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MLA Style: Works Cited

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MLA Citation Guides

Basic Book Format

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.

*Note: the City of Publication should only be used if the book was published before 1900, if the publisher has offices in more than one country, or if the publisher is unknown in North America.

Works Cited

The MLA Handbook does not provide strict instructions on how to format citations for specific types of sources. Instead, a universal set of general guidelines for citation and documentation that can be applied to any source type are outlined. 

General Guidelines for Styling Titles in MLA

  • Write titles in title-style capitalization
  • Capitalize the first word, last word, and all principal words including those that follow hyphens in compound terms
  • Introduce subtitles after title with a colon followed by a space
  • Italicize the title of long-form works, works that are self-contained and independent of other sources, as well as works that contain other works.
  • (e.g.) books, plays, films, periodicals, databases, and websites
  • Place titles in quotation marks for short-form works and works contained within a larger work.
  • (e.g.) articles, essays, chapters, poems, webpages, songs, and speeches are placed in quotation marks.


General Guidelines for Styling Works Cited

  • Give titles as they appear in the source's title page, standardizing capitalization and following above guidelines for styling titles in MLA
  • Use day-month-year style to minimize commas. Provide most specific date available.
  • Use periods after:
  • Author Element, Title of source Element, at the end of each container string, and at the end of each entry.
  • Use commas:
  • between elements within a container and between the surname and first  name of the author.

Periodicals format 

Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publisher Date, Location (pp.). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Pub date, Location (pp.).

Omit any information that does not apply. 

MLA Works Cited: References and Formatting

Electronic sources format

Author. "Title." Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

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