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Using MLA Format

(Compiled for you by the PVCC English Division, Learning Support Center and Library)

The examples in this handout were taken from the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers,
seventh edition. For complete coverage of MLA Style, consult the MLA Handbook or visit the MLA
website at www.mla.org. (Numbers in parentheses refer to chapter and section numbers in the MLA
Handbook.)
Citing Sources in Your Text
1. In-text citation - general format (6.1, 6.2, and 6.3)
For in-text citation, usually the author’s last name and a page reference are enough to identify the
source.
Tannen has argued this point (178-85).

This point has already been argued (Tannen 178-85).

2. Citing an entire work (6.2, 6.4.1)


When citing an entire work, include in the text, rather than in a parenthetical reference, the name of the
author. You may omit page numbers when citing complete works.
Fukuyama’s Our Posthuman Future includes many examples of this trend.

3. Citing an article listed by title (6.4.4)


When an article has no author, the full title (if brief) or a shortened version of the title in quotation
marks precedes the page reference, unless the title appears in your text.
In fresco painting, “the pigments are completely fused with a damp plaster ground to become an integral
part of the wall surface” (“Fresco Painting”).

4. Citing a work by a corporate author (6.4.5)


When citing a work by a corporate author, you may use the author’s name followed by a page reference.
However, it is better to include a long name in the text so that the reading is not interrupted with an
extended parenthetical reference.
According to a study sponsored by the National Research Council, the population of China around 1990
was increasing by more than fifteen million annually (15).
By 1992 it was apparent that the American health care system, though impressive in many ways,
needed “to be fixed and perhaps radically modified” (Public Agenda Foundation 4).

5. Citing indirect sources (6.4.7)


When citing indirect sources, put the abbreviation qtd. in (“quoted in”) before the indirect source you
cite in your parenthetical reference.
The commentary of the sixteenth-century literary scholars Bernardo Segni and Lionardo Salviati show
them to be less-than-faithful followers of Aristotle (qtd. in Weinberg 1: 405, 616-17).

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Quotations
6. Short quotations (3.7.1, 3.7.2)
For a direct quotation that runs no more than four lines and does not require special emphasis, enclose
the quotation within double quotation marks and incorporate it into the text. If a quotation ending a
sentence requires a parenthetical reference, place the sentence period after the reference.

For Charles Dickens the eighteenth century was both “the best of times” and “the worst of times”
(35).
“He was obeyed,” writes Joseph Conrad of the company manager in Heart of Darkness, “yet he
inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect” (87).

7. Long quotations (3.7.1, 3.7.2)


If a quotation runs to more than four lines, set it off from your text by beginning a new line, indenting
one inch from the left margin, and type it double-spaced without adding quotation marks. A colon
usually introduces a quotation displayed in this way. If you need to quote two or more paragraphs,
indent the first line of each paragraph an additional quarter inch.

At the conclusion of Lord of the Flies, Ralph and the other boys realize the horror of their actions:
The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first

time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole

body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island;

and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. (186)

8. Poetry (3.7.1, 3.7.3)


If you quote part or all of a single line of verse that doesn’t require special emphasis, place it in
quotation marks within your text. Separate two or three lines using a slash with a space on each side to
separate them.

Reflecting on the “incident” in Baltimore, Cullen concludes, “Of all the things that happened there /
That’s all that I remember” (11-12).

9. Ellipsis (3.7.5)
Whenever you want to omit a word, a phrase, a sentence, or more from a quoted passage, you must use
ellipsis points (spaced periods) to indicate that your quotation does not completely reproduce the
original. You must also make sure that the resulting passage is grammatically complete and correct.

In surveying various responses to plagues in the Middle Ages, Barbara W. Tuchman writes, “Medical
thinking . . . stressed air as the communicator of disease, ignoring sanitation or visible carriers” (101-
02).

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Your Works Cited List
Your works cited list should appear at the end of your paper on a separate page under the label Works
Cited. It provides the information necessary to identify and retrieve any source you cite in the body of
your paper. The works cited list must be double-spaced. Entries should have a hanging indent and
should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work. If the author’s name is
unknown, alphabetize by the title.

PRINT SOURCES
10. Book by a single author (5.6.1)
General Form:
Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Book (italicized). City of Publication: Publisher,

year. Medium of publication (Print).

Example:
Friedman, Thomas. The World Is Flat. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005. Print.

12. Book by two or more authors (5.5.4)


By two or three authors, give their names in the same order as on the title page—not necessarily in
alphabetical order. Reverse only the name of the first author. If more than three authors, give the first
author’s name only, followed by et al. (“and others”)

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 2nd ed.

Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003. Print.

13. Work in an anthology or a collection (5.5.6)


If only a piece of the book is used, give the inclusive page numbers following the publication date.

Allende, Isabel. “Toad’s Mouth.” Trans. Margaret Sayers Peden. A Hammock beneath the Mangoes:

Stories from Latin America. Ed. Thomas Colchie. New York: Plume, 1992. 83-88. Print.

14. An Article in a Reference Book (5.5.7)


“Azimuthal Equidistant Projection.” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 11th ed. 2003. Print.

“Japan.” The Encyclopedia Americana. 2004 ed. Print.

If you are citing a specific entry, add Entry or Def. and the appropriate designation (e.g., number or
letter).
“Noon.” Def. 4b. The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. Print.

15. Government publication (5.5.20)


New York State. Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. The Adirondack Park in

the Twenty-First Century. Albany: State of New York, 1990. Print.


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16. Article in a newspaper (5.4.5)
Harris, Nicole. “Airports in the Throes of Change.” Wall Street Journal, (editor if appropriate) 27 Mar.

2002, late ed.: B1+. Print.

17. Article in a magazine (5.4.6)


Weintraub, Arlene, and Laura Cohen. “A Thousand-Year Plan for Nuclear Waste.” Business Week 6

May 2002: 94-96. Print.

18. Article in a scholarly journal (5.4.2)


Partner, Jane. “Acrostics in Paradise Lost.” Essays in Criticism 57.2 (2007): 129-146. Print.

19. Editorial (5.4.10)


“Death of a Writer.” Editorial. New York Times 20 April 1994, late ed.: A18. Print.

20. Television or Radio Broadcast (5.7.1)


General form:
Title of episode or segment (in quotation marks), Title of program or series (italicized), Name of

network, Call letters and city of station (if any), Broadcast date, Medium of reception.

Examples:
“Death and Society.” Narr. Joanne Siberner. Weekend Edition Sunday. Natl. Public Radio. MUWM,

Milwaukee, 25 Jan. 1998. Radio.

“The Phantom of Corleone.” Narr. Steve Kroft. Sixty Minutes. CBS. WCBS, New York, 10 Dec. 2006.

Television.

21. Interview (5.7.7)


Recorded:
Wiesel, Elie. Interview by Ted Koppel. Nightline. ABC. WABC, New York. 18 Apr. 2002.

Television.

Personal:
Pei, I. M. Personal interview. 22 July 1993.

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ELECTRONIC SOURCES
22. Book from web site (5.6.2c)
General form:
Follow rules for print publications, but for medium of publication, add Title of database or Web site

(italicized). Medium of publication (Web). Date of access (day, month, year).

Heim, Michael Henry, and Adrezej W. Tymowski. Guidelines for the Translation of Social Science

Texts. New York: ACLS, 2006. American Council of Learned Societies. Web. 15 May 2008.

Child, L. Maria, ed. The Freedmen’s Book. Boston, 1866. Google Book Search. Web. 15 May 2008.

23. Document from a web site (5.6.2b)


This form now covers articles originally in print and those produced for the Web only, including news
and magazine articles, audio and video streams, and various document types.

General form:
Author’s last name, first name, if given. Title of work (italicized if independent, quote marks if part of

larger work). Title of Web site (italicized). Publisher or sponsor of site; if not available, use N.P.

Date of publication (day, month, year); if unavailable, use n.d. Medium of publication (Web).

Date of access (day, month, year). <URL optional>.

Examples:
Green, Joshua. “The Rove Presidency.” TheAtlantic.com. Atlantic Monthly Group, Sept. 2007. Web. 15

May 2008.

“Obama to meet with Mexican, Canadian leaders.” CNN.com. Cable News Network, 10 Aug. 2009.

Web. 21 Aug. 2009. <http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/10/ obama.mexico/index.html>.

Piecoro, Nick. “D-Backs break away from Pirates.” Azcentral.com. Arizona Republic. 6 Aug. 2009.

Web. 21 Aug. 2009.

“de Kooning, Willem.” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2008. Web. 8

May 2008.

24. Interview (5.6.2b)


Ackroyd, Peter. Interview by John Smith. Bold Type. Nov. 2001. Web. 25 June 2002.

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25. Work from a library database (5.6.4)
General form:
Author last name, Author first name. “Title of article.” Journal Title. Volume. Issue (date): page

numbers. Database Name. Web. Date of access.

(If pagination is not available, use n.pag)

Examples:
Academic Search Premier
Anderson, Traci L. “Relationships Among Internet Attitudes, Internet Use, Romantic Beliefs, and

Perceptions of Online Romantic Relationships.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 8.3 (2005): 521-

531. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 June 2006.

CQ Researcher
Clemitt, Marcia. "Energy and Climate." CQ Researcher 19.26 (2009): 621-644. The CQ Researcher

Online. Web. 19 Dec. 2009.

Opposing Viewpoints
Hoar, William P. “Benign Discrimination?” New American 19.9 (2003): 42-44. Opposing Viewpoints

Resource Center. Web. 11 Nov. 2005.

Issues and Controversies


“Update: Immigration.” Issues & Controversies 27 Dec. 2006: Issues & Controversies. Web. 9 Jan.

2007.

Ebrary
Boice, Robert. Procrastination and Blocking: A Novel, Practical Approach. Westport, CT: Praeger,

1996. ebrary. Web. 18 Aug. 2006.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language Association, 2009.

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CITATION EXAMPLES
in MLA Style
for articles from a subscription database/service

JOURNAL ARTICLE ENTRY IN A LIBRARY DATABASE

Title: Relationships among Internet Attitudes, Internet Use, Romantic Beliefs, and
Perceptions of Online Romantic Relationships.

Authors: Anderson, Traci L.

Source: CyberPsychology & Behavior; Dec 2005, Vol. 8.3, p521-531, 11p, 2 charts

JOURNAL ARTICLE
(Continuous pagination)

Author Article title Journal title

Anderson, Traci L. “Relationships Among Internet Attitudes, Internet Use, Romantic

Beliefs, and Perceptions of Online Romantic Relationships.” CyberPsychology &

Behavior. 8.3. (2005): 521-531. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 June 2006.

Volume Year Pages Database Medium Date of


(web, print, Access
television, etc.)

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CITATION EXAMPLES
in MLA Style
for articles from a subscription database/service

MAGAZINE ARTICLE ENTRY IN A LIBRARY DATABASE

Title: Mr. Right.

Authors: Fairbanks, Eve

Source: New Republic; 7/3/2006, Vol. 235 Issue 1, p21-23, 3p

MAGAZINE ARTICLE

Author Article title Magazine title Date Pages Database

Fairbanks, Eve. “Mr. Right.” New Republic. 3 July 2006: 21-23. Academic Search

Premier. Web. 18 Aug. 2006.

Medium Date of Access


(web, print,
television, etc.)

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