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MLA Style (8th edition)

Formatting citations using the MLA 8th style. Based on the MLA Handbook, 8th edition.

Ways To Cite

When using MLA citation style, you will be generally be creating two (2) different types of citations; in-text and bibliographic citations.

In-text will appear literally, within the text or body of your paper. It is the short version of your full bibliographic citation and is meant to show the reader that the information that they just read was not your original content, that you are attributing it to a source, what that source is and how they may find it at the end in your Works Cited page.

Bibliographic citations are the full citation and appear in your Works Cited page in alphabetical order. They help you and the reader organize the information from the original source that you are using for your research. 

Full Citations

A full citation is what you will be including in your Works Cited page. The Works Cited page (aka bibliography) should be formatted in a specific way in order to make the content easy to read and easy to find.

Works Cited Formatting Basics

  • Double-space your text.
  • List your citations in alphabetical order by the first letter of your citation which is usually the author last name or the first letter of the title or corporate author. This makes your list organized and easier to find by scrolling down alphabetically. 
  • Each citation should have a hanging first line. This makes the first few words easier to see when scanning the page. That way if your reader is looking for an author with the last name, Jackson, it will be easier to spot right away from the rest of the text.

What Not To Do

  • MLA does not require you to number your list of citations.  
  • Do not trust an citation generator or database to get your full citation correct. Always double check that all of the required information is there. 
  • Do not leave off the Accessed Date (date you accessed the source) when citing a digital source. Servers crash and information disappears from the web. Digital content is not as stable and we believe. So, having the date that it was last accessible is very helpful for your reader. 

In-Text Citations

Solutions, Imagine Easy. “What Are In-Text Citations?” YouTube, YouTube, 30 Sept. 2014,

When you use ideas or quotes from books, magazine articles, newspaper articles, journal articles and other sources of information, you need to provide "in-text" reference in parenthesis. Your in-text citation should include:

  • Author last name or corporate author (if known)
    • If the author is unknown, then use the title of the work instead. 
    • If a corporate author, use the name of the responsible corporation.
  • Page number
    • If no page number, do not include.