MLA Guidelines

Modern Language Association (MLA) style is generally used in English courses and some humanities courses. Using citations gives credit to the people whose ideas and words you use in your paper. It also gives guidance for further information to readers who may be intrigued by your paper.

You will need to cite in two places: within the paper (in-text citations) and on a "Works Cited" page. In-text citations are very brief; they include only the author's name and the page number(s). Citations on the "Works Cited" page give full information about the source. The following information comes from MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, seventh edition and Rules for Writers , sixth edition, by Diana Hacker.

In-text Citations

In-text citations can be created by using a signal phrase using the author's name and the page number in parenthesis after the information.

Douglas Wiseman notes that researchers must satisfy all basic assumptions before a study begins. They should be sure they have the time, equipment and funding to complete the research (49).

Or the author's name may be included with the page number. Note that the period comes after the page number.  

Researchers should ensure that they have the time, equipment and funding to complete the research before they begin their study (Wiseman 49).

Variations on a Theme: If there is no page number (perhaps because the information is from a website), just use the author's name. If the author is unknown, substitute a shortened version of the title of the work in parenthesis or the complete title in the signal phrase. If you are using two different works by the same author, include the author's last name and a shortened title in the citation so your reader will be able to differentiate the source. If the work has two or three authors, list each of their last names.

Oliu, Brusaw, and Alred suggest taking a deep breath and holding it for a count of ten or clenching and unclenching your fists to calm yourself before making a public presentation (657).

If there are four or more authors, you can name all the authors or give just the first author's last name followed by "et al." If the author is a corporate author (government agency, foundation, corporation, etc.) use the name of the corporate author in the signal phrase or in parenthesis.

Indirect sources: if an author quotes another writer, and you can't find the primary source, follow this example: (qtd. in Fitzpatrick 128).

Works Cited Page

At the end of your paper, include an alphabetized list of all works cited within your paper. This page should be titled "Works Cited." Works are alphabetized by author; if there is no author, alphabetize by title of the work.

Book with author

Bradford, Barbara. Angel . New York: Ballantine Books, 1993. Print

Book with editor

Maxwell, Martha, ed. When Tutor Meets Student . Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994. Print.

Work in an anthology

Barnes, Peter. "Auschwitz." Plays of the Holocaust. Ed. Elinor Fuchs. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1987. 105-45. Print.

Article in a magazine

Millea, Holly. "Look Into My Eyes." Elle Aug. 2003: 118-119.

Article in a daily newspaper

Lesier, Ken. "Airplanes and Wildlife are Colliding More Often." St. Louis Post-Dispatch 12 Nov. 2003, A+7. Print.

Article in a scholarly journal with only a volume number

Boivin, Jacky. "A Review of Psychosocial Interventions in Infertility." Social Science and Medicine 57 (2003): 2325-43. Print.
(Note: this reference includes the volume number (57), but does not need the issue number)

Article in a journal paginated by issue

Heng, Geraldine. "Cannibalism, the First Crusade, and the Genesis of Medieval Romance." Differences-A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 10.1 (1998): 98-175.
(Note: The volume number is listed first, then a period, then the issue number.)

Works Cited: Online

When documenting online sources follow the same format as printed sources. Also include the date you accessed the information, the date of publication or last update, the name of the Web site and the word "Web".

Corporate or group author

Procter & Gamble. Trademark and Facts: Procter & Gamble's Moon and Stars Trademark . 2003. Web. 13 Nov. 2003

Work from a database service such as InfoTrac or EBSCOhost

Hoge, Dean. "Catholic Generational Differences." America 181.9 (1999): 14-20.Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Webster University Lib., St. Louis, MO. Web. 13 Nov. 2003

For Additional Guidance

Obviously there are many more variations, in both print and electronic resources. For full documentation guidelines, consult the MLA Handbook, or;; or