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MLA Citation Guide - 9th Ed.

MLA 9th Edition Guidelines

MLA Citation Components

MLA Components from https://style.mla.org/All MLA citations will follow a template of applicable core elements: author, title, container, contributors, version, number, publisher, date, and location. If you are missing any of the core elements, simply leave them off.

This page covers each of the core elements in depth, providing examples and guidelines to help you format your citations.

Author

Author component fromhttps://style.mla.org/

The first component in every MLA citation is the author. Sometimes an author can be a corporation or group. End the author component with a period. The MLA Handbook has detailed guidance on identifying and formatting the author component in section 5.3 (starting on page 107).

See MLA Handbook, pages 107-121.

List the full last name, a comma, and then full first and middle name/initial of an author.

  • William Shakespeare: Shakespeare, William
  • Louisa May Alcott: Alcott, Louisa May
  • Leonardo da Vinci: da Vinci, Leonardo
  • George W. Ogden: Ogden, George W.
  • Jean-Luc Lebrun: Lebrun, Jean-Luc

Do not use courtesy or academic titles in your citations. Do include suffixes such as Jr., Sr., III, etc. For people referred to by a religious or noble title, without last names, start with the first name.

  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Doyle, Arthur Conan
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: King, Martin Luther, Jr.
  • Ronald C. White, Sr.: White, Ronald C., Sr.
  • King Henry VIII: Henry VIII
  • Saint Francis of Assisi: Francis of Assisi
  • Lady Gaga: Lady Gaga

List up to two authors in a citation. The second author is listed in normal format. For works with three or more authors, list the first author and then et al.

Sloan, Nate, and Charlie Harding. Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why It Matters. Oxford UP, 2020.

(Sloan and Harding 31)

Ducheneaut, Nicolas, et al. "Building an MMO with Mass Appeal: A Look at Gameplay in World of Warcraft." Games and Culture, vol. 1, no. 4, 2006, pp. 281-317. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412006292613.

(Ducheneaut et al. 290)

See MLA Handbook, pages 111-113.

Some resources may be attributed to a group or organization, instead of a specific person or persons. In this case, give the name of the group or organization, capitalized as needed. Remove initial articles (a, an, the).

Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Utah Model: A Path Forward for Investigating and Building Resilience to Cyber Crime. Law Enforcement Cyber Center, 2017, www.iacpcybercenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/The-Utah-Model-A-Path-Forward-for-Investigating-and-Building-Resilience-to-Cybercrime.pdf.

(Bureau of Justice Assistance)

If the resource is published by the same organization that is the author, do not include an author, and begin your citation with the title.

MLA Handbook. 9th ed., The Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

(MLA Handbook 25)

"Support Programs." Mendocino College. https://www.mendocino.edu/student-services/support-programs. Accessed 28 October 2021.

("Support Programs")

See MLA Handbook pages 119-120.

If a book is compiled by an editor (usually specified on the cover or title page), list the names as usual, but add the word editor or editors after the name(s).

Forrester, David Anthony, editor. Nursing's Greatest Leaders: A History of Activism. Springer, 2016.

(Forrester 102)

See MLA Handbook, page 111.

If there is no listed author or editor, start your citation with the title and continue the citation as normal. Remember that authors can be a company, organization, or group author, and that should be used as the author if provided and if they are not the same as the publisher.

Template

Title OR "Title." ...

Example

Go Ask Alice. 1971. Simon Pulse, 2006.

*In this example, the original publication date (1971) is included.

For in-text citations, use the title of the item, followed by the date. If the title is long, you may abbreviate it to the first few words. Book titles are italicized; articles and webpages are enclosed in quotations.

(Go Ask 5).

("Many Parents")

See MLA Handbook, pages 108 and 119.

If you are only able to identify a screen name as an author, use that as the author's name. List names in regular order.

Life Where I'm From. "What a Japanese Apartment is Like." YouTube, 12 Feb. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_-QJO802Yc.

(Life Where I'm From, 00:00:20)

If you have both a name and a screen name, and they are different from each other, you may include the screen name in square brackets after the name.

Pope Francis [@Pontifex]. "Everyone's existence is tied to that of others: life is not time merely passing by, life is about interactions." Twitter, 15 June 2017, twitter.com/Pontifex/status/875314447497252866.

(Pope Francis)

See MLA Handbook, page 118.

For multiple entries in your Works Cited list by the same author, use three em dashes or three hyphens to replace the author in subsequent citations. Order your citations alphabetically by title. If there are works with co-authors, those are listed separately.

Hawking, Stephen. Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays. Bantam Books, 1993.

---. My Brief History. Bantam Books, 2013.

---. The Universe in a Nutshell. Bantam Books, 2001.

Hawking, Stephen, and Leonard Mlodinow. The Grand Design. Bantam Books, 2010.

To differentiate these works in in-text citations, add a title (or the first few words of a title) to your citation.

(Hawking, Black Holes 114)

See MLA Handbook, pages 221 and 235-236.

Title of Source

Title of Source component https://style.mla.org/

The next component is the title of the source you are using. Depending on what you are citing, your title will be formatted differently. Capitalize all important words in the title. End the title with a period. The MLA Handbook has detailed guidance on identifying and formatting the title component in section 5.23 (starting on page 121).

See MLA Handbook, pages 121-134.

You should italicize the titles of stand-alone works:

  • books
  • journals
  • newspapers
  • magazines
  • films
  • reports
  • plays
  • artwork

If you are citing something that is part of a bigger work, you should place the title in "quotation marks":

  • chapters in books
  • essays, poems, or stories in an anthology
  • entries in a reference book
  • articles in a journal, magazine, or newspaper
  • webpages
  • videos uploaded to YouTube
  • episodes of television or podcasts
  • songs

See MLA Handbook, pages 66-69.

If a title ends in a question mark or exclamation point, you do not need to add a period to the end of the title element.

Dupret, Baudoin. What Is Sharia? Translated by David Bond, C. Hurst, 2018.

See MLA Handbook, page 130.

If your source does not have an official title, provide a general description to use as the title, and do not format with italics or quotation marks. Only capitalize the first word. Examples:

  • Stained glass window
  • Lecture
  • Concert

Beatles. Concert. 15 Aug. 1965, Shea Stadium, New York.

(Beatles)

See MLA Handbook, page 132.

Title of Container

Title of Container component from https://style.mla.org/

When items are contained within something larger, that container can be added on to a base citation. There may be more than one container.

For instance, a short story (source) can be in a book (container 1) that is accessed through a library database (container 2). Or an episode (source) of a television series (container 1) can be streamed through a video service (container 2).

Typically you should italicize the names of containers, and end with a comma.

See MLA Handbook, pages 134-140.

  • a book is the container for a cited chapter, entry, poem, story, etc.
  • a journal/magazine/newspaper is the container for an article
  • a website is the container for a webpage
  • a database is a container for items accessed through them
  • a television series is a container for an episode

In the following citation examples, the containers are bolded but you would not bold these in your Works Cited page:

Hecht, Johanna. "Colonial Kero Cups." Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oct. 2003, http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/kero/hd_kero.htm.

Sharpe, Thomasina H. "Later Life Sexuality." Sex and Sexuality, edited by Richard D. McAnulty and M. Michele Burnette, vol. 1, Praeger, 2006, pp. 133-151.

Shook, Anthony, et al. "Musical Experience Influences Statistical Learning of a Novel Language." The American Journal of Psychology, vol. 126, no. 1, 2013, pp. 95-104. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.5406/amerjpsyc.126.1.0095.

Tizon, Alex. "My Family's Slave." The Atlantic, June 2007, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/06/lolas-story/524490/.

Contributor

Contributor component fromhttps://style.mla.org/

You may wish to include other contributors in your citation that are involved in a work while not being the primary creator/author. Examples include editors, translators, illustrators, and directors.

Just like with authors, if there are three or more editors, translators, etc., list the first contributor and then include the abbreviation et al. Typically, you will end the Contributors element with a comma.

See MLA Handbook, pages 145-148.

Here are some common examples of contributors:

  • edited by
  • translated by
  • illustrated by
  • introduction by
  • directed by
  • performance by
  • uploaded by

In the following citation examples, the contributors are bolded but you should not make them bold in your Works Cited page:

Boyhood. Directed by Richard Linklater, performance by Patricia Arquette, IFC Productions / Detour Filmproduction, 2015.

Homer. The Odyssey. Translated by Herbert Jordan, U of Oklahoma P, 2014.

Redd, Nancy. Bedtime Bonnet. Illustrated by Nneka Myers, Random House, 2020.

Spiotta, Dana. "Jelly and Jack." The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016, edited by Rachel Kushner, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, pp. 39-56.

Version

Version component from https://style.mla.org/

Include the version or edition you are using to help your reader identify the source you are using.

The most common version is the edition of a book, but you may also provide the version of a holy text such as the Bible, information about an eBook version, or a specific version of a film, such as a director's cut.

Typically you will end the version component with a comma.

See MLA Handbook, pages 154-158.

In the following citation examples, the version is bolded but you should not make them bold in your Works Cited page:

Gendrich, Cynthia M., and Stephen Archer. Theatre: Its Art and Craft. 7th ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

Gladwell, Malcom. Outliers: The Story of Success. Kindle ed., Little, Brown and Company, 2008.

Holy Bible. New Living Translation, Tyndale House, 2016.

Stone, Oliver, director. JFK. 1991. Director's cut, Le Studio Canal+ / Regency Enterprises, 2003.

Number

Number component from https://style.mla.org/

Some sources are numbered, and providing the number will help your reader track down the source you are using.

The most common numbering element is the volume and issue of a journal, but you may also provide a volume number for books or a season/episode number for television episodes or podcasts.

Typically, you will end the number component with a comma.

See MLA Handbook, pages 39-40.

In the following citation examples, the number component is bolded but you would not bold numbers in your Works Cited page:

McNeill, Ann, et al. "Tobacco Packaging Design for Reducing Tobacco Use." Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, no. 4, 2017, pp. 1-346. Cochrane Library, https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD011244.pub2.

Orme, Nicholas. "Christianity, Cornwall." The Celts: History, Life, and Culture, edited by John T. Koch and Antone Minard, vol. 1, ABC-CLIO, 2012, pp. 192-193.

"Person to Person." Mad Men, created by Matthew Weiner, performance by Jon Hamm, season 7, episode 14, Weiner Bros., 2015.

Shook, Anthony, et al. "Musical Experience Influences Statistical Learning of a Novel Language." The American Journal of Psychology, vol. 126, no. 1, 2013, pp. 95-104. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.5406/amerjpsyc.126.1.0095.

"Tunnel Vision." Hidden Brain, hosted by Shankar Vedantam, episode 65, NPR, 20 Mar. 2017, www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=520136937.

Publisher

Publisher component from https://style.mla.org/

Most citations include a publisher. This is the organization that produced the source. Examples of publishers are:

  • a book publishing company
  • a production company for a film or television series
  • the organization that produces a website
  • a music label

Typically you will end the publisher component with a comma.

See MLA Handbook, pages 164-173.

Many book publisher names can be abbreviated. Leave off words such as Company, Corporation, Limited, etc. and initial articles, such as The. For academic presses, abbreviate University to U and Press to P. Spell out ampersands (&) as the word and.

  • W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.: W.W. Norton
  • Health Forum LLC: Health Forum
  • Image Comics, Inc.: Image Comics
  • University of Illinois Press: U of Illinois P
  • The MIT Press: MIT Press
  • Princeton University Press: Princeton UP
  • Rowman & Littlefield: Rowman and Littlefield.

See MLA Handbook, page 172.

If there are two or organizations that are equally responsible for a source, include them with a forward slash (/) separating them. This is especially common with films.

Boyhood. Directed by Richard Linklater, IFC Productions / Detour Filmproduction, 2015.

See MLA Handbook, page 170.

For government publications, there are often many departments listed hierarchically. You can use the primary agency (i.e., the biggest) as the publisher, as opposed to listing all departments.

In this example, three agencies are listed:

National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The largest is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is used as the joint publisher in the citation.

Global Health and Aging. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services / World Health Organization, Oct. 2011, www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/2017-06/global_health_aging.pdf. NIH Publication no. 11-7737.

See MLA Handbook, page 171.

Some sources do not need a publisher. Examples include:

  • magazine, journal, or newspaper articles
  • a self-published work
  • a webpage where the publisher is the same as the website title

See MLA Handbook, page 165.

Publication Date

Publication Date component from https://style.mla.org/

The next component is the publication date. List the date as: Day Month Year. Abbreviate all months but May, June, and July. The date is usually followed by a comma.

See MLA Handbook, page 173-187.

Here are a few examples of dates formatted properly in MLA.

  • January 1, 1995: 1 Jan. 1995
  • January/February 2015: Jan.-Feb. 2015
  • April 14, 1976: 14 Apr. 1976
  • May 13, 2016: 13 May 2016
  • June 2006: June 2006
  • 1958: 1958
  • September 27, 2016: 27 Sept. 2016

Some works, such as historical texts or artwork, may have an approximate date. Use the term Circa or spell out the approximate date.

Eberhardt, Anton. Saint George. Circa. 1760, Artstor, library.artstor.org/#/asset/AMICO_CHICAGO_1031150789. Sculpture.

Bayeux Tapestry. Eleventh century, Bayeux Museum, www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/the-bayeux-tapestry/discover-the-bayeux-tapestry/explore-online/.

See MLA Handbook, page 186.

If you are citing a work that has been reprinted or republished, you can include the original date after the title.

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Pit and the Pendulum." 1842. The Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, introduction by Wilbur S. Scott, Castle Books, 2002, pp. 237-246.

See MLA Handbook, pages 209-210.

If an item does not have a discernible date, leave off the date element. Do not use abbreviations to indicate there is no date.

For online sources, you may elect to include a date of access. If there is no date associated with a work, a date of access becomes even more important. You would not bold your date of access in your Works Cited page, however.

"Support Programs." Mendocino College, https://www.mendocino.edu/student-services/support-programs. Accessed 28 September 2021.

See MLA Handbook, page 211.

Location

Location component from https://style.mla.org/

The final component of a citation is the location. The location will differ depending on the type of source you are citing. The location is usually followed by a period.

Print sources (such as a book chapter, entry, or journal article) will include page numbers. Online sources will typically include a URL (note that the preliminary http:// is removed in MLA format). Scholarly articles often have a DOI. Items seen or experienced in person include a physical place.

See MLA Handbook, pages 187-197.

In the following citation examples, the location is bolded but you would not bold locations in your Works Cited page.

Enola Holmes. Directed by Harry Bradbeer, Netflix / Legendary Legendary Pictures / PCMA, 2020. Netflix, www.netflix.com/title/81277950.

Hecht, Johanna. "Colonial Kero Cups." Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oct. 2003, www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/kero/hd_kero.htm.

Miranda, Lin-Manuel. Hamilton. Directed by Thomas Kail, 28 Jan. 2017, PrivateBank Theatre, Chicago.

Mondrian, Piet. Composition with Blue and Yellow. 1932, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. Oil on canvas.

Shook, Anthony, et al. "Musical Experience Influences Statistical Learning of a Novel Language." The American Journal of Psychology, vol. 126, no. 1, 2013, pp. 95-104. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.5406/amerjpsyc.126.1.0095.

Spiotta, Dana. "Jelly and Jack." The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016, edited by Rachel Kushner, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, pp. 39-56.

If a DOI is present for a journal article, include it instead of a URL. DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier and they serve as a permanent link to electronic content.

Format DOIs as follows: https://doi.org/XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Do not omit the https:// prefix. DOIs are a string of numbers and letters that typically begin with 10. You may need to edit DOIs that appear in different formats (e.g., http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251557 or doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0251557) to the proper format.

Lukowski, Angela F., and Dmitry Tsukerman. "Temperament, Sleep Quality, and Insomnia Severity in University Students: Examining the Mediating and Moderating Role of Sleep Hygiene." PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 7, 2021. Gale Academic OneFile, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251557.

Shook, Anthony, et al. "Musical Experience Influences Statistical Learning of a Novel Language." The American Journal of Psychology, vol. 126, no. 1, 2013, pp. 95-104. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.5406/amerjpsyc.126.1.0095.

See MLA Handbook, page 194.

URLs should omit the http:// and https:// prefix (except in the case of DOIs). A period will end the citation after the URL.

"Dance Your Way to Better Brain Health." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 June 2018, www.cdc.gov/features/alzheimers-and-exercise/index.html.

If a URL is three full lines or longer than the rest of the entry, you may shorten it to the host.

See MLA Handbook, pages 195-196.

Supplemental Information

Sometimes you may wish to include supplemental information about a source to help your readers. Supplemental information may be inserted after the title of the source or at the end of the citation, with a period after the information. Here are a few common types of supplemental information.

See MLA Handbook, pages 208-217.

If you are citing a work that has been reprinted or republished, you can include the original date after the title. Dates would not be bolded on your Works Cited page.

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Pit and the Pendulum." 1842. The Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, introduction by Wilbur S. Scott, Castle Books, 2002, pp. 237-246.

See MLA Handbook, pages 209-210.

If the source you are using is part of a series, you may place that information at the end of the citation, after the location. Series information would not be bolded in your Works Cited page.

Cahill, Kevin E., et al. How Does Occupational Status Impact Bridge Job Prevalence? U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2011, www.bls.gov/osmr/pdf/ec110050.pdf. BLS Working Paper 447.

Winter, Marcus A. "More Charter Schools Should Be Opened." Charter Schools, edited by Margaret Haerens and Lynn M. Zott, Greenhaven, 2012, pp. 169-179. Opposing Viewpoints.

See MLA Handbook, page 214.

If you are citing a source that needs to have its format clarified, you may include that information at the end of the citation. Again, formats are not bolded in your Works Cited page.

Mondrian, Piet. Composition with Blue and Yellow. 1932, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. Oil on canvas.

"Tunnel Vision." Hidden Brain, hosted by Shankar Vedantam, episode 65, NPR, 20 Mar. 2017, www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=520136937. Transcript.

See MLA Handbook, pages 211-213.

If the source you are using was originally published elsewhere, you may choose to include the original publication information. You would not bold this information in your Works Cited page, however.

Schroeder, Natalie. "Stephen King's Misery: Freudian Sexual Symbolism and the Battle of the Sexes." Contemporary Literary Criticism, edited by Jeffrey W. Hunter, vol. 244, Thomson Gale, 2008, pp. 50-55. Originally published in Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 30, no. 2, 1996, pp. 137-48.

See MLA Handbook, page 214.

For online sources, you may elect to include a date of access. If there is no date associated with a work, a date of access becomes even more important.

"Support Programs." Mendocino College, https://www.mendocino.edu/student-services/support-programs. Accessed 28 September 2021.

See MLA Handbook, page 211.

Ukiah Campus: 707.468.3053 | Coast Center: 707.961.2200 | Lake Center: 707.263.4944 | North County Center: 707.459.6224
Email: Library Webmaster | Mendocino Community College

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