This 10-minute activity will introduce you to MLA-style citations.
MLA 8th & 9th Editions*
MLA Citation Guide
Click on image to access PDF for the MLA (8th & 9th ed.) style guide.
*The following information is based on the MLA Handbook, 8th edition (2016) and MLA Handbook, 9th edition (2021). Please note that the citation structure has not changed between the two editions, but the 9th edition handbook has more examples and information regarding the MLA style [source: Handbook Edition Comparison Chart].
When you are gathering sources to use in your papers, it is a good habit to note down the following information:
Author, corporate author, editor, translator
Title of article and text (and subtitle, if applicable)
Date of publication
Issue and volume numbers (for periodicals)
Though it may not appear in the following examples, remember to indent all citations in your Works Cited page (see PDF for reference). Your Works Cited page should be in alphabetical order.
Example of a book with two authors:
Wilson, Joseph S., and Olivia Messinger Carril. The Bees In Your Backyard. Princeton UP, 2016.
In the above example, the first author’s last name is used first followed by his first name and middle initial. The second author’s full name is written out normally. The title is italicized and the publisher is abbreviated. Not all publishers can be abbreviated. The year of publication is listed last. If there is more than one date listed on the copyright page, MLA dictates that the most current one be used.
If you are using a chapter in a collection or anthology, make note of the title of that selection, the page range of that selection, and the specific author or authors of that selection (example of this included in the PDF link on this page).
Example of a journal article taken from an online database:
Ducatti Flister, Larissa. “Economic Case for Marijuana Legalization in Canada.” Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, vol. 5, no. 1, Dec 2012, pp. 96-100. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.delta.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=85222350&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
As with the example of the book above, the author’s last name is first, followed by their first name. The title of the article taken from the journal is presented in quotation marks followed by the title of the journal, which is in italics. The volume number and the issue number are identified next, followed by the publication date and then the page range of the article. The database from which the article was pulled is presented in italics and then the permalink is the last information for this citation.
When using online sources, be sure to note the following information:
Name of Site
Title of webpage
Publisher or sponsor of site (if applicable)
URL, DOI, or permalink (if available)
If given the choice between a URL and a DOI (digital object identifier) or permalink, use the DOI or permalink instead of a URL. If the URL runs more than three lines on your page, truncate it (refer to example on p.196 of the 9th edition handbook). Not all online sources require access dates; use access dates when a publication date is missing or you think the source is unstable (9th edition handbook, p.211).
PLEASE NOTE: The EBSCO database contains a variety of individual subject databases that lead you to magazine and journal articles. Usually, a record for the citation will indicate which subject database has the article or citation. If there is no DOI listed, EBSCO usually offers a “Permalink” that can be used to access the article if you are logged into the EBSCO database.
Example: “There are three types of bees that do better in cold weather than other bees: Anthophora, Habropoda, and Andrena (Wilson and Messinger Carril 232). Wilson and Messinger Carril point out that one of the most distinctive differences between bees and wasps is hair (10).”
The first sentence is an example of a parenthetical citation. Parenthetical citations are used when the author is unnamed in the body of the text. The second sentence is an example of a citation in prose, which shows the authors named in the body of the text, so only the page number is enclosed within the parentheses.
In some cases, there will be more than two authors for a source. When that happens, you should use the Latin abbreviation: “et al.” meaning “and others.” For example: (Wilson-Rich et al. 98).
Whenever you have a source that does not have page numbers (like websites), use the author’s last name: (Fong). If there is no author, use a shortened version of the title enough that your reader can find it amongst the list. If the title is italicized within the list, then italicize it in-text: (Sir 58). If there are quotation marks used in the list, then use quotation marks within the in-text citation: (“Eating”). The examples shown here were taken from the PDF linked to this page.
ZoteroBib is an online program which develops a bibliography with every source entered into it. As with every citation generator, it is not always reliable so be sure to double-check the accuracy of these citations.