MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
The in-text citation is a brief reference within your text that indicates the source you consulted. It should properly attribute any ideas, paraphrases, or direct quotations to your source, and should direct readers to the entry in the list of works cited. For the most part, an in-text citation is the author’s name and page number (or just the page number, if the author is named in the sentence) in parentheses:
A website should be in italics:
The current MLA guidelines teach you a widely applicable skill. Once you become familiar with the core elements that should be included in each entry in the Works Cited list, you will be able to create documentation for any type of source. While the handbook still includes helpful examples that you may use as guidelines, you will not need to consult it every time you need to figure out how to cite a source you’ve never used before. If you include the core elements, in the proper order, using consistent punctuation, you will be fully equipped to create a list of works cited on your own.
What are block quotations and how are they handled?
Summaries are most often used to condense larger texts into more manageable chucks. However, as a writer you should be aware that this more manageable chunks and easily become vague and weigh your paper down with fluff.
Block quotes are indented by one inch, and should be used sparingly.
Notice that both thesis statements not only tell us WHAT the essay will be about, but also WHERE THE AUTHOR STANDS on that issue (his or her opinion) and briefly explain WHY. Make sure that your thesis statement includes these three elements too!
How do I punctuate shorter quotations?
Paraphrase your sources whenever you believe that you can make the information from a source shorter and/or clearer for your audience. A paraphrase is NOT an exact copy of the original, simply changing a few words here and there is NOT acceptable.
Do I use a comma or a colon to introduce a quotation?
*The eighth edition handbook recommends including URLs when citing online sources. For more information, see the “Optional Elements” section below.
Woolf, Virginia. Jacob’s Room. Harcourt, Inc., 2008.
Example: Congressman Joe Smith (2009) believes that our approach to reforming the healthcare system is backwards and costly. He discusses our rising national debt in "Healthcare: Let's Talk" and lists several statistics to prove that Obama's new plan will only make things worse.
She thought poets "the unacknowledged legislators of the world."
Use our quick MLA Action Network form to tell your representatives about the value of the humanities and what you want them to fight for this year!