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Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition) UNDER CONSTRUCTION

How to cite sources according to MLA
This page has been updated to MLA 9


Layout of potential core elements.

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle. Supplemental Elements. Title of 1st Container, Contributor, Version or edition, Number, Publisher Name, Publication Date, Pages. Title of 2nd Container, Contributor, Version or edition, Number, Publisher Name, Publication Date, Pages. Supplemental Elements.

NOTE: You do NOT need to use all of these elements for every source. Use the ones that are relevant to your source.

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 9 Core Elements with Punctuation

Image credit: Modern Language Association. "Works Cited: A Quick Guide." MLA Style Center, Accessed 6 Jan. 2023.


General Rules

  • Use periods to distinguish between author, title, container information, and supplemental elements
  • Use commas bewteen elements within a container
  • Titles of published works are italicized
  • Titles of unpublished works and descriptions are not italcized
  • Be consistent
  • Follow the directions given by your faculty


  • There are so many
  • Refer to MLA Handbook for specific cases
    • Titles: refer to sections 2.106 to 2.125 and 5.23 to 5.30 for guidance
    • Names: refer to sections 2.71 to 2.88 and 5.3 to 5.22 for guidance

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 so that you (or your readers) can find the source. Format is structured.

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. Citations may include multiple containers, such as when you cite an article from an academic journal found in Gale in Context: Opposing. (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 an in-text citation.

Works Cited List

Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise. Arrange entries in alphabetical order.

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