How To Cite Mla Style In An Essay

MLA: Using Sources Correctly

There are three main ways to uses sources in your research paper. You may quote. You may paraphrase. Or you may summarize. All three require an in-text (parenthetical) citation!

In-text Citations

You CANNOT use information from any website or published book unless you give the author (or site) credit--BOTH inside your text and at the end of your paper.  In other words, it is NOT enough to simply list the sources you used on a Works Cited Page or References List. 

As your instructor reads your essay, he or she should clearly be able to see which sentences, facts, or sections of your essay came from Source A, Source B, or Source C, etc. by looking at your in-text citations.

You can give credit to your sources within your text in two different ways: by using a signal phrase or by simply using an in-text citation. 

Signal phrase:  a signal phrase lets the reader know, right at the beginning of the sentence, that the information he or she is about to read comes from another source.

Example:  Your paper might say something like....According to John Smith (2006), author of Pocahontas Is My Love, "Native American women value a deep spiritual connection to the environment."

Notice that since I took a direct quote from John Smith's book, I placed those words in quotation marks.  Notice also that I placed the date that the book was published directly after the author's name in parentheses--this is proper APA format.  Finally, notice that because I explained WHO wrote the book and WHAT book it comes from, the reader is easily able not only to find the source on his/her own to check my facts, but the reader is also more likely to believe what I have to say now that they know that my information comes from a credible source.

For Web Sources: If I was using a particular website (instead of John Smith's book), the signal phrase would look exactly the same, but I would say "According to Pocahontasrules.com..."     

In-Text Citation:  Use an in-text citation in situations where you are not quoting someone directly, but rather using information from another source such as a fact, summary, or paraphrase to support your own ideas.

Example:  She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style," but she did not offer an explanation (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

Notice that it's clear within this sentence that I'm referring to a certain person's beliefs, but since this person's name does not appear at the beginning of the sentence, I have placed her name, the year that her article was published, and the page number where I retrieved this information in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

Information on how to format an in-text citation


Summarizing Sources

Summarize an article or a larger section of an article whenever you simply want to present the author's general ideas in your essay. 

How to Write an Effective Summary:  Cover up the original article, it is key that you not quote from the original work.  Restate what you've read in your own words, and be sure to give the author credit using an in-text citation. 

Example:  Congressman Joe Smith (2009) believes that our approach to reforming the healthcare system is backwards and costly.  He discusses our rising national debt in "Healthcare: Let's Talk" and lists several statistics to prove that Obama's new plan will only make things worse.

Summaries are most often used to condense larger texts into more manageable chucks. However, as a writer you should be aware that this more manageable chunks and easily become vague and weigh your paper down with fluff.

Paraphrasing Sources

Paraphrase your sources whenever you believe that you can make the information from a source shorter and/or clearer for your audience.  A paraphrase is NOT an exact copy of the original, simply changing a few words here and there is NOT acceptable. 

Take a look at these examples:     

The original passage from The Confident Student (6th ed.):  “Whatever your age, health and well-being can affect your ability to do well in college.  If you don’t eat sensibly, stay physically fit, manage your stress, and avoid harmful substances, then your health and your grades will suffer” (Kanar 158).  

A legitimate paraphrase: No matter what condition your body is in, you can pretty much guarantee that poor health habits will lead to a lack of academic success.  Students need to take time for their physical and emotional well-being, as well as their studies, during college (Kanar 158). 

A plagiarized version:  No matter how old you are, your well-being and your health can impact your ability to do a good job at school.  If you choose not to eat well, exercise, deal with stress, and avoid getting drunk, then your grades will go down (Kanar 158).

Because the art of paraphrasing is more concise than summarizing, a true paraphrase shows that you as a researcher completely understand the source work.

Quoting your sources

If you need help incorporating your sources into your essay, the first thing you'll need to remember is that quotes cannot stand alone--they can't be placed in a sentence all by themselves.  You need to make each quote a part of your essay by introducing it beforehand and commenting on it afterward.  

Think of each quote like a sandwich—the quote is the meat on the inside, but before you taste the meat, you must also be introduced to the sandwich by the bread. After you bite down on that meat, you need the other piece of bread to round out the meal.

The top piece of bread will tell us where the quote came from and/or how it fits in with what’s already been discussed in the essay.  The bottom piece of bread points out what was important about the quote and elaborates on what was being said.


Quoting FAQ’s

How do I use partial quotations to liven up my writing?

Be sure to introduce the author from the source work within the sentence itself  and use quotation marks. No comma is necessary to introduce the quoted phrase.

Example:

Margaret Reardon points out that today's economy cars are "better equipped" to handle accidents than the smaller cars of the past.

What are block quotations and how are they handled?

Block, or indent, quotations longer than four lines of type. When a quotation is indented, the use of quotation marks is not necessary, and the page number is included outside the ending punctuation.

Example:

Jordan stated:

Like many people who enjoy a leisurely pace of living with such attendant activities as reading, painting, or gardening, I often long for a simpler time, a time when families amused themselves by telling stories after supper, as opposed to watching Baghdad get bombed. (1)

Block quotes are indented by one inch, and should be used sparingly.

How do I punctuate shorter quotations?

For a quotation shorter than four lines, quotation marks are used and the page numbers fall inside the ending punctuation.

Example:

According to DR. Shannon Marcus:  "Many of our student's personal decisions will have the inherent dangers of instant gratification, and so will their political decisions," (548).

Do I use a comma or a colon to introduce a quotation?

A quotation is usually introduced by a comma or a colon. A colon precedes when a quotation is formally introduced or when the quotation itself is a complete sentence, but either no punctuation or a comma generally precedes when the quotation serves as an integral part of the sentence.

Compare:

Shelley argued thus: "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."

but

She thought poets "the unacknowledged legislators of the world."

or

"Poets," according to Shelley, "are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."

or

Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" concludes: "A sadder and a wiser man, / He rose the morrow morn."

How do I correctly change a quotation to suit my purpose, such as to identify a pronoun?

Often, a quotation you wish to use includes a pronoun instead of a name. Since you must copy the quotation verbatim, you should insert the name after the pronoun to clarify who you are talking about. Use brackets (not parenthesis).

Example: "He [Clapton] got the chills when he listened to that material recently."

What if my quotation contains a mistake?

Additionally, if your source makes a “mistak”, you copy the mistake because direct quotations are copied verbatim. However, you indicate that the mistake is not yours by using [sic], which means "thus" and tells the reader that the error appears in the original.

Example:

The professor stressed that "if your source makes a mistak [sic], you should copy the mistake because direct quotations are copied verbatim."

If quotations are verbatim, how do I leave something out of a quotation that I do not need?

Use ellipsis marks if you wish to leave something out of the middle of a quotation (perhaps it is not needed or will make your quotation too long).

Original Source:

She states that

many of our students' personal decisions will have the inherent dangers of instant gratification, and so will their political decisions. Virtual reality will make it possible for them to program themselves into scenarios we now merely fantasize about. As a result, imagination itself will require a new definition. (1)

Quoted with ellipses:

She states that

many of our students' personal decisions will have the inherent dangers of instant gratification, and so will their political decisions. . . . As a result, imagination itself will require a new definition. (1)

Note 1: There are only three ellipses marks used in this sentence. A period also appears, indicating that one sentence ended before the word "As." If you had only left out a few words in mid-sentence, then you would not need a period.

Note 2: Do not change the meaning of the quotation when you leave out part of it!

Note 3: Notice that now that information has been removed from the middle of  the quotation, it is only three lines long. It should no longer be indented.

Use ellipsis marks ( . . . ) at the beginning and end of quotations only if necessary. It is not always necessary to do so, and too many will damage the flow of your essay. Use them sparingly.

If my source quotes somebody else, how do I indicate this?

When you have a quotation within a quotation, handle it this way:

Indented original (article by David Fricke appearing in Rolling Stone):

Clapton [Eric] got the chills when he listened to that material recently. It was the first time he had done so in over fifteen years. "It got too much for me," he says. "Old memories started coming back; old issues raised their head. I think of the people in that band and what happened to them." (qtd. in Fricke 26)

Notice that this quotation is indented because it is longer than four lines. Therefore, no quotation marks are used at the beginning or the end. The quotation marks that appear at the end are the result of needing quotation marks around Clapton's remark, not because the entire paragraph is a quotation. Notice also that the first line is indented an additional five spaces. That's because it's the first sentence in the paragraph in the original. If you begin a quotation in mid-paragraph, there is no indention.

Clapton's name does not appear on your Works Cited page as he is not your source. Fricke is the source. Therefore, Fricke's name should appear. Since Clapton is speaking, however, use "qtd. in" (quoted in) for clarification.

Overview of MLA 8 Format

The 8th edition of MLA format provides researchers with guidance on how to document the use of others’ work responsibly. Published in April 2016, the new handbook illustrates examples of citations made in the revised style, and explains how to create two types of citations: full citations that are placed in a works cited list, and in-text citations, which are abbreviated versions of full citations and located in the body of the work.

For a visual guide to MLA 8 citations, see our infographic.

For a PDF guide to general MLA 8 guidelines,click here.

MLA 8th Edition: What’s New?

With the new MLA citation format, a major change was made to how full citations are created and how MLA works cited pages are formatted. Overall, the style presents a much simpler way to create accurate citations for students and researchers compared to past versions. Let’s take a look at the major changes:

1. One standard citation format that applies to every source type

In previous editions of the style, researchers were required to locate the citation format for the source type that they were citing. For instance, if they were trying to cite a scholarly journal article, they would have to find and reference the rules for citing journals. This has become inefficient in modern writing, however, as we are digesting information from a more broad variety of sources than ever before. With information readily available in tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, etc., it has become unrealistic for writers to create citation formats for every source type. To address this, there is now one universal format that  can be used to create citations, which is displayed in MLA 8.

To properly use this new format, the researcher is required to locate the “Core Elements” of each source used in their paper. These “core elements” are what make up the information that will populate each citation. These pieces of information can also be found in the forms in the MLA citation generator.

The “Core Elements” of a citation, along with their corresponding punctuation marks, include the following:

  1. Authors.
  2. Title of the source.
  3. Title of container,
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Numbers,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location.

The appropriate punctuation mark must follow each core element, unless it is the final piece. In that situation, the punctuation mark should always be a period.

These core elements are then placed within the citation, and generally follow this format:

Author. Title. Title of the container. Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher’s name, Date of publication, Location

Here is an example of how an actual citation (in this case, for a book) looks when written using the 8th edition style:

Goodwin, Doris. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Simon & Schuster, 2012.

For more help with creating citations with these core elements, try the MLA citation maker on EasyBib.com.

2. Inclusion of “containers” in citations

When the source you are referencing is actually a small part of a larger source, such as a chapter within a book, the larger source is called the “container,” as it “contains” the smaller source. Generally, the container is italicized and is followed by a comma. For more details on this, see the examples below. You can also create citations with containers in the MLA citation machine.

MLA citation format for citing a title within a container might look as follows:

Source Author(s) Last Name, First Name. “Title of Source.” Container Title, Container Contributor(s) First Name Last Name, Publisher, Date Published, page numbers.

Here is an example full citation of how to cite a book chapter using the 8th edition format:

Uenten, Wesley Iwao. “Rising Up from a Sea of Discontent: The 1970 Koza Uprising in U.S. Occupied Okinawa.” Militarized Currents: Toward a Decolonized Future in Asia and the Pacific, edited by Setsu Shigematsu and Keith L. Camacho, University of Minnesota Press, 2010, pp. 91-124.

3. The ability to use pseudonyms for author names

In order to more efficiently create accurate citations for new source types, it is now acceptable to use online handles or screen names in place of authors’ names.

Formula:

@TwitterHandle. “Content of Tweet.” Twitter, Date, Time, URL (omit http:// or https://).

Example:

@realDonaldTrump. “I will be having a general news conference on JANUARY ELEVENTH in N.Y.C. Thank you.” Twitter, 3 Jan. 2017, 6:58 p.m., twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/816433590892429312

4. Adding the abbreviations vol. and no. to magazine and journal article citations

In previous versions of the style, there was no indication that the numbers in periodical citations referred to the volume and issue numbers. This has changed in the 8th edition to be clearer to the reader.

Example in MLA 7:

O’Carol, John. “The Dying of the Epic.” Anthropoetics 30.2 (2011): 48-49. Print.

Example in MLA 8:

O’Carol, John. “The Dying of the Epic.” Anthropoetics, vol. 30, no. 2, 2011, pp. 48-49.

5. Inclusion of URLS

Unlike previous editions, the inclusion of URLs in citations is highly recommended by the 8th edition.

Omit “http://” or “https://” from the URL when including it in a citation.

6. Omitting the city of publication

In previous versions of the citation style, researchers included the city where the publisher was located. Today, this information generally serves little purpose and the city of publication can often be omitted.

It is suggested that you include the city of publication if the version of the source differs when published in a different country (example: British editions of books versus versions printed in the United States).

7. Flexibility in citation formatting

In addition to one universal format for all source types, the 8th edition now allows for more flexibility in citation presentation than previous versions of the style. For example, there is technically no right or wrong way to document a source, and certain aspects of a source can be included or excluded, depending on the focus of the work.

For example, if you are citing the movie, Casablanca, and your research project focuses on the main character, Rick Blaine, it would be beneficial to your reader for you to include the name of the actor, Humphrey Bogart, in your citation. Other writers who instead focus on the whole movie in their paper may elect to just include the name of the director in their works cited page.

To create the best and most effective citations, you always should think about which pieces of information will help readers easily locate the source you referenced themselves, should they wish to do so.

More on MLA 8.

8th Edition: Formatting Guidelines

Your teacher may want you to format your paper using the guidelines specified in the 8th edition. If you were told to create your citations in this format, your the rest of your paper should be formatted using the new MLA guidelines as well.  

General guidelines:

  1. Use white 8 ½  x 11” paper.
  2. Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides
  3. The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch.
  4. Indent set-off quotations one inch from the left margin
  5. Use any type of font that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman. Make sure that italics look different from the regular typeface
  6. Use 12 point size
  7. Double space the entire research paper, even the works cited page.
  8. Leave one space after periods and other punctuation marks, unless your instructor tells you to make two spaces.
  9. You can either create a title page usingEasyBib’s Title Page creator or omit the title page completely and use a header.

To create a MLA header, follow these steps:

  • Begin one inch from the top of the first page and flush with the left margin.
  • Type your name, your instructor’s name, the course number, and the date on separate lines, using double spaces between each.
  • Double space once more and center the title. Do NOT underline, bold, or type the title in all capital letters. Only italicize words that would normally be italicized in the text. Example: Character Development in The Great Gatsby.
  • Do not place a period after the title or after any heading.
  • Double space between the title and first lines of the text.

Example:

Page Numbers

  • Placed in the upper right-hand corner, one half inch from the top, flush with the right margin.
  • Type your last name before the page number. (To make this process easier, set your word processor to automatically add the last name and page number to each page).
  • Do not place p. before the page number.
  • Many instructors do not want a page number on the first page. Ask your instructor for their specific preferences.

Example:

Tables and Illustrations

  • Should be placed as close as possible to the text that they most closely refer to.
  • Label tables with: “Table,” an arabic numeral, and create a title for it.
    • This information should be located above the table, flush left, on separate lines.
    • Format the title the same way as the title of the paper.
    • Underneath the table, provide the source and any notes. Notes should be labeled with a letter, rather than a numeral, so the reader is able to differentiate between the notes of the text and the notes of the table.
    • Use double spacing throughout.
    • Label illustrations with: Fig. (short for figure), assign an arabic number, and provide a caption.
      • The label and caption should appear underneath the illustration.
      • **If the table or illustration’s caption gives complete information about the source and the source isn’t cited in the text, there is no need to include the citation in the works cited page.
  • Label musical scores with: Ex. (short for Example), assign it an Arabic numeral, and provide a caption.
    • The label and caption should appear below the musical illustration.

Use of Numerals

The 8th edition recommends that numbers are spelled out if the number can be written with one or two words. For larger numbers, write the number itself.

Examples:

One, forty four, one hundred, 247, 2 ½, 101

If the project calls for frequent use of numbers (such as a scientific study or statistics), use numerals that precede measurements.

Examples:

247 milligrams, 5 pounds

Here are some other formatting tips to keep in mind:

  • Do not start sentences with a numeral, spell out the number.
  • Always use numerals before abbreviations or symbols, ex. 6 lbs.
  • In divisions, use numbers, ex: In page 5 of the study

8th Edition: Works Cited Lists

The purpose of an MLA works cited list is to display the sources that were used for a project, and to give credit to the original authors of the works that were consulted for a project. Works Cited lists are typically found at the very end of a project. Citations are what make up a works cited list.

Here are some tips on how to create a works cited list for your citations:

  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the citation, which is typically the last name of the author.
  • Each citation should have a hanging indent.

When there are two or more sources with the same author, only include the author’s name in the first citation. In the second or subsequent citations, use three hyphens in place of the author’s name, followed by a period.

Example:

Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution. Oxford UP, 2007.

– – -. Colonial America. Oxford UP, 1999.

If the author is listed along with another author, type out the full name of each author, do not use the hyphens and periods.

Example:

Sparks, Nicholas. The Notebook. Warner, 1996.

—. A Walk to Remember. Warner, 1999.

Two or more works by the same author:

Example:

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse, and Tom Lichtenheld. Duck! Rabbit! San Francisco: Chronicle, 2009.

—. Exclamation Mark! Scholastic, 2013.

  • The Works Cited list typically appears at the end of a paper.
  • Make the Works Cited page the next consecutive page number. If the last page of your project is page 12, the Works Cited list will be page 13.
  • An annotated bibliography is different than a Works Cited list. An annotated bibliography includes brief summaries and evaluations of the sources.
  • Use one-inch margins around the page. Double-space the entire document.
  • Place the title of the page (Works Cited) in the center of the page, an inch from the top.
  • Create a double space between the title (Works Cited) and the first citation.
  • Each citation should start on the left margin (one inch from the side of the paper).

Example of a Works Cited List:

Connell, James. “The Battle of Yorktown: What Don’t We Know?” The American History Journal, vol. 19, no. 6, 2005, pp. 36-43.

Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution. Oxford UP, 2007.

– – -. Colonial America. Oxford UP, 1999.

The Patriot. Directed by Roland Emmerich, performed by Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger. Columbia Pictures, 2002.

8th Edition: Formatting “Core Elements”

Formatting: Titles

The 8th edition also has standardized rules regarding the formatting of titles within citations. Here are some of the rules pertaining to titles in the new MLA format:

How to Format Book Titles:

When citing book titles, always enter the full title, in italics, followed by a period.  

See the MLA format citation below:

Last Name, First Name. Italicized Title. Publisher, Publication Year.

Click here for additional information on book titles.

How to Format Periodical Titles:

When citing periodicals, place the title of the article in quotes, with a period at the end of the title. The italicized title of the periodical follows, along with a comma.

An MLA format example is below:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Article.” Periodical Title.” Publication Year, Page Numbers.

How to Format Website Titles:

When citing a website, the title of the webpage or article is placed in quotation marks, with a period before the end quotation. The title of the website is written in italics followed by a comma. If the name of the publisher differs from the name of the website, include it after the title. Immediately following the publisher is the date that the page or article was published, or posted. Finally, end with the URL. The URL is the website’s address.

The citation format is as follows:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of the Article or Individual Page.” Title of the website, Name of the publisher, Date of publication, URL.

Click here for additional information on website titles.

Formatting: Authors

Giving credit to the author of works that you use in your research paper is not only important for citation accuracy, but will prevent plagiarism. In order to include the author’s name in your citation, follow the guidelines listed below:

One Author:

Author formatting: Olsen, Gregg.

Citation example:

Olsen, Gregg. If I Can’t Have You: Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children. St. Martin’s True Crime, 2015, pp. 18-22.

Two Authors:

Place the authors in the order in which they appear on the source. Note that only the lead author’s name is listed last name first; all additional authors are listed by their first name, middle initial if applicable, and then last name:

Author formatting: Bernecker, Sven, and Fred Dretske.

Citation example:

Bernecker, Sven, and Fred Dretske. Knowledge: Readings in Contemporary Epistemology. Oxford: UP, 2007.

Three or More Authors:

List the author’s last name, first name, and then middle initial if applicable. Follow it with a comma, and then add et al. in place of the additional authors:

Author formatting: George, Michael L., et al.

Citation example:

George, Michael L., et al. The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook. McGraw-Hill, 2005.

Individuals Other Than an Author:

In cases where the person responsible for creating a work is someone other than the author, such as an editor, producer, performer, or artist, always include the individual’s role after the name:

Kansaker, Tej Ratna, and Mark Turin, editors.  

When citing works of entertainment, such as film or television, include the name and role of the person on whom you’ve focused:

Byrne, Rose, performer.

*Note: If you are writing about a film or television show that does not focus on an individual’s role, omit the author’s name and start the citation with the title.

If a corporation is the author of the text, include the full name of the corporation:

The American Heart Association.

Translated Works:

Treat the translator as the author. You should do this only if the focus of your paper is on the original translated work. Include the name of the original creator after the title, preceded by the word “By”:

Author formatting: Rabassa, Gregory, translator.
Citation example:

Rabassa, Gregory, translator. One Hundred Years of Solitude. By Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Random House, 1995.

No Author:

When no author is given in a text, omit this section and start the citation with the title.

Formatting: Versions

Sources can be released in different versions, or forms. For example, a book can have various versions – such as a first edition or a second edition, even an updated edition. A movie can have an unrated or an uncut version. It is important to communicate to the reader which version was used to. This will help them locate the exact source themselves.

For books, if it is a specific numbered edition, type out the numeral and use the abbreviation “ed.” for edition.

If no specific version is mentioned or located, omit this information from the citation.

Examples of 8th edition citations for sources with various versions:

Weinberger, Norman M. “The Auditory System and Elements of Music” The Psychology of Music, edited by Diana Deutsch, 2nd ed., Academic Press, 1999, p.61. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=A3jkobk4yMMC&lpg=PP1&dq=psychology&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=psychology&f=false.

JFK. Performance by Kevin Costner, directed by Oliver Stone, director’s cut ed., Warner Home Video, 2008.

Formatting: Dates

When including the date of publication, there aren’t any set rules to how the date should be input into the citation. For example, you can use May 5, 2016 or 5 May 2016. What does matter is consistency. Whichever way the date is placed in one citation, the same format should be used in the other citations in your project.

Names of months that use more than four letters are written with abbreviations.

Examples:

Jan., Sept., Nov.

In-Text Citations

Researchers place brief parenthetical descriptions to acknowledge which parts of their paper reference particular sources. Generally, you want to provide the last name of the author and the specific page numbers of the source. If such information is already given in the body of the sentence, then exclude it from the parenthetical citation.

When citing websites, just include the author’s last name and/or a shortened version of the webpage title.

Place the parenthetical citation where there is a pause in the sentence – normally before the end of a sentence or a comma. The in-text citation will differ depending on how much information you provide within the sentence.

Example in text citation:

(Author Last Page Number[s]).

(Rowling 19). Find out more here.

In-Text Citations with more than one author

If you use sources with the same author surnames, then include a first name initial. If the two sources have authors with the same initials, then include their full names.

Example:

(J. Johnson 12-13).

Or

(John Johnson 12-13).

If there are two or three authors of the source, include their last names in the order they appear on the source:

Example:

(Smith, Wollensky, and Johnson 45).

If there are more than three authors, you can cite all the authors with their last name, or you can cite the first author followed by “et al.” Follow what is shown the works cited list.

Example:

(Smith et al. 45).

In-Text Citations without an author

Some sources do not have authors or contributors—for instance, when you cite some websites. Instead, refer to the name of the source in your parenthetical citation in place of the author. Shorten/abbreviate the name of the source but ensure that your reader can easily identify it in your works cited (abbreviate the title starting with the same word in which it is alphabetized). Punctuate with quotations or italicize as you would in its works cited form (a book is italicized; an article is in quotes).

Examples:

Double agents are still widely in use (Spies 12-15, 17).

With prices of energy at new highs, bikes have been increasingly used (“Alternative Transportation” 89).

Citing Part of a Work in the text

When citing a specific part of a work, provide the relevant page or section identifier. This can include specific pages, sections, paragraphs or volumes. When the identifier is preceded by an abbreviation or word, place a comma between the identifier and the source reference.

Article in a Periodical in the text

When citing a specific page(s) of a multivolume work, precede the page number by the volume number and a colon. Do not separate by a comma.

It was arguably the most innovative period in history (Webster 4:12-15).

Use “par.” or “pars.” when referring to specific paragraphs.

The marketing dollars of big studio films has overshadowed good indie movies (Anderson, pars. 12-34).

Citing Group or Corporate Authors in the text

In your parenthetical citation, cite a corporate author like you would a normal author. Preferably, incorporate the corporate author in your text instead of the parenthetical citation.

Facial transplants pose significant risk to the autoimmune system (American Medical Association 12-43).

As noted by the American Medical Association, facial transplants pose significant risk to the autoimmune system (12-43).

Citing an Entire Source in the text

When citing an entire work, there are no specific page numbers to refer to. Therefore it is preferable to refer to the source within the text itself with either the author or the title of the source.

Hartford suggests the Internet provides more distractions than it does information.

Citing Indirect Sources in the text

When an original source is unavailable, then cite the secondhand source – for instance, a lecture in a conference proceedings. When quoting or paraphrasing a quote, write “qtd. in” before the author and pages.

John Murray calls Tim Smith “interesting but egotistical” (qtd. in Jesrani 34).

Citing Classical/Religious Sources in the text

For works such as novels, plays and other classic works, it’s helpful to provide further identifying information along with the page information. Do this by adding a semicolon and then the identifying information following the page number.

(Tolstoy 5; pt. 2, ch. 3).

When citing classic poems and plays, replace page numbers with division numbers (part, book, scene, act). The below refers to book 10 line 5. Bear in mind the divisions and the way they are written can vary by source.

Fear plays a role in Homer’s Odyssey (10.5).

The title of books in the Bible and other famous literary works should be abbreviated.

(New Jerusalem Bible, Gen. 2.6-9).<?p>

Where to Place In-Text Citations

Place parenthetical citations at the end of the sentence you are paraphrasing and quoting. For example: The destruction of the argentine is due to many socioeconomic factors (Taylor 33).

Even when quoting, place the parenthetical citations after the quotations.

“Mamma always said stupid is as stupid does” (Gump 89).

Placing In-text Citations After Direct Quotes

When directly quoting a source, place the parenthetical citation after the quote.

Sanders explains that economic woes are due to “the mortgage crisis and poor risk assessment” (20).

Long Quotes

When quoting four lines or more, indent every line you are quoting by one inch (or 10 spaces) and do not use quotes.

Example:

The use of nuclear weapons in today’s society is strikingly alarming. Though the United States is the only country to employ it in the past, they are at the same time the country that condemns its use the most. While this may seem hypocritical, is it the most proper action for the United States to make as the global leader (Taparia 9).

Why We Use In-Text Citations

Researchers place brief parenthetical descriptions to acknowledge which parts of their paper reference particular sources. Generally, you want to provide the last name of the author and the specific page numbers of the source. If such information is already given in the body of the sentence, then exclude it from the parenthetical citation.

Citing Sources in MLA 8

Ready to start citing? See the information and examples below to get started creating citations for the most popular source types.

*Please note that these are only some of the ways you can cite sources in MLA 8. If you need further assistance, consult the MLA Handbook, Eighth Edition, or ask your teacher or librarian.

How to Cite a Print Book:

Book – A written work or composition that has been published – typically printed on pages bound together.

Much of the information needed to cite a book can be located on the title page:

Formula:

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of the work, translated by or edited by First Name Last name, vol. number, Publisher, Year the book was published, page number(s).

Examples:

Roth, Veronica. Divergent. Katherine Tegen Books, 2011.

Olsen, Gregg, and Rebecca Morris. If I Can’t Have You: Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children. St. Martin’s True Crime, 2015, pp. 18-22.

Matthews, Graham, et al. Disaster Management in Archives, Libraries, and Museums. Ashgate, 2009.

How to Cite a Book Chapter:

Formula:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of chapter or section.” Title of the work, translated by or edited by First Name Last name, vol. number, Publisher, Year the book was published, page number(s).

Example:

Montrose, Louis. “Elizabeth Through the Looking Glass: Picturing the Queen’s Two Bodies.” The Body of the Queen: Gender and Rule in the Courtly World, 1500-2000, edited by Regina Schulte, Berghahn, 2006, pp. 61-87.

How to Cite an E-book Found Online:

Formula:

Author’s last name, First name. “Title of the chapter or section.” Title of the e-book, translated by or edited by First name Last name, vol. number, Publisher, Year of publication, page number(s). Title of the web site or database, URL.

Examples:

Austen, Jane, and Seth Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Quirk, 2015. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=x5xPaPeZzmUC&lpg=PP1&dq=zombies&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=zombies&f=false.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Gold Bug.” Short Stories for English Courses, Edited by Rosa M.R. Mikels, 2004. Project Gutenberg, www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/5403/pg5403-images.html.

How to Cite an E-book on a Device:

Formula:

Author’s last name, First name. “Title of the chapter or section.” Title of the e-book, translated by or edited by First name Last name, Name of e-reader device, vol. number, Publisher, Year of publication, page number(s).

Example:

Doer, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See. Kindle ed., Scribner, 2014.

For more info click here.

How to Cite a Website:

Formula:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of the Article or Individual Page.” Title of the website, Name of the publisher, Date of publication, URL.

Example:

Feinberg, Ashley. “What’s the Safest Seat in an Airplane?.” Gizmodo, Gawker Media, 3 Aug. 2016, www.gizmodo.com/the-safest-seat.

Click here for more on websites.

How to Cite a Website with no author:

Formula:

“Title of the Article or Individual Page.” Title of the website, Name of the publisher, Date of publication, URL.

Example:

“Giant Panda.” Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institute, 2004, nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/giantpandas/pandafacts

How to Cite a Website with No Webpage Title:

Formula:

Webpage Description. Title of the website, Name of the publisher, Date of publication, URL.

Example:

General Information on the New York Mets. NYCData, The Weissman Center for International Business Baruch College/CUNY, www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/sports/nymets.htm.

How to Cite a Journal Article Found on a Database:

Journal – A periodical published by a special group or professional organization. Often focused around a particular area of study or interest. Can be scholarly in nature (featuring peer-reviewed articles), or popular (such as trade publications).

*Note: Online databases provide access to thousands of journal articles. It is important to identify the database name when citing a journal article found through a database.

Formula:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of the article.” Title of the journal, First name Last name of any other contributors (if applicable), Version (if applicable), Numbers (such as a volume and issue number), Publication date, Page numbers. Title of the database, URL or DOI.

Example:

Brian, Real, et al. “Rural Public Libraries and Digital Inclusion: Issues and Challenges.” Information and Technology Libraries, vol. 33, no. 1, Mar. 2014, pp. 6-24. ProQuest, ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/docview/1512388143?accountid=35635.

How to Cite a Journal Article Found in Print:

Formula:

Author’s Last name, First name ” Title of the article.” Title of Journal, Volume, Issue, Year, pages.

Example:

Bagchi, Alaknanda. “Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi’s Bashai Tudu.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, vol. 15, no. 1, 1996, pp. 41-50.

How to Cite an Essay:

Follow the formula for citing a book. Cite the author of the essay, the name of the essay, the name of the collection, the editor of the collection, the publication information, and the page number(s) of the essay.

How to Cite an Image from a Website:

If there is no title available for the image, include a brief description of the image instead.

Formula:

Creator’s Last name, First name. “Title of the digital image.” Title of the website, First name Last name of any contributors, Version (if applicable), Number (if applicable), Publisher, Publication date, URL.

Examples:

Vasquez, Gary A. Photograph of Coach K with Team USA. NBC Olympics, USA Today Sports, 5 Aug. 2016, www.nbcolympics.com/news/rio-olympics-coach-ks-toughest-test-or-lasting-legacy.

Gilpin, Laura. “Terraced Houses, Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico.” Library of Congress, Reproduction no. LC-USZ62-102170, 1939, www.loc.gov/pictures/item/90716883/.

How to Cite a Photograph in a Book:

Formula:

Photographer Last, First M. Photograph Title. Circa Date Taken, Location/Museum. Book Title, by Author First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year Published, page number(s).

Example:

Bennett, Peter. East Village. Circa 1983, Museum of Modern Art. New York City: A Photogenic Portrait, by Laura Sheppard, Twin Lights, 2004, p. 8.

How to Cite a Photograph from a Database:

Formula:

Photographer Last, First M. Photograph Title. Circa Year Created, Location/Museum. Database Title, URL.

Example:

Freed, Leonard. Holidaymaker Stuck in Traffic Jam. Circa 1965. ARTstor, www.artstor.org.

How to Cite a Newspaper Article in Print:

Formula:

Last, First M. “Article Title.” Newspaper Title [City], Date Month Year Published, Page(s).

Example:

Bowman, Lee. “Redistricting Push Puts a Lot on Line.” Sun-Sentinel [Fort Lauderdale], 7 Mar. 1990, p. A4.

How to Cite a Newspaper Article Found Online:

Formula:

Last, First M. “Article Title.” Website Title. Website Publisher, Date Month Year Published.

Example:

Jensen, Elizabeth. “Sesame Workshop Tackles Literacy With Technology.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 19 Oct. 2014.

How to Cite a Magazine Article in Print:

Formula:

Last, First M. “Article Title.” Magazine Title, Date Month Year Published, Page(s).

Example:

Rothbart, Davy. “How I Caught up with Dad.” Men’s Health, Oct. 2008, pp. 108-13.

How to Cite a Magazine Article Found Online:

Formula:

Last, First M. “Article Title.” Magazine Title, Date Month Year Published, URL.

Example:

Laurent, Olivier. “See What Undocumented Immigrants Carry Across the Border.” TIME Magazine, 30 Jan. 2015, www.time.com/364789/undocumented-immigrants.

How to Cite a Movie:

Formula:

Film Title. Contributors (these can be directors, producers, performers, etc). Studio/Distributor, year released.

Example:

Little Miss Sunshine. Directed by Martin Scorsese, performed by Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel. Warner Brothers, 1973.

How to Cite a TV Show Episode:

Formula:

“Episode Title.” Contributors (these can be directors, producers, performers, etc.), Show Title, Network/Channel, Air Date.

Example:

“Bass Player Wanted.” Narrated by Bob Saget, directed by Pamela Fryman, How I Met Your Mother, CBS, 16 Dec. 2013.

How to Cite Content from a Streaming Service (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon prime etc.):

Formula:

Title of the film or video. Role of contributors and their First name Last name, Publication date. Service Name, url.

Example:

Kindergarten Cop. Directed by Ivan Reitman, performance by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Universal Pictures, 21 Dec. 1990. Amazon Prime, www.amazon.com/Kindergarten-Cop-Arnold-Schwarzenegger/dp/B001VLLES4.

How to Cite a YouTube Video:

Formula:

Last name, First name of the creator. “Title of the film or video.” Title of the website, role of contributors and their First name Last name, Publication date, URL.

Example:

RotoBaller. “RotoBaller MLB: Top Fantasy Baseball Catcher Dynasty League Prospects for 2016.” YouTube, commentary by Raphael Rabe, 27 Mar. 2016, youtu.be/gK645_7TA6c.

How to Cite a Blog Post:

Formula:

Last, First. “Article Title.” Website/Blog Title. Website Publisher, Day Month Year Published, URL.

Example:

Shaw, Julia. “The Memory of Illusion.” Mind Guest Blog, Scientific American Blogs, 13 June 2016, blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/the-memory.

How to Cite a Podcast:

Formula:

Host’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Podcast Episode.” Title of Overall Podcast, Episode Number if Given, Web Site Hosting If Different From Podcast Title, Day Month Year of Episode, URL of episode.

Example:

Orton, Tyler, and Patrick Blennerhassett. “Lessons From the Brexit.” BIV Podcast, Episode 18, Business Vancouver, 28 June 2016, www.biv.com/article/2016/6/biv-podcast-episode-18-lessons-brexit/.

How to Cite a Tweet:

Formula:

Twitter Handle (First Name Last Name if Known). “The entire tweet word-for-word.” Twitter, Day Month Year of Tweet, Time of Tweet, URL.

Example:

@jtimberlake (Justin Timberlake). “USA! USA!!.” Twitter, 16 June 2014, 8:05 PM. www.twitter.com/jtimberlake/status/64780730286358528lang=en.

How to Cite a Facebook Post:

Formula:

Author Last Name, First Name or Account Name. Description of Post. Facebook, Day Month Year of Post, Time of Post, URL.

Example:

Rick Mercer Report. Spread the Net Challenge Winners 2016. Facebook, 23 Mar. 2016, 9:00 a.m., www.facebook.com/rickmercerreport.

How to Cite an Email:

Formula:

Email sender’s Last name, First name. “Email subject.” Received by Recipients Name, date sent.

Example:

Olsen, Mary. “Re: Statistics from Student Population.” Received by Jonas Conner, 15 Mar. 2015.

How to Cite a Music Album:

Formula:

Artist/Group Name. Album Title. Studio/Record Label, Year Released.

Example:

Foo Fighters. In Your Honor. RCA, 2005

How to Cite a Song:

Formula:

Artist/Group Name. “Song Title.” Album Title, Studio/Record Label, Year Released.

Example:

Presley, Elvis. “Jailhouse Rock.” Essential Elvis Presley, BMG, 2007.

How to Cite Sheet Music/Scores:

Formula:

Composer Last Name, Composer First Name. Title of score. Date of composition. Publisher, Date of Publication.

Example:

Handel, G. F. Trio Sonata No. 1. 1733. Southern Music, 1989.

How to Cite a Lecture or Speech:

Formula:

Last Name, First Name. “Presentation Title.” Meeting/Event. Venue, City. Date Conducted.

Example:

Pausch, Randy. “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” Journeys. Carnegie Mellon University. McConomy Auditorium, Pittsburgh. 18 Sept. 2007.

How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation:

Formula:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Paper Title. Dissertation or thesis, Publisher [usually a college or university], Year published.

Example:

Wilson, Peggy Lynn. Pedagogical Practices in the Teaching of English Language in Secondary Public Schools in Parker County. Dissertation. University of Maryland, 2011.

How to Cite Unpublished Conference Proceedings:

Include the name of the entire proceedings, and if there is a specific presentation or paper being cited, include this information as well. You also want to include conference information (name of conference, date, and location) if not already stated in the name of the proceedings.

Because the conference proceedings / paper is unpublished, do not include any publication information, but instead a description of the type of document and the year it was published. Additionally, as it is important to describe where the document can be found since there is no formal publisher, you should include the location of the document. Like all citations in a works cited, try to incorporate as much information as you can find.

Formula:

Contributor name(s). Proceedings of the Conference Name, Location, Date. Name of  Publisher, Year.

Example:

Balakian, Anna, and James J. Wilhelm, editors. Proceedings of the Xth Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association, New York, NY, 1982. Garland, 1985.

 


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