MLA Style Guide

MLA Style Guide


There are many ways to cite sources in a research paper. Reasons for choosing one style over another will vary, but the most important point to remember is to follow a single style consistently. Check with your instructor to see if he or she has a preferred style. Style manuals for the MLA and other styles are located at the Reference Desk.

This handout briefly summarizes the style recommended by the Modern Language Association for preparing scholarly manuscripts. For more detailed information on the MLA Style see: Gibaldi, Joseph. The MLA Style Manual. NY: Modern Language Assoc., 1985. (Ref. LB2369.G53 1995, or any newer edition). Also see the MLA Style Guide for Citing Sources from the World Wide Web.

Parenthetical references

Perhaps the most simple way to cite sources is to use parenthetical references in the body of your paper and include a list of works cited at the end of the paper. You do this by placing in parentheses at the end of the sentence the author’s last name and the page number of the work you are citing. If you have used the author’s name in the sentence, place only the page number in parantheses. These references are brief but should give enough information to enable the reader to find the full citation in the works-cited list at the end of the paper.

-Women play an important role within the family both in production and reproduction (Bronstein 36).
-Steinberg contends the global debt crisis is having a strong impact on women and children in developing nations (74).

List of Works Cited

The list of works cited (sometimes called a bibliography) identifies all of the sources you have referred to in the body of your paper. There are several basic elements that are usually included in each citation, arranged in the following order:

• Book Citation •
2.Title of the part of the book
3.Title of the book
4.Name of the editor, translator or compiler
5.Edition used
6.Number of volumes
7.Name of the series
8.Place of publication, name of publisher, date of publication
9.Inclusive page numbers for the part of the book being cited

• Periodical Citation •
2.Title of article
3.Title of periodical (italicized or underlined)
4.Series number or name
5.Volume number of the periodical
6.Date of publication
7.Inclusive paging of the article

Not all of these elements are present for each item. Use only what is appropriate. Specific page references are included in the parenthetical references. For items that are neither a book nor periodical, consult The MLA Style Manual for required elements.

The following examples illustrate the style used by the MLA in a List of Works Cited. Consult The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers for other examples. Please note that book and journal titles can be underlined if your typewriter or computer does not support italics. Consult the MLA web site for examples of citing electronic sources (

Examples - Based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers Books
No author..................World Development Report. New York: Oxford UP, 1989.One author.................Berry, Wendell. The Gift of Good Land. San Francisco: North Point, 1981.More than three authors....Blaikie, Peirs, et al. Nepal in Crisis. Dehli: Oxford UP, 1980. Author and Editor..........Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamozov. Ed. by Ralph E. Matlaw. New York: Norton, 1976. Editor.....................Del Castillo, Adelaida R., ed. Between Borders: Essays on Mexican/Chicana History. Encino: Floricanto, 1990. Essay or Article in a Collection.................Gonzalez, Rosalinda. "Distinctions in Western Women's Experience: Ethnicity, Class, and Social Change." The Women's West. Ed. Susan Armitage. Norman: U of Oklahoma, 1987: 237-252. Several Volumes............Leach, Maria, ed. Dictionary of Folklore. 2 vols. New York: Funk and Wagnall, 1950. Signed Encyclopedia Articles...................Madden, Edward H. "Civil Disobedience." Dictionary of the History of Ideas. 5 vols. New York: Scribner's, 1973. 
Magazine Article Signed....Ferguson, Sarah. "America's Growing Frustration with the Homeless." Utne Reader Sept.-Oct. 1990: 50-55. Magazine Article Unsigned..................."A Shock to the System." Time 20 August 1990: 55. Scholarly Journal with Continuous Pagination......Medvedev, Zhores. "The Environmental Destruction of the Soviet Union." The Ecologist 20 (1990): 24-29. Scholarly Journal with Separate Pagination........Ayoade, John, "The Culture Debate in Africa." The Black Scholar 20.2-3 (1989): 2-7. Newspaper Article Unsigned..................."Environmental Audits Being Considered by EC." Wall Street Journal 11 Feb. 1991, West. ed.: A8. 
Journal Article from a World Wide Web Site........Flannagan, Roy. "Reflections on Milton and Ariosto." Early Modern Literary Studies 2.3 (1996): 16 pars. 22 Feb. 1997 <>.Book Review................Dolan, Jill. Rev. of Feminism and Theatre, by Sue-Ellen Case. Signs 15.4 (Summer 1990): 864. Interview in Print.........Kundera, Milan. Interview. New York Times 18 Jan. 1982, late ed., sec. 3: 13+. CD ROM Database............Reed Porter. "Languages of Indochinese Refugees." ERIC. ED 341231. CD-ROM. SilverPlatter. Oct. 1982. Lexis/Nexis................Petrakis, John. "'Gamera,' The Heroic Giant Turtle, Back in Action." Chicago Tribune 29 Aug. 1997, north sports final ed.: page J. Online. Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe.