MLA is a common academic formatting style produced by the Modern Language Association. It really is widely used in academic papers in humanities and as a guideline for referencing original sources. In this specific article, we have prepared a complete guide to cite sources according to the MLA 8th edition, published in 2016.

Core Components

With respect to the type of the origin, its specific characteristics (e. g. as yet not known author’s name), and other facets, citations in MLA style may differ by their form. Further in to this MLA 8 citation guide, we intend to go over most of the types of sources and cases, and provide clear examples of proper referencing. But first, let’s look at core elements that are on average included in every MLA style citation:

Author name(s). “Title of the Source”. Title of container, other contributors, version, numbers, publisher, publication date, location.

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Now, let’s start to see the specific rules that connect with each of the core elements of an MLA citation.

Author’s Name

  • Always put the surname first, then split it by way of a comma and list the initial name and any initials (for example, Black, Jacob K. )
  • If the author is unknown, you should use the name of the business responsible or start with the title of the source (for example, The present day Language Association. “Works Cited: A Quick Guide”... or “Works Cited: An instant Guide”... )
  • When there will be 2 authors, put the initial author’s name in inverted form, and follow it with the other author’s name in regular form (for example, Black, Jacob K., and Chris Thorn)
  • If there are 3 or more authors, put the initial author’s name in inverted form and follow it with “et al” (for example, Black, Jacob K., et al)
  • You might be allowed to mention online usernames or pseudonyms instead of real names (for example, Pewresearch or Digiday)
  • You can even include the names of translators or editors here, but their names should be accompanied by their relevant titles – “editor” or “translator” (for example, Black, Jacob K., editor or Thorn, Chris, translator)

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Title of the Source

  • Put the title in quotation marks if the source is part of a quick work (for example, a quick article)
  • Larger works such as for example books, tv shows, and web sites should be italicized
  • If the source’s title is unknown, replace it in your citation with a quick description, without quotation marks and not italicized (for example, Website Webpage, Review Covering Multiple Books, etc . )

Title of Container

  • Italicized
  • Range from multiple container titles when necessary


  • Only list probably the most relevant contributors to your projects
  • Ahead of the name of each and every contributor, specify his/her role (for example, produced by Jacob Black)


  • Identifies a specific edition, version, or revision of the source
  • This part of the citation should all be in lower case


  • This element identifies sources that appear in a sequence, like TV seasons or episodes, issues, and volumes


  • Whenever there are multiple publishers, they all have to be listed in the citation and separated with a slash (/)
Example: Oxford University Press/Cambridge University Press

Publication date

  • The data you provide here is dependent upon the source’s type
  • When there is more than one publication date (e. g. the foundation was numerously republished) you merely need to cite the date of publication of the main one you purchased
  • In a few cases, it's appropriate to cite a date range


With regards to the type of source, this element can are a symbol of:

  • Printed source – page number(s)
  • Online source – URL
  • DVD – disk number
  • Object – place it is held
  • Performance – city and/or venue

MLA Referencing: In-Text Citations

An in-text citation refers to the usage of a direct quote or a paraphrase of information taken from yet another source in the torso of the written text. In-text citations are used to add value to your work and support your opinions.

General rules for each MLA in-text citation:

  • It will correspond to its relevant reference from the works cited page.
  • Every citation should contain the author’s last name and the page (or range of pages) where the precise quote or information is situated in the original source.
  • The author’s name can either be a part of the sentence or included in parentheses directly following the quote.
  • The page number or numbers should be a part of parentheses following the quote, either alone or following the author’s last name.
Exemplory case of a citation where the author’s name is a area of the sentence: To portray the attitude towards women in the American society of the ’20s, Fitzgerald has his character Daisy say “And I really hope she'll be described as a fool — that's the smartest thing a girl may be in this world, an attractive little fool” (21).
Exemplory case of a citation that doesn’t mention the author’s name in the sentence: In the novel, we visit a phrase that depicts the attitude towards women in the American society of the 20's “And I hope she will be a fool — that is the best thing a woman can be nowadays, a beautiful little fool” (Fitzgerald 21).

Now, let’s have a look at how an MLA in-text citation is formed in various cases:

More than One Author

Whenever there are 2-3 authors, you can list all the names, followed by the page number in parentheses.

MLA in text citation example: “Everything goes away, Jack Sawyer, such as the moon. Every thing comes back, such as the moon” (King, Steven, and Straub 78).

Whenever there are more than 3 authors, only list the last name of the initial one and type “et al. ”

MLA in text citation example: “He’d thought about it, why mundane kids may come to the Academy. Mundanes would have to elect to give up their parents, their own families, their former lives. Unless, of course, they already had no parents and no families” (Clare et al. 39).

No Author

If the author of the source is unknown, in place of stating his last name in parentheses after the quote: make the whole title italicized, put the content or webpage in quotation marks, or the shortened title within quotation marks.


Example: In the novel Diary of an Oxygen Thief, the impression of deep satisfaction after an demonstrably wrong or immoral action is described with the quote: “It’s like whenever you hear serial killers say they feel no regret, no remorse for all the people they killed. I was like that. Loved it. ” (5)

In the event that you didn’t are the book’s name in the sentence:

Example: In the novel (Diary of an Oxygen Thief 5).


Example: According to the “MLA Citation Guide” “…” (4)
(“MLA Citation Guide” 4)

Authors With Multiple Cited Works

In the event that you refer to multiple works of the same author, include the author’s name and a shortened title of the particular source, along with the page number.

Example: (Fitzgerald, I’d Die for You 35)

Authors With the Same Surname

In the event you refer to a few works whose authors have the same surnames, when making in-text citations, put an initial prior to the author’s last name.

Example: (B. MacDonald 17) and (J. MacDonald 56)

No Page Number

When you're making a citation and don’t know the actual page number, use other metrics such as for instance chapters or paragraphs.

Example: (MacDonald, ch. 4).

When there will be no numbered patterns at all, mention only the name of the author.

Citing a Quote or Parenthetical

In this scenario, type “qtd. in” prior to the author’s name.

Example: (qtd. in Fitzgerald 65)

Citing Audio-Visual Sources

When referring to audio-visual sources, rather than the page number, you need to point a time stamp in the next format – hh: mm: ss.

Example: (Mitchell 01:22:12)

How to Cite Different Source Types

Whilst the MLA Works Cited page might have highly variable entries based on their source types, in-text citations mostly look similar. The greatest change applies when the author is not known, or if the cited source just isn't printed. Below is a comprehensive guide on the best way to cite sources in MLA based on their type.

How to Cite Books in MLA Format

General rules:

  • Authors’ names — when there are 2 authors, only the first one’s name must be inverted. The next you ought to be introduced by the phrase “and” and start to become in standard form. When there will be more than 3 authors, you simply need to indicate the first one (last after which first name) and put “et al” after it.
  • Title — all words (except for small words) should start with capitalized letters, and the whole title needs to be italicized.
  • Title of containers, contributors, versions, and numbers are optional elements. These records should be provided if it is valuable and strongly related the reader.

The typical MLA book citation format is as follows:

Author’s last name, first name. Title. Title of container, Contributors, Version, Numbers, Publisher, Year of Publication.

Example: Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner, 2004.

How exactly to Cite Edited and Translated Books in MLA Format

In the event that you refer to a book that has been edited or translated, you can find two methods to indicate this in your citation:

  • List the translator or editor in the author’s name section and specify their role (e. g. “editor” or “translator”). Choose this process if work focuses on translation or editing.
  • Add the names of translators or editors in the contributors' element of the citation.

Here are two formats you can follow:

1.Last name, first name, translator/editor. Title. Title of container, Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Year of publication.

Example: Clarke, Alan R, translator. The Alchemist. By Paulo Coelho, HarperCollins, 1993.

2.Last name, first name. Title. Title of container, edited/translated by Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Year of publication.

Example: Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. Translated by A. Clarke, HarperCollins, 1993.

How to Cite E-Books in MLA Format

To cite an e-book, you should utilize the standard format for book citations and specify the e-book identity in the version section. Follow this template:

Author’s last name, first name. Title. Title of container, Contributors, edition, e-book Number, Publisher, Year of Publication.

Example: Troy, Ben N., et al. A Guide to Citation. 2nd ed, e-book, New York Publishers, 2010.

How to Cite Articles in MLA Format

Utilize the following format to cite articles from different sources, including journals, magazines, and newspapers:

Name of Author(s). “Article Title”. Title of Container, contributors, version, numbers, date of publication, location, Title of database, DOI or URL

Things to keep in mind:

  • Title — the title of the article is put in quotation marks and does not need to be italicized.
  • Title of container – here, you need to offer the name of the origin (e. g. newspaper, magazine, or journal) where the content was published. It must be italicized.
  • Version — this section identifies types within each area of the publication.
  • Numbers — in this section, you need to specify the matter number (no. ) or volume number (vo. ).
  • Date of publication — for newspapers and magazines, specify the day, month, and year (e. g. 9 December 2012). And for journals, mention only the season and year (e. g. June 2018).
  • Location — this section is devoted to the article’s page number(s).
  • Title of database, DOI or URL — only included for on line articles.

Online Publication

Online example: Bradshaw, Peter. “Oscars 2020 predictions: who will win? ”. The Guardian, 7 Feb 2020,


Journal example: Gringe, Lea. “Science Fiction Works for the Development of the Aerospace Sector. ” The Popularisation of Space, vol. 41, Aug. 2017, pp. 42-47.


Magazine/Newspaper example: Smith, John. “Obama inaugurated as President.” Time, 21 Jan. 2009: 21-23. Print.

How to Cite Non-Print Material

Some of your references will probably be printed sources like books, articles, and others, in some instances you may also have to cite alternative nonprint materials. In this part of our guide, we shall focus on the overall rules of citing different nonprint sources and will give a clear MLA citation example for each.

Image in MLA Format

Standard structure:
Author’s last name, other names. “Title of Image”. Website Title, contributors, reproduction, number, date, URL.

Example: Gilpin, Laura. “Terraced Houses, Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico. ” Library of Congress, Reproduction no . LC-USZ62-102170, 1939,

Film in MLA Format

Standard structure:
Director’s name, director. “Title of film”. Contributors, Distributor, year of release. Medium

Please note: even though this standard structure an average of works, in some instances you may swap the title and name of the director in the event that your work focuses more on the film instead of on its director:
“Title of film”. Directed by director name, contributors, Distributor, year of release. Medium

Also, note that mentioning the medium isn't needed in MLA 8, however, you are permitted to mention it since it is advantageous information for the reader. If the film is taken from the internet, replace the medium having its relevant URL.

Example: Hitchcock, Alfred, director. “Psycho”. Performances by Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, Paramount Pictures, 1960, DVD

TV Series in MLA Format

Standard structure:
“Episode Title”. Program Title, produced by Name, contributors, season number, episode number. Network, Year of Publication.

Example: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” Game of Thrones, compiled by Bryan Cogman, directed by David Nutter, season 8, episode 2, HBO, 2019

Music in MLA Format

Standard structure:
Author’s name(s). “Title of the Track”. Title of the Album, other contributors, version, Record Label, Year of Publication

Example: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. “Shallow.” A Star Is Born, Interscope, 2018.

How to Cite a Web Page in MLA Format

Standard structure:
Author’s last name, first name or organization title. “Title of page/document”. Title of overall webpage, date, URL.

Example: Woodford, Kate. “Outlooks and Forecasts (The Language of Predictions)”. A Blog from Cambridge Dictionary, five Feb 2020,

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