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Citations: MLA

A quick guide to three citation styles

More MLA Resources

Overview

In writing a paper there are two types of citations you need to use: in-text citations and works cited citations. In-text citations will be in parenthesis throughout the paper anytime you quote or paraphrase a source. The works cited citations come at the end of the paper on a "works cited" page," which can also be called a "reference list" or "bibliography."

Below are examples of works cited citations and in-text citations for commonly cited source types (books, book chapters, and articles). If you are using a type of source not covered here, check out the Purdue Owl. It is a comprehensive guide to creating MLA citations. Also, don't hesitate to ask a librarian. We are happy to help!

Works Cited Citations

How to cite a book

Template: Last Name, First Name. Title. Publisher, Publication Year.

Example: Welch, James. Killing Custer: the Battle of the Little Bighorn and the fate of the Plains Indians. W.W. Norton, 1994.

How to cite a book chapter

Template: Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection, edited by Editor's Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.

Example: Wall, Cheryl. "Stranger at Home: James Baldwin on What It Means To Be an American." James Baldwin: America and Beyond, edited by Cora Kaplan and Bill Schwarz, University of Michigan Press, 2011, pp. 33-138.

How to cite a scholarly article

Template: Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal, Volume Number, Issue Number, Year, Page Range. Name of Database, doi/url.

Example: Ngai, Sianne. "Visceral Abstractions." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, vol. 21 no. 1, 2015, p. 33-63. Project MUSE, muse.jhu.edu/article/566788.

How to cite a newspaper/magazine article

Template: Last name, First name. "Title of Article." Magazine or Newspaper Title, Date of Publication (include day, month, and year if possible), URL. Date of Access

Example: Garza, Cristina Rivera. "Sonar Wildly: On the Trail of Gloria Anzaldúa." The Baffler, March 2021, https://thebaffler.com/salvos/sonar-wildly-rivera-garza. Accessed 20 October 2021.

In-Text Citations

Every in-text citation requires two pieces of information: an author's name and a page number. Whether you are directly quoting from a source or simply summarizing the main argument of a source you need to include the author of the source and the page the information you are quoting/paraphrasing comes from. 

Direct Quotations

The author's name can either be in the body of your paper such as:

The Cold War, Wall writes of Baldwin's career "necessarily shaped the reception of his work" (36).

Or the author's name can appear in the parenthesis after the quote such as:

The Cold War "necessarily shaped the reception" of Baldwin's work (Wall 36).

Paraphrasing

The rules for in-text citations are the same for paraphrasing as they are for quoting.

With the author's name in the body of the text:

Wall suggests that the Cold War played a big part in the reception Baldwin's writing received (36). 

With the author's name in the parenthetical:

The Cold War played a big part in the reception Baldwin's writing received (Wall 36).