MLA Citation Format

In-text parenthetical citations:

MLA formatting requires that you use in-text parenthetical citations containing the author’s last name followed by the page number if applicable.  (Since many of your sources will not have page numbers, in these cases you should simply put the author’s last name in parentheses.) No punctuation goes inside the parentheses. Parenthetical citations should always be placed at the end of the revelant sentence just before the period. Use a parenthetical citation every time you borrow an idea or a quotation from a source, even if this means that you end up with multiple parenthetical citations within a given paragraph.

See details below from Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers. Pay attention to the special rules that apply when you have a source with multiple authors, a source authored by an organization or editorial board instead of an author, or a source with section numbers instead of page numbers.

Works Cited page:

MLA formatting requires you to have a separate “Works Cited” page at the end of your paper. Your works cited page should contain bibliographic entries that follow the format in the link below. List them in alphabetical order. In order to write the entry for each source, you will need to know the author’s name; the title of the piece; the date of publication; the name of the journal, magazine, website, or other publication in which the piece appears; and the URL (if applicable). If using a URL, you should ideally also have the date of access.

View detailed instructions for creating works cited entries from From that website, I take the following entry formats, which you are likely to use most often:

An Article in a Web Magazine

Provide the author’s name, article title in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher’s name, publication date, URL, and the date of access. It should look like this:

Bernstein, Mark. “10 Tips on Writing the Living Web.” A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 16 Aug. 2002, Accessed 4 May 2009.

An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal

For all online scholarly journals, provide the author’s name (or authors’ names), the title of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. Include a DOI if available; otherwise provide a URL or permalink to help readers locate the source.

Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal

MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in scholarly journals. If the journal that you are citing appears exclusively in online format (i.e., there is no corresponding print publication) and it does not make use of page numbers, then indicate the URL or other location information. For example:

Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, Accessed 20 May 2009.

Other Details:

Finally, here are some resources from Hacker and Sommers’ Rules for Writers.

The order of what you’re saying below is as follows (just note that, if you are using an online source, you need to include the date of access at the end; Rules for Writers does not mention this explicitly):

  1. pg 438, 12b – citing a web source (this is the key thing that most of you will want).  Again, note that this example does NOT include the date of access at the end, which I recommend including (e.g., “Accessed 18 November 2020.”)
  2. pg 439 – citing an online journal
  3. pg 440 – citing an article from a database
  4. pg 422 – how to put authors’ names in parentheses, details about what to do if the author is unknown, and an explanation of what to do if there are numbered paragraphs or sections but no page numbers
  5. what to do if there are multiple authors, or how to cite an organization as an author
  6. how to cite an organization is an author (continued)––the rest on this page is not really relevant

Note: If you cannot find the publication date of your source, refer to this.