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Learning Consultation: MLA Citation

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MLA Style Resources

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Citation General Info

In-Text Citations:

  • These are brief references made in the text of the paper that indicate the source used for a quote, paraphrase, or summary.
  • They direct readers to corresponding entries on the Works Cited section.
  • They are found at the ends of sentences containing identifying information for the sources and are sometimes called parenthetical citations.
  • They typically use either the author's last name or part of the source's title, with a page number if possible, all enclosed in parentheses.
  • Every source that you quote, summarize, or paraphrase must be cited. See Section 2.21, p. 45 for exceptions.
  • Short quotations (less than 4 lines of prose, less than 3 lines of poetry) should be quoted within the normal paragraph format of your paper.
  • Longer quotes begin on a new line and are entirely indented an additional 1 inch (10 spaces or 2 tabs).

Works Cited

  • Reference citations appear on the Works Cited pages with complete identifying information for sources cited in paper.
  • Different types of sources require different kinds of identifying information provided; books are cited differently than YouTube videos, etc.
  • List them in alphabetic order by first word in the references (normally the author's last name).
  • Every source cited in the Works-Cited section should be quoted, summarized, or paraphrased in the body of your paper, and vice-versa.
  • Use hanging indentation (every line except the first line is indented 1 inch, or 10 spaces, or 2 tabs.)

MLA Citation Examples

Citation Examples

Every source quoted, summarized, or paraphrased in the body of your paper should be cited in the References section, and vice-versa.

In the body of your paper, you must include - either in the body of the sentence or parenthetically - the source author’s name and the page number (if there is one) where the information may be found.

Note: With the exception of the long-form quote, these examples do not reflect MLA's required indentation.

Direct Quote (One author):

In-text:
  • In 2016, the article “Relocating to Transylvania” points out that Transylvania has a “vibrant musical scene” (McKissock 77).
  • “About 28.1% of the county’s population is 65 or older, according to the 2013 statistics” (McKissock 77).
  • McKissock’s article states that Transylvania “has historically been a retirement destination” (77).
In your Works Cited section:
  • McKissock, Derek. “Relocating to Transylvania.” Transylvania Explorer, Transylvania Times, Autumn 2016.

Direct Quote (Two authors):

In-text:
  • "Moreover, Californian songs and poetry show that disciplined training and work were ways of connecting with what is authentic in life" (Graeber and Wengrow 212).
Works Cited:
  • Graeber, David, and D Wengrow. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021. Print.

Summary

Summary (Three or more authors)

In text: 
  • Siegel, Schmalleger, and Worrall suggest that knowing how the courts work is important to students because of the power of the courts in our society (xi).
  • This text examines moral implications of court rulings as well as legal implications (Siegel xi).
Works Cited:
  • Siegel, Larry J., et al. Courts and Criminal Justice in America. 2nd ed., Pearson, 2015. 

Long-quote example (more than 4 lines)

In text:

Works Cited

Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook. 8th ed. The Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

More Works Cited Examples

More Works-Cited Examples

Article in online journal:
  • Ellis, Lindsay. “How the Great Recession Reshaped American Higher Education.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 14 Sept. 2018, www.chronicle.com/article/How-the-Great-Recession/244527/?cid=SLFEED. Accessed 27 Sept. 2018.
  • Lastname, Firstname. “Source Title: Article Titles Go in Quotation Marks.” First Container: Italicize Online Magazine Titles, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Access date.
     
Chapter in ebook accessed through database (2 authors):
  • Lastname, First, and Firstname Lastname. “Source Title: Essay Titles in Quotation Marks.” First Container: Italicize Book Titles, Publisher, Publication date, Location. Second Container: Italicize Database Names, Location (URL).
     
Entire Book, 3 or More Authors (Print):
  • Lastname, Firstname, et al. Title of Source: Italicize Book Titles. Publisher, Publication date.
     
Work in an anthology:
  • Smith, A. Arro. “Cataloging Heresy.” Radical Cataloging: Essays at the Front, edited by K. R. Roberto, introduction by Sanford Berman, McFarland & Co., 2008, pp. 291-299.
  • Lastname, F. Middle. “Source Title: Chapter or Essay Titles in Quotation Marks.” First Container: Italicize Book Titles, contribution by F. M. Lastname, contribution by Firstname Lastname, Publisher, Publication date, pp.#.

MLA Style: A Brief Introduction

General Information:

  • Every source that you quote, summarize, or paraphrase must be cited. See Section 2.21, p. 45 for exceptions.
  • Short quotations (less than 4 lines of prose, less than 3 lines of poetry) should be quoted within the normal paragraph format of your paper.
  • Longer quotes begin on a new line and are entirely indented an additional 1 inch (10 spaces or 2 tabs).

Formatting Throughout Your Paper

Formatting:

Throughout the Paper
  • Margins: 1" all sides of the paper
  • Spacing: Double-spaced, no extra spaces between paragraphs
  • Header: The last name of the writer and the page number, right justified
  • Font: 12 point. 
  • Capitalize titles of all works as follows:
    • All words except articles, conjunctions, or prepositions of fewer than 4 letters.
    • The first word after a punctuation mark
The First Page:
  • Author
  • Instructor's Name
  • Class: The course number and name
  • Date due
  • Title: Center justified.
Works Cited:
  • This section starts fresh on a new page.
  • Center the phrase “Works Cited” at the top of the first page of this section. Do not italicize, underline, or bold this phrase.
  • Hanging indentation

Hanging Indentation

Hanging Indentation

Note: the following examples are in APA 7.

Using Word:

1) Ctrl+T - Place your cursor at the beginning of the second line of your citation.

Image depicting the text of a book citation. An arrow points to the space before the first word on the second line.

 
2) Press the control & the T keys at the same time (command + T on some operating systems).

Image depicts the text of a book citation. The second line is indented 5 spaces to the right of the first.

 

Using Google Docs:

1) Highlight your citations.

Image of highlighted book-citation text.

 
2) Select Format from the top tool bar. Select Align & Indent, then Indentation Options from the emergent menus.

Image showing successive menus.

 
3) In the resulting pop-up menu, select Special Indent, then Hanging, then click Apply.

Image depicts menu labeled "indentation options" with purple boxes around the selected items.

 
The resulting citation should look like this:

Image of book citation in hanging indentation.

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