Skip to main content

Citation Styles and Plagiarism: MLA

Get basic information on the major citation styles, plagiarism guidelines, and info on some of our citation softwares

MLA Citation Style

These disciplines use MLA citation and formatting style

  • English Studies - Language, Rhetoric, Literature
  • Foreign Language and Literatures

And these disciplines can use MLA citation and formatting style (Please check with your supervising professor for style guidelines)

  • Theatre
  • Religion
  • Philosophy

Basic MLA Citation Formats

The following guidelines are recommended in accordance with the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. All works cited should use a hanging indent and be double-spaced. For information on citing a source not listed here, please refer to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

Books with a single author

Works cited page:

Hindman, Sandra. Printing the Written Word: The Social History of Books, Circa 1450-1520. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991. Print.

In-text citation:

(Hindman 52)

With signal phrase:

According to Hindman, ... (52).

Articles in a print journal

Works cited page:

Hamill, Frances. "Some Unconventional Women before 1800: Printers, Booksellers, and Collectors." The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 49.4 (1955): 300-14. Print.

In-text citation:

(Hamill 313)

With signal phrase:

Hamill believes... (313).

Articles from databases

Works cited page:

Palabiyik,Nil. "An Early Case Of The Printer's Self Censorship In Constantinople." Library: The Transactions Of The Bibliographical Society 16.4 (2015): 381-404. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.

In-text citation:

(Palabiyik 399)

With signal phrase:

Palabiyik argues... (399).

Articles from the internet

Works cited page:

Colla, Elliott. "How Zaynab Became the First Arabic Novel." History Compass 7.1 (2009): 214-225. Web. 16 March 2016.

In-text citation:

(Colla 220)

WIth signal phrase:

Colla explains... (220).

Documents or sections in a website

Works cited page:

Evans, Michael. "The History of Print Advertising." eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 15 March, 2016.

In-text citation:

(Evans)

With signal phrase:

Evans describes...

Block Quotes

For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented one inch from the left margin. Double space the quote. Only indent the first line of the quotation by an additional quarter inch if you are citing multiple paragraphs. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks.

General Guidelines:

  • 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 recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your supervising professor).
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key.
  • 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 professor may ask that you omit the number on your first page.)
  • Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing 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

  • 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
  • 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 professor or department may ask that you omit last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow your department's guidelines.)

To see a paper formatted in MLA Style, click here!

Helpful Manuals

Helpful Links