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Citation Guide (MLA 8th Edition): Core Elements

Core Elements

The core elements of any entry in the Works Cited list are shown in the chart below. The core elements are in the order in which they should appear, followed by the appropriate punctuation mark. If an element cannot be found or does not apply to the source being cited, omit that element from the entry. End the entry with a period.

Each core element is explained in detail with examples on its own page under the Works Cited Entries Core Elements dropdown menu.

MLA Core Elements with Punctuation

Image credit: Modern Language Association. MLA core elements. 2016, www.mla.org/MLA-Style/What-s-New-in-the-Eighth-Edition.

Commonly Used Terms

Access Date: The date you first look at a source. The access date is added to the end of citations for all websites except library databases.

Citation: Details about one cited source.

Citing: The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.

Container: Name of the larger entity holding smaller containers where you found your source. Containers may include: newspaper, research database, web site, and book anthology. Citations may include multiple containers, such as when you cite an article from an academic journal found in Opposing Viewpoints in Context. (see also When Is a Website a Container?)

In-Text Citation: A brief note at the point where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Works Cited List.

Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.

Plagiarism: Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.

Quoting: The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.

Works Cited List: Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.

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