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ENG-109: College Writing Workshop I

MLA Style Handbooks

MLA Citation Overview

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style is an editorial style, or rules that a publisher uses to ensure consistent presentation of written material. Citing your sources in MLA style gives credit to the works of others and helps your readers go back and find the information you present. 

  • Basic MLA components:  Author. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year. 
  • MLA is typically used for literature, language studies, and humanities. 
  • The key attribute of MLA is that the author and title appear closer to the beginning of the citation, since cited works are often longer in length. The date of publication is less important since humanities research often takes a historical approach. 

Getting Started

  1. Keep track of publication information as you read.
  2. Determine specifically what type of sources you have. Online or print articles? From a library database? Books with one author or more, or none? etc.
  3. Look up the format for those types of sources in your manual or online guide or start with an auto-generated citation.
  4. Follow the citation format precisely, paying close attention to punctuation and italicization. 

For more information on citation styles, see the Citing Sources tab on the Writing Center's homepage. You can also check out the Purdue OWL MLA Style Guide for additional information.

Citation Generators

Some databases and websites will auto-generate citations for you. This is a great starting place for a citation, but they are not always accurate. Check an auto-generated citation with a stylebook or guide before submitting a paper. 

Some databases, like Academic Search Complete, include a "cite" feature that will auto-generate APA, MLA, Chicago and other citations.

If there isn't an auto-generated citation within a database, try one of these free citation generator cites. You can also ask a librarian or the writing center!

Generating a Citation (1:10)