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MLA Style: MLA Quick Reference

How to use MLA Style to write your paper

Essential Elements

As a rule of thumb, students should always record the following information when working with sources:

1) Name of Author   2) Title of Work   3) Year or Date of Publication   4) Publisher   5) Place of Publication

The information required for a proper citation can vary, though, so it’s important to follow the specific model for a given source type. You can find examples of citations and examine sample papers in this portion of the guide.

In-text (Parenthetical) Citations

In MLA, in-text citations can be written in essentially two different ways.


Using the Author's Name in a Sentence:

   ex. Marten argues that breed specific legislation has not lessened the number of incidents related to dog aggression (76).

Without Using Author's Name in a Sentence:

   ex. Breed specific legislation has not lessened the number of incidents related to dog aggression (Marten 76).


Quotations should always be preceded by a tag or signal phrase that introduces readers to quoted material.

Using the Author's Name in a Sentence:

   ex. According to Marten, such "fears and fundamental misunderstandings have led to a culture where genocide appears acceptable" (78).

Without Using Author's Name in a Sentence:

   ex. Over the past several decades, these "fears and fundamental misunderstandings have led to a culture where genocide appears acceptable" (Marten 78).

Long quotations (four words or more) should be presented as a block of text. The block of text should not be enclosed in quotation marks, as it is designated as a quote by virtue of the block format.

   ex. Marten makes the following conclusion:

               In the end, the unfounded, stereotypical assumptions driving breed

               specific legislation cause considerably more harm than good. These

               laws have proven to be wrong-headed and roundly ineffectual when

               it comes to preventing incidents tied to canine aggression. They have

               also proven to be nothing short of cruel by stripping families of their

               well-behaved companions and destroying those same companions

               without just consideration. (82)

Book, Chapter and Entry Citations in a Works Cited

Print Book, Single Author

McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding the Media: The Extensions of Man. Boston: MIT Press, 1994. Print.

Print Book, Multiple Authors

Davidson, William R., Daniel J. Sweeney, and Ronald W. Stampfl. Retailing Management. 6th ed. New

     York: Wiley, 1988. Print.

Print Book, Corporation or Organization as Author

American Medical Association. American Medical Association Book of Heartcare. New York: Random

    House, 1982. Print.

Electronic Book/ Electronic Version of Print Book
Kanneh, Kadiatu. African Identities: Race, Nation and Culture in Ethnography, Pan-Africanism

     and Black Literatures. London: Routledge, 1998. ebrary. Web. 5 Sept. 2012.

Print Book with Editor

Niatum, Duane, ed. Harper's Anthology of Twentieth Century Native American Poetry. New York:

     HarperOne,1988. Print.

Work in an Edited Print Book

Shutte, Nancy, and Laura Tangley. "Problem Drinkers Can Learn Moderation." Addiction: Opposing

     Viewpoints. Ed. Jennifer A. Hurley. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2000. 93-100. Print.

Entry in a Print Reference Work

 “Automobile Service Technicians.” Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance. 15th ed.

     Vol. 2. New York: Ferguson-Infobase, 2011. Print.

Periodical Citations in a Works Cited

Print Journal Article, Single Author

Swedin, Eric G. “Designing Babies: A Eugenics Race with China?”The Futurist May/June 2006: 18-21.


Print Journal Article, Multiple Authors

Paterson, Bill, and Ted Thorne. “Enhancing the Evaluation of Nursing Care Effectiveness.” Canadian

     Journal of Nursing Research 35.3 (2003): 26-38. Print.

Electronic Journal Article, Multiple Authors

Otgaar, Henry, Ingrid Candel, Harald Merckelbach, and Kimberley A. Wade. "Abducted by a UFO:

      Prevalence Information Affects Young Children's False Memories for an Implausible Event."

      Applied Cognitive Psychology 3.1 (2009): 115-125. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

      Collection. Web. 12 Sept. 2012.

Print Newspaper Article, Single Author

Borgelt, Allison. "Sealed with a Kiss." BG News 17 June 2009: 1+. Print.

Electronic Newspaper Article, Single Author

Buescher, James. "Animal Magnetism: 'Jungle Jack' Hanna Brings His  Critters to AMT." Sunday News

     [Lancaster, Pennsylvania] 22 Mar. 2009: H1+. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 12 Sept. 2012.

Website and Audiovisual Citations in a Works Cited


Eaves, Morris, Robert Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, eds. The William Blake Archive. Lib. of Cong.,

     8 May 2008. Web. 15 May 2008.

Sound Recording

Radiohead. "Separator." The King of Limbs. TBD Records, 2011. CD.


Mardi Gras: Made in China. Dir. David Redmon. Carnivalesque Films, 2008. DVD.

Library Guru

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Gloria Creed-Dikeogu
Ottawa University
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Subjects: Diversity