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ENGL 126 Writing: Humanities ONLINE (Moreno): Citing Sources with MLA

This guide is for students enrolled in Michael Moreno's ONLINEnglish 126 Fall 2016

Why Cite Sources?

Why Cite Sources?

Avoid Plagiarizing: You must cite any direct quotation, summary, or paraphrase of any idea or fact from your research. Citing sources is giving credit to the original author and publication where you found the information. Not citing sources is plagiarism and you may be subject to academic discipline.

Lend Authority to Your Paper: By referencing the work of scholars and other professionals, you demonstrate that your own research is based on solid, reliable information and that you are capable of critical thinking by being able to synthesize that research into your own.

Provide a Path: By citing sources, you provide the information readers of your paper need in order to locate the same sources that you did.

Acknowledge Other's Work: Part of your research is built upon the research of other people. It is respectful and fair to give them credit for their hard work (just as you would hope someone would give you credit if they were quoting your own work!)

MLA Citation Style

MLA Citation Style

MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is used in Literature, Arts, and Humanities disciplines. Always consult your assignment or ask your instructor for the correct citation style to use

MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics



  • When you paraphrase information or directly quote from a source, you must cite the source within the body of your paper
  • All in-text citations must point to full citations that you include on the References page at the end of your paper

Using "Containers" to build citations in MLA

The new edition of MLA has one standard citation format that applies to every source type. Additionally, citations no longer indicate format. Instead, in the new MLA style, citations are built around the concept of containers. So what is a container?

A website, a book, a journal, and a newspaper are all examples of containers, because each contains content. You can have containers within containers too. It may sound complicated, but use the formula and fill in the information you have for a source and you'll soon have a citation. In the blue chart here, you can see the formula with some examples.

Below is a link to an MLA practice template that you can print and use to help you create citations. 

MLA Formula

Basic Formula For MLA Works Cited Citations
Include as much of the following as possible:
Author. Title of Source. Title of Container, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location. Date Accessed.

Author. Last Name, rest of name as presented in the source.
Title of Source. Put name of source in italics. **However, if citing an article or part of the source, put that tile in quotation marks with no italics: "Article Name."
Title of Container, Title of the whole source (if and only if you have cited an article of part of a whole source. Ex. book chapter)
Other Contributors, Example: Edited by,
Version, Example: 7th ed.
Number, Any numbered sequence. Example: vol. 3, no. 7,)
Publisher, (none required for articles)
Publication Date, Date as given on source with the following style: day, month (abbreviated). year,. Example: 8 Sep. 2019,
**Use a season, if given. Example: Spring 2020,

For a book or book chapter, list chapter pages. Example: pp.250-259
For an article from a database, after page numbers list name of database and DOI. Example: pp. 190-203. ProQuest, doi:10.3149/jmh.1203.195. (if no "doi" include URL without "https://)

Access Date. Date you retrieved the source or last viewed a web page. Optional for electronic sources.

Automatic Citation Generator

NoodleTools Citation Generator

image of the NoodleTools logo

Access online tutorials using the links below:

Quick Guide - MLA

Looking for information about the older, 7th edition of the MLA Citation Style?
Contact a librarian using the link below for more information.