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Citation Styles: MLA Style

What is MLA?

What is MLA style?

  • Each academic discipline has its own rules for presenting research and citing ideas and words borrowed from other writers and researchers.
  • Courses in English and the humanities 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

How does citing work?

Step 1: Create a Works Cited page

  • 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.

Step 2: Use in-text citations throughout your paper

  • 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.
    • Paraphrase:Example paraphrase

Step 3: Double-check your formatting

  • The MLA Handbook dictates the rules for formatting your in-text citations, Works Cited page, and your final research paper.
  • Review the links in the "MLA Resources" box on this page to see formatting examples.


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