what is mla format citation
MLA is the official citation style for the Modern Language Association. MLA is designed for the humanities, but can be used for any subject area. MLA citation style formatting has changed over the years and is currently in its eighth edition.
- References contain four main parts: Author, Title of the work, Publication information, and Date
- The author’s last name comes first; Use a first name and middle name if written as such
- Use quotation marks to denote works that are part of larger works such as articles, chapters of books, or essays
- In-text citations include the author’s last name and a page reference
- The Works Cited list is organized alphabetically by author
This citation guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (8th ed.). The contents are accurate to the best of our knowledge.
We are transitioning to APA 7th ed. Check with your professor to see which APA edition they require.
MLA style is a system for documenting sources in scholarly writing. For over half a century, it has been widely adopted for classroom instruction and used throughout the world by scholars, journal publishers, and academic and commercial presses. Learn more about the history of the style with our interactive time line.
What Is MLA Style?
MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is widely used in the humanities, especially in writing on language and literature. MLA style uses brief parenthetical citations in the text that refer to an alphabetical list of works cited appearing at the end of the work.
This guide gives example citations for the most common information formats used in MLA Style well as links to other sources and examples. Examples are based on the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook.
- entire websites, single web pages
- In-text, parenthetical referencing examples
Page Numbers – Page numbers should be located in upper right corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. Type your last name before the page number unless specified differently from your instructor.
Margins – 1 inch all sides, including top, bottom, left and right.
MLA Style is commonly used in the arts, literature and the humanities.
Visit the Research Help Desk on the main floor of the Library for help.
MLA Citation Template
Use this template to help build your MLA Works Cited Page. Download the template by clicking on the PDF link below the picture.
Alphabetize entries in the list of works cited by the author’s last name. If the author is anonymous, alphabetize by title, ignoring initial articles (like “The,” “An,” etc.).
MLA style is commonly used in Composition classes, Literature, and other Humanities courses.
EasyBib is a free, online tool for generating citations. Only MLA style citations are available on the free version. EasyBib is, as it’s name suggests, easy to use, but the video below will give you some tips for finding the citations pieces you need to ensure that you get accurate, correct citations out of EasyBib.