Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citation Styles: MLA Style

What is MLA?

Each academic discipline has its own rules for citing ideas and words borrowed from other writers and researchers.

Courses in the humanities generally use the Modern Language Association (MLA) style rules.

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers contains comprehensive rules and examples for citing.

Citing Your Sources in MLA Style


  • First and foremost, we need to give credit to other authors when we borrow their words or ideas. Acknowledge!
  • Citing also allows your readers to find the resources cited in your papers. Share!
  • Finally, we avoid plagiarism and maintain good standing with our instructors. Succeed!


1. In-Text Citations: Use an in-text citation to acknowledge that you are quoting or paraphrasing another author's words or ideas in the text of your research paper. Your reader will use the information provided in the signal phrase and in-text citation to find additional information about the source in your Works Cited page.

Here are some examples:

           Direct Quote with author included in the signal phrase:

Example in-text citation.

Example paraphrase


2.  Works Cited: Include a Works Cited page at the end of your research paper. It should contain a full citation for each source referenced within your paper. The full citation should include the specific publication information required by the MLA rules. This allows your reader to find the sources, if desired.


3. Formatting: The MLA Handbook dictates the rules for formatting your in-text citations, Works Cited page, and your final research paper. For more information on MLA style formatting, check out some of the links in the "MLA Resources" box on this page.

Microsoft Word Templates

Quick tip! When creating a new Microsoft Word document, search for "MLA" to see  MLA-style research paper templates. 

MLA template in Word

MLA Resources