The MLA citation style is widely used in the humanities. The following examples are based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (6th ed. 2003), but the underlining of titles is replaced by the use of italics in accordance with the preferred style of the Humanities departments at the University of Canterbury. In the context of using EndNote, this local style is referred to MLA-italics.
- brief citations in parentheses linked to an alphabetical list of references cited.
- date not usually included in parenthetical reference.
- no p. or pp. for page numbers
- book and journal titles are either underlined or in italics
- author's name in full
- every important word in title is capitalised
- publication dates at end
- first line of entry flush with margin, second and subsequent lines are indented
The intext citation contains the basic information: the author of the source and the page number(s).
If possible, introduce the author's name in the sentence. Give page numbers in parentheses.
Place the parentheses where there would naturally be a pause, usually at the end of the sentence, and preceding the full-stop at the end of that sentence eg
Author mentioned in text:
Jones emphasises this point (156-7).
Author mentioned only in reference:
This point has been emphasised (Jones 156-7).
Material found in indirect source:
Greenwood supports this view (in Jones 66).
Your essay should conclude with a bibliography, or full list of works consulted, using the following layout:
Books with one author
Winterson, Jeanette. Oranges are not the only fruit. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987.
Books with 2 to 3 authors
Reverse the name of the first author only.
Kuiper, Koenraad and W. Scott Allan. An introduction to English language: word, sound, and sentence. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
Books with more than 3 authors
The name of the first author should be given, followed by et al ("and others") eg Quirk, Randolph, et al.
give all names in full, in the order in which they appear on the title page.
Book prepared by an editor
Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. Ed. Claudia Johnson. New York: Norton, 2001.
Hildegard of Bingen. Selected writings. Trans. Mark Atherton. New York: Penguin, 2001.
Book Chapters and Sections
Essay published in a collection
Mancoff, Debra N. "To Take Excalibur: King Arthur and the Construction of Victorian Manhood". King Arthur: A Casebook, ed. Edward D. Kennedy. New York: Garland, 1996. 257-80.
Work in an Anthology
Wendt, Albert. "The balloonfish and the Armadillo." The Picador Book of Contemporary New Zealand Fiction. Ed. Fergus Barrowman. 153-169.
Introduction, Forward, or Preface
Drabble, Margaret. Introduction to Middlemarch, by George Eliot. New York, Bantam, 1985. vii-xvii.
Work published as part of a multi-volume series
Ruskin, John. The stones of Venice. In Works, vols 9-11.
_______. The Works of John Ruskin, ed. E.T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. 39 vols. London: George Allen, 1903-12.
[Also an example of citing another work by the same author]
Frequently updated, well-known reference title: brief
"Noon." Def. 4b. The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd. ed. 1989.
[Also illustrates choice of one particular definition]
Specialised /lesser known reference title: in full
"Epic ". Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Article from an online encyclopedia
"Canterbury Tales, The." The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Ed. Margaret Drabble. Oxford University Press, 2000. Oxford Reference Online. 11 July 2005. <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t113.e1296>
Entry from Grove Music Online
Talbot, Michael. "Vivaldi, Antonio." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 18 Jan. 2010. <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/40120>.
Entry from the OED Online
"magazine, n." OED Online. June 2003. Oxford University Press. 10 Dec. 2004 <http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/00299371>.
(The first date is the OED entry date, the second is the access date)
Enclose the title of the article in quotation marks. Italicise the title of the journal. NB: Issue numbers are only needed if the part numbers are individually paginated.
Mayer, Jed. "Germinating Memory: Hardy and Evolutionary Biology." Victorian Review 26.1 (2000): 82-97.
Barnard, Rita. "Dream topographies: J.M. Coezee and the South African Pastoral." South Atlantic Quarterly 93.1 (1994): 33-58. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey Hunter. Vol. 117. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 65-74.
Film, DVD or video recording
Jackson, Peter, et al. The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring. Special extended DVD ed. United States: New Line Home Entertainment : New Line Cinema, 2002.
Macrae-Gibson, O. D. "Christ and Satan." The Complete Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Poetry. 14 July 2005. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/ascp/>.
NB These examples use standard MLA style with underlined titles, rather than the italicised titles used elsewhere on this page.
MLA Citation Style -Cornell University
Includes summary of what is new in MLA 6th edition and FAQs
From University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center
Sample MLA paper (pdf)