Skip to main content

Citing Sources: MLA Survival Tips!

Find out how to create citations and works cited!

The Works Cited Page - MLA 8th edition

Between Heavens and Earth. Photo by LilaCheck. flickr.Every source cited in the text of your paper needs to be in the Works Cited page, and

Every source you put in your Works Cited page must be cited somewhere in your paper.

In-Text Citations

  • Citations in your text and in your Works Cited page need to match exactly.
  • Use the author name and page number for the information you’re citing: 
    • The experiment was described as “flawed” (Brown 46).
  • If you mention the author’s name in your text, you only need the page number in parentheses
    • Brown described it as “flawed” (46).
  • If the author is unknown, either use the complete title in a signal phrase, or use a short form of the title in parentheses.
  • Titles of books are italicized; titles of articles are put in quotation marks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to include the URL (web address) for web sources?
Yes.

In ProQuest, how do I know what database an article is from?
The current default searches all ProQuest databases; list simply as:  ProQuest.

Do I include in my Works Cited page books or articles I read while researching my paper that I did not cite in my paper?
No, only include those sources cited in your paper.

For in-text citations, where does the period go?
At the end of the citation after the parentheses, like this: (Beck 46).

However, for long quotations of more than four typed lines of prose or three lines of poetry, indent the quotation 1 inch or 10 spaces.  The parenthetical citation goes outside the final punctuation of the quote, like this:

               … and frequently unobtrusive. (127)

What if my quotation ends with a question mark or exclamation point?
MLA Handbook page 88: Include the question mark at the end of the quotation, the add the citation in parenthesis, then add a period, like this:
Meeting a fellow prisoner, Lowell asks, "Are you a C.O.?" (38).
"What a wonderful little almanac you are, Celia!" Dorothea Brook responds to her sister (7).

Double spaced or single spaced?
Your Works Cited should be double spaced, in alphabetical order, with a hanging indent like this:

Powell, Kevin, editor. Step into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature. Wiley, 2000.

MLA Survival Tips

Two authors – 1st author’s name inverted (last name 1st) and 2nd author in normal order.

  •  Brown, John, and Jane Smith.


  Three or more authors – First author, followed by et al. (Latin for “and others”).

  • … their findings (Blaine et al. 35).
  • Blaine, John, et al. The Secret of Success. Gale, 2008.

         
Editor – Similar to author, except, name followed by comma and editor. Or editors.

  • Craig, Patricia, editor. The Oxford Book of


Work in an anthology, signed chapter in edited book –

  • Scott, Jon C. “Power, Freedom, and Imprisonment.”  The Phoenix Award of the Children’s Literature Association, edited by Alethea Helbigand and Agnes Perkins, Scarecrow, 2001, pp. 37-42.

Publishers – Use short form of publisher’s name. Omit terms such as Press, Inc., Co., except when naming university presses (Harvard UP).


If copyright date page lists more than one date, use most recent.

Names of months that are longer than four letters are abbreviated. Use 1st three letters of month: Jan., Feb. ... with one exception: Sept.

City and state aren't required before name of publisher.

  • Tan, Amy, The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Putnam. 2001.

Help with Citations

Face-to-Face

  • Reference Librarians at Cannell and the iCommons @ CTC
  • MLA Handbook, 8th edition - copies at Reference Desk
  • Rules for Writers, 8th edition, 2016 MLA Update - copies at Reference Desk


Online

Books - MLA 8th edition

The pieces of information you'll need for a book:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Publisher
  • Year of publication

Article in an Edited Book - MLA 8th edition

The pieces of information you'll need for an article in an edited book:

  • Author of article
  • Article title
  • Book title
  • Book editor(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Page numbers of article

For an electonic book (ebook) from a library database, include after page numbers:

  • Name of database
  • DOI (digital object identifier) or permalink or URL of article (in order of preference)

Article in Magazine or Journal - MLA 8th edition

The pieces of information you'll need for a magazine or journal article:

  • Author of article
  • Article title
  • Periodical title
  • Volume & issue number (if available)
  • Date of publication
  • Page numbers of article
  • DOI (digital object identifier), if available

For an article from a library database, include after page numbers:

  • Name of database
  • DOI (digital object identifier) or permalink or URL of article (in order of preference)

Short Work on a Website - MLA 8th edition

The pieces of information you'll need for a short work on a website:

  • Author of short work
  • Title of short work
  • Title of website
  • Publisher or sponsor of site (not needed if same as title of site)
  • Date of publication or update
  • Include date accessed, if no date of publication or update