Choose the appropriate link below to visit MLA Style Guides designed by Valencia College librarians!
Modern Language Association (MLA) Format is a writing style used mainly by English classes. The MLA publishes and regularly updates The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the official guide to using MLA format. The MLA Handbook is now in its 7th edition (2009), so if you refer to any books or web sites to help you formulate your paper, make sure the source is using the most up-to-date edition to avoid penalties from your instructor. An updated print copy of the handbook is available in all campus libraries.
MLA style does not require a cover page, but does require a specific heading on the front page, as well as the student's last name and page number listed in the top right corner of every page.
Example of the first page of a paper in MLA format, including name, instructor name, course, date, and header, courtesy of OWL at Purdue
You will also have to leave in-text citations throughout your paper each time you make a reference to a source. Usually these will consist of an author name (or title if no author is given) and page number within parenthesis. For example, (Smith 5) would be an appropriate citation for a reference found on the fifth page of a book written by an author with the last name Smith. The citation goes at the end of the appropriate sentence, after quotation marks but before the period or punctuation ending the sentence. If no author is given, you will simply use the title of the article, book, or web site followed by page number. There are a number of different ways to create in-text citations depending on the number of authors and the type of source, so be sure to choose the correct format.
At the end of your paper, a works cited page is required. This means you will have to make a list of all the books, articles, and web sites you referred to within the body of your paper. This list must also be formatted in a specific way.
Book with One Author
Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication (for example, Print. or DVD.)
Book with More than One Author
Lastname, Firstname, and Firstname Lastname. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.
Book with No Author
Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.
Two or More Books by the Same Author
When you list more than one book by the same author on your works cited page, replace the author's name in the second, third, etc. entries with three dashes and a period.
First citation: Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.
Second citation: ---. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication
Article in a Magazine
Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine or Journal Day Mo. Year: pages. Print.
Article in a Newspaper
Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper Day Mo. Year: pages. Print.
If the newspaper is lesser known, include the city and state in brackets following the title.
Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper [City State] Day Mo. Year: pages. Print.
Article from an Online Database
Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Name of Database. Web. Date of Access.
EXAMPLE: Gamsa, Mark. "Traces of Russian Libraries in China." Library History 22.3 (2006): 201-212. Academic Search Premier. Web. 8 Sept. 2010.
When citing web sites, try to find and list as much information on the source as possible!
Lastname, Firstname. Name of Site. Name of Institution/Sponsor/Publisher, Date published (again in Day Mo. Year format). Web. Date you accessed the site (Day Mo. Year).
If no publisher is mentioned, use n.p.
If no published date is listed, use n.d.
MLA does not require students to list the web site's URL in a citation, unless your instructor tells you otherwise.
NOTE: When your citation carries over to a second line, indent the second line by five spaces, or one tab.