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MLA Style Guide

This guide is an introduction to MLA style.

Parenthetical References in the Text of Your Paper

Book, Journal, or Magazine Article

When the author of the source is quoted or mentioned in the text:

  • Wilson claimed to have found "absolutely no supporting evidence" (13). 

When the author of the source is parenthetically referenced:

  • ...the results were inconclusive (Wilson 13).
  • One researcher claimed to have found "absolutely no supporting evidence" (Wilson 13).

When there are two authors:
Author is quoted or mentioned in text: 

  • Morenson and Relin state that “….” (155).

Parenthetically references:

  • (Morenson and Relin 155)

Multi-volume reference book:
If you are using one volume from a multi-volume set, the number of the number of the volume is already indicated in the reference list and you may site the document as you would a single book. 

If you are borrowing from more than one volume from the same set, then the in-text citation must provide both the volume number and page number(s).

Author is quoted or mentioned in text, spell out 'volume':

  • In volume 5, Taruskin states this outright (337).

Parenthetically referenced, abbreviate 'vol':

  • (Taruskin, vol. 58, 337).

When a work is listed by title on the Works Cited page:
Author is quoted or the author is mentioned in text:

  • According to “Rabies,” this is one of history’s most-feared diseases (680).

Parenthetically referenced:

  • (“Rabies” 680) 

Printouts from the Web (including HTML articles)
If the document does not have page or paragraph numbers, do not include them in the parenthetical citation. Do not include URL's in text. Instead just name the author in text.

When the author of the source is mentioned in the text:

  • Rostrup reported that the climbers were overtaken by bad weather.

When the author of the source is not mentioned in the text: If you do not have an author's name for your web printout you can use a parenthetical reference with a shortened version of the document tile.

  • The climbers were overtaken by bad weather ("Everest").

Works Cited at the End of Your Paper

Book with one author:

  • Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing. Harvard U, 2012.

Book with two authors:

  • Mortenson, Greg and David Oliver Relin. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time. Penguin 
         Books, 2007.

Book with three or more authors:

  • Howe, Roger J., et al. Quality on Trial. West Publishing Company, 1993.

Reference book (for example, a print encyclopedia):

  • “Neurodevelopmental Disorders.” American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. 5th
        ed., American Psychiatric Association, 2013, pp. 31-86.

  • Booker, Keith M. “English Dystopian Satire in Context.” A Companion to the British and Irish Novel: 1945-2000, edited by Brian W.
         Shaffer, Blackwell, 2005, pp. 32-44.

When the reference book is part of a multi-volume set and you use one volume: 

  • Rabies.” Infectious Diseases. Edited by Brenda Wilmoth Lerner and K. Lee Lerner. Vol. 2,  Thompson/Gale, 2008.

When you use two or more volumes from the same set:

  • Taruskin, Richard, editor. The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford U P, 2005. 6 vols.

An introduction, preface, foreword, or afterword:

  • Hardy, Doug. Introduction. Career wisdom for college students: Insights you won't get in class, on the Internet, or from your parents.
         Ferguson, 2007, pp. vii-x. 

A short story or poem:

  • Sexton, Anne. “Funnel.” To Bedlam and Part Way Back. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1960, pp. 28-29.

A work in an anthology: 

  • Zaimof, Gueni. “The Star Obscure.” Women on War: An International anthology of writings form Antiquity to the present, edited by
         Daniela Gioseffi, Feminist Press at the City U of New York, 2003, p. 131.

The Bible:

  • The Bible. The New American version, Catholic Bible, 1991.

An eBook from EBSCOhost: 

  • Benson, Michael. Why the Grateful Dead Matter. Ebook Collection (EBSCOhost), ForeEdge, 2016.
    ​     live&scope=site

An eBook from Google Books:

  • Curtin, Jeremiah. Hero-Tales of Ireland. Little, Brown, 1921. Google Books.

An eBook downloaded from a Kindle or Nook:

  • Lupi, Giorgia and Stefanie Posavec. Dear Data. Kindle ed., Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.

Photocopy from a print journal:

  • Bathgate, Meghan E., and Christian D. Schunn, et al. "Children's Motivation Toward Science Across Contexts, Manner Of Interaction,
         And Topic." Science Education vol. 98, no.2, March 2014, pp. 189-215.

Photocopy from a print magazine:
If the magazine you are citing is published every week or every other week, give the complete date in the citation. If not, you need the month and year.

  • Suddath, Claire. "I'm 26 Years Old, and I Can't Write in Cursive." Times 3 Aug. 2009: 48-49. Print.
  • O'Toole, Christine H. "College in Challenging Times." Pittsburgh Magazine Aug. 2009: 48-49. Print.

Online journal printout:
Make a note of which database you are searching and the date you accessed the information since you will need to include this information in your reference list.

  • Bathgate, Meghan E., and Christian D. Schunn, et al. "Children's Motivation Toward Science Across Contexts, Manner Of Interaction,
         And Topic." Science Education vol. 98, no.2, March 2014, pp. 189-215. PsycINFO, doi:10.1002/sce.21095.

  • Elliott, Katrina, and Anne Pillman. "Making Science Misconceptions Work for Us." Teaching Science: The Journal of the Australian
         Science Teachers Association
     vol. 62 no.1, March 2016, pp. 38-41. Academic Search Premier,

Reference database such as Issues and Controversies, CQ Researcher, etc.: 

  • “Gun Control Laws.” Issues and Controversies, 13 July 2016, Infobase Learning 
  • Clark, Charles A. “The FBI under Fire: How Serious Are the Bureau’s Recent Problems?” CQ Researcher, vol. 7, no.14, 11 April 1997,
         pp. 313-336. cqresearcher/cqresrre1997041100.

  • "Charlotte Perkins Gilman." Britannica Academic, Encyclopedia Britannica, 30 Sep. 2016.  

Journal article free on web: 

  • Hammer, Joshua. “My nurses are dead, and I Don’t Know If I’m Already Infected.” Matter, 12 Jan. 2015,

Online video: 

  • Hendren, Robert L. “Robert Hendren, D.O.: Autism.” American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. May 2008,

YouTube video: 

  • “Pokemon Mega Center Tokyo - Alodia Vlog.” YouTube, uploaded by Alodia Gosiengfiao, 23 Aug. 2016, Youtube,

Books on MLA Citations

Reference List Tips

Magazine or journal article without page numbers:
Use "n.pag."

No publisher or sponsor listed on a website:
Use "n.p."

Only the first page of a magazine or journal article is listed:
Add a plus sign so that the reader knows it is more than one page (27+).

Publishers names are shortened:
Omit articles (a, an, the) and only use the surname if the publisher is a person (ex. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. -- Macmillan;).

Use standard abbreviation whenever possible:
The National Education Assocation -- NEA. Academy -- Acad.

A journal is divided into new series or original series:
"ns" for new series and "os" for original series, which are listed after the journal name (not in italics).

A newspaper with a special edition listed on the masthead:
Add a comma after the date and identify the edition (ex. New York Times 26 Aug. 2009, late ed.).

Editor or compiler of a book:
Identifying information listed after their name and is preceded with a comma (ex. Dudley, William, ed.).

Second of subsequent book editions: 
Listed after the title (ex. Fundamentals of Accounting 19th ed.).

Helpful Resources