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Harvard Guide to Using Sources 

  • The Honor Code
  • Works Cited Format

What is a Works Cited list?

MLA style requires you to include a list of all the works cited in your paper on a new page at the end of your paper.  The entries in the list should be in alphabetical order by the author's last name or by the element that comes first in the citation. (If there is no author's name listed, you would begin with the title.) The entire list should be double-spaced.

For each of the entries in the list, every line after the first line should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. "Works Cited" should be centered at the top of the page. If you are only citing one source, the page heading should be “Work Cited” instead of “Works Cited.” You can see a sample Works Cited here . 

Building your Works Cited list

MLA citations in the Works Cited list are based on what the Modern Language Association calls "core elements." The core elements appear in the order listed below, in a citation punctuated with the punctuation mark that follows the element. For some elements, the correct punctuation will be a period, and for other elements, the correct punctuation will be a comma. Since you can choose the core elements that are relevant to the source you are citing, this format should allow you to build your own citations when you are citing sources that are new or unusual.

The author you should list is the primary creator of the work—the writer, the artist, or organization that is credited with creating the source.  You should list the author in this format: last name, first name. If there are two authors, you should use this format: last name, first name, and first name last name. For three or more authors, you should list the first author followed by et al. That format looks like this: last name, first name, et al.

If a source was created by an organization and no individual author is listed, you should list that organization as the author.

Title of source .

This is the book, article, or website, podcast, work of art, or any other source you are citing. If the source does not have a title, you can describe it. For example, if you are citing an email you received, you would use this format in the place of a title:

Email to the author.

Title of container ,

A container is what MLA calls the place where you found the source. It could be a book that an article appears in, a website that an image appears on, a television series from which you are citing an episode, etc. If you are citing a source that is not “contained” in another source—like a book or a film—you do not need to list a container. Some sources will be in more than one container. For example, if you are citing a television episode that aired on a streaming service, the show would be the first container and the streaming service would be the second container.

Contributor ,

Contributors include editors, translators, directors, illustrators, or anyone else that you want to credit. You generally credit other contributors when their contributions are important to the way you are using the source. You should always credit editors of editions and anthologies of a single author’s work or of a collection of works by more than one author.  

If you are using a particular version of a source, such as an updated edition, you should indicate that in the citation.

If your source is one of several in a numbered series, you should indicate this. So, for example, you might be using “volume 2” of a source. You would indicate this by “vol. 2” in the citation.

Publisher ,

For books, you can identify the publisher on the title or copyright page. For web sites, you may find the publisher at the bottom of the home page or on an “About” page. You do not need to include the publisher if you are citing a periodical or a Web site with the same name as the publisher.

Publication date ,

Books and articles tend to have an easily identifiable publication date. But articles published on the web may have more than one date—one for the original publication and one for the date posted online. You should use the date that is most relevant to your work. If you consulted the online version, this is the relevant date for your Works Cited list. If you can’t find a publication date—some websites will not include this information, for example—then you should include a date of access. The date of access should appear at the end of your citation in the following format:

Accessed 14 Oct. 2022.

The location in a print source will be the page number or range of pages you consulted. This is where the text you are citing is located in the larger container. For online sources, the location is generally a DOI, permalink, or URL. This is where your readers can locate the same online source that you consulted. MLA specifies that, if possible, you should include the DOI. Television episodes would be located at a URL. A work of art could be located in the museum where you saw it or online.

Your citations can also include certain optional elements. You should include optional elements if you think those elements would provide useful information to your readers. Optional elements follow the source title if they provide information that is not about the source as a whole. Put them at the end of the entry if they provide information about the source as a whole. These elements include the following:

Date of original publication .

If you think it would be useful to a reader to know that the text you are citing was originally published in a different era, you can put this information right after the title of the source. For example, if you are citing The Federalist Papers , you would provide the publication date of the edition you consulted, but you could also provide the original publication date:

Hamilton, Alexander, et al., editors. The Federalist Papers . October 1787-May 1788. Oxford University Press, 2008.

City of publication .

You should only use this information if you are citing a book published before 1900 (when books were associated with cities of publication rather than with publishers) or a book that has been published in a different version by the publisher in another city (a British version of a novel, for example). In the first case, you would put this information in place of the publisher's name. In the second case, the city would go before the publisher.

Descriptive terms .

If you are citing a version of a work when there are multiple versions available at the same location, you should explain this by adding a term that will describe your version. For example, if you watched a video of a presidential debate that was posted to YouTube along with a transcript, and you are quoting from the transcript, you should add the word “Transcript” at the end of your citation. 

Dissertations

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  • In-Text Citations
  • In-Text Citation Examples
  • Examples of Commonly Cited Sources
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Citing Sources in MLA Format
  • Sample Works Cited List

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MLA In-text Citations and Sample Essay 9th Edition

Listing your sources at the end of your essay in the Works Cited is only the first step in complete and effective documentation. Proper citation of sources is a two-part process . You must also cite, in the body of your essay, the source your paraphrased information or where directly quoted material came from. These citations within the essay are called in-text citations . You must cite all quoted, paraphrased, or summarized words, ideas, and facts from sources. Without in-text citations, you are in danger of plagiarism , even if you have listed your sources at the end of the essay. In-text citations point the reader to the sources’ information in the works cited page, so the in-text citation should be the first item listed in the source’s citation on the works cited page, which is usually the author’s last name (or the title if there is no author) and the page number, if provided.

Two Ways to Cite Your Sources In-text

Parenthetical citation.

Cite your source in parentheses at the end of quoted or paraphrased material.

Example with a page number: In regards to paraphrasing, "It is important to remember to use in-text citations for your paraphrased information, as well as your directly quoted material" (Habib 7).

Example without a page number : Paraphrasing is "often the best choice because direct quotes should be reserved for source material that is especially well-written in style and/or clarity" (Ruiz).

Signal Phrase

Within the sentence, through the use of a "signal phrase" which signals to the reader the specific source the idea or quote came from. Include the page number(s) in parentheses at the end of the sentence, if provided.

Example with a page number: According to Habib, "It is important to remember to use in-text citations for your paraphrased information, as well as your directly quoted material" (7).

Example without a page number: According to Ruiz, paraphrasing is "often the best choice because direct quotes should be reserved for source material that is especially well-written in style and/or clarity."

*See our handout "Signal Phrases" for more examples and information on effective ways to use signal phrases for in-text citations.

Do you need to include a page number in your in-text citation?

Printed materials such as books, magazines, journals, or internet and digital sources with PDF files that show an actual printed page number need to have a page number in the citation.

Internet and digital sources with a continuously scrolling page without a page number do not need a page number in the citation.

Commonly used in-text citations in parentheses

Notes on quotes, block quotation format.

When using long quotations that are over four lines of prose or over three lines of poetry in length, you will need to use block quotation format. Block format is indented one inch from the margin (you can hit the "tab" button twice to move it one inch). Additionally, block quotes do not use quotation marks, and the parenthetical citation comes after the period of the last sentence. Please see the following sample essay for an example block quote.

Signal Phrase Examples and Ideas

Please see the following sample essay for different kinds of signal phrases and parenthetical in-text citations, which correspond with the sample Works Cited page at the end. The Writing Center also has a handout on signal phrases with many different verb options.

Learn more about the MLA Works Cited page by reviewing this handout .

For information on STLCC's academic integrity policy, check out this website .

Generate accurate MLA citations for free

  • Knowledge Base
  • MLA format for academic papers and essays

MLA Format | Complete Guidelines & Free Template

Published on December 11, 2019 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on June 16, 2022 by Jack Caulfield.

The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for creating MLA citations and formatting academic papers. This quick guide will help you set up your MLA format paper in no time.

Start by applying these MLA format guidelines to your document:

  • Times New Roman 12
  • 1″ page margins
  • Double line spacing
  • ½” indent for new paragraphs
  • Title case capitalization for headings

Download Word template Open Google Docs template

(To use the Google Docs template, copy the file to your Drive by clicking on ‘file’ > ‘Make a copy’)

Table of contents

How to set up mla format in google docs, header and title, running head, works cited page, creating mla style citations, headings and subheadings, tables and figures, frequently asked questions about mla format.

The header in MLA format is left-aligned on the first page of your paper. It includes

  • Your full name
  • Your instructor’s or supervisor’s name
  • The course name or number
  • The due date of the assignment

After the MLA header, press ENTER once and type your paper title. Center the title and don’t forget to apply title-case capitalization. Read our article on writing strong titles that are informative, striking and appropriate.

MLA header

For a paper with multiple authors, it’s better to use a separate title page instead.

At the top of every page, including the first page, you need to include your last name and the page number. This is called the “running head.” Follow these steps to set up the MLA running head in your Word or Google Docs document:

  • Double-click at the top of a page
  • Type your last name
  • Insert automatic page numbering
  • Align the content to the right

The running head should look like this:

MLA running head

The Works Cited list is included on a separate page at the end of your paper. You list all the sources you referenced in your paper in alphabetical order. Don’t include sources that weren’t cited in the paper, except potentially in an MLA annotated bibliography assignment.

Place the title “Works Cited” in the center at the top of the page. After the title, press ENTER once and insert your MLA references.

If a reference entry is longer than one line, each line after the first should be indented ½ inch (called a hanging indent ). All entries are double spaced, just like the rest of the text.

Format of an MLA Works Cited page

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

Prefer to cite your sources manually? Use the interactive example below to see what the Works Cited entry and MLA in-text citation look like for different source types.

Headings and subheadings are not mandatory, but they can help you organize and structure your paper, especially in longer assignments.

MLA has only a few formatting requirements for headings. They should

  • Be written in title case
  • Be left-aligned
  • Not end in a period

We recommend keeping the font and size the same as the body text and applying title case capitalization. In general, boldface indicates greater prominence, while italics are appropriate for subordinate headings.

Chapter Title

Section Heading

Tip: Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word allow you to create heading levels that help you to keep your headings consistent.

Tables and other illustrations (referred to as “figures”) should be placed as close to the relevant part of text as possible. MLA also provides guidelines for presenting them.

MLA format for tables

Tables are labeled and numbered, along with a descriptive title. The label and title are placed above the table on separate lines; the label and number appear in bold.

A caption providing information about the source appears below the table; you don’t need one if the table is your own work.

Below this, any explanatory notes appear, marked on the relevant part of the table with a superscript letter. The first line of each note is indented; your word processor should apply this formatting automatically.

Just like in the rest of the paper, the text is double spaced and you should use title case capitalization for the title (but not for the caption or notes).

MLA table

MLA format for figures

Figures (any image included in your paper that isn’t a table) are also labeled and numbered, but here, this is integrated into the caption below the image. The caption in this case is also centered.

The label “Figure” is abbreviated to “Fig.” and followed by the figure number and a period. The rest of the caption gives either full source information, or (as in the example here) just basic descriptive information about the image (author, title, publication year).

MLA figure

Source information in table and figure captions

If the caption of your table or figure includes full source information and that source is not otherwise cited in the text, you don’t need to include it in your Works Cited list.

Give full source information in a caption in the same format as you would in the Works Cited list, but without inverting the author name (i.e. John Smith, not Smith, John).

MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman , since it’s easy to read and installed on every computer. Other standard fonts such as Arial or Georgia are also acceptable. If in doubt, check with your supervisor which font you should be using.

The main guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style are as follows:

  • Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman
  • Set 1 inch page margins
  • Apply double line spacing
  • Include a four-line MLA heading on the first page
  • Center the paper’s title
  • Indent every new paragraph ½ inch
  • Use title case capitalization for headings
  • Cite your sources with MLA in-text citations
  • List all sources cited on a Works Cited page at the end

The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator .

Search by book title, page URL, or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.

The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition , published in 2021.

This quick guide to MLA style  explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.

Usually, no title page is needed in an MLA paper . A header is generally included at the top of the first page instead. The exceptions are when:

  • Your instructor requires one, or
  • Your paper is a group project

In those cases, you should use a title page instead of a header, listing the same information but on a separate page.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Streefkerk, R. (2022, June 16). MLA Format | Complete Guidelines & Free Template. Scribbr. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/formatting/

Is this article helpful?

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Guidelines for referring to the works of others in your text using MLA style are covered throughout the  MLA Handbook  and in chapter 7 of the  MLA Style Manual . Both books provide extensive examples, so it's a good idea to consult them if you want to become even more familiar with MLA guidelines or if you have a particular reference question.

Basic in-text citation rules

In MLA Style, referring to the works of others in your text is done using parenthetical citations . This method involves providing relevant source information in parentheses whenever a sentence uses a quotation or paraphrase. Usually, the simplest way to do this is to put all of the source information in parentheses at the end of the sentence (i.e., just before the period). However, as the examples below will illustrate, there are situations where it makes sense to put the parenthetical elsewhere in the sentence, or even to leave information out.

General Guidelines

  • The source information required in a parenthetical citation depends (1) upon the source medium (e.g. print, web, DVD) and (2) upon the source’s entry on the Works Cited page.
  • Any source information that you provide in-text must correspond to the source information on the Works Cited page. More specifically, whatever signal word or phrase you provide to your readers in the text must be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry on the Works Cited page.

In-text citations: Author-page style

MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. For example:

Both citations in the examples above, (263) and (Wordsworth 263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:

Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads . Oxford UP, 1967.

In-text citations for print sources with known author

For print sources like books, magazines, scholarly journal articles, and newspapers, provide a signal word or phrase (usually the author’s last name) and a page number. If you provide the signal word/phrase in the sentence, you do not need to include it in the parenthetical citation.

These examples must correspond to an entry that begins with Burke, which will be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of an entry on the Works Cited page:

Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method . University of California Press, 1966.

In-text citations for print sources by a corporate author

When a source has a corporate author, it is acceptable to use the name of the corporation followed by the page number for the in-text citation. You should also use abbreviations (e.g., nat'l for national) where appropriate, so as to avoid interrupting the flow of reading with overly long parenthetical citations.

In-text citations for sources with non-standard labeling systems

If a source uses a labeling or numbering system other than page numbers, such as a script or poetry, precede the citation with said label. When citing a poem, for instance, the parenthetical would begin with the word “line”, and then the line number or range. For example, the examination of William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” would be cited as such:

The speaker makes an ardent call for the exploration of the connection between the violence of nature and the divinity of creation. “In what distant deeps or skies. / Burnt the fire of thine eyes," they ask in reference to the tiger as they attempt to reconcile their intimidation with their relationship to creationism (lines 5-6).

Longer labels, such as chapters (ch.) and scenes (sc.), should be abbreviated.

In-text citations for print sources with no known author

When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name, following these guidelines.

Place the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (e.g. plays, books, television shows, entire Web sites) and provide a page number if it is available.

Titles longer than a standard noun phrase should be shortened into a noun phrase by excluding articles. For example, To the Lighthouse would be shortened to Lighthouse .

If the title cannot be easily shortened into a noun phrase, the title should be cut after the first clause, phrase, or punctuation:

In this example, since the reader does not know the author of the article, an abbreviated title appears in the parenthetical citation, and the full title of the article appears first at the left-hand margin of its respective entry on the Works Cited page. Thus, the writer includes the title in quotation marks as the signal phrase in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader directly to the source on the Works Cited page. The Works Cited entry appears as follows:

"The Impact of Global Warming in North America." Global Warming: Early Signs . 1999. www.climatehotmap.org/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2009.

If the title of the work begins with a quotation mark, such as a title that refers to another work, that quote or quoted title can be used as the shortened title. The single quotation marks must be included in the parenthetical, rather than the double quotation.

Parenthetical citations and Works Cited pages, used in conjunction, allow readers to know which sources you consulted in writing your essay, so that they can either verify your interpretation of the sources or use them in their own scholarly work.

Author-page citation for classic and literary works with multiple editions

Page numbers are always required, but additional citation information can help literary scholars, who may have a different edition of a classic work, like Marx and Engels's  The Communist Manifesto . In such cases, give the page number of your edition (making sure the edition is listed in your Works Cited page, of course) followed by a semicolon, and then the appropriate abbreviations for volume (vol.), book (bk.), part (pt.), chapter (ch.), section (sec.), or paragraph (par.). For example:

Author-page citation for works in an anthology, periodical, or collection

When you cite a work that appears inside a larger source (for instance, an article in a periodical or an essay in a collection), cite the author of the  internal source (i.e., the article or essay). For example, to cite Albert Einstein's article "A Brief Outline of the Theory of Relativity," which was published in  Nature  in 1921, you might write something like this:

See also our page on documenting periodicals in the Works Cited .

Citing authors with same last names

Sometimes more information is necessary to identify the source from which a quotation is taken. For instance, if two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors' first initials (or even the authors' full name if different authors share initials) in your citation. For example:

Citing a work by multiple authors

For a source with two authors, list the authors’ last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:

Corresponding Works Cited entry:

Best, David, and Sharon Marcus. “Surface Reading: An Introduction.” Representations , vol. 108, no. 1, Fall 2009, pp. 1-21. JSTOR, doi:10.1525/rep.2009.108.1.1

For a source with three or more authors, list only the first author’s last name, and replace the additional names with et al.

Franck, Caroline, et al. “Agricultural Subsidies and the American Obesity Epidemic.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine , vol. 45, no. 3, Sept. 2013, pp. 327-333.

Citing multiple works by the same author

If you cite more than one work by an author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it from the others. Put short titles of books in italics and short titles of articles in quotation marks.

Citing two articles by the same author :

Citing two books by the same author :

Additionally, if the author's name is not mentioned in the sentence, format your citation with the author's name followed by a comma, followed by a shortened title of the work, and, when appropriate, the page number(s):

Citing multivolume works

If you cite from different volumes of a multivolume work, always include the volume number followed by a colon. Put a space after the colon, then provide the page number(s). (If you only cite from one volume, provide only the page number in parentheses.)

Citing the Bible

In your first parenthetical citation, you want to make clear which Bible you're using (and underline or italicize the title), as each version varies in its translation, followed by book (do not italicize or underline), chapter, and verse. For example:

If future references employ the same edition of the Bible you’re using, list only the book, chapter, and verse in the parenthetical citation:

John of Patmos echoes this passage when describing his vision (Rev. 4.6-8).

Citing indirect sources

Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited within another source. For such indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source you actually consulted. For example:

Note that, in most cases, a responsible researcher will attempt to find the original source, rather than citing an indirect source.

Citing transcripts, plays, or screenplays

Sources that take the form of a dialogue involving two or more participants have special guidelines for their quotation and citation. Each line of dialogue should begin with the speaker's name written in all capitals and indented half an inch. A period follows the name (e.g., JAMES.) . After the period, write the dialogue. Each successive line after the first should receive an additional indentation. When another person begins speaking, start a new line with that person's name indented only half an inch. Repeat this pattern each time the speaker changes. You can include stage directions in the quote if they appear in the original source.

Conclude with a parenthetical that explains where to find the excerpt in the source. Usually, the author and title of the source can be given in a signal phrase before quoting the excerpt, so the concluding parenthetical will often just contain location information like page numbers or act/scene indicators.

Here is an example from O'Neill's  The Iceman Cometh.

WILLIE. (Pleadingly) Give me a drink, Rocky. Harry said it was all right. God, I need a drink.

ROCKY. Den grab it. It's right under your nose.

WILLIE. (Avidly) Thanks. (He takes the bottle with both twitching hands and tilts it to his lips and gulps down the whiskey in big swallows.) (1.1)

Citing non-print or sources from the Internet

With more and more scholarly work published on the Internet, you may have to cite sources you found in digital environments. While many sources on the Internet should not be used for scholarly work (reference the OWL's  Evaluating Sources of Information  resource), some Web sources are perfectly acceptable for research. When creating in-text citations for electronic, film, or Internet sources, remember that your citation must reference the source on your Works Cited page.

Sometimes writers are confused with how to craft parenthetical citations for electronic sources because of the absence of page numbers. However, these sorts of entries often do not require a page number in the parenthetical citation. For electronic and Internet sources, follow the following guidelines:

  • Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the citation (e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
  • Do not provide paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browser’s print preview function.
  • Unless you must list the Web site name in the signal phrase in order to get the reader to the appropriate entry, do not include URLs in-text. Only provide partial URLs such as when the name of the site includes, for example, a domain name, like  CNN.com  or  Forbes.com,  as opposed to writing out http://www.cnn.com or http://www.forbes.com.

Miscellaneous non-print sources

Two types of non-print sources you may encounter are films and lectures/presentations:

In the two examples above “Herzog” (a film’s director) and “Yates” (a presentor) lead the reader to the first item in each citation’s respective entry on the Works Cited page:

Herzog, Werner, dir. Fitzcarraldo . Perf. Klaus Kinski. Filmverlag der Autoren, 1982.

Yates, Jane. "Invention in Rhetoric and Composition." Gaps Addressed: Future Work in Rhetoric and Composition, CCCC, Palmer House Hilton, 2002. Address.

Electronic sources

Electronic sources may include web pages and online news or magazine articles:

In the first example (an online magazine article), the writer has chosen not to include the author name in-text; however, two entries from the same author appear in the Works Cited. Thus, the writer includes both the author’s last name and the article title in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader to the appropriate entry on the Works Cited page (see below).

In the second example (a web page), a parenthetical citation is not necessary because the page does not list an author, and the title of the article, “MLA Formatting and Style Guide,” is used as a signal phrase within the sentence. If the title of the article was not named in the sentence, an abbreviated version would appear in a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence. Both corresponding Works Cited entries are as follows:

Taylor, Rumsey. "Fitzcarraldo." Slant , 13 Jun. 2003, www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/fitzcarraldo/. Accessed 29 Sep. 2009. 

"MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL , 2 Aug. 2016, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. Accessed 2 April 2018.

Multiple citations

To cite multiple sources in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon:

Time-based media sources

When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference. For example: (00:02:15-00:02:35).

When a citation is not needed

Common sense and ethics should determine your need for documenting sources. You do not need to give sources for familiar proverbs, well-known quotations, or common knowledge (For example, it is expected that U.S. citizens know that George Washington was the first President.). Remember that citing sources is a rhetorical task, and, as such, can vary based on your audience. If you’re writing for an expert audience of a scholarly journal, for example, you may need to deal with expectations of what constitutes “common knowledge” that differ from common norms.

Other Sources

The MLA Handbook describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the handbook does not describe, making the best way to proceed can be unclear.

In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of MLA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard MLA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite.

You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source. For example, Norquest College provides guidelines for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers⁠ —an author category that does not appear in the MLA Handbook . In cases like this, however, it's a good idea to ask your instructor or supervisor whether using third-party citation guidelines might present problems.

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MLA Works Cited Page

What is a works cited page.

The works cited page is a list of all the sources cited within the body and notes of your paper. A works cited page should begin on its own page after the end of the paper content and should list all the entries in alphabetical order by the first item in each entry (usually the author’s name). It should be included in order to give full credit to the sources used and avoid plagiarism, as well as to allow the reader to easily locate each source if needed. Papers in MLA format should always have a works cited page.

It is not necessary to include sources that you consulted but did not directly reference in the works cited list – it should only include the sources you directly quoted or paraphrased. Each in-text citation should therefore have a corresponding entry in the works cited list.

Creating an MLA Works Cited Page:

Citing sources in mla.

  • Bibliography vs. Works Cited — What’s the Difference?
  • Formatting the Works Cited Page
  • Heading & Title Format
  • Organizing the References in the List
  • Formatting Author Names
  • Formatting Author Names in Other Languages
  • Title Rules: Capitalization, Italics, and Quotation Marks

Let’s get started with an explanation of what exactly a works cited page is and why creating one is necessary!

Note: This guide is not affiliated with the Modern Language Association. It was developed by EasyBib.com’s in-house librarians to serve as a quick guide and snapshot of some of the guidelines found in the MLA Handbook, 9th ed.

When students and scholars create a research paper, they seek out information in books, websites, journal articles, and many other types of sources. The information from these sources, combined with the scholar’s own thinking and knowledge, aid in the formation of a final project.

However, simply placing information from books, websites, journal articles, newspaper articles, and other source types into a project without a reference is not acceptable. Without a reference or citation, it’ll look like the paper’s author came up with everything themselves!

That means it’s necessary to call out when information is included from outside sources and originated elsewhere.

An MLA works cited page shows all the sources that were consulted and included in a project. Each source has a corresponding in-text citation within the paper.

In-text & parenthetical citations

In the body of a research project, add a short reference next to a quote or paraphrased information that came from a source. This is called a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation.

In-text Citation Example:

Langdon’s expertise is revealed in Chapter 1, when he is introduced to a group of university students. “Our guest tonight needs no introduction. He is the author of numerous books: The Symbology of Secret Sects , The Art of the Illuminati , The Lost Language of Ideograms , and when I say he wrote the book on Religious Iconology, I mean that quite literally. Many of you use his textbooks in class” (Brown 8).

In the example above, the writer displays that the quote was taken from Brown’s book, on page 8.

Even though this information is helpful, the brief reference to Brown and page 8 isn’t enough information to truly understand the origin of the quote. Other relevant information, such as the full name of the author, the title of the book, the publisher, and the year the book was published is missing.

Where can the reader find that information? In the MLA works cited list!

Full references in the works cited list

The MLA works cited list is the final page of a research project. Here, the reader can take the time to truly understand the sources included in the body of the project. The reader can turn to the MLA works cited list, look for “Brown” and see the full reference, which looks like this:

Brown, Dan. The DaVinci Code . Knopf Doubleday, 2003.

Included in the above reference is the full name of the author (Dan Brown), the title of the source ( The DaVinci Code ), the publisher of the book (Knopf Doubleday), and the year the book was published (2003).

The information provided in the reference supplies the reader with enough information to seek out the original source themselves, if he or she would like.

Works Cited Example:

essay with works cited example

Bibliography vs. Works cited – What’s the difference?

Quite often, the two terms are used interchangeably. While similar, they have some unique differences.

The remainder of this guide focuses on the placement, organization, and styling guidelines for the MLA works cited list.

Another commonly used reference style is APA. If your teacher or professor requests your references be made in APA citation style, check out this page on APA format .

Here’s more information on how to develop an MLA in-text citation and APA in-text citation .

Formatting the MLA works cited page

The reference page is the final page of a research paper and starts on its very own page.

If your project isn’t an actual research paper, but a slideshow, video, or another type of project, follow the same guidelines as above. Place the works cited list on the final slide, page, or screen of the project.

Here are the recommended guidelines for margins, spacing, and page numbers taken from the MLA Style Center’s web page “Formatting a Research Paper.”

Margins in MLA:

  • Place one inch margins around the entire document.
  • The only exception is the “running head.” See the “Running Head” section below to learn more about the margins of this component.
  • Most word processing programs automatically default to one inch margins. In the page setup settings, you can view and modify the size of the margins.

Spacing in MLA:

  • Double space the entire page. The title, references, and other components should all have double spaces.

It is not necessary to create double spaces manually by pressing the “enter” or “return” key in between each and every line. Your word processing program can automatically adjust the line spacing for you. Look for a section in the settings area called “Line spacing” or “Paragraph spacing.” You should be able to click or check off “double spacing.”

Page numbers in MLA:

  • The reference list is the final page(s) of a research paper.
  • If the conclusion of a research project is on page 7, page 8 would be the first page of the reference list. If the list runs onto the next page after that, it would be page 9.

For more information regarding how to display the page numbers, see the section below titled, “Running Head.”

While an APA reference page  is very different from a Modern Language Association style works cited, note that  APA bibliography pages also use double spacing throughout and 1 inch margins.

Heading & title format in MLA

This next section focuses on how to properly label and format the page numbers and title.

Running head

The running head is found at the top of every page of the research project. It’s also included on the reference list.

The running head displays the name of the writer or author of the research project + page number .

There is one space between the author’s name and the page number. Here is an MLA works cited page example of a running head:

The above is an example of a running head that would be seen on page 8 of a research project. The writer’s last name is Kleinman.

General running head guidelines:

  • It is placed in the top right corner of every page.
  • It sits half of an inch from the top of the page and along the right side’s one inch margin.

Reminder : If the concluding sentence of the research project is on page 10, the reference list starts on page 11. Even though the reference page starts on its own page, the numbering throughout the entire project includes the reference page.

Title of the page

Below the running head is the title of the page, which should either be “Work Cited” or “Works Cited.”

  • Only 1 reference = “Work Cited”
  • Multiple references =”Works Cited”

Whether you’re making an MLA work cited page or an MLA works cited page, here are some general rules to follow:

  • Align the title to the center of the document
  • Add a one-inch margin below the top edge of the paper
  • Do not bold, italicize, or underline the title
  • The title should be the same size and style as the rest of the document (12-point font)
  • Place a double space between the title and the first citation on the page

Here’s a sample MLA works cited running head and title:

essay with works cited example

If you’re reading through this page, but have yet to determine your research paper topic, look no further! We have thorough guides on historical individuals to rev up your brainstorming engine! Check out our guides on Abraham Lincoln , Muhammad Ali , and Marilyn Monroe .

Organizing the references in the MLA works cited list

Hanging indent formatting.

  • The full citation entries run along the left side of the paper, along the one inch margin.
  • Double space each line.
  • Each MLA work cited entry has a hanging indent, meaning the first line of the full reference starts along the one inch margin and any additional lines after the first are indented in one and a half inches from the left margin.

Hanging indent example:

essay with works cited example

Organizing the Works Cited Entries

There are two options: alphabetical order and non alphabetical order.

Alphabetical order

The majority of references are organized in alphabetical order by the first item in the reference, which is usually an author’s last name. When a source doesn’t have an author, the title is placed first in the reference. Many films and movies, for instance, begin with the title, since no author is present.

Either way, whether the reference starts with the last name of the author, or a title, the entries are placed in alphabetical order.

Works cited MLA example, organized in alphabetical order.

Benjamin, Chloe. The Immortalists . Penguin, 2018.

Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler, performance by Chadwick Boseman, Marvel Studios, 2018.

Egan, Jennifer. Manhattan Beach . Scribner, 2017.

Non-alphabetical order

The majority of reference lists are organized in alphabetical order. However, it is acceptable to only organize “annotated bibliographies” in alphabetical order, chronological order, or subject order.

Here’s more information about the organization and creation of an MLA annotated bibliography .

Formatting Author Names in MLA

If you need help structuring or formatting the author’s name (or multiple authors’ names) in your references, this section will help.

Let’s start with the proper structure for one author’s name (taken from Section 5.6 of the official Handbook ). If the source you’re attempting to cite was created by one individual author, structure the name as follows:

Last name, First name.

The last name of the author is placed at the start of the reference, followed by a comma, and the first name of the author. Conclude this information with a period.

One author with a middle name or middle initial

Work Cited Examples:

  • Burroughs, William S.
  • Yeats, W. B.
  • Alcott, Louisa May.

Wondering how to organize two or more works by Louisa May Alcott in your paper? It may be tricky to determine how to alphabetically arrange the references, since each MLA work cited entry begins with Louisa May Alcott.

Citing multiple sources with the same author To create a proper MLA works cited list when there are multiple sources by the same author, place the references in alphabetical order by the title. Only include the author’s name in the first reference. In place of the author’s name in subsequent entries, place three dashes, followed by a period. (Follows rules from Section 5.126 of the Handbook .)

Below is a visual representation of a properly organized and structured MLA style works cited list. All three sources in this MLA works cited page example are by the author, Louisa May Alcott.

Alcott, Louisa May. “Eight Cousins.” Project Gutenberg , 2018, www.gutenberg.org/files/2726/2726-h/2726-h.htm.

– – -. Little Women. Bantam Classics, 1983.

– – -. Rose in Bloom . CreateSpace, 2018.

Citing a Source with Two Authors in MLA

According to section 5.7 of the official Handbook , the first listed author’s name on the source is the first author seen in the reference. The second listed author’s name on the source is the second author placed in the reference.

The first author’s name is placed in reverse order, followed by a comma and the word “and.” The second author’s name is listed in standard order, followed by a period.

Last name, First name of Author 1, and First name Last name of Author 2.

Work Cited Examples

Brust, Steven, and Emma Bull.

Jory, John, and Mac Barnett.

Citing multiple sources with the same co-authors When there are multiple sources on a reference list by the same co-authors, organize those specific references alphabetically by the titles. Only include the names of the coauthors in the first entry.

Jory, John, and Mac Barnett. The Terrible Two. Amulet, 2017.

– – -. The Terrible Two Get Worse. Amulet, 2017.

Here’s a complex scenario…

There may be times when you’re attempting to add additional sources by one of the co-authors, or the lead co-author along with a different individual.

Here is an example of how a works cited page in MLA would be organized. Included is a source solely written by one of the coauthors (John Jory) and a source by John Jory with a different coauthor, Avery Monsen.

Works Cited Example

Jory, John. The Bad Seed. HarperCollins, 2017.

– – -. Giraffe Problems. Random House, 2018.

Monsen, Avery, and Jory John. All My Friends Are Dead , Chronicle, 2010.

Summary of the above examples:

  • Jory John’s work, The Bad Seed , is listed first in the reference list since the single author’s name is organized first in alphabetical order.
  • The second entry includes the three hyphens and a period in place of John Jory’s name since it is redundant to write out and display the author’s name again in the list.
  • Entries three and four are by the coauthors Jory John and Mac Barnett. The hyphens in the fourth source replace the authors’ names in the third for the same reason as above: it’s unnecessary to write out both co-authors’ names twice. The Terrible Two book is placed before The Terrible Two Get Worse as the titles are placed in alphabetical order.
  • The fifth entry is by John Jory and Avery Monsen. Monsen’s name is displayed first on the source, which is why her name is listed first in the entry. Remember: authors are placed in the order they appear on the source.

Citing a Source with Three or More Authors in MLA

When there are three or more authors listed on a source, it is unnecessary to include all individuals’ names in the reference list.

Only include the first listed author’s last name, followed by a comma and their first name, followed by another comma and the abbreviation “et al.”

Work Cited Example

Robertson, Judy, et al.

Et al. is an abbreviation used in academic works. It translates to “and others” in Latin. Replace the second, third, and any additional authors’ names with “et al.” on your work cited page in MLA.

The above example represents a journal article written by Judy Robertson, Beth Cross, Hamish Mcleod, and Peter Wiemer-Hastings. Instead of including all four authors’ names in the entry, only the first listed author’s name is included.

Robertson, Judy, et al. “Children’s Interactions with Animated Agents in an Intelligent Tutoring System.” International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education , vol. 14, no. 3-4, 2004, pp. 335-357. IOS Press , content.iospress.com/articles/international-journal-of-artificial-intelligence-in-education/jai14-3-4-05.

If including an additional reference by Judy Robertson, but with different co-authors, include her name again in the reference list.

For example, take a look at this journal article by Judy Robertson, Judith Good, and Helen Pain. The MLA work cited entry would begin with Judy Robertson, et al. and not three hyphens since there are different co-authors than the first.

Robertson, Judy, et al. “BetterBlether: The Design and Evaluation of a Discussion Tool for Education.” International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education , 1998, pp. 9, 219-236, ijaied.org/pub/1026/file/1026_paper.pdf.

The entries are listed in alphabetical order by the title of the source since the first positions are the same.

Citing Authors with proper titles in MLA

There are times when an author is graced with a prestigious title such as a Duke, Sir, Saint, and others (see Section 2.83 of the Handbook for more examples).

When an author has a specific title, it should be omitted from the body of a project and also omitted from the reference list.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle should be in the project as Arthur Conan Doyle.

On a work cited page in MLA, it would be displayed as:

Doyle, Arthur Conan.

Citing Authors with Suffixes in MLA

If an author has a suffix in his or her name, such as Junior (Jr.) or a roman numeral such as II, III, IV, or V, this information is included in the reference list.

The individual’s name is placed in reverse order, with the last name displayed in the first position. Immediately following the last name is a comma, followed by the first name and middle name. After the first and middle names, a comma is placed, and the suffix of the individual is placed at the end with a period. You should not include the comma preceding the suffix, however, if it is a numeral.

For example, Cal Ripken, Jr. would be structured as

  • Ripken, Cal, Jr.

Frederick William III would be structured as:

William, Frederick III.

Citing Pen Names in MLA

If the author’s pen name is one that is well known, it is acceptable to use the pen name in place of the author’s real first and last name.

For example, Mark Twain , Dr. Seuss , George Orwell, and O. Henry are all acceptable to use in a works cited MLA section, as their pen names are well known.

If the author’s pen name is less familiar, you can include the author’s real name in brackets in the reference.

Coffey, Brian [Dean Koontz]. Blood Risk. Bobbs-Merrill, 1973.

Van Dyne, Edith [L. Frank Baum]. Aunt Jane’s Nieces At Work. 1st World Library, 2006.

Formatting Author’s Names in Other Languages

Many names in languages other than English include conventions and features that are different from names in English. This next section provides information to help you properly structure and organize the names of authors in other languages. It follows rules from section 2.73 in the official Handbook .

Citing French Names in MLA

French names often include the particles de, d’, or du. Some examples include Valery Giscard d’Estaing, Bertrand du Guesclin, and Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord.

When “de” is used in an individual’s name, it is separated from the last name. Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord would be structured in a work cited MLA list as:

Talleyrand-Perigord, Charles Maurice de.

If, however, the last name is only one syllable, “de” is considered part of the last name. The reference entry would begin with de and then the last name of the individual, followed by a comma and the first name. In this instance, “de” remains lowercased.

When “du” or “des” is used in an individual’s name, it is included as part of the last name. Capitalize the “d” in “du.” Bertrand du Guesclin would be structured in a work cited MLA list as:

Du Guesclin, Bertrand.

When d’ is placed before a last name, d’ is included as part of the last name, but only when the last name begins with a vowel. Valery Giscard d’Estaing would be structured as:

d’Estaing, Valery Giscard.

Citing Asian Names in MLA

Prior to determining how to structure an Asian author’s name, consider the source. Many Asian publishers display the author’s last name first on sources. If the source was published in Asia, do not reverse the author’s name in the reference list. Write it in the order shown on the source, without any commas. End the author’s name with a period.

If the source was published in English, it is quite possible that the author’s last name is displayed first as well. This is when the researcher must do a bit of detective work to determine the author’s first name and last name. Run the name through a search engine and identify the author’s first name and last name. If the last name is placed first on the source, keep it as is in the reference entry. Do not reverse the names and write it in standard form.

If, on the source, the author’s name is placed in standard order (first name followed by last name) reverse it in the reference list. Begin the reference with the last name of the individual, add a comma, and add the first name of the author. End the field with a period.

Citing Latin Names in MLA

Famous historical figures in Roman history have names that are widely known. Some examples include Julius Caesar, Augustus, Claudius, Constantine, and others. While these individuals are known by their Roman names, their full names are in Latin.

Begin the reference entry with the Roman name. Immediately following the Roman name, add the individual’s full name in brackets. End the information with a period.

Augustus [Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus]. “The Deeds of the Divine Augustus.” The Internet Classics Archive , translated by Thomas Bushnell, 1998, classics.mit.edu/Augustus/deeds.html.

APA citation website references look much different! Make sure you check out our handy guides on EasyBib.com!

Citing German Names in MLA

Two commonly used particles in German names are “von” and “zu.” Examples include Alexander von Humboldt, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, Prince Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, and Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied.

When a German individual’s name includes the particles “von” or “zu,” the particles are not included as part of the person’s last name. Ferdinand von Zeppelin would be organized in the work cited MLA list as:

Zeppelin, Ferdinand von.

If, on the source, von is displayed as a last name, it is acceptable to include it at the beginning of the individual’s last name. Examples include books by Dita Von Teese and Diane Von Furstenberg.

Von Furstenberg, Diane. Diane: A Signature Life . Simon & Schuster, 2009.

Citing Italian Names in MLA

If the particles d’, del, de, della, di, da, are used in an individual’s last name, and the individual is relatively current and from modern times, the particles are included as part of the last name and the reference entry begins with the capitalized particle.

Di Lampedusa, Giuseppe Tomasi.

When the individual’s name begins with one of the same particles above, but he or she is from historical or ancient times, the particle is not included as part of the individual’s last name.

Citing Spanish Names in MLA

There are two commonly used particles in Spanish names: “de” and “del.” If an individual’s name includes the particle, “de,” do not include it as part of his or her last name. When “del” is visible in an individual’s last name, the “d” in “del” is capitalized and placed at the beginning of the citation.

  • Del Toro, Benicio.
  • Leon, Juan Ponce de.
  • Soto, Hernando de.
  • Del Rio, Andres Manuel.

Title rules

Capitalization rules in mla.

According to section 2.90 of the Handbook , titles should be written in title case format. This means that the first letter in the first word, the first letter in the last word, and the first letters of all other important words are capitalized. Any coordinating conjunctions (and, for, but, or, so, nor, and yet), articles (a, an, the), and prepositions in the title are not capitalized.

Here are a few MLA works cited examples of how titles should appear in references:

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

If the source you’re attempting to cite is in a language other than English, it is recommended to use “sentence case” form. Sentence case only has the first letter in the first word capitalized and the first letter in any proper nouns capitalized. All other words are written in lowercase letters.

Don’t forget to use EasyBib.com’s MLA work cited generator to develop your works cited page in MLA.

Italics vs. Quotation marks in MLA

Whether the source is placed in italics or quotation marks depends on where the source was found. If the title stands alone (like a book or movie), place the title in italics. If the title was found in a container, such as a website, anthology, edited book, or another type of container, place the source in quotation marks and the container in italics.

Mather, Victor. “Japan Advances in World Cup 2018 Despite Losing to Poland.” New York Times , 28 June 2018, nyti.ms/2IzyUdm.

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye . Little Brown, 1991.

Formatting titles beginning with numbers in MLA

Titles beginning with numbers are placed in the reference list in alphabetical order, as if the title was written out alphabetically.

Here’s an MLA works cited example: The movie 2 Fast 2 Furious , would be organized in alphabetical order as if it said “ Too Fast Too Furious .” The citation would still be begin with the number even though it is organized alphabetically.

Don’t forget to try EasyBib.com’s MLA works cited generator to help you develop your references and your MLA works cited page. Our MLA works cited generator is free and simple to use!

Developing MLA references on EasyBib.com

EasyBib.com has an MLA works cited generator, which helps you produce references . This means you don’t have to spend time determining how to structure and organize the components of a citation.

To create your complete page of works cited in MLA with our tools, head to the EasyBib homepage.

essay with works cited example

Did your teacher or professor request that your references be made in MLA format? Luckily for you, MLA is the default format on EasyBib.com. If you’re not sure which style to use, ask your teacher.

  • Select your source. Examples: book, website, video, etc. There are several types to choose from!
  • Input information. Sources like websites, books, etc., will let you do an automatic search for citation information on your source. Input details like your source’s title, author, ISBN, DOI, or keywords.
  • Select your source. Look through the results list and choose the one that matches your source.
  • Review details. See what was found during the search.
  • Review and edit the citation form. Feel free to add any missing details, or update any fields.
  • Complete citation. Congratulations on your new citation! Copy and paste it into your document, or keep adding citations to your list.

All references are automatically organized in proper order and can be exported to Microsoft Word Documents, Google Docs, Dropbox, or One Drive. There’s even an option to email the reference!

Even better? EasyBib Plus gives you access to tools that do more than simply creating full references. References in the text are created for you, too! Whether it’s a Modern Language Association reference, or an APA parenthetical citation , APA book citation , or APA journal reference, we’ll create both types for you.

Need a bit more help? Our plagiarism checker is a one-stop shop to help you with your writing, grammar, and reference needs. Copy and paste your paper into our proofreader and receive comprehensive feedback! Stress less and submit your paper with confidence!

Follow our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.

MLA Works Cited

“Formatting a Research Paper.” MLA Style Center , Modern Language Association of America, style.mla.org/formatting-papers/.

MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021

Published October 16, 2013. Updated June 20, 2021.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

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  • Bibliography
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  • Page Numbers
  • Sample Paper
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  • MLA 9 Updates
  • View MLA Guide

Citation Examples

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  • Journal Article
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  • View all MLA Examples

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  • The title should be the same size and style as the rest of the document (12-point font)/li>

If the title stands alone, place the title in italics. If the title was found in a container, such as a website, anthology, edited book, or another type of container, place the source in quotation marks and the container in italics.

According to Section 1.2 of the Handbook, titles should be written in title case format. Any coordinating conjunctions (and, for, but, or, so, nor, and yet), articles (a, an, the), and prepositions in the title are not capitalized.

If an author has a suffix in his or her name, the last name is displayed in the first position followed by a comma, the first name, and the middle name. After the first and middle names, a comma is placed, and the suffix of the individual is placed at the end.

Cal Ripken Jr. would be structured as

Author with roman numeral suffix would be structured as

  • William, Frederick, III.

An MLA works cited list contains complete details of all the sources that are cited in the text. It helps the reader locate the source in case they want to read it for further understanding. It is included at the end of the paper after the main text. Each entry provides all of the information about each source so that it can be easily located. For example, the works cited list entry for a journal article would include the following elements:

Title of the article

Journal title

Volume number

Issue number

Publication date

With the help of the mentioned elements, a reader can locate the source for future reference. In addition, the works cited list arranges entries in alphabetical order according to the surname of the first author or title (if there is no author) to help the reader locate the entry in the list quickly. A few works cited list entries are listed below as examples:

Brenner, Barbara. “Pink Ribbons and Lou Gehrig: Time to Bury Useless Symbols.” So Much to be Done: The Writings of Breast cancer Activist Barbara Brenner , edited by Barbara Sjoholm, UP of Minnesota, 2016, pp. 199–202.

Feldman, Alice E. “Dances with Diversity: American Indian Self‐Presentation Within the Re‐presentative Contexts of a Non‐Indian Museum.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 14, no. 3, 1994, pp. 210–21.

Hymes, Dell H. Discovering Oral Performance and Measured Verse in American Indian Narrative . Johns Hopkins UP, 1977.

The main purpose of the works cited list is to provide the readers with the complete details of the sources cited in the text. It helps the reader locate the source in case they want to do further research or verify information. It also helps to ensure that full credit is given to the sources utilized in the paper. The works cited list is placed at the end of the paper after the main text. For example, the works cited list entry for a journal article would include the author’s name, the title of the article, the journal title, the volume and issue number of the journal, the date the article was published, the page numbers of the article, and the URL if the article was found online. With the help of the mentioned elements, a reader can locate the source for future reference.

The works cited list arranges entries in alphabetical order according to the surname of the first author or title (if there is no author) to help the reader locate the entry in the list quickly.

MLA Citation Examples

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Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)

  •   Jennifer Janechek

Creative Commons license type BY-NC-ND 4.0

Whenever you incorporate outside sources into your own writing, you must provide both in-text citations (within the body of the paper) and full citations (in the Works Cited page). The in-text citations point your reader toward the full citations in the Works Cited page.

That’s why the first bit of information in your in-text citation (generally, the author’s name; if no name is provided, the title of the article/book/webpage) should directly match up with the beginning of your Works Cited entry for that source. For further information about in-text citations, please read “ Formatting In-Text Citations .”

For example, let’s say I have a quote from Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities in my research paper. Within the body of the paper, following the quote, I include the following in-text citation: (Anderson 56). This information points to the book’s entry in my Works Cited page:

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism . London: Verso, 2006. Print.

When your reader sees the in-text citation in your essay, they may decide that the source might be valuable for their own research. When they look at the Works Cited page, they can easily locate the source (because the Works Cited page is alphabetized and because they have the in-text citation as their referent) and then can use the full citation to retrieve a copy of the source for their own research. But aside from providing the reader with resources for their own research, the Works Cited page serves another function: it establishes the writer’s credibility. If a writer fails to include in-text citations and/or a Works Cited page, that writer has plagiarized because he or she has neglected to provide the publication information of the source. In addition, when a reader locates undocumented information in an essay, they will likely think that the information was made up by the writer or that the information was stolen from a source, or plagiarized. And when a reader peruses a writer’s Works Cited page, they can see the types of sources used by the writer, assessing those sources in terms of their credibility. For instance, if a reader reads my Works Cited page and sees I cite sources from university presses such as Oxford UP and Cambridge UP, they will know that I’ve incorporated credible sources into my research paper. Thus, including both in-text citations and a Works Cited page in a research paper provides the writer with ethos, or credibility.

Now let’s take a look at how to properly format a Works Cited page according to MLA guidelines:

Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)

According to MLA style guidelines, the Works Cited page should appear after the body of your paper and any accompanying endnotes. It should begin on a new page, and the pagination should continue from the body of the paper. In the above example, the Works Cited page begins on page 38, which means that the essay concluded on page 37.

General format

The Works Cited page should be double-spaced throughout. The first line of each entry should be flush with the left margin; if the entry extends more than one line, ensuing lines should be indented 1/2 inch from the left margin. The first page of the Works Cited list should have the title “Works Cited,” not “Bibliography.” The Works Cited title should appear in the same manner as the paper’s title: capitalized and centered—not bolded, within quotation marks, italicized, underlined, or in a larger font.

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MLA 9th Edition

  • Paper Format
  • In-Text Citations
  • Works Cited Page Format

Citing Articles

Citing books, citing other common sources, author rules, additional resources.

  • Back to Citation Guide

MLA Sample Paper

  • MLA 9th Sample Paper
  • More Sample Papers

General Format

Author Last Name, First Name. "Article Title."  Title of Journal/Magazine containing article , Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date (day Mon. Year), Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink), Date of Access (if applicable - day Mon. Year).

from Library Database with DOI

Author(s). "Article Title." Journal Title, volume, issue , Date, pages . Database , DOI.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. “Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates.”   Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library , https://doi.org/10.1002/tox.20155.

from Library Database with no DOI

Author (s) . "Article Title ." Journal Title , volume , issue , Date , pages . Database , Permalink .

Leary, Francis . "Robespierre: The Meaning of Virtue." Virginia Quarterly Review , vol 72, no1 , Winter 96 , pp 104-122. EBSCOhost , search.ebschost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9602051725&.

*If you can locate a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), it is preferable to a permalink or URL. *Omit https:// except for with a DOI.

from the Internet

Author (s) . " Article Title ." Journal Title , volume, issue ,  Date, URL.

Frajman, Eduardo . "Paradise Transformed: CAFTA and Costa Rica's New Politics." Delaware Review of Latin American Studies. vol 9, no.2, 30 Dec. 2010 , www.udel.edu/LAS/Vol9-2Frajman.html.

Author(s). "Article Title" Journal Title,   volume, issue , Date , pages.

Leary, Francis . "Robespierre: The Meaning of Virtue." Virginia Quarterly Review,  vol. 72, no 1 , Winter 96 , pp 104 - 122.

Author Last Name, First Name.  Title of Book . Name(s) of Contributor(s) (editors, translators, etc.), Version (ed.), Number (vol., no., etc.), Publisher, Publication Date (day Mon. Year).

Author (s) . Book Title . Publisher , Year.

Diacu, Frank . Megadisasters: The Science of Predicting the Next Catastrophe . Princeton UP , 2013.

Author(s) . eBook Title . Publisher , Date , Database , URL.

Albo, Greg, et al. In and Out of Crisis . PM Press, 2010, ebrary , site.ebrary.com/lib/mxcclibraryct/reader.action?ppg=2&docID=10376318&tm=1468849603205.

Article or Chapter within a Book

Article Author. "Article Title." Anthology/Book Title , Editor(s) of Book/Anthology , Publisher , Year, pages .

Shirkey, Clay. “Everyone is a Media Outlet: Discussion.” The Little, Brown Reader , edited by Marcia Barnet , Pearson , 2012 , pp. 416-422.

Author (s) . "Title of Page." Title of the Website , Date, URL.

Lundman, Susan. "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow , 6 July 2015 , www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html.

Audio or Visual Sources

Title . Director , Major Performers , Distributor , Date

An Inconvenient Truth . Directed by David Guggenheim , performance by Al Gore , Paramount Home Entertainment , 2006.

Streaming Video

Example - youtube.

Author . "Video Title." Website , Date , URL

Shimabukuro, Jake . “Ukulele Weeps.” YouTube , 22 Apr. 2006 , https://youtu.be/puSkP3uym5k.

Example - Netflix

"Episode Title." Series Title , season, episode , Network, Broadcast Date . Platform, URL.

“94 Meetings.” Parks and Recreation , season 2, episode 21 , NBC , 29 Apr. 2010 . Netflix , www.netflix.com/watch/70152031.

TV, Radio, or Podcast Program

"Episode / Segment Title ." Program , Host/Narrator , Network/Station , Broadcast Date , URL.

“Why Prosecutors Do Not Go After Wall Street.” Fresh Air , hosted by Terry Gross , Natl. Public Radio , 14 July 2011 , www.npr.org/2011/07/13/137789065/why-prosecutors-dont-go-after-wall-street.

Image or Artwork

Author . Image Title . Date , Website Title , URL

Nietschmann, Jens . Tabby cat. 19 July 2007 , Wikimedia Commons , commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Felis_silvestris_catus#/media/File: Jammlich_crop.jpg.

Class Lecture

Presenter. "Presentation Title ." Title of Course , Date , Location. Lecture .

Wallace, Judith. “The Endocrine System.” Human Biology , 2 June 2013 , Middlesex Community College. Lecture.

Personal Communication

Person . Type of Communication . Date.

Liu, Lan. Email to the author. 14 July 2011.

Social Media

Author. "Article Title." Name of Blog , Blog Network/Publisher , Date , URL .

Veatch, Nancy. “Out of the Classroom and Into the Office.” Literacy Daily , International Literacy Association , 26 Oct. 2018 , literacyworldwide.org/blog/literacy-daily/2018/10/26/out-of-the-classroom-and-into-the-office.

Social Media Post

Author [User's Handle] .  Text of post or description if visual.   Platform , Date and Time of Posting , URL .

Purdue Writing Lab [@PurdueWLab]. “Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week." Twitter , 5 Mar 2012, 12:58 , twitter.com/PurdueWLab/status176728308736737282.  

Two Authors

If a work has more than one author or creator format the "author" element in the work-cited entry like:

Last Name , First Name , and First Name Last Name .

Ex.) Williams, Serena, and Derek Jeter.

*Notice the placement of the commas.

Three or More Authors

If a work has 3 or more authors or creators only name the first author, then add "et al." to the end of the "author" element in your works-cited entry. It should look like this:

Last Name , First Name , et al .

Ex.) Quirk, Randolph, et al .

*et al is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase for "and others"

Organization as Author (Government Report)

Gov't, Department, Agency. Report Title (long work) . Website, Date , URL.

United States, National Institutes of Health, Dept. of Health and Human Services. Managing Asthma: A Guide for Schools. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute , 2014 , www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-pro/resources/lung/asthma-management-school-guide .

Organization as Author (Non-government Report)

Author (s). "Report Title (short work)." Website Title , Date , URL.

Harkins, James. “Syria’s Future is Disappearing.” Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting , 24 June 2016 , pulitzercenter.org/reporting/syrias-future-disappearing.

If there is no known author or creator of the work being cited simply skip the "author" element in the works-cited entry and begin with the source title.

For more information and resources on citing sources in MLA check out the websites listed below:

  • MLA Interactive Practice Template Use the interactive MLA practice template to help you build citations and understand how the 9 core elements and containers work together to form a works-cited entry.
  • Purdue OWL MLA Formatting and Style Guide Detailed information on how to format papers and cite sources using MLA format.
  • Excelsior OWL - MLA Works Cited Detailed information on citing using MLA in a user-friendly format. Includes information on both MLA 8 and 9.
  • << Previous: Works Cited Page Format
  • Next: Back to Citation Guide >>
  • Last Updated: Oct 30, 2023 11:08 AM
  • URL: https://library.ctstate.edu/MLA

Module 7: MLA Citations

Mla works cited page formatting.

In MLA style, all the sources you cite throughout the text of your paper are listed together in full in the Works Cited section, which comes after the main text of your paper.

Two pieces of paper, one titled "My Essay" and the other titled, "Works Cited List."

When citing an essay, you include information in two places: in the body of your paper and in the Works Cited that comes after it. The Works Cited is just a bibliography: you list all the sources you used to write the paper. The citation information you include in the body of the paper itself is called the “in-text citation.”

Formatting the Works Cited Section

  • Page numbers: Just as the rest of your paper, the top of the page should retain the right-justified header with your last name and the page number.
  • Title: On the first line, the title of the page—“Works Cited”—should appear centered, and not italicized or bolded.
  • Spacing: Like the rest of your paper, this page should be double-spaced and have 1-inch margins (don’t skip an extra line between citations).
  • Alphabetical order: Starting on the next line after the page title, your references should be listed in alphabetical order by author. Multiple sources by the same author should be listed chronologically by year within the same group.
  • Hanging indents: Each reference should be formatted with what is called a hanging indent. This means the first line of each reference should be flush with the left margin (i.e., not indented), but the rest of that reference should be indented 0.5 inches further. Any word-processing program will let you format this automatically so you don’t have to do it by hand. (In Microsoft Word, for example, you simply highlight your citations, click on the small arrow right next to the word “Paragraph” on the home tab, and in the popup box choose “hanging indent” under the “Special” section. Click OK, and you’re done.)

Example of a works cited page.

A correctly formatted Works Cited page, according to the MLA handbook.

  • Revision and Adaptation. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
  • MLA: The Works Cited Section. Authored by : Catherine McCarthy. Provided by : Boundless. Located at : https://www.boundless.com/writing/textbooks/boundless-writing-textbook/writing-a-paper-in-mla-style-humanities-255/mla-citations-and-references-303/mla-the-works-cited-section-319-16905/ . Project : Boundless Writing. License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
  • Image of How to Cite an Essay. Provided by : WikiHow. Located at : http://www.wikihow.com/Cite-an-Essay . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

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MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: Works Cited Examples

  • Works Cited entries: What to Include
  • Title of source
  • Title of container
  • Contributors
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  • Supplemental Elements
  • Book with Personal Author(s)
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  • Multivolume Works
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  • Other Formats
  • Websites, Social Media, and Email
  • About In-text Citations
  • In-text Examples
  • How to Paraphrase and Quote
  • Citing Poetry
  • Formatting Your MLA Paper
  • Formatting Your Works Cited List
  • MLA Annotated Bibliography
  • MLA 9th Edition Quick Guide
  • Submit Your Paper for MLA Style Review

About Examples in this Guide

Examples in this guide are from the MLA Handbook Eighth and Ninth Editions and the IRSC librarians.

Use the drop-down box under 'Works Cited Examples' to find the example that you need.

Correcting Works Cited Citations from Database Cite Tool

Most databases include a Cite Tool you can use to copy and paste the MLA Works Cited citation for that article into your Works Cited page. These provided citations are a great starting point, however, the tools often include small mistakes and you will need to reformat your citation once you've pasted it into your Works Cited page.

Cite Tool

Paste by selecting Keep Text Only

The citation below has been pasted and corrected. Paste into your Works Cited page by selecting Keep Text Only. This way you can avoid copying over any unwanted formatting, but you will lose some necessary formatting like italics. After pasting, check for and correct any errors in the actual citation. There are often problems with names and capitalization. In this example, the only issue with the citation itself is that JSTOR is listed twice.

Select the entire citation and make sure the font is Times New Roman 12 points in black, no bolding or underlining. Make sure the citation is double-spaced and includes a hanging indent. Check the containers, which are the journal title and the database name, for italics and add if needed.

Corrected from Cite Tool

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  • Next: Book with Personal Author(s) >>
  • Last Updated: Oct 26, 2023 9:07 AM
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essay with works cited example

Citation Examples for APA, MLA, and Chicago Style Guides

Matt Ellis

You may think citing sources for research papers is confusing . . . because it absolutely is! It’s one thing to memorize the precise format for your sources’ information, but it’s another thing to know the precise formats required by APA, MLA, and Chicago style guides.

Because different styles have different citation formats, we thought showing you some citation examples in research papers would help you learn to tell the difference. Feel free to use this guide as a resource to help you get the perfect citation, no matter what style you use.

Cite your sources with confidence Grammarly helps you avoid plagiarism Write with Grammarly

How to use citation examples in research

In-text citations vs. full citations, parenthetical citations vs. narrative citations, apa citation examples, apa in-text citation examples, apa citation examples: book.

  • APA citation examples: Journal Article

APA citation examples: Website

Apa citation examples: video, apa citation examples: ai, mla citation examples, mla in-text citation examples, mla citation examples: book.

  • MLA citation examples: Journal Article

MLA citation examples: Website

Mla citation examples: video, mla citation examples: ai, chicago citation examples, chicago in-text citation examples, chicago citation examples: book.

  • Chicago citation examples: Journal Article

Chicago citation examples: Website

Chicago citation examples: video, chicago citation examples: ai, citation examples for multiple authors, apa citation examples for more than one author, mla citation examples for more than one author, chicago citation examples for more than one author.

In academic writing like research papers , you must cite your source for each piece of information that’s not your own . In informal writing like personal essays, you are your own source, so you don’t need a citation. But for writing that uses information from outside books, articles, websites, videos, or even AI, citations are necessary.

The tricky part is that each style has its own particular way of citing sources. Most academic papers are written in one of the three main styles:

  • Chicago format

Each of these styles has different rules for what information to include in citations, as well as unique guidelines for particulars like capitalization, the use of italics, and the order in which the information comes. (For more details, read our direct comparison of MLA vs. APA .)

In this blog post, we share citation examples of each style for different types of sources. But first, let’s talk a little about the different types of citations you’ll be using in formal writing.

The two main types of citations are in-text citations and full citations.

In-text citations appear in the body text of the paper and provide the bare minimum of information to identify the source. These usually include the author’s name and sometimes a page number or publication date. They can be either parenthetical or narrative, which we explain below. Alternatively, if you’re using Chicago style, you have the option to use footnotes as in-text citations.

Full citations appear in the bibliography at the end of the text and contain all the relevant information from a source. The idea is that, if your reader is interested in learning more about one of your sources, they can find it in the full citation. Full citations are written in a particular way, and different styles have their own rules for what information goes where.

In APA, the bibliography is called a reference page ; in MLA, it’s called a works cited page . Only Chicago uses the term “bibliography.”

In-text citations can be either parenthetical citations or narrative citations. A parenthetical citation puts a brief credit in parentheses after the related piece of information. Here’s an in-text citation example in APA:

Not all experiments use a placebo group because “if your patients are ill, you shouldn’t be leaving them untreated simply because of your own mawkish interest in the placebo effect” (Goldacre, 2008, p. 60) .

A narrative citation, on the other hand, gives credit in the body text itself, such as by mentioning the author by name. Typically, any information not included in the text is still placed in an abbreviated parenthetical citation afterward.

Not all experiments use a placebo group because, as Ben Goldacre wrote , “if your patients are ill, you shouldn’t be leaving them untreated simply because of your own mawkish interest in the placebo effect” (2008, p. 60) .

Our in-text citation examples below are for standard parenthetical citations. Just remember if you mention the author, page, or year in the main text, you can remove it from the parenthetical citation.

In-text citations in APA use what’s called the author-date style , which includes the author’s last name and the year of publication, separated with commas.

If citing a specific piece of information or a direct quote, also include the location, such as a page number or timestamp. Use the abbreviations p. for page , pp. for pages , and paras. for paragraphs . For general information, such as a concept discussed throughout the source, no location is needed.

(Last Name, Year, p. #)

(Goldacre, 2008, p. 60)

To cite a book in APA , you need the author’s name, year of publication, book title, and publisher. The author’s name is written as “last name, first name initial,” as in “Shakespeare, W.” Titles use sentence-style capitalization, which means only the first letter of the first word in the title (and subtitle, if applicable) are capitalized. If the book edition is relevant, place it in parentheses after the title.

Last name, First name initial. (Year of publication). Title . Publisher.

Goldacre, B. (2008). Bad science. Fourth Estate.

APA citation examples: Journal article

Citing an article in APA requires the author’s last name and first initial; the full date of publication, including month and day if applicable; and the titles of both the article and the journal/periodical, as well as the page number. Note that, unlike MLA and Chicago styles, APA doesn’t abbreviate months in citations.

Last name, First name initial. (Year, Month Day of publication). Article title. Magazine name, volume (issue), page range. DOI

Cardanay, A. (2016, January 12). Illustrating motion, music, and story. General Music Today, 29 (3), 25–29. doi:10.1177/1048371315626498

To cite a website in APA , follow the same format you use to cite journal articles, except without volume, issue, or page numbers. Website citations in APA include a URL, however. If the website represents a print publication, italicize the title. If not, italicize the article name.

Last name, First name initial. (Year, Month Day of publication). Title of article, post, or page. Website. URL

Hudson, J. (2023, November 12). What Taylor Swift can teach us about leadership. Forbes . https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameshudson/2023/11/12/what-taylor-swift-can-teach-us-about-leadership/

To cite YouTube in APA , as well as any online video, you need to include both the uploader’s real name and username, the date posted, the video title, the website name, and the URL. You also need to include the word “Video” in brackets after the video title to show what kind of source it is.

Real last name, First initial. [Username]. (Year, Month Day). Video title [Video]. Website. URL.

Desmond, W. [TED-Ed]. (2019, December 19). The philosophy of cynicism [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utzym1I_BiY

According to the APA website, AI citations in APA should be treated as an “algorithm’s output.” You cite the company that built it as the author, the name of the AI as the title, and the year you interacted with it as the date of publication. You should also include the version you used and a descriptor like “large language model” in brackets, followed by the URL.

Company. (Year). AI Name (version) [Descriptor]. URL

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (March 14 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat

For MLA, in-text citations use only the author’s last name and the page number or timestamp, without abbreviations or commas.

(Last name #)

(Goldacre 60)

To cite a book in MLA , you need the author’s name, book title, place of publication, publisher’s name, and the date of publication. The author’s name is inverted, with the last name coming before the first name. Most parts are separated by periods, except for the author’s names and publication information, which are separated by commas. Titles use title capitalization, which capitalizes the first letter of each major word.

Last name, First name. Book Title . Place of publication, Publisher, publication date.

Goldacre, Ben. Bad Science . London, Fourth Estate, 2008.

MLA citation examples: Journal article

Citing an article in MLA is similar to citing a journal article in other styles, although MLA uses abbreviations for volume (vol.) and issue number (no.), as well as pages (pp.). If you found the article online, you also need to include the database name in italics and the URL or DOI.

Last name, First name. “Title of article.” Journal , vol. #, no. #, Day Month Year of publication, pp. #–#. Database , DOI or URL.

Cardanay, Audrey. “Illustrating Motion, Music, and Story.” General Music Today , vol. 29, no. 3, 2016, pp. 25–29. Academic Search Premier , doi:10.1177/1048371315626498.

To cite a website in MLA , include the page or article title in quotes and the name of the website in italics. In addition to the publication date and URL, you also need to mention the date you visited the website, using the word “Accessed.”

Last name, First name. “Page or Article Title.” Website , Day Month Year of publication, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Hudson, James. “What Taylor Swift Can Teach Us about Leadership.” Forbes , 12 Nov. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameshudson/2023/11/12/what-taylor-swift-can-teach-us-about-leadership/. Accessed 13 Nov. 2023.

Citing YouTube in MLA is similar to citing videos in APA, although the information goes in different places. Additionally, you need either the creator’s real name or username, but not both.

Username or Last name, First name. “Title.” Website , Day Month Year, URL.

Desmond, William. “The Philosophy of Cynicism.” YouTube , 19 Dec. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utzym1I_BiY.

AI citations in MLA ignore the author altogether and use the AI prompt (what you typed into the chat) as the title. MLA uses “containers” for sources within larger works, and for AI the container is the name of the AI. You also need the version, company (as the publisher), date accessed, and URL.

“Entered text” prompt. AI Name , version, Company, Day Month Year, URL.

“Citation examples for research” prompt. ChatGPT , GPT-4, OpenAI, 15 Nov. 2023, chat.openai.com/chat.

In Chicago, you can choose either parenthetical citations or footnotes for in-text citations. Chicago’s parenthetical citations also use an author-date style just like APA citations; however, there is no comma between the author and year (although there is a comma between the year and the location). Chicago citations do not use abbreviations for page numbers.

(Last Name Year, #)

(Goldacre 2008, 60)

Citing a book in Chicago uses the author’s name, book title, place of publication, publisher, and year of publication. You also include the edition, but only if it’s relevant. The author’s name is inverted, and the title uses title capitalization.

Last Name, First Name. Book Title: Subtitle . Edition (if applicable). Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.

Goldacre, Ben. Bad Science . London: Fourth Estate, 2008.

Chicago citation examples: Journal article

Citing an article in Chicago is most similar to citing an article in MLA, including the type of information to include and the use of abbreviations. Pay attention to the citation examples to see the correct order and punctuation to use; note that in Chicago the volume number directly follows the journal title and is not separated by a comma or preceded by the word “vol.”

Last name, First name. “Article title.” Journal vol. #, no. # (Year): #–#. Database or article URL.

Cardanay, Audrey. “Illustrating Motion, Music, and Story.” General Music Today 29, no. 3 (2016): 25–29. Academic Search Premier.

Compared to citing a website in other styles, citing a website in Chicago is more straightforward. Include all the relevant information, put the article or page title in quotations, and don’t worry about italics or the date you visited (unless the website does not have a publication date; in that case, include the date you accessed the site where you would normally put the publication date).

Last name, First name. “Article or Page Title.” Website, Month Day, Year of publication. URL.

Hudson, James. “What Taylor Swift Can Teach Us about Leadership.” Forbes, Nov. 12, 2023. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameshudson/2023/11/12/what-taylor-swift-can-teach-us-about-leadership/

To cite YouTube in Chicago , you need to include all the standard information, such as the creator’s name, the title of the video, and the website that hosts it, as well as the date and URL. Unlike other formats, Chicago also requires the total video length written in XX:XX format. You also need to mention the source format (“video”) after naming the website.

Uploader. “Title.” Website and format, duration. Month Day, Year of publication. URL.

TED-Ed. “The Philosophy of Cynicism.” YouTube video, 5:25. Dec. 19, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utzym1I_BiY.

AI citations in Chicago work differently than in other styles; Chicago considers AI conversations as “personal communication” because they’re non-retrievable—meaning other people can’t access the same conversation you had. Consequently, do not include AI chatbots in the bibliography ; mention them only as personal communications if necessary.

However, you still need to use in-text citations for AI in Chicago. For parenthetical citations, you can use the name of the AI as the author and when you had the conversation as the publication date.

APA, MLA, and Chicago formats all have different guidelines for citing more than one author. Here are some quick reference tips on how each does it:

Each author in an APA citation is written in the format of Last name, First Initial. Place authors in the same order as the publication lists them, which may not necessarily be alphabetical. Separate each name with a comma and add an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name.

Marieb, E., & Keller, S. (2018). Essentials of human anatomy & physiology (12th ed.) . Pearson.

In-text citations in APA for two authors use both authors’ last names, connected with an ampersand. For more than two authors, use only the first author’s last name and the phrase et al.

(Marieb & Keller, 2018)

(Marieb et al., 2018)

If an MLA citation has two authors, list them both in the full citation but invert only the first name. Separate them with a comma and the word and .

Cohn, Rachel, and David Levithan. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares . Ember Publishing House, 2011.

In-text citations use both last names with and .

(Cohn and Levitation 55)

For more than two authors, use only the first author’s name and the phrase et al. in both the full and in-text citation.

Heffernan, James, et al. Writing: A College Handbook . New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 2000.

(Heffernan et al. 27)

In the bibliography, Chicago citations list the names of up to ten authors, separated by commas and with the word and before the last author. For more than ten authors, list only the first seven and then add et al . Only the first name is inverted.

Gyatso, Tenzin, and Howard Cutler. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living . Norwalk: Easton Press, 1998.

In-text citations list the last names of up to three authors, separated by commas (if there are more than two), and the word and before the final name. For four or more authors, use only the first author’s last name and the phrase et al .

(Gyatso and Cutler 1998)

(Gyatso et al. 1998)

Cite your sources with Grammarly

Do you want to make sure your citations are formatted correctly and that you haven’t mistakenly plagiarized information while writing your paper? Grammarly can help! Get well-formatted APA, MLA, and Chicago-style citations with Grammarly’s free citation generator built by writing experts. You can also check your work against billions of websites with our plagiarism checker so you always know when to cite your sources. Sign up for free to get academic writing support at your fingertips.

essay with works cited example

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6 In-text Citations & Works Cited Pages ~ MLA Format

Knowledge preview.

Try this quiz before you watch the video:

What Is a Citation? Why Do We Need Citations?

We give credit to other scholars by using citations in two places: in-text citations, and Works Cited pages. Watch the short video for some background information.

Note : Since I did not create this video, I need to include a citation here. In textbooks, you may find the citation for imported material directly under the material, and/or at the end of the chapter or book. In this textbook, you can find examples of both. Here is the citation for this video (not in MLA format):

A (Very) Brief Introduction. Authored by : libnscu.  Provided by : NC State University.  Located at :  https://youtu.be/IMhMuVvXCVw .  License :  CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Any time we use another person’s ideas, spoken or written words, research, or other material, we must provide citations. This ensures that we maintain our academic honesty, and that we bring other scholars in to our written conversation by acknowledging their ideas.

We do not need to provide citations for common knowledge such as well-known scientific facts, historical events, or proverbs.

What Do We Need to Cite?

For all academic writing, we must be careful to give attribution for other people’s work, or for any information that is not common knowledge. This means two things:

  • including information about the source directly in the text we have written (in-text citations), and
  • including a list of materials used at the end of the essay (a Works Cited page)

Your in-text citations must always have a matching entry on your Works Cited page. That way, your readers can find more information about your source, so they can investigate more about your sources’ ideas on their own.

MLA (Modern Language Association) Format

MLA In-Text Citations

In your paper, when you quote directly from a source in its words, or when you paraphrase someone else’s idea, you need to tell the reader what that source is so the author gets credit. When you do this in the text of your paper, this is called an in-text citation.

In-Text citations are placed in parentheses, and have two components

  • The first word found in the full citation on the Works Cited page (usually the last name of the author)
  • The location of the direct quote or paraphrase (usually a page number)

In-Text citations should be placed directly after the direct quote or paraphrase, or in a place that is a natural pause and does not cause the reader to become distracted while reading the body of your work.

When using the author’s name in the sentence, only include the page number in the parentheses.

As Carol Dweck asserts, “The fixed mindset makes you concerned with how you’ll be judged; the growth mindset makes you concerned with improving” (13).

Your in-text citations would then need to have corresponding entries in your Works Cited page (see below).

How can we be sure if we need a citation? Use this graphic to help you decide:

Graphic showing when and how to create MLA In-text citations. If it is your own work, you do not need a citation. Otherwise, you need to look for the author's name (or title if there is no author name), and then the page number(s). Put the author's name and page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence, before the period, like: (Wilson 38).

When and How to Create MLA Citations graphic. Authored by : Kim Louie for Lumen Learning.  License :  CC BY: Attribution

Integrating Sources

A. Two-minute Activity – Reporting Verbs

Work in groups of three.

Partner A: leave the room for 30 seconds

Partner B: tell Partner C about your favorite vacation spot. Give details.

Partner C: listen to Partner B and take notes

Next, Partner A returns to the room

Partner A & Partner B: listen to Partner C

Partner C: tell Partner A what Partner B just said

How does Partner C start the conversation? What ‘reporting verbs’ can Partner C use here? Did they use a paraphrase or a direct quotation?

Finally, brainstorm a list together of possible reporting verbs to use.

If time allows, switch roles with your partners, and choose a new topic from this list:

  • your favorite restaurant
  • someone you admire
  • your favorite superhero
  • top three bucket list items
  • favorite movie
  • least favorite food you’ve eaten
  • your perfect day
  • person you’d swap lives with for a day
  • your spirit animal

To avoid ‘choppy’ writing, or writing that sounds like you just ‘dropped in’ a quote or paraphrase from another source, you will want to integrate other scholars’ ideas seamlessly into your own writing. Reporting verbs help to signal your reader that you are incorporating other scholars’ ideas. Notice that we use the present tense for these reporting verbs:

Check this list of MLA Signal Phrases from author Robin Jeffrey for more examples of reporting verbs. In your notebook, write some reporting verbs that are comfortable for you (ones you’ve used before) and some that are new for you (ones you’d like to try).

Works Cited Pages

A Works Cited page in MLA format is an alphabetical listing of all of the sources you have paraphrased, quoted, summarized, or reproduced (as in, for example, a photo or graph) in your essay; in other words, any source that you created an in-text citation for. Your Works Cited page will have an entry for each resource you used so that your readers can find the original source, in case they want to learn more from that expert. Each entry will include this information (if available): the author, title of source, title of container, other contributors, the version, number, publisher, date of publication, and location (page numbers, a DOI, or a URL, for instance). Check the links near the bottom of this page for more information and formatting guides.

As you conduct your research, it is helpful to keep a list of Works Consulted. As you write your essay, move the sources that have in-text citations to your Works Cited page. Then, when you are finished writing, attach your Works Cited page (the final, separate sheet of paper) to your essay.

Sample Works Cited entries:

North, Emily J, and Rolf U Halden. “Plastics and environmental health: the road ahead.”  Reviews on environmental health  vol. 28,1 (2013): 1-8. doi:10.1515/reveh-2012-0030

Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: the New Psychology of Success . Ballantine, 2016.

There are specific guidelines to follow for every kind of source (websites, blogs, videos, books, scholarly journals, etc.).  The “Works Cited: A Quick Guide ” from the MLA Style Center has the most recent advice on formatting your Works Cited pages.

Also, there are several citation generators available on the internet. Check with your instructors to find out about their policies regarding the use of citation generators.

B. Practice Activity

Try this practice activity.

Is this chapter

…too easy, or you would like a more comprehensive guide? –> Check this page on MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics,   MLA Works Cited Page Basic Format, and the MLA Sample Works Cited Page, all from Purdue OWL.

…about right, but you would like to see more samples? –> Check “ Building Credibility through Source Integration ” from Lumen Learning’s Writing Skills Lab, and “ Creating a Works Cited Page ” and “ Crediting and Citing Your Sources ” from  The Word on College Reading and Writing .

…too difficult, or you’d like more examples? –> Watch this video on “ In-Text Citations for Beginners ” for help. See also Lumen’s MLA Works Cited page for formatting help.

Portions of this chapter were adapted from “ MLA In-Text Citations ” from  Developmental English: Introduction to College Composition . Provided by : Lumen Learning.  License :  CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. and “ MLA Documentation ” from  Basic Reading and Writing . Provided by : Lumen Learning.  License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike .

CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

The final practice activity is from “ Practice: Using Sources ” from  Writing Skills Lab . Provided by : Lumen Learning.  License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike .

Note: links open in new tabs.

information that most people know, or that you can easily find in several readily-available sources

fields or subjects of study

ENGLISH 087: Academic Advanced Writing Copyright © 2020 by Nancy Hutchison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Chapter 12: Documentation Styles: MLA and APA

12.4 MLA Citation: Works Cited Example

Emilie Zickel and John Brentar

Below is a model MLA Works Cited with correct spacing and formatting.

Note that an MLA Works Cited

  • begins on its own new page
  • at the top of the Works Cited page, the words Work (or Works) Cited should be centered, without bolding, italics, quotations marks, or all-caps
  • Works Cited entries should be in the same font and double spacing as the rest of the paper
  • Unlike the paragraphs within an essay, Works Cited entries do not begin with an indentation. Rather, they use hanging (also known as reverse) indentation, in which the first line of an entry is not indented, but all successive lines are indented, by .5”.
  • If you have a source with no author, then that source will be alphabetized according to the first letter of its title
  • The entries will not be numbered or presented as a series of bulleted points.

essay with works cited example

A Guide to Rhetoric, Genre, and Success in First-Year Writing by Emilie Zickel and John Brentar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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  • Free Tools for Students
  • MLA Citation Generator

Free MLA Citation Generator

Generate accurate citations in MLA format automatically, with MyBib!

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😕 What is an MLA Citation Generator?

An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA-compliant academic paper.

The citations on a Works Cited page show the external sources that were used to write the main body of the academic paper, either directly as references and quotes, or indirectly as ideas.

👩‍🎓 Who uses an MLA Citation Generator?

MLA style is most often used by middle school and high school students in preparation for transition to college and further education. Ironically, MLA style is not actually used all that often beyond middle and high school, with APA (American Psychological Association) style being the favored style at colleges across the country.

It is also important at this level to learn why it's critical to cite sources, not just how to cite them.

🙌 Why should I use a Citation Generator?

Writing citations manually is time consuming and error prone. Automating this process with a citation generator is easy, straightforward, and gives accurate results. It's also easier to keep citations organized and in the correct order.

The Works Cited page contributes to the overall grade of a paper, so it is important to produce accurately formatted citations that follow the guidelines in the official MLA Handbook .

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's MLA Citation Generator?

It's super easy to create MLA style citations with our MLA Citation Generator. Scroll back up to the generator at the top of the page and select the type of source you're citing. Books, journal articles, and webpages are all examples of the types of sources our generator can cite automatically. Then either search for the source, or enter the details manually in the citation form.

The generator will produce a formatted MLA citation that can be copied and pasted directly into your document, or saved to MyBib as part of your overall Works Cited page (which can be downloaded fully later!).

MyBib supports the following for MLA style:

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Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

UCLA History Department

Thesis Statements

What is a thesis statement.

Your thesis statement is one of the most important parts of your paper.  It expresses your main argument succinctly and explains why your argument is historically significant.  Think of your thesis as a promise you make to your reader about what your paper will argue.  Then, spend the rest of your paper–each body paragraph–fulfilling that promise.

Your thesis should be between one and three sentences long and is placed at the end of your introduction.  Just because the thesis comes towards the beginning of your paper does not mean you can write it first and then forget about it.  View your thesis as a work in progress while you write your paper.  Once you are satisfied with the overall argument your paper makes, go back to your thesis and see if it captures what you have argued.  If it does not, then revise it.  Crafting a good thesis is one of the most challenging parts of the writing process, so do not expect to perfect it on the first few tries.  Successful writers revise their thesis statements again and again.

A successful thesis statement:

  • makes an historical argument
  • takes a position that requires defending
  • is historically specific
  • is focused and precise
  • answers the question, “so what?”

How to write a thesis statement:

Suppose you are taking an early American history class and your professor has distributed the following essay prompt:

“Historians have debated the American Revolution’s effect on women.  Some argue that the Revolution had a positive effect because it increased women’s authority in the family.  Others argue that it had a negative effect because it excluded women from politics.  Still others argue that the Revolution changed very little for women, as they remained ensconced in the home.  Write a paper in which you pose your own answer to the question of whether the American Revolution had a positive, negative, or limited effect on women.”

Using this prompt, we will look at both weak and strong thesis statements to see how successful thesis statements work.

While this thesis does take a position, it is problematic because it simply restates the prompt.  It needs to be more specific about how  the Revolution had a limited effect on women and  why it mattered that women remained in the home.

Revised Thesis:  The Revolution wrought little political change in the lives of women because they did not gain the right to vote or run for office.  Instead, women remained firmly in the home, just as they had before the war, making their day-to-day lives look much the same.

This revision is an improvement over the first attempt because it states what standards the writer is using to measure change (the right to vote and run for office) and it shows why women remaining in the home serves as evidence of limited change (because their day-to-day lives looked the same before and after the war).  However, it still relies too heavily on the information given in the prompt, simply saying that women remained in the home.  It needs to make an argument about some element of the war’s limited effect on women.  This thesis requires further revision.

Strong Thesis: While the Revolution presented women unprecedented opportunities to participate in protest movements and manage their family’s farms and businesses, it ultimately did not offer lasting political change, excluding women from the right to vote and serve in office.

Few would argue with the idea that war brings upheaval.  Your thesis needs to be debatable:  it needs to make a claim against which someone could argue.  Your job throughout the paper is to provide evidence in support of your own case.  Here is a revised version:

Strong Thesis: The Revolution caused particular upheaval in the lives of women.  With men away at war, women took on full responsibility for running households, farms, and businesses.  As a result of their increased involvement during the war, many women were reluctant to give up their new-found responsibilities after the fighting ended.

Sexism is a vague word that can mean different things in different times and places.  In order to answer the question and make a compelling argument, this thesis needs to explain exactly what  attitudes toward women were in early America, and  how those attitudes negatively affected women in the Revolutionary period.

Strong Thesis: The Revolution had a negative impact on women because of the belief that women lacked the rational faculties of men. In a nation that was to be guided by reasonable republican citizens, women were imagined to have no place in politics and were thus firmly relegated to the home.

This thesis addresses too large of a topic for an undergraduate paper.  The terms “social,” “political,” and “economic” are too broad and vague for the writer to analyze them thoroughly in a limited number of pages.  The thesis might focus on one of those concepts, or it might narrow the emphasis to some specific features of social, political, and economic change.

Strong Thesis: The Revolution paved the way for important political changes for women.  As “Republican Mothers,” women contributed to the polity by raising future citizens and nurturing virtuous husbands.  Consequently, women played a far more important role in the new nation’s politics than they had under British rule.

This thesis is off to a strong start, but it needs to go one step further by telling the reader why changes in these three areas mattered.  How did the lives of women improve because of developments in education, law, and economics?  What were women able to do with these advantages?  Obviously the rest of the paper will answer these questions, but the thesis statement needs to give some indication of why these particular changes mattered.

Strong Thesis: The Revolution had a positive impact on women because it ushered in improvements in female education, legal standing, and economic opportunity.  Progress in these three areas gave women the tools they needed to carve out lives beyond the home, laying the foundation for the cohesive feminist movement that would emerge in the mid-nineteenth century.

Thesis Checklist

When revising your thesis, check it against the following guidelines:

  • Does my thesis make an historical argument?
  • Does my thesis take a position that requires defending?
  • Is my thesis historically specific?
  • Is my thesis focused and precise?
  • Does my thesis answer the question, “so what?”

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IMAGES

  1. MLA FORMAT: WORKS CITED PAGE

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  2. MLA Works Cited

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  3. MLA Works Cited

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  4. Creating a Works Cited Page

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  5. 011 What Is Works Cited Page Essay ~ Thatsnotus

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  6. Works Cited Examples and Formatting Tips

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. MLA Sample Works Cited Page

    Summary: MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

  2. MLA Works Cited

    Knowledge Base MLA Style How to format your MLA Works Cited page MLA Works Cited | 2021 Guidelines & Free Template Published on June 7, 2021 by Shona McCombes . Revised on June 16, 2022. In MLA style, the list of Works Cited (also known as a reference list or bibliography) appears at the end of your paper.

  3. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    Here is an overview of the process: When deciding how to cite your source, start by consulting the list of core elements. These are the general pieces of information that MLA suggests including in each Works Cited entry. In your citation, the elements should be listed in the following order: Author. Title of source. Title of container,

  4. Works Cited Format

    The entire list should be double-spaced. For each of the entries in the list, every line after the first line should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. "Works Cited" should be centered at the top of the page. If you are only citing one source, the page heading should be "Work Cited" instead of "Works Cited.".

  5. MLA In-text Citations and Sample Essay 9th Edition

    Please see the following sample essay for an example block quote. Signal Phrase Examples and Ideas Please see the following sample essay for different kinds of signal phrases and parenthetical in-text citations, which correspond with the sample Works Cited page at the end.

  6. MLA Format

    Works Cited page. The Works Cited list is included on a separate page at the end of your paper. You list all the sources you referenced in your paper in alphabetical order. Don't include sources that weren't cited in the paper, except potentially in an MLA annotated bibliography assignment.. Place the title "Works Cited" in the center at the top of the page.

  7. How to Cite an Essay in MLA

    Citing an Essay MLA Essay Citation Structure Last, First M. "Essay Title." Collection Title, edited by First M. Last, Publisher, year published, page numbers. Website Title, URL (if applicable). MLA Essay Citation Example Gupta, Sanjay. "Balancing and Checking."

  8. Creating an MLA Works cited page

    Title the page Works Cited (not Bibliography), and list only those sources you actually cited in your paper. Continue the page numbering from the body of your paper and make sure that you still have 1-inch margins at the top, bottom, and sides of your page. Double-space the entire list. Indent entries as shown in the models below with what ...

  9. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

    In-text citations: Author-page style MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number (s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page.

  10. MLA Works Cited: Develop an MLA Works Cited Page!

    Here is an example of how a works cited page in MLA would be organized. Included is a source solely written by one of the coauthors (John Jory) and a source by John Jory with a different coauthor, Avery Monsen. Works Cited Example. Jory, John. The Bad Seed. HarperCollins, 2017. - - -. Giraffe Problems. Random House, 2018. Jory, John, and ...

  11. Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)

    In the above example, the Works Cited page begins on page 38, which means that the essay concluded on page 37. General format. The Works Cited page should be double-spaced throughout. The first line of each entry should be flush with the left margin; if the entry extends more than one line, ensuing lines should be indented 1/2 inch from the ...

  12. Works Cited Examples

    MLA Interactive Practice Template. Use the interactive MLA practice template to help you build citations and understand how the 9 core elements and containers work together to form a works-cited entry. Purdue OWL MLA Formatting and Style Guide. Detailed information on how to format papers and cite sources using MLA format.

  13. Works Cited Examples and Formatting Tips

    How to Create Citations Works Cited Citation Examples How to Do a Works Cited Page A works cited page is the last page of your MLA style paper. It follows a specific format for citations set forth by the Modern Language Association using a unique nine core element system.

  14. What Is a Works Cited Page? Definition and Examples

    For example, APA format uses a references page in place of a works cited page. It also places emphasis on the date of publication, whereas MLA format emphasizes the author or creator. Likewise, Chicago style extensively uses footnotes for in-text references, while MLA and APA formats prefer in-text citations.

  15. MLA Works Cited Page Formatting

    MLA Works Cited Page Formatting. In MLA style, all the sources you cite throughout the text of your paper are listed together in full in the Works Cited section, which comes after the main text of your paper. When citing an essay, you include information in two places: in the body of your paper and in the Works Cited that comes after it.

  16. MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: Works Cited Examples

    In this example, the only issue with the citation itself is that JSTOR is listed twice. Select the entire citation and make sure the font is Times New Roman 12 points in black, no bolding or underlining. Make sure the citation is double-spaced and includes a hanging indent. Check the containers, which are the journal title and the database name ...

  17. Citation Examples for APA, MLA, and Chicago Style Guides

    Chicago citation examples: Book. Citing a book in Chicago uses the author's name, book title, place of publication, publisher, and year of publication. You also include the edition, but only if it's relevant. The author's name is inverted, and the title uses title capitalization. Last Name, First Name.

  18. 6 In-text Citations & Works Cited Pages ~ MLA Format

    Works Cited Pages. A Works Cited page in MLA format is an alphabetical listing of all of the sources you have paraphrased, quoted, summarized, or reproduced (as in, for example, a photo or graph) in your essay; in other words, any source that you created an in-text citation for.

  19. 12.4 MLA Citation: Works Cited Example

    Emilie Zickel and John Brentar Below is a model MLA Works Cited with correct spacing and formatting. Note that an MLA Works Cited begins on its own new page at the top of the Works Cited page, the words Work (or Works) Cited should be centered, without bolding, italics, quotations marks, or all-caps

  20. Free Works Cited Generator [Updated for 2023]

    Updated for 2023 Generate a Works Cited page in MLA format automatically, with MyBib! 😕 What is a Works Cited Generator? A works cited generator is a tool that automatically creates a works cited page in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format.

  21. Free MLA Citation Generator [Updated for 2023]

    Books, journal articles, and webpages are all examples of the types of sources our generator can cite automatically. Then either search for the source, or enter the details manually in the citation form.

  22. Thesis Statements

    Your thesis statement is one of the most important parts of your paper. It expresses your main argument succinctly and explains why your argument is historically significant. Think of your thesis as a promise you make to your reader about what your paper will argue. Then, spend the rest of your paper-each body paragraph-fulfilling that promise.