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Using MLA Style

This page will briefly describe MLA documentation procedures.  It is not intended to be inclusive, nor is it intended to replace the MLA handbook.

Guidelines for writing a Works Cited section:

  • Place the words Works Cited in the center of the first page of this section, an inch from the top.
  • Double space all lines.

Note:  To save space the following examples on this tip sheet are not double-spaced.

  • Begin the first line of all entries at the left margin and indent all subsequent lines within the same citation by 5 spaces (one tab or ½ inch).  This is also known as a hanging indent.
  • Alphabetize the list by the last names of authors.  If no author is given, alphabetize by title.  Ignore articles (A, An, and The).
  • Include the author’s name as it appears in the publication you are citing.  For example, while you would probably list the author of The Waste Land as Elliott, T.S., you would list the author of Beloved as Morrison, Toni.
  • Shorten publisher’s names.  You can find a list of appropriate abbreviations listed in the MLA Handbook.

How to make citations within the text:

  • If you’ve used the author’s name in your sentence, put only the page numbers in parentheses after the segment you are citing.

Example:  Monroe argues for abolition of . . . (177-98).

  • If you did not name the author in your sentence, put both the name and page numbers in parentheses at the end of the segment.

Example:  Ursula’s clothes are usually described as . . . (Monroe 177-98).

  • Quoted material in your text:  Enclose quotations of less than four lines in double quotation marks.

Example:  Monroe describes Ursula as an original “trend setter of the twenty-first century” (198).

  • Block quote in the text: Is used for a long quotation (more than 4 lines)   This long quote is set off from the text by indenting ten spaces, or one inch, and it is double spaced throughout. DO NOT use quotations around the block quote.

Example:  The American Library Association states the role of librarians and libraries this way: (must use complete sentence to introduce quote)

          People from households making less than $15,000 annually are

three times more likely to rely on library computers than those

earning more than $75,000 annually.  Public access to the Internet

through public libraries is a major step toward closing the divide. (2)

Examples of how to list in the Works Cited page—double space all lines.

BOOKS–Usually available information is listed in this order:  Author. “Article Title.” Book Title. Editor, Edition. City: Publisher, Year. Page numbers. Print.

Book with one author:

Clark, Irene L. Writing in the Center: Teaching in a Writing Center Setting.

Dubuque, I A: Kendall/Hunt, 1998. Print

Book with two or three authors:

Broadhead, Glenn J., and Richard C. Freed. The Variables of Composition:

            Process and Product in a Business Setting. Carbondale, IL: Southern

            Illinois UP, 1986. Print.

Article in a chapter in a book:

Hartwell, Patrick. “Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Grammar.” A

            Sourcebook for Basic Writing Teachers. Ed. Theresa Enos. 2nd ed.

            New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987. 348-355. Print.

PERIODICALS–Usually available information is listed in this order: Author. “Article Title.” Periodical Title. Volume Number. Issue Number (Year): pages. Print. (For a daily publication use exact dates instead of volume/issue/year.)

Journal article with continuous pagination:

Elbow, Peter. “Ranking, Evaluation, and Liking: Sorting out Three Forms of

Judgment.” College English 55 (1993): 187-201. Print.

Journal article, paginated by issue (includes both volume and issue nos.):

White, John. “How to Use APA.” Writing Center Digest 12.3 (1999): 2-6. Print.

Magazine article:

Himes, Geoffrey. “Back in the Saddle.” Rolling Stone 18 Apr. 1998: 34-35. Print.

An Article in a national newspaper (print)

Greene, Joshuah. “New Appointment to Supreme Court.” New York Times 22

October 2008, natl. ed.: B17. Print.

Google books (Web):

Hacker, Diana. Citing On-Line Sources. New York: Putman, 2001. Google

  1.             Books.  Web. 08 Oct. 2010.

WEB SITES— When citing an entire Web site—example–a foundation site—include the editor, author, or compiler (if available); the title of the site, the sponsor, the date of publication or update, the medium (Web) and date of access.

 An entire site (Web):

 Cheit, Ross E., ed. The Recovered Memory Project. Taubman Center for Public

And Amer. Insts., Brown U, July 2007. Web. 8 Oct. 2008.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 6th ed. New York: Modern Language Association. 2009