MLA 8th Edition Quick Style Guide

MLA Style is a writing and citation style defined by the Modern Language Association, most commonly used within the liberal arts and humanities.

Section 1: Citation Format

Changes to MLA Citation Style in 8th Edition

The 8th edition to the MLA style does not distinguish citation formatting by type of source. Instead, core bibliographic elements are included in a set order. Elements not relevant to the citation style are omitted. If given, include the following elements in a citation in this order:

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

Sometimes, elements 3-9 will repeat again, if, for example, your journal was inside a database.

Putting it all together, here is an example:

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review, vol.64, no.1, 2010, pp.69-88. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41403188

Examples of Citations by Format

  Citation
Book, Single Author Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. Love in the Time of Cholera. Vintage, 1988.
Book, Two Authors

Casell, Kay Ann and Uma Hiremath. Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century: An Introduction. Neal-Schuman, 2004.

(NOTE: Authors should be listed in the order they are listed on the title page.)

Book, Three or More Authors

Robbins, Chandler S., et al. Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Golden, 1966.

Book, with Translator or other contributors

Homer. The Odyssey. Translated by Robert Fagles, Viking, 1996.

Note: Here are other common descriptions: Adapted by, Directed by, Edited by, Illustrated by, Introduction by, Narrated by, Performance by.

A work (e.g. essay or short story) in an anthology or compilation

Kimball, Jean. "Growing Up Together: Joyce and Psychoanalysis, 1900-1922." Joyce through the Ages: A Nonlinear View, edited by Michael Patrick Gillespie, UP of Florida, 1999, pp. 25-45.

Book, Later Edition

Blamires, Harry. The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide through Ulysses. 3rd ed., Routledge, 1996.

Article in an Online Database

Hannah, Daniel K. "The Private Life, the Public Stage: Henry James in Recent Fiction." Journal of Modern Literature, vol.30, no.3, 2007, pp. 70-94. JSTOR, www.jstor.org.ezproxy.lib.uwf.edu/stable/30053134.

Note: When including a URL, omit the http:// and https://

Article in Print Journal

Hannah, Daniel K. "The Private Life, the Public Stage: Henry James in Recent Fiction." Journal of Modern Literature, vol.30, no.3, 2007, pp. 70-94.

Website (Whole site)

Farkas, Meredith. "Tips for Being a Great Blogger (and a Good Person)." Information Wants to Be Free, 19 July 2011, meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2011/07/19/tips-for-being-a-great-blogger-and-good-person/.

Note: When including a URL, omit the http:// and https://

Individual Streaming Video

Farkas, Meredith. Information Wants to be Free. Jun. 2015, Meredith.wolfwater.com.

Podcast

"Chapter I: If You Keep Your Mouth Shut, You'll Be Surprised What You Can Learn." S-Town from Serial and This American Life. stownpodcast.org/chapter/1. Accessed 8 May 2017.

Tweet

@LibraryLearningCommons. “The 2018 Winter Olympics begins today! What’s your favorite Winter Games event?” Twitter, 9 February 2018, 8:01 a.m., https://twitter.com/TheLWTech/status/9619935508703335488.

Television Show on Streaming Platform

"A Fish Out of Water." Family Guy, season 3, episode 10, Fox Broadcasting Company, 19 September 2001. Hulu, www.hulu.com/watch/171063.

Section 2: In-Text Citations

About Parenthetical Citation in Text

In-text citations appear in the body of your paper. They identify your use of an idea or quotation from one of your sources. The MLA Handbook uses the author-page citation system for in-text citations.

Example of Paraphrased In-Text Citation

Ancient writers attributed the invention of the monochord to Pythagoras, who lived in the sixth century BC (Marcuse 197).

The parenthetical citation “(Marcuse 197)” tells the reader that the information in the sentence was derived from page 197 of a work by an author named Marcuse. If the reader wants more information about this source, they can turn to the works cited list, where a complete citation for Marcuse’s work will be found.

Example of Quoted In-Text Citation

According to some, dreams express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184), though others disagree.

The quoted phrase, “profound aspects of personality”, uses the exact wording of the author to share the tone of the information as well as the meaning. A complete citation of Foulkes’ work will also be listed on the Works Cited page.

Note: Every in-text citation must correspond to a source in your Works Cited page.

Section 3: Synthesizing Research Sources

When using sources in your paper it’s important to show readers where you used your sources to develop your argument and analysis. Signal phrases alert your readers that you are about to refer to your research, either by paraphrasing or with a quote. The signal phrase shows how the information from one source relates to that of another by relating the ideas in your own voice. This synthesis creates the flow of how you contribute to the research conversation.

Example of Signal Phrase

Dr. Sue Biggins, genetics and biology researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, proclaimed the environment of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center provides great hope for finding effective cancer treatments:“It isn’t about playing it safe or working alone. It isn’t about empire building. It’s not full of policies and politics to trip over. It’s all about having the freedom to do the best, most unconventional science possible” (3).

Section 4: Works Cited

Reference Citations

Information about the sources you use in your work are included as a separate list at the end of the paper. The MLA Handbook suggests using the title, "Works Cited", for the list.

Formatting of Works Cited page

  • Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research paper.
  • Label the page Works Cited, centered at the top of the page.
  • Double space all citations.
  • Indent the second and all following lines of a citation by 0.5” to create a hanging indent.

Example of a Works Cited page

Works Cited

An Inconvenient Truth. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, performances by Al Gore and Billy West, Paramount, 2006.

Dean, Cornelia. "Executive on a Mission: Saving the Planet." The New York Times, 22 May 2007, www.nytimes.com/2007/05/22/science/earth/22ander.html?_r=0. Accessed 12 May 2016.

Leroux, Marcel. Global Warming: Myth Or Reality?: The Erring Ways of Climatology. Springer, 2005.

Additional Information

For additional information, visit OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab MLA Formatting and Style Guide at owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01

About This Guide

Sources Used in this Resource

This resource was developed out of and adapted from the following sources:

  • Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of American, 2009.
  • The Online Writing Lab at Purdue, Glendale Community College’s MLA Style Guides, Bedford St. Martin’s Diane Hacker.
  • MLA Style, 8th Edition, Lib Guide, University of West Florida.
  • MLA Style Guide, 8th Edition: About MLA by Angie Neely-Sardon, Indiana River State College, CC-BY-NC-SA.
  • OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab, MLA Formatting and Style Guide.

Quick Guide Version

This webpage edition (03/23/21) by Greg Bem, Sue Wozniak, and Katherine Kelley. You can download the MLA Quick style Guide as a PDF file.