Skip to main content Skip to guide navigation
Library services are online due to the COVID-19 outbreak: view the latest information

Citation Guide

Cite sources, create annotated bibliographies, and avoid plagiarism.

Documenting sources in MLA Style

MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is typically used in humanities disciplines like literature and art. Always consult your assignment or your instructor for the correct citation style to use.

Note Citation styles change over time. Examples in this guide reflect the 8th edition of the MLA guidelines, which is the current version. If you find citations elsewhere, make sure they follow the correct edition!

Below, see general guidelines and resources to learn more about MLA style. On other pages (linked in the guide menu), you'll find templates and examples for creating citations for books, articles, and other sources of information.

General guidelines for MLA citations

Names

  • When a name is the first element in a citation, invert it (that is, list the last name first)
  • If a citation lists two authors, do not invert the name of the second author listed
  • If there is no author, start your citation with the next element (e.g., title of article or book)

Titles

  • Capitalize the first, last, and "important" words in titles
    • Generally, this means you don't capitalize articles, prepositions, or conjunctions except when they appear at the start or end of a title
    • For more detailed guidance, see section 1.2 of the handbook

Dates

  • When a full date is spelled out, use the format (year month day)

Page numbers

  • Use p. for one page, pp. for two or more pages
  • If pages of an article are not consecutive, give the first page number followed by "+"

More resources on MLA style

Library photo courtesy of Barry Halkin Photography