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Citation & Style Guide

This guide will help you find information, tools and resources on citation and style.

Note about MLA 7th Edition and new 8th Edition

MLA released the new 8th edition in May 2016. Check with your faculty to learn which edition s/he would like you to use. You can find the print version of the 7th and 8th editions in the Reference section of the Library.

This page offers advice according the the 7th edition.

Who Uses Modern Language Association (MLA) Style?

  • Literatures
  • Languages
  • Other Humanities fields
  • If you aren't sure which citation style to use, be sure to ask your professors which style they prefer for assignments.

What's Unique About MLA?

  • Use in-text citations. Example: (Wordsworth 262)
  • Bibliography heading: Use "Works Cited" as page heading.
  • Medium of publication: In your Works Cited page, for every entry, you must determine the Medium of Publication. Most entries will likely be listed as Print or Web sources, but other possibilities may include Film, CD-ROM, or DVD.
  • Online resources: MLA no longer requires a URL or DOI.

Print Book Examples

Format: Author’s last name/first name (and second author's name if applicable). Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication. Print.

Brooks, Max. The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003. Print.

(Note: examples follow MLA 7th ed.)

E-book Examples

Same as print, except also add e-book source (where you got the e-book from database, Amazon, B&N, etc), Web. Date of Access.

Format: Author's last name. Title. Place of Publication: Publisher, date of Publication. Ebook source. Web. Date of Access.

Dukan, Pierre. The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever. New York: Crown Archetype, 2011. Amazon. Web. 19 December 2012.

Print Journal

Format: Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Volume.Issue (Date): pages. Medium of publication.

Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 15.1 (1996): 41-50. Print.

Online Journal from a Database

Author’s name. “Title of the Article.” Journal Title Volume.Issue (Date of publication): pages. Name of database or other relevant information. Access Provider. Web. Date.

Titus, Craig Steven, and Philip Scrofani.  “The Art of Love: A Roman Catholic Psychology of Love.” Journal of Psychology & Christianity 31.2 (2012): 118-129. Religion and Philosophy Collection. EBSCO Host. Web. 20 December 2012.

Online Magazine Example

Format: Author's name. "Title of Article." Magazine Title, day month year: pages. Web. Date of Access.

Atlas, Darla, et al. "Life in the Cult." People, 28 Apr. 2008: 62-7. Web. 20 Apr. 2009.

*Note: page numbers are optional for online magazines.

Online Newspaper Example

Format: Same as magazine.

Bailey, Issac J. "Big weekend for NFL Family from Georgetown."  Sun News Myrtle Beach Online, 5 Jan. 2013:  Web. 6 Jan. 2013.

Website Example

Format: Author’s name. Name of Web Site. Institution or organization associated with/producing the website. Date of posting/revision. Web. Date of access.

Carroll, Jason. “Homeless Asked to Pay Rent”. 10 May 2009. Web. 11 May 2009.

Book Review Example

Format: Author of Review. "Title of Review." (if there is one) Rev. of Title of work reviewed, by Name of Author. Source Information. (follow format for print, online journal, etc. as given above)

Murray, B.J. Rev. of Chamber Music: An Essential History, by Mark A. Radice. CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, Sept. 2012: 93. Academic OneFile. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.


In-Text Citations

In-text citations are brief, parenthetical references to your sources that point readers to the full citation in your Works Cited page.


Rather than belabor the point or summarize what you've already said, a strong conclusion should "take your readers slightly by surprise and yet seem exactly right" (Zinsser 64).

The Basics

  • Include the author's last name and the appropriate page number(s) in parentheses immediately following the cited material.
  • Do not use commas inside the parentheses.
  • Quotation marks come before the parentheses; sentence punctuation follows them. 

Special Situations

Entire Works: If you are citing an entire work, you can omit page numbers.


Signal Phrases: You don't need to include the author's name in the parentheses when context clarifies whom you are citing (e.g., you have used the author's name as part of your signal phrase, you have cited the same source immediately preceding the current citation.) If you are in doubt, include the author's last name.

In On Writing Well, William Zinsser argues a strong conclusion should "take your readers slightly by surprise and yet seem exactly right" (64).

Multiple Works by Same Author: If your Works Cited list has more than one work by the same author, include the work title in the in-text citation, separated by a comma.

(Zinsser, On Writing Well 64)

Multiple Authors with Same Last Name: If your Works Cited list has more than one author with the same last name, include the initial of the author's first name in the in-text citation.

(W. Zinsser 64)

Multiple Authors of a Single Work: If three or fewer authors, include all in your in-text citation; if four or more, list the first author only followed by the abbrevation "et al."

(Rodriguez, Jones, and Bartell 273)
(Rodriguez et al. 273)

Indirect or Quoted Material: Find the original source if possible. If not, use the abbreviation "qtd. in" for "quoted in".

(qtd. in Liu 392)

Ebooks: If the ebook has stable page numbers (i.e., page numbers remain consistent regardless of device used or font size), use those as you would a print book. If the ebook has reflowable pages, do not use page numbers. Instead, cite the section or chapter if possible.

(Zinsser, ch. 9)

If the ebooks does not have stable page numbers, sections, or chapters, cite the work as a whole.


Sample Paper

Here are a few sample papers using the MLA Handbook.

How to Cite Primary Sources

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography includes a citation and a written statement or abstract about each work to help potential readers decide if an item is relevant to their interests.