You must know this!  Don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize anything.  There will always be books and internet resources that you can follow when the time comes.  But you must know what MLA style is and you must understand that, when writing a paper, nothing less than perfection in your formatting will ever be accepted! 

MLA is the most widely used academic style for writing and documentation of research in the humanities, especially English studies.  In short, this is what your paper had better look like before you turn it in!

I include the information on this page as a guide to my

students past, present and future.  Feel free to come back

to this page in high school and college whenever you are

doing research and writing and use the style format provided

by the most recent edition of the MLA handbook.

                                                                                                           is a site that will assist you in creating a MLA compliant bibliography (works cited page), for your research papers.  Fill in the blanks on the website with the information from your source and Noodletools will properly format information which you can copy and paste into your document.

                   -  click on Noodlebib MLA Starter or Noodlebib Express at the bottom of the page.


Here is a sample paper and sample works cited in MLA format:



        Works Cited:

MLA Documentation format (reposted here from Wikipedia):

In-text citations

Brief "Author-title" parenthetical citations, including the name or names of author(s) and/or short titles (as needed) and numbers of pages (as applicable), are used within the text. These are keyed to and direct readers to a work or works by author(s) or editor(s) and sometimes titles (if the works are anonymous), as they are presented on the list of works cited (in alphabetical order), and the page(s) of the item where the information is located (e.g. (Smith 107) refers the reader to page 107 of the cited work by an author whose surname is Smith). If there are more than one author of the same name and/or more than one title of works by that author or authors being cited, then a first name or initial and/or titles or short titles are also used within the text's parenthetical references to avoid ambiguity. (No "p." or "pp." prefaces the page numbers and main words in titles appear in capital letters, following MLA style guidelines.) The full citation appears in the list of "Works Cited."

To cite a work within an article, paper, or book, one inserts the author's name in an introductory phrase and then within parentheses inserts the page number of the work in which the information appears. For example:

In his final study, Lopez said that the response "far exceeded our expectations" (253).

Complete information about the publication by Lopez is listed alphabetically in the "Works Cited."

If the author is not mentioned in an introductory phrase, the author's name, followed by the page number, must appear in parentheses. Example:

The habits of England's workers changed dramatically during the Industrial Revolution (Hodgkinson 81).

When citing an entire work, or one without page numbers (or only one page), one writes only the author's name in parentheses.

The "Works Cited" (bibliography) may contain more than one work by an author. If the text preceding the citation does not specify the title of the work, there is a comma after the author's name followed by a shortened version of the title in question (or the entire title if it is short) and the page number. Such a short title may include the first significant word or words of the title:

Securing its communications through the Suez Canal was Britain's overriding aim (Smith, Islam 71).

In the "Works Cited" or bibliography, three short dashes (––– if word processed; hyphens [---] when typed) are used when the author or authors' name is the same in subsequent works being listed.

These in-text parenthetical citations guide the reader to the pertinent entries in the attached list of "Works Cited":

Hodgkinson, Tom. How to Be Idle. New York: Harper, 2005.

Smith, Charles D. "The 'Crisis of Orientation': The Shift of Egyptian Intellectuals to Islamic Subjects in the 1930's." International Jour. of Middle East Studies 4.4 (1973): 382–410.

–––. Islam and the Search for Social Order in Modern Egypt: A Biography of Muhammad Husayn Haykal. Albany: State U of New York P, 1983.

Content notes

In composing "content notes" (formatted as either footnotes or endnotes), one is directed to "avoid lengthy discussions that divert the reader's attention from the primary text" and advised: "In general, comments that you cannot fit into the text should be omitted unless they provide essential justification or clarification of what you have written" (259). "You may use a note, for example, to give full publication facts for an original source for which you cite an indirect source" (259). MLA style "content notes" use the same method of "Parenthetical Documentation and the List of Works Cited," with sources keyed to the list of "Works Cited", discussed in Section 7: "Documentation: Citing Sources in the Text" (240–60).


Bibliography ("Works Cited")


Author's name [last name, first name, middle initial or middle name (as given)]. Title. Place of publication: publisher, date. Print. Supplementary information (if any).

Hodgkinson, Tom. How to Be Idle. New York: Harper, 2005. Print.

Article in a periodical (magazine or journal, as well as newspapers)

Author's name [last name, first name, middle initial or middle name (as given)]. "Article title." Title of periodical Volume number ("for a scholarly journal").[period]issue number ("if available, for a scholarly journal") Date of publication within parentheses ("for a scholarly journal, the year; for other periodicals, the day, month, and year, as available"): Pages ("inclusive").

Brophy, Mike. "Driving Force." Hockey News 21 Mar. 2006: 16-19.

Kane, Robert. "Turing Machines and Mental Reports." Australasian Jour. of Philosophy 44.3 (1966): 334-52.

If the journal uses only issue numbers, cite the issue number alone.

If citing a "locally-published newspaper" whose city of publication is not in its title, the city is put in square brackets (but not italicized) after the title of the newspaper (178–79).

Sound recording

Name of composer/conductor/performer. Title of recording. More personnel (optional). Date recorded. Medium (if not CD). Manufacturer, year of issue.

Briertone. Sojourners. Something Sacred, 2006.

The writer may put either the composer, conductor, or performer(s) first, depending on the desired emphasis. The remaining personnel can be added after the recording's title. If citing a specific song, place its name in quotation marks after the performer's name. If the performers vary from song to song on the recording, place that information (if necessary) after the song title. Each individual's role is indicated after his/her name, except for orchestras, which are listed as their own sentence, and composers, who are listed as authors if at the beginning of the citation or "By ___" if after the title.

Previn, André, cond. "Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus." By Ludwig van Beethoven. Royal Philharmonic Orch. Symphony No. 9, "Choral". RCA Victor, 1993.

Stone Temple Pilots. "Tumble in the Rough." Tiny Music...: Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop. Atlantic, 1996.

Internet resource

Name of author of webpage (last name, first name, middle initial or middle name [as given]). "Article Title." Title of Webpage [publication]. Sponsoring Agency, date of publication (or date page was last modified). Web. Date accessed.

CNN and Reuters. "Boston Columnist Resigns Amid New Plagiarism Charges." Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 19 Aug. 1998. Web. 6 Mar. 2009.


Name of author (last name, first name, middle initial or middle name [as given]). "Article title of printed source." Periodical title of printed source, or title of printed analogue Date: inclusive pages. Title of database. CD-ROM. Name of vendor or computer service. Electronic-publication data or data for access.

Reed, William. "Whites and the Entertainment Industry." Tennessee Tribune 25 Dec. 1996: 28. Ethnic NewsWatch. CD-ROM. Data Technologies, Feb. 1997.

Personal interview

Name of person interviewed (last name, first name, middle initial or middle name [as given]). Personal interview. Date interviewed.

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

MLA Citation for Wikipedia

Note: I’ve taken this information from a Wikipedia page about proper citation.

Citation in MLA style, as recommended by the Modern Language Association:

    * “Plagiarism.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 22 July 2004, 10:55 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 10 Aug. 2004. <>.

Note that MLA style calls for both the date of publication (or its latest update) and the date on which the information was retrieved. According to the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook, there is now information required about any foundation involved. Also note that many schools/institutions slightly change the syntax. Another example:

    * “Plagiarism.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 22 July 2004 < title=Plagiarism&oldid=5139350>.

Be sure to double check the exact syntax your institution requires.

For citation of Wikipedia as a site, use:

    * Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 23 Oct. 2005. Wikimedia Foundation. 23 Oct. 2005 <>.


MLA (Modern Language Association), Style Manual: