University Library at St. Cloud State University

Citing Sources in MLA

Module Checklist
  1. Read about MLA Style Basics
  2. Watch the two videos on Works-Cited Entries and In-Text Citations
  3. Study the Nine Core Elements for Works Cited entries
  4. Complete all of the MLA Citation Style Drag and Drop Practice examples
MLA Works-Cited Entries -- General Guidelines

Direct link:
Marquette University
MLA In-Text Citations -- General Guidelines

Direct link:
Imagine Easy Solutions
Tutorials and Practice
MLA Citation Style Drag and Drop Practice
Drag and drop practice for formatting Works Cited references in MLA 8th edition. Examples include books, magazines, journal articles, newspaper articles, visual art, music, film, and social media.

MLA Works Cited Practice (IRSC Libraries)
Watch the Prezi, "What's an MLA citation?" and look over the examples on how to create your own citations.

MLA Practice Template pdf
We will use this worksheet in class to create our citations.
Tools for Formatting Your Citations
When searching library databases for your sources, use the Cite tool and select MLA (8th edition) to copy and paste the citation for that source. NOTE: You must always double-check the formatting that the database provides. It is not always accurate. Look over the format of the authors' names and capitalization in particular.
MLA Style Basics
MLA Handbook imageMLA citation style is a documentation standard developed by the Modern Language Association, and used by researchers in humanities disciplines. MLA is one citation style among others (APA, Chicago, etc.) that you will likely encounter in your college courses.

MLA citation style provides rules and guidelines for writers to use when formatting their formal papers, citing sources, and creating Works Cited lists. It is a standard that helps you and your readers to identify and locate the sources you use in your research. These rules are published in The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, which is currently in its 8th edition.

According to Rebecca Moore Howard's text, Writing Matters:
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers ([8]th ed.) requires that sources be acknowledged in two ways:
  • Citation: In the body of your project, provide an in-text ciitation for each source used.
  • Documentation: At the project's end, provide a list of all the works you cited in the project. (149)
Howard, Rebecca Moore. Writing Matters: A Handbook for Writing and Research. 2nd ed. NY: McGraw-Hill, 2014.
Nine Core Elements

According to Purdue OWL: MLA Formatting and Style Guide:

MLA has turned to a style of documentation that is based on a general method that may be applied to every possible source, to many different types of writing. But since texts have become increasingly mobile, and the same document may be found in several different sources, following a set of fixed rules is no longer sufficient.         

The current system is based on a few principles, rather than an extensive list of specific rules. While the handbook still gives examples of how to cite sources, it is organized according to the process of documentation, rather than by the sources themselves. This process teaches writers a flexible method that is universally applicable. Once you are familiar with the method, you can use it to document any type of source, for any type of paper, in any field.

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:

  1. Author.
  2. Title of source.
  3. Title of container,
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location.
Works Cited Examples
Consult these websites for examples on constructing your MLA citations. Choose one that you like the best and read through the examples. Pay close attention to what the websites say about "containers."

MLA Style -- Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL)
Examples of formatting papers, in-text citations, and reference lists in MLA style, according to the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook.

MLA Citation Style Quick Guide (University of Alberta)
Includes color-coded Works Cited and in-text citation examples for a variety of resource types (articles, websites, books, media, interviews, etc.).

MLA Eighth Edition (Saginaw Valley State University)
An easy-to-use, color-coded guide that offers many examples of the nine elements of MLA citations.

MLA Works Cited: A Quick Guide
Clear examples and explanations of MLA citations, from the MLA Style Center.
In-Text Citation Examples
Whenever you quote a source directly, paraphrase a text, or summarize an author's idea, you must use an in-text citation within your paper and also include the reference in your Works Cited list. In-text ciations must include the author (or title, if no author is given) and the page number, if available. The following are examples of in-text citations in MLA style.

MLA in-text examples

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