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MLA Citation Style Guide: Works Cited

This guide contains examples of common citation formats in MLA (Modern Language Association) Style

General Works Cited Guidelines

  • List entries with a hanging indent and ensure that the entire list is double-spaced (see the example on page 131) (130-131).

Tip: Use your word processor's Help function to learn how to create a hanging indent:
Word 2013 - Adjust Indents and Spacing
Google Docs - Page Setup - Add a Hanging (Left) Indent

  • Arrange entries alphabetically by the surname of the first author or by title if there is no author. When beginning with the title ignore initial articles (e.g. A, An, The) for alphabetization (131-133).

  • Cite the first author’s name with the surname first, but otherwise give the authors’ names as they appear in the source.

  • If the “Works Cited” list includes two or more entries by the same author(s), give the author(s) name(s) in the first entry only. In subsequent entries use three hyphens in place of the names, followed by a period and the title. Arrange the works in alphabetical order by title (133-135).
Example:
Borroff, Marie. Language and the Poet: Verbal Artistry in Frost, Stevens, and Moore. Chicago: U of Chicago
                             P, 1979. Print.
 
                 ---. "Sound Symbolism as Drama in the Poetry of Robert Frost." PMLA 107.1 (1992): 131-44. JSTOR.  Web.
                  13 May 2008.
  • Capitalize the first, the last, and all significant words in a title and subtitle (86-87).

  • Italicize book titles, journal titles, and titles of other works published independently (88). Italicize the title of a Web site or online Database (184). Use quotation marks around the titles of works published as part of another work, e.g. journal article, short story, or essay in an anthology (89).

  • Omit any introductory article, e.g. first word The, in the title of an English-language journal (138).

  • For books, list the city of publication, publisher’s name, and year of publication as they appear on the title page or its reverse. If there is more than one city, list the first one only. Abbreviate publishers' names according to MLA guidelines (example: omit articles, business abbreviations such as Co., Inc., etc., and descriptive words such as Books, etc.) (148-152).

  • Typically when citing Web sources a URL is not included.  Include a URL only if you have been instructed to do so by your teacher or if the document would be hard to locate otherwise. (182) However, when a “Works Cited” entry does include a URL that must be divided between two lines, break it only after a slash (182). 

  • Citations must include an indication of the medium of the source (example: Print or Web) (xvii).