Skip to main content

Engaging Research

MLA (Modern Language Association) Style

Developed by the Modern Language Association, this style is widely used in literary studies and throughout the humanities. Unlike Chicago humanities style, it uses in-text citations rather than notes.

The concept of containers is crucial to MLA style. When the source being documented forms part of a larger whole, the larger whole can be thought of as a container that holds the source. For example, a short story may be contained in an anthology. The short story is the source, and the anthology is the container.

Want to know more about the new edition of the MLA?  Check out MLA 8th edition: What's New and Different from the Purdue OWL!

Short List of MLA Citation Examples

One Author:

Baron, Naomi S. "Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media." PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193-200.

Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford, UP, 2011.


Two Authors:

Dorris, Michael, and Louise Erdich. The Crown of Coumbus. HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.


Three or More Authors:

Burdick, Anne, et al. Digital_Humanities. MIT P, 2012.


Editor:

Nunberg, Geoffrey, editor. The Future of the Book. U of California P, 1996.


Two or More Editors:

Baron, Sabrina Alcorn, et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007.

Holland, Merlin, and Rupert Hart-Davis, editors. The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde. Henry Holt. 2000.


Pseudonyms: 

@persiankiwi. "We have report of large street battles in east & west of Tehran now - #Iranelection." Twitter, 23 June 2009, 11:15 a.m., twitter.com/persiankiwi/status/2298106072.

Stendhal. The Red and the Black. Translated by Roger Gard, Penguin Books, 2002.


No Author:

Beowulf. Translated by Alan Sullivan and Timothy Murphy, edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson 2004.


Collection of Essays:

Baron, Sabrina Alcorn, et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007.


An Essay, a Story, or a Poem in a Collection:

Dewar, James A., and Peng Hwa Ang. "The Cultural Consequences of Printing and the Internet." Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, edited by Sabrina Alcor Baron et al., U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007, pp. 365-77.

Another Example


Periodical (Journal, Magazine, Newspaper):

Goldman, Anne. "Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante." The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, 2010, pp. 69-88.

Another Example


Examples provided by Works Cited: A Quick Guide from the MLA Style Center and the MLA Handbook (8th ed.)