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A well-written paper will include strong support for its thesis. Support for your thesis should come from primary (original documents, interviews, and personal experiences) and secondary (information that has been processed or interpreted by someone else) sources. 

To use your support effectively, you must elaborate on the information, quotations, and examples taken from your sources and connect them to your thesis. It is also important to remember to cite the sources of the evidence and support you use in your paper, both in text with attributive tags and parenthetical citations in correct format, and on the Works Cited List in correct and alphabetical format. 


End of Essay MLA Checklist

Sample MLA formatted template


MLA Citations - But first, what IS MLA? It stands for Modern Language Association.

Here is a list of citation examples - a pdf.

minute tutorial from St. Cloud StateInner Workings of MLA 8 Format


In-text Citation vs. Works Cited Page

An in-text citation is when the writer references the originating author in the actual body of the essay. This citation is always located just after the quoted, paraphrased, or summarized material at the end of the sentence. The in-text citation is simple, generally including the author's last name and page number. Do not use paragraph numbers. Clearly, an author's last name is not enough information for readers to know exactly where the outside information came from. This is why writers need to include a Works Cited List at the end of all researched essays: the in-text citation references something more fully listed in the works cited page.


A Works Cited List is an alphabetized list (generally by the author's last name) of all referenced materials used in the body of the essay. Following the author's name, there is a series of information that more specifically details the reference. There is a special way to order this information, and MLA guidelines provides the "how to" for just about every kind of material--from journals, to web sites, to personal interviews.


CREATE AN IN-TEXT CITATION - Information about the new MLA 8th edition regarding in-text citations:

The principles behind in-text citations in MLA style are unchanged. A few details have been added or clarified, though:

  • For time-based media like video, times are now cited in the text, like this (00:02:15-00:02:35).

  • The use of translation methods to identify the writer’s translation of a non-English quotation is described.

  • How to shorten long titles when they have to be included in a parenthetical citation is clarified.

  • The punctuation used when various items are combined in one parenthetical citation is summarized.

  • Ways of formatting citations in research projects other than traditional papers are suggested.


In sum: 

  1. Use an Author Tag: An author tag is when you use the author's name somewhere in the sentence. Next, if a page number is available, type the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence. The period ALWAYS goes after the parenthesis. Ex: According to Brown, "standardized tests ineffectively measure student intelligence" (42).
  2. Using author tags over and over can be cumbersome. When you don't use an author tag, cite the information by typing the author's last name and page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Ex: "Standardized tests ineffectively measure student intelligence" (Brown 42).
  3. If the author's name is not known, type the title of the article instead of the author's last name.  Some titles are very long and can be cumbersome in the body of the essay. If a title is determined to be too long, a shortened version of the title is appropriate. Include the page number, if known. Ex: "Standardized tests ineffectively measure student intelligence" (American Testing 42).
  4. If the page number is not known, omit it. This is the case with most web page sources.




A works cited page is an alphabetized list (generally by the author's last name) of all referenced materials used in the body of the essay. Every in-text citation refers readers to the complete documentation of the source in a Works Cited page at the end of the paper.  You do not need to include works that are not cited in the body of your essay.


Type the words Works Cited List at the top of the page, and center it. 

Then, list the sources used in the paper, alphabetized by the first word in each source, usually the author's last name.  

If a work has no author, alphabetize it by its title. Notice that everything is double-spaced. Also, be sure to indent after the first line of each new citation. 


* Note: the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook introduces a new model for entries in the works-cited list, one that reflects recent changes in how works are published and consulted.

Previously, a writer created an entry by following the MLA’s instructions for the source’s publication format (book, DVD, Web page, etc.). That approach has become impractical today, since publication formats are often combined (a song listened to online, for example, could have been taken from a record album released decades ago) or are undefinable. In the new model, the work’s publication format is not considered.

Instead of asking, “How do I cite a book [or DVD or Web page]?” the writer creates an entry by consulting the MLA’s list of core elements—facts common to most works—which are assembled in a specific order. In the new model, then, the writer asks, “Who is the author? What is the title?” and so forth—regardless of the nature of the source.


The MLA core elements are:

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


Here are the updates to MLA 8 for the Works Cited ListEach element should be followed by the punctuation mark shown here. Earlier editions of the handbook included the place of publication, and required punctuation such as journal editions in parentheses, and colons after issue numbers. In the current version, punctuation is simpler (just commas and periods separate the elements), and information about the source is kept to the basics.



  • Begin the entry with the author’s last name, followed by a comma and the rest of the name, as presented in the work. End this element with a period. For example: Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. Knopf, 1994.

  • When a source has three or more authors, only the first one shown in the source is given. It is followed by et al.



The title of the source should follow the author’s name. Depending upon the type of source, it should be listed in italics or quotation marks.

  • A book should be in italics: Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. MacMurray, 1999.  For books, the city of publication is only necessary in particular instances, such as in a work published before 1900. Since pre-1900 works were usually associated with the city in which they were published, your documentation may substitute the city name for the publisher’s name. For example: Thoreau, Henry David. ExcursionsBoston, 1863.
  • An anthology (like the textbook)- a collection of essays/articles - should include the individual referenced article like this: Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07 
  • A website should be in italics: Lundman, Susan. "How to Make Vegetarian Chili."eHow, www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html.

* The URL (without http:// or https://) is given for a Web source. Angle brackets are not used around it.
* The citing of DOIs (digital object identifiers) is encouraged.
* Citing the date when an online work was accessed is now optional.
* Placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (“no date”) are no longer used. If facts missing from a work are available in a reliable external r resource, they are cited in square  brackets, otherwise, they are simply omitted.
* Include URLs when citing online sources. 

  • A periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper article) should be in quotation marks: Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, vol. 15, no. 1, 1996, pp. 41-50.
  • A song or piece of music on an album should be in quotation marks: Beyoncé. "Pray You Catch Me." Lemonade, Parkwood Entertainment, 2016, www.beyonce.com/album/lemonade-visual-album/.
  • A journal is identified with “vol. 64, no. 1” rather than “64.1” and if an issue of a scholarly journal is dated with a month or season, the month or season is cited along with the year.



  • Publishers’ names are now given in full, except that business words like Company (Co.) are dropped and, for academic presses, the abbreviations U, P, and UP are still used. 

  • A forward slash (/) separates the names of copublishers. 

  • The kinds of publications that don’t require a publisher’s name are defined. 

  • When an organization is both author and publisher of a work, the organization’s name is now given only once, usually as the publisher. No author is stated.



  • Full publication information is now given for widely used reference works.

  • Page-number spans are given for articles in alphabetically arranged reference books in print. 

  • The medium of publication is no longer stated, except when it is needed for clarity.


Other Aspects of Writing

Following are new points that concern the writing in a research project:

  • When the title of a periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper) begins with an article (A, An, The), the article is now treated as part of the title: the article is italicized and its first letter capitalized. For example, the handbook previously specified “the Georgia Review” in text and “Georgia Review” in the works-cited list but now specifies “The Georgia Review” in all contexts.


Here is a helpful resource, the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) that offers details about MLA Style Citations. Purdue OWL MLA 



Here are websites that offer "citation machines":

Knight Site at Calvin College, Michigan

Cite This For Me





Son of Citation Machine, The Landmark Project


Other Helpful Resources:


In-Text Citations Works Cited List  Formatting 





MLA 8 Citation Examples

In-text citation tutorial

MLA in-text citation Q & A's

Jon's in-text citation page

Formatting in-text citations

In-text citations exercise

Handling Quotations in Your Text.

Purdue OWL In-text citations



Integrating and Punctuating Quotations

Two Ways You Must Cite Sources

How to Report Words

Sample WCL 

Works Cited Example


MLA Works Cited List page

MLA style citations by format

Interactive Practice MLA Citations 

Jon's MLA Page

Creating the Works Cited in MLA

Purdue OWL Works Cited List



MLA 8th Edition Information


MLA Style Handout - pdf

PPTMLA Documentation  PPT: MLA  Documentation - Purdue  OWL  PPTMLA Style Formatting and Citation 


General Information about Sources :



Citing Particular Types of Sources:



How to Cite from an Anthology


Author's Last Name, First Name. "Article Title". Book Title. 

Edition number. Editor(s) Name. Publishing Company, Year. Page range of entry. Medium of publication: Print or Web.



APA Style:

Online Quizzes and Exercises:





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