MLA citation is a trendy citation style. Along with APA, Chicago, & Oxford, it is one of the most commonly used citation styles across academic institutions. Citation styles add credibility to any document, and the MLA style follows a dual-part parenthetical documenting system to cite sources.

This article offers a detailed look into the MLA citation style. Find out all you need to know about the MLA format citations below.

The MLA Style: Citing Sources In Text

The MLA style has in-text citations in the paper pointing to the alphabetical Works Cited section that appears at the end of the document, which in this case, is the reference list.

Let’s first look at how sources are cited in the text.

  • References in the text are in parentheses and pointed toward the appropriate entry in the Works Cited section.
  • Use only the essential information to help identify a source for in-text citations—add the author's last name and a page reference.
  • Place MLA in-text citations as close to the source as possible. Then, add the parentheticalreference naturally in the text, preferably at the end of a sentence.
  • Information in the parentheses should be able to complement the information in the text. If you already have used the authors’ name, there’s no need to use it again in the parenthetical citation.
  • Remember to add the in-text citation before the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence. Also, it should precede any clause and phrase containing the referenced information.
  • MLA citation does not discriminate between print and electronic sources. Therefore, if any online source lacks page numbers, then there's no need to add them to the parenthetical citation statement.

However, if there ARE section or paragraph numbers, you need to cite them.

Here are some examples.

MLA Citations In Text

  • Single Author:

Dover has expressed this concern (118-121). à The author’s name is in the text.

This concern was expressed (Dover 118-121). à Author’s name in the intext citation.

  • Multiple Authors:

This hypothesis (Bradley and Rogers 7) suggested this theory (Sumner, Reichl, and Waugh 23).

  • Two Separate Locations in The Same Source:

Williams alludes to this premise (136-39. 1445).

  • Two Different Works Cited:

(Burns 54, Thomas 327)

  • Multivolume Works:

(Wilson 2: 1-18) for referencing a volume & its pages

(Henderson, vol. 3) to reference an entire volume

In volume 3, Henderson suggests à an intext reference to the entire volume.

  • A Corporate Body or An Organization As The Author:

(United Nations, Economic Commission for Africa 51-63)

  • Works With No Author:

If there's no information about the author, you can use the source's title or a shortened version of the title in the in-text citation. Eliminate articles when abbreviating and begin the citation as alphabetized in the Works Cited reference list.

  • Long/Block Quotations

Keep quotations longer than four lines separate from the text, and do not enclose them within quotation marks. Instead, they should form a new paragraph and be set one inch from the margin. The citation comes after the last punctuation mark of the quotation.

  • For Online Sources with & without Numbered Paragraphs

If there are no paragraph numbers, mention the author's name of the online article. Else, mention both the author's name & the numbers.

For more information about MLA format in-text citations, check out the official Modern Language Citation Guide. You can also use MLA Referencing Generator tool to quickly and easily generate the citation within seconds.

Let's now look at how to craft the Works Cited section.

The Works Cited List

The Works Cited list must be a separate section at the end of the paper. The title of this section must be in the centre, all text needs to be double-spaced, and the second & subsequent citation lines should be indented by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent.

Here are some examples of entries from the Works Cited page.

  • Journal Article from Online Sources

For these kinds of sources, the Modern Language Association has the following rules:

  • Include the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) instead of a URL. RemoveHTTP:// or HTTPS:// before adding the DOI.
  • If there’s no DOI, add the permanent URL.
  • If there’s no permalink, then mention whatever link is present.

Example with DOI à Barlow, David H., and Katherine Ann Kennedy. “New Approaches to Diagnosis and Treatment in Anxiety and Related Emotional Disorders: A Focus on Temperament.” Canadian Psychology, vol. 57, no. 1, 2016, pp. 8-20. ProQuest,

Example with no DOI à Curthoys, Ann. “The Magic of History: Harry Potter and Historical Consciousness. Agora, vol. 49, no. 4, 2014, pp. 23-31. EbscoHost

  • Book

Print Book à Bradley, Heather. Design Funny: A Graphic Designer’s Guide to Humor. 1st ed., HOW Books, 2015.

E-Book à Klausen, Jytte. The Cartoons That Shook the World. e-book, Yale University Press, 2009.

Chapter in a Book Example à  Kang-Brown, Jason, et al.” Zero-Tolerance Policies Do Not Make Schools Safer.” School Safety, edited by Noah Berlatsky, Greenhaven Press, 2016, pp. 50-52

  1. References to the book must include the following:  author or editor, the entire title, edition (If available), place of publication, publisher's name, in short, date of publication, and publishing medium.
  2. There is no need to mention the author or editor's name if the information's unavailable.
  3. Add after the editor’s name.
  4. If there are two works from the same author, there is no need to mention them in more than one list entry.
  5. If there are multiple authors, only the first/primary author's name is to be written surname-first.
  6. Add et al. after the first author’s name if there are more than three authors.
  • Online Sources

All citations from online sources must mention the medium of publication and the access date. If the source is hard to locate or the URL is necessary, add everything within angular brackets after adding the date. Sometimes, you need to add the Web Site name or database where the material was found.

Web Page à Cornell University Library. “Introduction to Research.” Cornell University Library. Cornell University, 2009. Web. 19 June 2009 <http://www/lirbary.cornell.du/resrch/intro>

Online Periodicalà   Chaplin, Heather. “Epidemic of Extravagance.” Salon 19 Feb. 1999: n. pag. Web. 12 July 1999.

Full-Text Journal à  Vargas, Jose Antonio.” The Face of Facebook.” New Yorker 86.58 (2010): 54-63. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Jan. 2011.

  • Journal, Magazine, or Newspaper Article

Mention the author, the article’s title, the publication’s name, volume number & publication date, appropriate page numbers, and the medium of publication.  

Volume & issue numbers should be written in decimal format. For example, volume 25, issue 4 should be written as 25.4.

And that's all the space we have for today. Hope this article aids you in crafting flawless references in the MLA. If you need more help developing top-notch solutions with impeccable references in the MLA format, then hire a nerd from

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