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Formatting & References

About Works Cited

References in MLA style are cited both in the body of the paper and at the end, (parenthetical documentation, quoting, the works cited page, etc). 

As covered on the home page of this guide, it is essential to give credit to the author(s) whose material you are using for your own paper. Using the words or the ideas of another person without giving them credit through citation is considered plagiarism.

The core elements of works cited at the end of the paper or on the Works Cited page in the 8th edition MLA style are:

  1. Author. Last Name, First Name. 
  2. Title. Books in italics, article titles in "quotation marks."
  3. Title of Container. This is the larger whole that contains the source (ex. website or journal containing an article, a book containing a chapter or section, an anthology name, etc.) 
  4. Other contributors. Editors, translators, illustrators, narrators, etc.
  5. Version. Different editions, abridged versions, etc.  
  6. Number. Journal issues are typically numbered (in the citation, include both the volume and number of the journal if present).
  7. Publisher. Book publishers are located on the title page (Oxford UP, Penguin Press, etc.).
  8. Publication date.  27 Nov. 2017 (omit any information not given, such as month or day). 
  9. Location. Page numbers, URLs, etc. 

Many times, a source will not have all of these elements. In this case, omit them from your citation. Below are a few examples of some commonly used MLA style citations. You should have a Works Cited entry for every in-text citation in your paper.

Citing a book:

Eugenides, Jeffrey. The Marriage Plot. Fourth Estate, 2012. 

Citing an article from a website:

Nadis, Steve. "Breakthrough to the Stars." Discover, 12 Dec. 2016, 

Citing an academic journal

Hooker, Jessica. "The Hen Who Sang: Swordbearing Women in Eastern European Fairytales." Folklore, vol. 101, no. 2, 1990, pp.178-184. JSTOR,

Citing a website or article with no author: In MLA, authors do not need to be individual persons. You may find a source with a corporate author. This could be an association, institution, government agency, or any kind of organization. In these cases, cite the group as the author. 

Smithsonian. "Fun Facts for Kids." The National Museum of American History,

Sometimes, sources can be tricky. It's common to find a source that doesn't quite fit these rules. If you're unsure about anything, the best course of action is to ask your professor!