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How to Cite Something in MLA Format
MLA formatting refers to the writing style guide produced by the Modern Language Association. If you’re taking a class in the liberal arts, you usually have to follow this format when writing papers. In addition to looking at MLA examples, it helps to know the basics of the style guide.
MLA requires parenthetical citations within the document. This means you must include source information inside parentheses placed after a quotation or paraphrase from a source. Each parenthetical citation must have the page number where you found the information you used. It may also have the author’s or creator’s name. Do not use a comma to separate the name and the date.
The format for in-text citations depends on the format of the source material. For print material like books and journals, you need the author’s name and publication date. If the source has two authors, use and to join them and the term “et al.” if it has more than two authors. You can also reference the authors in the document and include only the page number in parentheses.
Citations for Nonprint Material
If you use nonprint materials as sources, you have to cite them. However, you don’t have to include page numbers with the in-text citations. You do have to include information like the name of the work, the creator’s name and the year of publication on the Works Cited page.
When you complete the Work Cited page, each source requires additional information. For images, you need to include contributors, the reproduction number and URL where you located the image online. Movies must list the director’s name and distributor. A TV series needs the episode title and number, series title, season number and network. Pieces of music should include the title of the track and album and the record label.
Works Cited List
When you use MLA format, you must have a Works Cited page that lists all of the sources you used for the paper. This page goes at the end of the document on a separate page. You list all of the sources in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. Make sure the page is double-spaced and that you follow the specific guidelines for formatting each entry.
If you don’t have access to printed MLA style guides or don’t understand how to format your sources, you can turn to a citation generator. There are several citation generators available online for free or as part of a subscription service. You can also find them in word processing programs.
To use a citation generator, you enter information about each source. The program automatically formats the sources for the works cited page. You can also select the places in the document to add in-text citations.
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What to do when information is missing, no page numbers, no database name, how to alphabetize titles in works cited list.
If there is no author given, your citation will start with the title of the work. You must put these citations in correct alphabetical order in your Works Cited list.
When putting works in alphabetical order, ignore initial articles such as "the", "a", or "an". For example the title The Best of Canada would be alphabetized as if it started with the word Best instead of the word The.
If the title begins with a number, alphabetize it as if the number was spelled out. For example the title 5 Ways to Succeed in Business would be alphabetized under F as if it had started with the word Five .
For example, this is how the following titles would be alphabetized:
Anthropology in Action [A] The Best of Canada [B... ignore "The"] Easy Plant Care [E] 5 Ways to Succeed in Business [F... 5=Five] A Special Kind of Madness [S... ignore "A"]
If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title of the source you are citing instead. Do not use "Anonymous" as the author's name. Use the first one, two, or three main words from the title, in either italics or in "quotation marks" (the same way it is written in your Works Cited list). You should provide enough words to make it clear which work you're referring to from your Works Cited list.
"How to Teach Yourself Guitar." eHow, Demand Media, www.ehow.com/how_5298173_teach-yourself-guitar.html. Accessed 24 June 2016.
In-text citation would be ("How to Teach")
Note : An author/creator won't necessarily be a person's name. It may be an organization or corporation, for example Health Canada or a username on a site such as YouTube. Also, it is possible for the author's name to be written as only initials. If the author is known only by initials, treat the initials as one unit. Use the initials in your in-text citation and list the entry under the first initial in your Works Cited page.
If no date is provided, skip that information in your citation. It is recommended that you add the date you accessed the work at the end of the citation in your Works Cited list. Access date is given by putting the word "Accessed" followed by the date you viewed or accessed the work (format = Day Month (shortened) Year).
"Audit and Assurance." Chartered Professional Accountants Canada , www.cpacanada.ca/en/business-and-accounting-resources/audit-and-assurance. Accessed 6 Sept. 2019.
Some sources, such as online materials, won't have page numbers provided. If this is the case, leave the page numbers out of the citation. For your in-text citation, just use the author's name or the title of the work if there is no author given. For your Works Cited list, just leave the page number part out.
Williamson, Jennifer. "Canada: Business: Attire." Global Road Warrior, World Trade Press, 2018, www.globalroadwarrior/com/#mode=country®ionId=27&uri=country-content&nid=13.08&key=country-attire. Accessed 17 July 2016.
In-text citation would be (Williamson)
Note If there are no page, chapter, paragraph, or section numbers in the original text, then don't include any. Never count pages or paragraphs yourself .
If you find an article through the search bar on the main library page, you might be unsure which database the article is from, because this searches across many different databases.
You can find the name of the database a few ways:
Method 1. Click on the title of the article in the search results list. This will bring you to a page with a description of the article as well as other useful information. Scroll down to the bottom of this list of information, and you should see "Database" listed near the bottom.
Method 2. You can also find the name of the database in the summary of information just below the title of the article in the search results list. It will look something like this:
Notice the name of the database is listed at the end.
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When information is missing, skip that element in the citation. The only exception is the title. If there is no clear title, use one or a few words to concisely describe the source.
If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title/name of the item you are citing.
Note : An author/creator is not necessarily a person's name. It may be an organization or corporation, for example Health Canada or a username on a site such as YouTube.
If, and only if, an item is signed as being created by Anonymous, use "Anonymous" where you would normally put the author name.
Alphabetical order in works-cited list
When putting works in alphabetical order, ignore initial articles such as "the", "a", or "an". For example the title The Best of Canada would be alphabetized as if it started with the word Best instead of the word The.
If the title begins with a number, alphabetize it as if the number was spelled out. For example the title 5 Ways to Succeed in Business would be alphabetized under F as if it had started with the word Five .
If no date is provided, skip that information. It's recommended that you add the date you accessed the work at the end of the citation. Access date is given by putting the word "Accessed" followed by the Day Month (Shortened) Year the work was accessed/viewed.
Example: Accessed 20 Aug 2016.
No Page Numbers
Page numbers may not be provided for some items, such as online materials. If this is the case leave the page numbers out of the citation.
No Database Name
If you find an article using Library Search make sure to click through to read the full article. Once you are looking at the full article it usually says the database name at the top of the screen.
If it is ambiguous or says something like "searching 12 databases" and you can't tell which one database it is from, enter the name of the database provider (e.g. Proquest, EBSCO, etc.) as the database.
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Frequently asked questions
How do i cite a source with no date in mla style.
When an online source (e.g. web page , blog post) doesn’t list a publication date , you should instead list an access date .
Unlike a publication date, this appears at the end of your MLA Works Cited entry, after the URL, e.g. “A Complete Guide to MLA Style.” Scribbr , www.scribbr.com/category/mla/. Accessed 28 Mar. 2021 .
For offline sources with no publication date shown, don’t use an access date—just leave out the date.
Frequently asked questions: MLA Style
In MLA style , footnotes or endnotes can be used to provide additional information that would interrupt the flow of your text.
This can be further examples or developments of ideas you only briefly discuss in the text. You can also use notes to provide additional sources or explain your citation practice.
You don’t have to use any notes at all; only use them to provide relevant information that complements your arguments or helps the reader to understand them.
No, you should use parenthetical MLA in-text citations to cite sources. Footnotes or endnotes can be used to add extra information that doesn’t fit into your main text, but they’re not needed for citations.
If you need to cite a lot of sources at the same point in the text, though, placing these citations in a note can be a good way to avoid cluttering your text.
According to MLA format guidelines, the Works Cited page(s) should look like this:
- Running head containing your surname and the page number.
- The title, Works Cited, centered and in plain text.
- List of sources alphabetized by the author’s surname.
- 1-inch margins.
- Hanging indent applied to all entries.
The MLA Works Cited lists every source that you cited in your paper. Each entry contains the author , title , and publication details of the source.
No, in an MLA annotated bibliography , you can write short phrases instead of full sentences to keep your annotations concise. You can still choose to use full sentences instead, though.
Use full sentences in your annotations if your instructor requires you to, and always use full sentences in the main text of your paper .
If you’re working on a group project and therefore need to list multiple authors for your paper , MLA recommends against including a normal header . Instead, create a separate title page .
On the title page, list each author on a separate line, followed by the other usual information from the header: Instructor, course name and number, and submission date. Then write the title halfway down the page, centered, and start the text of the paper itself on the next page.
Usually, no title page is needed in an MLA paper . A header is generally included at the top of the first page instead. The exceptions are when:
- Your instructor requires one, or
- Your paper is a group project
In those cases, you should use a title page instead of a header, listing the same information but on a separate page.
The level of detail you provide in a publication date in your Works Cited list depends on the type of source and the information available. Generally, follow the lead of the source—if it gives the full date, give the full date; if it gives just the year, so should you.
Books usually list the year, whereas web pages tend to give a full date. For journal articles , give the year, month and year, or season and year, depending on what information is available. Check our citation examples if you’re unsure about a particular source type.
In an MLA Works Cited list , the names of months with five or more letters are abbreviated to the first three letters, followed by a period. For example, abbreviate Feb., Mar., Apr., but not June, July.
In the main text, month names should never be abbreviated.
In your MLA Works Cited list , dates are always written in day-month-year order, with the month abbreviated if it’s five or more letters long, e.g. 5 Mar. 2018.
In the main text, you’re free to use either day-month-year or month-day-year order, as long as you use one or the other consistently. Don’t abbreviate months in the main text, and use numerals for dates, e.g. 5 March 2018 or March 5, 2018.
In most standard dictionaries , no author is given for either the overall dictionary or the individual entries, so no author should be listed in your MLA citations.
Instead, start your Works Cited entry and your MLA in-text citation with the title of the entry you’re citing (i.e. the word that’s being defined), in quotation marks.
If you cite a specialist dictionary that does list an author and/or overall editor, these should be listed in the same way as they would for other citations of books or book chapters .
Some source types, such as books and journal articles , may contain footnotes (or endnotes) with additional information. The following rules apply when citing information from a note in an MLA in-text citation :
- To cite information from a single numbered note, write “n” after the page number, and then write the note number, e.g. (Smith 105n2)
- To cite information from multiple numbered notes, write “nn” and include a range, e.g. (Smith 77nn1–2)
- To cite information from an unnumbered note, write “un” after the page number, with a space in between, e.g. (Jones 250 un)
If you cite multiple Shakespeare plays throughout your paper, the MLA in-text citation begins with an abbreviated version of the title (as shown here ), e.g. ( Oth. 1.2.4). Each play should have its own Works Cited entry (even if they all come from the same collection).
If you cite only one Shakespeare play in your paper, you should include a Works Cited entry for that play, and your in-text citations should start with the author’s name , e.g. (Shakespeare 1.1.4).
No, do not use page numbers in your MLA in-text citations of Shakespeare plays . Instead, specify the act, scene, and line numbers of the quoted material, separated by periods, e.g. (Shakespeare 3.2.20–25).
This makes it easier for the reader to find the relevant passage in any edition of the text.
When an article (e.g. in a newspaper ) appears on non-consecutive pages (e.g. starting on page 1 and continuing on page 6), you should use “pp.” in your Works Cited entry, since it’s on multiple pages, but MLA recommends just listing the first page followed by a plus sign, e.g. pp. 1+.
In an MLA style Works Cited entry for a newspaper , you can cite a local newspaper in the same way as you would a national one, except that you may have to add the name of the city in square brackets to clarify what newspaper you mean, e.g. The Gazette [Montreal].
Do not add the city name in brackets if it’s already part of the newspaper’s name, e.g. Dallas Observer .
MLA doesn’t require you to list an author for a TV show . If your citation doesn’t focus on a particular contributor, just start your Works Cited entry with the title of the episode or series, and use this (shortened if necessary) in your MLA in-text citation .
If you focus on a particular contributor (e.g. the writer or director, a particular actor), you can list them in the author position , along with a label identifying their role.
It’s standard to list the podcast’s host in the author position , accompanied by the label “host,” in an MLA Works Cited entry. It’s sometimes more appropriate to use the label “narrator,” when the podcast just tells a story without any guests.
If your citation of the podcast focuses more on the contribution of someone else (e.g. a guest, the producer), they can be listed in the author position instead, with an appropriate label.
MLA recommends citing the original source wherever possible, rather than the source in which it is quoted or reproduced.
If this isn’t possible, cite the secondary source and use “qtd. in” (quoted in) in your MLA in-text citation . For example: (qtd. in Smith 233)
If a source is reproduced in full within another source (e.g. an image within a PowerPoint or a poem in an article ), give details of the original source first, then include details of the secondary source as a container. For example:
When you want to cite a PowerPoint or lecture notes from a lecture you viewed in person in MLA , check whether they can also be accessed online ; if so, this is the best version to cite, as it allows the reader to access the source.
If the material is not available online, use the details of where and when the presentation took place.
In an MLA song citation , you need to give some sort of container to indicate how you accessed the song. If this is a physical or downloaded album, the Works Cited entry should list the album name, distributor, year, and format.
However, if you listened to the song on a streaming service, you can just list the site as a container, including a URL. In this case, including the album details is optional; you may add this information if it is relevant to your discussion or if it will help the reader access the song.
When citing a song in MLA style , the author is usually the main artist or group that released the song.
However, if your discussion focuses on the contributions of a specific performer, e.g. a guitarist or singer, you may list them as author, even if they are not the main artist. If you’re discussing the lyrics or composition, you may cite the songwriter or composer rather than a performer.
When a source has no title , this part of your MLA reference is replaced with a description of the source, in plain text (no italics or quotation marks, sentence-case capitalization).
Whenever you refer to an image created by someone else in your text, you should include a citation leading the reader to the image you’re discussing.
If you include the image directly in your text as a figure , the details of the source appear in the figure’s caption. If you don’t, just include an MLA in-text citation wherever you mention the image, and an entry in the Works Cited list giving full details.
In MLA Style , you should cite a specific chapter or work within a book in two situations:
- When each of the book’s chapters is written by a different author.
- When the book is a collection of self-contained works (such as poems , plays , or short stories ), even if they are all written by the same author.
If you cite multiple chapters or works from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each chapter.
If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .
If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).
If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:
- Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
- The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.
You must include an MLA in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book , movie , website , or article ).
MLA Style is the second most used citation style (after APA ). It is mainly used by students and researchers in humanities fields such as literature, languages, and philosophy.
If information about your source is not available, you can either leave it out of the MLA citation or replace it with something else, depending on the type of information.
- No author : Start with the source title.
- No title : Provide a description of the source.
- No date : Provide an access date for online sources; omit for other sources.
A standard MLA Works Cited entry is structured as follows:
Only include information that is available for and relevant to your source.
Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.
This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .
The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style , but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals , newspapers , websites , or any other publication. Use italics for the title of the source where the article was published. For example:
Use the same formatting in the Works Cited entry and when referring to the article in the text itself.
In MLA style , book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example:
The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.
The title of a part of a book—such as a chapter, or a short story or poem in a collection—is not italicized, but instead placed in quotation marks.
In MLA style citations , format a DOI as a link, including “https://doi.org/” at the start and then the unique numerical code of the article.
DOIs are used mainly when citing journal articles in MLA .
The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition , published in 2021.
This quick guide to MLA style explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.
The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator .
Search by book title, page URL, or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.
MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman , since it’s easy to read and installed on every computer. Other standard fonts such as Arial or Georgia are also acceptable. If in doubt, check with your supervisor which font you should be using.
To create a correctly formatted block quote in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:
- Hit Enter at the beginning and end of the quote.
- Highlight the quote and select the Layout menu.
- On the Indent tab, change the left indent to 0.5″.
Do not put quotation marks around the quote, and make sure to include an MLA in-text citation after the period at the end.
To format a block quote in MLA:
- Introduce the quote with a colon and set it on a new line.
- Indent the whole quote 0.5 inches from the left margin.
- Place the MLA in-text citation after the period at the end of the block quote.
Then continue your text on a new line (not indented).
In MLA style , if you quote more than four lines from a source, use MLA block quote formatting .
If you are quoting poetry , use block quote formatting for any quote longer than three lines.
An MLA in-text citation should always include the author’s last name, either in the introductory text or in parentheses after a quote .
If line numbers or page numbers are included in the original source, add these to the citation.
If you are discussing multiple poems by the same author, make sure to also mention the title of the poem (shortened if necessary). The title goes in quotation marks .
In the list of Works Cited , start with the poet’s name and the poem’s title in quotation marks. The rest of the citation depends on where the poem was published.
If you read the poem in a book or anthology, follow the format of an MLA book chapter citation . If you accessed the poem online, follow the format of an MLA website citation .
Only use line numbers in an MLA in-text citation if the lines are numbered in the original source. If so, write “lines” in the first citation of the poem , and only the numbers in subsequent citations.
If there are no line numbers in the source, you can use page numbers instead. If the poem appears on only one page of a book (or on a website ), don’t include a number in the citation.
To quote poetry in MLA style , introduce the quote and use quotation marks as you would for any other source quotation .
If the quote includes line breaks, mark these using a forward slash with a space on either side. Use two slashes to indicate a stanza break.
If the quote is longer than three lines, set them off from the main text as an MLA block quote . Reproduce the line breaks, punctuation, and formatting of the original.
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FAQ: How do I cite a resource without an author or date?
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Answered By: Jennifer Harris Last Updated: Aug 19, 2022 Views: 305404
Generally speaking, if you cannot identify the author of a source, you move the title to the author position in the reference list/works cited and use a shortened version of the title for the in-text citation. If you cannot identify the publication date, you substitute n.d. for “no date.” Here are examples of how it works in the three major citation styles:
No Author or Date
If a source is missing both the author or publication date, the citation will include the title, "n.d." for "no date," and the source. Make sure that there is no identifiable author. Sometimes the author is a company or other group rather than an individual.
Title of resource. (n.d.). Source.
NOTE: The General Format doesn't include italics. This is because italic formatting of the title or source varies by resource type.
For additional examples and tips on citing sources with no author or date in APA Style, check out the APA Style's page Missing Reference Information This link opens in a new window .
For a complete walk-through of citing sources in APA, check out the APA 7th Edition This link opens in a new window playlist.
Works Cited Entry
If there isn't an author, even an organizational/corporate entity, begin the citation with the title of the source. If there isn't a date, you just omit that information entirely.
Title . Publisher.
"Article Title." Journal Title , vol. #, no. #. pp. #-#. DOI.
Approximate or Uncertain Dates
If a source has an approximate date (e.g. circa 1500 or early 17th century), the MLA Handbook states that you should record the date as given. You will write out dates (e.g. 15th century becomes fifteenth century). See page 186 for more information.
If a source has an uncertain date (e.g. possibly 1890 or 1765?) list the date followed by a question mark. See page 186 for more information.
Works Cited Entry Examples
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales . Circa 1400-10, British Library, London, Harley MS 7334.
Dickinson, Emily. "Distance - is not the Realm of Fox." 1870?, Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City. Manuscript.
For additional examples and tips on citing sources with no author or date in MLA Style, check out the Purdue OWL ( Works Cited This link opens in a new window , Parenthetical Reference This link opens in a new window ).
If the author or editor is unknown, the note or bibliography entry should normally begin with the title. An initial article is ignored in alphabetizing. When the publication date of a printed work cannot be ascertained, the abbreviation n.d. takes the place of the year in the publication details. A guessed-at date may either be substituted (in brackets) or added. The rest of the citation will follow the format of the source (book, journal, website, other medium).
Title . Location: Publisher, n.d.
"Title." Source vol#, issue no. (n.d.): page(s).
2. Title (Location: Publisher, n.d.), page(s).
3. "Title," Source vol#, issue no. (n.d.): page(s).
- Citing Your Sources Guide (Shapiro Library)
This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate way to cite sources in your class assignments and projects.
To access Academic Support, visit your Brightspace course and select “Tutoring and Mentoring” from the Academic Support pulldown menu.
To access help with citations and more, visit the Academic Support via modules in Brightspace:
- Academic Support Overview: Getting Help with your Schoolwork This link opens in a new window
American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7 th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
The Modern Language Association of America. (2016). MLA Handbook . Modern Language Association of America.
University of Chicago. (2017). The Chicago Manual of Style . University of Chicago Press.
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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
The MLA Handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.
However, this guide will highlight a few concerns when citing digital sources in MLA style.
Best Practices for Managing Online Sources
Because online information can change or disappear, it is always a good idea to keep personal copies of important electronic information whenever possible. Downloading or even printing key documents ensures you have a stable backup. You can also use the Bookmark function in your web browser in order to build an easy-to-access reference for all of your project's sources (though this will not help you if the information is changed or deleted).
It is also wise to keep a record of when you first consult with each online source. MLA uses the phrase, “Accessed” to denote which date you accessed the web page when available or necessary. It is not required to do so, but it is encouraged (especially when there is no copyright date listed on a website).
Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA
Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as Youtube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.
Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL.
Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.
Abbreviations Commonly Used with Electronic Sources
If page numbers are not available, use par. or pars. to denote paragraph numbers. Use these in place of the p. or pp. abbreviation. Par. would be used for a single paragraph, while pars. would be used for a span of two or more paragraphs.
Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)
Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible:
- Author and/or editor names (if available); last names first.
- "Article name in quotation marks."
- Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
- Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
- Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
- Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
- DOI (if available, precede it with "https://doi.org/"), otherwise a URL (without the https://) or permalink.
- Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed). While not required, saving this information it is highly recommended, especially when dealing with pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.
Use the following format:
Author. "Title." Title of container (self contained if book) , Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2 nd container’s title , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).
Citing an Entire Web Site
When citing an entire website, follow the same format as listed above, but include a compiler name if no single author is available.
Author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), DOI (preferred), otherwise include a URL or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).
Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site . Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).
The Purdue OWL Family of Sites . The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Apr. 2008.
Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory . Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/. Accessed 10 May 2006.
Course or Department Websites
Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course (or the school catalog designation for the course) in italics. Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title.
Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England . Purdue U, Aug. 2006, web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/241/241/Home.html. Accessed 31 May 2007.
English Department . Purdue U, 20 Apr. 2009, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/. Accessed 31 May 2015.
A Page on a Web Site
For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by an indication of the specific page or article being referenced. Usually, the title of the page or article appears in a header at the top of the page. Follow this with the information covered above for entire Web sites. If the publisher is the same as the website name, only list it once.
Lundman, Susan. “How to Make Vegetarian Chili.” eHow , www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html. Accessed 6 July 2015.
“ Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview. ” WebMD , 25 Sept. 2014, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/athletes-foot-topic-overview.
Citations for e-books closely resemble those for physical books. Simply indicate that the book in question is an e-book by putting the term "e-book" in the "version" slot of the MLA template (i.e., after the author, the title of the source, the title of the container, and the names of any other contributors).
Silva, Paul J. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. E-book, American Psychological Association, 2007.
If the e-book is formatted for a specific reader device or service, you can indicate this by treating this information the same way you would treat a physical book's edition number. Often, this will mean replacing "e-book" with "[App/Service] ed."
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince , translated by W. K. Marriott, Kindle ed., Library of Alexandria, 2018.
Note: The MLA considers the term "e-book" to refer to publications formatted specifically for reading with an e-book reader device (e.g., a Kindle) or a corresponding web application. These e-books will not have URLs or DOIs. If you are citing book content from an ordinary webpage with a URL, use the "A Page on a Web Site" format above.
An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)
Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, and the date of access.
Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV . 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado , www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-family-of-carlos-iv/f47898fc-aa1c-48f6-a779-71759e417e74. Accessed 22 May 2006.
Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine . 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive , www.artchive.com/artchive/K/klee/twittering_machine.jpg.html. Accessed May 2006.
If the work cited is available on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author.
Adams, Clifton R. “People Relax Beside a Swimming Pool at a Country Estate Near Phoenix, Arizona, 1928.” Found, National Geographic Creative, 2 June 2016, natgeofound.tumblr.com/.
An Article in a Web Magazine
Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, URL, and the date of access.
Bernstein, Mark. “ 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web. ” A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites , 16 Aug. 2002, alistapart.com/article/writeliving. Accessed 4 May 2009.
An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal
For all online scholarly journals, provide the author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. Include a DOI if available, otherwise provide a URL or permalink to help readers locate the source.
Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal
MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format (i.e. there is no corresponding print publication) that does not make use of page numbers, indicate the URL or other location information.
Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/60/362. Accessed 20 May 2009.
Article in an Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print
Cite articles in online scholarly journals that also appear in print as you would a scholarly journal in print, including the page range of the article . Provide the URL and the date of access.
Wheelis, Mark. “ Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. ” Emerging Infectious Diseases , vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/00-0607_article. Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.
An Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)
Cite online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services as containers. Thus, provide the title of the database italicized before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access if you wish.
Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. “ Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates. ” Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library , https://doi.org/10.1002/tox.20155. Accessed 26 May 2009.
Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest , https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.
E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)
Give the author of the message, followed by the subject line in quotation marks. State to whom the message was sent with the phrase, “Received by” and the recipient’s name. Include the date the message was sent. Use standard capitalization.
Kunka, Andrew. “ Re: Modernist Literature. ” Received by John Watts, 15 Nov. 2000.
Neyhart, David. “ Re: Online Tutoring. ” Received by Joe Barbato, 1 Dec. 2016.
A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting
Cite web postings as you would a standard web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets.
Author or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site , Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), URL. Date of access.
Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek , 29 Sept. 2008, boardgamegeek.com/thread/343929/best-strategy-fenced-pastures-vs-max-number-rooms. Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.
Begin with the user's Twitter handle in place of the author’s name. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader's time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the date accessed if you deem necessary.
@tombrokaw. “ SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign. ” Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.
@PurdueWLab. “ Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week. ” Twitter , 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m., twitter.com/PurdueWLab/status/176728308736737282.
A YouTube Video
Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. If the author is different from the uploader, cite the author’s name before the title.
McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube , uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.
“8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.
A Comment on a Website or Article
List the username as the author. Use the phrase, Comment on, before the title. Use quotation marks around the article title. Name the publisher, date, time (listed on near the comment), and the URL.
Not Omniscient Enough. Comment on “ Flight Attendant Tells Passenger to ‘Shut Up’ After Argument Over Pasta. ” ABC News, 9 Jun 2016, 4:00 p.m., abcnews.go.com/US/flight-attendant-tells-passenger-shut-argument-pasta/story?id=39704050.
The work I’m citing doesn’t have a publication date or page numbers. Should I include the abbreviations n.d. (“no date”) and n. pag. (“no pagination”) in the works-cited-list entry?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook . For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .
No. Do not use placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (“no date”) and n. pag. (“no pagination”) unless your teacher asks you to do so.
(If facts missing from a work are available in a reliable external resource, they can be cited in square brackets; see section 2.6.1 of the MLA Handbook for more information.)
Thursday, February 23: The Clark Library is closed today.
MLA Style (9th Edition) Citation Guide: Websites
- Introduction to MLA Style
- Journal Articles
- Magazine/Newspaper Articles
- Books & Ebooks
- Government & Legal Documents
- Biblical Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Videos/DVDs/TV Shows
- How to Cite: Other
- 9th Edition Updates
- Additional Help
Table of Contents
Entire website - no separate pages or sections, page or section from a website.
Note: For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.
A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.
It can sometimes be difficult to find out who the author of a website is. Remember that an author can be a corporation or group, not only a specific person. Author information can sometimes be found under an "About" section on a website.
If there is no known author, start the citation with the title of the website instead.
The best date to use for a website is the date that the content was last updated. Otherwise look for a copyright or original publication date. Unfortunately this information may not be provided or may be hard to find. Often date information is put on the bottom of the pages of a website.
If you do not know the complete date, put as much information as you can find. For example you may have a year but no month or day. If the source does not include a copyright/last modified date, then omit the date and include an access date in your citation instead.
Date of access is optional in MLA 8th/9th edition; it is recommended for pages that may change frequently or that do not have a copyright/publication date.
In your works cited list, abbreviate months as follows:
January = Jan. February = Feb. March = Mar. April = Apr. May = May June = June July = July August = Aug. September = Sept. October = Oct. November = Nov. December = Dec.
Spell out months fully in the body of your paper.
Author, or compiler name (if available). Title of Website, Name of Organization Affiliated with the Website, Date of copyright or date last modified/updated, URL. Accessed access date.
Works Cited List Example:
Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare Online, 29 Dec. 2011, www.shakespeare-online.com. Accessed 6 July 2016.
In-Text Citation Example:
(Author's Last Name)
Note: In this example, the name of the organization affiliated with the website is omitted since it is the same as the website title.
Created by an Unknown Author, or the Author is the same as the Website Title/Publisher
"Title of Section." Title of Website, Publisher or Sponsoring Organization, Date of publication or last modified date, URL. Accessed Date Month (abbreviated) Year.
Note: The publisher or sponsoring organization can often be found in a copyright notice at the bottom of the home page or on a page that gives information about the site . If the website publisher is the same as the author and title of the web site , then include only the title of the web site.
“ Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview.” WebMD, 25 Sept. 2014, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/athletes-foot-topic-overview.
("Title of Section")
(“Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview”)
Created by a Known Author
Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Page or Document." Title of Website, Publisher or Sponsoring Organization, Date of copyright or date last modified/updated, URL. Accessed Date Month (abbreviated) Year.
Morin, Amy. "How to Prevent the Media From Damaging Your Teen's Body Image." Verywell Family, About Inc., 6 Oct. 2019, www.verywellfamily.com/media-and-teens-body-image-2611245. Accessed 1 Nov. 2019.
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / MLA In-text Citations
MLA In-Text Citations
An in-text citation is a reference to a source that is found within the text of a paper ( Handbook 227). This tells a reader that an idea, quote, or paraphrase originated from a source. MLA in-text citations usually include the last name of the author and the location of cited information.
This guide focuses on how to create MLA in-text citations, such as citations in prose and parenthetical citations in the current MLA style, which is in its 9th edition. This style was created by the Modern Language Association . This guide reviews MLA guidelines but is not related directly to the association.
Table of Contents
Here’s a quick rundown of the contents of this guide on how to use in-text citations.
- Why in-text citations are important
- Prose vs parenthetical in-text citation differences
- Parenthetical citation reference chart
In-text citation examples
- In-text citation with two authors
- In-text citation with 3+ authors
- In-text citation with no authors
- In-text citation with corporate authors
- In-text citation with edited books and anthologies
- In-text citation with no page numbers and online sources
- Citing the same sources multiple times
- Citing 2+ sources in the same in-text citation
- Citing multiple works by the same author in the same in-text citation
- Abbreviating titles
- Citing religious works and scriptures
- Citing long or block quotes
Why are in-text citations important?
- Give full credit to sources that are quoted and paraphrased in a work/paper.
- Help the writer avoid plagiarism.
- Are a signal that the information came from another source.
- Tell the reader where the information came from.
In-text citation vs. in-prose vs. parenthetical
An in-text citation is a general citation of where presented information came from. In MLA, an in-text citation can be displayed in two different ways:
- In the prose
- As a parenthetical citation
While the two ways are similar, there are slight differences. However, for both ways, you’ll need to know how to format page numbers in MLA .
Citation in prose
An MLA citation in prose is when the author’s name is used in the text of the sentence. At the end of the sentence, in parentheses, is the page number where the information was found.
Here is an example
When it comes to technology, King states that we “need to be comfortable enough with technology tools and services that we can help point our patrons in the right direction, even if we aren’t intimately familiar with how the device works” (11).
This MLA citation in prose includes King’s name in the sentence itself, and this specific line of text was taken from page 11 of the journal it was found in.
An MLA parenthetical citation is created when the author’s name is NOT in the sentence. Instead, the author’s name is in parentheses after the sentence, along with the page number.
Here is an MLA parenthetical citation example
When it comes to technology, we “need to be comfortable enough with technology tools and services that we can help point our patrons in the right direction, even if we aren’t intimately familiar with how the device works” (King 11).
In the above example, King’s name is not included in the sentence itself, so his name is in parentheses after the sentence, with 11 for the page number. The 11 indicates that the quote is found on page 11 in the journal.
For every source that is cited using an in-text citation, there is a corresponding full reference. This allows readers to track down the original source.
At the end of the assignment, on the MLA works cited page , is the full reference. The full reference includes the full name of the author, the title of the article, the title of the journal, the volume and issue number, the date the journal was published, and the URL where the article was found.
Here is the full reference for King’s quote
King, David Lee. “Why Stay on Top of Technology Trends?” Library Technology Reports , vol. 54, no. 2, Feb.-Mar. 2018, ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=//search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/docview/2008817033?accountid=35635.
Readers can locate the article online via the information included above.
The next section of this guide focuses on how to structure an MLA in-text citation and reference in parentheses in various situations.
A narrative APA in-text citation and APA parenthetical citation are somewhat similar but have some minor differences. Check out our helpful guides, and others, on EasyBib.com!
Wondering how to handle these types of references in other styles? Check out our page on APA format , or choose from more styles .
Parenthetical Citation Reference Chart
Sources with two authors.
There are many books, journal articles, magazine articles, reports, and other source types written or created by two authors.
When a source has two authors, place both authors’ last names in the body of your work ( Handbook 232). The last names do not need to be listed in alphabetical order. Instead, follow the same order as shown on the source.
In an MLA in-text citation, separate the two last names with the word “and.” After both authors’ names, add a space and the page number where the original quote or information is found on.
Here is an example of an MLA citation in prose for a book with two authors
Gaiman and Pratchett further elaborate by sharing their creepy reminder that “just because it’s a mild night doesn’t mean that dark forces aren’t abroad. They’re abroad all of the time. They’re everywhere” (15).
Here is an example of an MLA parenthetical citation for a book with two authors
Don’t forget that “just because it’s a mild night doesn’t mean that dark forces aren’t abroad. They’re abroad all of the time. They’re everywhere” (Gaiman and Pratchett 15).
If you’re still confused, check out EasyBib.com’s MLA in-text citation generator, which allows you to create MLA in-text citations and other types of references in just a few clicks!
If it’s an APA book citation you’re looking to create, we have a helpful guide on EasyBib.com. While you’re at it, check out our APA journal guide!
Sources With Three or More Authors
There are a number of sources written or created by three or more authors. Many research studies and reports, scholarly journal articles, and government publications are developed by three or more individuals.
If you included the last names of all individuals in your MLA in-text citations or in parentheses, it would be too distracting to the reader. It may also cause the reader to lose sight of the overall message of the paper or assignment. Instead of including all last names, only include the last name of the first individual shown on the source. Follow the first author’s last name with the Latin phrase, “et al.” This Latin phrase translates to “and others.” Add the page number after et al.
Here’s an example of an MLA parenthetical citation for multiple authors
“School library programs in Croatia and Hong Kong are mainly focused on two major educational tasks. One task is enhancing students’ general literacy and developing reading habits, whereas the other task is developing students’ information literacy and research abilities” (Tam et al. 299).
The example above only includes the first listed author’s last name. All other authors are credited when “et al.” is used. If the reader wants to see the other authors’ full names, the reader can refer to the final references at the end of the assignment or to the full source.
The abbreviation et al. is used with references in parentheses, as well as in full references. To include the authors’ names in prose, you can either write each name out individually or, you can type out the meaning of et al., which is “and others.”
Here is an acceptable MLA citation in prose example for sources with more than three authors
School library programming in Croatia and Hong Kong is somewhat similar to programming in the United States. Tam, Choi, Tkalcevic, Dukic, and Zheng share that “school library programs in Croatia and Hong Kong are mainly focused on two major educational tasks. One task is enhancing students’ general literacy and developing reading habits, whereas the other task is developing students’ information literacy and research abilities” (299).
If your instructor’s examples of how to do MLA in-text citations for three or more authors looks different than the example here, your instructor may be using an older edition of this style. To discover more about previous editions, learn more here .
Need some inspiration for your research project? Trying to figure out the perfect topic? Check out our Dr. Seuss , Marilyn Monroe , and Malcolm X topic guides!
Sources Without an Author
It may seem unlikely, but there are times when an author’s name isn’t included on a source. Many digital images, films and videos, encyclopedia articles, dictionary entries, web pages, and more do not have author names listed.
If the source you’re attempting to cite does not have an author’s name listed, the MLA in-text citation or parenthetical citation should display the title. If the title is rather long, it is acceptable to shorten it in the body of your assignment. If you choose to shorten the title, make sure the first word in the full citation is also the first word used in the citation in prose or parenthetical citation. This is done to allow the reader to easily locate the full citation that corresponds with the reference in the text.
If, in the Works Cited list, the full reference has the title within quotation marks, include those quotation marks in the in-text citation or reference in parentheses. If the title is written in italics in the full reference, use italics for the title in the in-text citation or reference in parentheses as well.
Parenthetical Citations MLA Examples
The example below is from a poem found online, titled “the last time.” the poem’s author is unknown..
“From the moment you hold your baby in your arms you will never be the same. You might long for the person you were before, when you had freedom and time and nothing in particular to worry about” (“The Last Time”).
The example below is from the movie, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain .
“Perhaps it would have been different if there hadn’t been a war, but this was 1917, and people were exhausted by loss. Those that were allowed to stay manned the pits, mining the coal that would fuel the ships. Twenty-four hours a day they labored” ( Englishman ).
Notice the shortened title in the above reference. This allows the reader to spend more time focusing on the content of your project, rather than the sources.
If you’re looking for an MLA in-text citation website to help you with your references, check out EasyBib Plus on EasyBib.com! EasyBib Plus can help you determine how to do in-text citations MLA and many other types of references!
Numerous government publications, research reports, and brochures state the name of the organization as the author responsible for publishing it.
When the author is a corporate entity or organization, this information is included in the MLA citation in prose or parenthetical citation.
“One project became the first to evaluate how e-prescribing standards work in certain long-term care settings and assessed the impact of e-prescribing on the workflow among prescribers, nurses, the pharmacies, and payers” (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2).
If the full name of the organization or governmental agency is long in length, it is acceptable to abbreviate some words, as long as they are considered common abbreviations. These abbreviations should only be in the references with parentheses. They should not be used in citations in prose.
Here is a list of words that can be abbreviated in parentheses:
- Department = Dept.
- Government = Govt.
- Corporation = Corp.
- Incorporated = Inc.
- Company = Co.
- United States = US
Example of a shortened corporate author name in an MLA parenthetical citation
“Based on our analysis of available data provided by selected states’ departments of corrections, the most common crimes committed by inmates with serious mental illness varied from state to state” (US Govt. Accountability Office 14).
Here is how the same corporate author name would look in an MLA citation in prose
The United States Government Accountability Office states, “Based on our analysis of available data provided by selected states’ departments of corrections, the most common crimes committed by inmates with serious mental illness varied from state to state” (14).
Remember, citations in prose should not have abbreviations; other types of references can.
Looking for more information on abbreviations? Check out our page on MLA format.
Edited Books and Anthologies
Edited books and anthologies often include chapters or sections, each written by an individual author or a small group of authors. These compilations are placed together by an editor or a group of editors. There are tons of edited books and anthologies available today, ranging from ones showcasing Black history facts and literature to those focusing on notable individuals such as scientists like Albert Eintein and politicians such as Winston Churchill .
If you’re using information from an edited book or an anthology, include the chapter author’s name in your MLA citation in prose or reference in parentheses. Do not use the name(s) of the editor(s). Remember, the purpose of these references is to provide the reader with some insight as to where the information originated. If, after reading your project, the reader would like more information on the sources used, the reader can use the information provided in the full reference, at the very end of the assignment. With that in mind, since the full reference begins with the author of the individual chapter or section, that same information is what should be included in any citations in prose or references in parentheses.
Here is an example of an MLA citation in prose for a book with an editor
Weinstein further states that “one implication of this widespread adaptation of anthropological methods to historical research was the eclipse of the longstanding concern with “change over time,” and the emergence of a preference for synchronic, rather than diachronic, themes” (195).
Full reference at the end of the assignment
Weinstein, Barbara. “History Without a Cause? Grand Narratives, World History, and the Postcolonial Dilemma.” Postcolonial Studies: An Anthology , edited by Pramod K. Nayar, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015, p. 196. Wiley , www.wiley.com/en-us/Postcolonial+Studies%3A+An+Anthology-p-9781118780985.
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Sources Without Page Numbers and Online Sources
When a source has no page numbers, which is often the case with long web page articles, e-books, and numerous other source types, do not include any page number information in the body of the project. Do not estimate or invent your own page numbering system for the source. If there aren’t any page numbers, omit this information from the MLA in-text citation. There may, however, be paragraph numbers included in some sources. If there are distinct and clear paragraph numbers directly on the source, replace the page number with this information. Make it clear to the reader that the source is organized by paragraphs by using “par.” before the paragraph number, or use “pars.” if the information is from more than one paragraph.
Here is an example of how to create an MLA parenthetical citation for a website
“She ran through the field with the wind blowing in her hair and a song through the breeze” (Jackson par. 5).
Here’s an example of an MLA citation in prose for a website
In Brenner’s meeting notes, he further shared his motivation to actively seek out and secure self help resources when he announced, “When we looked at statistical evidence, the most commonly checked out section of the library was self-help. This proves that patrons consistently seek out help for personal issues and wish to solve them with the help of the community’s resources” (pars. 2-3).
Here’s another MLA in-text citation example for a website
Holson writes about a new mindful app, which provides listeners with the soothing sound of not only Bob Ross’ voice, but also the “soothing swish of his painter’s brush on canvas.”
In above example, the information normally found in the parentheses is omitted since there aren’t any page, parentheses, or chapter numbers on the website article.
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Citing the Same Source Multiple Times
It may seem redundant to constantly include an author’s name in the body of a research project or paper. If you use an author’s work in one section of your project, and the next piece of information included is by the same individual(s), then it is not necessary to share in-text, whether in prose or in parentheses, that both items are from the same author. It is acceptable to include the last name of the author in the first use, and in the second usage, only a page number needs to be included.
Here is an example of how to cite the same source multiple times
“One of the major tests is the Project for Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills. This measurement was developed over four years as a joint partnership between the Association of Research Libraries and Kent State University” (Tong and Moran 290). This exam is just one of many available to measure students’ information literacy skills. It is fee-based, so it is not free, but the results can provide stakeholders, professors, curriculum developers, and even librarians and library service team members with an understanding of students’ abilities and misconceptions. It is not surprising to read the results, which stated that “upper-level undergraduate students generally lack information literacy skills as evidenced by the results on this specific iteration of the Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills test” (295).
The reader can assume that the information in the second quote is from the same article as the first quote. If, in between the two quotes, a different source is included, Tong and Moran’s names would need to be added again in the last quote.
Here is the full reference at the end of the project:
Tong, Min, and Carrie Moran. “Are Transfer Students Lagging Behind in Information Literacy?” Reference Services Review , vol. 45, no. 2, 2017, pp. 286-297. ProQuest , ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=//search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/docview/1917280148?accountid=35635.
Citing Two or More Sources in the Same In-text Citation
According to section 6.30 of the Handbook , parenthetical citations containing multiple sources in a single parenthesis should be separated by semicolons.
(Granger 5; Tsun 77) (Ruiz 212; Diego 149)
Citing Multiple Works by the Same Author in One In-text Citation
Just as you might want to cite two different sources at the same time, it can also be useful to cite different works by the same author all at once.
Section 6.30 of the Handbook specifies that “citations of different locations in a single source are separated by commas” (251).
(Maeda 59, 174-76, 24) (Kauffman 7, 234, 299)
Furthermore, if you are citing multiple works by the same author, the titles should be joined by and if there are only two. Otherwise, use commas and and .
(Murakami, Wild Sheep Chase and Norwegian Wood ) (Murakami, Wild Sheep Chase , Norwegian Wood , and “With the Beatles”)
When listing the titles, be aware that long titles in parenthetical citations can distract the reader and cause confusion. It will be necessary to shorten the titles appropriately for in-text citations. According to the Handbook , “shorten the title if it is longer than a noun phrase” (237). The abbreviated title should begin with the word by which the title is alphabetized.
Best practice is to give the first word the reference is listed by so the source is easily found in the works cited. Omit articles that start a title: a, an, the. When possible, use the first noun (and any adjectives before it). For more on titles and their abbreviations, head to section 6.10 of the Handbook .
- Full title : The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
- Abbreviated: Curious
- Full title: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
- Abbreviated: Disreputable History
Religious Works and Scriptures
There are instances when religious works are italicized in the text of a project, and times when it is not necessary to italicize the title.
If you’re referring to the general religious text, such as the Bible, Torah, or Qur’an, it is not necessary to italicize the name of the scripture in the body of the project. If you’re referring to a specific edition of a religious text, then it is necessary to italicize it, both in text and in the full reference.
Here are some commonly used editions:
- King James Bible
- The Orthodox Jewish Bible
- American Standard Bible
- The Steinsaltz Talmud
- The Babylonian Talmud
- New International Bible
When including a reference, do not use page numbers from the scripture. Instead, use the designated chapter numbers and verse numbers.
MLA example of an in-text citation for a religious scripture
While, unacceptable in today’s society, the Bible is riddled with individuals who have two, three, and sometimes four or more spouses. One example in the King James Bible , states that an individual “had two wives, the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children” (1 Sam. 1.2)
The only religious scripture that is allowed to be in the text of a project, but not in the Works Cited list, is the Qur’an. There is only one version of the Qur’an. It is acceptable to include the name of the Qur’an in the text, along with the specific chapter and verse numbers.
If you’re attempting to create a reference for a religious work, but it’s not considered a “classic” religious book, such as a biography about Mother Teresa , or a book about Muhammed Ali’s conversion, then a reference in the text and also on the final page of the project is necessary.
If you’re creating an APA bibliography , you do not need to create a full reference for classic religious works on an APA reference page .
For another MLA in-text citation website and for more on the Bible and other source types, click here .
Long or Block Quotes
Quotes longer than four lines are called, “block quotes.” Block quotes are sometimes necessary when you’re adding a lengthy piece of information into your project. If you’d like to add a large portion of Martin Luther King ’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a lengthy amount of text from a Mark Twain book, or multiple lines from Abraham Lincoln ’s Gettysburg Address, a block quote is needed.
MLA block quotes are formatted differently than shorter quotes in the body of a project. Why? The unique formatting signals to the reader that they’re about to read a lengthy quote.
Block quotes are called block quotes because they form their own block of text. They are set apart from the body of a project with different spacing and margins.
Begin the block quote on a new line. The body of the full project should run along the one inch margin, but the block quote should be set in an inch and a half. The entire quote should be along the inch and a half margin.
If there aren’t any quotation marks in the text itself, do not include any in the block quote. This is very different than standard reference rules. In most cases, quotation marks are added around quoted material. For block quotes, since the reader can see that the quoted material sits in its own block, it is not necessary to place quotation marks around it.
Here is an MLA citation in prose example of a block quote
Despite Bruchac’s consistent difficult situations at home, basketball kept his mind busy and focused:
When I got off the late bus that afternoon, my grandparents weren’t home. The store was locked and there was a note from Grama on the house door. Doc Magovern had come to the house because Grampa was “having trouble with his blood.” Now they were off to the hospital and I “wasn’t to worry.” This had happened before. Grampa had pernicious anemia and sometimes was very sick. So, naturally, it worried the pants off me. I actually thought about taking my bike down the dreaded 9N the three miles to the Saratoga Hospital. Instead, I did as I knew they wanted. I opened the store and waited for customers. None came, though, and my eye was caught by the basketball stowed away as usual behind the door. I had to do something to take my mind off what was happening to Grampa. I took out the ball and went around the side. (13)
Notice the use of the colon prior to the start of the block quote. Do not use a colon if the block quote is part of the sentence above it.
Here is an example of the same block quote, without the use of the colon:
Despite Bruchac’s consistent difficult situations at home, it was clear that basketball kept his mind busy and focused when he states
When I get off the late bus that afternoon, my grandparents weren’t home…
If two or more paragraphs are included in your block quote, start each paragraph on a new line.
Looking for additional helpful websites? Need another MLA in-text citation website? Check out the style in the news . We also have other handy articles, guides, and posts to help you with your research needs. Here’s one on how to write an MLA annotated bibliography .
Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.
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MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.
Published October 31, 2011. Updated July 5, 2021.
Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.
MLA Formatting Guide
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- et al Usage
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- Sample Paper
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- MLA 8 Updates
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In MLA style, if multiple sources have the same author , the titles should be joined by and if there are only two. Otherwise, use commas and and .
- In-text citation: (Austen Emma and Mansfield Park )
- Structure: (Last name 1st Source’s title and 2nd Source’s title )
- In-text citation: (Leung et al. 58)
If the author is a corporate entity or organization, included the name of the corporate entity or organization in the in-text citation.
- In-text citation: (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2)
Yes, there’s an option to download source citations as a Word Doc or a Google Doc. You may also copy citations from the EasyBib Citation Generator and paste them into your paper.
Yes! Whether you’d like to learn how to construct citations on your own, our Autocite tool isn’t able to gather the metadata you need, or anything in between, manual citations are always an option. Click here for directions on using creating manual citations.
An in-text citation is a shortened version of the source being referred to in the paper. As the name implies, it appears in the text of the paper. A works cited list entry, on the other hand, details the complete information of the source being cited and is listed within the works cited list at the end of the paper after the main text. The in-text citation is designed to direct the reader to the full works cited list entry. An example of an in-text citation and the corresponding works cited list entry for a journal article with one author is listed below:
In-text citation template and example:
Only the author surname (or the title of the work if there is no author) is used in in-text citations to direct the reader to the corresponding reference list entry. For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author for the first occurrence. In subsequent citations, use only the surname. In parenthetical citations, always use only the surname of the author. If you are directly quoting the source, the page number should also be included in the in-text citation.
Citation in prose:
First mention: Christopher Collins ….
Subsequent occurrences: Collins ….
Works cited list entry template and example:
The title of the article is in plain text and title case and is placed inside quotation marks. The title of the journal is set in italics.
Surname, F. “Title of the Article.” Journal Title , vol. #, no. #, Publication Date, page range.
Collins, Christopher. “On Posthuman Materiality: Art-Making as Rhizomatic Rehearsal.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 39, no. 2, 2019, pp. 153–59.
Note that because the author’s surname (Collins) was included in the in-text citation, the reader would then be able to easily locate the works cited list entry since the entry begins with the author’s surname.
An in-text citation is a short citation that is placed next to the text being cited. The basic element needed for an in-text citation is the author’s name . The publication year is not required in in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when text is quoted from the source being cited. In-text citations are mentioned in the text in two ways: as a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation.
Citations in prose are incorporated into the text and act as a part of the sentence. Usually, citations in prose use the author’s full name when cited the first time in the text. Thereafter, only the surname is used. Avoid including the middle initial even if it is present in the works-cited-list entry.
Parenthetical citations add only the author’s surname at the end of the sentence in parentheses.
Examples of in-text citations
Here are a few tips to create in-text citations for sources with various numbers and types of authors:
Use both the first name and surname of the author if you are mentioning the author for the first time in the prose. In subsequent occurrences, use only the author’s surname. Always use only the surname of the author in parenthetical citations.
First mention: Sheele John asserts …. (7).
Subsequent occurrences: John argues …. (7).
…. (John 7).
Use the first name and surname of both authors if you are mentioning the work for the first time in the prose. In subsequent occurrences, use only the surnames of the two authors. Always use only the authors’ surnames in parenthetical citations. Use “and” to separate the two authors in parenthetical citations.
First mention: Katie Longman and Clara Sullivan ….
Subsequent occurrences: Longman and Sullivan ….
…. ( Longman and Sullivan).
Three or more authors
For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues.” For parenthetical citations, use only the surname of the first author followed by “et al.”
Lincy Mathew and colleagues…. or Lincy Mathew and others ….
…. (Mathew et al.).
For citations in prose, treat the corporate author like you would treat the author’s name. For parenthetical citations, shorten the organization name to the shortest noun phrase. For example, shorten the Modern Language Association of America to Modern Language Association.
The Literary Society of Malaysia….
…. (Literary Society).
If there is no author for the source, use the source’s title in place of the author’s name for both citations in prose and parenthetical citations.
When you add such in-text citations, italicize the text of the title. If the source title is longer than a noun phrase, use a shortened version of the title. For example, shorten the title Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to Fantastic Beasts .
Knowing Body of Work explains …. (102).
….( Knowing Body 102).
MLA Citation Examples
Other Citation Styles
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MLA formatting refers to the writing style guide produced by the Modern Language Association. If you’re taking a class in the liberal arts, you usually have to follow this format when writing papers. In addition to looking at MLA examples, ...
When writing in MLA format, use block quotes for quotes that are more than four lines long by introducing the quote with a colon and indenting the entire quote 1 inch from the left margin and flush to the right margin.
When citing a speech, it may help writers to see the speech as a written work with a title and an author. The author is, of course, the speaker, and like MLA citations of written works, the speaker’s name is listed first, with surname first...
If no date is provided, skip that information in your citation. It is recommended that you add the date you accessed the work at the end of the
If no date is provided, skip that information. It's recommended that you add the date you accessed the work at the end of the citation. Access date is given by
For offline sources with no publication date shown, don't use an access date—just leave out the date. Frequently asked questions: MLA Style. When should I use
No Author or Date. Works Cited Entry. If there isn't an author, even an organizational/corporate entity, begin the citation with the title of
Citing a work by multiple authors. For a source with two authors, list the authors' last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:.
2nd container's title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable). Citing an Entire Web Site.
If the web source you are citing does not list a publication date, omit the “Publication date” element from your entry.
No. Do not use placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (“no date”) and n. pag. (“no pagination”) unless your teacher asks
The Politics Department has adopted the MLA citation format for ... (or authors), include a comma after the author's name and an abbreviated.
If you do not know the complete date, put as much information as you can find. For example you may have a year but no month or day. If the
In an MLA in-text citation, separate the two last names with the word “and.” After both authors' names, add a space and the page number where the original quote