Citation Guide: MLA (7th ed. 2009)

 

This guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. and provides only selected citation examples for common types of sources. For more detailed information please consult the print version of the handbook. Graduate students and professional writers might also need to consult the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd ed. PN 147 G444 2008.

  • Copies are available at SFU library, call number: LB 2369 G53 2009
  • You might want to buy your own copy at the SFU bookstore with which you can get online access by setting up a personal account.
  • For the best printing results, use the printer-friendly PDF format of this guide.

If you want to keep track of your references and formatting your bibliographies, consider using RefWorks. It is free for all students, faculty, alumni and staff. If you use bibliographic citation software (e.g., RefWorks or EndNote), you must ensure that information is entered accurately in order for the software to output results properly.

 

General notes: Parenthetical (In-text) citations | Works Cited | Additional MLA Web resources

How to cite:
Books | Online books | Chapters & Anthologies | Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
Print journal articles | Electronic journal articles | Magazine articles | Newspaper articles
Films & DVDs | Films online | Websites | Tweets
Indirect sources | Conference proceedings 
Lectures | Custom Courseware
Figures & Tables
Canadian Government documents


General Notes on MLA Style

  • The MLA citation style is generally used in the humanities (English, Philosophy, Music etc.).
  • MLA requires that the entire paper be double-spaced, including all the lines in the list of works cited (4.2, 5.3.2).
  • All pages of the paper, including the list of works cited, need to be numbered consecutively and must appear in the top right-hand corner of the page after your last name (4.4, 5.3.2).
  • You need to cite and document any sources that you have consulted, even if you presented the ideas from these sources in your own words (5.1). You need to cite:
    • to identify other people's ideas and information used within your essay
    • to inform the reader of your paper where they should look if they want to find the same sources
  • A citation must appear in two places in your paper:
    • in the body of your paper ("in-text citations")
    • in the list of works cited (at the end of your paper)
  • To introduce other people's ideas in your paper, use the following examples:
    • Richardson argues, refers to, explains, hypothesizes, compares, concludes
    • As Littlewood and Sherwin demonstrated, proved, ... etc.
    • The electoral system that was adopted in Germany after the Second World War combined majority decision rule and proportional representation (Wattenberg and Shugart 280).
  • Spelling. Use a standard English language dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary or Canadian Oxford Dictionary.

Parenthetical (In-Text) Citations

  • If you directly quote from, summarize or use the ideas or arguments from a book or article, then list the author's last name, followed by a space and the page number without any other punctuation (i.e., no commas) (6.1).
  • If you incorporate the author's name in the text of your paper, only provide the page number in parentheses (6.3).

    Forer states that "corporal punishment was employed as a legally imposed penalty in Colonial America" (142).

  • If a quotation is more than four lines when typed into your paper, begin the quotation double-spaced on a new line that is indented by 2.5cm (1 inch).  The quotation should be double-spaced. Do not use quotation marks. Also note that the period is placed before the parenthetical citation (3.7.2). For example:

At the conclusion of My Side of the Mountain, Sam realized how much he had

missed his family:

        Then I jumped in the air and laughed for joy. I recognized my four year-old

        brother's pleasure song. The family! Dad had brought the family! Every one

        of them. I ran, twisting, and turning through the trees like a Cooper's hawk,

        and occasionally riding a free fifty feet downhill on an aspen sapling. Dad

        gave me a resounding slap, and Mother hugged me until she cried. I led them

        proudly up the mountain. (George 175)

 

  • Many electronic sources do not provide page numbers. Sometimes the source will have paragraph numbers that you can use for your parenthetical citation. Use the abbreviation "par." for a single paragraph or "pars." for multiple paragraphs. Don't count paragraphs yourself if they are not indicated on the document (6.4.2).

Women talked of their aspirations relating to their clothes and of attempts

to create images, which were perceived as successful. (Martin par. 20)

 

  • If there are no page or paragraph numbers, the MLA guide recommends that you incorporate the name of the author in the text of your paper.  (e.g., Mitchell argues that there is a link between soda consumption and obesity). You may indicate in your paper an approximate location of the cited passage (e.g., In the final third of his article, Mitchell argues there is a link between soda consumption and obesity) (6.4.1-2).

  • If you cite multiple works by the same author, place a comma after the author's last name in the parenthetical (in-text) citation and add the title (in full or a shortened version if it is long) and the relevant page reference, e.g., (Foucault, History of Madness 125) (6.4.6).

Works Cited

  • At the end of your paper, you will list all your sources on a separate page entitled Works Cited (5.3.2).
  • The works cited list is arranged alphabetically by the author's last name. If there is no author, use the title of the source (5.3.3).
  • The works cited list is double-spaced throughout, both between and within entries. If a citation is more than one line, the second line is indented by 1.25 cm (0.5 inches) (5.3.2).
  • Use the format of the author's name as it appears on the title page of a work (e.g. "Mooney, Jayne," or "Danto, Arthur C.," or "Gibaldi, M. C.") (5.5.2).
  • The publisher's name can be shortened (e.g. "Allen," instead of "Allen & Unwin") (5.5.2, 7.5).
  • If more than one city of publication is listed in the book you are citing, use the first one listed (5.5.2).
  • If you do not know the date of publication, use the abbreviation "n.d." (5.5.24).
  • If you do not know the place of publication or the publisher use the abbreviation "n.p." (5.5.24).
  • Each entry of the works cited list contains the medium of publication consulted. This could be print (for print articles, books, and similar materials), web (for online content, including websites and information from databases such as Academic Search Premier and CBCA Complete), film, DVD, CD-ROM, MP3 file or other descriptive type. For information on the naming a medium of publication, consult the MLA Handbook, chapter 5 in the section that discusses your publication type.

How to cite...

Back to topBook - Single Author (5.5.2)
Parenthetical (in-text)

Caughie examines the confusion surrounding definitions of modernism in the humanities and social sciences (1).

(Danto 31)

Works Cited

 

Comments
  • Publisher's name can be shortened, e.g. "Allen," instead of "Allen & Unwin" (7.5).
  • Plays, poetry and some other types of literature have their own set of citation rules (see MLA Handbook: 6.4.8).
  • Include the word "Print" at the end of your entry, describing that the medium of the book is print (5.5.1).
  • If you are citing a work without page numbers, it is preferable to include the author's name and work in your essay instead of in a parenthetical reference (6.4.1).

 

  Back to topBook - Corporate (5.5.5)

Parenthetical  
(in-text)

(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 228)

A study prepared by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation analyzed [...] (228).

Works Cited  
Comments
  • A corporate author is an agency, body or organization that commissions a publication
    in its name.  The names of individual authors are not included on the publication's
    title page.
  • If the corporate author is also the publisher, then the corporate name must be
    included in the citation as publisher and author.
  • If the corporate author's name begins with an article such as The, A, or An, omit the
    article in the citation.
  • Include the word "Print" at the end of your entry, describing that the medium of the
    book is print (5.5.1).
  • If the author's name is long, it is better to include the name in the text, so that the flow
    of the writing is not interrupted (see the second example above) (6.4.5).
  • In parenthetical citations, shorten terms that are commonly abbreviated (e.g. Natl.
    Film Board) (6.4.5).

 

 

  Back to topBook - No Author or Editor (5.5.9)
Parenthetical
(in-text)
 (Book of Boy's Stories 20)
Works Cited  
Comments
  • In the list of works cited, alphabetize anonymous works by title (5.3.3).
  • Disregard articles (for example: The, A, And) when organizing your works cited list 
    (5.3.3).
  • Include the word "Print" at the end of your entry to show that the medium of the book
    is print (5.5.1).

 

 

  Back to topBook - Multiple Authors (5.5.4)
Parenthetical   
(in-text)

(Messenger and de Bruyn 305-09) (Two authors)

(Unsworth et al. 107) (More than three authors)

Works Cited

 

Comments
  • List the author's/editor's names in the order in which they are given on the book's
    title page.
  • The first author's name should be written in the inverse (e.g. Unsworth, Len).
  • The names of the other authors can be written in natural language (e.g. Angela
    Thomas).
  • If there are three authors or more, give the name of the first author in the inverse
    followed by "et al." or list all the authors' names in full in the order they appear on
    the book's title page.
  • Include the word "Print" at the end of your entry to show that the medium of the book
    is print (5.5.1).

 

Back to topBook Chapters and Works in Anthologies (Works by different authors) (5.5.6)
Parenthetical   (in-text)

(Irwin and Cressey 141-46)

Works Cited
Comments
  • If the book has a compiler instead of an editor, write "Comp." instead of "Ed." (5.3.4).
  • Include the word "Print" at the end of your entry, describing that the medium of the book is print (5.5.1).

  

Back to topEncyclopedias & Dictionaries, Print or Online (5.5.7, 5.6.2)
Parenthetical       
(in-text)

(Bergmann 502)

("Cronstedtite")

Works Cited        

Comments             
  • Citing an encyclopedia article or dictionary entry is similar to citing a chapter in an anthology (See 5.5.6).
  • Include the author's name (if available), the article or entry title, the title of the reference work and the medium of publication.
  • If the article or entry is unsigned, provide the title first.
  • If there is more than one entry for a specific word or if there are several definitions for a single word, include "Entry" or "Def." and the appropriate number to indicate which entry or definition the reader should consult.
  • If you are citing from a well-known reference work (e.g. Oxford English Dictionary), do not include full publication details - only include the edition, year of publication and medium of publication.
  • If you are citing a subject-specific or specialized reference work, include full publication details.
  • If you are citing an online encyclopedia article or dictionary entry, include the author's name (if available), the title of the reference work in italics, the publisher (this may be the same as the reference work), the date of
    publication, the medium of publication and the date of access.

 

 Back to topOnline Book (Entire / Chapter) (5.6.2)
 Parenthetical       
(in-text)

(Hartley 85)

(Cook 135)

Works Cited

 Comments
  • When citing an online book, include the same publication details as when citing a print book.  In addition, include in italics the title of the database or the website where the book was retrieved, the medium of publication ("Web") and the date of acess (day/month/year) (5.6.2c).
  • When citing a particular chapter, place the chapter title in quotation marks and between the author's name and the title of the book (see second example above) (3.6.3).
  • Only include a URL after the date of access if a source is particularly difficult to find or your instructor requires it (5.6.1).

 

Back to topArticle from Print Journal (5.4.2)
Parenthetical (in-text) (Newmeyer 663)
Works Cited
Comments
  • If the journal has only issue numbers and no volume numbers, then cite the issue number alone (5.4.3).
  • If a journal name begins with The, A, or An, then omit that initial article when citing the journal.
  • Include the word "Print" after the page numbers in your entry, describing that the medium of the journal is print (5.4.1).

 

Back to topArticle in a Weekly or Monthly Magazine, Print or Online (5.4.6, 5.6.4)
Parenthetical (in-text) (Ackerman 18-19)
Works Cited


 

Comments
  • Give the complete date (date/month/year) for magazines published weekly or every few weeks (as in the first example) or give the month and year of a magazine published every month or few months (5.4.6).
  • If no author's name is given, begin the entry with the title (5.3.3).
  • If a magazine's name begins with The, A, or An, omit that initial article when citing the magazine (5.4.2).
  • Do not provide the volume and issue numbers of a magazine, even if they are printed in the magazine (5.4.6).
  • Month short forms: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec (7.2).
  • Include the word "Print" after the page numbers in your entry, if the medium of the journal is print (5.4.1).
  • If you retrieved the article from a library database (such as CBCA Complete or MasterFILE Premier), include the name of the database in italics, the word "Web" and the date you accessed the article (5.6.4).

 

Back to topNewspaper Article, Print or Online (5.4.5, 5.6.4)
Parenthetical (in-text)

(Kingston C6)

("Byword" A10)  News article with no author

Works Cited

Comments
  • If there is no author, use the title (shorten, if necessary) in place of the author (5.3.3).
  • If the article is on consecutive pages, specify the page range (e.g. 4-6). If not (for example, if the article begins on page 5 and continues on page 15), follow the first page number by a plus sign (e.g. 5+) (5.4.5).
  • Do not use introductory articles when citing newspapers (e.g. Vancouver Sun not The Vancouver Sun). The name of the city must either be in the newspaper title or added to the title in square brackets (e.g., Telegraph-Journal [Saint John]; Province [Vancouver]), unless the paper is published nationally (5.4.5).
  • Month short forms: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. (7.2).
  • Specify the edition if indicated (e.g. "natl. ed."; "late ed.") (5.4.5).
  • Include the word "Print" after the page numbers in your entry, if the medium of the newspaper is print (5.4.1).
  • If you retrieved the article from a library database (such as Canadian Newsstand or PressDisplay), include the name of the database in italics, the word "Web" and the date you accessed the article (5.6.4).

 

Back to topJournal Article - Online Version (5.6.4)
Retrieved full-text from a database that the library subscribes to (e.g. Academic Search Premier, CBCA)
Parenthetical (in-text)

(Morcillo 158)

(Warren 185)
 

Works Cited
Comments
  • Begin to cite a work from an online database by following the recommendations for citing it in print (5.4), but do not include the word "Print."  Then add the name of the database in italics (e.g. Academic Search Premier, JSTOR), the word "Web" and the date of access.
  • If there are no page numbers, write "n.pag." in place of page numbers.

 

Back to topArticle - In an Internet-Only Journal (5.6.3)
Parenthetical (in-text)

(Tschaepe 72)
 

Works Cited
Comments
  • "Internet-only journals" exist independently, which means that there are no exact printed copies of articles.
  • Begin to cite an internet-only journal article by following the recommendations for citing a print journal article (5.4), but do not include the word "Print." Then, add the word "Web" and the date of access (5.6.4).
  • If there are no page or paragraph numbers, the MLA guide recommends that you incorporate the name of the author in the text of your paper. Or you may cite author's name in parentheses without a page or paragraph number, if you prefer. In the Works Cited use the abbreviation "n. pag" (6.4.1).
  • If the online article has paragraph or section numbers, use the abbreviations "par." or "sec." (e.g. Manning par.4). Do not count paragraphs yourself if they are not indicated in the document (6.4.2).
  • If there is no author, use the title instead (5.3.3).

 

Back to topWebsite (5.6.1, 5.6.2)
Parenthetical (in-text)

Quinion explains that this use of the phrase is not redundant.

(Whimfield)

Works Cited

 

Comments
  • When citing a website in Works Cited, provide as much as possible of the following information (5.6.2):
    • Author's name. If no author is listed, start with the title of the document.
    • Title of the document (in quotation marks or italicized)
    • Title of the overall website (italicized, if distinct from the title of the document).
    • Publisher or sponsor of the site; if not available, use "N.p."
    • Date of publication; if not available, use "n.d."
  • Include the word "Web" after the publisher/N.p., describing that the medium of the site is the web (5.6.2).
  • Include the date of access (5.6.2).
  • If there are no page or paragraph numbers, the MLA guide recommends that you incorporate the name of the author in the text of your paper. Or you may cite author's name in parentheses without a page or paragraph number, if you prefer. In the Works Cited use the abbreviation "n. pag" (6.4.1).
  • Include a URL only if the site is too difficult to find without it, or if an instructor requires it. Only break a URL between two lines after a single or double slash.  Do not use a hyphen to connect the URL between the two lines (5.6.1).

 

Back to topFilm or DVD (5.7.3, 6.4.1)
Parenthetical        (in-text)

If possible, incorporate the title of the film or video in the text of your research paper, instead of using a parenthetical reference. For example:

 Ichikawa's Burmese Harp, narrating the experience of Japanese soldiers stationed in Burma during the Second World War, was one of the first films to depict the wartime experience from the perspective of the Japanese army.

Works Cited

Comments
  • It is not necessary to list performers, but performers or producers can be included if it seems relevant (5.7.3).
  • Include the original release date for a DVD or videocassette (5.7.3).
  • Include the medium after the latest date in the citation. Mediums include: film, DVD, videocassette, laser disc, etc. (5.7.3).
  • For a television or radio program see 5.7.1
  • Sound recordings, see 5.7.2
  • Interviews, see 5.7.7

 

Back to topOnline Film or Film Clip (e.g. YouTube Video) (5.6.2b, 6.4.1)
Parenthetical         (in-text)                                  

If possible, incorporate the title of the film or video in the text of your research paper, instead of using a parenthetical reference (6.4.1). For example:

This concept is demonstrated in the film "Hurricane Katrina: The Drive."

Works Cited
Comments
  • If no author is listed, start with the title of the document in the list of works cited (5.3.3).
  • If no publisher or sponsor of the site is available, use "N.p." (5.6.2b).
  • Include a URL only if the site is too difficult to find without it, or if an instructor requires it. If a URL must be divided between two lines, break it only after the double slashes or a single slash. Do not introduce a hyphen at the break  (5.6.1).
  • Include the word "Web" after the publisher/N.p., describing that the medium of the site is the web (5.6.2b).
  • The first date listed is the date the film was published online. The second date listed is the date you accessed it (5.6.2b).

 

Back to topIndirect Source (6.4.7)
Parenthetical          (in-text)

As Marcel Proust reminisced: "There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those . . . we spent with a favourite book (qtd. in Wolf, 6).1

Works Cited
Comments
  • Cite the indirect (secondary) source, i.e. the one you have in hand ("Wolf").
  • The source that has been cited is called the original source.
  • "qtd." stands for "quoted."
  • You may document the original source ("Proust") in a footnote; provide a number for a footnote (6.5.1), e.g.:
  • 1See Marcel Proust, On Reading (New York: Macmillan, 1971), 3, qtd. in Wolf, 6.
  • If you create a footnote for the original source, you will also need to create an entry for the original source in the list of Works Cited.

 

Back to topConference Proceedings, Print or Electronic (5.5.6, 5.5.21)

Parenthetical          (in-text)             

(Brewin, Paul, and Monita 19)

(10th International Workshop)

Works Cited

Comments
  • When citing a published conference proceeding in your paper, provide the same information as when citing a book but also include additional information such as the title and date of the conference (5.5.21).
  • If citing a single presentation at a conference, provide the author and title of the presentation and details about the conference proceedings in the same format as citing a chapter in a book (see the third example above) (5.5.6).
  • If you are citing an anonymous work, use the title of the work (or an abbreviated form of it) in the parenthetical (in-text) citation and alphabetize by the title of the work in the Works Cited list (5.3.3, 6.4.4).

 

Back to topLecture, Speech, Reading or Address (5.7.11)
Parenthetical         (in-text)                         

(Crespi)

In his discussion of the evolution and nature of the fossil record, Professor Dunlop emphasized. . . .

Works Cited

Comments
  • When citing an oral presentation, like a class lecture, give the speaker's name, the title of the presentation in quotation marks, if known, the name of the sponsoring organization, the location and the date.
  • Provide a descriptive label (Address, Lecture, Keynote speech, Reading) to indicate the type of presentation after the date.
  • If you are citing a class lecture, provide the lecture title in quotation marks after the professor's name, the course name and course number after the lecture title and add the word "Class lecture" after the date.
  • If your class lecture does not have a title, provide the course name and course number after the professor's name and write "Class lecture" (without quotation marks) after the date. 

  

Back to topTables and Figures (4.5)

Citation          immediately      below table                                         

Citation immediately below figure
 Comments
  • When including a table in your paper, label and number the table (e.g. Table 1, Table 2) and provide a title for the table that is descriptive of the table's content.  Include the source of the table in a caption.
  • All other illustrative visual material (e.g., a picture, map, graph or chart)  except musical illustrations included in your paper should be labeled "Fig," assigned a number and given a caption.
  •  If complete bibliographical information about the source of the table or illustration is provided in the caption, and the source is not mentioned in your paper, you do not need to include an entry for the source in the list of works cited.
  • Musical illustrations are labeled "Ex." instead of 'Fig."
  • Cite tables and figures according to regular MLA rules except:
    • Use commas instead of periods when citing tables and figures, except for the period at the end of the citation.
    • Format the author's name with the given name before the family name, (e.g. Mia Fuller, not Fuller, Mia).
    • Put publication information and page numbers for books in parentheses - (location: publisher, year; print; #).

 

Back to topCustom Courseware

 

 

 

 

Comments

Custom Courseware packages are compilations of journal articles, book chapters and other materials selected by your instructor. The MLA manual does not give specific advice about citing these materials, so you will have to use your judgment and come up with your own solution.                                                                                         

If you need to cite a source from a Custom Courseware package, here are two suggestions. However, our strong recommendation is to first check with your instructor.

1. Find the full citation where the article, chapter, etc. was originally published, and cite accordingly. The full citations may be included on the first page of the coursepack. If not, search a relevant database or the library catalogue, or ask a librarian.

2. Treat the Courseware package as an anthology, and the instructor who did the compilation as a book editor/compiler. Therefore, treat the article, chapter, etc. as if it was part of an anthology, or edited book. Most probably you will not have the page numbers, since the Custom Courseware is not a true publication and is not paginated throughout. You will also have to include the name of the compiler, the title of the Courseware, the name of the course (e.g. CMNS 210), the semester (e.g. Spring 2006) and the publisher ( Simon Fraser University). Bear in mind that someone trying to find the article/chapter from a coursepack you cited might not have access to the same coursepack.

 

Back to topMLA Web Resources
  • FAQ page on the MLA site that includes helpful citation information and minor corrections to the Handbook.

Several of these online guides, though helpful, nevertheless vary in terms of how they cite sources. Please keep this in mind while consulting these other online guides.

 

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