Citation Guide: Modern Language Association (MLA)

MLA Directory of Variations to In-Text Formatting Rules

1. Citing an Unknown Author

Format:
When no author is listed on the title or copyright page, begin the entry with the title of the work. Alphabetize the entry by the first word of the title other than A, An, or The.

Example:

The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. Macmillan, 2012.


2. Citing a Short Work from a Website

Format:
Provide the name of the author; the title of the work in quotation marks; the title of the website, italicized; the date of publication in reverse order, and the URL.

Example:

Enzinna, Wes. “Syria’s Unknown Revolution.” Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, 24 Nov. 2015, pulitzercenter.org/projects/middle-east-syria-enzinna-war-rojava/.

Format:
If there is no author given, begin the citation with the title of the work and proceed with the rest of the publication information. If the title of the website does not indicate the sponsoring organization, list the sponsor before the URL. If there is no date of publication, give the date of access after the URL.

Example:

“Social and Historical Context: Vitality.” Arapesh Grammar and Digital Language Archive Project, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, www.arapesh.org/socio_historical_context_vitality.php/. Accessed 22 Mar. 2016.


3.Citing an Academic Course or Department Website

Format:
For a course page, give the name of the instructor, the course title, the institution in italics, year, and the URL. For a department page, give the department name, a description such as “Department home page,” the institution in italics, the date of the last update, and the URL.

Example:

Masiello, Regina. ENG 101: Expository Writing. Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, 2016, wp.rutgers.edu/courses/55-355101.

Film Studies. Department Home page. Wayne State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 2016, clas.wayne.edu/FilmStudies/.


4.Citing a Message Posted to a Newsgroup, Electronic Mailing List, or Online Discussion Forum

Format:
Cite the name of the person who posted the message and the title (from the subject line, in quotation marks); if the posting has no title, add the phrase “Online posting.” Then add the name of the website (italicized), the sponsor or publisher, the date of the message, and the URL.

Example:

Robin, Griffith. “Write for the Reading Teacher.” Developing Digital Literacies, NCTE, 23 Oct. 2015, ncte.connected community.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=1693&MID=24520&tab=digestviewer&CommunityKey=628d2ad6-8277-4042-a376-2b370ddceabf.


5.Citing a Blog

Format:
To cite an entry or a comment on a blog, give the author of the entry or comment (if available), the title of the entry or comment in quotation marks, the title of the blog (italicized), the sponsor or publisher, the date the material was posted, and the URL.

Example:

Cimons, Marlene. “Why Cities Could Be the Key to Solving the Climate Crisis.” Thinkprogress.org, Center for American Progress Action Fund, 10 Dec. 2015, thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/12/10/3730938/cities-key-to-climate-crisis/.


6.Citing an E-mail Message

Format:
Start with the sender of the message. Then give the subject line in quotation marks, followed by a period. Identify the recipient of the message and provide the date of the message.

Example:

Thornbrugh, Caitlin. “Coates Lecture.” Received by Rita Anderson, 20 Oct. 2015.


7.Citing a Facebook Post or Comment

Format:
Follow the general format for citing a short work on a website.

Example:

Bedford English. “Stacey Cochran explores Reflective Writing in the Classroom and as a Writer.” Facebook, 15 Feb.2016, www.facebook.com/BedfordEnglish/posts/10153415001259607/.


8.Citing a Twitter Post (Tweet)

Format:
Provide the entire tweet in place of the title, and include the time after the date.

Example:

Curiosity Rover. “Can you see me waving? How to spot #Mars in the night sky: https://youtu.be/hv8hVvJlcJQ.” Twitter, 5 Nov. 2015, 11:00 a.m., twitter.com/marscuriosity/status/672859022911889408/.


9.Citing Computer Software, an App, or Video Game

Format:
Cite computer software, an App or Video Game as you would a book.

Example:

Words with Friends. Version 5.84. Zynga, 2013.


10.Citing Other Online Sources

Format:
For other online sources, adapt the guidelines to the medium. Include as much information as necessary for you readers to easily find your source. The example below is for a podcast. Because no publication date is given, the citation ends with the access date instead.

Example:

Tanner, Laura. “Virtual Reality in 9/11 Fiction.” Literature Lab, Department of English, Brandeis U, www.brandeis.edu/departments/english/literaturelab/tanner.html/. Accessed 14 Feb. 2016


11. Citing Two or More Works by the Same Author

Format:
For references to authors with more than one work in your works cited list, insert a short version of the title between the author and the page number, separating the author and the title with a comma.

Example:

(Sacks, Hallucinations 77)

(Sacks, Mind’s Eye 123)


12. Citing Two or More Authors with Same Last Name

Format:
Include the first initial and last name in the parenthetical citation.

Example:

(F. McCourt 27)

(M. McCourt 123)


13. Citing Sources with Two Authors

Format:
Include the last name of each author in your citation.

Example:

In the year following Hurricane Katrina, journalist and activist Jane Wholey brought together a group of twenty New Orleans middle schoolers in an effort to reimagine their school system’s food environment from the ground up (Gottlieb and Joshi 2).


14. Citing Sources with Three or More Authors

Format:
Use only the last name of the first author and the abbreviation “et al” (Latin for “and others”). There is no comma between the author’s name and “et al.”

Example:

(Johnson et al. 17)


15. Citing Sources with Corporate, Group, or Government Authors

Format:
Cite the corporation, group or government agency as you would an individual author. You may use abbreviations for the source in subsequent references if you add the abbreviation in parentheses at the first mention of the name.

Example:

The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that a twenty-year-old has a three in ten chance of becoming disabled before he or she reaches retirement age (4). If a worker does become disabled, SSA assigns a representative to review the case individually (7).


16. Citing a Source Quoted in Another Source

Format:
Ideally, you should track down the original source of the quotation. If you must use a quotation cited by another author, use the abbreviation “qtd. in” (for “quoted in”) when you cite the source.

Example:

When Henry Ford introduced the Model T, he insisted on making it a practical and affordable family car, maintaining that “no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces” (qtd. in Booth 9).


17. Citing a Multivolume Work

Format:
End with the total number of volumes and the abbreviation “vols.”

Example:

Stark, Freya. Letters. Edited by Lucy Moorehead, Compton Press, 1974-82. 8 vols.


18. Citing Novels and Short Stories

Format:
When citing literary works, it is often necessary to include books, numbers, chapter numbers, verses, lines, acts, scenes, or other appropriate section types.

Example:

In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens describes the aptly named Stryver, who "had a pushing way of shouldering himself (morally and physically) into companies and conversations, that argued well for his shouldering his way up in life" (110; bk. 2, ch. 4).


19. Citing Plays

Format:
When citing literary works, it is often necessary to include books, numbers, chapter numbers, verses, lines, acts, scenes, or other appropriate section types.

Example:

Taking on such an "unladylike" project as the representation of Love, Iago says, "is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will" (Othello 1.3.326).


20. Citing Poems

Format:
When citing literary works, it is often necessary to include books, numbers, chapter numbers, verses, lines, acts, scenes, or other appropriate section types.

Example:

"The world is too much with us; late and soon/Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers" (lines 1-2).


21. Citing Two or More Authors Contributing to a Fact or Idea

Format:

If you wish to cite two or more authors as contributors to a particular idea you are using in your paper, you may cite both names as you normally would in the parentheses. Simply separate them with a semicolon.

Example:

However, African American scholars have normally suggested just the opposite (Brown 15-16; Turner 80-87). " up to Menu


22. Citing an Entire Source

Format:
If you are referring to an entire source rather than to a specific page or pages, you do not need a parenthetical citation.

Example:

Author Jhumpa Lahiri adapted the title of her book of stories Unaccustomed Earth from a line in the first chapter of Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

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