The MLA system uses in-text citations rather than footnotes or endnotes. The citations in-text are very brief, usually just the author's family name and a relevant page number. These citations correspond to the full references in the list of works cited at the end of the document.
Instructions and examples in this MLA guide are based on more detailed information in:
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA handbook for writers of research papers. 7th ed. New York : Modern Language Association of America, 2009.
In-text references - general points
- If the author's name is mentioned in the sentence, only cite the page number (see Author prominent citation below).
- Font and capitalisation must match that in the reference list.
- Long quotations (more than three lines) should be indented.
- If you are citing more than one reference at the same point in a document, separate the references with a semicolon eg (Smith 150; Jackson 41).
- If the work has no author use the title.
- If you are citing two works by the same author, put a comma after the author's name and add title words. eg (Smyth, "Memories of Motherhood" 77) to distinguish between them in the in-text citation. Do this when citing each of the sources throughout the piece of writing.
- If two authors have the same surname, use their first initial eg (G. Brown 26)
Reference list - general points
- The recommended heading for the reference list is Works Cited, which should be centred.
- Each reference should be formatted with double-spacing and a hanging indent (see Sample reference list below).
- Capitalise the first word of the title or subtitle, and all other significant words.
- Author's names should be listed with full forenames if known.
- The name of the first author is inverted to list the family name first. If there are additional authors their names are not inverted.
- If you cite more than one work by the same author, give the names in the first entry only. Thereafter, use three hyphens instead of the name, eg ---.
- If a reference does not have an author, list it by title. Ignore the leading article (A, The etc.) when inserting the reference into the alphabetical works cited list.
How to create a hanging indent
It is necessary to creat a hanging indent when you are compiling your Works Cited list in MLA format.
These instructions are for MS Word 2010.