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Citation Styles

About MLA

This guide is a quick introduction to the Modern Language Association 8th edition citation style. Be sure to consult the MLA Handbook or online Style Center for detailed standards and procedures. 

In-text Citations

Basic Format:

(Last Name Page #)

Or, introduce direct quotes with the author and title within the sentence or paragraph, then include the page number(s) at the end of the quote in parentheses.

I'm citing...

You only need the author's last name and the page number.

(Burke 3)

If there is no author...

Use a shortened title of the work

("Impact of Global Warming")

Connect both authors' last names with and, and include the page number.

(Best and Marcus 9)

Use the first author's last name and et al., and include the page number.

(Franck et al. 327)

Works Cited

Basic Format:
Author Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. Title of Longer Work or "Title of Shorter Work." Publisher, Year. URL or DOI.

I'm citing a...

  1. Author(s). Note: Use the format Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. If there are multiple authors, use and before the last author's name.
  2. "Title of the Article." Note: Include the title of a shorter work like an article in a journal in quotation marks and use headline-style capitalization.
  3. Title of the Journal, Note: Use italics for the title of a longer work like a journal and use headline-style capitalization.
  4. vol. #,
  5. no. #, Note: If there is no additional number after the volume, only include the volume number.
  6. Publication date,
  7. pp. xxx-xxx.
If accessed online or in a library database...
  • Database, Note: Use italics for names of databases.
  • URL or permalink.

 

Gosine, Kevin, and Emmanuel Tabi. "Disrupting Neoliberalism and Bridging the Multiple Worlds of Marginalized Youth via Hip-Hop Pedagogy: Contemplating Possibilities." Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, vol. 38, no. 5, 2016, pp. 445-467. Research Gate, doi: 10.1080/10714413.2016.1221712.
  1. Author(s). Note: Use the format Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. If there are multiple authors, use and before the last author's name.
  2. "Title of the Article." Note: Include the title of a shorter work in quotation marks and use headline-style capitalization.
  3. Title of the Newspaper or Publisher, Note: Use italics for the title of a longer work like a newspaper or online publication and use headline-style capitalization.
  4. Publication date, Note: Use the formate Date Abbreviated Month Year.
  5. URL.

 

Cochrane, Emily, and Noah Weiland. "Hillary Clinton, the N.F.L., Roy Moore and Other Asides from the President." The New York Times, 16 Nov. 2018, https://nyti.ms/2zf1TPB.
Print Book
  1. Author(s). Note: Use the format Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. If there are multiple authors, use and before the last author's name.
  2. Title of the Book. Note: Use italics for the title of a longer work like a book and use headline-style capitalization.
  3. Edition Note: If there are multiple editions, use the format 1st/2nd/3rd ed.,
  4. Publisher,
  5. Publication date.

 

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. 1st ed., J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1960.
eBook
  1. Author(s). Note: Use the format Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. If there are multiple authors, use and before the last author's name.
  2. Title of the Book, Note: Use italics for the title of a longer work like a book and use headline-style capitalization.
  3. Editors Note: If there is one editor, use the format edited by Last Name, First Name. If there are multiple editors, use and before the last author's name.
  4. Publisher,
  5. Publication date.
  6. Database, Note: Use italics for names of databases.
  7. URL or permalink.

 

Hughes, Langston. Letters from Langston: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond, edited by Crawford, Evelyn Louise and Mary Louise Patterson. University of California Press, 2016. EBSCOhost Academic eBook Collection, http://libproxy.csudh.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e000xna&AN=1105577&site=ehost-live&scope=site&ebv=EB&.
  1. Author(s) of the Chapter. Note: Use the format Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. If there are multiple authors, use and before the last author's name.
  2. "Title of the Chapter." Note: Include the title of a shorter work like a chapter in quotation marks and use headline-style capitalization.
  3. Title of the Book, Note: Use italics for the title of a longer work like a book and use headline-style capitalization.
  4. Editors Note: If there is one editor, use the format edited by Last Name, First Name. If there are multiple editors, use and before the last author's name.
  5. Publisher,
  6. Publication date,
  7. pp. xxx-xxx.
  8. Database, Note: Use italics for names of databases.
  9. URL or permalink.

 

Green, David. "Supporting the Academic Success of Hispanic Students." College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, edited by Andrew D. Asher and Lynda M. Duke, ALA Editions, 2011. EBSCOhost Academic eBook Collection, http://libproxy.csudh.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=390319.
  1. Author. Note: If there is no individual author, begin the citation with "Title of the Page."
  2. "Title of Page, Section, or Document."
  3. Publisher,
  4. URL.
  5. Date Accessed. Note: Use the format Accessed Date Abbreviated Month Year. In MLA 8th edition, you only need to include the date you accessed or consulted the work if it would be useful. For example, if the work has no publication date, or it may be altered or removed.

 

"Citation Guide." CSUDH University Library, https://www.libguides.csudh.edu/citation. Accessed 1 Nov. 2018.

Check out more examples of citing online sources from the MLA Style Center. 

Formatting Your MLA Paper

How should I format an MLA paper? 

Here's how to format your MLA paper, courtesy of the Excelsior Online Writing Lab:

  • Double-space all of the text of your paper (including entries within Works Cited).
  • Use a clear font between 11 and 13 points. One example is Times New Roman font.
  • Use one-inch margins on all sides and indent the first line of a paragraph one half-inch from the left margin.
  • Type a header in the upper right-hand corner with your last name, a space, and then a page number. Pages should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin.
  • List your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date double-spaced in the upper left-hand corner of the first page. This is your heading. There is no cover page.
  • Center the title on the next double-spaced line after the heading.
  • Provide in-text citations for all quoted, paraphrased, and summarized information in your paper.
  • Include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper that gives full bibliographic information for each item cited in your paper.
  • If you use endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page.
  • Your Works Cited page at the end of your project should line up with the in-text citations in the body of your essay.

To see what it actually looks like, there are several sample student papers, also at the Excelsior OWL.

How do I make a hanging indent in Word?

1. Highlight the citaiton with your cursor. 

2. Right click. 

3. Select Paragraph.

4. Under Indentation, select Special and Hanging.

Animated gif of creating a hanging indent in Word. Highlight the full citation. Right click. Go to Paragraph. To to the Special drop down menu, select Hanging. Select Okay.

How can I save time formatting my paper? 

Microsoft Word and Google Docs have a Format Painter tool that will copy and apply basic formatting to any text! 

1. Highlight the formatting you want to apply. 

2. Select Format Painter

3. Highlight the text you want to change. 

Note: If using the Format Painter on the Reference List, you'll need to go back and add italics. 

Animated gif of using the Format Painter tool in Word.

Creative Commons License CC by NC 4.0 This page was created by librarians at Cal Maritime Library and is based on one created by Tessa Withorn at CSUDH Library and materials at the Excelsior Online Writing Lab. This page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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