Skip to Main Content
HVCC logo and library name

Cite Your Sources: MLA

Tools for creating bibliographies in MLA, APA, Chicago, and other styles.

What is MLA Style?

MLA is a citation format created by the Modern Language Association. It is used for research papers in many college classes, including English. MLA updated their guidelines to the Ninth Edition in April 2021.  

General Guidelines for MLA

  • Font is size 11-13 in a legible font like Times New Roman or Arial. Nothing is underlined or bold. Font should be used consistently throughout paper.
  • Center the words “Works Cited” one inch from the top of a new page at the end of the paper. Include only sources that have been quoted, summarized, or paraphrased.

  • Double-spacing is used between sources as well as within each source.

  • Use a hanging indent: begin the first line of each entry at the left margin, and indent all subsequent lines of an entry one-half inch (5 spaces); you may also use the “Tab” key.

  • Alphabetize sources by the author’s last names.  List author by last name, followed by a comma, and then followed by the first name. If the source has no author, alphabetize by title ignoring the words “A,” “An,” or “The.”

  • Capitalize all title words except for articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (to, from, between, etc.), and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, etc.) unless they are the first/last word of the title or subtitle.

  • Use italics for titles of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, reference books, databases, and websites.

  • Put titles of periodical articles and other short works (such as poems, essays, short stories, and songs) in quotation marks.

  • List just the publisher for books. Use the complete version of publishers’ names, except for terms such as Inc. and Co. Use U and P for University and Press. List vol. for the volume, no. for the issue number of a journal, and p. or pp. for the page numbers.

  • Separate the author, title, and publication information (publisher and year for books) with periods. Only commas separate the journal title, volume, issue number, date, and page numbers. A period also goes at the end of each source.

  • List dates as: day month year. Example: 7 Apr. 2021 (abbreviate names of months except for May, June, and July).

  • For a range of two-digit page numbers, list the first and last page (pp. 37-51); for longer numbers, list only the last two digits of the last page number (pp. 137-51). In some cases, though, you may need more digits to clarify the range of pages (199-207). If the article does not appear on consecutive pages, use a plus sign (+) after the first page number (pp. 36+).

  • Include as much of the following information about the source as is available: editor, translator, director, performer, version, volume and issue numbers, publisher or sponsor, date of publication, location of the source, page numbers, DOI (digital object identifier), URL, etc. Not all sources will require every element.

In-text Citations for MLA

In-text parenthetical citations: Whenever you use a quotation, a paraphrase, or a summary, you should give the author’s last name (or the title if no author is included) in parentheses; you should also add the page number if you’re using a printed source. A parenthetical source might look like this for an author (Hammond 42) or like this for a title (MLA Handbook 58).

Parenthetical/In-text citation: (Perry B3).

Introduce the material being cited with a signal phrase that includes the author’s name.  Example:  HVCC librarian Mary Ellen Bolton points out that students who do not use libraries often find frustration in their research efforts (74).  Otherwise, provide the author’s last name and a page number in parentheses.  No comma is used.  Example: (Bolton 74).

For sources with no author listed, use a shortened version of the title of the work. Titles of books are italicized; titles of articles are put in quotation marks.

Example MLA Citations

Print Books:  
Book by one author
Mallon, Thomas. Stolen Words: Forays into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism. Ticknor and Fields, 1989.
Book by more than one author
Lathrop, Ann, and Kathleen Foss. Student Cheating and Plagiarism in the Internet Era. Libraries Unlimited, 2000.
Book by three or more authors
Cunningham, Stewart, et al. Media Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Book with no author listed (start with the title)
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 8th ed. Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
An Essay, Poem, or Short Story in an Anthology
Crews, Harry. “Why I Live Where I Live.” The Short Prose Reader, 12th ed., edited by Gilbert H. Muller and Harvey S. Wiener. McGraw-Hill, 2009. pp. 307-10.
Article from an encyclopedia (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Cooper, John M. “Socrates.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward Craig, vol. 9. Routledge, 1998.
E-book (from a library database or catalog)
DiYanni, Robert. You Are What You Read: A Practical Guide to Reading Well, Princeton U P, 2021. ProQuest Ebook Central,
E-book (from the Web)
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Cassell, 1852. Project Gutenberg, 2015,
Print Articles:  
Article from a journal (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Strauch, Carl F. “Ismael: Time and Personality in ‘Moby Dick.’” Studies in the Novel, vol. 1, no. 4, winter 1969, pp. 468-83.
Article from a magazine (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Posnanski, Joe. “The Running Back, the Cheerleader, and What Came after the Greatest College Football Game Ever.” Sports Illustrated, 28 Dec. 2009, pp. 58-64.
Article from a newspaper (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Nearing, Brian. “State Energy Plan: Less Is More.” Times Union [Albany, NY] 16 Dec. 2009, pp. D1-D2.
Online Articles:  
Journal article from a database (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Cleman, John. “Irresistible Impulses: Edgar Allan Poe and the Insanity Defense.” American Literature, vol. 63, no. 4, 1991, pp. 623-40. JSTOR,
Newspaper article from a database (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Parkes, Tiffany Anne. “A Jamaican Spiced Bun, Baked for My Mom for the Last Time.” The Washington Post, 4 May 2022, p. E. 1. U.S. Major Dailies,
Article from a database (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Grobe, Anna M. “Equal Pay for Equal Work in Europe? The Key May Be Transparency." Christian Science Monitor, 18 May 2021, Opposing Viewpoints in Context,
Article (with a digital object identifier number) from a database
Ohman, Arne, and Susan Mineka. "Fears, Phobias, and Preparedness: Toward an Evolved Module of Fear and Fear Learning." Psychological Review, vol. 108, no. 3, 2001, Academic OneFile, doi: 10.1037//0033-295X.108.3483.
Citing an article from a web site (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Doyle, Brian. “Joyas Voladoras.” The American Scholar, 12 June 2012,
Citing a web page (if no author is listed, start with the title)
“Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention.”  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 June 2016,
DVD/ Motion Picture
To Kill a Mockingbird. Directed by Robert Mulligan, performances by Gregory Peck, John Megna, and Frank Overton, Universal International Pictures, 1962.
Video streaming from subscription database
Do the Right Thing. Directed by Spike Lee, performances by Danny Aiello, Rosie Perez and John Turturro, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, 1989. Swank Digital Campus,
Episode from a series streaming
“The Potato.” Modern Marvels, produced by Don Cambou, 2010, Films on Demand,
YouTube Video
Ted-Ed. “Why is This Painting So Captivating? - James Earle and Christina Bozsik.” YouTube, 10 Mar. 2016,
Music CD
Nirvana. “Smells Like Teen Spirit." Nevermind, Geffen, 1991.
Painting, sculpture or photograph retrieved from Artstor
Rockwell, Norman. Freedom From Want. 1943. Artstor,
Painting, sculpture or photograph retrieved online
Cezanne, Paul. Still Life with Apples and a Pot of Primroses. 1890, Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Podcast (audio)
Clark, Josh. “How Chili Peppers Work.” Stuff You Should Know, 10 Sept. 2015,

@tombrokaw. "SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign." Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m.,

Citing Secondary Sources

Secondary sources should be used sparingly. Try to locate the original source of information cited in the a work if it is possible. If you read an article or book which cites some information that you want to cite, always refer to the source where you found the information, not the original source.

Works Cited List Example:

Hanrahan, Patricia, et al. “The Mothers’ Project for Homeless Mothers with Mental Illnesses and Their Children: A Pilot Study.” Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, vol. 28 no. 3, 2005, pp. 291-294. APA PsycArticles, doi: 10.2975/28.2005.291.294

In-Text Citation Example:

Dincin and Zeitz’s study of mentally ill mothers (qtd. in Hanrahan, et al. 291)

Cite ChatGPT in MLA style

Example: MLA ChatGPT citation
MLA format “Text of prompt” prompt. ChatGPT, Day Month version, OpenAI, Day Month Year,
MLA Works Cited entry “Tell me about confirmation bias” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 16 Feb. 2023,
MLA in-text citation (“Tell me about”)


How do I cite generate AI in MLA style. 

Ask the MLA

HVCC Writing and Research Center (WRC) MLA 8 Handouts

Online Help with MLA

CSUDH Library. "Introduction to Citation Styles: MLA 9th ed." YouTube, 2020, July 9,

What is a doi?

What is a digital object identifier, or doi?

A digital object identifier (doi) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency ( the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to it's location on the Internet. The publisher assigns a doi when the article is published and made available electronically.

We recommend that when doi's are available, you include them for both print and electronic sources. The doi is typically located on the first page of the electronic journal, near the copyright notice. The DOI will be included in the citation of articles found in our databases.

MLA Sample Paper

This browser does not support PDFs. Please download the PDF to view it: Download PDF.