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How to Write and Cite using MLA


    Printable MLA Citation Style (PDF format)

    This guide provides examples based on the MLA citation style found in the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style Manual, 7th edition. (REF Closed PN147.G444 2009) MLA is used as a guide primarily for the Humanities and occasionally the Social Science.

    Formatting Your Paper

    Papers written in the MLA format are typed double-spaced and printed on 8 ½" by 11" paper. The font should be 12 pt. and something which is easy to read such as Times New Roman. Margins should be 1" all the way around. The first line of each paragraph is indented ½’ from the left margin. For best results use the Tab key. Your last name and page numbers are placed in the header and should be aligned with the right margin. For example: Smith 1. Check with your professor to see if he/she wants you to number the first page.

    Papers in MLA format typically do not have a title page. Instead, the upper-left hand corner of the first page includes your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date. Be sure to double space this information.

    The title of your paper should be centered two lines down from the information above. Double space after the title and begin typing your paper.

    If you use section headings MLA recommends that you number them. For example: 1. Introduction, 2. Methodology, and so on.

    The Works Cited Page

    The "Works Cited" pages provides an alphabetical list of the sources used to write papers and reports. The first line of each citation is not indented, but all subsequent lines are indented five spaces. MLA style references are double spaced. If no publisher is given put n.p. If not date is given put n.d.

    This handout explains how to cite books, magazines and journals, electronic resources. For additional questions consult the MLA Handbook or the UMES Writing Center located in Wilson Hall.


    The basic format for books is:

    Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Print.

    One Author

    Carter, Wilmoth A. The New Negro of the South. New York: Exposition Press, 1967. Print.

    Two or More Authors

    Durham, Philip and Everett L. Jones. The Negro Cowboys. New York: Dodd, Mead &

    Co., 1965. Print.

    More than Three Authors

    Note: If there are more than three authors you may list as for two or more authors or put the first authors name followed by et al.

    Billig, Michael, et al. Ideological Dilemmas. London: Sage Publications, 1988. Print.

    No Author Given (begin with the title of the book)

    Information Literacy: The Essential Principles of Literacy Theory. Boston: Pergamon Press, 2008.


    Editor or Compiler (The editor follows the title of the book).

    The Inauguration of Barrack Obama: A Photographic Journal. Ed. Mary Hadar. Chicago: Triumph

    Books, 2009. Print.

    Note: If an author is also listed cite the author in the usual place.

    Society, Association, or Institution as Corporate Author

    The Australian Society of Archivists. Keeping Archives. Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: D. W.

    Thorpe, 1993. Print.

    Author & Editor, Translator and/or Illustrator Given

    Plato. Plato; Apology; Crito; Phaedo; Symposium; Republic. Trans. Benjamin Jowett.

    New York: Classics Club, 1942. Print.

    Component Parts of Books (including anthology, reference, collections, poems, short stories or book chapters)

    Chafe, William Henry. "Biographical Sketch." in Without Precedent: The Life and Career of Eleanor

    Roosevelt.  Eds. J. Hoff-Wilson and M.Lightman. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1984. 3-27.


    Journal, Magazine, and Newspaper Articles

    The basic format for journals, magazines, and newspapers is:

    Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical. Day Month Year: pages. Print.

    Scholarly Journals

    Barrie, Douglas. "Typhoons." Aviation Week & Space Technology 140.1 (1993): 128-130. Print.

    Monthly Magazine

    Calvin, Delores. "Louis Jordan’s Horoscope Fits His Personality." Color Feb. 1950: 6. Print.

    Weekly Magazine

    Lipper, Tamara. "First Lady: Waiting for the West Wing to Notice." Newsweek 13 Oct. 2003: 6-

    8. Print.

    Weekly Magazine, No Author Given

    "Ruby Tuesday Advances." Business Week 7 Oct. 2003: 30-35. Print.


    Penserga, Ben. "UMES: School Celebrates Inauguration of Its President." Daily Times 14 Sept.

    2003: A1. Print.


    The basic format for electronic sources is:

    Author, editor, or webmaster (if available). Name of Site. Version Number. Name of institution/organization/sponsor/publisher affiliated with the site, date created (if available). Web. Day Month Year of access.

    Note: Listing the URL is optional. Check with your professor for his/her preference.

    Online Database or Other Electronic Subscription Service

    Thompson, Betty Taylor. "Common Bonds from Africa to the U. S.: Africana Womanist Literary

    Analysis." Western Journal of Black Studies 25.3 (2001): 177-182. Academic Search

    Premier.  Web. 25 October 2003.

    Course/Department Websites

    Driscoll, Anne. LIBR100: Information Literacy. University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Aug. 2009.

    Web. 15 December 2009.

    Entire Website

    Oldies but Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue of Northern Virginia. OBG Cocker Spaniel Rescue Inc.,

    n.d. Web. 15 December 2009.

    Page on a Website

    "Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip." Epicurious. Conde Nast, n.d. Web. 15 December 2009.


    DaVinci, Leonardo. Mona Lisa. Musee du Louvre. 1452. Web. 15 December 2009.

    Web Magazine Article

    Giannattasio, Thomas. "Unveiling Photoshop Masks." Smashing Magazine. 17 December 2009.

    Web. 18 December 2009.


    Parenthetical reference are used in place of footnotes and endnotes whenever you use another person's work. The MLA format keys parenthetical citations to the "Works Cited: page at the end of your paper. Parenthetical citations direct the reader to a specific page in a book, magazine, journal, or other source. They increase the validity of your work, by informing your reader of the sources you have drawn upon whether you are paraphrasing or including a direct quote. Always be as specific as possible when identifying the location of a parenthetical source. Listed below are examples of parenthetical citations.

    Author’s Name in Text

    While on the other hand, the tame assertion of Dr. Rice and his Assembly, that "there are evils connected with slavery," never yet converted a slave holder … (150).

    Author’s Name in a Reference

    They pledged their "unwavering devotion" to the nominees of the Republican Party in the forthcoming Presidential election (Rossa 77).

    Citing Volume & Page Numbers of a Multi-Volume Work

    Teresa Kreuse states clearly that it is critical for African-American students to be proficient with computers when they enter the work-place 1(1993): 88-95.

    Citing Part of an Article or Book

    In September, Douglass prepared to leave Washington for Port-au-Prince (10, 131-139).

    Citing a Work Listed by Title

    The Negro Traveler Research survey finds that economic impact of any Negro convention on any city of individual localities leads to six economic overall conclusions ("Economic Impact of the Negro Traveler" 1975).

    Citing a Work by a Corporate Author

    The Society of American Archivists is the leading clearinghouse for archival resources in print—a virtual one-stop shop and premier convenience store for the profession (16).

    Remember parenthetical references take the place of footnotes and/or endnotes. Therefore, all authors cited in the text of your paper must appear in your reference list.

    If you have any further questions, please consult a Reference Librarian.

    updated 1/21/2010