers to find them in the WorksCited list. These parenthetical references should be kept as brief and as clearas possible.

  • Give only the information needed to identify a source. Usually the author's last name and a page reference suffice.
  • Place the parenthetical reference as close as possible its source. Insert the parenthetical reference where a pause would naturally occur, preferably at the end of a sentence.
  • Information in the parenthesis should complement, not repeat, information given in the text. If you include an author's name in a sentence, you do not need to repeat it in your parenthetical statement.
  • The parenthetical reference should precede the punctuation mark that concludes the sentence, clause, or phrase that contains the cited material.
  • Electronic and online sources are cited just like print resources in parenthetical references. If an online source lacks page numbers, omit numbers from the parenthetical references. If an online source includes fixed page numbers or section numbering, such as numbering of paragraphs, cite the relevant numbers.


Author's name in text

Dover has expressed this concern (118-21).

Author's name in reference

This concern has been expressed (Dover 118-21).

Multiple authors of a work

This hypothesis (Bradley and Rogers 7) suggested this theory (Sumner, Reichl, and Waugh 23).

Two locations

Williams alludes to this premise (136-39, 145).

Two works cited

(Burns 54; Thomas 327)

Multivolume works

References to volumes and pages

(Wilson 2:1-18)

References to an entire volume

(Henderson, vol. 3)

In text reference to an entire volume

In volume 3, Henderson suggests

Corporate authors

(United Nations, Economic Commission for Africa 51-63)

Works with no author
When a work has no author, use the work's title or a shortened version of the title when citing it in text. (If abbreviating a title, omit initial articles and begin with the word by which it is alphabetized in the Works Cited list.):

as stated by the presidential commission (Report 4).

Online source with numbered paragraphs

(Fox, pars. 4-5)


For more detailedinformation about citing references in the text, please refer to the MLAresources listed below.

Works Cited list

References cited in the text of a research paper must appearat the end of the paper in a Works Cited list or bibliography. This listprovides the information necessary to identify and retrieve each source thatspecifically supports your research.

  • Arrange entries in alphabetical order by authors' last names (surnames), or by title for sources without authors.
  • Capitalize the first word and all other principal words of the titles and subtitles of cited works listed. (Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, or the "to" in infinitives.)
  • Shorten the publisher's name; for example, omit articles, business abbreviations (Co., Inc.), and descriptive words (Press, Publisher).
  • When multiple publishers are listed, include all of them, placing a semicolon between each.
  • When more than one city is listed for the same publisher, use only the first city.
  • Use the conjunction "and," not an ampersand [&], when listing multiple authors of a single work.
  • Pagination: Do not use the abbreviations p. or pp. to designate page numbers.
  • Indentation: Align the first line of the entry flush with the left margin, and indent all subsequent lines (5 to 7 spaces) to form a "hanging indent."
  • Italics: Choose a font in which the italic style contrasts clearly with the regular style.



References to an entire book should include the followingelements:

  • author(s) or editor(s)
  • the complete title
  • edition, if indicated
  • place of publication
  • the shortened name of the publisher
  • date of publication
  • medium of publication


Lastname, Firstname. Titleof Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium ofPublication.


One author:

Nabokov,Vladimir. Lolita. New York: Putnam, 1955. Print.

Another work, same author:

---. Speak,Memory: An Autobiography Revisited. New York: Knopf, 1999. Print.

Two authors:

Cross, Susan, andChristine Hoffman. Bruce Nauman: Theaters of Experience. New York:Guggenheim Museum; London: Thames & Hudson, 2004. Print.

Three authors:

Lowi, Theodore,Benjamin Ginsberg, and Steve Jackson. Analyzing American Government:American Government, Freedom and Power. 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 1994.Print.

More than three authors:

Gilman,Sander, et al. Hysteria beyond Freud. Berkeley: U of California P,1993. Print.

Corporate author:

Herbert F. JohnsonMuseum of Art. A Guide to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, CornellUniversity. Ithaca: Cornell U, 1973. Print.

Multivolume work:

Morison, Samuel Eliot,Henry Steele Commager, and William E. Leuchtenburg. The Growth of theAmerican Republic. 2 vols. New York: Oxford UP, 1980. Print.


No author or editor:

Peterson'sAnnual Guides to Graduate Study. 33rd ed.Princeton, NJ: Peterson's, 1999. Print.

Editor (anthology or collection of essays):

Hill, Charles A., and Marguerite Helmers, eds. DefiningVisual Rhetorics. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. Print.

Essay or Chapter in Edited Books or Anthologies: References to an essay or chapter in an edited book orcompilation must include the following elements:

  • essay or chapter author(s)
  • essay or chapter title
  • book title
  • book editor(s) or compilers
  • place of publication
  • the shortened name of the publisher
  • date of publication
  • inclusive page numbers of the cited piece
  • medium of publication

Article in abook:

Ahmedi, Fauzia Erfan. "Welcoming Courtyards:Hospitality, Spirituality, and Gender." Feminism and Hospitality:Gender in the Host/Guest Relationship. Ed. Maurice Hamington. Lanham:Lexington Books, 2010. 109-24. Print.


Hunt, Tim. "The Misreading of Kerouac." Reviewof Contemporary Fiction 3.2 (1983): 29-33. Rpt. in Contemporary LiteraryCriticism. Ed. Carl Riley. Vol. 61. Detroit: Gale, 1990. 308-10. Print.

Articles orentries from reference books:

Ifthe article or entry is signed, place the author's name first; if it isunsigned, give the title first. For well-known reference works, it is notnecessary to include full publication information. Include only the title ofthe reference source, edition, and date of publication.


"Hospitality."Def. 1a. Webster’s Third New World Dictionary. 1993. Print.


Mercuri, Becky. "Cookies." The OxfordEncyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Ed. Andrew F. Smith. Vol. 1. 2004.Print.

Articlefrom a less familiar reference book:

Forarticles from less familiar reference sources, include the full publicationinformation.

Bernheisel, J. Frank. "Setting Recycling Goalsand Priorities." McGraw-Hill Recycling Handbook. Ed. Herbert F.Lund. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001. Print.

Article inJournals, Magazines, and Newspapers:

Referencesto periodical articles must include the following elements:


article title

publication title (journal, magazine, etc.)

volume number

publication date (abbreviate months, if used)

the inclusive page numbers

medium of publication

Issue numbersshould be stated as decimals to a given volume number. In the example below,the number

25.4reads as Volume 25, issue 4. When citing newspapers, it is important to specifythe edition used (e.g. late ed.) because different editions of a newspaper maycontain different material.

Journalarticle, one author:

Matarrita-Cascante, David. "Beyond Growth:Reaching Tourism-Led Development." Annals of Tourism Research 37.4(2010): 1141-63. Print.

Journalarticle, two authors:

Laing, Jennifer, and Warwick Frost. "How GreenWas My Festival: Exploring Challenges and Opportunities Associated With StagingGreen Events." International Journal of Hospitality Management 29.2(2010): 261-7. Print.


Kaplan, David A."Corporate America’s No. 1 Gun For Hire." Fortune 1 Nov. 2010:81-95. Print.

Newspaperarticle, no author:

"Africa DayCelebrated in Havana." Granma International 31 May 2009, Englished.: 16. Print.

Newspaperarticle, one author, discontinuous pages:

Bajaj, Vikas. "TheDouble-Edged Rupee." New York Times 27 Oct. 2010: B1+. Print.

Government Documents:
References to government documents vary in their required elements. In general,if you do not know the writer of the document, cite the government agency thatissued the document as author.

State document:

New York State.Commission on Capital Punishment. Report of the Commission to Investigateand Report the Most Humane and Practical Method of Carrying Into Effect theSentence of Death in Capital Cases. Albany: Troy, 1888. Print.

Federal document:

United States. Cong.Senate. Committee on Governmental Affairs. The Future of the IndependentCounsel Act. Hearings 106th Cong., 1st sess. Washington: GPO, 1999. Print.

International document:

United Nations.General Assembly. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms ofDiscrimination Against Women. New York: United Nations, 1979. Print.

Audio Visual

Film or video recording:

AnnieHall. Dir. Woody Allen. 1977.Videocassette. MGM/UA Home Video, 1991.

Sound recording:

CountingCrows. August and Everything After. DGC, 1993. CD.

Sound recording, specific song:

CountingCrows. "Mr. Jones." August and Everything After. DGC, 1993.CD.

Citations should include the medium of the electronic publication (CD-ROM), thename of the vendor that made the material available on CD-ROM, and publicationsdates for the version used, if relevant.

"Marriage."Encyclopedia Judaica. CD-ROM. Vers. 1.0. Jerusalem: Judaica Multimedia,1997.

Citing Materials from Online Sources

Online Sources:
Citations for online sources, like those for print sources, should provideinformation that both identifies a source and allows that source to be locatedand retrieved again. All citations should include the medium of publication(Web) and the date the content was accessed. If the source is difficult tolocate or your instructor requires a URL, list the complete address within anglebrackets after the date. In many cases, it is also necessary to identify theWeb site or database that has made the material available online.

Because there are currently few standards that govern theorganization and presentation of online publications, the information that isavailable to fulfill these objectives can vary widely from resource toresource. In general, references to online works require more information thanreferences to print sources.

See sections 5.6.1-4 in the MLA Handbook for morecomplete information on creating citations for online sources.

Web page:

This example includes the optional URL. All other examplesbelow use the shorter citation format.

Cornell UniversityLibrary. "Introduction to Research." Cornell University Library.Cornell University, 2009. Web. 19 June 2009<>.

Personal Web site:

If a work is untitled, you may use a genre label such asHome page, Introduction, etc.

Rule,Greg. Home page. Web. 16 Nov. 2008.

Entry in an onlineencyclopedia:

"Einstein,Albert." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica,1999. Web. 27 Apr. 2009.

Article from a lessfamiliar online reference book:

Nielsen, Jorgen S."European Culture and Islam." Encyclopedia of Islam and the MuslimWorld. Ed. Richard C. Martin. New York: Macmillan Reference-Thomson/Gale,2004. Web. 4 July 2009.

Article in an online periodical:

If pagination is unavailable or is not continuous, use n.pag. in place of the page numbers.

Chaplin,Heather. "Epidemic of Extravagance." Salon 19 Feb. 1999: n.pag. Web. 12 July 1999.

Article in afull-text journal accessed from a database:

Vargas, JoseAntonio. "The Face of Facebook." New Yorker 86.28 (2010):54-63. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Jan. 2011.

Online book with print information:

Frost,Robert. North of Boston. 2nd ed. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1915. GoogleBooks. Web. 30 June 2009.