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Research Style & Usage: APA/MLA


MLA Style: Citing Your Sources


In-Text Citations

For every quotation or reference in the text of your paper, indicate the author and page number of the work you are citing, usually in a parenthetical note immediately following the reference. Cite the author even if you do not quote directly—you must cite ideas as well.

One author
  • If you do not name the author in the text, include the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses after the quotation:

    • One writer contends that “all men may be created equal, but not all men live equally well” (Howard 421).

  • If you name the author in the text, include only the page number in parentheses after the quotation:

    • Howard insists that “all men may be created equal, but not all men live equally well” (421).

Two or three authors
  • Include each author’s name in the parentheses, separated by “and”:

    • “A man who knows where the fish eat may soon eat fish himself” (Rogers and Llewellyn 15).

More than three authors
  • Either list all the authors in the parenthetical note, in the same order that they appear in the Works Cited section (see below), or list only the first author, followed by “et al.”:

    • The Platonic theory of forms, though expressed in Plato’s writings in the dialogue of Socrates, had nothing to do with the older philosopher, and “probably would have been entirely unfamiliar to him during his life” (Cheng et al. 301).

Works with editors or translators instead of authors
  • Format in the same fashion as a citation for a book with author, but use the editor’s name in place of the author’s name: (Bloom 57)

Translated works with authors
  • Cite the original author’s name rather than the translator’s name: (García Márquez 202)

Two or more works by the same author
  • To distinguish between different works by the same author, include an abbreviated version of the cited work’s title, separated from the author’s name by a comma:

    • In her theory, she is interested less in notions of beauty than in notions of “linguistic accuracy” (Martin, Language 143).

  • If you mention the author’s name in the text, include only the abbreviated title and the page number:

    • In her later work, Martin contrasts the idea of beauty she developed in The Goblin on the Bloom with an idea of “linguistic accuracy” (Language 143).

  • If you mention both the work’s title and the author’s name in the text, include only the page number:

    • In Language and Structure, Martin advocates an ideal of “linguistic accuracy” quite different from her earlier ideal of beauty (143).

Multiple sources in the same citation
  • Use semicolons to separate different sources within one parenthetical citation:

    • Several writers have commented on the precipitous decline in street crime in the last eight months (Johnson 23; Branford 142; Eleheum 9; Kirchner 14).

Works with no author listed
  • In place of the author’s name, include the work’s title in the parenthetical note:

    • “As political pressure on Mendenthal increases, the likelihood that he will accomplish his promised reforms decreases” (“Missouri Governor’s Popularity Slipping” 23).

Government documents
  • If an author is listed, follow the rule for works with no author (see above).

  • If no author is listed, use the government agency that produced the report:

    • Alcohol-related accidents are down 9% this year (Department of Transportation 32).

Classic works of literature
  • Because older literary works often exist in many editions, it is helpful to include information that allows readers to find the passage in any edition. Include chapter and/or book numbers after the page reference, separated from the page number by a semicolon, and from one another by a comma: (Dickens 241; book 4, ch. 9)

Poems and verse dramas
  • Rather than cite page numbers, cite act, scene, and line numbers, separated by periods. Do not use Roman numerals: (Shakespeare, Hamlet 1.23.218–219)

  • For poems that are not divided into acts or scenes, cite only line numbers: (Keats 14–16) or (Keats lines 14–16)

  • When poems are offset in block quotes (more than three lines), include the parenthetical citation next to the last line of the quote. If it does not fit there, include it on the next line, flush with the right margin of the page:

    April is the cruelest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roots with spring rain. (1–4)

  • If two separate sections of a poem are combined into one block quote, use a single parenthetical note with the line numbers separated by commas: (Peiffer 1–2, 18–19)

Articles in reference books
  • If you are citing a single article by a single author in a single work, use a standard parenthetical citation: (Gates 131).

  • If the article gives no author, or if you are citing several articles in a single reference book, replace the author’s name with the title of the article(s): (“New York City” 23)

Two authors with the same last name
  • Include enough information to differentiate between the authors, either a first initial or a full first name if necessary: (K. Smythe 13), (L. Smythe 912)

Works by corporate or group authors
  • Put the group’s name where the author’s normally goes: (Shakespeare Society 21)

  • If the group has a long or unwieldy name, try to include it in the text itself to avoid an overlong parenthesis:

    • The American Association for Market-Correction Theory in a Sociohistorical Context has speculated that “no three-decade span will ever be free from a significant period of stock deflation” (36).

Indirect citations (sources cited within other sources)
  • If you are citing a quote from one person that appears in the writing of another person, use the abbreviation “qtd.” to indicate so: . . . was, as Harrison said, “fortuitously timed” (qtd. in Blanchett 104)

Works with multiple volumes
  • If your paper references more than one volume of a given work, indicate which volume you are citing and separate it from the page number with a colon: (Jarvis 2: 451)

The Bible
  • Include the book you are citing along with chapter and verse numbers: (Revelation 16.16)

  • You may also include the version of the Bible you are citing, using the standard abbreviations: (KJV, Acts 13.13–52). Standard abbreviations include:

    • American Standard Version (ASV)

    • Contemporary English Version (CEV)

    • English Standard Version (ESV)

    • International Children’s Bible (ICB)

    • International Standard Version (ISV)

    • King James Version (KJV)

    • New King James Version (NKJV)

    • Revised Standard Version (RSV)

    • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Works in anthologies
  • Cite the author’s name, not the editor’s name, in your parenthetical note.

Electronic sources (websites, etc.)
  • If the work has an author and uses page numbers, follow the standard rules for parenthetical citations.

  • if the work has no author, substitute a short version of the title: (“Geology Graduate Programs Listing,” 2)

  • If the work does not use page numbers, substitute a section number or paragraph number, using the abbreviations “sec.” and “par”: (“Heisman Winner,” par. 3)


The Works Cited Section

  • Every work that you cite parenthetically within the text of your paper also should appear in the Works Cited section.

  • Start this section on a new page at the end of your paper, with the title “Works Cited” centered 1" below the top of the page.

  • Align the first line of each entry flush with the left margin of the page. Indent each subsequent line of each entry 0.5" from the left margin (known as “hanging indent format”).

  • Alphabetize the Works Cited list by author’s last name. For works that do not have a listed author, alphabetize by title, ignoring “A,” “An,” or “The.”

  • Use “UP” to abbreviate the words “University Press,” which appear often in academic citations.

Journal articles
  • General form:

    • Satchel, Marcus. “Shakespeare’s Women.” Shakespearean Times 26.7 (1982): 34–41. (26 is the volume number, 7 is the issue number, 34–41 are page numbers)

    • Bronstein, Deliah. “Cooking Tips.” Gourmet Food 17 (1990): 22–24.

Newspaper or magazine articles
  • General form:

    • Tang, Heather. “Mosquito Alert.” New York Times 27 May 1992, late ed.: C8+.

    • Oppenheimer, Wallace. “Swing, Daddy, Swing.” The Atlantic Monthly June 1999: 21–30.

  • Editorials:

    • “Tax Fraud.” Editorial. New York Times 5 August 1987, late ed.: A21.

  • Letters to the editor:

    • Dreary, Gregory. Letter. Science Press Dec. 1967: 11.

  • One author:

    • Rogers, Karl. To Run with the Night. New York: Oxford UP, 1961.

  • Two authors:

    • Watson, Michael and Samantha Willis. Chemistry and Chemists. New York: Random House, 1982.

  • Three authors:

    • Johnson, Sam, Frank Klimt, and Wayne Newberry. Quantum Theory and Cats. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 2000.

  • More than three authors: You may use “et al.” after the first author’s name:

    • Kramer, Devin, et al. Microwave Cooking and You. Boston: Chef’s Press, 1992.

Two or more works by the same author
  • Sort alphabetically by title. For each entry after the first, replace the author’s name with three hyphens:

    • Kelley, Randolph. My Time in Eden. Los Angeles: El Dorado Press, 1990.

      ---. You Can So Go Home Again. Los Angeles: El Dorado Press, 1972.

    • Lewis, Karl. Without Sleep. Millburn, NJ: Delta Press, 1965.

      ---, ed. Studies of Sleep Patterns. Detroit: Clifford and Sons, 1967.

Works with no author listed
  • Sort alphabetically by title, ignoring “A,” “An,” and “The”:

    • Never No Lament. Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan UP, 1920.

    • “Spying in Middle America.” Time 7 Nov. 1954: 27–38.

Works with editors or translators
  • Both author and editor/translator listed: Include the name of the editor or translator after the title, abbreviating “editor” to “Ed.” and “translator” to “Trans.”:

    • Eliot, George. Middlemarch. Ed. Phillippa Howitzer. New York: Overlook Press, 1981.

    • Montoni, Antonio. Poems in Italian. Trans. Daniel Owens. Overlook, CO: Mountain Stream, 1976.

  • Multiple editors: Follow the guidelines for multiple authors and affix “eds.” to the list:

    • Wamberg, Cora and Fredrick Baynes Jackson, eds. Under the Ninth Seal. New York: Rizzoli, 1993.

  • No author listed: Include the editor or translator in place of the author, with “ed.” or “trans.” after the name:

    • Wafer, Harold, trans. Gilgamesh. Weston, CA: Weston Publishers, 1969.

Works by corporate or group authors
  • Use the name of the group in place of the name of the author:

    • American Metaphysics Association. On Metaphysics. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2001.

  • Cite both author and editor:

    • Fevbre, Jacques. “The Ice Cadet.” New American Short Stories. Ed. Wallace Klemperer. New York: Storyville, 1985. 1001–1007.

  • You may also cite the original publication information, followed by the abbreviation “Rpt. in” (for “reprinted in”) and the anthology information:

    • Fevbre, Jacques. “The Ice Cadet.” The New Yorker 2 June 1984: 26–31. Rpt. in New American Short Stories. Ed. Wallace Klemperer. New York: Storyville, 1985. 1001–1007.

  • For abstracts taken from abstract journals, begin with the publication information for the specific article (the abstract for which you read in the abstract journal), then add the relevant information about the abstract journal:

    • Leone, Harriet. “Magic and Myth in Matriarchal Societies.” Anthropology 53 (1980): 32–56. Anthropological Abstracts 73 (1981): item 5634.

    • Reikoff, Carol. “Prisoners in Need: Toward a More Rehabilitative Approach.” Diss. Yale U, 1990. DAI 37 (1991): 2340B.

  • If the title of the journal does not clearly indicate that you are citing an abstract, add the word “Abstract” before the publication information for the abstract journal:

    • Flout, Frederick. “The Art of Pantomime.” Art Today 46 (1998): 89–113. Abstract. Index to Art Writing 17 (2000): item RG387.

Later editions
  • Put the edition number after the title, abbreviating “edition” to “ed.”:

    • Martin, Jennifer. A Vision of Architecture. 3rd ed. Missoula, MT: Crystal River, 2002.

Multivolume works
  • Include the number of volumes before the publication information:

    • Bagshot, Basil. World Cheeses. 16 vols. London: Smith-Morlocke, 1902.

Introductions, forewords, afterwords
  • General form:

    • Gogol, Henri. Introduction. The Poetry of Walt Whitman. Ed. Karen Tress. Philadelphia: Border Press, 1978. vii–xxiii.

  • Unsigned and untitled:

    • Rev. of And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. Hitchcock Press 7 December 1939: 45.

  • Titled but unsigned:

    • “Masterful Suspense.” Rev. of And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. Hitchcock Press 7 December 1939: 45.

  • Titled and signed:

    • Walsh, Darren. “Masterful Suspense.” Rev. of And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. Hitchcock Press 7 December 1939: 45.

  • Unpublished:

    • Vendela, Terri. “The Semiotics of Slang.” Diss. Harvard U, 1988.

  • Published:

    • Frieman, Garry. Achieving Perfection Through Thought. Diss. College of William and Mary, 1994. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1994. 9546344. (The final number is the UMI number, which you may include as supplemental information if the dissertation was published by University Microfilms International [UMI].)

Electronic sources
  • Give as much information as is necessary to direct the reader to the online text, including author information (if available), title information (if available), the date the text was posted, company or organization information, the date you accessed the site, and the complete URL:

    • Berry, Brandon. “Dodgers Strike Out on New Stadium Deal.” ESPN.com 17 December 2001. 20 December 2001 <http://www.espn.com/berry121701.html>. (In this example, 17 December is the date of publication and 20 December is the date of access.)

    • The Gap. 2 January 2004. Gap.com, Inc. 2 January 2004. <http://www.gap.com>.

Articles in reference books
  • Author listed: List the author’s name, the title of the article, the title of the work, and the publication information (including number of volumes):

    • Ellerbe, Hyman. “Abraham Lincoln.” Encyclopedia of Political Leaders. Ed. Lavar O’Denby. 4 vols. New York: Random House, 1977.

  • No author listed: Alphabetize by article title:

    • “Prolegomena.” The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.

Government documents
  • No author listed: List by name of government and name of agency:

    • Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation. Oklahoma Highway Guide. Oklahoma City: State Publishing Office, 1979.

  • United States Congressional Record: Abbreviate to “Cong. Rec.” and list only the date and page numbers:

    • Cong. Rec. 8 April 1999: 4129–4131.

  • If the lecture has no formal title, describe it in terms of content or relation to a course or program. Also list the date and place it was held:

    • Kirk, Virgil. English 101 Lecture. Clark Hall, Randolph College, Valhalla, NY. 12 Sept. 2000.

  • If you conducted the interview yourself, specify whether it was a personal interview or telephone interview:

    • Tan, Amy. Personal interview. 28 May 1999.

    • Cunningham, Michael. Telephone interview. 6 July 2003.

  • Published or recorded:

    • Bush, George W. Interview. New York Times 2 Feb. 2001, late ed: A1+.

    • Bush, George W. Interview. Politics Today. By Richard Rosen. Detroit, MI: Percy Press, 2000.

  • Broadcast on radio or TV:

    • Bush, George W. Interview with Terence Hanover. Political Speak. Natl. Public Radio. QTUR, Chicago. 2 Feb. 2001.

    • Bush, George W. Interview. A Family Tradition. Dir. Thomas Grey. Videocassette. Meteor, 2001.

  • Begin with the title of the film and always include the director, the distributor, and the year of release; you may insert whatever other relevant names before the distributor:

    • The Games [Les jeux]. Screenplay by Marie Danielle. Dir. Jacques Riveau. Perf. Claire Tarot, Georges Armand. Miramax, 1967.

The Bible
  • The Bible is the only work that you do not need to include in your Works Cited section.