Download this handout (PDF)

I. In-Text Citations
MLA style uses parenthetical documentation to mark citations in the body of the text. When referring
to a source, place the author’s name and relevant page number(s) in parentheses directly following the cited material. For example: (Jacobus 317-318).

  • If you use a signal phrase with the author’s name to introduce the paraphrased, summarized or
    quoted material, cite only the relevant page number(s) in parentheses. For example: As Lee
    Jacobus points out, “Freire’s approach is essentially revolutionary” (317-318).
  • Place the parenthetical reference as close to the cited material as possible, but ideally at the end
    of a sentence or where there is a pause. Place punctuation for the cited material after the
    parenthetical reference.
  • If a source has two or three authors, cite all names. For example: (Strunk and White 10). For
    four or more authors, cite the first author’s name followed by et al.
  • If your paper uses more than one source by the same author, distinguish among them by
    including a shortened version of the title in a signal phrase in the text of the paper or in the
    parenthetical citation.

II. Works Cited
The works cited page contains an alphabetical list of every source directly cited in your paper. If you
include background reading, title the list Works Consulted. Place the list on a separate page at the end of your paper. Double-space the entire list, including individual entries. Indent the second and
subsequent lines of each entry by five spaces (1/2 inch).

A. Books: Author. Title. Place of Publication: Publisher, Publication Year. Print.
Book with more than one author: For more than three authors, list only the first followed by et al.
Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Boston: Allyn, 2000.

Two books with the same author: List books alphabetically.
Palmer, William J. Dickens and New Historicism. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997. Print.
---. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1993. Print.

Anthology or collection: Begin entry with editor’s name.
Peterson, Nancy J., ed. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches. Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins UP, 1997. Print.

Selection(s) in an anthology or collection: List selection author first; list editor directly after title.
Harris, Muriel. “Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers.” A Tutor’s Guide: Helping Writers One to
Ed. Ben Rafoth. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000. 24-34. Print.

Cross-referencing: When citing more than one essay from the same edited collection, cross-reference within your works cited list. Include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor’s name. For individual essays, list the author’s name, the essay title, the editor’s name, and the page numbers. For example: Harris, Muriel. “Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers.” Rafoth 24-34.

B. Print Periodicals: Author. “Title of Article.” Title of Source Pub. info/date: pages. Print.
Article in a scholarly journal: Include volume number (when relevant) and issue after journal title.
Godfrey, Laura G. “Mourning Dove’s Textual Frontier.” Arizona Quarterly 62.1 (2006): 65-83. Print.

Article in a magazine:
Poniewozik, James. “TV Makes a Too-Close Call.” Time 20 Nov. 2000: 70-71. Print.
Article in a newspaper: Include edition information and section numbers or letters, if any.
Jeromak, Paul. “This Once, a David of the Art World Does Goliath a Favor.” New York Times 13 July
2002, late ed.: B7+. Print.

C. Electronic Sources: Author. “Title of the work.” Title of overall web site (if distinct). Publisher
or site sponsor; Date of publication. Web. Date of access. <URL (optional)> (Note: Include the URL
only if a reader would need it to locate a source or if your instructor requires it.)
Web site: If no author is listed, alphabetize by title and use abbreviated title for in-text citations.
Eaves, Morris, Robert Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, eds. The William Blake Archive. Lib. of Cong., 8
May 2008. Web. 15 May 2008.
Article in an online journal: If no continuous page numbers, use the abbreviation n. pag.
Schmidt-Nieto, Jorge R. “The Political Side of Bilingual Education: The Undesirable Becomes
Useful.” Arachne@Rutgers 2.2 (2002): n. pag. Web. 5 June 2008.

III. Explanatory Notes
You may use explanatory notes for information that might otherwise distract the reader in the body of
the text. Place a superscript number (1) directly after the text that calls for the note and place the same superscript number before the corresponding note. Either place the notes on a separate page between the last page of text and the list of references, under the heading Notes, or type them at the bottom of the relevant page (footnotes). Indent the first line of each note and double-space throughout.

IV. Paper Format

  • Provide the following information, double-spaced, in the upper left-hand corner of the first
    page of your paper: (1) your name; (2) professor’s name; (3) course name and number; (4) date.
    Double-space and center the paper title; double-space again before the first line of the text.
  • Number all pages in the upper right-hand corner with your last name before page numbers.
  • Set off quotations that are longer than four lines (for poetry, offset verse longer than three
    lines). Indent one inch from the left margin and double-space the entire quotation. Do not
    enclose in quotation marks. Block quotations are typically introduced with a colon and end
    punctuation should precede the parenthetical citation (unlike for shorter quotations).
  • When quoting several lines of poetry, indicate line breaks with a slash ( / ). For block
    quotations of verse, simply break between each line as in the original verse. Cite line numbers
    rather than page numbers. For dramatic works, offset (as above) all quotations involving more
    than one speaker, and cite act, scene, and line numbers in parenthetical reference.
  • If you omit words from a direct quotation, use an ellipsis (. . .) to indicate the omission.

Adapted from: Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. NY: MLA, 2009.