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Citation Styles

Learn how and why to cite your sources

MLA Citation Style, 9th edition

The following explains the general format of in-text (parenthetical) and works cited citations in the humanities documentation system of the Modern Language Association (MLA). We will also cover a few helpful web resources for MLA style.

In-Text (Parenthetical) Citation Basics

When you paraphrase or directly quote another author’s work in your paper, MLA format requires the use of parenthetical citations. These citations include the author’s last name and a page reference. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses.

The following examples show three ways that in-text citations could appear for citing this resource:

Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).

Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).

Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).


Works Cited List Basics

The work cited page is an essential part of your paper in which you will list all of the sources you used using a specific format.

MLA format requires that your works cited list:

  • Starts on a separate page at the end of the paper
  • Is ordered alphabetically by author's last name
  • Uses a half inch hanging indent if they are longer than one line.
  • Cites the “containers” of the resource rather than the format. Examples of containers include books, journals, films, databases, and web sites. Some citations will include multiple containers, e.g., a journal articles accessed from a database has two containers: 1) the journal, and 2) the database.

Citation Examples

Order of elements:
Last name, First name. Title of the Work. Publisher, Year the book was published.


One author
Oumano, Elena. Cinema Today: A Conversation with Thirty-Nine Filmmakers from around the World. Rutgers UP, 2011.

Two authors
Levitt, Steven D., and Stephen J. Dubner. Think Like a Freak: the Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain your Brain. HarperLuxe, 2014.

Three or more authors - list the first author listed in the source and then "et al."
Burdick, Anne, et al. Digital_Humanities. MIT Press, 2012.

Edited book
Gallardo, Miguel E. editor. Developing Cultural Humility: Embracing Race, Privilege and Power. 2nd ed., Cognella, 2022.

Rosenberg, Stephen D. Time for Things: Labor, Leisure, and the Rise of Mass Consumption. E-book ed., Harvard UP, 2021.

Order of elements:
Last name, First name. “Title of Chapter or Section.” Title of the Work, translated by or edited by First name Last name, vol. number, Publisher, Year  

          the book was published, page number(s).


Tiffin, Jessica. "Harry Potter Films." The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales, edited by Donald Haase, vol. 2, Greenwood Press,            

          2008, pp. 442-43.


*If an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) half an inch from the left margin (hanging indent).

Order of elements:
Last name, First name. “Title of the Article.” Title of the Journal, vol., no., Publication date, Page numbers. Title of the Database, URL or DOI.



Gillespie Rouse, Amy, et al. “Writing-to-Learn in Elementary Classrooms: A National Survey of U.S. Teachers.” Reading and Writing, vol. 34, Apr.    

          2021, pp. 2381–415. SpringerLink,


*If an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) half an inch from the left margin (hanging indent).

Order of elements:
Author. “Title.” Name of the platform, date, URL.


Eastwood, Garrett. “Meet Pantherbot!” Chapman Blogs, 3 Dec. 2021,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have the tools to fight Omicron.” Facebook, 22 Dec. 2021,

Chapman University [@ChapmanU]. “It's exciting to see so many #ChapmanU Alumni on this year's @Forbes 30 under 30 list, which shines a spotlight on “the young innovators, trailblazers and disruptors remaking our world.”” Twitter, 4 Jan. 2022,

“Chapman University: Anything Imaginable.” YouTube, uploaded by Chapman University, 14 Feb. 2018,

Order of elements:
“Title.” Publisher, date. Name of the database/streaming platform, URL.


“Los Angeles Plays Itself.” Cinema Guild, 2004. Kanopy,

Order of elements:
Last name, First name. “Title of the Article or Individual Page.” Title of the website, Name of the publisher (if different from the website), Date of

          publication, URL.



“Covid-19: Types of Masks and Respirators.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Sept. 2021,



**If an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) half an inch from the left margin (hanging indent).

What's new in MLA 9th edition?


     How does the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook compare with the eighth edition?


  • Guidelines on writing with inclusive language (chapter 3).
  • Guidelines on annotated bibliographies (5.132).
  • If a URL is longer than three lines, use the general site URL. Do not use shortening services, such as


  • Precede a DOI with