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The complete guide to mla & citations, what you’ll find in this guide.

This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources.

Looking for APA? Check out the Citation Machine’s guide on APA format . We also have resources for Chicago citation style as well.

How to be a responsible researcher or scholar

Putting together a research project involves searching for information, disseminating and analyzing information, collecting information, and repurposing information. Being a responsible researcher requires keeping track of the sources that were used to help develop your research project, sharing the information you borrowed in an ethical way, and giving credit to the authors of the sources you used. Doing all of these things prevents plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using others’ information without giving credit or acknowledging them. There are many examples of plagiarism. Completely copying another individual’s work without providing credit to the original author is a very blatant example of plagiarism. Plagiarism also occurs when another individual’s idea or concept is passed off as your own. Changing or modifying quotes, text, or any work of another individual is also plagiarism. Believe it or not, you can even plagiarize yourself! Reusing a project or paper from another class or time and saying that it’s new is plagiarism. One way to prevent plagiarism is to add citations in your project where appropriate.

What is a Citation?

A citation shows the reader of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote to your project. Citations are also included in the body when you’re paraphrasing another individual’s information. These citations in the body of a research paper are called in-text citations. They are found directly next to the information that was borrowed and are very brief to avoid causing distraction while reading a project. These brief citations include the last name of the author and a page number. Scroll down for an in-depth explanation and examples of MLA in-text citations.

In-text citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, though they usually don't include the title and other components. Look on the last page of a research project to find complete citations.

Complete citations are found on what MLA calls a works-cited list, which is sometimes called an MLA bibliography. All sources that were used to develop a research project are found on the works-cited list. Complete citations are also created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text. Complete citations include the author’s name, the title, publisher, year published, page numbers, URLs, and a few other pieces of information.

Looking to create your citations in just a few clicks? Need an MLA format website or book citation? Visit Citation Machine.net! Our Citation Machine MLA generator, which is an MLA citation website, will create all of your citations in just a few clicks. Click here to see more styles .

Why Does it Matter?

Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It shows that you’re a responsible researcher and that you located appropriate and reputable sources that support your thesis or claim. In addition, if your work ends up being posted online or in print, there is a chance that others will use your research project in their own work!

Scroll down to find directions on how to create citations.

How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher

What is mla format.

The Modern Language Association is an organization that was created to develop guidelines on everything language and literature related. They have guidelines on proper grammar usage and research paper layouts. In addition, they have English and foreign language committees, numerous books and journal publications, and an annual conference. They are not connected with this guide, but the information here reflects the association’s rules for formatting papers and citations.

What are citations?

The Modern Language Association is responsible for creating standards and guidelines on how to properly cite sources to prevent plagiarism. Their style is most often used when writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities fields. “Liberal arts” is a broad term used to describe a range of subjects including the humanities, formal sciences such as mathematics and statistics, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and social sciences such as geography, economics, history, and others. The humanities focuses specifically on subjects related to languages, art, philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature, and ethics.

Believe it or not, there are thousands of other types of citation styles. While this citation style is most often used for the liberal arts and humanities fields, many other subjects, professors, and schools prefer citations and papers to be styled in MLA format.

What’s the difference between a bibliography and a works-cited list?

Great question. The two terms cause a lot of confusion and are consistently misused not only by students but educators as well! Let’s start with what the two words mean.

A bibliography displays the sources the writer used to gain background knowledge on the topic and also research it in-depth. Before starting a research project, you might read up on the topic in websites, books, and other sources. You might even dive a bit deeper to find more information elsewhere. All of these sources you used to help you learn about the topic would go in an MLA format bibliography. You might even include other sources that relate to the topic.

A works-cited list displays all of the sources that were mentioned in the writing of the actual paper or project. If a quote was taken from a source and placed into a research paper, then the full citation goes on the works-cited list.

Both the works-cited list and bibliography go at the end of a paper. Most teachers do not expect students to hand in both a bibliography AND a works-cited list. Teachers generally expect to see a works-cited list, but sometimes erroneously call it a bibliography. If you’re not sure what your teacher expects, a page in MLA bibliography format, a works-cited list, or both, ask for guidance.

Why do we use this MLA style?

These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations were developed for numerous reasons. When scholars and researchers in literature, language, and numerous other fields all cite their sources in the same manner, it makes it easier for readers to look at a citation and understand the different components of a source. By looking at an MLA citation, we can see who the author is, the title of the source, when it was published, and other identifiable pieces of information.

Imagine how difficult it would be to understand the various components of a source if we didn’t all follow the same guidelines! Not only would it make it difficult to understand the source that was used, but it would also make it difficult for readers to locate it themselves. This streamlined process aides us in understanding a researcher’s sources.

How is the new version different than previous versions?

This citation style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition.

The new version expands upon standards previously set in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook, including the core elements. The structure of citations remains the same, but some formatting guidance and terminology have changed.

  • DOI numbers are now formatted as https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx
  • Seasons in publishing daters are lowercased: spring 2020
  • The term “optional elements” is now “supplemental elements”
  • “Narrative in-text citations” are called “citations in prose”

In addition, new information was added on the following:

  • Hundreds of works-cited-list entries
  • MLA formatting for papers
  • Punctuation, spelling, and other mechanics of prose
  • Chapter on inclusive language
  • Notes (bibliographic and content)

For more information on MLA 9, click here .

A Deeper Look at Citations

What do they look like.

There are two types of citations. The first is a full, or complete, citation. These are found at the end of research projects. These citations are usually listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last names and include all of the information necessary for readers to be able to locate the source themselves.

Full citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a DOI, URL, or page range).

There are times when additional information is added into the full citation.

Not sure how to transfer the information from your source into your citation? Confused about the term, “containers”? See below for information and complete explanations of each citation component.

The second type of citation, called an “in-text citation,” is included in the main part, or body, of a project when a researcher uses a quote or paraphrases information from another source. See the next section to find out how to create in-text citations.

What are in-text citations?

As stated above, in-text citations are included in the main part of a project when using a quote or paraphrasing a piece of information from another source. We include these types of citations in the body of a project for readers to quickly gain an idea as to where we found the information.

These in-text citations are found directly next to the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular MLA citation. The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project, on the works-cited list.

Here’s what a typical in-text citation looks like:

In the book The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements…. Too much fire and you have a bad temper...too little wood and you bent too quickly...too much water and you flowed in too many directions” (Tan 31).

This specific in text citation, (Tan 31), is called an MLA parenthetical citation because the author’s name is in parentheses. It’s included so the reader sees that we are quoting something from page 31 in Tan’s book. The complete, regular citation isn’t included in the main part of the project because it would be too distracting for the reader. We want the reader to focus on our work and research, not get caught up on our sources.

Here’s another way to cite in the text:

In Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements... Too much fire and you have a bad temper... too little wood and you bent too quickly... too much water and you flowed in too many directions" (31).

If the reader would like to see the source’s full information, and possibly locate the source themselves, they can refer to the last part of the project to find the regular citation.

The regular citation, at the end of the project looks like this:

%%Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Penguin, 1989, p. 31.

Notice that the first word in the full citation (Tan) matches the “Tan” used in the body of the project. It’s important to have the first word of the full citation match the term used in the text. Why? It allows readers to easily find the full citation on the works-cited list.

If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a line number (use line or lines), paragraph number (use the abbreviation par. or pars.), sections (sec. or secs.), or chapters (ch. or chs.). Only use these other terms if they are actually labeled on the source. If it specifically says on the source, “Section 1,” for example, then it is acceptable to use “sec. 1” in the in-text citation.

If there are no numbers to help readers locate the exact point in the source, only include the author’s last name.

To determine how to create in-text citations for more than one author, no authors, or corporate authors, refer to the “Authors” section below.

More about quotations and how to cite a quote:

  • Use quotes from outside sources to help illustrate and expand on your own points. The majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas.
  • Include the quote exactly as you found it. It is okay to use only certain words or phrases from the quote, but keep the words (spelling and capitalization) and punctuation the same.
  • It is acceptable to break up a direct quote with your own writing.

Example from a movie:

Dorothy stated, "Toto," then looked up and took in her surroundings, "I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore" ( Wizard of Oz ).
  • The entire paper should be double-spaced, including quotes.
  • If the quote is longer than four lines, it is necessary to make a block quote. Block quotes show the reader that they are about to read a lengthy amount of text from another source.
  • Start the quote on the next line, half an inch from the left margin.
  • Do not use any indents at the beginning of the block quote.
  • Only use quotation marks if there are quotation marks present in the source.
  • If there is more than one paragraph in the block quote, indent the beginning of the paragraphs after the first one an additional half an inch from the left margin.
  • Add your in-text citation after the final period of the block quote. Do not add an additional period after the parenthetical citation.

While his parents sat there in surprise, Colton went onto say:

“Cause I could see you,” Colon said matter-of-factly. “I went up and out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying; and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.” (Burpo xxi)

How to create a paraphrase:

As stated above, the majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas. It’s acceptable to include quotes, but they shouldn’t crowd your paper. If you’re finding that you’re using too many quotes in your paper, consider adding paraphrases. When you reiterate a piece of information from an outside source in your own words, you create a paraphrase.

Here’s an example:

Readers discover in the very first sentence of Peter Pan that he doesn’t grow up (Barrie 1).

What paraphrases are:

  • Recycled information in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.
  • They’re still references! Include an in-text citation next to the paraphrased information.

What paraphrases are not:

  • A copy and pasted sentence with a few words substituted for synonyms.

Confused about whether footnotes and endnotes should be used?

Footnotes and endnotes are completely acceptable to use in this style. Use a footnote or endnote if:

  • Adding additional information will help the reader understand the content. This is called a content note .
  • You need to cite numerous sources in one small section of your writing. Instead of clogging up a small paragraph with in-text citations (which could cause confusion for the reader), include a footnote or endnote. This is called a bibliographic note .

Keep in mind that whether you choose to include in-text citations or footnotes/endnotes, you need to also include a full reference on the MLA format works-cited list.

Content note example:

Even Maurice Sendak’s work (the mastermind behind Where the Wild Things Are and numerous other popular children’s picture books) can be found on the banned books list. It seems as though nobody is granted immunity. 1

  • In the Night Kitchen ’s main character is nude on numerous pages. Problematic for most is not the nudity of the behind, but the frontal nudity.

Work Cited:

%%Sendak, Maurice. In The Night Kitchen. Harper Collins, 1996.

Bibliographic note example:

Dahl had a difficult childhood. Both his father and sister passed away when he was a toddler. He was then sent away by his mother to boarding school (de Castella). 1

  • Numerous books, such as Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG, all feature characters with absent or difficult parents.

MLA Works Cited:

Include 4 full citations for: de Castella’s article, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG .

Don’t forget to create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project.

If you need help with in-text and parenthetical citations, CitationMachine.net can help. Our MLA citation generator is simple and easy to use!

Common Knowledge: What Is It and How Will It Affect My Writing?

Footnotes, endnotes, references, proper structuring. We know it’s a lot. Thankfully, you don’t have to include a reference for EVERY piece of information you add to your paper. You can forget about including a reference when you share a piece of common knowledge.

Common knowledge is information that most people know. For example, these are a few facts that are considered common knowledge:

  • The Statue of Liberty is located in New York City
  • Tokyo is the capital of Japan
  • Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare
  • English is the language most people speak in England
  • An elephant is an animal

We could go on and on. When you include common knowledge in your paper, omit a reference. One less thing to worry about, right?

Before you start adding tons of common knowledge occurrences to your paper to ease the burden of creating references, we need to stop you right there. Remember, the goal of a research paper is to develop new information or knowledge. You’re expected to seek out information from outside sources and analyze and distribute the information from those sources to form new ideas. Using only common knowledge facts in your writing involves absolutely zero research. It’s okay to include some common knowledge facts here and there, but do not make it the core of your paper.

If you’re unsure if the fact you’re including is common knowledge or not, it doesn’t hurt to include a reference. There is no such thing as being overly responsible when it comes to writing and citing.

Wikipedia - Yay or Nay?

If you’re wondering whether it’s okay to use Wikipedia in your project, the answer is, it depends.

If Wikipedia is your go-to source for quick information on a topic, you’re not alone. Chances are, it’s one of the first websites to appear on your results page. It’s used by tons of people, it’s easily accessible, and it contains millions of concise articles. So, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the problem?”

The issue with Wikipedia is that it’s a user-generated site, meaning information is constantly added and modified by registered users. Who these users are and their expertise is somewhat of a mystery. The truth is anyone can register on the site and make changes to articles.

Knowing this makes some cringe, especially educators and librarians, since the validity of the information is questionable. However, some people argue that because Wikipedia is a user-generated site, the community of registered users serve as “watchdogs,” ensuring that information is valid. In addition, references are included at the bottom of each article and serve as proof of credibility. Furthermore, Wikipedia lets readers know when there’s a problem with an article. Warnings such as “this article needs clarification,” or “this article needs references to prove its validity” are shared with the reader, thus promoting transparency.

If you choose to reference a Wikipedia article in your research project, and your teacher or professor says it’s okay, then you must reference it in your project. You would treat it just as you would with any other web source.

However, you may want to instead consider locating the original source of the information. This should be fairly easy to do thanks to the references at the bottom of each article.

Specific Components of a Citation

This section explains each individual component of the citation, with examples for each section for full citations and in-text citations.

Name of the author

The author’s name is usually the first item listed in the MLA citation. Author names start with the last name, then a comma is added, and then the author’s first name (and middle name if applicable) is at the end. A period closes this information.

Here are two examples of how an author’s name can be listed in a full citation:

Twain, Mark.

Poe, Edgar Allan.

For in-text:

(Author’s Last name page number) or Author’s Last name... (page).

Wondering how to format the author’s name when there are two authors working jointly on a source? When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source. Place their names in this format:

Author 1’s Last Name, First name, and Author 2’s First Name Last Name.

Here are two examples of how to cite two authors:

Clifton, Mark, and Frank Riley.

Paxton, Roberta J., and Michael Jacob Fox.

(Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name page number) or Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name... (page).

There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This often happens with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.

To cite a source with three or more authors, place the information in this format:

Author 1’s Last name, First name, et al.

As you can see, only include the first author’s name. The other authors are accounted for by using “et al.” In Latin, et al. is translated to “and others.” If using the Citation Machine citation generator, this abbreviation is automatically added for you.

Here’s an example of a citation for three or more authors:

%%Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed., Nolo, 2009.

(Author 1’s Last name et al. page number)

Is there no author listed on your source? If so, exclude the author’s information from the citation and begin the citation with the title of the source.

For in-text: Use the title of the source in parentheses. Place the title in italics if the source stands alone. Books and films stand alone. If it’s part of a larger whole, such as a chapter in an edited book or an article on a website, place the title in quotation marks without italics.

( Back to the Future )

(“Citing And Writing”)

Other in-text structures:

Authors with the same last name in your paper? MLA essay format requires the use of first initials in-text in this scenario.

Ex: (J. Silver 45)

Are you citing more than one source by the same author? For example, two books by Ernest Hemingway? Include the title in-text.

Example: (Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls 12).

Are you citing a film or song? Include a timestamp in the format of hours:minutes:seconds. ( Back to the Future 00:23:86)

Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? If this is the case, in an MLA format paper, you are allowed to start the citation with the author’s handle, username, or screen name.

Here is an example of how to cite a tweet:

%%@CarlaHayden. “I’m so honored to talk about digital access at @UMBCHumanities. We want to share the @libraryofcongress collection.” Twitter , 13 Apr. 2017, 6:04 p.m., twitter.com/LibnOfCongress/status/852643691802091521.

While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors. Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. If your project focuses on someone other than the author, it is acceptable to place that person’s name first in the citation. If you’re using the MLA works cited generator at Citation Machine.net, you can choose the individual’s role from a drop-down box.

For example, let’s say that in your research project, you focus on Leonardo DiCaprio’s performances as an actor. You’re quoting a line from the movie Titanic in your project, and you’re creating a complete citation for it in the works-cited list.

It is acceptable to show the reader that you’re focusing on Leonardo DiCaprio’s work by citing it like this in the MLA works-cited list:

%%DiCaprio, Leonardo, performer. Titanic . Directed by James Cameron. Paramount, 1997.

Notice that when citing an individual other than the author, place the individual’s role after their name. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer.

This is often done with edited books, too. Place the editor’s name first (in reverse order), add a comma, and then add the word editor.

If you’re still confused about how to place the authors together in a citation, the tools at CitationMachine.net can help! Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks!

Titles and containers

The titles are written as they are found on the source and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital.

Here’s an example of a properly written title:

Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks.

Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks? It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics. If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it is from in italics.

When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics.

However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to format titles and their containers.

To cite Pink Floyd’s entire album, The Wall , cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. The Wall. Columbia, 1979.

To cite one of the songs on Pink Floyd’s album in MLA formatting, cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part I).” The Wall, Columbia, 1979, track 3.

To cite a fairy tale book in its entirety, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories. Little Brown, 2016.

To cite a specific story or chapter in the book, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Land of Stories, Little Brown, 2016, pp. 58-65.

More about containers

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone, or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. Wondering how? When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. The second container? It’s the database that the scholarly journal is found in. It is important to account for all containers, so readers are able to locate the exact source themselves.

When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix .

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation.

Use the following format to cite your source with multiple containers :

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

If the source has more than two containers, add on another full section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves.

Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found in a database. This source has two containers: the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other.

%%Zanetti, Francois. “Curing with Machine: Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” Technology and Culture, vol. 54, no. 3, July 2013, pp. 503-530. Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/article/520280.

If you’re still confused about containers, the Citation Machine MLA cite generator can help! MLA citing is easier when using the tools at CitationMachine.net.

Other contributors

Many sources have people besides the author who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word “by,” and then their name in standard order.

If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual. If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased.

Here’s an example of a citation for a children’s book with the name of the illustrator included:

%%Rubin, Adam. Dragons Love Tacos. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, 2012.

The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation.

If the source that you’re citing states that it is a specific version or edition, this information is placed in the “versions” section of the citation.

When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral. Also, abbreviate the word “edition” to “ed.”

Here is an example of a citation with a specific edition:

%%Koger, Gregory. “Filibustering and Parties in the Modern State.” Congress Reconsidered, edited by Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer, 10th ed., CQ Press, 2013, pp. 221-236. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=b7gkLlSEeqwC&lpg=PP1&dq=10th%20edition&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=10th%20edition&f=false.

Many sources have numbers associated with them. If you see a number different than the date, page numbers, or editions, include this information in the “numbers” section of the citation. For MLA citing, this includes volume and/or issue numbers (use the abbreviations vol. and no.), episode numbers, track numbers, or any other numbers that will help readers identify the specific source that you used. Do not include ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) in the citation.

It is important to include the name of the publisher (the organization that created or published the source), so that readers can locate the exact source themselves.

Include publishers for all sources except periodicals. Also, for websites, exclude this information when the name of the publisher matches the name of the website. Furthermore, the name of the publisher is often excluded from the citation for second containers, since the publisher of the second container is not necessarily responsible for the creation or production of the source’s content.

Publication dates

Publication dates are extremely important to include in citations. They allow the reader to understand when sources were published. They are also used when readers are attempting to locate the source themselves.

Dates can be written in MLA in one of two ways. Researchers can write dates as:

Day Mo. Year

Mo. Day, Year

Whichever format you decide to use, use the same format for all of your citations. If using the Citation Machine citation generator, the date will be formatted in the same way for each citation.

While it isn’t necessary to include the full date for all source citations, use the amount of information that makes the most sense to help your readers understand and locate the source themselves.

Wondering what to do when your source has more than one date? Use the date that is most applicable to your research.

The location generally refers to the place where the readers can find the source. This includes page ranges, URLs, DOI numbers, track numbers, disc numbers, or even cities and towns.

You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx .

For page numbers, when citing a source found on only one page, use p.

Example: p. 6.

When citing a source that has a page range, use pp. and then add the page numbers.

Example: pp. 24-38.

Since the location is the final piece of the citation, place a period at the end. When it comes to URLs, many students wonder if the links in citations should be live or not. If the paper is being shared electronically with a teacher and other readers, it may be helpful to include live links. If you’re not sure whether to include live links or not, ask your teacher or professor for guidance.

Looking for an online tool to do the work for you? Citation Machine citing tools could help! Our site is simple (and fun!) to use.

Need some more help? There is further good information here .

Common Citation Examples

ALL sources use this format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). *Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

*If the source does not have a second container, omit this last part of the citation.

Remember, the Citation Machine MLA formatter can help you save time and energy when creating your citations. Check out our MLA Citation Machine pages to learn more.

  • Journal Articles

How to Format a Paper

When it comes to formatting your paper or essay for academic purposes, there are specific MLA paper format guidelines to follow.

  • Use paper that is 8½-by-11 inch in size. This is the standard size for copier and printer paper.
  • Use high quality paper.
  • Your research paper or essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the paper.
  • While most word processors automatically format your paper to have one-inch margins, you can check or modify the margins of your paper by going to the “Page setup” section of your word processor.

Which font is acceptable to use?

  • Use an easily readable font, specifically one that allows readers to see the difference between regular and italicized letters.
  • Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica are recommended options.
  • Use 12-point size font.

Should I double-space the paper, including citations?

  • Double-space the entire paper.
  • There should be a double space between each piece of information in the heading.
  • Place a double space between the heading and the title.
  • Place a double space between the title and the beginning of the essay.
  • The works-cited list should be double-spaced as well. All citations are double-spaced.

Justification & Punctuation

  • Text should be left-justified, meaning that the text is aligned, or flush, against the left margin.
  • Indents signal to the reader that a new concept or idea is about to begin.
  • Use the “tab” button on your keyboard to create an indent.
  • Add one space after all punctuation marks.

Heading & Title

  • Include a proper heading and title
  • The heading should include the following, on separate lines, starting one inch from the top and left margins:
  • Your full name
  • Your teacher or professor’s name
  • The course number
  • Dates in the heading and the body of your essay should be consistent. Use the same format, either Day Month Year or Month Day, Year throughout the entire paper
  • Examples: 27 July 2017 or July 27, 2017
  • The title should be underneath the heading, centered in the middle of the page, without bold, underlined, italicized, or all capital letters.

Page numbers

  • Number all pages, including the very first page and the works-cited list.
  • Place page numbers in the top right corner, half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin.
  • Include your last name to the left of the page number. Example: Jacobson 4

Here’s an example to provide you with a visual:

The image shows an example of the first page of an MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described above under the heading How to Format a Paper.

If you need help with sentence structure or grammar, check out our paper checker. The paper checker will help to check every noun , verb , and adjective . If there are words that are misspelled or out of place, the paper checker will suggest edits and provide recommendations.

  • If a citation flows onto the second line, indent it in half an inch from the left margin (called a “hanging indent”).
  • For more information on the works-cited list, refer to “How to Make a Works Cited Page,” which is found below.

How to Create a Title Page

According to the Modern Language Association’s official guidelines for formatting a research paper, it is unnecessary to create or include an individual title page, or MLA cover page, at the beginning of a research project. Instead, follow the directions above, under “Heading & Title,” to create a proper heading. This heading is featured at the top of the first page of the research paper or research assignment.

If your instructor or professor does in fact require or ask for an MLA title page, follow the directions that you are given. They should provide you with the information needed to create a separate, individual title page. If they do not provide you with instructions, and you are left to create it at your own discretion, use the header information above to help you develop your research paper title page. You may want to include other information, such as the name of your school or university.

How to Make a Works Cited Page

The MLA Works Cited page is generally found at the end of a research paper or project. It contains a list of all the citations of sources used for the research project. Follow these directions to format the works-cited list to match the Modern Language Association’s guidelines.

  • The “Works Cited” page has its own page at the end of a research project.
  • Include the same running head as the rest of the project (Your last name and then the page number). The “Works Cited” page has the final page number for the project.
  • Name the page “Works Cited,” unless your list only includes one citation. In that case, title it in MLA “Work Cited.”
  • The title of the page (either “Works Cited” or “Work Cited”) is placed one inch from the top of the page, centered in the middle of the document.
  • Double space the entire document, even between the title of the page and the first citation.
  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the citation (usually the last name of the author or the first word in the title if the citation does not include the author’s name. Ignore “A,” “An,” and “The” if the title begins with these words.)
  • If there are multiple citations by the same author, place them in chronological order by the date published.
  • Also, instead of writing the author’s name twice in both citations, use three hyphens.

%%Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 2009.

%%---. Gather Together in My Name. Random House, 1974.

  • All citations begin flush against the left margin. If the citation is long and rolls onto a second or third line, indent the lines below the first line half an inch from the left margin. This is called a “hanging indent.” The purpose of a hanging indent is to make the citations easier to read. If you’re using our MLA citation machine, we’ll format each of your references with a hanging indent for you.

%%Wai-Chung, Ho. “Political Influences on Curriculum Content and Musical Meaning: Hong Kong Secondary Music Education, 1949-1997.” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, vol. 22, no. 1, 1 Oct. 2000, pp. 5-25. Periodicals Index Online, search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/pio/docview/1297849364/citation/6B70D633F50C4EA0PQ/78?accountid=35635.

  • MLA “Works Cited” pages can be longer than one page. Use as many pages as necessary. If you have only one source to cite, do not place the one citation below the text of your paper. In MLA, a “Work Cited” page is still created for that individual citation.

Here’s a sample paper to give you an idea of what an MLA paper could look like. Included at the end is an MLA “Works Cited” page example.

The image shows the first page of an example MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described under the heading How to Format a Paper.

Looking to add a relevant image, figure, table, or musical score to your paper? Here’s the easy way to do it, while following guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association:

  • Place the image, figure, table, or music close to where it’s mentioned in the text.
  • Provide source information and any additional notes directly below the image, figure, table, or music.

For tables:

  • Label the table as “Table” followed by an arabic numeral such as “1.” Table 1 is the table closest to the beginning of the paper. The next table mentioned in the text would be Table 2, and so on.
  • Create a title for the table and place it below the label. Capitalize all important words.
  • The label (Table 1) and the title should be flush against the left margin.
  • Double-space everything.

Example of formatting a table in MLA format.

  • A figure can be a map, photograph, painting, pie chart, or any other type of image.
  • Create a label and place it below the figure. The figure first mentioned in the text of the project is either “Figure 1” or “Fig 1.” Though figures are usually abbreviated to “Fig.” Choose one style and use it consistently. The next mentioned figure is “Figure 2” or “Fig. 2.”, and so on.
  • Place a caption next to the label. If all of the source information is included in the caption, there isn’t a need to replicate that information in the works-cited list.

Example of formatting a figure in MLA format.

MLA Final Checklist

Think you’re through? We know this guide covered a LOT of information, so before you hand in that assignment, here’s a checklist to help you determine if you have everything you need:

_ Are both in-text and full citations included in the project? Remember, for every piece of outside information included in the text, there should be a corresponding in-text citation next to it. Include the full citation at the end, on the “Works Cited” page.

_ Are all citations, both in-text and full, properly formatted in MLA style? If you’re unsure, try out our citation generator!

_ Is your paper double-spaced in its entirety with one inch margins?

_ Do you have a running header on each page? (Your last name followed by the page number)

_ Did you use a font that is easy to read?

_ Are all citations on the MLA format works-cited list in alphabetical order?

Our plagiarism checker scans for any accidental instances of plagiarism. It scans for grammar and spelling errors, too. If you have an adverb , preposition , or conjunction that needs a slight adjustment, we may be able to suggest an edit.

Common Ways Students Accidentally Plagiarize

We spoke a bit about plagiarism at the beginning of this guide. Since you’re a responsible researcher, we’re sure you didn’t purposely plagiarize any portions of your paper. Did you know students and scholars sometimes accidentally plagiarize? Unfortunately, it happens more often than you probably realize. Luckily, there are ways to prevent accidental plagiarism and even some online tools to help!

Here are some common ways students accidentally plagiarize in their research papers and assignments:

1. Poor Paraphrasing

In the “How to create a paraphrase” section towards the top of this page, we share that paraphrases are “recycled information, in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.” If you attempt to paraphrase a few lines of text and it ends up looking and sounding too close to the original author’s words, it’s a poor paraphrase and considered plagiarism.

2. Incorrect Citations

If you cite something incorrectly, even if it’s done accidentally, it’s plagiarism. Any incorrect information in a reference, such as the wrong author name or the incorrect title, results in plagiarism.

3. Forgetting to include quotation marks

When you include a quote in your paper, you must place quotation marks around it. Failing to do so results in plagiarism.

If you’re worried about accidental plagiarism, try our Citation Machine Plus essay tool. It scans for grammar, but it also checks for any instances of accidental plagiarism. It’s simple and user-friendly, making it a great choice for stress-free paper editing and publishing.

Updated June 15, 2021

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Wendy Ikemoto. Michele Kirschenbaum has been an awesome school librarian since 2006 and is an expert in citing sources. Wendy Ikemoto has a master’s degree in library and information science and has been working for Citation Machine since 2012.

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What is the Cite This For Me MLA Citation Generator?

Are you looking for an easy and reliable way to cite your sources in the MLA format? Look no further because Cite This For Me’s MLA citation generator is designed to remove the hassle of citing. You can use it to save valuable time by auto-generating all of your citations.

The Cite This For Me citation machine accesses information from across the web, assembling all of the relevant material into a fully-formatted works cited MLA format page that clearly maps out all of the sources that have contributed to your paper. Using a generator simplifies the frustrating citing process, allowing you to focus on what’s important: completing your assignment to the best of your ability.

Have you encountered an unusual source, such as a microfiche or a handwritten manuscript, and are unsure how to accurately cite this in the MLA format? Or are you struggling with the dozens of different ways to cite a book? If you need a helping hand with creating your citations, Cite This For Me’s accurate and powerful generator and handy MLA format template for each source type will help to get you one step closer to the finishing line.

Continue reading our handy style guide to learn how to cite like a pro. Find out exactly what a citation generator is, how to implement the MLA style in your writing, and how to organize and present your work according to the guidelines.

Popular MLA Citation Examples

  • Archive material 
  • Book Chapter
  • Dictionary entry 
  • E-book or PDF 
  • Image online or video
  • Presentation or lecture
  • Video, film, or DVD 

Why Do I Need To Cite?

Whenever you use someone else’s ideas or words in your own work, even if you have paraphrased or completely reworded the information, you must give credit where credit is due to avoid charges of plagiarism. There are many reasons why.

First, using information from a credible source lends credibility to your own thesis or argument. Your writing will be more convincing if you can connect it to information that has been well-researched or written by a credible author. For example, you could argue that “dogs are smart“ based on your own experiences, but it would be more convincing if you could cite scientific research that tested the intelligence of dogs.

Second, you should cite sources because it demonstrates that you are capable of writing on an academic or professional level. Citations show that your writing was thoughtfully researched and composed, something that you would not find in more casual writing.

Lastly, and most importantly, citing is the ethical thing to do. Imagine that you spent months of your life on a paper: researching it, writing it, and revising it. It came out great and you received many compliments on your thesis and ideas. How would you feel if someone took those ideas (or even the whole paper) and turned them in as their own work without citations? You’d probably feel terrible.

For all of these reasons, be sure that all of the source material that has contributed to your work is cited. There are two steps:

  • Acknowledge a source with an MLA in-text citation (also known as a parenthetical citation )
  • Feature a full citation for the source in your works cited list

Create citations, whether manually or by using the Cite This For Me MLA citation generator, to maintain accuracy and consistency throughout your project.

Do I Have to Cite Everything?

When writing a research paper, any information used from another source needs to be cited. The only exceptions to this rule are everyday phrases (e.g., all the world’s a stage) and common knowledge (e.g., President Kennedy was killed in 1963).

Also, your own work does not need to be cited. That includes your opinions, ideas, and visuals (e.g., graphs, photos, etc.) you created. However, you do need to cite your own work if you have previously published it or used it in another assignment. Otherwise it’s considered self plagiarism . For example, submitting a paper that you wrote and already turned in for another class is still plagiarism, even though it is your own work.

If you have any doubts about whether or not something you’ve written requires a citation, it’s always better to cite the source. While it may be a tedious process without an MLA citation machine, attributing your research is essential in validating the statements and conclusions you make in your work. What’s more, drawing on numerous sources elevates your understanding of the topic, and accurately citing these sources reflects the impressive research journey that you have embarked on.

Consequences of Not Citing

The importance of crediting your sources goes far beyond ensuring that you don’t lose points on your assignment for citing incorrectly. Plagiarism, even when done unintentionally, can be a serious offense in both the academic and professional world.

If you’re a student, possible consequences include a failing assignment or class grade, loss of scholarship, academic probation, or even expulsion. If you plagiarize while writing professionally, you may suffer legal ramifications as well, such as fines, penalties, or lawsuits.

The consequences of plagiarism extend beyond just the person who plagiarized: it can result in the spread of misinformation. When work is copied and/or improperly cited, the facts and information presented can get misinterpreted, misconstrued, and mis-paraphrased. It can also be more difficult or impossible for readers and peers to check the information and original sources, making your work less credible.

What is the MLA Format?

The MLA format was developed by the Modern Languages Association as a consistent way of documenting sources used in academic writing. In 2021, the Modern Languages Association replaced its 8th edition of the guidelines with the current 9th edition. Most of these changes were made to reflect the expanding digital world and how researchers and writers cite online information resources. MLA is a concise style predominantly used in the liberal arts and humanities, first and foremost in research focused on languages, literature, and culture. You can find out more here .

It is important to present your work consistently, regardless of the style you are using. Accurately and coherently crediting your source material both demonstrates your attention to detail and enhances the credibility of your written work. The MLA format provides a uniform framework for consistency across a scholarly document, and caters to a large variety of sources. So, whether you are citing a website, an article, or even a podcast, the style guide outlines everything you need to know to correctly format all of your MLA citations.* The style also provides specific guidelines for formatting your research paper, and useful tips on the use of the English language in your writing.

The Cite This For Me style guide is based on the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook. Our citation generator also uses the 9th edition — allowing you to shift focus from the formatting of your citations to what’s important — how each source contributes to your work.

MLA has been widely adopted by scholars, professors, journal publishers, and both academic and commercial presses across the world. However, many academic institutions and disciplines prefer a specific style of referencing (or have even developed their own unique format) so be sure to check which style you should be using with your professor. Whichever style you’re using, be consistent!

So, if you’re battling to get your citations finished in time, you’ve come to the right place. The generator above will create your citations in MLA style by default, or it can cite any source in 7,000+ styles. So, whether your discipline uses the APA citation style, or your institution requires you to cite in the Chicago style citation , simply go to the Cite This For Me website to find generators and style guides for ASA , IEEE , AMA , Harvard and many more.

*You may need to cite a source type that is not covered by the format manual – for these instances we have developed additional guidance and MLA format examples, which stick as closely as possible to the spirit of the style. Where examples are not covered in the official handbook, this is clearly indicated.

How Do I Create and Format MLA In-text Citations?

The MLA format is generally simpler than other referencing styles as it was developed to emphasize brevity and clarity. The style uses a straightforward two-part documentation system for citing sources: parenthetical citations in the author-page format that are keyed to an alphabetically ordered MLA works cited page. 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 as a parenthetical citation, and a complete corresponding reference should appear in your works cited list.

Keep your MLA in-text citations brief, clear and accurate by only including the information needed to identify the sources. Furthermore, each parenthetical citation should be placed close to the idea or quote being cited, where a natural pause occurs – which is usually at the end of the sentence. Essentially you should be aiming to position your parenthetical citations where they minimize interruption to the reading flow, which is particularly important in an extensive piece of written work.

Check out the examples below…

MLA Format Examples

In-text citation MLA examples:

  • Page specified, author mentioned in text:

If the author’s name already appears in the sentence itself then it does not need to appear in the parentheses. Only the page number appears in the citation.

Here is an MLA format example for a source with one author :

Sontag has theorized that collecting photographs is a way “to collect the world” (3).

Here is an MLA format example for a source with two authors :

According to MacDougall and Sanders-Parks, “employers seldom expect you to know every aspect of a new job” (31).

  • Page specified, author not mentioned in text:

Include the author’s last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken in a parenthetical citation after the quote. This way of citing foregrounds the information being cited.

Example for source with one author :

“To collect photographs is to collect the world” (Sontag 3).

Example for a source with two authors :

“But employers seldom expect you to know every aspect of a new job” (MacDougall and Sanders-Parks 31).

When the author is referred to more than once in the same paragraph, you may use a single MLA in-text citation at the end of the paragraph (as long as the work cannot be confused with others cited).

If you are citing two works by the same author, you should put a comma after the author’s surname and add a shortened title to distinguish between them. If there are two authors with the same surname, be sure to include their first initial in your citation to avoid confusion.

  • Website, author known:

Books are not the only sources you will cite; odds are that you will also use many web-based sources. An MLA website citation in the text of your paper looks similar to a book citation, except that it does not include a page number.

“Photography reflects, records and advertises our lives online” (O’Hagan).

  • Website, unknown author:

Many web pages don’t have a clear author listed. In these cases, MLA citation format guidelines say to include the title of the web page. You can shorten the title if it is long.

“The most expensive photograph ever sold was not by a photographer, nor was the photograph taken by the artist” (“Photography Market”).

For any in-text citation, don’t forget to include a corresponding full citation in your bibliography. If you are struggling with how to cite a website in MLA, try the Cite This For Me MLA generator at the top of this page.

Works cited / bibliography example:

Unlike an MLA in-text citation, you must include all of the publication information in your works cited entries.

Franke, Damon. Modernist Heresies: British Literary History, 1883-1924. Ohio State UP, 2008.

O’Hagan, Sean. “What Next for Photography in the Age of Instagram?” The Guardian , 14 Oct. 2018, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/oct/14/future-photography-in-the-age-of-instagram-essay-sean-o-hagan..

“The Photography Market is About Not Just Names.” The Economist , 13 Jul. 2017, www.economist.com/books-and-arts/2017/07/13/the-photography-market-is-about-not-just-names.

Sontag, Susan. On Photography . Penguin, 2008.

Luckily for you, we know where the commas go, and the Cite This For Me citation generator will put them there for you.

If citing is giving you a headache, use the Cite This For Me free, accurate MLA citation generator to add all of your source material to your works cited page with just a few clicks.

How Do I Format My MLA Works Cited Page?

A works cited page is a comprehensive list of all the sources that directly contributed to your work – each entry links to the brief parenthetical citations in the main body of your work. An in-text citation only contains enough information to enable readers to find the source in the works cited MLA format list, so you’ll need to include the complete publication information for the source in your works cited entries.

Your works cited MLA page should appear at the end of the main body of text on a separate page. Each entry should start at the left margin and be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name (note that if there is no author, you can alphabetize by title). For entries that run for more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) – this format is called a ‘hanging indentation.’

The title of the page should be neither italicized nor bold – it is simply center-aligned. Like the rest of your MLA format paper the list should be double-spaced, both between and within entries.

Sometimes your professor will ask you to also list the works that you have read throughout your research process, but didn’t directly cite in your paper. This list should be called ‘Work Cited and Consulted,’ and is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the full extent of the research you have carried out.

Remember, indicate all of your sources via both parenthetical citations and an MLA format works cited list, to acknowledge the work of other authors.

Works cited examples:

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. Verso, 1983.

Fox, Claire F. The Fence and the River: Culture and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border. U of Minnesota P, 1999.

Sontag, Susan. On Photography. Penguin, 2008.

MLA Style Research

When you are gathering sources in your research phase, be sure to make note of the following bibliographical items:

  • Name of original source owner: author, editor, translator, illustrator, or director
  • Titles: article or newspaper title, title of publication, series title
  • Important dates: date of publication, date of composition, issue date, event date, date accessed
  • Publishing information: publisher name
  • Identifying information: number of volumes, volume number, issue number, edition, chapter, pages, lines

If you’re still in your research phase, why not try out Cite This For Me for Chrome? It’s an intuitive and easy-to-use browser extension that enables you to instantly create and edit a citation for any online source whilst you browse the web.

Racing against the clock? If your deadline has crept up on you and you’re running out of time, the Cite This For Me MLA citation maker will help collect and add any source to your MLA bibliography with just a click.

In today’s digital age, source material comes in all shapes and sizes. Thanks to Cite This For Me’s citation generator, citing is no longer a chore. Accurately and easily cite any type of source in a heartbeat, whether it be a musical score, a work of art, or even a comic strip. Cite This For Me elevates students’ research to the next level by enabling them to cite a wide range of sources.

MLA Citation Formatting Guidelines

Accurately citing sources for your assignment doesn’t just prevent the appearance or accusations of plagiarism – presenting your source material in a clear and consistent way also ensures that your work is accessible to your reader. So, whether you’re following the MLA format citation guidelines or using the Cite This For Me generator, be sure to abide by the presentation rules on font type, margins, page headers and line spacing.

To format your research paper according to the guidelines:

  • Set the margins to 1 inch (or 2.5 cm) on all sides
  • Choose an easily readable font, recommended Times New Roman
  • Set font size to 12 point
  • Set double space for your entire paper
  • Indent every new paragraph by ½ inch – you can simply use your tab bar for this
  • In the header section – on the top right corner of the pages – give your last name followed by the respective page number

MLA format heading, title, and running head: Within this formatting style, an MLA title page isn’t necessary. What’s needed instead is a header. The header is a small section added to the first page of your paper and it includes all of the same basic information a title page would.

To format your MLA header and title:

  • On the first page, ensure the text is left-aligned and then give your details: starting with your full name in line one, followed by the name of your teacher or professor, the course name and number, and the date in separate lines
  • Center align your heading – do not italicize, bold or underline, or use a period after the title
  • The body of your text should start in the next line, left-aligned with an indentation

On every page, you will also need to include what is called a “running head.” Follow these directions to create one:

  • On the top right corner of each page – give your last name followed by the respective page number. This is your running head.
  • It should be positioned ½ an inch from the top of the page, and 1 inch from the right edge of the page.

If your instructor asks for or insists on having an MLA cover page for your paper, ask them to show you a cover page example. That’s the best way to know what your instructor will be looking for.

Here is a visual MLA format template for the first page of your paper:

mla format essay generator free

MLA Style 9th Edition - Changes From Previous Editions

It is worth bearing in mind that the MLA format is constantly evolving to meet the various challenges facing today’s researchers. Using Cite This For Me’s generator will help you to stay ahead of the game without having to worry about the ways in which the style has changed.

Below is a list outlining the key ways in which the style has developed since previous editions.

  • Titles of independent works (such as books and periodicals) are now italicized rather than underlined .
  • Listing URLs for web citations is now always encouraged, and you should no longer include “https://” at the beginning of the URL with the exception of DOIs.
  • You no longer are required to list the place of publication for a source unless the version of the work changes based on location, or it was published prior to 1900.
  • You are no longer required to provide medium information in your citations (e.g. ‘Print.’, ‘Web.’, ‘DVD.’ etc.)
  • The style guidelines now call for the inclusion of both volume and issue numbers in listings for journal articles.

How Do I Cite My Sources With the Cite This For Me Citation Machine for MLA?

If you’re frustrated by the time-consuming process of citing, the Cite This For Me multi-platform citation management tool will transform the way you conduct your research. Using this fast, accurate and accessible generator will give you more time to work on the content of your paper, so you can spend less time worrying about tedious references.

To use the MLA format generator:

  • Choose the type of source you would like to cite (e.g. website, book, journal & video
  • Enter the URL , DOI , ISBN , title, or other unique source information to locate your source
  • Click the ‘Search’ button (If there is more than one result, review the sources presented and select one)
  • See what information was found on your source, then click the “Continue” button
  • Review or edit your citation information, then click “Complete citation” to create it
  • Copy your fully-formatted citation into your works cited list</li/>
  • Repeat the same process for each source that has contributed to your work

As well as making use of the powerful citation generator on this MLA citation website, you can cite with our Chrome add-on or Word add-on.

Manage all your citations in one place

Create projects, add notes, cite directly from the browser.

Sign up to Cite This For Me – the ultimate citation management tool.

Published October 1, 2015. Updated July 21, 2021.

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MLA Citation Generator

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MLA Format Guide for MLA (9th Edition)

MLA citations have two main parts that work together to identify the sources you’ve used for a paper and each of the specific places in your paper where you directly quote or paraphrase from a source:

  • A Works Cited list
  • Located at the end of your paper
  • Contains a list of full references for every source you cited in your paper
  • Alphabetized by author’s last name
  • In-text citations
  • Appear in the text of your paper, after any place where you directly quote or paraphrase from a source
  • Consist of just the author name and relevant page number of the quote source
  • Are written inside

How to Write an MLA Works Cited

The Works Cited list (sometimes also called a reference list or bibliography) contains the full references for every source you used in writing your paper. The references are alphabetized in the list by author’s last name.

Every entry in an MLA Works Cited—whether for a book, website, journal, etc.—is built from up to nine components:

  • Author. “Title of the Source.” Title of the Container , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

If a particular reference you are using doesn’t have any information for one of these components, then you just leave out that component.

Here's a bit more information about each of the components that will let you handle any type of MLA works cited entry.

Author in MLA Format

How you handle the author depends on how many authors the work has, or if the author is an organization rather than a single person.

  • 1 author : Invert the author’s name (Last Name, First Name)
  • Andrews, Julianne
  • 2 authors : Include both authors in the order in which they appear on the work, inverting the first author’s name, followed by an “and” and then the second author’s name written normally.
  • Andrews, Julianne and Arthur Smith
  • 3+ authors : Include the first author listed on the work, inverted, followed by the phrase “et al”
  • Andrews, Julianne, et al
  • Organization : If the work was written by an Organization rather than by a person or group of people, then just write out the name of the organization.
  • No author : If a work has no listed author at all, then you can leave out the Author component entirely and start with the Title of the Source. (Note: when alphabetizing the entry by the first letter of the Title of the Source, ignore articles that start the title such as “The,” “A,” etc.)

Title of the Source in MLA Format

Use the entire title of your source, including subtitles. Subtitles should be separated from the main title by a colon.

The formatting for the source depends on whether it’s self contained or part of a larger whole (such as an entire book, website, or movie), or is part of a larger work (such as a story in an anthology, an article in a magazine, etc.):

  • If the source is a self contained unit : The title should be italicized.
  • Andrews, Julianne. The Friendly Giraffe . Knopf, 2011.
  • If the source is part of a larger work : The title should be placed within quotation marks.
  • Andrews, Julianne. “The Best Game Ever Played.” Essays on Sports , Harcourt, 2017, pp. 17-31.

Regardless of whether it’s inside quotes or italicized, the title of the source should be written in title case, which means you capitalize every word other than articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.

Title of the Container in MLA Format

The “container” refers to a larger work that contains the source, such as a magazine that contains an article. If a source isn’t a part of a longer work (such as an entire book), then leave out the Title of Container component.

The Title of the Container should always be italicized:

Common examples of containers are:

  • A book containing short stories or essays
  • A magazine or newspaper containing articles
  • An encyclopedia containing entries
  • A website containing articles or other entries
  • A TV series containing episodes

Other Contributors

If there are people who contributed to a work besides the author(s), include those names in the “Other Contributors” component.

Other contributors should be formatted by identifying what the person did and then the person’s name written out normally. For example:

  • Andrews, Julianne. “The Best Game Ever Played.” Great Sports Writing of 2018 , edited by Carlos Mendes, Harcourt, 2017, pp. 17-31.

Common types of work that are result in people being included as contributors are:

  • Translated by
  • Illustrated by
  • Directed by

If there are different versions or editions of your source, specify which version your specific source belongs to:

  • Andrews, Julianne. “The Best Game Ever Played.” Great Sports Writing of 2018 , edited by Carlos Mendes, 3rd ed, Harcourt, 2017, pp. 17-31.

Common reasons for the inclusion of a version number for an entry are:

  • A 2nd (or 3rd or 4th, etc.) edition of a source
  • A director’s cut of a movie
  • An anniversary or expanded edition

Many types of sources are numbered in some way, and in such cases the MLA entry should capture that numbering:

  • Andrews, Julianne. “The Best Game Ever Played.” Great Sports Writing of 2018 , edited by Carlos Mendes, 3rd ed, vol. 3, Harcourt, 2017, pp. 17-31.

Numbering most often occurs for sources that have containers. Common examples include:

  • Journals are often divided into volumes (“vol. 3”)
  • Magazines and some periodicals may be numbered (“no. 16”)
  • Television shows often have season and episode numbers (“Season 4, Episode 2”)

If a source has multiple numbers, separate the numbers with commas (“vol 3, no. 16”).

Not all sources will have a publisher—this component usually only applies to books and to movies. For movies, the production company is treated as the “publisher.”

Publication date

You should include as specific a publication date as possible, which can range from just the year all the way down to the minute. Ranges are acceptable.

  • Andrews, Julianne. “The Best Game Ever Played.” Great Sports Writing of 2018, edited by Carlos Mendes, 3rd ed, vol. 3, Harcourt, 2017, pp. 17-31.

The most common ways to represent the publication date are:

  • Year : 2001
  • Month/Year : Apr. 1976 (note that months should be abbreviated to their first three letters followed by a period, such as “Apr.”)
  • Day/Month/Year : 2 Apr. 1976 (note that the day should precede the month)
  • Precise time and date : 2 Apr. 1976, 5:15 p.m.
  • Year Range : 1975-1977
  • Month/Year Range : Apr. 1976–Apr. 1977
  • If there’s no date : If you can’t find a publication date, instead use the day/month/year format for the day on which you accessed the information and use the word “Accessed” to make clear the distinction.
  • Andrews, Julianne. “The Best Game Ever Played.” Great Sports Writing , edited by Carlos Mendes, Accessed 2 Apr. 2018, www.greatsportswriting.com/best.

The location component generally only applies to references that either have containers or that is an event or physical object that occurred or you encountered in a physical place.

  • For a chapter, essay, story, or other part of a book : Include a page range.
  • Andrews, Julianne. “The Best Game Ever Played.” Great Sports Writing of 2018 , edited by Carlos Mendes, 3rd ed, vol. 3, Harcourt, 2017, pp. 217-231.
  • For a web page : Include the URL, leaving out the “http://” or “https://”.
  • For a printed periodical article : Include a page range.
  • Andrews, Julianne. “The Best Game Ever Played.” The Sports Magazine, 2 Jan. 2022, 25-39.
  • For an online journal : There are two options
  • Include a URL, leaving out the “http://” or “https://”
  • Andrews, Julianne. “A Statistical Analysis to Identify the Best Games Ever Played.” Sports Analytics , Accessed 2 Apr. 2018, www.sportsanalytics.org/1249.
  • A DOI—digital object identifier—which are sometimes assigned to journal articles to provide a link to that article that will never change. If an article has one, use it instead of a URL
  • Example: doi: 11.1633/tox.31266
  • Andrews, Julianne. “A Statistical Analysis to Identify the Best Games Ever Played.” Sports Analytics , Accessed 2 Apr. 2018, doi: 11.1633/tox.31266.
  • For a physical object located in a specific place : Include the place where you encountered the object, including the name of any institution and the location of that institution.
  • Goldsworthy, Andy. The Wall that Went for a Walk . 1999, Storm King Art Center, Windsor, NY.

How to Write MLA In-Text Citations

In-text citations do two things:

  • They identify the places in your paper where you either directly quote or paraphrase a source.
  • They contain just enough information to refer to the full entry in the Works Cited list, so a reader can tell which source you quoted or paraphrased from.

MLA In-Text Citations Format

MLA in-text citations follow two basic formats:

  • The author’s last name and a page number or other location inside parentheses:
  • The greatest game ever played wasn’t “great because of what happened on the field, but because of what happened off of it” (Andrews 71).
  • If the author is named in the sentence, then the in-text citation can include just the page:
  • As Andrews puts it, the greatest game every played wasn’t “great because of what happened on the field, but because of what happened off of it” (71).

Additions to Basic In-Text Citations Format

There are a few scenarios in which the formatting of in-text MLA citations changes just a bit:

  • Two authors : Use the last names of both authors separated by an “and.”
  • (Andrews and Smith 71).
  • Three authors : Within the parentheses, include the last name of the first author along with “et al.” When mentioning the authors outside the parentheses, use the last name of the first author along with the phrase “and colleagues.”
  • (Andrews et al. 71).
  • No author : Within the parentheses, include an abbreviated reference to the first two or three words of the source title in the Works Cited entry, and format the in-text citation to match the use of italicization or quotation marks in Works Cited entry. Outside the parentheses, use the entire source title, formatted correctly with quotation marks or italics.
  • (The Best Game 71).
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Your Works Cited page in MLA

  • A closer look at MLA's core elements

In-text citations in MLA

Formatting your paper in mla, helpful resources on mla style, the ultimate guide to citing in mla.

The MLA citation style was developed by the Modern Language Association of America, an association of scholars and teachers of language and literature.

The MLA publishes several academic journals, and the MLA Handbook , a citation guide for high school and undergrad students. The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for writing and documenting research, as well as tips for the use of the English language in your writing.

MLA is a very popular citation style. However, if you are unsure which citation style to use in your paper, ask your instructor. There are many different citation styles and using the style your instructor or institution has established correctly can have a positive impact on your grade.

This guide is based on the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook and aims at helping you cite correctly in MLA. The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for a large variety of sources and uses a two-part documentation system for citing sources:

  • in-text parenthetical citations (author, page)
  • a reference list at the end of paper with all literature used in text.

Each source that was cited in the text or notes of your paper should appear in a list at the end of the paper. MLA calls the reference list a "Works Cited" page.

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I want to cite a ...

Your Works Cited list identifies the sources you cite in the body of your research project. Works that you consult during your research, but don't use and cite in your paper, are not included. Your Works Cited list is ordered alphabetically by the part of the author's name that comes first in each entry.

Entries in the list of works cited are made up of core elements given in a specific order, and there are optional elements that may be included. The core elements in your works cited list are the following, given in the order in which they should appear, followed by the correct punctuation mark. The final element in an MLA reference should end with a period:

  • Title of source.
  • Title of container,
  • Contributor,
  • Publication date,

To use this template of core elements, first evaluate what you are citing to see which elements apply to the source. Then list each element relevant to your source in the order given on the template. For a work containing another work (e.g. an article published in a journal and contained in a database), you can repeat the process by filling out the template again from Title of container to Location , listing all elements that apply to the container.

Step-by-step guide to create a Works Cited entry

Let's try this with a journal article. If you wanted to cite the article , “What Should We Do with a Doctor Here?”: Medical Authority in Austen’s Sanditon ," from the journal, Nineteenth-Century Contexts , the process would look like this:

  • First, you would determine the author. In this case, that's Amy Mallory-Kani. so the first part of your reference would be: Mallory-Kani, Amy.
  • Next, you'd want to include the title of the source in quotation marks, followed by a period: “What Should We Do with a Doctor Here?”: Medical Authority in Austen’s Sanditon."
  • After the title of the source, you need to list the container. In this case, it's the journal's name, Nineteenth-Century Contexts , italicized and followed by a comma.
  • For journal articles, the title of the container needs to be followed by version, or the volume number of the journal, separated by a comma from the issue number: vol. 39, no. 4,
  • Since there is not typically a publisher listed for journal articles, the next step is to include the date, followed by a comma: 2017,
  • Finally, you'll end your reference by adding the page numbers for the article, followed by an ending period: pp. 313-26.

If we put this all together, the full reference will look like this:

EXAMPLE Journal article

Mallory-Kani, Amy. “'What Should We Do with a Doctor Here?': Medical Authority in Austen’s Sanditon ”. Nineteenth-Century Contexts , vol. 39, no. 4, 2017, pp. 313-26.

MLA has a specific rule about how to structure page numbers in a works cited entry. Use pp. and then list the number. If the page range is within ten or one hundred digits, you don't need to repeat the first digit. For example, you would write pp. 51-8 or pp. 313-26.

The following section takes a deeper look at the core elements of an MLA works cited entry to help you get your citation right.

MLA explainer image

A closer look at MLA's core elements

When formatting the author element, make sure to follow these guidelines:

  • When a work is published without an author's name, do not list it as Anonymous . Skip the author element instead and begin with the Title of source .
  • Begin the entry with the last name of the author, so it can be alphabetized under this name. Follow the last name with a comma and the rest of the name as presented by the work.
  • When a source has two authors, include them in the order in which they are presented in the work. Reverse the first of the names as described above.
  • When a source has three or more authors, reverse the first of the names as described above and follow it with a comma and the abbreviation, et al.

EXAMPLE Source with two authors

Gabrielle, Matthew, and David M. Perry. The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe . Harper, 2021.

In the Title of Source element, you list the title of the work you are citing:

EXAMPLE Title of Source element

Cox, Taylor.  Creating the Multicultural Organization: A Strategy for Capturing the Power of Diversity . Jossey-Bass, 2001.

In general, titles in your Works Cited list are given in full exactly as they are found in the source, except that capitalization, punctuation between the main title and a subtitle, and the styling of titles that normally appear in italic typeface are standardized. The Title of Source element is followed by a period unless the title ends in a question mark or exclamation point.

A container in the context of the MLA template is a work that contains another work. An example of a container can be:

  • A periodical, such as a journal, magazine or newspaper is the container of an article published there.
  • A website or database can be the container of a post, a review, a song, a film, or other media.
  • An art exhibit is the container of an artwork featured in it.

In the example below, the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability is the container of the article “Vocabulary Knowledge of Deaf and Hearing Postsecondary Students”: 

EXAMPLE Title of Container

Sarchet, Thomastine, et al. “Vocabulary Knowledge of Deaf and Hearing Postsecondary Students.”  Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability , vol. 27, no. 2, Summer 2014, pp. 161–178.

Importantly, a website or a database is not always automatically the container of a work that can be found there. If you click on a Facebook link that takes you to a New York Times article, Facebook is not the container of the article, but the New York Times website is. Be careful to make the distinction here.

The title of Container is normally italicized and followed by a comma.

People, groups, and organizations can be contributors to a work without being its primary creator. There can be a primary author, but a work can also be created by a group of people. Key contributors should always be listed in your entry. Other contributors can be listed on a case-by-case basis. Whenever you list a contributor, include a label describing the role. These kinds of contributors should always be listed in your entry:

  • translators
  • editors responsible for scholarly editions and anthologies
  • editors responsible for edited collections of works by various primary authors from which you cite an individual contribution

EXAMPLE Translator of a work with a primary author

Chartier, Roger. The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, Stanford UP, 1994.

It may be necessary to include other types of contributors if they shaped the overall presentation of the work. Use labels (in lowercase) to describe the contributor's role, such as:

  • translated by

EXAMPLE Creator of a television show

"Strike Up the Band." The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel , created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, season 3, episode 1, Amazon Studios, 2019.

When a source has three or more contributors in the same role, list the first contributor, followed by et al.

EXAMPLE Three or more contributors

Balibar, Étienne. Politics and the Other Scene . Translated by Christine Jones et al., Verso, 2002.

If a source is a version of a work released in more than one form, you need to identify the version in your entry. For example, books are commonly issued in versions called editions .

When citing versions in your Works Cited list, write original numbers with arabic numerals and no superscript. Abbreviate revised (rev.) and edition (ed.) .

EXAMPLE Edition of a work

Black, Joseph, et al., editors. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Victorian Era . 3rd ed., Broadview, 2021.

The source you are documenting may be part of a sequence, like a volume, issue, or episode. Include that number in your entry:

EXAMPLE Work with a number

Warren, R., et al. “The Projected Effect on Insects, Vertebrates, and Plants of Limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C Rather than 2°C.”  Science (New York, N.Y.) , vol. 360, no. 6390, 2018, pp. 791–795, doi:10.1126/science.aar3646.

Always use arabic numerals in the Number element. If necessary, convert roman numerals or spelled out numerals to arabic numerals.

The publisher is the entity primarily responsible for making the work available to the public. The publisher element may include the following:

  • book publisher
  • studio, network, company, or distributor that produced or broadcast a television show
  • institution responsible for creating website content
  • agency that produced government publication

A publisher's name may be omitted when there is none, or when it doesn't need to be given, for example in:

  • some periodicals (when publication is ongoing)
  • works published by their authors or editors (self-published)
  • websites not involved in producing the content they make available (e.g. Youtube)

This element tells your reader when the version of the book you are citing was published. In the example below, the book was published in 2018:

EXAMPLE Publication date

Lavelle, Christophe, editor.  Molecular Motors: Methods and Protocols. 2nd ed., Humana Press, 2018, doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-8556-2.

If roman numerals are used, convert them to arabic numerals. Use the day-month-year style to minimize commas in your entry and use the most specific date you can find in your source. Include day, month, and year if your source does:

EXAMPLE Specific Publication date

Merrill, Stephen. "Teaching through a Pandemic: A Mindset for This Moment." Edutopia , 19 Mar. 2020, www.edutopia.org/article/teaching-through-pandemic-mindset-moment.

When time is given and helps define and locate the work, include it.

For paginated print or similar formats (e.g. PDFs), the location is the page range. In other cases, additional information may need to be included with the page numbers so that the work can be found. In this overview, you can see examples for locations:

As mentioned above, Works Cited list entries in MLA style are based on the template of core elements. In some cases, you may need or want to give additional information relevant to the work you are documenting. You can do so by adding supplements to the template. There are two sections where you can add supplements, either:

  • after the Title of Source, or
  • at the end of the entry.

A period should be placed after a supplemental element. Three pieces of information are the most likely to be placed after the Title of Source:

  • A contributor other than the author
  • The original publication date (for a work contained in another work)
  • Generically labeled sections (if any part or section of the work has a unique title as well as generic label)

For example, inserting the contributors' roles and names after the Title of Source element tells the reader that Leila El Khalidi and Christopher Tingley translated only The Singing of the Stars , not all the other works in Short Arabic Plays :

EXAMPLE Supplemental elements

Fagih, Ahmed Ibrahim al-. The Singing of the Stars . Translated by Leila El Khalidi and Christopher Tingley. Short Arabic Plays: An Anthology , edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Interlink Books, 2003, pp. 140-57.

If you need to clarify something about the entry as a whole, you can do it at the end of the entry , like:

  • Date of access
  • Medium of publication (when more than one version of a source is accessible on the same landing page and you are citing a version that is not the default version)
  • Dissertations and theses
  • Publication history
  • Book series
  • Columns, sections, and other recurring titled features
  • Multivolume works
  • Government documents

EXAMPLE Government documents

United States, Congress, House. Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act of 2016. Congress.gov , www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/6394/text. 114th Congress, 2nd session, House Resolution 6394, passed 6 Dec. 2016.

How to use Bibguru for MLA citations

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In-text citations aim at directing the reader to the entry in your Works Cited list for the source. while creating the least possible interruption in the text. An in-text citation usually contains the author's name (or other first element in the entry in the works cited list) and a page number. The page number usually goes in a parenthesis, placed where there is a natural pause in the text.

A parenthetical citation that directly follows a quotation is placed after the closing quotation mark. No punctuation is used between the author's name (or the title) and a page number:

EXAMPLE Parenthetical citation

“It's silly not to hope. It's a sin he thought.” (Hemingway 96)

The author's name can appear in the text itself or before the page number in the parenthesis:

Cox names five strategies to implement Diversity Management in companies (50).

Here are some additional examples of in-text citations and their corresponding Works Cited entries:

EXAMPLE Citation in prose using author's name

Smith argues that Jane Eyre is a "feminist Künstlerroman " that narrativizes a woman's struggle to write herself into being (86).
Jane Eyre is a "feminist Künstlerroman " that narrativizes a woman's struggle to write herself into being (Smith 86).

EXAMPLE Works cited

Smith, Jane. Feminist Self-Definition in the Nineteenth-Century Novel . Cambridge UP, 2001.

How to correctly style your in-text citations

  • If you are citing an author in your paper, give the full name at first mention and the last name alone thereafter.
  • If you are citing a work with two authors, include both first and last names the first time you mention them in your paper. Then, in a following parenthetical citation, connect the two last names with and .
  • If the source has three or more authors, you may list all the names or provide the name of the first collaborator followed by "and others" or "and colleagues". In a parenthetical citation, list the last name of the first author and et al .

Ditch the frustrations for stress-free citations

The MLA Handbook also provides guidelines on how to present your paper in a clear and consistent way. These are the general guidelines to format your paper correctly , according to MLA. For more details, refer to the MLA Handbook :

  • Use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Font size should be 12 pt.
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Double-space the entire text of your paper.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.
  • Indent every new paragraph one half-inch from the left margin. You can use your tab bar for this.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one half-inch from the top and flush with the right margin.
  • Use italics for the titles of longer works.
  • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically required.
  • On the first page, make sure that the text is left-aligned. Then, list your name, the name of your teacher or professor, the course name and the date in separate lines.
  • Center align your heading. Do not italicize, bold, or underline your title. Also, do not use a period after the title.

The MLA Handbook gives guidance for a multitude of different sources, like websites, television series, songs, articles, comic books, etc., and considers various types of contributors to these sources. BibGuru's MLA citation generator helps you create the fastest and most accurate MLA citations possible. If you want to learn more about MLA citations, check out our detailed MLA citation guides .

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Resources based on the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook

  • Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
  • California State University, Northridge Library MLA Style Guide
  • Columbia College Library MLA Style Guide
  • McMaster University Library MLA Style Guide
  • Spartanburg Community College Library MLA Style Guide
  • Madison College Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills Library MLA Style Guide
  • University of Wisconsin-Parkside Library MLA Style Guide

The following resources are based on the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook , but still offer relevant insights on MLA style

  • University of Washington Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • University of North Texas Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • Valencia College Library MLA Style Guide
  • College of Southern Nevada Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • University of Nevada, Reno Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • Montana State University Library MLA Style Guide
  • University of Michigan Library MLA Style Guide
  • University of Vermont Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • University of Illinois Library MLA Style Guide
  • Hillsborough Community College Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • Southern Connecticut State University Library MLA Style Guide
  • Arizona State University Library MLA Style Guide

An in-text citation usually contains the author's name (or other first element in the entry in the works cited list) and a page number. The page number usually goes in a parenthesis, placed where there is a natural pause in the text.

In MLA style, audio-visual material uses the specific time of the audio/video for in-text citations. You need to cite the author's last name and the time or a short version of the title and the time within parentheses, e.g.:

The following scene exemplifies the performer's physical abilities (Thurman 00:15:43-00:20:07).

Anyone can use MLA style given its versatility. However, this format is often used by writers and students working in the arts and humanities, such as linguistics, literature, and history.

Yes, the BibGuru MLA citation generator is completely free and ready to use by students and writers adopting MLA guidelines.

The most recent version of the MLA guidelines is the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook, released in 2021. It is still very new so you should check with your instructor or institution to make sure you're using the right version.

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MLA Format Generator

Yay, MLA format generator! With technology on our side, we can now have programs to do the work for us. Programs can perform very precise works and save us a lot of time.

There are currently many MLA auto generator programs available for you to use for free. These programs allow you to quickly and effortlessly create your works cited list compatible with MLA, APA and many other styles.

Here is a list of my favorite MLA format generators.

How did these citation machines do for you? Did you find them useful? Do you know a good, free generator that is not listed here? Please share with us through the comment form below.

If you find this website useful, please share with a friend:

Hi, Y’all! I’m Jeffery and these websites work quite well! Thanks, For the help!

Thank you for the assist. It was very helpful

These websites are very good, thanks.

Have been having trouble with citationmachine.net lately. Using citefast.com with my students with better results.

These are excellent resources. I appreciate how they lay out each area of the specific paper topics; works cited page, table of contents, etc.

Here are two other resources…..my favorite….Noodle, which really is a free resource to help you cite MLA content and then a resource our Professor shared Purdue Owl.

Nice. Thank you so much! You really helped me out! Out of all of them, I like KnightCite the most. I haven’t lost any marks for incorrectly citing sources since I started using it. 🙂

I use easybib. It is really nice. Just keep in mind that most schools don’t let you use Wiki as a source.

Is there a way to plug in the information and it creates the report?

Those free generators above will do just that, have you tried them yet?

Thank you, Steve. These are useful.

Hello Laura. Thanks!

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Don't let plagiarism errors spoil your paper

Consider your source's credibility. ask these questions:, contributor/author.

  • Has the author written several articles on the topic, and do they have the credentials to be an expert in their field?
  • Can you contact them? Do they have social media profiles?
  • Have other credible individuals referenced this source or author?
  • Book: What have reviews said about it?
  • What do you know about the publisher/sponsor? Are they well-respected?
  • Do they take responsibility for the content? Are they selective about what they publish?
  • Take a look at their other content. Do these other articles generally appear credible?
  • Does the author or the organization have a bias? Does bias make sense in relation to your argument?
  • Is the purpose of the content to inform, entertain, or to spread an agenda? Is there commercial intent?
  • Are there ads?
  • When was the source published or updated? Is there a date shown?
  • Does the publication date make sense in relation to the information presented to your argument?
  • Does the source even have a date?
  • Was it reproduced? If so, from where?
  • If it was reproduced, was it done so with permission? Copyright/disclaimer included?

What You Need to Know About MLA Formatting

Writing a paper soon? If your assignment requires the use of Modern Language Association (MLA) style, then you're in luck! 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 type of paper you choose to print your paper on—yes, it's that comprehensive!

A Handy Guide for Using APA Format

Ever wonder how to cite a book with no author in APA style? Do you know how graphics should be formatted in a paper? Thanks to our EasyBib® guide on citing and formatting in American Psychological Association (APA) style, you don't have to guess anymore! We break down the guidelines for you into separate, digestible chunks of information that range from the ways to present headers, to use of abbreviations, to how to format titles for citations. There are also several helpful citation examples for you to review. Read up and start learning today!

Chicago Style Simplified

Jump start your knowledge of the Chicago Manual of Style (or Turabian style) with our structured EasyBib® guides. Each one will teach you the structure of a Chicago-style citation, followed by a real-life citation example for you to examine. Begin with our "“"Quick Guide" on citing common source types (books, magazines, newspapers, and websites). Then, discover why we have footnotes and how they work, or choose a "How to Cite" guide based on the source type you're using (e.g. photo, film, tweet, journal, blog, video on YouTube, conference paper, etc.). You're in charge of your own learning path!

Student & Teacher Blog for Better Papers

Keep your citing skills current and your writing skills fresh by reading our weekly EasyBib® Blog. You'll find articles about citing interesting source types (know how to cite a meme?), the latest updates to our tools and services, writing tips and tricks, and more! Aside from content that students (or any writer) could benefit from, we also feature posts written by educators, for educators! They discuss writing and information literacy pedagogy, present resource recommendation lists, and generally share their experience and knowledge.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

MLA General Format 

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MLA Style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and citing research in writing. MLA Style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages. 

Writers who properly use MLA also build their credibility by demonstrating accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the purposeful or accidental uncredited use of source material produced by other writers. 

If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the  MLA Handbook  (9th edition). Publishing scholars and graduate students should also consult the  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  (3rd edition). The  MLA Handbook  is available in most writing centers and reference libraries. It is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site. See the Additional Resources section of this page for a list of helpful books and sites about using MLA Style.

Paper Format

The preparation of papers and manuscripts in MLA Style is covered in part four of the  MLA Style Manual . Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in  MLA Style :

General Guidelines

  • Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Double-space the text of your paper and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are each distinct from one another. The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise prompted by your instructor).
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the “Tab” key as opposed to pushing the space bar five times.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
  • Use italics throughout your essay to indicate the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, provide emphasis.
  • If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).

Formatting the First Page of Your Paper

  • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested or the paper is assigned as a group project. 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 course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
  • Double space again and 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.
  • Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text. For example:  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas  as Morality Play; Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking"
  • Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
  • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number. Number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit the last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow instructor guidelines.)

Here is a sample of the first page of a paper in MLA style:

This image shows the first page of an MLA paper.

The First Page of an MLA Paper

Section Headings

Writers sometimes use section headings to improve a document’s readability. These sections may include individual chapters or other named parts of a book or essay.

MLA recommends that when dividing an essay into sections you number those sections with an Arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name.

MLA does not have a prescribed system of headings for books (for more information on headings, please see page 146 in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing , 3rd edition). If you are only using one level of headings, meaning that all of the sections are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections that fit within them, MLA recommends that these sections resemble one another grammatically. For instance, if your headings are typically short phrases, make all of the headings short phrases (and not, for example, full sentences). Otherwise, the formatting is up to you. It should, however, be consistent throughout the document.

If you employ multiple levels of headings (some of your sections have sections within sections), you may want to provide a key of your chosen level headings and their formatting to your instructor or editor.

Sample Section Headings

The following sample headings are meant to be used only as a reference. You may employ whatever system of formatting that works best for you so long as it remains consistent throughout the document.

Formatted, unnumbered:

Level 1 Heading: bold, flush left

Level 2 Heading: italics, flush left

Level 3 Heading: centered, bold

Level 4 Heading: centered, italics

Level 5 Heading: underlined, flush left

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  6. MLA Format Citation Generator (Free) & Quick Guide

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COMMENTS

  1. MLA Format

    Start by applying these MLA format guidelines to your document: Times New Roman 12. 1″ page margins. Double line spacing. ½" indent for new paragraphs. Title case capitalization for headings. For accurate citations, you can use our free MLA Citation Generator. Download Word template Open Google Docs template.

  2. Free MLA Citation Generator [Updated for 2024]

    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!). Generate MLA format citations and create your works cited page accurately with our free MLA citation generator.

  3. Free MLA Citation Generator

    How to cite in MLA format. MLA is one of the most common citation styles used by students and academics. This quick guide explains how to cite sources according to the 9th edition (the most recent) of the MLA Handbook.You can also use Scribbr's free citation generator to automatically generate references and in-text citations.. An MLA citation has two components:

  4. FREE MLA Format Citation Generator

    To use the generator: Choose the type of source you would like to cite (e.g., website, book, journal & video) Enter the URL, DOI, ISBN, title, or other unique source information to locate your source. Click the 'Search' button to begin looking for your source. Look through the search results and click the 'Cite' button next to the ...

  5. Citation Machine®: MLA Format & MLA Citation Generator

    When it comes to formatting your paper or essay for academic purposes, there are specific MLA paper format guidelines to follow. Use paper that is 8½-by-11 inch in size. This is the standard size for copier and printer paper. Use high quality paper.

  6. FREE MLA Format Citation Generator

    The Cite This For Me style guide is based on the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook. Our citation generator also uses the 9th edition — allowing you to shift focus from the formatting of your citations to what's important — how each source contributes to your work. MLA has been widely adopted by scholars, professors, journal publishers, and ...

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    Citation Generator: Automatically generate accurate references and in-text citations using Scribbr's APA Citation Generator, MLA Citation Generator, Harvard Referencing Generator, and Chicago Citation Generator. Plagiarism Checker: Detect plagiarism in your paper using the most accurate Turnitin-powered plagiarism software available to ...

  8. Free MLA Citation Generator

    MLA Format Guide for MLA (9th Edition) MLA citations have two main parts that work together to identify the sources you've used for a paper and each of the specific places in your paper where you directly quote or paraphrase from a source: A Works Cited list. Located at the end of your paper. Contains a list of full references for every ...

  9. Free MLA Citation Generator

    These are the general guidelines to format your paper correctly, according to MLA. For more details, refer to the MLA Handbook: Use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Font size should be 12 pt. ... Yes, the BibGuru MLA citation generator is completely free and ready to use by students and writers adopting MLA guidelines.

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    Generate flawless MLA citations with our user-friendly MLA format generator. Simplify referencing with our MLA citation generator for precise citation generation and formatting. Upgrade to Premium. Paraphraser. ... Begin For Free. Our Citation Generator is free! Check out our

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    It is easy to use. Using this free MLA citation generator is easy. The tool features an intuitive design that makes it simple to add information and quickly get a properly formatted MLA in-text citation or a "Works Cited" entry in a click or two. It is accurate. The best part of our MLA 9 citation generator is that it is perfectly precise.

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    Yay, MLA format generator! With technology on our side, we can now have programs to do the work for us. Programs can perform very precise works and save us a lot of time. There are currently many MLA auto generator programs available for you to use for free. These programs allow you to quickly and

  13. MLA Format Citation Generator (Free) & Quick Guide

    MLA Format Citation Generator (Free) & Quick Guide. Writing your first paper in MLA format can be a bit scary. Use this simple yet comprehensive MLA style guide on all things MLA 8 to take you through the step-by-step process of creating your MLA paper. Use the MLA citation generator to create a detailed works cited page with properly formatted ...

  14. 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 ...

  15. 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 (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

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    In the MLA citation format, in-text citations are brief references within the body of a paper that guide readers to the full citation in the Works Cited page. They typically include the author's last name and the page number where the information was found. Here you can find detailed examples of in-text citations in the MLA format:

  17. Free Works Cited Generator [Updated for 2024]

    A works cited generator is a tool that automatically creates a works cited page in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take in information about the sources you have cited in your paper, such as document titles, authors, and URLs, and will output a fully formatted works cited page that can be added to the ...

  18. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    General guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay Works Cited Page. Resources on writing an MLA style works cited page, including citation formats. Basic Format Basic guidelines for formatting the works cited page at the end of an MLA style paper Books

  19. General Format

    General Guidelines. Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Double-space the text of your paper and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are each distinct from one another.

  20. MLA Works Cited

    Like the rest of an MLA format paper, the Works Cited should be left-aligned and double-spaced with 1-inch margins. You can use our free MLA Citation Generator to create and manage your Works Cited list. Choose your source type and enter the URL, DOI or title to get started. Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

  21. AI Essay Writer: Free AI Essay Generator

    Our essay generator makes citing references in MLA and APA styles for web sources and references an easy task. The essay writer works by first identifying the primary elements in each source, such as the author, title, publication date, and URL, and then organizing them in the correct format required by the chosen citation style.