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MLA citation style

A guide to citing sources using MLA Style, 9th edition

MLA guides

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For more comprehensive information, see the MLA Handbook, 9th Edition.

General rules

The MLA citation style is often used in the humanities. The 9th edition of the MLA Handbook provides detailed guidelines on how to create in-text citations, your works cited list, as well as instructions on how to format your research paper.

You need to cite and document any sources that you have consulted and used in your work, even if you presented the ideas from these sources in your own words. You need to cite:

  • to identify other people's ideas and information used within your essay
  • to inform the reader of your paper where they should look if they want to find the same sources

In MLA style, a citation must appear in two places in your paper:

  • in the body of your paper ("in-text citations")
  • in the list of works cited (at the end of your paper)

Each entry in the list of works cited is composed of facts common to most works—the MLA core elements. They are assembled in a specific order:

  1. Author.
  2. Title of source.
  3. Title of container,
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location.

Additional resources