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MLA Guide

According to the MLA Handbook, you "must indicate to your readers not only what sources you used in writing the paper but also what you derived from each source and where in the work you found the material" (214). This requires that you "distinguish between what [you] borrow and what [you] create" (MLA 54) in order to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism comes from the Latin word plagiarius meaning "kidnapper" and is "to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

Rules for Parenthetical Citations:

Parenthetical citations in your text must point directly to your Works Cited. If you use the exact phrasing, put it within quotation marks or indent the entire quote ten spaces (see examples below). Even if you paraphrase the wording, you should give credit to the source. If you mention the author (or the title if no author) in the text, you need to include only the page number in parentheses after the information (in quotations or rephrased) and before the period. If you do not mention the author (or title) in the text, you need to include both the author's last name (or the title's first word) and the page number in parentheses. If you have indented the quote, the citation follows the period.


Robert Townsend stated that " . . ." (10).

It was stated that " . . ." (Townsend 10).

It was stated that:
       . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
        . . . . . . . . (Tales of History 5-6)

Rules for MLA Works Cited

  • List all sources in a Works Cited Sheet in alphabetical order by author's last name or, if no author, by title, but ignore leading articles (A, An, or The). If no author, lead with the title.
  • Capitalize all significant words in the title including in the subtitle.
  • Italicize all titles of books, periodicals, films and videorecordings, databases, and web sites.
  • If the date is not listed, use n.d.; if the page is not listed, use n. pag.; if no publisher, use N. p.
  • Put the medium (print, web, DVD) at the end or, if electronic or web, before the access date.
  • Only include the URL of a web source if the reader will not be able to otherwise locate the source.
  • Use correct punctuation (periods, commas, semi-colons) and end each citation with a period.
  • Indent the second and any subsequent line five spaces.


Basic Form

Author/Editor Name/Corporate Name (lastname, firstname). Title of

       the Book
(italicized). Edition (if not first edition). Publisher location:

       Publisher, Publication year. Publication Medium (Print).


Wilson, Frank R. The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain. New

       York: Pantheon, 1998. Print.

Eggins, Susanne, and Diane Slade. Analyzing Casual Conversation.

       London: Cassell, 1997. Print.

Quirk, Randolph, et al. A Comprehensive Grammar. 4th ed. London:

       Longman, 1985. Print.

Essays/Chapters/Criticism in Books with or without Editor:

Basic Form

Author of Essay Name. "Title of Essay." Title of the Book. Ed. and

       Editor Name. Publisher location: Publisher, Publication date.

       Page Number(s). Publication Medium (Print).


Wiley, Stein. "Gangs Present a Serious Threat." Gangs: Opposing

. Ed. Laura Engendort. San Diego: Greenhaven

       Press, 2001. 45-50. Print.

Winters, Yvor. The Post-Symbolist Methods (Allen Swallo, 1967):

       reprinted in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 85. Ed.

       Christopher Giroux. Detroit: Gale, 1995. 223-26. Print.

"Stem Cell Research." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007 ed. Print.

Books from Electronic Resources:

Basic Form

Author Name. Title of the Book. Publisher location: Publisher,

       Publication date. Electronic Resource Title. Date. Publication

       Medium (Web). Date of access.


Zeinert, Karen. Those Courageous Women of the Civil War.

       Brookfield, CN: Millbrook Press, 1968. NetLibrary e-Books.

       2009. Web. 9 Sept. 2009.

Magazine and Newspaper Articles:

Basic Form

Author Name. "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Date of issue:

       page-page (or section and page). Publication Medium (Print).


Mehta, Pratap Bhanu. "Exploding Myths." New Republic 6 June

       1998: 17-19. Print.

Lohr, Steve. "The Day Time Stopped." New York Times 3 Apr. 1998:

       C1+. Print.

Scholarly Articles (including in an anthology or literary criticism):

Basic Form

Author Name. "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Volume.Issue

       (Date of issue): page-page.Publication Medium (Print).


Lajolo, Marisa. "The Female Reader on Trial." Brasil 14.1 (1995):

       61-81. Print.

Morrison, Jago. "Narration in McEwan's Fiction." Critique 42.3

       (spring 2001): 253-68. Reprinted in Contemporary Literary

. Ed. Janet Witalee. Detroit: Gale, 2003.

       212-20. Print.

Articles Retrieved from Electronic Resources:

Basic Form

Author Name. "Title of Article." Title of Periodical (or Web Site)

       Volume.Issue (if scholarly) Date of issue: page-page (or

       section and page if newspaper). Database Name (italicized).

       Publication Medium (Web). Date of access.


Davidson, Paul. "Globalization." Journal of Economics 24 (2002):

       475+. Academic OneFile. Web. 9 Sept. 2009.

Richardson, Lynda. "Minority Students In Special Education." New

       York Times
6 Apr. 1994: A1+. Lexis-Nexis Academic.

       Web. 9 Sept. 2009.

DVDs, Videocassettes, and Films:

Basic Forms

Title (italicized). Dir. followed by director's name. Perf. followed by

       performers. Other relevant roles followed by names. Original

       copyright year. Distributor, Year. Publication Medium (DVD,

       VHS, Film).

If you are citing the contribution of a particular individual (director, performer, writer), begin with his/her name.


Amadeus. Dir. Milos Forman. Perf. F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce,

       and Elizabeth Berridge. 1985. Warner Home Video,

       1997. DVD.

Logan, John, writ. The Time Machine. Dir. Simon Wells. 2002.

       DreamWorks/Warner Bros., 2002. Videocasssette.

Web Pages and Sites:

Basic Form

Author (if any). "Title of page" (if part of a larger site). Title of Web

(italicized). Publisher or sponsor of web site (or N.p.),

       Date of publication or update (or n. d.). Publication Medium

       (Web). Date of access.<URL if necessary or required by

       your instructor>.


Barlow, Amy. "Jane Austen Redux." N.p.,

       15 Apr. 2004. Web. 9 Sept. 2009.

"Swine Flu." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.,

       30 Mar. 2009. Web. 9 Sept. 2009.

Sinclair, Peter. Climate Denial Crock of the Week. Crock,

       20 Apr. 2009. Web. 5 June 2009.

From: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: MLA, 2009. Print. A copy is kept at the library reference desk. The MLA web site is Most electronic resources provide help with citing, but double-check that it is correct. The following web site can also help with citing: KnightCite:

Vinta M. Oviatt (9/09)