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MLA Style (8th edition)

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

Formatting Authors


MLA 8th standard formatting asks that you list the authors on your Works Cited page in alphabetical order by the author's last name.  You will also include the author's full first name and any middle initial given. There are additional ways to list authors and exceptions to review below. 

  • List the author by last name then first name middle initial (if given)
    • Example: Parris, Dorothy
    • Example: Parris, Dorothy A.

No Author

Documents within a website or a website itself may have no author. If this happens, start your full citation with the title. Then, use the first two to three words of the title as your in-text citation. Doing this will bring the reader to the correct line in your Works Cited. 

Example of a full MLA 8th citation without an author:

National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 31 Mar. 2009, Accessed 30 July 2012.

More Than One Author

You will come across works that have more than one author and when you do, it's important to know how to list the authors correctly. 

  • Two authors - list the first author by last name then first name, and then list second author in normal form (first name last name). Include the word, "and" before the second author. (See Handbook: sec 3.1.1)
    • Example: Dorris, Michael, and Louise Erdrich.
  • Three authors or more - give the first author's name followed by "et al." (meaning "and others"). (See Handbook: sec 3.1.1)
    • Example: Clark, David, et al.

Corporate Author 

Sometimes a work maybe created by a body of authors instead of individual authors.  Corporate author refers to an institution, an association, a government agency, or organization.  When the work has a corporate author, list it in place of author and exclude "The" before the name.  


Modern Language Association. "What's New in the Eighth Edition." MLA, Modern Language Association of American, 2016, Accessed 26 Oct. 2016.

United States Census Bureau. "The Asian Population: 2010 - 2010 Census Briefs." United States Dept. of Commerce, Mar 2012, Accessed 22 Oct. 2016.


There may be times when you find a source that was created by an author, however they don't use their real name but rather a pseudonym. In those cases, follow these instructions:

  • Pseudonyms - some online sources may only provide the username or the pseudonym of the author. In this case, include the name that is provided. (See Handbook: sec 2.1.1)


  • Formatting dates in MLA - dates should be formatted as: Day Month Year.  The month should be abbreviated except for May, June, July. 
    • Examples: 29 Apr. 2014, 10 May 2015, 12 July 2014, 22 Oct. 2016.
  • Accessed date – Access date is optional but highly crucial if it is the online resource provides no published or produced date (See Handbook: p. 53).
    • Access date is recommended for resources accessed from the Open Web.
    • When including access date, include the words "Accessed" followed by the date.
  • Time - if the resource provide a specific time of publication and/or update, include it in your citation.


MLA 8th requires that you simplify your URL for your full-citation. 

  • Only include URL or web address for sources you accessed online.
  • List the URL without the "http://" or "https://" (See Handbook: sec 2.5.2)
  • Permalinks - if your source offers a stable or permanent URL (often call permalinks).  List the permalink.

Never add any extra characters or break up the lines of your URL in the citation, even if it carries over to the next line. Breaking up your URL will make it unusable. 

Citing a Chapter, Volume or Edition

Citing a Chapter

If using only a portion of a book (chapter or section), cite the author for the specific portion/chapter/section. Include the chapter or section title in quotation marks and then include the book title in italics. Include the page numbers of the portion used (preceded by pp.).


Clark, Neils, and P. Shavaun Scott. “Anatomy of a Game Addiction.” Game Addiction: The Experience and the Effects.McFarland & Company, 2009, pp.91-114.

Editors, Volumes, and Editions

If using a book or eBook with editor, multiple volumes, or multiple editions, include the information after the book title (separated by commas).  


Encyclopedia of Education, edited by James W. Guthrie. 2nd ed., vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2003, pp. 205-209. Gale Virtual Reference Library.