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MLA Citation Style ( 8th Edition): Home

This guide will help you cite sources using the MLA Style 8th edition.

What is MLA?

MLA Handbook 8th editionMLA style was created by the Modern Language Association of America. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers.

There are two parts to MLA: In-text citations and the Works Cited list.

In MLA, you must "cite" sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:

  1. In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation.

        2. In the Works Cited list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.

This citation guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (8th ed.). The contents are accurate to the best of our knowledge. 

Core Elements and Containers

Each entry in the list of works cited is composed of facts common to most works—the MLA core elements. Hand with pencil marking a check list - Britannica ImageQuestThey are assembled in a specific order.

  • Author.
  • Title of source.
  • Title of container,
  • Other contributors,
  • Version,
  • Number,
  • Version,
  • Publication date,
  • Location.


Fresh Ink: An Anthology; Lamor Giles, editorBlack Enough - Stories of Being Young & Black in AmericaThe concept of containers is crucial to MLA style.

When the source being documented forms part of a larger whole, the larger whole can be thought of as a container that holds the source.

For example, a short story may be contained in an anthology. The short story is the source, and the anthology is the container.

Commonly Used Terms

Access Date The date you first look at a source. The access date is added to the end of citations for all websites except library databases.
Citation Details about one cited source.
Citing The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.
In-Text Citation  A brief note at the point where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Works Cited List.
Paraphrasing  Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.
Plagiarism  Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.
Quoting The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.
Works Cited List Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.

Modern Language Association (MLA) Resources

Practice Template

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