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Citation Styles and Guides

MLA Quick Guide

MLA citation style is most commonly used by the humanities, primarily in works about language and literature. This is often the first citation style you are exposed to since most high school papers are written in English classes and thus require MLA style. Below you will find a few quick references for the most commonly cited materials in the MLA style.

Purdue Writing Lab

 Book: General  Author Lastname, Author Firstname. Title. Edition. Publication Location: Publisher, Year.  Print.

Single Author

 Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Tender Is the Night. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961.

 Book: Two or more  works by Same Author

 Gutman, Robert W. Mozart: A Cultural Biography. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1999.  Print.

 ---. Richard Wagner: The Man, His Mind, and His Music. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1968. Print.

 Two or Three Authors

 Hock, Randolph, and Gary Price. The Extreme Searcher’s Internet Handbook: A Guide for the Serious Searcher.  Medford: CyberAge Books, 2004.  Print.

 Four or More Authors

 Davidson, William, et al. Retailing Management. 6th ed. New York: Wiley, 1988.  Print.

 Note: You may also include full names of all the authors in the order listed on the title page.

 No Author

 Begin citation with title. For example:

 NAICS Desk Reference: The North American Industry Classification System Desk Reference. Indianapolis: JIST Works,  2000.  Print.

 Book: Multivolume

 If using two or more volumes of a multivolume work, cite the total number of volumes after the title (or editor). If published over several years, give the range of years.

 Wright, Sewell. Evolution and the Genetics of Populations. 4 vols. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1968-78. Print.

 When citing only one volume:

 Wright, Sewell. Evolution and the Genetics of Populations. Vol. 2. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1969. Print.

 If the one volume you are using has its own individual title, you may cite the book without reference to the other volumes.

 Wright, Sewell. Theory of Gene Frequencies. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1969. Print.

 Chapter in a Book

 Willson, Jr., Robert F. "William Shakespeare's Theater." The Greenwood Companion to Shakespeare: A Comprehensive  Guide for Students. Ed. Joseph Rosenblum. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005. 47-64.  Print.

 Online Book with Print  Information

 Frost, Robert. North of Boston. 2nd ed. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1915.  Google Books. Web. 30 June 2009.

For additional examples and explanations, see pages 148-181 in the MLA Handbook.

Print Articles

 Journal: General  AuthorLastname, AuthorFirstname. "Article Title." Journal Title Vol.Num (Year): pages. Print.

 Journal with Volume Numbers

 Graham, Sarah. “Impossible to Hold: Women and Culture in the 1960s.” Journal of American Studies 40.2 (2006): 418-19. Print.

 Journal with only Issue Numbers

 Simmons, Carolyn, and Karen Becker-Olsen. “Achieving Marketing Objectives through Social Sponsorships.” Journal of Marketing 70 (2006): 154-69. Print.

 Magazine (published week or  every two weeks)

 Reed, Stanley. “Seeing Past the War.” Business Week 21 Aug. 2006: 35-36. Print.


 Seward, Zachary. “Colleges Expand Early Admissions.” Wall Street Journal 14 Dec. 2006, Eastern ed.: D1-D2. Print.


For additional examples and explanations, see pp. 136-148 in the MLA Handbook.

Online Articles

For scholarly journals that only exist in electronic form on the Web, cite the work like you would for a print article, only conclude the entry with the following items:

  1. Medium of publication consulted (Web)
  2. Date of access (day, month, and year)

If the publication does not include page numbers, use "n. pag." in place of the page numbers.


 Shah, Parilah Mohd, and Fauziah Ahmad. "A Comparative Account of the Bilingual Education Programs in Malaysia and the United  States." GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies 7.2 (2007): 63-77. Web. 8 Nov. 2008.


For articles retrieved full text from an online database, include the name of the database before "Web."


 Chan, Evans. "Postmodernism and Hong Kong Cinema." Postmodern Culture 10.3 (2000): n. pag. Project Muse. Web. 20 May 2007.


For additional examples and explanations, see pp. 189-193 in the MLA Handbook.


Non-Periodical Works Cited Only Online

An entry for a nonperiodical publication on the Web usually contains most of the following components, in sequence:

  1. Name of the author, compiler, director, editor, narrator, performer, or translator of the work
  2. Title of the work (italicized if the work is independent; in roman type and quotation marks if the work is part of a larger work
  3. Title of the overall Web site (italicized), if distinct from item 2
  4. Version or edition used
  5. Publisher or sponsor of the site; if not available, use N.p.
  6. Date of publication (day, month, and year, as available); if nothing is available, use n.d.
  7. Medium of publication (Web)
  8. Date of access (day, month, and year)

Each item is followed by a period except the publisher or sponsor, which is followed by a comma. Untitled works may be identified by a genre label (e.g., Home page, Introduction, Online posting), neither italicized nor enclosed in quotation marks, in the place where the title goes.


 Quade, Alex. "Elite Team Rescues Troops behind Enemy Lines." Cable News Network, 19 Mar. 2007. Web. 21  Mar. 2007.

 Example with no author:

 "Hourly News Summary." National Public Radio. Natl. Public Radio, 20 July 2007. Web. 20 July 2007.

 Website Home Page:

 Liu, Alan, ed. Home page. Voice of the Shuttle. Dept. of English, U of California, Santa Barbara, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2008.

 Online Map:

 "Maplewood, New Jersey." Map. Google Maps. Google, 23 July 2007. Web. 23 July 2007.

 Tweet (Twitter Post):

 LastName, FirstName (Username). "The tweet in its entirety." Date, Time. Tweet.

Smith, John (smithdogg). "This has sure been a hot summer." 12 August 2011, 2:36 p.m. Tweet.


For additional examples and explanations, see pp. 184-187 in the MLA Handbook.


Online Works Cited with Print Publication Data

If the nonperiodical work you are citing also appeared in print, you may determine that it is important to include the bibliographic data for the print publication as part of your entry. A book that was scanned for access in a database, for example, is usually cited this way. Instead of concluding with Print as the medium of publication, record the following information in sequence:

  1. Title of the database or website (italicized)
  2. Medium of publication consulted (Web)
  3. Date of access (day, month, and year)


 Whittier, John G. "A Prayer." The Freedmen's Book. Ed. L. Maria Child. Boston, 1866. 178. Google Book Search. Web. 15 Aug. 2008.


 Whitman, Walt. Preface. Leaves of Grass. By Whitman. Brooklyn, 1855. iii-xii. The Walt Whitman Archive. Web. 12 Mar. 2008.


For additional examples and explanations, see pp. 187-189 in the MLA Handbook.


Images (Painting, Sculpture, and Photographs)

Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, the medium of publication, and the date of access.


 Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo National del Prado. Web. 22 May 2006.

 Image found only online

 brandychloe. "Great Horned Owl Family." Photograph. Webshots. American Greetings, 22 May 2006. Web. 5 Nov. 2009.

 Image found in a print source

 Crane, Jared. Still Life with Cat. Painting. 1982. Schrodinger Museum of Art, Cincinatti. The Big Book of Pretty Paintings. By Harvey Johnson. Port Royal, HI: Acrylon Press, 2008. 249. Print.


Personal Interviews, Films, Television Programs

You may include other information (names of performers, directors, etc.) if they are pertinent. List the most important as the main entry.

 Personal Interview

 Bush, George W. Personal Interview. 10 Feb. 2007.


 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Dir. Steven Spielberg. Universal Pictures, 1982. Film.

 Recorded Film

 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Dir. Chris Columbus. 2001. Warner Bros., 2002. DVD.

 Broadcast TV Program 

 “The Soup Nazi.” Seinfeld. NBC. WTHR, Indianapolis. 2 Nov. 1995. Television.

 Recorded TV Program  "The Soup Nazi." Seinfeld: Season 7. NBC, 2006. DVD.


For additional examples and explanations, see pp. 193 -211 in the MLA Handbook.


Sound Recordings, Musical Compositions, Performances

You may include other information (names of performers, directors, etc.) if they are pertinent. List the most important as the main entry.

 Entire Albums

 The Beatles. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club’s Band. Capitol Records, 1967. LP.

 Individual Songs

 Sinatra, Frank. “Strangers in the Night.” Rec. 1966. My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra. Warner, 1996. CD.

 Spoken Word  Recording

 Darling, Sally, narr. To Kill a Mockingbird. 1960. By Harper Lee. Recorded Books, 1988. Audiocassette.

 Musical Composition

 Beethoven, Ludwig van. Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92. Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1932. CD.

 Musical Score

 If part of a series, include that information after the medium.

 Beethoven, Ludwig van. Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92. 1811. New York: Belwin, 1994. Print. Kalmus  ConcertMasters Series.


 The Nutcracker. Dir. Richard Clark. Butler Ballet. Clowes Memorial Hall, Indianapolis. 2 Dec. 2008. Performance.


For additional examples and explanations, see pp. 193 -211 in the MLA Handbook.

In-Text Citation

In-Text Citations

After a quote, add the author's last name and a page reference. This is usually enough to identify the source and the specific location from which you borrowed the material.

Example: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Seuss 102-103).

If using the author's name in your text, do not include it in the parentheses.

Example: In his scholarly study, Dr. Seuss observed that "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (102-103).

If you use more than one work by the same author, include the title or a shorted form of the title.

Example: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Seuss, Fox in Socks 102-103).

If more than one author has the same last name, add their first initial.

Example: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (D. Seuss 102-103).

If two or more authors wrote the work, list them all.

Example: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Seuss and Johnson 102-103).

If citing a multivolume work, include the volume number before the page numbers.

Example: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Seuss 2: 102).

If no pagination information is available, but paragraphs are numbered, include that information.

Example: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Seuss par. 5).

If no pagination information is available and paragraphs are not numbered, the work must be cited only in its entirety, but you can include words in your text that indicate about where to find the quote.

Example: In the first third of his article, Seuss mentioned that "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog."

Note: When paraphrasing or mentioning another work, it is helpful to still provide pagination information if the source text is long or difficult, or if it would help the reader find the text being paraphrased.