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MLA 9th Edition Formatting

A Simple, Step-by-Step Guide + Free Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewer: Eunice Rautenbach (DTech) | July 2023

Formatting your paper in MLA style can feel like a pretty daunting task . In this post, we’ll show you exactly how to set up your paper for MLA (9th edition), as quickly and easily as possible. We’ll also share our popular free MLA template , to help you fast-track your writing.

Overview: MLA 9th Edition Formatting

  • Structure and layout
  • General page setup
  • The opening section
  • The main body
  • Works cited (reference list)
  • Free MLA 9 template

MLA Structure and Layout

Let’s start by looking at the overall structure of a typical student paper formatted for MLA 9th edition, before diving into the details of each section. For the most part, MLA papers follow a standardised structure, consisting of the following parts:

The opening section : While MLA doesn’t require a dedicated title page (unlike APA ), it does require an opening section that details some important information about yourself, your university and the paper itself.

The main body : The main body begins directly after the opening section on the first page. This is the “heart” of your paper and there are a very specific requirements regarding how you present and format this content.

The appendix (or appendices):  While using an appendix in a student paper is relatively uncommon, you’ll place this section directly after the main body section, if required by your university.

The “Works Cited” list : This section is equivalent to what we’d usually call a references page and it’s where you’ll detail all the reference information corresponding to the in-text citations in the main body of your paper.

These four sections form the standard structure and order of a student paper using MLA 9th edition. As we mentioned, not all sections are always required , so be sure to double check what your university expects from you before submitting. Also, it’s always a good idea to ask your university if they have any  style requirements in addition to the standard MLA specification.

Now that we’ve got a big-picture view of the typical paper structure, let’s look at the specific formatting requirements for each of these sections.

Generic Page Setup

Before you jump into writing up your paper, you’ll first need to set up your document to align with MLA’s generic page requirements. Alternatively, you can download our MLA paper template (which comes fully preformatted).

MLA 9th edition requires a 1-inch margin on all sides , for all pages. That said, if you’re writing a dissertation, thesis or any document that will ultimately be printed and bound, your university will likely require a larger left margin to accommodate for physical binding.

Fonts & sizing

MLA does not require that you use any specific font, but we do recommend sticking to the tried and tested , well-accepted fonts. For example, you might consider using one of the following:

  • Sans serif fonts : Calibri (11), Arial (11), or Lucida Sans Unicode (10)
  • Serif fonts : Times New Roman (12), Georgia (11), or Computer Modern (10)

Whichever font you opt for, be sure to use it consistently throughout your paper . Don’t chop and change, or use different fonts for different parts of the document (e.g., different fonts for the body text and the headings). Also, keep in mind that while MLA does not have a specific font requirement, your university may have its own preference or requirement. So, be sure to check with them beforehand regarding any additional specifications they may have.

In general, all text throughout your document needs to be left-aligned and should not be justified (i.e., leave an uneven right edge). You might consider using a different alignment for section headings, but in general, it’s best to keep things simple .

Line spacing

MLA 9th edition requires double line spacing throughout the document . There should also be no extra space before and after paragraphs . This applies to all sections of the paper, including the “Works Cited” page (more on this later).

Page header

Last but not least, you’ll need to set up a running header for your document. This should contain your last name, followed by the page number. Both of these should be positioned in the top right corner of all pages (even the first page). On a related note, there’s no need for you to include any footer content unless your university specifically requests it.

Now that we’ve looked at the generic formatting considerations, let’s dive into the specific requirements for each section of your paper.

The Opening Section

While MLA-formatted papers typically don’t require a title page, there are very specific requirements regarding the opening section of the first page .

Here’s how you can set your first page up for MLA 9th edition.

  • On the first line, write your full name (flush left)
  • On a new line, write your professor or instructor’s full name
  • On a new line, write the course code and course name
  • On a new line, write the full date spelt out (e.g., 15 June 2023)
  • On a new line, write the full title of your paper , centre-aligned and using title case (consider using a title case converter if you’re not familiar with this)
  • On a new line, begin your body content

All of the above should be in plain, unformatted font – in other words, you don’t need to apply any boldfacing, underlining , etc. That said, you should use italics whenever you’re writing out the titles of other works (for example, titles of books or articles).

To make it all a little more tangible, below is an example of a first page formatted according to the MLA specifications that we just covered.

An example of the opening section of a paper formatted for MLA 9

The Main Body

While the formatting requirements for the body section are relatively light for MLA (at least when compared to APA ), there are still quite a few important things to pay attention to. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Each of your paragraphs needs to start on a new line , and the first sentence of each paragraph requires a half-inch indent (while the rest of the paragraph is flush left aligned). Note that each paragraph simply starts on a new line and doesn’t require an additional blank line.

MLA 9th edition is fairly flexible in terms of heading formatting. There is no specified formatting, so you can decide what works best for you. However, there are still a few basic rules you need to follow:

  • All your headings should be written in title case – never use all caps
  • There should be no period following a heading
  • Each heading level needs to be uniquely formatted and easily distinguishable from other levels (for example, a distinct difference in terms of boldfacing, underlining or italicisation)
  • You can have as many heading levels as you need, but each level must have at least two instances

Abbreviations

When using abbreviations, you’ll need to make sure that you’re using the MLA version of the abbreviation . Below we’ve listed a few common ones you should be aware of:

  • Appendix: app.
  • Circa: c. or ca.
  • Chapter: ch.
  • Column: col.
  • Definition: def.
  • Department: dept.
  • Example: e.g.
  • Edition: ed.
  • Figure: fig.
  • Foreword: fwd.
  • That is: i.e.
  • Journal: jour.
  • Library: lib.
  • Manuscript(s): MS
  • Number: no.
  • Quoted in: qtd. in
  • Revised: rev.
  • Section: sec. or sect.
  • Series: ser.
  • Translation: trans.
  • Version: vers.
  • Variant: var.
  • Volume: vol.

If you’re interested, you can find a more comprehensive list here . Alternatively, if you have access to the MLA 9th edition handbook, you can find the full list in the first appendix.

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In-text citations

MLA 9 has a very specific set of requirements regarding how to cite your sources within the body of your paper. Here are some of the most important things to help you get started with MLA citations.

Author-page number system: in-text citations consist of (at a minimum) the lead author’s last name, followed by the page number of the paragraph you are citing. There is no comma between the two components (only a space).

Types of citations: MLA allows two types of in-text citations: parenthetical and narrative . Parenthetical citations feature the author and page number in parentheses (brackets) at the end of the respective sentence. Here’s an example:

MLA 9th edition is easy to grasp if you visit the Grad Coach blog (Jansen 13).

Narrative citations, on the other hand, weave the author’s name into the flow of the sentence and then present the publication date in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Here’s an example:

Jansen states that MLA 9th edition is easy for students to grasp if they visit the Grad Coach blog (13).

In general, it’s a good idea to utilise a mix of both in your writing. Narrative citations are particularly useful when you want to highlight or contrast authors or their viewpoints, while parenthetical citations are useful when you want to strengthen your own academic voice. In other words, both formats have their respective strengths and weaknesses, so try to use citation format strategically in your writing.

Quotations: when quoting text verbatim from a source, there is no need to do anything differently in terms of the citation itself, but do remember to wrap the verbatim text in quotation marks. Here’s an example:

Jansen proposes that MLA 9th edition is “easy to grasp if you visit the Grad Coach blog” (13).

Multiple authors: when citing resources that were authored by three or more people, you only need to list the lead author, followed by “et al.”. Here’s an example:

MLA 9th edition is easy to grasp if you visit the Grad Coach blog (Jansen et al. 13).

 Below are a few more examples from our free MLA template .

Example of MLA in-text citations

Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of all the MLA 9th edition citation-related requirements – just a shortlist of the most commonly relevant ones. If you’d like to learn more, consult the MLA handbook .

The Works Cited (Reference List)

The final section that you’ll need to pay close attention to is the “Works Cited” page, which should contain a list of reference information for all the sources cited in the body of the paper. Again, MLA has a quite a meaty set of specifications regarding the content and formatting of this list, but we’ll cover the basics here to get your started on the right foot. 

Basic setup

Your reference list needs to start on a new page and should be titled “Works Cited”. The title should be unformatted and centred . The reference list should then start on the next line. As with the rest of your document, you should use double line spacing throughout.

When it comes to the reference list itself, you’ll need to keep the following in mind:

  • All the sources that you cited in the body of your document should feature in the reference list. Make sure that every citation is accounted for .
  • The references should be ordered alphabetically , according to the lead author’s last name .
  • The exact information required within each entry depends on the type of content being referenced (e.g., a journal article, web page, etc.)
  • Components that may need to feature (other than the author) include the title of the source, the title of the container, other contributors, the article version or number, the publisher, the publication date, and the location.
  • All references should be left-aligned and should use a hanging indent – i.e., the second line of any given reference (if it has one) should be indented a half inch.

We have to stress that these are just the basics. MLA 9th edition requires that your references be structured and formatted in a very specific way , depending on the type of resource. If you plan to draft your reference list manually, it’s important to consult your university’s style guide or the MLA manual itself. This leads us to our next point…

In general, it’s a bad idea to write your reference list manually . Given the incredibly high level of intricacy involved, it’s highly likely that you’ll make mistakes if you try to craft this section yourself. A better solution is to use (free) reference management software such as Mendeley or Zotero . Either of these will take care of the formatting and content for you, and they’ll do a much more accurate job of it too. 

If you’re not familiar with any sort of reference management software, be sure to check out our easy-to-follow Mendeley explainer video below.

Wrapping Up

In this post, we’ve provided a primer covering how to format your paper according to MLA 9th edition. To recap, we’ve looked at the following:

  • The structure and layout
  • The general page setup
  • The “Works Cited” page (reference list)

Remember to always check your university’s style guide to familiarise yourself with any additional requirements they may. Also, if your university has specified anything that contrasts what we’ve discussed here, please do follow their guidance . 

If you need any help formatting your paper for MLA 9, take a look at our “done for you” language editing and proofreading service . Simply send us your document and we’ll take care of all the MLA formatting intracies on your behalf. 

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MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: Formatting Your MLA Paper

  • Works Cited entries: What to Include
  • Title of source
  • Title of container
  • Contributors
  • Publication date
  • Supplemental Elements
  • Book with Personal Author(s)
  • Book with Organization as Author
  • Book with Editor(s)
  • Parts of Books
  • Government Publication
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Multivolume Works
  • Newspaper Article
  • Other Formats
  • Websites, Social Media, and Email
  • About In-text Citations
  • In-text Examples
  • How to Paraphrase and Quote
  • Citing Poetry
  • Formatting Your MLA Paper
  • Formatting Your Works Cited List
  • MLA Annotated Bibliography
  • MLA 9th Edition Quick Guide
  • Submit Your Paper for MLA Style Review

MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman font or another readable typeface (e.g. serif ).

Line Spacing & Margins

Use double-spacing throughout the entire paper.

Leave 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and each side.

Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch from the left margin.

Quotes longer than 4 lines should be written as a block of text a half an inch from the left margin.

Heading and Title

An MLA research paper does not need a title page, but your instructor may require one. If no instructions are given, follow the MLA guidelines below:

Type the following one inch from the top of the first page, flush with the left margin (double spacing throughout).

Your Instructor's Name

Course Number or Name

Center the title on the next line. Follow the rules for capitalization. Do not italicize, underline, or bold the title. An exception is when your title includes a title.  Example:  The Attitude toward Violence in A Clockwork Orange

Indent the next line and begin typing your text.

Include your last name and page numbers in the upper right-hand corner of every page. The page numbers will be one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. If your instructor prefers no page number on the first page, begin numbering from 2 on the second page.

Sample Papers from MLA

There are sample papers available in the MLA Style Center. Check them out to see the correct formatting.

Styling Headings and Subheadings

According to the MLA Style Center website, writers should avoid using headings in shorter papers. If you are writing a longer research paper, you may want to include headings and subheadings to help organize the sections of your paper. Advice from the MLA Style Center :

"Levels

The paper or chapter title is the first level of heading, and it must be the most prominent.

Headings should be styled in descending order of prominence. After the first level, the other headings are subheadings—that is, they are subordinate. Font styling and size are used to signal prominence. In general, a boldface, larger font indicates prominence; a smaller font, italics, and lack of bold can be used to signal subordination. For readability, don’t go overboard: avoid using all capital letters for headings (in some cases, small capitals may be acceptable):

Heading Level 1

Heading Level 2

Heading Level 3

Note that word-processing software often has built-in heading styles.

Consistency

Consistency in the styling of headings and subheadings is key to signaling to readers the structure of a research project. That is, each level 1 heading should appear in the same style and size, as should each level 2 heading, and so on. Generally, avoid numbers and letters to designate heads unless you are working in a discipline where doing so is conventional. Note that a heading labeled “1” requires a subsequent heading labeled “2,” and a heading labeled “a” requires a subsequent heading labeled “b.” 

In a project that is not professionally designed and published, headings should be flush with the left margin, to avoid confusion with block quotations. (The exception is the paper or chapter title, which is centered in MLA style.)

For readability, it is helpful to include a line space above and below a heading, as shown in this post.

No internal heading level should have only one instance. For example, if you have one level 1 heading, you need to have a second level 1 heading. (The exceptions are the paper or chapter title and the headings for notes and the list of works cited.) You should also generally have text under each heading.

Capitalization

Capitalize headings like the titles of works, as explained in section 1.2 of the MLA Handbook.

The shorter, the better."

Modern Language Association. "How Do I Style Headings and Subheadings in a Research Paper?" MLA Style Center., 13 December 2018,  style.mla.org/styling-headings-and-subheadings .

MLA Style Paper Template

  • MLA 9th Edition Paper Template This template was created and saved as a Word template for Microsoft Word 2016. The process for saving and using the template is the same for the instructions given above for 2013.

You can save a personal template in Microsoft Word (IRSC students, download Office for free, see a librarian if you need help). Above is a template you can use every time you need to set-up a research paper using MLA style format. Simply open the template and type your own information every time you need to write an MLA style paper. Microsoft Word will allow you to save personal templates. Once you have the template opened in Word

Click "Save as"

Give the file a name

Under "Save as type", select Word Template

mla thesis template

Then when you open Word, you will be able to choose a template rather than a blank document. You might have to select Personal to find your template.

mla thesis template

Sample MLA Paper

MLA 8th Edition Paper Formatting

How to Use the MLA Style Template

Formatting Group Project Papers

For a research paper written collaboratively by several students, such as for a group project, create a title page instead of listing all authors in the header on page 1 of the essay. On the title page, list each student's full name, placing one name on each double-spaced line. After the final student name, enter the professor's name. After the professor's name, give the course name. The last line of the heading will be the date in 5 August 2021 format. Press Enter a few times to move down the page then give the paper title, centered.

MLA 9th Group Research Project Title Page Example

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mla thesis template

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Mla 8th ed. style guide: dissertations, theses.

  • Art, Photography, Music
  • Business Resources
  • Dissertations, Theses
  • Emails, Social Media
  • Film, Television, Video
  • Journal, Newspaper, & Magazine Articles
  • Legal Sources
  • Parenthetical (in-text) Citations
  • Web Sites, Blogs
  • Need more help?

Essential Elements

Citations for dissertations/master's theses should include the following:

1. Name of Author 

2. Title of dissertation/thesis (italicized)

3. Date of Publication

5. Institution granting the degree (optional)

6. Description of the work (optional)

7. Database and URL if accessed through a database or repository

Sample Citation - Dissertations

Dissertations

The institution granting the degree and description of the work are optional. If you accessed the work online, include that information. 

Miller, Ryan. Understanding the Process of Multisensory Integration. 2016. Wake Forest U,  	PhD dissertation. WakeSpace, wakespace.lib.wfu.edu/handle/10339/59318.

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Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez, Call Box 9000 Mayagüez, PR 00681     (787) 832-4040 ext. 3810, 2151, 2155    [email protected]

MLA 9th Edition Style Guide: Dissertation/Thesis

  • Generic Section Labels
  • Inclusive Language
  • Publisher Abbreviations
  • Formatting your Paper
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Social Media
  • Audiovisual
  • Personal Communication

Dissertation/Thesis

  • News Publication
  • Classroom Material
  • Conference Proceedings and Papers
  • Footnotes and Endnotes
  • Tables and Figures
  • Useful Links

Njus, Jesse. Performing the Passion: A Study on the Nature of Medieval Acting . 2010. Northwestern U,

MA thesis.  ProQuest , search.proquest.com/docview/305212264?accountid=7432.

Dissertation

PhD dissertation.  ProQuest , search.proquest.com/docview/305212264?accountid=7432.

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Citation guides

All you need to know about citations

How to cite a master's thesis in MLA

MLA master's thesis citation

To cite a master's thesis in a reference entry in MLA style 9th edition include the following elements:

  • Author(s) name: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by ‘and’ and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson). For three or more authors, list the first name followed by et al. (e. g. Watson, John, et al.)
  • Thesis title: Titles are italicized when independent. If part of a larger source add quotation marks and do not italize.
  • Year of publication: Give the year of publication as presented in the source.
  • University: Give the name of the institution.
  • Degree: Type of degree.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a master's thesis in MLA style 9th edition:

Author(s) name . Thesis title . Year of publication . University , Degree .

Take a look at our works cited examples that demonstrate the MLA style guidelines in action:

A psychology master's thesis with one author

Bauger, Lars . Personality, Passion, Self-esteem and Psychological Well-being among Junior Elite Athletes in Norway . 2011 . U of Tromsø , Master's Thesis .

A master's thesis with one author

Aube, Kyle Eric . A Comparison of Water Main Failure Prediction Models in San Luis Obispo, CA . 2019 . Cal Poly , Master's Thesis .

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This citation style guide is based on the MLA Handbook (9 th edition).

More useful guides

  • MLA 8th ed. Style Guide: Dissertations, Theses
  • MLA, 8th Edition: Master's Thesis or Project
  • How do I cite a dissertation in MLA style?

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MLA format is a widely accepted style for writing and documenting scholarly papers, particularly in the humanities. It provides guidelines for formatting manuscripts , citing sources, and structuring works cited pages, ensuring consistency and clarity. Adhering to MLA format helps writers present their research in a professional and organized manner, facilitating readability and academic integrity.

What is MLA Format?

MLA format, established by the Modern Language Association, is a widely-used style for writing and documenting scholarly papers in the humanities. It features in-text citation , a “Works Cited” page, double-spacing, one-inch margins, and specific guidelines for formatting headings, titles, and quotations to ensure clarity and consistency in academic writing.

MLA Format Examples

  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . Publisher, Year of Publication.
  • Example: Smith, John. The Art of Writing . Penguin, 2020.
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal , vol. number, no. number, Year, pages.
  • Example: Doe, Jane. “Exploring Literature.” Literary Journal , vol. 5, no. 3, 2019, pp. 45-67.
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website , Publisher, Date of Publication, URL.
  • Example: Brown, Lisa. “Understanding MLA Format.” Writing Resources , Purdue OWL, 15 Mar. 2021, www.owl.purdue.edu/mlaformat .
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Chapter.” Title of Book , edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year, pages.
  • Example: Taylor, Robert. “Modern Poetry.” Anthology of Modern Literature , edited by Sarah Green, Norton, 2018, pp. 120-135.
  • Editor’s Last Name, First Name, editor. Title of Book . Publisher, Year.
  • Example : Anderson, Mary, editor. Cultural Studies . Routledge, 2017.
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Magazine , Date of Publication, pages.
  • Example: Clark, Emily. “The Future of Education.” Education Today , 12 June 2021, pp. 22-25.
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper , Date of Publication, pages.
  • Example: Adams, Michael. “Tech Innovations in 2022.” The New York Times , 5 Jan. 2022, p. B1.
  • Title of Film . Directed by Director’s First Name Last Name, performance by Lead Actor’s First Name Last Name, Production Company, Year.
  • Example: Inception . Directed by Christopher Nolan, performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, Warner Bros., 2010.
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Video.” Website , uploaded by Uploader’s Name, Date of Upload, URL.
  • Example : Johnson, Mark. “ How to Write in MLA Format.” YouTube , uploaded by Academic Tips, 10 Feb. 2021, www.youtube.com/academic-tips-mla .
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Paper.” Title of Conference , Date, Location.
  • Example: Lee, Anna. “The Impact of Social Media on Education.” International Conference on Education , 23 Apr. 2021, Boston, MA.

When to use MLA Format

MLA format is commonly used in the humanities, especially for writing papers and citing sources in subjects like:

  • Essay , research papers, and articles analyzing novels, poems, plays, and other literary works.
  • Papers exploring cultural phenomena, media studies, and societal impacts on culture.
  • Research involving comparative literature, translations, and linguistic studies.
  • Essays and papers discussing philosophical theories, arguments, and historical texts.
  • Research papers analyzing art movements, specific artworks, and artist biographies.
  • Analyses of plays, playwrights, theatrical performances, and historical context of theater.
  • Humanities-focused historical research papers, particularly those involving textual analysis.
  • Research involving film, television, digital media, and their cultural implications.

MLA format is preferred in these fields for its emphasis on detailed citation and textual analysis, ensuring clarity, consistency, and academic integrity in scholarly writing.

How to set up your paper in MLA Format

Setting up your paper in MLA format is crucial for academic writing, ensuring that your work meets the standards for scholarly communication. Follow these steps to format your paper correctly:

1. General Guidelines

  • Font : Use a readable font like Times New Roman, size 12.
  • Margins : Set all margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Line Spacing : Double-space the entire paper, including any notes and the works cited page.
  • Indentation : Indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch from the left margin. Use the Tab key instead of the space bar.

2. Header and Title

  • Header : Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space and the page number. Number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.).
  • In the upper left-hand corner, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date. Double-space this information.
  • 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.

3. In-Text Citations

  • When quoting or paraphrasing, include an in-text citation with the author’s last name and the page number from which the quote or paraphrase is taken, like this: (Smith 123).

4. Works Cited Page

  • Title : Center the title “Works Cited” at the top of the page. Do not italicize or underline it.
  • Entries : Begin each entry at the left margin; if an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent lines one-half inch from the left margin (hanging indent).
  • Alphabetical Order : List the entries alphabetically by the author’s last name. If no author is given, alphabetize by the title.

Example of the First Page

Jane Doe Professor Smith English 101 20 May 2023 Centered Title in Title Case The first paragraph of your paper begins here, with the first line indented one-half inch. Subsequent paragraphs should also be indented one-half inch from the left margin.

Example of a Works Cited Entry

Works Cited Smith, John. The Great Gatsby . Scribner, 2004.

Formatting Header and Title in MLA

Formatting the header and title correctly is an important step in ensuring your paper adheres to MLA standards. Here’s a detailed guide on how to set up the header and title for your MLA paper:

The header in MLA format is placed in the upper right-hand corner of each page, including the first page. Here are the steps to set it up:

  • Open your document in a word processing program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
  • In Microsoft Word: Go to the “Insert” tab and select “Header.” Choose the “Blank” option.
  • In Google Docs: Click on “Insert” and then “Headers & footers,” followed by “Header.”
  • Type your last name followed by a space.
  • In Microsoft Word: While the cursor is still in the header, go to the “Design” tab, click on “Page Number,” and choose “Top of Page” then “Plain Number 3.”
  • In Google Docs: While the cursor is in the header, click on “Insert,” then “Page numbers,” and select the option to have the page numbers in the upper right corner.
  • Set the font and size : Ensure the font is Times New Roman, size 12, matching the rest of your document.

2. Title Page Setup

MLA format does not require a separate title page unless specifically requested by your instructor. Instead, the title is placed on the first page of your paper. Here’s how to format it:

Information Block

  • Position the cursor at the top of the first page.
  • Your full name
  • Your instructor’s name
  • The course name or number
  • The date in the format: Day Month Year (e.g., 20 May 2023)
  • Double-space after the date.
  • Center the title of your paper. The title should be in Title Case, which means you capitalize the major words.
  • Do not use bold, italics, underline, or quotation marks for the title. Write it in plain text.

Example of the First Page Setup

Jane Doe Professor Smith English 101 20 May The Impact of Climate Change on Migration The first paragraph of your paper begins here, with the first line indented one-half inch. Subsequent paragraphs should also be indented one-half inch from the left margin.

Headings and Subheadings in MLA Format

MLA (Modern Language Association) format provides a flexible guideline for structuring your academic paper. While the MLA Handbook (9th edition) does not provide specific rules for headings and subheadings, it encourages consistency and clarity. Here’s a guide on how to create and format headings and subheadings in your MLA-style paper.

General Guidelines

  • Font and Size: Use a readable font like Times New Roman, size 12.
  • Consistency: Ensure that the format and style of headings and subheadings are consistent throughout the paper.
  • No Bold or Italics: Headings should not be bolded or italicized. They should be in plain text, maintaining the same font and size as the rest of the paper.
  • Title Case: Capitalize the first and last words and all principal words in headings and subheadings.

Levels of Headings

MLA does not have specific rules for the number of heading levels. However, using up to five levels of headings is common. Below is a suggested format for organizing your paper with headings and subheadings.

First-Level Heading (H2)

Centered, Title Case

Causes of Climate Change

Second-Level Heading (H3)

Left-aligned, Title Case

Human Activities

Third-Level Heading (H4)

Indented, Title Case, Ends with a Period.

Burning of Fossil Fuels.

Fourth-Level Heading (H5)

Indented, Sentence case, Ends with a period.

Deforestation and land use changes.

Fifth-Level Heading (H6)

Indented, italicized, Sentence case, Ends with a period.

Use of agricultural practices.

Examples of Headings in a Paper

Here’s an example of how to structure a paper using these headings:

Causes of Climate Change Human activities significantly contribute to climate change through various means. Human Activities Human activities that impact climate change include the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and certain agricultural practices. Burning of Fossil Fuels. The combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas releases large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Deforestation and land use changes. The removal of trees decreases the planet’s capacity to absorb CO2. Use of agricultural practices. Certain farming practices, like livestock production, increase methane emissions. Natural Factors Natural factors also play a role in climate change, albeit to a lesser extent than human activities. Volcanic Eruptions. Eruptions release particles that can cool the Earth by blocking sunlight. Solar Variations Changes in solar energy affect the Earth’s climate cycles.

Quotations in MLA Format

Quotations are an essential part of academic writing, providing evidence and supporting arguments. MLA (Modern Language Association) format has specific guidelines for incorporating quotations into your text. Here’s a detailed guide on how to format both short and long quotations in MLA style.

1. Short Quotations

Short quotations are defined as fewer than four lines of prose or three lines of verse. These quotations should be incorporated into the text and enclosed in double quotation marks.

  • Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author’s last name followed by the page number in parentheses.
  • Place the period after the parenthetical citation.

According to Smith, “climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity today” (123).

2. Long Quotations

Long quotations, also known as block quotations, are used for prose that is more than four lines or verse that is more than three lines. These should be formatted as a freestanding block of text and indented one inch from the left margin. Quotation marks are not used.

  • Introduce the block quotation with a signal phrase that ends with a colon.
  • Start the quotation on a new line and indent the entire block one inch from the left margin.
  • Double-space the quotation.
  • Place the parenthetical citation after the period at the end of the quotation.

Smith discusses the impacts of climate change in detail:

Climate change affects all regions around the world. Polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, and weather patterns are becoming more extreme. These changes threaten the habitats of countless species, and the economic and social systems of human communities are also at risk. Immediate action is required to mitigate these effects and adapt to the changes that are already underway. (123)

3. Adding or Omitting Words

Adding Words: When adding words for clarity, enclose the added text in square brackets.

Smith notes that “immediate action [by global leaders] is required to mitigate these effects” (123).

Omitting Words: To omit words from a quotation, use an ellipsis (…). Ensure that the omission does not change the meaning of the original text.

Smith argues that “climate change affects all regions…and weather patterns are becoming more extreme” (123).

4. Quoting Poetry

For quoting poetry, maintain the original formatting as much as possible. Use a slash (/) to indicate line breaks within the text.

Short Poetry Quotations:

  • Enclose the quotation in double quotation marks.
  • Use a slash (/) to indicate line breaks.

In Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” the speaker reflects, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, / And sorry I could not travel both” (1-2).

Long Poetry Quotations:

  • Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase ending with a colon.
  • Maintain the original line breaks.

In his poem “The Road Not Taken,” Frost writes:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; (1-5)

5. Quoting Dialogue

When quoting dialogue from a play or script, each character’s speech begins on a new line, and the character’s name is written in all capital letters followed by a period.

  • Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase.
  • Start the quotation on a new line and indent each line of the characters’ speech one inch from the left margin.
  • Double-space the dialogue.

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth , the witches proclaim:

FIRST WITCH. When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain? SECOND WITCH. When the hurlyburly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won. (1.1.1-4)

Paraphrases in MLA Format

Paraphrasing involves restating someone else’s ideas in your own words. In MLA (Modern Language Association) format, it’s essential to credit the original source even when you paraphrase. Here’s a detailed guide on how to properly format paraphrases in MLA style.

1. General Guidelines for Paraphrasing

  • Restate the original text: Ensure that the paraphrase is in your own words and that it accurately reflects the meaning of the original text.
  • Provide an in-text citation: Include the author’s last name and the page number where the original idea can be found.
  • No quotation marks: Do not use quotation marks around a paraphrase since you are not using the exact words from the source.

2. In-Text Citations for Paraphrases

The in-text citation for a paraphrase is similar to that for a direct quotation. It includes the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses.

Basic Format: (Author’s Last Name Page Number)

Example: According to Smith, climate change poses a significant challenge to humanity, requiring immediate and concerted action from global leaders (123).

3. Incorporating Paraphrases into Your Text

You can introduce a paraphrase in several ways to smoothly integrate it into your writing. Here are some examples:

Using a Signal Phrase

Signal phrases introduce the source of the paraphrase and are typically followed by the paraphrased material and a parenthetical citation.

Example: Smith argues that immediate action is necessary to address the widespread impacts of climate change, which threaten both natural ecosystems and human societies (123).

Integrating the Paraphrase

Integrate the paraphrase directly into your sentence, ensuring it flows naturally with your own writing.

Example: The widespread impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels and more extreme weather patterns, require urgent action to mitigate damage to both ecosystems and human communities (Smith 123).

4. Multiple Authors

When paraphrasing a source with multiple authors, include all authors’ last names or use “et al.” for three or more authors.

Two Authors:

Example: According to Johnson and Smith, sustainable practices are essential for mitigating the effects of climate change (45).

Three or More Authors:

Example: Research indicates that sustainable practices are crucial for mitigating climate change impacts (Johnson et al. 45).

5. No Author

If the source has no author, use a shortened title of the work instead. Place the title in quotation marks if it’s an article or in italics if it’s a book or other standalone work.

Example: Measures to address climate change must be implemented urgently to prevent further environmental degradation (“Climate Action” 12).

6. Multiple Works by the Same Author

If you cite multiple works by the same author, include a shortened version of the title in the citation to differentiate between them.

Example: Smith argues that sustainable practices are necessary for environmental conservation (“Environmental Policies” 56) and that global cooperation is key to effective climate action (“Global Strategies” 78).

7. Citing Indirect Sources

If you need to paraphrase information from a source cited within another source, use “qtd. in” to indicate the original source.

Example: According to Brown, environmental education plays a crucial role in raising awareness about climate change (qtd. in Smith 89).

Example of a Paragraph with Paraphrases

Original Text: “Climate change affects all regions around the world. Polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, and weather patterns are becoming more extreme. These changes threaten the habitats of countless species, and the economic and social systems of human communities are also at risk. Immediate action is required to mitigate these effects and adapt to the changes that are already underway” (Smith 123). Paraphrased Paragraph: Smith notes that climate change has a global impact, causing the melting of polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and more extreme weather events. These environmental changes endanger numerous species’ habitats and pose risks to human economic and social structures. Therefore, Smith emphasizes the need for swift measures to mitigate and adapt to these evolving challenges (123).

Using Abbreviations in MLA Format

Abbreviations can help make your writing more concise and clear. However, it is important to use them correctly and consistently. Here is a guide on how to use abbreviations in MLA (Modern Language Association) format.

  • Introduce Abbreviations: When you first introduce an abbreviation, spell out the full term followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. After this initial introduction, you can use the abbreviation alone.
  • Consistency: Use the abbreviation consistently throughout your paper after introducing it.
  • Periods: Use periods with certain abbreviations (e.g., a.m., p.m., U.S.), but do not use them for acronyms (e.g., NASA, MLA).

Types of Abbreviations

Acronyms and initialisms.

Acronyms are formed from the initial letters of words and pronounced as words (e.g., NASA). Initialisms are formed from the initial letters but pronounced as individual letters (e.g., FBI).

Example: The Modern Language Association (MLA) provides guidelines for formatting academic papers. According to MLA guidelines, authors should use consistent formatting throughout their work.

When citing sources, abbreviate the names of months (except May, June, and July) in the Works Cited page.

Example: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Works Cited Entry Example: Smith, John. “The Effects of Climate Change.” Environmental Studies Journal , vol. 12, no. 4, Aug. 2020, pp. 123-45.

Common Latin Abbreviations

Certain Latin abbreviations are commonly used in academic writing. Here are a few examples:

  • e.g. (exempli gratia): means “for example”
  • i.e. (id est): means “that is”
  • etc. (et cetera): means “and so on”
  • et al. (et alii): means “and others”

Example: There are many theories on climate change (e.g., greenhouse effect, solar variability).

Abbreviating Titles and Terms

Use standard abbreviations for titles and terms when they appear in citations.

  • ed. (edition)
  • rev. ed. (revised edition)
  • vol. (volume)
  • no. (number)

Examples: Doe, Jane, ed. Anthology of Modern Poetry . 3rd ed., Penguin Books, 2019. Brown, Sarah. History of Medieval Europe . Rev. ed., vol. 2, Academic Press, 2018.

Abbreviating Locations in Works Cited

Abbreviate the names of U.S. states and countries in publisher locations.

  • Cambridge, MA

Works Cited Entry Example: Smith, John. The Great Migration . Cambridge UP, 2015.

In-Text Citations with Abbreviations

Use abbreviations in in-text citations as necessary to keep them concise. For example, abbreviate the titles of works that are long or frequently cited within the text.

Example: (Tolkien, LOTR 23)

Abbreviating Corporate Authors

When a corporate author is commonly known by an abbreviation, you can use the abbreviation after introducing it.

Example: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has made significant advancements in space exploration. According to NASA, the Mars rover has sent back valuable data (NASA).

Common MLA Abbreviations

  • ch. (chapter)
  • sec. (section)
  • trans. (translator)
  • UP (University Press)

Example of Proper Abbreviation Usage in a Paragraph

When citing sources, the Modern Language Association (MLA) recommends abbreviating the names of months except for May, June, and July. For instance, an article published in March would be cited as “Mar.” (MLA Handbook 123). Additionally, when referring to organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the abbreviation can be used after the first mention. NASA has reported new findings from the Mars rover mission (NASA).

Formatting Numbers in MLA Format

When writing papers in MLA (Modern Language Association) format, it’s important to know the guidelines for formatting numbers. Here’s a concise guide to help you understand when to use numerals and when to spell out numbers.

General Rules

  • Spell out numbers that can be written in one or two words.
  • Examples: one, thirty-six, ninety-nine, one hundred, fifteen hundred
  • Use numerals for numbers that require more than two words.
  • Examples: 101, 1,250, 7,891

Specific Cases

  • Spell out numbers when they begin a sentence.
  • Example: One hundred students attended the lecture.
  • Note: If rewriting the sentence to avoid starting with a number, it is acceptable. Example: There were 100 students who attended the lecture.
  • Use numerals for dates.
  • Example: June 5, 2024
  • Use numerals with a.m. and p.m.
  • Examples: 10:30 a.m., 5:00 p.m.
  • For round numbers, you may spell out the time if clarity is preserved.
  • Example: He arrived at six o’clock in the evening.
  • Use numerals and the percent symbol (%).
  • Example: The survey showed that 75% of participants agreed.
  • Always use numerals.
  • Example: Please refer to page 45 for more information.
  • Use a combination of numerals and words for very large round numbers.
  • Example: 2.5 million, 3 billion
  • Spell out simple fractions and use numerals for more complex fractions.
  • Examples: Two-thirds of the class, 3/8 of an inch
  • Use numerals for decades and spell out centuries.
  • Examples: the 1990s, the twenty-first century

Examples in Context

  • There are fifty-two weeks in a year.
  • The population of the city is approximately 1.2 million.
  • She bought three dozen eggs.
  • On April 15, 2022, the event will take place.
  • The meeting starts at 9:00 a.m.
  • About 40% of the respondents disagreed with the statement.
  • The results are discussed on page 23.
  • He has lived here since the 1980s.
  • The twentieth century saw many technological advances.
  • There are 52 weeks in a year. (Should be spelled out)
  • The population of the city is approximately one million two hundred thousand. (Use numerals)
  • She bought 3 dozen eggs. (Spell out)

Using Lists in MLA Format

Lists can be a useful way to present information clearly and concisely. In MLA (Modern Language Association) format, there are specific guidelines for incorporating lists into your writing. Here’s a guide on how to format both bulleted and numbered lists according to MLA style.

  • Introduce the list with a complete sentence followed by a colon.

Example: There are several reasons to visit the museum:

  • Ensure that each item in the list follows the same grammatical structure.
  • Free admission
  • Guided tours
  • Educational workshops

Bulleted Lists

Bulleted lists are used to present items that do not need to be in a specific order.

  • Introduce the list with a complete sentence.
  • Use a colon at the end of the introductory sentence.
  • Begin each item with a capital letter.
  • Use a period after each item if the items are complete sentences; otherwise, do not use periods.

Example: The museum offers the following activities:

  • Art exhibitions
  • Interactive workshops

Numbered Lists

Numbered lists are used to present items that need to be in a specific order, such as steps in a process.

  • Use periods after each item if the items are complete sentences.

Example: Follow these steps to register for the workshop:

  • Visit the museum’s website.
  • Click on the “Events” tab.
  • Select the desired workshop.
  • Complete the registration form.

In-Text Lists

In-text lists are used within a sentence and are typically introduced with a colon or parentheses.

Comma-Separated Lists:

  • Use commas to separate items in a simple list within a sentence.
  • Example: The museum offers guided tours, art exhibitions, and interactive workshops.

Semicolon-Separated Lists:

  • Use semicolons to separate items in a complex list within a sentence.
  • Example: The museum offers several activities: guided tours for all ages; art exhibitions featuring local artists; and interactive workshops on weekends.

Lists with Complete Sentences

When each item in the list is a complete sentence, use periods at the end of each item.

  • The museum offers free admission every first Sunday of the month.
  • It has a wide range of art exhibitions from contemporary to classical art.
  • Interactive workshops are available for children and adults alike.

Example in Context

Here is an example of how to integrate a list into an MLA-formatted paper:

Text Example:

Visiting the museum can be a rewarding experience for several reasons:

  • Free Admission: The museum offers free admission every first Sunday of the month.
  • Diverse Exhibitions: It features a wide range of art exhibitions, from contemporary to classical art.
  • Interactive Workshops: There are interactive workshops available for both children and adults.

In addition to these activities, the museum also provides guided tours and educational programs, making it an excellent destination for visitors of all ages.

MLA Format vs. APA Format

What is mla format.

MLA format is a style guide for writing and documenting research in the humanities, particularly in English studies, provided by the Modern Language Association.

How do you cite a book in MLA format?

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . Publisher, Year of Publication. Example: Smith, John. The Great Gatsby . Scribner, 2004.

How do you format the first page of an MLA paper?

Include your name, instructor’s name, course, and date in the upper left corner. Center the title, and start the text on a new line, double-spaced.

What should be included in an MLA Works Cited page?

List all sources cited in the text, alphabetized by the author’s last name. Include full publication details for each source.

How do you format in-text citations in MLA?

nclude the author’s last name and page number in parentheses after the quote or paraphrase. Example: (Smith 123).

Do I need a title page in MLA format?

No, MLA format typically does not require a separate title page unless specified by the instructor.

How do you cite a website in MLA format?

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website , Publisher, Publication Date, URL.

How do you handle multiple authors in an MLA citation?

For two authors, use both last names (Smith and Jones). For three or more, use the first author’s last name followed by “et al.” (Smith et al.).

How are block quotes formatted in MLA?

Indent the entire quote one inch from the left margin, double-space, and omit quotation marks. Place the parenthetical citation after the period.

What font and size should be used in MLA format?

Use a readable font like Times New Roman, size 12, and double-space the entire document.

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Sample Essays: Writing with MLA Style

Congratulations to the students whose essays were selected for the 2024 edition of Writing with MLA Style! Essays were selected as examples of excellent student writing that use MLA style for citing sources. Essays have been lightly edited. 

If your institution subscribes to MLA Handbook Plus , you can access annotated versions of the essays selected in 2022 and 2023. 

Writing with MLA Style: 2024 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2024 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The selection committee for high school submissions was composed of Lisa Karakaya, Hunter College High School; and Heather Smith, Dedham Public Schools. The selection committee for postsecondary submissions was composed of Rachel Ihara, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York; Tarshia L. Stanley, Wagner College; and Joyce MacDonald, University of Kentucky.

High School Essays

Miguel Kumar (Ransom Everglades School)

“McCarthyism at the Movies: The Effects of Hollywood McCarthyism on the American Public”

Catherine Mao (Hunter College High School)

“ Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder, and the Beholder Is a White Man: The 1875 Page Act, Eugenics, and Beauty Standards for Chinese Women versus American Women ”

Undergraduate Essays

Rachelle Dumayas  (California State University, Sacramento)

“Should Deaf Children Get Cochlear Implants?”

Holly Nelson (Johns Hopkins University)

“Creating Space? Representations of Black Characters in Regency Romance”

Chloe Wiitala (University of Minnesota, Duluth)

“ Reanimating Queer Perspectives through Camp: A Study of Frankenstein and Its Parodic Film Adaptations ”

Writing with MLA Style: 2023 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2023 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut (chair); Rachel Ihara, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York; and Tarshia L. Stanley, Wagner College.

Caroline Anderson (Pepperdine University)

“ L’Appel du Vide : Making Spaces for Sinful Exploration in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ”

Hunter Daniels (University of South Carolina, Aiken)

“Biblical Legalism and Cultural Misogyny in The Tragedy of Mariam ”

Aspen English (Southern Utah University)

“Putting the ‘Comm’ in Comics: A Communication-Theory-Informed Reading of Graphic Narratives”

Raul Martin (Lamar University)

“The Book-Object Binary: Access and Sustainability in the Academic Library”

Grace Quasebarth (Salve Regina University)

“Finding a Voice: The Loss of Machismo Criticisms through Translation in Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits ”

Writing with MLA Style: 2022 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2022 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2022 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut; Jessica Edwards, University of Delaware (chair); and Deborah H. Holdstein, Columbia College Chicago.

Kaile Chu (New York University, Shanghai)

“Miles Apart: An Investigation into Dedicated Online Communities’ Impact on Cultural Bias”

Sietse Hagen (University of Groningen)

“The Significance of Fiction in the Debate on Dehumanizing Media Portrayals of Refugees”

Klara Ismail (University of Exeter)

“Queering the Duchess: Exploring the Body of the Female Homosexual in John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi ”

Yasmin Mendoza (Whittier College)

“Banning without Bans”

Niki Nassiri (Stony Brook University)

“Modern-Day US Institutions and Slavery in the Twenty-First Century”

Samantha Wilber (Palm Beach Atlantic University)

“‘Pero, tu no eres facil’: The Poet X as Multicultural Bildungsroman”

Writing with MLA Style: 2019 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2019 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2019 selection committee was composed of Jessica Edwards, University of Delaware; Deborah H. Holdstein, Columbia College Chicago (chair); and Liana Silva, César E. Chavez High School, Houston, Texas.

Catherine Charlton (University of King’s College, Nova Scotia)

“‘Coal Is in My Blood’: Public and Private Representations of Community Identity in Springhill, Nova Scotia”

Alyiah Gonzales (California Polytechnic State University)

“Disrupting White Normativity in Langston Hughes’s ‘I, Too’ and Toni Morrison’s ‘Recitatif’”

Meg Matthias (Miami University, Ohio)

“Prescriptions of (Living) Historical Happiness: Gendered Performance and Racial Comfort in Reenactment”

Jennifer Nguyen  (Chaminade University of Honolulu)

“The Vietnam War, the American War: Literature, Film, and Popular Memory”

Emily Schlepp (Northwest University)

“A Force of Love: A Deconstructionist Reading of Characters in Dickens’s  Great Expectations ”

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😕 What is an MLA Citation Generator?

An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA-compliant academic paper.

The citations on a Works Cited page show the external sources that were used to write the main body of the academic paper, either directly as references and quotes, or indirectly as ideas.

👩‍🎓 Who uses an MLA Citation Generator?

MLA style is most often used by middle school and high school students in preparation for transition to college and further education. Ironically, MLA style is not actually used all that often beyond middle and high school, with APA (American Psychological Association) style being the favored style at colleges across the country.

It is also important at this level to learn why it's critical to cite sources, not just how to cite them.

🙌 Why should I use a Citation Generator?

Writing citations manually is time consuming and error prone. Automating this process with a citation generator is easy, straightforward, and gives accurate results. It's also easier to keep citations organized and in the correct order.

The Works Cited page contributes to the overall grade of a paper, so it is important to produce accurately formatted citations that follow the guidelines in the official MLA Handbook .

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's MLA Citation Generator?

It's super easy to create MLA style citations with our MLA Citation Generator. Scroll back up to the generator at the top of the page and select the type of source you're citing. Books, journal articles, and webpages are all examples of the types of sources our generator can cite automatically. Then either search for the source, or enter the details manually in the citation form.

The generator will produce a formatted MLA citation that can be copied and pasted directly into your document, or saved to MyBib as part of your overall Works Cited page (which can be downloaded fully later!).

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MLA Works Cited Page: Format, Template & Examples

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The Works Cited page is a part of research papers written in the Modern Language Association (MLA) format where all sources used by the author are listed. While writing research papers, authors may consult several sources and use their data or paraphrase parts of the original text. It is essential to give due credit to the used sources and cite them appropriately to avoid plagiarism. This list of sources offers an easy reference for readers who may want to refer to the original source for their own research.  

A well-formatted and accurate Works Cited page can provide readers with specific details to help them access that source. For example, for a journal article, in addition to basic details like author name, title, journal name, etc., the MLA Works Cited page also provides the volume and issue numbers, page numbers, publisher, etc. A Works Cited page gives credibility to the research paper, proving that the information published is accurate and backed by evidence. 

This article describes the template of an MLA Works Cited page along with examples and suggests steps to ensure accurate formatting of all entries. 

Table of Contents

  • What is a Works Cited Page? 
  • Basic Rules for an MLA Works Cited Page 
  • Online journal article with DOI or URL 
  • Online newspaper article 
  • E-book 
  • Specific type of e-book (Kindle, Nook) 
  • Print book 
  • Chapter in edited book 
  • Web page with an author 
  • Web page with no author 
  • Web page with no author or organization 
  • Blog post 
  • Video 
  • YouTube video 
  • Image 
  • Conference paper presentation 
  • Dissertation from a database 
  • Twitter (now X) posts 
  • Format of an MLA Works Cited Page 
  • Formatting Headings and Citation Titles on an MLA Works Cited Page 
  • Single author 
  • Two authors 
  • Three or more authors 
  • General rules 
  • Key Takeaways 
  • Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a Works Cited Page?

The MLA Works Cited page 1 lists all the sources used while writing research papers. This page is always the last one after the main content. A Works Cited page uses the official MLA format and has similar content as reference lists used by other styles such as the Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago style), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the American Medical Association (AMA). Each style uses a different format, emphasizing different elements. 

The Works Cited page helps avoid plagiarism by crediting the sources and allows readers to quickly locate the sources. Papers in MLA format should always have a Works Cited page and each entry on this page should be cited in the text at the corresponding location. 

mla thesis template

Basic Rules for an MLA Works Cited Page

Here are some basic rules for writing the MLA Works Cited page: 2  

  • Start your Works Cited list on a fresh page at the end of your paper, with the same formatting as other sections, such as one-inch margins, last name, page number, and header. 
  • Align the title, “Works Cited,” at the top center. Don’t use italicization, boldfacing, quotation marks, or all-caps to highlight the title. 
  • Left align the citations and arrange them alphabetically by authors’ last names. If author names are unavailable, arrange by the first letter in the title (other than A, An, or The). 
  • Do not use serial numbering or bullets to list the entries. 
  • Double space all citations. 
  • Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent (Figure 1). 

mla thesis template

  • List page numbers of the sources correctly. If only one page of a print source is used, use the abbreviation “p.” before the page number (e.g., p. 232). If a page range is used, use “pp.” (e.g., pp. 232-38). 
  • For online sources, include a location, like a URL or a digital object identifier (DOI). Delete “http://” from URLs. The DOI or URL is usually the last element in a citation. 
  • End all entries with a period. 

mla thesis template

Citing Sources in MLA

A citation in an MLA Works Cited page requires the following core elements. These elements should be written in the order given below, followed by the punctuation mark shown unless the particular element is the final element of the entry, in which case, it should end with a period. 4,5  

  • Author’s name
  • Title of source
  • Title of the container, (a container is the larger publication in which the text is published. For example, if citing an article from a journal, the journal is the container) 
  • Other editors, translators, contributors
  • Publication date
  • Location (page numbers in print versions; DOI or URL in online versions) 

A few optional elements can be included, if available: 

  • Date of access (the date you last accessed the online source) 
  • Date of original publication 
  • Format of media source 

mla thesis template

All style guides have their own specific formats for writing different sources in a reference list—journal articles, printed and digital books, videos, websites, etc. The MLA-style format for different types of sources is listed below: 4

Online journal article with DOI or URL

Author’s last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal , vol., no. (issue), date of publication, pp. (if available). Database Name , DOI or URL. 

Online newspaper article

Author’s last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Name of Newspaper , Publication Date, p. (if available), URL. Access date. 

Author’s last name, First name. Title of Book . E-book, publisher, publication year, DOI or URL (if available). 

Specific type of e-book (Kindle, Nook)

Author’s last name, First name. Title of Book , editor or translator (if necessary), (Kindle/Nook) ed., publisher, year. 

Author’s last name, First name. Title of Book . City*, Publisher, Publication Date. 

*City is cited only if the book is published before 1900 or if the publisher has multiple offices worldwide. 

Chapter in edited book

Author’s last name, First name. Title of Book . Edited by FirstName LastName, publisher, year, page range of chapter. 

Web page with an author

Author’s last name, First name. “Title of Webpage.” Title of Website , URL. Access date. 

Web page with no author

“Title of Article.” Title of Website , date of publication, URL. Access date. 

Web page with no author or organization

“Title of Webpage.” Title of Website (if different), publication year, URL. Access date. 

Author’s last name, First Name (or, in some cases, screen name, editor, etc.). “Title of Post.” Name of Website , version or date of post, name of organization (if different), URL. Access date. 

Title of Motion Picture/Film . Directed by First Name Last Name, performances by First Name Last Name, Studio Name, Year. Access date, Media format. 

Last Name, First Name, director/writer/producer. Title of Motion Picture/Film . Studio, Year. Access date, Media format. 

YouTube video

If author is different from the uploader: 

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Video.” YouTube , uploaded by [Screen name], date, URL. Access date, Media format. 

If author and uploader are the same OR if there is no clear author: 

“Title of Video.” YouTube , uploaded by [Screen name], date, URL. Access date, Media format. 

Artist’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Image , date of creation, institution, city. Name of web site , URL. 

Title of Piece . Date of creation. Name of Website , URL. 

Conference paper presentation

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Conference Paper Title.” Conference Title that Includes Date and Location , edited by Conference Editor(s). Publisher. Date of Publication. 

Dissertation from a database

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Dissertation (Doctoral dissertation) . Database name, date of publication, URL (if available). 

Twitter (now X) posts

Twitter Handle (First Name Last Name if Known). “The entire tweet word-for-word.”  Twitter , Day Month Year of Tweet, Time of Tweet, URL. 

mla thesis template

Format of an MLA Works Cited Page

Here’s a list of steps for formatting the MLA Works Cited page:

  • Place one-inch margins around the entire document except for the “running head.” In the page setup settings, you can view and modify the margin size. 
  • Double space the entire page using the “Line spacing” or “Paragraph spacing” options in your word processing program. 
  • Organize the Works Cited entries in either alphabetical (by author name or title) or non-alphabetical order. 1,2

Example: 

Benjamin, Chloe. The Immortalists . Penguin, 2018. 

Black Panther . Directed by Ryan Coogler, performance by Chadwick Boseman, Marvel Studios, 2018. 

Egan, Jennifer. Manhattan Beach . Scribner, 2017. 

mla thesis template

Formatting Headings and Citation Titles on an MLA Works Cited Page

The following points outline the basic format for headings and titles used on a Works Cited page. 1 The running head is at the top right corner of every page of the document. It displays the last name of the author and the page number (e.g., Letterman 6). 

  • The running head should be placed half an inch from the top of the page and along the right side’s one-inch margin. 
  • The page title (Work/Works Cited) should be written below the running head.  
  • No center alignment 
  • No boldfacing, italicization, or underlining 
  • Same font size (12 point) and type as the entire document 
  • Separated by a double space from the first citation on the page 

Consider the following rules while formatting source titles: 1,5,7,8  

  • List the full title as the original source and use title case (capitalize all principal words, except articles [a, an, the], prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions [and, for, but, or, so, nor, yet] when in the middle of the title). 

Examples:  

The Code of the Exiled, Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire  

Cheyfitz, Eric. The Poetics of Imperialism: Translation and Colonization from The Tempest to Tarzan. Expanded ed., U of Pennsylvania P, 1997. 

  • Separate the subtitle from the title with a colon and space. 

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review , vol. 64, no. 1, 2010, pp. 69-88. 

  • Italicize titles if the source is self-contained and independent, e.g., titles of books, plays, films, periodicals, journals, magazines, databases, and websites. 

Example: Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye . Little Brown, 1991. 

  • Enclose titles in quotation marks if the source is part of a larger work, e.g., articles, essays, chapters, poems, short stories, webpages, songs, television episodes, and speeches. 
  • Titles beginning with numbers are placed in the reference list as if the title was written out alphabetically. 

Formatting Author Names on an MLA Work Cited Page

Few important rules to consider when formatting author names: 1,2  

Single author

  • List author names alphabetically by the author’s last name (or, for entire edited collections, editor names). The format for writing author names is as follows: 

Last name, first name, middle name or middle initial  

Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism . Knopf, 1994. 

  • To cite more than one work by the same author, order the entries alphabetically by title, and use three hyphens in place of the author’s name for every entry after the first. 

Alcott, Louisa May. “Eight Cousins.” Project Gutenberg , 2018, www.gutenberg.org/files/2726/2726-h/2726-h.htm . 

—. Little Women . Bantam Classics, 1983. 

—. Rose in Bloom . CreateSpace, 2018. 

Two authors

The first listed author’s name on the source is the first author in the reference.  

Last name, First name of author 1, and First name Last name of author 2 

Pavear, Richard, and Larissa Volokhonsky, translators. Crime and Punishment . By Feodor Dostoevsky, Vintage eBooks, 1993. 

Three or more authors

Include only the first listed author’s last name, followed by a comma and their first name, followed by another comma and then “et al.”  

Example:  

Baron, Sabrina Alcorn, et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007. 

General rules

  • Do not list titles (Dr., Sir, etc.) or degrees (PhD, MA, MD, etc.) with names but include suffixes like “Jr.” or “II.”  

King, Martin Luther, Jr. 

  • Alphabetize works with no known author by their title; use a shortened version of the title in the parenthetical citations in your paper. 

Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulations . […] 

Boring Postcards USA […] 

  • To cite works by authors using a pseudonym or stage-name, cite the better-known name if the person is well known. For example, Lewis Carroll is the pseudonym of Charles Dodgson, and is the better-known name so only the pseudonym should be used. If the pseudonym is less well known, cite the real name in square brackets after the pseudonym.  

Van Dyne, Edith [L. Frank Baum]. Aunt Jane’s Nieces At Work . 1st World Library, 2006. 

mla thesis template

Key Takeaways

To summarize, an MLA Works Cited page should have the following format: 

  • Starts on a new page at the end. 
  • Centered page title without any highlights. 
  • Double-spaced citations, preferably in Times New Roman 12-pt font. 
  • Left-justified entries with a hanging indent of 0.5 inches. 
  • Source titles in title case. 
  • Entries ordered by the first word, typically author name or the first word in the title (except articles a, an, the). If the title begins with a year or a number, alphabetize it as if the number/year is spelled out. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A1. The Works Cited page and references have a similar purpose; both include sources that have been specifically cited or paraphrased in the paper and whose data have been directly used. A bibliography includes a list of sources related to the content in a research paper, that is, sources that you may have consulted while writing your research paper, but may not have actually used, cited, or paraphrased from. 1   

A2. Yes, there are a few other styles for citing references, such as the Chicago Style, AMA Manual of Style, APA Manual of Style, and the IEEE style. All of these have different referencing formats. In addition, organizations may create their own referencing styles, commonly called a house style. 

A3. No, the Works Cited page should include only those sources that you have cited or whose data you have used in your research paper. Sources that you have only consulted while conducting research should be included in a bibliography. 

A4. Per MLA format, ignore symbols, such as hashtags when alphabetizing. Use the first letter in the entry to alphabetize. 9   Example:  @AP. “It’s been four years since the #MeToo movement took over social media. . . .” X, 15 Oct. 2021, https://twitter.com/AP/status/1449019990741590025.  “#MeToo Poll: Many in US More Willing to Call Out Misconduct.” Associated Press , 15 Oct. 2021, https://apnews.com/article/sexual-misconduct-metoo-79688da3a0c3519d2a76b5b6e6b23ba7.  “#MeToo Protest in Amsterdam after Allegations at TV Show.” Associated Press , 29 Jan. 2022, https://apnews.com/article/entertainment-business-arts-and-entertainment-netherlands-amsterdam-4bb589aae061e534b1a47ac453e9d85f . 

A5. Here is one way of adding a hanging indent in MS Word: 10   1. Highlight the text that you want to format.   2. Click the Home tab at the top of the page; in the “Paragraph” section click the small arrow in the lower-right corner to open a window with different paragraph setting options.   3. In that settings window, look for a section, “Indentation,” which has an option, “Special.” Click the drop-down menu beneath Special and select Hanging.   4. MS Word will mostly have the default spacing of the hanging indent set to 0.5 inches. To adjust the spacing, change the number in the By section.  5. Click OK to save and apply the hanging indent to your highlighted text. 

To summarize, an MLA Works Cited page is an essential part of a manuscript written using the MLA style and includes all sources used by the author to write the research paper. As described in the article, the Works Cited page and its entries have a specific format that should be strictly followed, and all the core elements included in the individual entries.  

We hope this article has provided a deeper understanding of the MLA style and will help you apply this format to all your Works Cited pages. 

References  

  • What is a works cited page? EasyBib website. Accessed May 14, 2024. https://www.easybib.com/guides/citation-guides/mla-format/how-to-format-a-mla-works-cited-list/  
  • MLA Works Cited page: Basic format. Purdue Online Writing Lab. Accessed May 14, 2024. https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_basic_format.html  
  • MLA Citation: Works Cited Example. Press Books @ MSL website. Accessed May 16, 2024. https://pressbooks.ulib.csuohio.edu/csu-fyw-rhetoric/chapter/12-4-mla-works-cited-examples/  
  • MLA Works Cited Page. The University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center. Accessed May 17, 2024. https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/mla-works-cited-page  
  • Section 5. List of Works Cited. MLA Handbook eighth edition. 
  • Sample MLA Works Cited Page. College of San Mateo library website. Accessed May 17, 2024. https://www.collegeofsanmateo.edu/library/docs/MLAWorksCited7.pdf  
  • MLA Style Guide, 8 th & 9 th Editions: Title of Source. Accessed May 18, 2024. https://irsc.libguides.com/c.php?g=483085&p=3303403#:~:text=Italicize%20titles%20if%20the%20source,are%20placed%20in%20quotation%20marks . 
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Citing Sources in MLA Format. Harvard Guide to Using Sources. Accessed May 20, 2024. https://usingsources.fas.harvard.edu/frequently-asked-questions-about-citing-sources-mla-format  
  • How do I alphabetize a works-cited-list entry that begins with a hashtag or another symbol? MLA Style Center. Accessed May 21, 2024. https://style.mla.org/alphabetizing-hashtags-and-other-symbols/  
  • Hanging Indents and Microsoft Word. MLA Style Center. Accessed May 21, 2024. https://style.mla.org/hanging-indents/  

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MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

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Guidelines for referring to the works of others in your text using MLA style are covered throughout the  MLA Handbook  and in chapter 7 of the  MLA Style Manual . Both books provide extensive examples, so it's a good idea to consult them if you want to become even more familiar with MLA guidelines or if you have a particular reference question.

Basic in-text citation rules

In MLA Style, referring to the works of others in your text is done using parenthetical citations . This method involves providing relevant source information in parentheses whenever a sentence uses a quotation or paraphrase. Usually, the simplest way to do this is to put all of the source information in parentheses at the end of the sentence (i.e., just before the period). However, as the examples below will illustrate, there are situations where it makes sense to put the parenthetical elsewhere in the sentence, or even to leave information out.

General Guidelines

  • The source information required in a parenthetical citation depends (1) upon the source medium (e.g. print, web, DVD) and (2) upon the source’s entry on the Works Cited page.
  • Any source information that you provide in-text must correspond to the source information on the Works Cited page. More specifically, whatever signal word or phrase you provide to your readers in the text must be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry on the Works Cited page.

In-text citations: Author-page style

MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. For example:

Both citations in the examples above, (263) and (Wordsworth 263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:

Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads . Oxford UP, 1967.

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.

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 on the Works Cited page:

Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method . University of California Press, 1966.

In-text citations for print sources by a corporate author

When a source has a corporate author, it is acceptable to use the name of the corporation followed by the page number for the in-text citation. You should also use abbreviations (e.g., nat'l for national) where appropriate, so as to avoid interrupting the flow of reading with overly long parenthetical citations.

In-text citations for sources with non-standard labeling systems

If a source uses a labeling or numbering system other than page numbers, such as a script or poetry, precede the citation with said label. When citing a poem, for instance, the parenthetical would begin with the word “line”, and then the line number or range. For example, the examination of William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” would be cited as such:

The speaker makes an ardent call for the exploration of the connection between the violence of nature and the divinity of creation. “In what distant deeps or skies. / Burnt the fire of thine eyes," they ask in reference to the tiger as they attempt to reconcile their intimidation with their relationship to creationism (lines 5-6).

Longer labels, such as chapters (ch.) and scenes (sc.), should be abbreviated.

In-text citations for print sources with no known author

When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name, following these guidelines.

Place the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (e.g. plays, books, television shows, entire Web sites) and provide a page number if it is available.

Titles longer than a standard noun phrase should be shortened into a noun phrase by excluding articles. For example, To the Lighthouse would be shortened to Lighthouse .

If the title cannot be easily shortened into a noun phrase, the title should be cut after the first clause, phrase, or punctuation:

In this example, since the reader does not know the author of the article, an abbreviated title appears in the parenthetical citation, and the full title of the article appears first at the left-hand margin of its respective entry on the Works Cited page. Thus, the writer includes the title in quotation marks as the signal phrase in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader directly to the source on the Works Cited page. The Works Cited entry appears as follows:

"The Impact of Global Warming in North America." Global Warming: Early Signs . 1999. www.climatehotmap.org/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2009.

If the title of the work begins with a quotation mark, such as a title that refers to another work, that quote or quoted title can be used as the shortened title. The single quotation marks must be included in the parenthetical, rather than the double quotation.

Parenthetical citations and Works Cited pages, used in conjunction, allow readers to know which sources you consulted in writing your essay, so that they can either verify your interpretation of the sources or use them in their own scholarly work.

Author-page citation for classic and literary works with multiple editions

Page numbers are always required, but additional citation information can help literary scholars, who may have a different edition of a classic work, like Marx and Engels's  The Communist Manifesto . In such cases, give the page number of your edition (making sure the edition is listed in your Works Cited page, of course) followed by a semicolon, and then the appropriate abbreviations for volume (vol.), book (bk.), part (pt.), chapter (ch.), section (sec.), or paragraph (par.). For example:

Author-page citation for works in an anthology, periodical, or collection

When you cite a work that appears inside a larger source (for instance, an article in a periodical or an essay in a collection), cite the author of the  internal source (i.e., the article or essay). For example, to cite Albert Einstein's article "A Brief Outline of the Theory of Relativity," which was published in  Nature  in 1921, you might write something like this:

See also our page on documenting periodicals in the Works Cited .

Citing authors with same last names

Sometimes more information is necessary to identify the source from which a quotation is taken. For instance, if two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors' first initials (or even the authors' full name if different authors share initials) in your citation. For example:

Citing a work by multiple authors

For a source with two authors, list the authors’ last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:

Corresponding Works Cited entry:

Best, David, and Sharon Marcus. “Surface Reading: An Introduction.” Representations , vol. 108, no. 1, Fall 2009, pp. 1-21. JSTOR, doi:10.1525/rep.2009.108.1.1

For a source with three or more authors, list only the first author’s last name, and replace the additional names with et al.

Franck, Caroline, et al. “Agricultural Subsidies and the American Obesity Epidemic.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine , vol. 45, no. 3, Sept. 2013, pp. 327-333.

Citing multiple works by the same author

If you cite more than one work by an author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it from the others. Put short titles of books in italics and short titles of articles in quotation marks.

Citing two articles by the same author :

Citing two books by the same author :

Additionally, if the author's name is not mentioned in the sentence, format your citation with the author's name followed by a comma, followed by a shortened title of the work, and, when appropriate, the page number(s):

Citing multivolume works

If you cite from different volumes of a multivolume work, always include the volume number followed by a colon. Put a space after the colon, then provide the page number(s). (If you only cite from one volume, provide only the page number in parentheses.)

Citing the Bible

In your first parenthetical citation, you want to make clear which Bible you're using (and underline or italicize the title), as each version varies in its translation, followed by book (do not italicize or underline), chapter, and verse. For example:

If future references employ the same edition of the Bible you’re using, list only the book, chapter, and verse in the parenthetical citation:

John of Patmos echoes this passage when describing his vision (Rev. 4.6-8).

Citing indirect sources

Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited within another source. For such indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source you actually consulted. For example:

Note that, in most cases, a responsible researcher will attempt to find the original source, rather than citing an indirect source.

Citing transcripts, plays, or screenplays

Sources that take the form of a dialogue involving two or more participants have special guidelines for their quotation and citation. Each line of dialogue should begin with the speaker's name written in all capitals and indented half an inch. A period follows the name (e.g., JAMES.) . After the period, write the dialogue. Each successive line after the first should receive an additional indentation. When another person begins speaking, start a new line with that person's name indented only half an inch. Repeat this pattern each time the speaker changes. You can include stage directions in the quote if they appear in the original source.

Conclude with a parenthetical that explains where to find the excerpt in the source. Usually, the author and title of the source can be given in a signal phrase before quoting the excerpt, so the concluding parenthetical will often just contain location information like page numbers or act/scene indicators.

Here is an example from O'Neill's  The Iceman Cometh.

WILLIE. (Pleadingly) Give me a drink, Rocky. Harry said it was all right. God, I need a drink.

ROCKY. Den grab it. It's right under your nose.

WILLIE. (Avidly) Thanks. (He takes the bottle with both twitching hands and tilts it to his lips and gulps down the whiskey in big swallows.) (1.1)

Citing non-print or sources from the Internet

With more and more scholarly work published on the Internet, you may have to cite sources you found in digital environments. While many sources on the Internet should not be used for scholarly work (reference the OWL's  Evaluating Sources of Information  resource), some Web sources are perfectly acceptable for research. When creating in-text citations for electronic, film, or Internet sources, remember that your citation must reference the source on your Works Cited page.

Sometimes writers are confused with how to craft parenthetical citations for electronic sources because of the absence of page numbers. However, these sorts of entries often do not require a page number in the parenthetical citation. For electronic and Internet sources, follow the following guidelines:

  • Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the citation (e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
  • Do not provide paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browser’s print preview function.
  • Unless you must list the Web site name in the signal phrase in order to get the reader to the appropriate entry, do not include URLs in-text. Only provide partial URLs such as when the name of the site includes, for example, a domain name, like  CNN.com  or  Forbes.com,  as opposed to writing out http://www.cnn.com or http://www.forbes.com.

Miscellaneous non-print sources

Two types of non-print sources you may encounter are films and lectures/presentations:

In the two examples above “Herzog” (a film’s director) and “Yates” (a presentor) lead the reader to the first item in each citation’s respective entry on the Works Cited page:

Herzog, Werner, dir. Fitzcarraldo . Perf. Klaus Kinski. Filmverlag der Autoren, 1982.

Yates, Jane. "Invention in Rhetoric and Composition." Gaps Addressed: Future Work in Rhetoric and Composition, CCCC, Palmer House Hilton, 2002. Address.

Electronic sources

Electronic sources may include web pages and online news or magazine articles:

In the first example (an online magazine article), the writer has chosen not to include the author name in-text; however, two entries from the same author appear in the Works Cited. Thus, the writer includes both the author’s last name and the article title in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader to the appropriate entry on the Works Cited page (see below).

In the second example (a web page), a parenthetical citation is not necessary because the page does not list an author, and the title of the article, “MLA Formatting and Style Guide,” is used as a signal phrase within the sentence. If the title of the article was not named in the sentence, an abbreviated version would appear in a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence. Both corresponding Works Cited entries are as follows:

Taylor, Rumsey. "Fitzcarraldo." Slant , 13 Jun. 2003, www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/fitzcarraldo/. Accessed 29 Sep. 2009. 

"MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL , 2 Aug. 2016, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. Accessed 2 April 2018.

Multiple citations

To cite multiple sources in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon:

Time-based media sources

When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference. For example: (00:02:15-00:02:35).

When a citation is not needed

Common sense and ethics should determine your need for documenting sources. You do not need to give sources for familiar proverbs, well-known quotations, or common knowledge (For example, it is expected that U.S. citizens know that George Washington was the first President.). Remember that citing sources is a rhetorical task, and, as such, can vary based on your audience. If you’re writing for an expert audience of a scholarly journal, for example, you may need to deal with expectations of what constitutes “common knowledge” that differ from common norms.

Other Sources

The MLA Handbook describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the handbook does not describe, making the best way to proceed can be unclear.

In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of MLA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard MLA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite.

You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source. For example, Norquest College provides guidelines for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers⁠ —an author category that does not appear in the MLA Handbook . In cases like this, however, it's a good idea to ask your instructor or supervisor whether using third-party citation guidelines might present problems.

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  3. How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in MLA

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COMMENTS

  1. MLA Format

    Cite your MLA source. Start by applying these MLA format guidelines to your document: Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman. Set 1 inch page margins. Use double line spacing. Include a ½" indent for new paragraphs. Include a four-line MLA heading on the first page. Center the paper's title.

  2. PDF Formatting a Research Paper

    Do not use a period after your title or after any heading in the paper (e.g., Works Cited). Begin your text on a new, double-spaced line after the title, indenting the first line of the paragraph half an inch from the left margin. Fig. 1. The top of the first page of a research paper.

  3. MLA Sample Paper

    MLA General Format MLA Formatting and Style Guide; MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics; MLA Formatting Lists MLA Formatting Quotations; MLA Endnotes and Footnotes; MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format; MLA Works Cited Page: Books; MLA Works Cited Page: Periodicals; MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications) MLA Works Cited: Other Common ...

  4. How do I format a thesis or dissertation in MLA style?

    The MLA Handbook does not provide guidelines for formatting a thesis or dissertation—or for preparing the parts of such a project, like a preface, dedication, or acknowledgments page—because most schools maintain their own formatting requirements. Although the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, out of print since 2016 ...

  5. Creating a Thesis Statement, Thesis Statement Tips

    Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement. 1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing: An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.; An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.; An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies ...

  6. MLA 9 Formatting: Step-By-Step Guide + Free Template

    Here's how you can set your first page up for MLA 9th edition. On the first line, write your full name (flush left) On a new line, write your professor or instructor's full name. On a new line, write the course code and course name. On a new line, write the full date spelt out (e.g., 15 June 2023)

  7. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

  8. MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: Formatting Your MLA Paper

    Above is a template you can use every time you need to set-up a research paper using MLA style format. Simply open the template and type your own information every time you need to write an MLA style paper. Microsoft Word will allow you to save personal templates. Once you have the template opened in Word. Click "Save as" Give the file a name

  9. Student's Guide to MLA Style (2021)

    The nine core elements of MLA citations. 1. Author. Begin each source entry with the name of the author (s) or creator (s). The name of the first author is always inverted (Last name, First name). When a source has two authors, the second author's name is shown in the normal order (First name Last name).

  10. MLA 8th ed. Style Guide: Dissertations, Theses

    Citations for dissertations/master's theses should include the following: 1. Name of Author. 2. Title of dissertation/thesis (italicized) 3. Date of Publication. 5. Institution granting the degree (optional)

  11. How do I cite a dissertation in MLA style?

    A dissertation is a unique type of source. It is a finished, stand-alone work written under the auspices of an institution. In a change from the previous edition of the MLA Handbook, we do not distinguish between published and unpublished dissertations. To cite a dissertation, include in the entry the author, title, and date of publication as core …

  12. MLA Thesis Statement

    The concise thesis statement is summary or claim made at the beginning of an academic paper written following the Modern Language Association (MLA) style guidelines. This statement sets the direction for the paper by outlining the main idea or argument that the rest of the work will support. The MLA format focuses on citation and formatting ...

  13. MLA Sample Paper

    MLA Sample Paper #2. See below for an example paper or click below to download it as a Word Document. The MLA header should be one inch from the top and left margins. The heading and the entire paper should be double spaced. Eli YaffarabeProfessor Rapheor. GOVT 322. 28 August 2018.

  14. How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in MLA

    Citing a Thesis or Dissertation. Thesis - A document submitted to earn a degree at a university.. Dissertation - A document submitted to earn an advanced degree, such as a doctorate, at a university.. The formatting for thesis and dissertation citations is largely the same. However, you should be sure to include the type of degree after the publication year as supplemental information.

  15. Dissertation/Thesis

    This guide will assist you in formatting in-text citations and a Works Cited list in the current MLA style. Skip to Main Content. Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez, Call Box 9000 Mayagüez, PR 00681 (787) 832-4040 ext. 3810, 2151, 2155 [email protected] ... Dissertation. Njus, Jesse. Performing the Passion: A Study on the Nature of Medieval ...

  16. MLA Title Page

    MLA title page format. To create an MLA format title page, list the following on separate lines, left-aligned at the top of the page: Then leave a few blank lines and list the title of the paper, centered and in title case, halfway down the page. All text should be double-spaced and in the same font as the rest of the paper.

  17. General Format

    In the case of a group project, list all names of the contributors, giving each name its own line in the header, followed by the remaining MLA header requirements as described below. Format the remainder of the page as requested by the instructor. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the ...

  18. How to cite a master's thesis in MLA

    To cite a master's thesis in a reference entry in MLA style 9th edition include the following elements: Author (s) name: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by 'and' and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson).

  19. MLA Format

    1. Header. The header in MLA format is placed in the upper right-hand corner of each page, including the first page. Here are the steps to set it up: Open your document in a word processing program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Insert the header : In Microsoft Word: Go to the "Insert" tab and select "Header.".

  20. Sample Essays: Writing with MLA Style

    Congratulations to the students whose essays were selected for the 2024 edition of Writing with MLA Style! Essays were selected as examples of excellent student writing that use MLA style for citing sources. Essays have been lightly edited. If your institution subscribes to MLA Handbook Plus, you can access annotated versions of the essays selected …

  21. Free MLA Citation Generator [Updated for 2024]

    An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA ...

  22. MLA Style

    MLA Handbook by The Modern Language Association of America. ISBN: 9781603293518. Date: 2021-04-22. The new, ninth edition builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements facts, common to most sources, like author, title, and publication date, that allows writers to cite any type of work, from books ...

  23. Research Paper Format

    Formatting a Chicago paper. The main guidelines for writing a paper in Chicago style (also known as Turabian style) are: Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman. Use 1 inch margins or larger. Apply double line spacing. Indent every new paragraph ½ inch. Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center.

  24. EasyBib®: Free MLA Citation & Bibliography Generator

    EasyBib® has tools to help you create citations for over 50 source types in this style, as well as a guide to show you how an MLA paper should be formatted. Review the guide to learn how to format a paper's title page, paragraphs, margins, quotations, abbreviations, numbers, tables, and more! There are even tips on editing, as well as on the ...

  25. University Thesis and Dissertation Templates

    University Thesis and Dissertation Templates. Theses and dissertations are already intensive, long-term projects that require a lot of effort and time from their authors. Formatting for submission to the university is often the last thing that graduate students do, and may delay earning the relevant degree if done incorrectly.

  26. MLA Works Cited Page: Format, Templates & Examples

    Basic Rules for an MLA Works Cited Page. Here are some basic rules for writing the MLA Works Cited page: 2. Start your Works Cited list on a fresh page at the end of your paper, with the same formatting as other sections, such as one-inch margins, last name, page number, and header. Align the title, "Works Cited," at the top center.

  27. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

  28. I need 1 formal subject outline, MLA 8 outline format for my essay

    This above-indicated outline adds depth to the essay by demonstrating the author's self-awareness and dedication to personal development. Examples: Example 1: Background information about societal stereotypes. Answer: For example, growing up in a society known for its very aggressive attitude toward women, I was unwittingly conditioned since my ...

  29. Simple Minimalist Thesis Defense. Free PPT & Google Slides Template

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