The Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style requires a page of bibliographic references at the end of the document along with citations in parentheses. Put a quote at the end of each sentence in which you quote or paraphrase information or ideas from another source. The basic format for an MLA-style citation is composed of the author's last name followed by the page number or page range where the information is cited or paraphrased. However, there are some special cases where you may need to deviate from this format.
Method 1 of 3: Use a format consisting of author and page number
Step 1. Put the author's last name and page number in parentheses
To create a basic citation in MLA format, type the author's last name, leave a space, and then type the page number (or page range) where the information you cited or paraphrased appears in the original document. The quote is located at the end of the sentence within the closing punctuation.
For example: "Louis Armstrong easily hit difficult notes that hindered other trumpeters (Bergreen 258)."
If you include the author's name in the body of the document, you don't need to include it again in the parenthetical citation.
Step 2. Add first initials for authors with the same last name
Especially if you have authors with relatively common names, you likely have multiple sources with authors of the same last name. Use the first initials to differentiate them so that the citation directs readers to the correct entry on the bibliographic references page.
For example: "Record deals are generally negotiated between lawyers and studio executives, not between the artists themselves (R. Stewart 17)."
Step 3. If the document has two authors, write the names of both
Write the name of the first author followed by the word “and”, and then write the name of the second. Use the same order that appears on the title page or source line, which should also be the same order that you use on the bibliographic references page. Then write the page number in case the source has it.
For example: "With the heyday of music streaming, record deals had to evolve to incorporate this new method of distribution (Hall and Oates 24)."
Step 4. Follow the first author's name with "etal. "to include three or more authors.
MLA style parenthetical citations only include the names of up to two authors. If the source has three or more, only the name of the first should be indicated. However, you must include all of them in the entry of the bibliographic references.
For example: "In the age of digital music, individual songs have become more important than record sales (McCartney et. Al. 37)."
Step 5. Cite all the pages where the paraphrased information appears
Some authors might discuss a particular idea throughout several pages of their work. While you don't necessarily have to include every time the idea is mentioned, you should include the page numbers for the passages you specifically read. If the source has an index, this may help.
For example: "Record labels' fears that digital music would cause its extinction were exaggerated (Urban 12, 18, 29-32)."
Method 2 of 3: Cite Non-Printed Sources
Step 1. Include the first element that appears in the bibliographic references entry
If an unprinted source has an author, include their last name in parentheses in the citation. However, many non-print sources do not have authors in the same way that books and magazine articles do. In these cases, use the first element in the bibliographic reference entry to direct readers to the correct full citation.
If you're citing a movie, the first item in the bibliographic reference entry could be the director or the title of the movie itself. For example, suppose you want to quote the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg. If the first item is the name of the director, the text quote would be "(Spielberg)". If the first item is the name of the movie, the citation could be "(Hunters)"
Step 2. Skip the page numbers if the font is not paged
Many non-print fonts, including web pages, do not have page numbers. Instead of counting paragraphs or using the page numbers in the computer print function, just skip the page numbers.
Include the author's last name in parentheses or the first item that appears in the bibliographic references
Step 3. Include the citation information in the body of the document
If you include this information in the body of the document, you will not need a parenthetical citation, as readers will be able to find the correct entry in the bibliographic references based on the information you already provided.
For example, the sentence "In Spielberg's film Raiders of the Lost Ark, a humble professor reveals his passion for adventure" would not need a parenthetical quote at the end
If you're citing a website, don't include the URLs in the body of the document. If you must refer to the website specifically, use an abbreviation of its name, such as CNN.com.
Step 4. Use run-time ranges to cite media sources
If you want to cite specific scenes in a media outlet, rather than the source in its entirety, the range of hours, minutes, and seconds you refer to takes the place of the page numbers. Separate the start and end of the range using a hyphen.
For example: "As adventurous as he was, snakes were the Achilles heel of Indiana Jones, so of course he would fall into a grave full of them (Spielberg 01: 18: 43-01: 27: 32)."
Method 3 of 3: Addressing Special Circumstances
Step 1. Provide edition numbers or chapters to cite the classics
If you are citing a classic or literary work with many different editions, add information to help your readers locate the specific passage you are referring to, even when they refer to a different edition of the document. Indicate the author if necessary and then the page number followed by a semicolon. Then include the specific edition or chapter number after the appropriate abbreviation.
For example: Marx and Engels viewed history as a series of class struggles (79; ch. 1)
Step 2. Add an abbreviated title when citing two works by the same author
If an author is particularly prolific or a leader in the field, you may have more than one of his works. Include the author's name unless it is included in the body of the document, and then write a shortened version of the title (usually the first 2 or 3 words).
For example: “Developmental psychologists originally believed that young children would not benefit from computer use (Murray" Too Soon "38). However, later studies showed that playing video games allowed to develop better small motor skills (Murray "Hand-Eye Development" 17)”
Format titles the same way they are formatted in bibliographic reference entry. Generally, book titles are italicized, while shorter article titles are placed in quotation marks.
Step 3. Separate multiple sources in the same quote using a semicolon
If you have a sentence that synthesizes information or ideas from multiple sources, the parenthetical citation at the end should include both. Write the first followed by a semicolon, and then include the second.
For example: "Young children can interact with tablets or touch screen devices better than with desktop computers that require the use of a keyboard and mouse (Murray 17; Smith 37)."
Step 4. Simplify recurring citations from the same source if applicable
If you are going to cite the same source several times in a row, without intermediate sources, you may need to simplify subsequent ones.
- For example, if you included the author's last name and page number in the first citation, you could use the page numbers only in recurring citations.
- If the source is not paginated, you may not be able to simplify the citation further.
Step 5. Modify the format if you are going to quote the Bible
Usually, you don't have an entry for the Bible on the bibliographic references page. Therefore, include the title of the version of the Bible you use in the quote, followed by the book, chapter, and verse.
For example: "Ezekiel described four creatures, each with the faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 1.5-10)."
Step 6. Use the abbreviation "cit
"to cite an indirect source. If the source you used included a quote or paraphrase from another document, try to go back to the original source. If this is not available, use the indirect source as a last resort. Indicate that the citation that Words you are referring to are not the author's. Also, include the source you used in the bibliographic references, not the original source.