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Citation Styles: APA, MLA, Chicago, & Beyond!: MLA 9th Edition

MLA Style Handbook

Formatting your MLA Paper

What is MLA Style?

MLA (Modern Language Association) style for documentation is widely used in the humanities, especially in writing on language and literature. MLA style features brief parenthetical citations in the text keyed to an alphabetical list of works cited that appears at the end of the work. (Source: Official MLA website)

Core Elements

Each entry in the list of works cited is composed of facts common to most works—the MLA core elements. They are assembled in a specific order.


The concept of containers is crucial to MLA style. When the source being documented forms part of a larger whole, the larger whole can be thought of as a container that holds the source. For example, a short story may be contained in an anthology. The short story is the source, and the anthology is the container. (Source: MLA)

Examples of MLA Style


In-text Citation

In-text citations provide relevant source information, usually in parentheses, whenever a sentence includes a direct quotation or paraphrase. The source information provided can depend on the type of source you are citing but MUST directly correspond to the source information in your Works Cited page. Typically you will provide Author and Location in your in-text citation.

Creating a Works Cited Page

With MLA style, you must include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper. A Works Cited page is an alphabetical listing of the resources cited in your paper. Below are some examples of MLA style citations.

Material Type

Works Cited

Book or ebook 
For an ebook a DOI or permalink would be added to the end of your citation.

Coward, David. A History of French Literature: From Chanson de geste to Cinema. London: Blackwell Publishers, 2002.

Book or ebook chapter

A chapter from a print book would not include a DOI or permalink. 

Hayden, Erica Rhodes. "'She Would Have a Divorce at the Risk of Her Life': Women and Crimes that Challenged Social Norms." Troublesome Women: Gender, Crime, and Punishment in Antebellum Pennsylvania. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006, pp. 44-67. 

An article in a journal
For an article from a print journal you would omit the database and DOI or permalink information.

Antonuccio, Rachel Christine Bailie. "Prisons for Profit: Do the Social and Political Problems have a Legal Solution?" Journal of Corporation Law, vol. 33, no. 2, 2008, pp. 577-593. Business Source Premiere. 


Sacks, Brianna & Jason Leopold. "FEMA told Congress it had 'Very Little Knowledge' About the Coronavirus Response Before March. New Documents Show it's Been Deeply Involved Since the Beginning." Buzzfeed News. 11 Aug. 2020.


These are examples of MLA style, there are many factors to consider for each citation and other types of sources that aren't covered on this site. Please consult the Handbook or a librarian for more authoritative assistance with citations

Online MLA Citation Resources