MLA Citation Guide to In-Text Citations and Bibliography Format
Easy MLA Citation Guide
Simple is better, right? Here is the outline of this easy guide to MLA citations.
- The beginning section gives you a basic format for your works cited list (also called a bibliography).
- Next, I give you some links for online bibliographical citation makers.
- Then I tell you how to do the in-text parenthetical citations (telling inside the paper when you are using a source).
Making Works Cited
Basic MLA Citation Guidelines
Note: Remember that Author= last name, first name.
Author. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Type of Material.
Author. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine Date: Page(s). Type of Material.
Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume number.Issue number (Year): Pages. Type of Material.
Author. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper Date, edition: Page(s). Type of Material.
Author. "Title of the Web Page." Title of the Overall Web Site. Version or Edition. Publisher or Sponsor, Date. Web. Date of Access.
Pamphlet or Newsletter
Author (or committee, commission or organizer that prepared pamphlet). "Title of Article." Title of Pamphlet or Newsletter. City of Publisher: Publisher, date. Print or Online.
Magazine or Newspaper article in a database like Gale Opposing Viewpoints
Author. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine Date: Page(s). Online Database Name. Web. Date of Access.
Scholarly Journal in Online database
Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume number. Issue number (Year): Pages. Online Database Name. Web. Date of Access.
Newspaper in Online database:
Author. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper Date, edition: Page(s). Online Database Name. Web. Date of Access.
Name of government entity (such as "U.S. Congress or U.S. Senate). Name of legislative body producing the publication. Title of Publication (including report or bill numbers, when available). Date. Print or Web. Date of Access (if Web).
Interview conducted by student:
Name of Person Interviewed. Type of interview. (Personal or Telephone or email) Date.
Site Visit (for Non-Profit Research Papers):
Place visited.Person observing.(type of observation notes: typed notes, handwritten notes or video recording) Date.
MLA Citation Tools
How to you cite correctly in Modern Language Association (MLA) format?
Use a Printed Citation Guide: You can purchase the MLA Handbook for the full citation references and many college textbooks, like the ones I use Perspectives on Argument and The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers have a mini-MLA handbook inside of them.
Use a Website: In most cases, you really only need this one-page guide. You can bookmark this Hub or copy and print it off for a reference. In fact, if you use one of the online websites to put your references in MLA format for you, you probably need to double check them for being correct (so that your English professor doesn't count you off) by using this guide.
Use an Online Citation Machine: Although you will need to double-check whether it is correct by using a printed guide or a website guide, an online citation machine can do a lot of the work for you and can also change from MLA to Chicago Style or APA. Here are three good online bibliographical engines:
- EasyBib: a free bibliography maker which is simple to use. Offers auto fill or manual.
- BibMe: also free and easy to use. Also offers auto-fill for common texts as well as manual entry of data.
- WorksCited4U: free APA, MLA and Chicago styles.
- Refworks: more comprehensive, this may be something your school subscribes to, or you can get a free 30-day trial.
- Zotero is free to download and powerful tool for getting references from any source and building a library and citations. However, it really requires that you use a Firefox browser.
Explains When and How to Use Citations
Author Name Rules
words for said
strong words for author tags
First Author Tag: use first and last name, such as Mary Baker, or Tedd Jones
Author Tags after first time: use only the last name, such as Baker or Jones
Variations on last name:
the author of this article
Add Variety to Your Author Tags
How Do You Cite Inside the Paper?
Your Bibliography or Works cited page will list the different sources you are using in your paper, but you also need to tell the reader when you are using those sources in your paper. To do that, the MLA format uses "in-text parenthetical citations." What does that mean?
Author Tags: When you are writing something in your paper which is using the ideas you found in your research, use the name of the author and the title of the article to show where you got your ideas. For example:
In Fred Snow's article, "Until Global Warming Stops," he discusses the four things we must do to stop ruining our atmosphere including.......(Snow 32).
Parenthetical Citation: In the example above, the author's last name and the page the information is found on is included at the end of when I stop talking about the source. Actually,if I've already mentioned the name of the source, I don't need to put the name in parenthesis in that same sentence, but if you are mentioning the source again later, you do need to do that.
Samples of format:
1. When you don't mention the name of the source in the sentence:
During the turbulent 1960s, civil rights was at the forefront of our nation’s thoughts (Remier 179).
2. When you do mention the author in the sentence, you don't need to put it in the parenthetical reference:
Remier discussed how, during the turbulent 1960s, civil rights came to the forefront (179).
How to Punctuate In-Text Citations
What about Punctuation Marks?
Put the parentheses before a period, semicolon, or comma in order to avoid disrupting the flow of the sentence. If you are referring to the entire source in a general way, you may leave out the page numbers.
...global warming is real (Jones).
....can we believe it? (Jones 4).
...we can't believe it! (Jones 4).
Using two sources in one sentence with a semi-colon:
Some sources say that sea levels are our best evidence for global warming(Jones 4); however, Smith says we can't rely on sea levels to judge global warming (Smith 54).
Common Questions on In-Text Citation
What if there is a book or article with two or more authors? Put last names of all main authors:
(Devine and Jones 156-57).
(Baker, Ryan and Sampson 1701)
What if there is a source with no author? Use the title instead. Shorten a long title to 2-3 words:
(Realistic Revelations 63-66)
What about a source like a webpage with no page numbers? Use the title alone:
("Can’t Take it Anymore")
What about a document with no personal author? Use the name of the group:
(US, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
(Cong. House Comm. on House on Communication)
What about abbreviations?
Use standard abbreviations for words in long names if they exist. Place commas between units instead of periods. MLA prefers that you incorporate lengthy names into the text (without abbreviations) and place only the page numbers (if any) in parentheses.