MLA Format and MLA Citation


The Modern Language Association (MLA) is the organization responsible for the development and modification of MLA format, sometimes called the MLA style. The MLA format was developed for students, researches, and scholars in the language and literature fields to be able to use a uniform format of referencing for their assignments and papers. Also, the MLA format was developed to enhance the ease of reading paper and assignments. (The key differences between MLA and APA)

However, in the world today, the MLA format is not only being used by students and researchers and language fields, but many others have adopted it completely. The most current edition of the MLA handbook is the 8th edition, which was released by the modern language association in April 2016. The handbook contains specific instructions on MLA format citing and guidelines for comforting your work to the MLA’s rules and standards.

What Is The MLA Citation?

The MLA is one of the organizations responsible for creating guidelines and standards on how to cite sources properly to prevent plagiarism.

The MLA 8th edition handbook standardizes the way scholars are to format their paper and document their sources. The reason for uniform citing is to allow simplicity in recognizing and understanding the type of sources that were used in a paper. Since it is essential to give credit to the original author of the piece of information you include in your paper, it could be done using the MLA citation

The way a source is cited using the MLA format is largely dependent on the type of information being included in your work. Citations are included in the body of your paper. However, the full list of all sources cited is added at the end of the paper under the heading “works cited.”

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MLA Citation

Basics Of Citing

If you are following the MLA format, when adding a piece of information to the body of your paper, you are required to include an MLA citation. There are basically two types of MLA citations, which are the full citation and the in-text citation.

Basics Of MLA Full Citation

The full citations of all sources used for your paper are added to the work cited page, which is usually the last part of your paper or project. MLA full citation format often includes the following in this particular order:

Author’s last name, their first name. This is followed by the “title of source” then the title of container, other contributors, version, numbers, publisher, publication date, and location.

Component Of MLA Citation

  • Author’s name

The author’s name is usually the first item of a citation, and it is followed immediately by a period. If the source has only one author, you should place the last name first, followed by a comma and then the last name. Also, if the source has two authors, you should place their name in the same order, as shown in the source.

Additionally, if there are three or more authors, you are allowed to only include the first author on the list. Place the author’s last name first followed by a comma, followed by the author’s first name, followed by another comma and then add the Latin phrase “et al.”. If there are no authors listed, you are allowed to skip the author section completely and start with the title of the source.

  • Titles & Containers

The title of the source follows immediately after the name of the author and is usually written in the title capitalization form. You are only allowed to write the title in italics if you’re citing a source in its entirety, such as a movie, a book, or a music album.

In a case whereby your source has a container, containers are what hold the source. For example, if you are referencing a chapter in a book, the title of the chapter is the title of the source, while the title of the book is the container. Therefore, the title of the container is written immediately after the title of the source in italics and then add a comma.

  • Other contributors

When there are other individuals other than the author who played a major role in your research, you have to include them in this section of the citation. Most times, other contributors are added to help individuals locate the source.

This part of the citation starts with the individual’s role followed by the word “by,” then followed by the name(s) of the individual(s) and ended with a comma.

  • Versions

Sources come in different versions. There are various versions of books, movies, songs, and even the bible. Therefore, when a source indicates that it is different than other versions, you are required to include their information in the citation as it helps readers locate the exact source. Also, the information of the version is ended by a comma.

  • Numbers

In this part of the citation, all numbers related to a source apart from the publication date, page range, or version number should be placed here, followed immediately by a comma. Also, this number can include volume or series numbers for books, volume and issue numbers for journal articles, television episode numbers, comic book numbers, and so on. Additionally, when including the volume and issue number, you are expected to use the abbreviation vol. for volume and no. for number.

  • Publisher

The information about the publisher is placed in the citation before the publication date. Also, you are expected to include the publisher for all source types except for websites whose publisher’s name is the same as the name of the website. Although it is quite unnecessary to include the name of the publisher for journal articles, magazines, and newspapers.

  • Publication date

The date of the publication of the source must be included exactly as the information is displayed in the source. The order in which the date is written is not important as long as in is uniform for all citations and also abbreviate months that are longer than four letters. Also, when a source has more than one date, include the date that is most relevant to your research.

  • Location

This part of the citation refers to the place when the reader can find the source. It could be in the form of a page number, URL, physical location, or disc number. Additionally, when citing a website, you are expected to remove the http:// or https:// as it is not important

Example of MLA in text citation

Basics Of In-Text Citation

When using a paraphrased or quoted information in your paper, you are expected to add an in-text parenthetical citation. An in-text citation should include (Author’s last name and page number) or just (page number) if the author’s name is already mentioned in the sentence.

In Conclusion

To ensure that your paper is adhering to the MLA format, you must follow all the rules of citation stated in this article.

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By Andy Xavier

Andy is an avid content developer and writer. He is experienced in creating engaging articles that are entirely unique and insightful. He has written lots of articles for Scientific Editing since 2019.

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