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MLA Citation Style Guide

Creating citations in MLA format


As of the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook, all citations follow a standard format, with elements omitted if they do not apply to the source:

Author/creator. Title of source. Title of container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location. 

In the case of articles from a periodical (a magazine, newspaper, or scholarly journal), the definitions for each of these elements are as follows.

  • Author – The person who wrote the article. Authors’ names are presented as follows:
    • One Author – Last Name, First Name.
    • Two Authors – Last Name, First Name, and First Name Last Name.
    • Three or More Authors – Last Name, First Name, et al.
  • Title of Source – The title of the article. It is surrounded by quotation marks.
  • Title of Container – The title of the journal, magazine, or newspaper. It is italicized.
  • Other Contributors – Not relevant to this type of source. Do not include it.
  • Version – Not relevant to this type of source. Do not include it.
  • Number – The volume and issue number of the periodical where the article appears, if relevant, in this format: vol. x, no. x
  • Publisher – Not relevant to this type of source. Do not include it.
  • Publication Date – The date that the article was published. If you include the day the article was published (recommended for articles from a daily or weekly publication), it is in the order of day month year. For example: 6 June 2015. May, June, and July are not abbreviated. The other 9 months are abbreviated as follows: Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
  • Location – If you found the article on the open Web (NOT in a database), use its URL (no page numbers necessary). Otherwise, the location is the page number(s) of the article, in this format: p. x (if a single page), pp. x-x (if the article runs continuously, or pp. x+ (if the article does not appear on consecutive pages).

If you found the article in a database, you will need to repeat the following two elements at the end of your citation:

  • Title of Container – The name of the database. It is italicized.
  • Location – If a DOI (digital object identifier – usually a string of numbers and letters) is given, use that for the location, in this format: doi:12345/abc12345. If no DOI is available, use the article’s URL instead. Do not copy the URL from your browser’s address bar – instead, try to find the permalink or stable link in the article’s database record.

When you create your Works Cited page, it should have the following elements:

  • It should be double-spaced like the rest of your paper. 
  • The title Works Cited should be centered at the top of the page. 
  • Your citations should be left-justified with a hanging indent of 0.5 inches.
  • Capitalize the main words in the document title. If there is a colon in the title (a subtitle), capitalize the main words after the colon.
  • Alphabetize your Works Cited list by the first word of the citation, usually the author's last name. If there is no author, alphabetize by the first main word in the title (ignore A, An, or The).
Example - Scholarly Journal Article

Here is the finished citation, which is pulled from the MLA citation template. Note that for your Works Cited page, citations need to be double-spaced with a hanging indent of 0.5 inches.

Crum-Cianflone, Nancy F., et al. "Mental Health and Comorbidities in U.S. Military Members."  Military Medicine, vol.

     181, no. 6, June 2016, pp. 537-545. EBSCOhost Academic Premier, doi:10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00187.

Example - Magazine Article

Here is the finished citation, which is pulled from the MLA template.

Mueller, Tom. "Plundering the Past." National Geographic, vol. 229, no. 6, June 2016, pp. 58-81.


Crum-Cianflone, Nancy F., et al. “Mental Health and Comorbidities in U.S. Military Members.” Military Medicine,

     vol. 181, no. 6, June 2016, pp. 537-545. EBSCOhost Academic Search Premier


Klor, Sebastian. “‘Marginal Immigrants’: Jewish-Argentine Immigration to the State of Israel,

     1948–1967.” Israel Studies, vol. 21, no. 2, Summer 2016, pp. 50-76. Gale Academic OneFile


Dolesh, Richard J. “Parks Saving the Monarch.” Parks & Recreation, vol. 51, no. 4, Apr. 2016, pp.

     52-57. EBSCOhost Academic Search Premier,

Lowry, Brian. “News Hard to Be Good.” Variety, vol. 425, no. 1, 14 Nov. 2011, pp. 2+. ProQuest Literature

     & Language,



Kaczynski, David. “My Brother, the Unabomber.” Psychology Today, vol. 49, no. 1, Jan./Feb. 2016, pp. 68-76.

Mueller, Tom. “Plundering the Past.” National Geographic, vol. 229, no. 6, June 2016, pp. 58-81.


Clements, Julie. “A Record Setting Auction: Sundgren Sells More Than 9,000 in Land Auction.” The El Dorado Times,

     20 Aug. 2013, p. A8. Newsbank,


Davis, Nicola. “Zika Outbreak in Americas Could Be Down to One Plane Passenger.” The Guardian, 24 Mar.

     2016. LexisNexis Academic,


Morgenson, Gretchen. “No Changes to Report? Not So Fast.” The New York Times, vol. 165, no. 57156, pp. YBU3+.

Tobias, Suzanne Perez. “Cafeteria Worker Serves Up 30 Years of Perfect Attendance.” The Wichita Eagle, vol.

     144, no. 137, 16 May 2016, pp. 1A+.


DeRuy, Emily. “The Complex Lives of Babies.” The Atlantic, 20 June 2016,

Fabry, Merrill. “Now You Know: How Did Long Hair Become a Thing for Women?” Time, 16 June 2016,


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