What is MLA Style?
All fields of research require certain formats of documentation for scholarly articles and publishing. MLA referencing has been widely adopted by academic schools and lecturers for over half a century. The MLA style for documenting scholarly published articles and essays is simpler and more detailed than other types of bibliography and document formatting. An MLA style document has short citations in the text with an alphabetical list of referenced works at the end of the document.
When revising your academic work, ensure it follow the correct MLA referencing format. This page contains guidelines for the arrangement and some examples of MLA cited works of your academic paper.
See our guide on how to MLA format parenthetical citations details and examples on how to cite in the text of the document by MLA standards.
Guidelines for formatting MLA style work
- Clarkson’s Guidelines on Formatting in MLA Style(Note: always check your instructor’s guidelines):
- Double-space the text of your work and use Times New Roman.
- Font size should be 12pt.
- Set the margins of your work to 1 inch on all sides.
- For paragraphs indent the first line a half an inch from the left margin. MLA recommends you use the Tab key.
- Create a MLA header for all pages of the document that numbers all pages in the upper right-hand corner at one-half inch from the top.
- Include endnotes on a separate page before your Cited Works page. Name this section Notes and centre on the document.
Note: These citations serve as examples of how to MLA format entries on Works Cited pages of student research papers. These examples may or may not be actual published literary works, and you should not be disappointed if the internet web site URLs are not functional. Again, this page is simply a set of examples to help you format a paper written in MLA style.
When creating your Works Cited Page, remember to:
- Begin the Works Cited on a new page, but number consecutively (i.e., if the last page of your essay is page 3, the Works Cited is page 4)
- Alphabetize each entry by first letter
- Use italics for all titles of books, magazines, films, etc.
- You do NOT need to include the URL on internet sources unless specifically required.
- Put quotation marks around the titles of poems, short stories, and articles
- Indent the 2nd line, the 3rd line, and all subsequent lines of each citation
- Double-space all entries
Examples of MLA Citations
|Correct citation||Type of citation|
|Gorman, Elizabeth. Prairie Women. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986.||Book (One author)|
|Caper, Charles and Lawrence T. Teamos. How to Camp. Philadelphia: Doubleday, 1986.||Book (Two authors)|
|Ellis, Doris et.al. History of Japan. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., 1989.||Book (Three or more authors)|
|Vanderkirk, Pamela, ed. Ten Short Plays. Los Angeles: Nowell Book Co., 1982.||Book (One editor)|
|Lockhard, David J. and Charles Heimler, eds. The Oregon Trail. New York: Bonanza Books, 1992.||Book (Two editors)|
|Carlson, David et.al., eds. Encyclopedia of Animal Life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1985.||Book (Three or more editors)|
|Allende, Isabel. “Toad’s Mouth.” Trans. Margaret Sayers Peden. A Hammock beneath the Mangoes: Stories from Latin America. Ed. Thomas Colchie. New York: Plume, 1992. 83-88.||Book (Single work from an anthology)|
|American Medical Association. The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine. Ed. Charles B. Clayman. New York: Random, 1989.||Book by Corporate Author|
|Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Twice-Told Tales. Ed. George Parsons Lathrop. Boston: Houghton, 1883. 1 Mar. 2002. <http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/ttt.html>.||Book Online|
|Keats, John. Poetical Works. 1884. Bartleby.com: Great Books Online. Ed. Steven van Leeuwen. May 1998. 5 May 2003 <http://www.columbia.edu/126/>.||Book Online (Part of Scholarly Project)|
|Roberts, Sheila. “A Confined World: A Rereading of Pauline Smith.” World Literature Written in English. 24(1984): 232-38. Rpt. in Twentieth Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Dennis Poupard. Vol. 25. Detroit: Gale, 1988. 399-402.||Gale Literary Criticism (previously published scholarly article in a collection)|
|Doctorow, E.L. Introduction. Sister Carrie. By Theodore Dreiser. New York: Bantam, 1985. v-xi.||Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword|
|Stowe, Harriet Beecher. “Sojourner Truth, the Libyan Sibyl.” 1863. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter et al. Vol. 1. Lexington, Heath, 1994. 2425-33
||One volume of multivolume work|
|Maps ‘n’ Facts. Computer Software. Broderbund Software, 1995.||Computer Software|
|Frost, James. “Strawberries in a Field.” Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound,_and Sense. Ed. Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson. New York: Heinle and Heinle, 2002.||Poem|
|Frost, James. “Strawberries in a Field.” Literature Resource Center. Alabama Virtual Library. 15 March 2004. <http://www.avl.lib.al.us>.||Poem Online|
|Crane, Stephen. “The Open Boat.” Literature Resource Center. Alabama Virtual Library. 12 March 2004. <http://www.avl.lib.al.us>.||Short Story Online|
|Cather, Willa. “Paul’s Case.” Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense. Ed. Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson. New York: Heinle and Heinle, 2002.||Short Story in an Anthology|
|Dunn, Samuel. “Re: Any Ideas for My Country Project.” E-mail to Tom Jones. 26 Feb. 2003.||E-mail **|
|Barnridge, Thomas H. “Baseball.” World Book Encyclopedia. 2001.||Encyclopedia (Signed article)*|
|“Egypt.” The New Encyclopedia Britannica. 2002.||Encyclopedia (Unsigned article) *|
|Ito, Philip J. “Papaya,” World Book Encyclopedia, 1998 ed. The World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia, CD-ROM version of The World Book Encyclopedia.||Encyclopedia (CD-ROM) *|
|“Egypt.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Vers. 97.1.1. Mar. 1997. Encyclopedia Britannica. 29 Feb. 2000 <http://www.search.eb.com/>.||Encyclopedia (Internet) *|
|The Empire Strikes Back. Dir. George Lucas. Perf. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher. Twentieth Century Fox, 1980.||Film|
|United States Office of Management and Budget. Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 1999. Washington: GPO, 1999.||Government Publication|
|Whitehurst, Daniel, former mayor of Fresno. Personal interview. 5 Mar. 2003.||Interview (Personal)|
|Smith, John. “Beowulf: Archetypal Hero.” English 102 Class. Vestavia Hills High School, Vestavia Hills, AL. 28 March 2003.||Lecture|
|Lin, Michael. “Compressing Online Graphics.” Online posting. 27 April 1999. MacWeb. 28 Feb. 2003 <http://www.graphica.com/digitizing/intor.html>.||Listserv Posting|
|Cannon, Angie. “Just Saying No to Tests.” U.S. News & World Report. Oct. 1999: 34.||Magazine|
|Cannon, Angie. “Just Saying No to Tests.” U.S. News & World Report 18 Oct. 1999: 3. Alabama Virtual Library. Vestavia Hills High School Library, Vestavia Hills, AL. 28 Feb. 2003. <http://www.avl.lib.al.us>.||Magazine, Online News Subscription Service (Alabama Virtual Library)|
|Elliott, Michael. “The Biggest Fish of Them All.” Time. 8 March 2003. 11 March 2003. <http://www.time.com/time>.||Online Magazine
(Magazine web site)
|Barrow, Matthew. “Skipping School? Plan On Walking.” Sacramento Bee. 13 Oct. 1999, California final ed.: A1+.||Newspaper Article, (Signed)|
|“Gorilla attacks Martian.” National Enquirer 16 Mar. 1999: A-14.||Newspaper Article, (Unsigned)|
|Bradley, Donald. “Is There a Right Way?” Kansas City Star 23 May 1999: 2-4. SIRS Researcher. Alabama Virtual Library.. 28 Feb. 2003. <http://www.avl.lib.al.us/>.||Newspaper Article, Online News Subscription Service (SIRS)|
|“Charles Frazier.” Contemporary Authors Online. 2001. Galegroup.com. Alabama Virtural Library. 28 February 2003 <http://www.avl.lib.al.us>.||Gale Literary Criticism Online (Unsigned)|
|McCarron, Bill. “Images of War and Peace: Parallelism and Antithesis in the Beginning and Ending of Cold Mountain.” The Mississippi Quarterly. 52.2 (1999): 273. Galegroup.com. Alabama Virtual Library. 25 February 2003. <http://www.avl.lib.al.us>.||Gale Literary Criticism Online (Signed)|
|Achenbach, Joel. “America’s river.” Washington Post. 5 May 2002. 20 July 2003 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13425-2202May1.html>.||Newspaper Article (Newspaper Website)|
|Your Health. New York: Modern Woman, 1996.||Pamphlet|
|“Karma Chameleon.” Northern Exposure. CBS. KCRA, Sacramento. 29 Feb. 2000.||Television or Radio (Live)|
|Smith, Greg. “Rhesus Monkeys in the Zoo.” No date. Online image. Monkey Picture Gallery. 3 May 2003. <http://monkeys.online.org/rhesus.jpg>.||Published Photograph|
|“Candy Cotton at the Fair.” Birmingham, AL. Personal photograph taken by Quincy Adams. 5 March 2004.||Personal Photograph|
|Adams, Mindy. “Critical Eye for the Fantasy Guy.” 4 January 2004. Online PowerPoint. Studyguide.org. 7 March 2004. <www.studyguide.org/fantasy.htm>.||Power Point Online|
|Civil War Diary. Videotape. New World Entertainment, 1990.||Videotape|
|Springsteen, Bruce. “Dancing in the Dark.” Born in the USA. Columbia, 1984. Music video. Dr. Brian De Palma. VH1. 10 May 2002.||Music Video|
|“Cabinet Nominations,” Chapter 20. Powers of the President. Laser videodisc. Pioneer Communications of America, Inc. American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., 1995.||Video Laserdisc|
|“Castles in Medieval Times.” yourchildlearns.com. 2000. Owl and Mouse Educational Software. 9 March 2003. <http://www.yourchildlearns.com/castle_history.htm>.||Web Page that is part of a larger web site|
|Schrock, Kathleen. “Digital Gadgets.” Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators. 20 February 2002. Discovery Channel. 11 March 2003. <http://school.discovery.com/schrockguide/gadgets.html>.
“Great Gatsby Study Guide.” studyguide.org. 5 January 2002. 11 March 2003. <http://www.studyguide.org/gatsby_study_guide.htm>.
Note: If no title for the page is provided, write Home page (do not underline and do not use quotation marks).
|Web page (Personal or Professional)|
|The Cinderella Project. Ed. Michael N. Salda. Vers. 1.1.Dec. 1997. De Grummond Children’s Lit. Research Collection, University of Southern Mississippi. 9 March 2003.
|Web page from a university (scholarly online project)|
|“Langston Hughes Poetry Circles.” February 2003. National Council of Teachers of English. 10 March 2003. <http://www.ncte.org/special/LangstonHughes/>.||Web page (Professional Organization)|
Need study notes on the most popular novels and plays? See our study guide page for a comprehensive list to help you be more prepared and organised academically.
* While you may wish to consult a general reference source like a comprehensive encyclopedia for background information, avoid using and citing such resources in documented literary papers. More specialized sources are preferred.
** The following resources are NOT credible and should never be used or cited in a documented literary paper: SparkNotes©, Cliff’s© Notes, PinkMonkey Notes©, and similar sources. Be very cautious in your use of resources from the Internet. Essays by middle school and high school students should certainly not be deemed reliable. Similarly, comments on books which are randomly submitted by readers lack credibility.
Note: The above citations serve as examples of how to format entries on Works Cited pages of student research papers. These examples may or may not be actual published literary works, and you should not be disappointed if the internet web site URLs are not functional. Again, this page is simply a set of examples to help you format a paper written in MLA style.