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MLA Citations: Home

What is MLA Style?

MLA Format is a citation format created by the Modern Language Association. It is used for research papers in many college classes, including English classes.

Understanding MLA Style

The Two Required Types of Citation

MLA Citation requires two types of citation, or documentation:

  • Works Cited Documentation
  • In-Text Documentation

Click on the tabs for more information.


Works Cited Documentation provides details about the sources used for your research project. Your Works Cited list goes at the end of your project or paper and includes information about each source that must be put in a specific order. MLA calls this information Core Elements. Here is the list of Core Elements in order, including the punctuation that must be included after each element (from page 20 of the MLA Handbook, 8th Edition):

1. Author.

2. Title of source.

3. Title of the container,

4. Other contributors,

5. Version,

6. Number,

7. Publisher,

8. Publication date,

9. Location.

Some sources don't require all elements these elements. Click on the link below for more details.


In-Text Documentation (also called parenthetical documentation or citation) goes in your project or essay near where you use information from your source. In-text citations are required when you do the following: 

  • Directly quote information from a source by putting exact wording in quotation marks
  • Paraphrase information from a source by putting ideas into your own words
  • Summarize information from a source

Your in-text citation consists of the first Core Element in your Works Cited citation and a page number, if the source you used has page numbers. Often the first element you use is the author of the source. Click on the link below for more details.


Citation Formats

Citation formats are rules and guidelines that make writing styles uniform within a specific work or publication. They cover the following:

  • Layout of the paper (margins, spaces between lines, font size, etc.)
  • In-Text documentation of sources (parenthetical citation)
  • Source documentation at end of paper (Works Cited in MLA, References in APA)

There are many citation formats. Some of the more commonly used ones are MLA formatAPA format and Chicago format.

There are several reasons why you would want to cite your sources...

  • Lend authority and credibility to your work
  • Allow readers (including your instructor!) to cross‐reference sources easily
  • Provide consistent format
  • Acknowledge academic debts and avoid plagiarism

For more information click on the link below.


MLA Style Guide 8th Edition

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Reuse Statement

This MLA 8th Edition Guide is adapted from Brookhaven College Libraries.