MLA Formatting & Style Guide - 8th
A Publication of the Trocaire College Libraries
What's on this Guide?
- In-Text Citations
- In-Text Citations: Definitions and Rules for Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing
- In-Text Citations: More Definitions and Rules
- In-Text Citations: Source Types
- Works Cited Page
- Works Cited Page: Core Elements of a Citation
- Works Cited: Source Types
- MLA Checklist
The library also has a printed version of this guide with information on planning an outline, plagiarism along with examples. Pick up a copy today!
MLA Paper Formatting
Check out our template at our Citation Help page. Or you may set up the format yourself.
IMPORTANT: Set up your paper before you begin typing it!
- 8.5x 11 in. paper
- 1 in. margins all around
- 12 pt. font (use a simple legible font – Times New Roman, Arial)
- The entire paper is to be double spaced.
- Indent the first line of a paragraph (use Tab key).
- All pages have a header that is placed to the right of the page. The header consists of your last name followed by the page number.
- Your paper begins on the first page with: your name, instructor's name, class and the date as Day Month Year.
- On the same page, the title is placed in the middle of the page and centered.
- What is an In-Text Citation? It is a reference to a source that you used to either quote, paraphrase or summarize. The citation will lead the reader to more complete information on the Works Cited Page.
- If it is not your original idea or experience, you will need to cite it. Citing means that you give credit to the originator of the idea- “give credit where credit is due”. You do not need to cite common knowledge.
- Citing others’ information strengthens your paper by showing that you are not just copying, but adding to the conversation and making a contribution!
- In-text citations are inserted into the body of your paper at the point where you introduce the information.
- An in-text citation consists of an author or title and page number(s) or other markers if stated.
- Indirect in-text citations: These are citations when you want to refer to an idea of an author that was published in another author’s text, but you did not read the original work. For example: on page 192 in Smith’s book (which you read) she mentions Miller’s idea. If you want to refer to Miller’s idea do the following:
Quote, Paraphrase or Summary: Miller (qtd. in Smith 192).
On your Works Cited Page, you will only cite the Smith work.
- See Purdue OWL’s MLA Guide for additional in-text citation information
In-Text Citations: Definitions and Rules for Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing
You can express other people’s ideas in a few different ways: you can quote them, paraphrase their thoughts or summarize their ideas with proper citing.
Quotations– Use them sparingly. Usually you will need to use EXACT (word for word) quotes to:
- define a term or idea
- use a phrase or expression produced by the author
- inform your reader of information that may be difficult to paraphrase, e.g. a theory or medical fact
- illustrate that the quote is just so important or powerful, you couldn’t do it justice
Remember that carefully selected quotes can support your argument, but will not add to the quality of your own work.
Quotation marks are mandatory for quotes shorter than 4 lines long.
Format: author(s) and page or pages
There are 2 methods to quote: Author(s) mentioned in citation or Author(s) mentioned in the sentence.
- “To some New York is just a city, to a New Yorker it is paradise on Earth” (Collins and Dawin 11-12).
- As Collins and Dawin state “To some New York is just a city, to a New Yorker it is paradise on Earth” (11-12).
Long quotations are ones that are more than 4 lines long. There are rules for formatting and citing.
- The line before the quote, when introducing it, usually ends with a colon (:).
- The whole quotation is indented .5 inch from the rest of the text and is in block formatting.
- Spacing is the same as the rest of the paper, double-spaced.
- There are no quotation marks around the quote.
- The period at the end of the quote comes before the in-text citation.
Example: (please note the example is not in block formatting due to the webpage formatting)
Being happy and optimistic is beneficial for ones mental health:
Among the most robust personality correlates of
happiness are optimism and hope. Optimistic
people see the future in a positive way; they see
desirable things in the future. (Watkins 164)
Paraphrasing– A detailed restatement of information in your own words from a source. To paraphrase effectively you need to read the information until you understand the full meaning. Then set the original source aside, think and write, IN YOUR OWN WORDS, what you just read. Make sure your version reflects the meaning of the original. Simply changing a few words, but keeping the same original structure is considered plagiarism. You must truly put the information into your own words!
Summarizing– This is putting only the MAIN IDEAS into your own words. It usually is very short and not as involved as paraphrasing.
Paraphrasing and Summarizing:
Keep the idea of the original thought, but phrase it in a new way.
Format: author(s) and page or pages
There are 2 methods to paraphrase or summarize: Author(s) mentioned in citation or Author(s) mentioned in the sentence.
- The remix culture is not a new development (Anderson 17).
- Edwards et al. believed that the freedom to do what you love is not common for most people (24-25).
In-Text Citations: More Definitions and Rules
Use method #1 or #2 for quoting, paraphrasing or summarizing.
If using #1:
2 authors: (Collins and Dawin 17).
3 or more authors: (Chase et al. 83).
If using #2:
2 authors: Collins and Dawin “ ”... (17).
3 or more authors: Chase et al. states ….. (83).
No author listed:
Use method #1 or #2 for quoting, paraphrasing or summarizing.
- If title is italicized on your Works Cited Page, the title in the in-text citation is italicized.
- If the title is in "quotations" on your Works Cited Page, the title in the in-text citation is in "quotations".
- If the title is long, title should be shortened.
(“Cell Biology” 224)
In Nursing, the author states…. (56).
The article “Cell Biology” contends that… (224).
If you cited the same source more than once with no other sources cited in between, you can use a simplified in-text citation. The example illustrates paraphrasing from the same source and the second paraphrase only needs a page number.
Humor has a positive effect on our emotions and can help in stressful situations (Dossey and Keegan 315). Research also shows that laughter can also have an effect on your cardio health, lowering your chances of heart disease (316).
No page numbers:
Use method #1 or #2 for quoting, paraphrasing or summarizing.
- If there are no page numbers listed cite the author.
- If no author is found, follow “No author listed” rule.
“The most important contributors to ballet in the 20th-century were predominantly Russian” (Bedinghaus).
Paraphrasing or Summarizing (without author):
According to the website Training Your Dog, using treats to train a dog, mimic the command with the treat. For instance, if you want Fido to sit, hold the treat above his head and he will naturally sit down.
Citing a chapter, short story, essay or article from a book:
Use method #1 or #2 for quoting, paraphrasing or summarizing.
Format: author(s) of the chapter, etc. and page
- “Evidence-based practice begins with questions that arise in practice settings” (Melynyk et al. 19).
- Huston states another tactic to improving nursing’s image is to emphasize evidence-based practices in nursing (359).
Melynyk et al. and Huston are authors of a chapter in an edited book.
In-Text Citations: Source Types
Books and eBooks
Follow the general rules that apply. Editors are considered the authors.
Journal, Magazine & Newspaper Articles (database/online and print)
Follow the general rules that apply.
Follow the general rules that apply. The artist or creator is the author of the image.
Websites & Webpages
Remember a webpage is a section of the whole website.
Follow the general rules that apply. Author information can sometimes be found under “About” section of a website.
DVD or Streaming Video(from college database), YouTube or other video found on the Internet
Follow the general rules that apply. Cite the relevant time when the reference occurred.
In The Usual Suspects….. (01:15:15-01:20:03)
(The Usual Suspects 01:15:15-01:20:03)
PowerPoint or Lecture Notes* online
Lecture notes are documents from a lecture, either handed out in class or on Moodle, not your personal notes.
Follow the general rules that apply. Use the slide number for PowerPoint.
Examples: PowerPoint and Lecture notes
- “Why did the chicken cross the road?” (Smith, slide 10).
- Smith illustrated that some fowl are able to determine if they could navigate road crossing (slide 22).
- According to Smith the chicken needs to think about how to cross the road (17).
Always ask a librarian for assistance if you have other types of sources that are not described in this handbook.
Works Cited Page
HINT: Items that were included in an in-text citation will be listed on your Works Cited Page.
- The phrase “Works Cited” (without quotes) is placed on the top of the page and centered.
- The second and subsequent lines of each citation are indented (hanging indent).
- List all of your citations alphabetically by either the author’s last name or the title depending on which is listed first in your reference. Disregard articles (A, An, The) at the beginning of titles. Use the next significant word. For example: The Grapes of Wrath (book title) would come after a book authored by Jim Ferguson since G comes after F.
- Authors are listed by Last name, First name Initials. (if listed).
- If there are 2 sources by the same author, list them alphabetically by title. Use three hyphens (———) in place of the author's name for every entry after the first.
- Up to 2 authors must be listed in your citation with “and” between authors names. The second author is listed as: First name Initial (if any) Last name.
- 3 or more authors are listed as: Smith, John A. et al.
- Write out the full titles of the sources.
- Capitalize each word in the titles, but do not capitalize articles (the, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of the title or subtitle.
- Complete URLs for online sources (websites and journal articles, etc.) must be listed. Remove the http:// or https:// at the beginning of the URL. If the source has a DOI, use this.
- All cited works end in a period.
- For digital sources, date of access is optional. Your instructor may want the date accessed.
- Like the rest of your paper this is double spaced.
- The header with your last name and page number also appears on this page.
Works Cited Page: Core Elements of a Citation
MLA citation format for the 8th edition is now based on core elements comprising basic information normally found in a source. This is the order of the nine (9) core elements for all formats, but not all may be used to complete a given citation. If the source does not have an element, simply omit it and go onto the next element.
- Author (creator, translator or editor of a source) Last name, First name Initials (if listed).
- Title of Source (book or eBook (whole), book or eBook chapter, essay or story, journal, magazine and newspaper article, website, webpage or title of a video). The title of the source will be either in italics or quotations, depending on the format of source
- Title of Container (book or eBook, journal, magazine and newspaper or website). A container is any work that contains the source. For example a journal title would be the container for a journal article that appeared in that journal. Most container titles are in italics.
A source with a second container example: Article in a database
- The source would be the article.
- The first container would be the journal.
- The second container would be the database.
- Other Contributors (editors or translators (if different than author), illustrators, narrators, performers, etc.). The contributor’s title is not abbreviated. Use “edited by” or “translated by” (without quotations).
- Version (edition number, expanded, unabridged or authorized editions)
- Number (volume, issue– usually a journal)
- Publisher (the book publisher or the organization that is responsible for making the items available as in a website)
- Publication Date The date is cited as: Day Month Year. All months are abbreviated except: May, June and July. For some sources not all information may be stated. at.
- Location (page numbers*, doi number or complete URL without http:// or https:// at the beginning of the URL)
*For page numbers: p. (one) or pp. (multiple pages)
IMPORTANT: Date of access is optional for citations of online sources (database articles, websites, videos). Ask your instructor if the access date is required. If so, the date is placed at the end of the citation. Follow the Day Month Year format.
See Purdue OWL’s MLA Guide for additional works cited citation information.
The hanging indent will not appear in any of these examples due to webpage formatting.
Works Cited: Source Types
BOOKS: Follow all the Core Elements and general rules that apply.
- If the book has editors, authors are listed followed by editor(s).
- If it is a chapter in a book (source within a container): first author listed is the author of chapter, and title of chapter is in “quotes”. If book has editors, “edited by” (without quotes) is used. Page numbers of chapter follow the year of the publication.
Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name Initials (if any). Title with Proper Capitals (italicized). Publishing Company, Year.
Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale. Anchor Books, 1998.
Deery, Ruth, et al. Sociology for Midwives. Polity Press, 2015.
Meiland, Joan. “The Difference Between High School and College.” You are Here: Readings on Higher Education for College Writers, edited by Kay Durst, Prentice Hall, 2003, pp. 104-114.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2009.
Posamentier, Alfred, and Bernd Thaller. Numbers. Prometheus Books, 2015.
eBOOKS (college database): Follow all the Core Elements and general rules that apply.
- The version of an eBook depends on where you read the book. Most students will use a library database, shown here. For different versions ask a librarian.
Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name Initials (if any). Title with Proper Capitals (italicized). Publishing Company, Year. Database(italicized), URL without http:// or https:// at the beginning. Accessed Day Month Year (optional).
Drake, Richard, et al. Gray's Anatomy for Students. 3rd ed., Churchill Livingstone, 2015. EBSCOhost, web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=6&sid=b6933c7b-6c93-455f-8332-bcb3c9cc47e4%40sdc-v-sessmgr05&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=1160429&db=nlebk.
Accessed 31 Aug. 2018.
Penninga, Saskia, and Michael N. Chibili. “The Rooms Department.” Modern Hotel Operations Management, edited by Micheal N. Chibili, Noordhoff Uitgevers, 2017, pp.119-163. EBSCOhost, web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/ebookviewer/ebook/bmxlYmtfXzEzNTM3MzVfX0FO0?sid=b6933c7b-6c93-455f-8332-bcb3c9cc47e4@sdc-v-sessmgr05&vid=8&format=EB&rid=1.
JOURNAL, MAGAZINE and NEWSPAPER ARTICLES (database/online): Follow all the Core Elements and general rules that apply.
Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name Initials (if any). “Title of Article with Proper Capitals.” Journal Title (italicized), Volume, Issue, Date, Pages (if available). Database (if applicable) (italicized), doi OR URL without http:// or https:// at the beginning. Accessed Day Month Year (optional).
Corkery, Michael. "Far From the Madding Crowd." New York Times, 22 Nov. 2018, p. B1(L). Gale Cengage Learning, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=SPN.SP01&u=nysl_we_troc&id=GALE|A562953653&v=2.1&it=r&sid=SPN.SP01&asid=f5748722. Accessed 10 Dec. 2018.
Moshe, Mira, et al. “‘Digital Soap Opera: Online Radio Listening Patterns and the Digital Divide.” Israel Affairs, vol. 23, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 361–384. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/13537121.2016.1274511.
JOURNAL, MAGAZINE and NEWSPAPER ARTICLES (print): Follow all the Core Elements and general rules that apply.
Author’s Last Name, First Name Initials. “Title of Article with Proper Capitals.” Journal Title (italicized), Volume, Issue, Date, Pages. doi if listed. (Some print versions of an article list a doi)
Walker, Mandy L. “When are Sales too Good to be True?.” CR: Consumer Reports, vol. 83, no.12, 29 Oct. 2018, pp.41-45.
Pignataro, T.J. “First Lake-Effect Snows could come this Weekend.” Buffalo News, 11 Nov. 2018, p. C1.
- It is important to give as much information as possible about the image you used. If you use an images that you viewed in person, ask a librarian.
Artist's Last Name, First Name Initials. Title of Work with Proper Capitals (italicized). Date of Composition. Museum or Collection Name, City, State if needed. Title of Database or Title of Webpage (italicized), URL without http:// or https:// at the beginning. Accessed Day Month Year.
Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. 1954. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica,
quest.eb.com/earch/139_1820332/1/139_1820332/ cite. Accessed 11 Dec. 2018.
Warhol, Andy. Marilyn Monroe. 1967. Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. AK: Albright Knox Art Gallery, www.albrightknox.org/artworks/p19725- marilyn-Monroe. Accessed 10 Dec. 2018.
WEBSITES and WEBPAGES (section of a website): Follow all the Core Elements and general rules that apply.
- Remember a webpage is a section of the whole website.
Author’s Last Name, First Name Initials. Title of Website (italicized), Name of Organization affiliated with the Website, Date of Copyright or Date last modified/updated, URL without http:// or https:// at the beginning. Accessed Day Month Year.
Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare Online, Shakespeare Online, 9 Oct. 2018, www.shakespeare-online.com/. Accessed 2 Dec. 2018
Format: Webpage (section of website)
Author’s Last Name, First Name Initials. “Title of Page within Website.” Title of Website (italicized), Name of Organization affiliated with the Website (OMIT if same as the website) , Date of copyright or Date last modified/updated, URL without http:// or https:// at the beginning. Accessed Day Month Year.
“Diabetes.” Mayo Clinic, 8 Aug. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444. Accessed 15 Sept. 2018.
DVDs and STREAMING VIDEO (college database): Follow all the Core Elements and general rules that apply.
- Most common contributors listed include directors, creators and performers.
Title of Movie (italicized). Contributor(s). Publisher/Production Company, Year of Release.
Pride & Prejudice. Directed by Joe Wright, performances by Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn and Donald Sutherland. Universal Studios, 2009.
Format: Streaming Video (college database)
Title of Video (italicized). Contributor(s). Publisher/Production Company, Year of Release. Title of library database (italicized), URL-Use the persistent or permalink URL without http:// or https:// at the beginning of the URL. Accessed Day Month Year.
Seven Beauties. Directed by Lina Wertmuller, performances by Elena Fiore, Fernando Rey, Giancarlo Giannini and Shirley Stoler. Medusa Distribuzione, 1975. Kanopy, trocaire.kanopy.com/video/seven-beauties.
YOUTUBE or other VIDEOS on the Internet: Follow all the Core Elements and general rules that apply.
- If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once.
- If the author is different from the uploader, cite the author’s name before the title.
- If no date is listed, use the date of access (Day Month Year). This date would be after the URL.
Author’s Last Name, First Name Initials. “Title of Video.” Title of Website or Service (italicized), uploaded by X, Date (Day Month Year), URL without http:// or https:// at the beginning. Accessed Day Month Year.
Zayid, Maysoon. “I Got 99 Problems...Palsy is Just One.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, Dec. 2013, www.ted.com/talks/maysoon_zayid_i_got_99_problems_palsy_is_just_one.
“Citation Basics: In-text citations in MLA Style, 8th edition.” YouTube, uploaded by KirkwoodLibraries, 26 July 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNI7tOtMdMM. Accessed 20 Aug. 2018.
POWERPOINT or LECTURE NOTES* (online): Follow all the Core Elements and general rules that apply.
- Lecture notes are documents from a lecture, either handed out in class or on Moodle, not your personal notes.
Author’s Last Name, First Name Initials. “Title of PowerPoint or Lecture Notes.” Course Number, Title of Course, Publisher, Date, URL without http:// or https:// at the beginning. Accessed Day Month Year.
Smith, John. “The Human Body.” BIO232, Anatomy, American College, 25 Apr. 2018, www.americancollege.edu/humanbody. Accessed 1 May 2018.
Lecture Notes (handouts):
Smith, Ronald. “Philosophy of the Ancient World.” PHI101, Ancient Philosophy, Bloomington College, 17 Dec. 2018.
When you are all done with the final draft, follow the steps below BEFORE you SAVE and submit (in print or digitally) your paper to your instructor.
- Did you cite and reference the types and number of sources that are stated in the assignment?
- Did you follow any special instructions requested from the instructor?
- Did you follow all the steps regarding the paper formatting?
Citations and References
- Did you properly cite all the quotes, paraphrases and summaries within the paper?
- Did you reference all the sources that are mentioned in the text of the paper on the Works Cited Page?
Proofread your paper. Or better, let someone else read it for grammatical mistakes, typos, sentence structure and overall readability. The reader can let you know if you have been successful in making your argument, supporting it, and illustrating it through citing sources and then drawing a conclusion.