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MLA Formatting and Style Guide

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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

The following overview should help you better understand how to cite sources using MLA  9 th edition, including how to format the Works Cited page and in-text citations.

Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in MLA. See also our MLA vidcast series on the Purdue OWL YouTube Channel .


Creating a Works Cited list using the ninth edition

MLA is a style of documentation that may be applied to many different types of writing. Since texts have become increasingly digital, and the same document may often be found in several different sources, following a set of rigid rules no longer suffices.

Thus, the current system is based on a few guiding principles, rather than an extensive list of specific rules. While the handbook still describes how to cite sources, it is organized according to the process of documentation, rather than by the sources themselves. This gives writers a flexible method that is near-universally applicable.

Once you are familiar with the method, you can use it to document any type of source, for any type of paper, in any field.

Here is an overview of the process:

When deciding how to cite your source, start by consulting the list of core elements. These are the general pieces of information that MLA suggests including in each Works Cited entry. In your citation, the elements should be listed in the following order:

Each element should be followed by the corresponding punctuation mark shown above. Earlier editions of the handbook included the place of publication and required different punctuation (such as journal editions in parentheses and colons after issue numbers) depending on the type of source. In the current version, punctuation is simpler (only commas and periods separate the elements), and information about the source is kept to the basics.

Begin the entry with the author’s last name, followed by a comma and the rest of the name, as presented in the work. End this element with a period.

Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. Routledge, 1994.

Title of source

The title of the source should follow the author’s name. Depending upon the type of source, it should be listed in italics or quotation marks.

A book should be in italics:

Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House . MacMurray, 1999.

An individual webpage should be in quotation marks. The name of the parent website, which MLA treats as a "container," should follow in italics:

Lundman, Susan. "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow, www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html.*

A periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper) article should be in quotation marks:

Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature , vol. 15, no. 1, 1996, pp. 41-50.

A song or piece of music on an album should be in quotation marks. The name of the album should then follow in italics:

Beyoncé. "Pray You Catch Me." Lemonade, Parkwood Entertainment, 2016, www.beyonce.com/album/lemonade-visual-album/.

*The MLA handbook recommends including URLs when citing online sources. For more information, see the “Optional Elements” section below.

Title of container

The eighth edition of the MLA handbook introduced what are referred to as "containers," which are the larger wholes in which the source is located. For example, if you want to cite a poem that is listed in a collection of poems, the individual poem is the source, while the larger collection is the container. The title of the container is usually italicized and followed by a comma, since the information that follows next describes the container.

Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.

The container may also be a television series, which is made up of episodes.

“94 Meetings.” Parks and Recreation, created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, performance by Amy Poehler, season 2, episode 21, Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, 2010.

The container may also be a website, which contains articles, postings, and other works.

Wise, DeWanda. “Why TV Shows Make Me Feel Less Alone.”  NAMI,  31 May 2019,  www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/May-2019/How-TV-Shows-Make-Me-Feel-Less-Alone . Accessed 3 June 2019.

In some cases, a container might be within a larger container. You might have read a book of short stories on Google Books , or watched a television series on Netflix . You might have found the electronic version of a journal on JSTOR. It is important to cite these containers within containers so that your readers can find the exact source that you used.

“94 Meetings.” Parks and Recreation , season 2, episode 21, NBC , 29 Apr. 2010. Netflix, www.netflix.com/watch/70152031?trackId=200256157&tctx=0%2C20%2C0974d361-27cd-44de-9c2a-2d9d868b9f64-12120962.

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal , vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest, doi:10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

Other contributors

In addition to the author, there may be other contributors to the source who should be credited, such as editors, illustrators, translators, etc. If their contributions are relevant to your research, or necessary to identify the source, include their names in your documentation.

Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Translated by Richard Howard , Vintage-Random House, 1988.

Woolf, Virginia. Jacob’s Room . Annotated and with an introduction by Vara Neverow, Harcourt, Inc., 2008.

If a source is listed as an edition or version of a work, include it in your citation.

The Bible . Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.

Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. 3rd ed., Pearson, 2004.

If a source is part of a numbered sequence, such as a multi-volume book or journal with both volume and issue numbers, those numbers must be listed in your citation.

Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/60/362. Accessed 20 May 2009.

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980.

The publisher produces or distributes the source to the public. If there is more than one publisher, and they are all are relevant to your research, list them in your citation, separated by a forward slash (/).

Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine. 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive, www.artchive.com/artchive/K/klee/twittering_machine.jpg.html. Accessed May 2006.

Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System . American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006.

Daniels, Greg and Michael Schur, creators. Parks and Recreation . Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, 2015.

Note : The publisher’s name need not be included in the following sources: periodicals, works published by their author or editor, websites whose titles are the same name as their publisher, websites that make works available but do not actually publish them (such as  YouTube ,  WordPress , or  JSTOR ).

Publication date

The same source may have been published on more than one date, such as an online version of an original source. For example, a television series might have aired on a broadcast network on one date, but released on  Netflix  on a different date. When the source has more than one date, it is sufficient to use the date that is most relevant to your writing. If you’re unsure about which date to use, go with the date of the source’s original publication.

In the following example, Mutant Enemy is the primary production company, and “Hush” was released in 1999. Below is a general citation for this television episode:

“Hush.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer , created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, Mutant Enemy, 1999 .

However, if you are discussing, for example, the historical context in which the episode originally aired, you should cite the full date. Because you are specifying the date of airing, you would then use WB Television Network (rather than Mutant Enemy), because it was the network (rather than the production company) that aired the episode on the date you’re citing.

“Hush.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, WB Television Network, 14 Dec. 1999 .

You should be as specific as possible in identifying a work’s location.

An essay in a book or an article in a journal should include page numbers.

Adiche, Chimamanda Ngozi. “On Monday of Last Week.” The Thing around Your Neck, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, pp. 74-94 .

The location of an online work should include a URL.  Remove any "http://" or "https://" tag from the beginning of the URL.

Wheelis, Mark. "Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention." Emerging Infectious Diseases , vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/00-0607_article. Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.

When citing a physical object that you experienced firsthand, identify the place of location.

Matisse, Henri. The Swimming Pool. 1952, Museum of Modern Art, New York .

Optional elements

The ninth edition is designed to be as streamlined as possible. The author should include any information that helps readers easily identify the source, without including unnecessary information that may be distracting. The following is a list of optional elements that can be included in a documented source at the writer’s discretion.

Date of original publication:

If a source has been published on more than one date, the writer may want to include both dates if it will provide the reader with necessary or helpful information.

Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. 1984. Perennial-Harper, 1993.

City of publication:

The seventh edition handbook required the city in which a publisher is located, but the eighth edition states that this is only necessary in particular instances, such as in a work published before 1900. Since pre-1900 works were usually associated with the city in which they were published, your documentation may substitute the city name for the publisher’s name.

Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions . Boston, 1863.

Date of access:

When you cite an online source, the MLA Handbook recommends including a date of access on which you accessed the material, since an online work may change or move at any time.

Bernstein, Mark. "10 Tips on Writing the Living Web." A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 16 Aug. 2002, alistapart.com/article/writeliving. Accessed 4 May 2009.

As mentioned above, while the MLA handbook recommends including URLs when you cite online sources, you should always check with your instructor or editor and include URLs at their discretion.

A DOI, or digital object identifier, is a series of digits and letters that leads to the location of an online source. Articles in journals are often assigned DOIs to ensure that the source is locatable, even if the URL changes. If your source is listed with a DOI, use that instead of a URL.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. "Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates." Environmental Toxicology , vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library, doi: 10.1002/tox.20155.

Creating in-text citations using the previous (eighth) edition

Although the MLA handbook is currently in its ninth edition, some information about citing in the text using the older (eighth) edition is being retained. The in-text citation is a brief reference within your text that indicates the source you consulted. It should properly attribute any ideas, paraphrases, or direct quotations to your source, and should direct readers to the entry in the Works Cited list. For the most part, an in-text citation is the  author’s name and the page number (or just the page number, if the author is named in the sentence) in parentheses :

When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference. For example: (00:02:15-00:02:35).

Again, your goal is to attribute your source and provide a reference without interrupting your text. Your readers should be able to follow the flow of your argument without becoming distracted by extra information.

How to Cite the Purdue OWL in MLA

Entire Website

The Purdue OWL . Purdue U Writing Lab, 2019.

Individual Resources

Contributors' names. "Title of Resource." The Purdue OWL , Purdue U Writing Lab, Last edited date.

The new OWL no longer lists most pages' authors or publication dates. Thus, in most cases, citations will begin with the title of the resource, rather than the developer's name.

"MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL, Purdue U Writing Lab. Accessed 18 Jun. 2018.

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MLA Citation Style Quick-Guide

This quick-guide is for the new, 8th edition of MLA issued in June 2016.

MLA Works Cited Page Sources contain the following core elements:

The following are examples of entries for some sources you may use in your research:


Author Last name, First. Title of Book . Version, Publisher, Publication date.

One author:

Toffler, Alvin. The Third Wave . Bantam, 1981.

Two authors: Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination . Yale UP, 1979.

Three or more authors: Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition . Utah State UP, 2004.


Last name, First name, editor. Title . Publisher, Publication date.

Nunberg, Geoffrey, editor. The Future of the Book . U of California P, 1996.


Author Last name, First. “Essay title.” Book Title , edited by First name, Last name, Publisher, Publication date, Location. Twain, Mark. “Corn-Pone Opinions.” The Best American Essays of the Century , edited by Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Atwan, Houghton Mifflin, 2000, pp. 1-5.

ARTICLE IN A PRINT SCHOLARLY JOURNAL (OR MAGAZINE) (not obtained from a database):

Mizejeweski, Linda. “Feminism, Post-feminism, Liz Lemonism: Comedy and Gender Politics on 30 Rock.” Genders , vol. 55, no. 3, 2012, pp. 13-20.


Author Last Name, First. “Article Title.” Newspaper Title , Publication date, Location. Jeromack, Paul. “This Once, a David of the Art World Does Goliath a Favor.” New York Times , 13 July 2002, pp. 30-39.


Author Last Name, First. “Article Title.” Newspaper Title , Publication date, Location.

Samuelson, Robert J. “Are You a ‘Work Martyr’?’” Washington Post . 19 June 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/are-you-a-work-martyr/2016/06/19/d4cb30e8-34a2-11e6-8758- d58e76e11b12_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d%3Ahomepage%2Fstory.


Author Last name, First. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal , Volume number, Issue number, Publication date, Location. Database, DOI (preferred) or URL (without http://)

Hensley, Jeffrey. “Trinity and freedom: A response to Molnar.” Scottish Journal of Theology , vol. 61, no. 1, 2008, pp. 83-95. ProQuest, doi: dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0036930607003857


Author Last name, First. “Title of Page.” Title of Site , Publication Date, URL (without http://), Date accessed.

Hollmichel, Stefanie. “The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print.” So Many Books , 2003-13, www.somanybooksblog.com/2013.04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-print/. Accessed 17 June 2016.


Last Name, First name, editors [if given]. Title of Site . Name of sponsoring institution or organization, URL (without http://). Date accessed.

Disney Channel . The Walt Disney Company, www.disneychannel.disney.com. Accessed 20 June 2016. GOVERNMENT, CORPORATE, OR ORGANIZATION WEB SITE:

Largest entity, smaller entity, smallest entity. Title of Website , Organization or Agency, URL (without http://). Date Accessed. United States, Congress, House of Representatives. The United States House of Representatives, www.house.gov. Accessed 20 June 2016.


Author Last name, First. “Subject line of e-mail.” Received by First name Last name, Date.

Brown, Barry. “Virtual Reality.” Received by Mitch Bernstein, 25 Jan. 2006.


Author Last name, First name, role. Title of Television Show , Production Company, Year TV show began. Kuzui, Fran Rubel, director. Buffy the Vampire Slayer , Twentieth Century Fox, 1992.


Episode Title. Television Show , created by, performance by, Season #, Episode #, Production company, Year aired. “Hush.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer , created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1999.

Note : If generally referencing a television episode, you do not need to put creator or performer in the citation. On the other hand, if you’re focusing specifically on a director or performer throughout a television show, include name of director or performer at beginning of citation.


Episode Title. Television Show , Season #, Episode #, Publisher, Date originally aired. Streaming site, URL (without http://). “Under the Gun.” Pretty Little Liars , season 4, episode 6, ABC Family, 16 July 2013. Hulu, www.hulu.com/watch/511318.

Author Last name, First. Title of Artwork.  Year, Museum Name (if applicable), Location.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie. Chair of Stained Oak.  1897-1900, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


Author Last name, First. "Title of Song." Title of Album , Production Company, Publication date, URL (without http://). Beyoncé. “Pretty Hurts.” Beyoncé , Parkwood Entertainment, 2013, www.beyonce.com/album/beyonce/?media_view=songs

MLA In-Text Citations

Below are examples of how to write your in-text citations when you present an idea in your paper that is not your own. You should include in-text citations for summaries, paraphrases, and quotations. All in-text citations should correspond to a citation on your Works Cited page.

A “signal phrase” introduces a quotation in order to help the reader understand why it is important and how it fits into the rest of the paper. In the first example below, “Robertson maintains that...” is the signal phrase.


If the author is named while introducing the quotation, or if the author can be easily assumed from surrounding material (as is often the case in literature papers), then only a page number is necessary in your citation:

Quotation :

Robertson maintains that “in the appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the observer is of primary importance...” (136).

Paraphrase :

According to Alvin Toffler, there have been two periods of revolutionary change in history: the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution (10).


It may be true that “in the appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the observer is of primary importance...” (Robertson 136).

There have been two periods of revolutionary change in history: the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution (Toffler 10).


In Double Vision, Northrop Frye claims that one’s death is not a unique experience, for “every moment we have lived through, we have also died out of into another order” (85).

The above example includes the article title in the signal phrase, and therefore only a page number is necessary in the citation. In the example below, the title of the article is not used, and so a recognizable abbreviation of the title belongs within the citation.

For Northrop Frye, one’s death is not a unique experience, for “every moment we have lived through, we have also died out of into another order ( Double Vision 85).


Author Unknown:

Use the complete title in the signal phrase or an abbreviated title in the citation: (“Trinity and freedom” 2).

Page Number Unknown: If the page number is unknown, omit it from your in-text citation: (Smith).

The following source was referenced: Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook. 8th ed. MLA, 2016.

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MLA Handbook , 9th Edition

The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook , published in spring 2021, builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements—facts common to most sources, like author, title, and publication date—that allows writers to cite any type of work, from books, e-books, and journal articles in databases to song lyrics, online images, social media posts, dissertations, and more. With this focus on source evaluation as the cornerstone of citation, MLA style promotes the skills of information and digital literacy so crucial today. The new edition offers

The MLA Style Center

The MLA Style Center offers free online resources on MLA style, including an interactive MLA format template, answers to common questions on Ask the MLA, advice from the MLA editors, and more. Get updates by signing up for The Source newsletter, and follow us on Twitter @MLAstyle .

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Works Cited | In-Text Citations | Bibliography | Annotated Bibliography | Website | Book | Journal | YouTube | View all MLA Citation Examples

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Get the facts on citing and writing in APA format with our comprehensive guides. Formatting instructions, in-text citation and reference examples, and sample papers provide you with the tools you need to style your paper in APA.

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Looking to format your paper in Chicago style and not sure where to start? Our guide provides everything you need! Learn the basics and fundamentals to creating references and footnotes in Chicago format. With numerous examples and visuals, you’ll be citing in Chicago style in no time.

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The complete guide to mla & citations, what you’ll find in this guide.

This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources.

Looking for APA? Check out the Citation Machine’s guide on APA format . We also have resources for Chicago citation style as well.

How to be a responsible researcher or scholar

Putting together a research project involves searching for information, disseminating and analyzing information, collecting information, and repurposing information. Being a responsible researcher requires keeping track of the sources that were used to help develop your research project, sharing the information you borrowed in an ethical way, and giving credit to the authors of the sources you used. Doing all of these things prevents plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using others’ information without giving credit or acknowledging them. There are many examples of plagiarism. Completely copying another individual’s work without providing credit to the original author is a very blatant example of plagiarism. Plagiarism also occurs when another individual’s idea or concept is passed off as your own. Changing or modifying quotes, text, or any work of another individual is also plagiarism. Believe it or not, you can even plagiarize yourself! Reusing a project or paper from another class or time and saying that it’s new is plagiarism. One way to prevent plagiarism is to add citations in your project where appropriate.

What is a Citation?

A citation shows the reader of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote to your project. Citations are also included in the body when you’re paraphrasing another individual’s information. These citations in the body of a research paper are called in-text citations. They are found directly next to the information that was borrowed and are very brief to avoid causing distraction while reading a project. These brief citations include the last name of the author and a page number. Scroll down for an in-depth explanation and examples of MLA in-text citations.

In-text citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, though they usually don't include the title and other components. Look on the last page of a research project to find complete citations.

Complete citations are found on what MLA calls a works-cited list, which is sometimes called an MLA bibliography. All sources that were used to develop a research project are found on the works-cited list. Complete citations are also created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text. Complete citations include the author’s name, the title, publisher, year published, page numbers, URLs, and a few other pieces of information.

Looking to create your citations in just a few clicks? Need an MLA format website or book citation? Visit Citation Machine.net! Our Citation Machine MLA generator, which is an MLA citation website, will create all of your citations in just a few clicks. Click here to see more styles .

Why Does it Matter?

Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It shows that you’re a responsible researcher and that you located appropriate and reputable sources that support your thesis or claim. In addition, if your work ends up being posted online or in print, there is a chance that others will use your research project in their own work!

Scroll down to find directions on how to create citations.

How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher

What is mla format.

The Modern Language Association is an organization that was created to develop guidelines on everything language and literature related. They have guidelines on proper grammar usage and research paper layouts. In addition, they have English and foreign language committees, numerous books and journal publications, and an annual conference. They are not connected with this guide, but the information here reflects the association’s rules for formatting papers and citations.

What are citations?

The Modern Language Association is responsible for creating standards and guidelines on how to properly cite sources to prevent plagiarism. Their style is most often used when writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities fields. “Liberal arts” is a broad term used to describe a range of subjects including the humanities, formal sciences such as mathematics and statistics, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and social sciences such as geography, economics, history, and others. The humanities focuses specifically on subjects related to languages, art, philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature, and ethics.

Believe it or not, there are thousands of other types of citation styles. While this citation style is most often used for the liberal arts and humanities fields, many other subjects, professors, and schools prefer citations and papers to be styled in MLA format.

What’s the difference between a bibliography and a works-cited list?

Great question. The two terms cause a lot of confusion and are consistently misused not only by students but educators as well! Let’s start with what the two words mean.

A bibliography displays the sources the writer used to gain background knowledge on the topic and also research it in-depth. Before starting a research project, you might read up on the topic in websites, books, and other sources. You might even dive a bit deeper to find more information elsewhere. All of these sources you used to help you learn about the topic would go in an MLA format bibliography. You might even include other sources that relate to the topic.

A works-cited list displays all of the sources that were mentioned in the writing of the actual paper or project. If a quote was taken from a source and placed into a research paper, then the full citation goes on the works-cited list.

Both the works-cited list and bibliography go at the end of a paper. Most teachers do not expect students to hand in both a bibliography AND a works-cited list. Teachers generally expect to see a works-cited list, but sometimes erroneously call it a bibliography. If you’re not sure what your teacher expects, a page in MLA bibliography format, a works-cited list, or both, ask for guidance.

Why do we use this MLA style?

These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations were developed for numerous reasons. When scholars and researchers in literature, language, and numerous other fields all cite their sources in the same manner, it makes it easier for readers to look at a citation and understand the different components of a source. By looking at an MLA citation, we can see who the author is, the title of the source, when it was published, and other identifiable pieces of information.

Imagine how difficult it would be to understand the various components of a source if we didn’t all follow the same guidelines! Not only would it make it difficult to understand the source that was used, but it would also make it difficult for readers to locate it themselves. This streamlined process aides us in understanding a researcher’s sources.

How is the new version different than previous versions?

This citation style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition.

The new version expands upon standards previously set in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook, including the core elements. The structure of citations remains the same, but some formatting guidance and terminology have changed.

In addition, new information was added on the following:

For more information on MLA 9, click here .

A Deeper Look at Citations

What do they look like.

There are two types of citations. The first is a full, or complete, citation. These are found at the end of research projects. These citations are usually listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last names and include all of the information necessary for readers to be able to locate the source themselves.

Full citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a DOI, URL, or page range).

There are times when additional information is added into the full citation.

Not sure how to transfer the information from your source into your citation? Confused about the term, “containers”? See below for information and complete explanations of each citation component.

The second type of citation, called an “in-text citation,” is included in the main part, or body, of a project when a researcher uses a quote or paraphrases information from another source. See the next section to find out how to create in-text citations.

What are in-text citations?

As stated above, in-text citations are included in the main part of a project when using a quote or paraphrasing a piece of information from another source. We include these types of citations in the body of a project for readers to quickly gain an idea as to where we found the information.

These in-text citations are found directly next to the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular MLA citation. The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project, on the works-cited list.

Here’s what a typical in-text citation looks like:

In the book The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements…. Too much fire and you have a bad temper...too little wood and you bent too quickly...too much water and you flowed in too many directions” (Tan 31).

This specific in text citation, (Tan 31), is called an MLA parenthetical citation because the author’s name is in parentheses. It’s included so the reader sees that we are quoting something from page 31 in Tan’s book. The complete, regular citation isn’t included in the main part of the project because it would be too distracting for the reader. We want the reader to focus on our work and research, not get caught up on our sources.

Here’s another way to cite in the text:

In Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements... Too much fire and you have a bad temper... too little wood and you bent too quickly... too much water and you flowed in too many directions" (31).

If the reader would like to see the source’s full information, and possibly locate the source themselves, they can refer to the last part of the project to find the regular citation.

The regular citation, at the end of the project looks like this:

%%Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Penguin, 1989, p. 31.

Notice that the first word in the full citation (Tan) matches the “Tan” used in the body of the project. It’s important to have the first word of the full citation match the term used in the text. Why? It allows readers to easily find the full citation on the works-cited list.

If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a line number (use line or lines), paragraph number (use the abbreviation par. or pars.), sections (sec. or secs.), or chapters (ch. or chs.). Only use these other terms if they are actually labeled on the source. If it specifically says on the source, “Section 1,” for example, then it is acceptable to use “sec. 1” in the in-text citation.

If there are no numbers to help readers locate the exact point in the source, only include the author’s last name.

To determine how to create in-text citations for more than one author, no authors, or corporate authors, refer to the “Authors” section below.

More about quotations and how to cite a quote:

Example from a movie:

Dorothy stated, "Toto," then looked up and took in her surroundings, "I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore" ( Wizard of Oz ).

While his parents sat there in surprise, Colton went onto say:

“Cause I could see you,” Colon said matter-of-factly. “I went up and out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying; and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.” (Burpo xxi)

How to create a paraphrase:

As stated above, the majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas. It’s acceptable to include quotes, but they shouldn’t crowd your paper. If you’re finding that you’re using too many quotes in your paper, consider adding paraphrases. When you reiterate a piece of information from an outside source in your own words, you create a paraphrase.

Here’s an example:

Readers discover in the very first sentence of Peter Pan that he doesn’t grow up (Barrie 1).

What paraphrases are:

What paraphrases are not:

Confused about whether footnotes and endnotes should be used?

Footnotes and endnotes are completely acceptable to use in this style. Use a footnote or endnote if:

Keep in mind that whether you choose to include in-text citations or footnotes/endnotes, you need to also include a full reference on the MLA format works-cited list.

Content note example:

Even Maurice Sendak’s work (the mastermind behind Where the Wild Things Are and numerous other popular children’s picture books) can be found on the banned books list. It seems as though nobody is granted immunity. 1

Work Cited:

%%Sendak, Maurice. In The Night Kitchen. Harper Collins, 1996.

Bibliographic note example:

Dahl had a difficult childhood. Both his father and sister passed away when he was a toddler. He was then sent away by his mother to boarding school (de Castella). 1

MLA Works Cited:

Include 4 full citations for: de Castella’s article, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG .

Don’t forget to create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project.

If you need help with in-text and parenthetical citations, CitationMachine.net can help. Our MLA citation generator is simple and easy to use!

Common Knowledge: What Is It and How Will It Affect My Writing?

Footnotes, endnotes, references, proper structuring. We know it’s a lot. Thankfully, you don’t have to include a reference for EVERY piece of information you add to your paper. You can forget about including a reference when you share a piece of common knowledge.

Common knowledge is information that most people know. For example, these are a few facts that are considered common knowledge:

We could go on and on. When you include common knowledge in your paper, omit a reference. One less thing to worry about, right?

Before you start adding tons of common knowledge occurrences to your paper to ease the burden of creating references, we need to stop you right there. Remember, the goal of a research paper is to develop new information or knowledge. You’re expected to seek out information from outside sources and analyze and distribute the information from those sources to form new ideas. Using only common knowledge facts in your writing involves absolutely zero research. It’s okay to include some common knowledge facts here and there, but do not make it the core of your paper.

If you’re unsure if the fact you’re including is common knowledge or not, it doesn’t hurt to include a reference. There is no such thing as being overly responsible when it comes to writing and citing.

Wikipedia - Yay or Nay?

If you’re wondering whether it’s okay to use Wikipedia in your project, the answer is, it depends.

If Wikipedia is your go-to source for quick information on a topic, you’re not alone. Chances are, it’s one of the first websites to appear on your results page. It’s used by tons of people, it’s easily accessible, and it contains millions of concise articles. So, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the problem?”

The issue with Wikipedia is that it’s a user-generated site, meaning information is constantly added and modified by registered users. Who these users are and their expertise is somewhat of a mystery. The truth is anyone can register on the site and make changes to articles.

Knowing this makes some cringe, especially educators and librarians, since the validity of the information is questionable. However, some people argue that because Wikipedia is a user-generated site, the community of registered users serve as “watchdogs,” ensuring that information is valid. In addition, references are included at the bottom of each article and serve as proof of credibility. Furthermore, Wikipedia lets readers know when there’s a problem with an article. Warnings such as “this article needs clarification,” or “this article needs references to prove its validity” are shared with the reader, thus promoting transparency.

If you choose to reference a Wikipedia article in your research project, and your teacher or professor says it’s okay, then you must reference it in your project. You would treat it just as you would with any other web source.

However, you may want to instead consider locating the original source of the information. This should be fairly easy to do thanks to the references at the bottom of each article.

Specific Components of a Citation

This section explains each individual component of the citation, with examples for each section for full citations and in-text citations.

Name of the author

The author’s name is usually the first item listed in the MLA citation. Author names start with the last name, then a comma is added, and then the author’s first name (and middle name if applicable) is at the end. A period closes this information.

Here are two examples of how an author’s name can be listed in a full citation:

Twain, Mark.

Poe, Edgar Allan.

For in-text:

(Author’s Last name page number) or Author’s Last name... (page).

Wondering how to format the author’s name when there are two authors working jointly on a source? When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source. Place their names in this format:

Author 1’s Last Name, First name, and Author 2’s First Name Last Name.

Here are two examples of how to cite two authors:

Clifton, Mark, and Frank Riley.

Paxton, Roberta J., and Michael Jacob Fox.

(Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name page number) or Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name... (page).

There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This often happens with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.

To cite a source with three or more authors, place the information in this format:

Author 1’s Last name, First name, et al.

As you can see, only include the first author’s name. The other authors are accounted for by using “et al.” In Latin, et al. is translated to “and others.” If using the Citation Machine citation generator, this abbreviation is automatically added for you.

Here’s an example of a citation for three or more authors:

%%Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed., Nolo, 2009.

(Author 1’s Last name et al. page number)

Is there no author listed on your source? If so, exclude the author’s information from the citation and begin the citation with the title of the source.

For in-text: Use the title of the source in parentheses. Place the title in italics if the source stands alone. Books and films stand alone. If it’s part of a larger whole, such as a chapter in an edited book or an article on a website, place the title in quotation marks without italics.

( Back to the Future )

(“Citing And Writing”)

Other in-text structures:

Authors with the same last name in your paper? MLA essay format requires the use of first initials in-text in this scenario.

Ex: (J. Silver 45)

Are you citing more than one source by the same author? For example, two books by Ernest Hemingway? Include the title in-text.

Example: (Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls 12).

Are you citing a film or song? Include a timestamp in the format of hours:minutes:seconds. ( Back to the Future 00:23:86)

Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? If this is the case, in an MLA format paper, you are allowed to start the citation with the author’s handle, username, or screen name.

Here is an example of how to cite a tweet:

%%@CarlaHayden. “I’m so honored to talk about digital access at @UMBCHumanities. We want to share the @libraryofcongress collection.” Twitter , 13 Apr. 2017, 6:04 p.m., twitter.com/LibnOfCongress/status/852643691802091521.

While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors. Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. If your project focuses on someone other than the author, it is acceptable to place that person’s name first in the citation. If you’re using the MLA works cited generator at Citation Machine.net, you can choose the individual’s role from a drop-down box.

For example, let’s say that in your research project, you focus on Leonardo DiCaprio’s performances as an actor. You’re quoting a line from the movie Titanic in your project, and you’re creating a complete citation for it in the works-cited list.

It is acceptable to show the reader that you’re focusing on Leonardo DiCaprio’s work by citing it like this in the MLA works-cited list:

%%DiCaprio, Leonardo, performer. Titanic . Directed by James Cameron. Paramount, 1997.

Notice that when citing an individual other than the author, place the individual’s role after their name. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer.

This is often done with edited books, too. Place the editor’s name first (in reverse order), add a comma, and then add the word editor.

If you’re still confused about how to place the authors together in a citation, the tools at CitationMachine.net can help! Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks!

Titles and containers

The titles are written as they are found on the source and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital.

Here’s an example of a properly written title:

Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks.

Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks? It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics. If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it is from in italics.

When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics.

However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to format titles and their containers.

To cite Pink Floyd’s entire album, The Wall , cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. The Wall. Columbia, 1979.

To cite one of the songs on Pink Floyd’s album in MLA formatting, cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part I).” The Wall, Columbia, 1979, track 3.

To cite a fairy tale book in its entirety, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories. Little Brown, 2016.

To cite a specific story or chapter in the book, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Land of Stories, Little Brown, 2016, pp. 58-65.

More about containers

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone, or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. Wondering how? When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. The second container? It’s the database that the scholarly journal is found in. It is important to account for all containers, so readers are able to locate the exact source themselves.

When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix .

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation.

Use the following format to cite your source with multiple containers :

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

If the source has more than two containers, add on another full section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves.

Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found in a database. This source has two containers: the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other.

%%Zanetti, Francois. “Curing with Machine: Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” Technology and Culture, vol. 54, no. 3, July 2013, pp. 503-530. Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/article/520280.

If you’re still confused about containers, the Citation Machine MLA cite generator can help! MLA citing is easier when using the tools at CitationMachine.net.

Other contributors

Many sources have people besides the author who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word “by,” and then their name in standard order.

If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual. If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased.

Here’s an example of a citation for a children’s book with the name of the illustrator included:

%%Rubin, Adam. Dragons Love Tacos. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, 2012.

The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation.

If the source that you’re citing states that it is a specific version or edition, this information is placed in the “versions” section of the citation.

When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral. Also, abbreviate the word “edition” to “ed.”

Here is an example of a citation with a specific edition:

%%Koger, Gregory. “Filibustering and Parties in the Modern State.” Congress Reconsidered, edited by Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer, 10th ed., CQ Press, 2013, pp. 221-236. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=b7gkLlSEeqwC&lpg=PP1&dq=10th%20edition&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=10th%20edition&f=false.

Many sources have numbers associated with them. If you see a number different than the date, page numbers, or editions, include this information in the “numbers” section of the citation. For MLA citing, this includes volume and/or issue numbers (use the abbreviations vol. and no.), episode numbers, track numbers, or any other numbers that will help readers identify the specific source that you used. Do not include ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) in the citation.

It is important to include the name of the publisher (the organization that created or published the source), so that readers can locate the exact source themselves.

Include publishers for all sources except periodicals. Also, for websites, exclude this information when the name of the publisher matches the name of the website. Furthermore, the name of the publisher is often excluded from the citation for second containers, since the publisher of the second container is not necessarily responsible for the creation or production of the source’s content.

Publication dates

Publication dates are extremely important to include in citations. They allow the reader to understand when sources were published. They are also used when readers are attempting to locate the source themselves.

Dates can be written in MLA in one of two ways. Researchers can write dates as:

Day Mo. Year

Mo. Day, Year

Whichever format you decide to use, use the same format for all of your citations. If using the Citation Machine citation generator, the date will be formatted in the same way for each citation.

While it isn’t necessary to include the full date for all source citations, use the amount of information that makes the most sense to help your readers understand and locate the source themselves.

Wondering what to do when your source has more than one date? Use the date that is most applicable to your research.

The location generally refers to the place where the readers can find the source. This includes page ranges, URLs, DOI numbers, track numbers, disc numbers, or even cities and towns.

You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx .

For page numbers, when citing a source found on only one page, use p.

Example: p. 6.

When citing a source that has a page range, use pp. and then add the page numbers.

Example: pp. 24-38.

Since the location is the final piece of the citation, place a period at the end. When it comes to URLs, many students wonder if the links in citations should be live or not. If the paper is being shared electronically with a teacher and other readers, it may be helpful to include live links. If you’re not sure whether to include live links or not, ask your teacher or professor for guidance.

Looking for an online tool to do the work for you? Citation Machine citing tools could help! Our site is simple (and fun!) to use.

Need some more help? There is further good information here .

Common Citation Examples

ALL sources use this format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). *Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

*If the source does not have a second container, omit this last part of the citation.

Remember, the Citation Machine MLA formatter can help you save time and energy when creating your citations. Check out our MLA Citation Machine pages to learn more.

How to Format a Paper

When it comes to formatting your paper or essay for academic purposes, there are specific MLA paper format guidelines to follow.

Which font is acceptable to use?

Should I double-space the paper, including citations?

Justification & Punctuation

Heading & Title

Page numbers

Here’s an example to provide you with a visual:

The image shows an example of the first page of an MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described above under the heading How to Format a Paper.

If you need help with sentence structure or grammar, check out our paper checker. The paper checker will help to check every noun , verb , and adjective . If there are words that are misspelled or out of place, the paper checker will suggest edits and provide recommendations.

How to Create a Title Page

According to the Modern Language Association’s official guidelines for formatting a research paper, it is unnecessary to create or include an individual title page, or MLA cover page, at the beginning of a research project. Instead, follow the directions above, under “Heading & Title,” to create a proper heading. This heading is featured at the top of the first page of the research paper or research assignment.

If your instructor or professor does in fact require or ask for an MLA title page, follow the directions that you are given. They should provide you with the information needed to create a separate, individual title page. If they do not provide you with instructions, and you are left to create it at your own discretion, use the header information above to help you develop your research paper title page. You may want to include other information, such as the name of your school or university.

How to Make a Works Cited Page

The MLA Works Cited page is generally found at the end of a research paper or project. It contains a list of all the citations of sources used for the research project. Follow these directions to format the works-cited list to match the Modern Language Association’s guidelines.

%%Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 2009.

%%---. Gather Together in My Name. Random House, 1974.

%%Wai-Chung, Ho. “Political Influences on Curriculum Content and Musical Meaning: Hong Kong Secondary Music Education, 1949-1997.” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, vol. 22, no. 1, 1 Oct. 2000, pp. 5-25. Periodicals Index Online, search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/pio/docview/1297849364/citation/6B70D633F50C4EA0PQ/78?accountid=35635.

Here’s a sample paper to give you an idea of what an MLA paper could look like. Included at the end is an MLA “Works Cited” page example.

The image shows the first page of an example MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described under the heading How to Format a Paper.

Looking to add a relevant image, figure, table, or musical score to your paper? Here’s the easy way to do it, while following guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association:

For tables:

Example of formatting a table in MLA format.

Example of formatting a figure in MLA format.

MLA Final Checklist

Think you’re through? We know this guide covered a LOT of information, so before you hand in that assignment, here’s a checklist to help you determine if you have everything you need:

_ Are both in-text and full citations included in the project? Remember, for every piece of outside information included in the text, there should be a corresponding in-text citation next to it. Include the full citation at the end, on the “Works Cited” page.

_ Are all citations, both in-text and full, properly formatted in MLA style? If you’re unsure, try out our citation generator!

_ Is your paper double-spaced in its entirety with one inch margins?

_ Do you have a running header on each page? (Your last name followed by the page number)

_ Did you use a font that is easy to read?

_ Are all citations on the MLA format works-cited list in alphabetical order?

Our plagiarism checker scans for any accidental instances of plagiarism. It scans for grammar and spelling errors, too. If you have an adverb , preposition , or conjunction that needs a slight adjustment, we may be able to suggest an edit.

Common Ways Students Accidentally Plagiarize

We spoke a bit about plagiarism at the beginning of this guide. Since you’re a responsible researcher, we’re sure you didn’t purposely plagiarize any portions of your paper. Did you know students and scholars sometimes accidentally plagiarize? Unfortunately, it happens more often than you probably realize. Luckily, there are ways to prevent accidental plagiarism and even some online tools to help!

Here are some common ways students accidentally plagiarize in their research papers and assignments:

1. Poor Paraphrasing

In the “How to create a paraphrase” section towards the top of this page, we share that paraphrases are “recycled information, in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.” If you attempt to paraphrase a few lines of text and it ends up looking and sounding too close to the original author’s words, it’s a poor paraphrase and considered plagiarism.

2. Incorrect Citations

If you cite something incorrectly, even if it’s done accidentally, it’s plagiarism. Any incorrect information in a reference, such as the wrong author name or the incorrect title, results in plagiarism.

3. Forgetting to include quotation marks

When you include a quote in your paper, you must place quotation marks around it. Failing to do so results in plagiarism.

If you’re worried about accidental plagiarism, try our Citation Machine Plus essay tool. It scans for grammar, but it also checks for any instances of accidental plagiarism. It’s simple and user-friendly, making it a great choice for stress-free paper editing and publishing.

Updated June 15, 2021

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Wendy Ikemoto. Michele Kirschenbaum has been an awesome school librarian since 2006 and is an expert in citing sources. Wendy Ikemoto has a master’s degree in library and information science and has been working for Citation Machine since 2012.

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Cite a Lecture – APA, MLA, and Chicago Style

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Lectures or presentations are great sources for your research paper. When you use the information, providing an in-text citation and bibliography list is crucial. If you want to cite a lecture, the official citation styles include MLA, APA and Chicago Styles. Discover how to cite a lecture with the official styles and check out the examples.


Cite a Lecture – in a Nutshell

When you cite a lecture in APA, MLA or Chicago Style, your citations should include the following information:

Definition: Cite a Lecture

Live and video lectures can be used as sources of information for a research project. When you cite a lecture, ensure you use the citation style recommended by the university. The guidelines used to cite a lecture in Chicago Style, MLA, or APA differ.

For instance, the Chicago style has two systems of citations; notes and bibliography , while APA uses a version of the author-date style, while MLA uses the author-page system , a simplified variation of the author-date system to cite a lecture.

Cite a Lecture in APA

When using APA to cite a lecture, you don’t need to follow any citation rules for lectures you attended in person. Citation rules only apply to recorded or transcribed lectures accessible to the reader. If your readers cannot access the recorded lecture, your citation should mention the source as personal communication 1 , and you can quote the content in your research paper. However, personal communication is made in in-text citations but not included in the reference list.

Cite a lecture as a personal communication

Format: (Initials and last name of the lecturer, personal communication, date of presentation)

Example: (J. Osbourne, personal information, June 23, 2009)

If the lecture is available in the recorded or transcribed format, you adhere to the referencing style of the sources. You also use the same citation style for video lectures like zoom lectures and online lecture talks. For unrecorded zoom lectures, follow the format of live lectures. If the lecturer availed lecture notes, you follow the citation format and cite the lecture using the Powerpoint citation format. 2

When the conference speech is available as a presentation, the citation is as follows:

Cite a Lecture in MLA

If you want to cite a lecture in MLA 3 , the rules depend on the format of the lecture. You follow a different rule when citing a lecture you attended i n person or transcribed a speech . The MLA citation style uses the nine core elements system, including the author, title of the sources, the title of the container, other contributors, publisher, date and location. The container indicates the source of information.

Format for Live Lecture MLA Citation

Cite a lecture attended in person by providing the lecturer’s name, event name, date and institution. The lecture title should be in quotation marks and follow the headline capitalisation format. When you cite a lecture, in-text citation requires the lecturer’s last name only.

Citing Online or Recorded Lectures

If the speech or lecture is recorded online or transcribed in a book, you cite the lecture by following the format of the source type. If the speech is recorded in a book, you use the citation format for the book. At the end of the citation, include a description of the source type, like a speech audio recording.

Cite a Lecture in Chicago

Unlike APA and MLA citation styles, the Chicago Manual of Style requires a bibliography list of entries and footnotes for in-text citations when you cite a lecture. Despite the differences in style, the general format is similar to MLA citation works with parentheses on the lecture titles and descriptions of the source types. Chicago style also gives you two choices; you can cite a lecture using notes and a bibliography or author-date style.

Cite a Lecture Viewed in Person.

When creating a bibliography entry to cite a lecture attended in person, you provide the lecture title, host institution and a descriptive label.

Chicago Manual Style format:

Lecturer’s last name, first name. “Lecture Title.” Lecture, Event name or institution, location, month day, year.

Cite a Video Lecture in Chicago.

When you cite a lecture that is available in video recording or transcribed format, you use the citation of the source. If your citation refers to a recorded speech on a website, use the format below:

Chicago general format:

Lecturer’s last name, first name. “Speech Title.” Filmed/Recorded at Location, Month Day, Year. URL.

How do I cite a lecture slide?

When you cite a lecture slide, you follow the format of citing a Powerpoint presentation; the format requires you to mention the lecturer’s name, Powerpoint title, the title of the slide, date and location. You can use MLA, APA or Chicago style to cite the lecture slides.

What are the main elements for citing a lecture?

When you cite a lecture in APA, MLA or Chicago style, the main elements include the speaker’s name and lecture title. Event name, date and location of the event. For lectures available in a recorded speech in books or websites, the citation must provide additional details like the name of the website or book, URL and the time stamps for the recording.

Which citation style is recommended to cite a lecture?

Most research papers specify the preferred citation style. Choose a style that matches your field if the lecturer isn’t specific. For instance, the Chicago style is popular in history and sciences, MLA style is used for humanities, and APA style is used for social and behavioural sciences. What’s important is to maintain one style throughout your project.

1 EduBirdie.com. “Discover How to Cite a Lecture in MLA, APA, and Chicago Formats.” April 20, 2022. https://edubirdie.com/blog/cite-a-lecture .

2 Adrienne Mathewson and Jennifer Betts. “How to Cite A Powerpoint in Apa Format.” Bibliography.com. November 12, 2020. https://www.bibliography.com/apa/citing-powerpoint-presentations-in-apa/ .

3 Staff, EasyBib. “How to Cite a Lecture in MLA | Easybib Citations.” EasyBib. Chegg, January 1, 2023. https://www.easybib.com/guides/citation-guides/mla-format/how-to-cite-a-lecture-mla/ .

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How to Format a Citation

Examples of apa, mla, and chicago manual of style, citation styles: american psychological association (apa), citation styles: chicago, citation styles: modern language association (mla), example: direct quote cited in a book, example: reference within a journal article.

There are two basic approaches to citation:

Scholars writing in the sciences and social sciences typically use in-text citations, while humanities scholars utilize endnotes/footnotes.

While the two basic approaches to citations are simple, there are many different citation styles.

What is a citation style?

The way that citations appear (format) depends on the citation style, which is a set of established rules and conventions for documenting sources.

Citation styles can be defined by an association, such as the Modern Language Association (MLA), publisher, such as the University of Chicago Press, or journal, such as The New England Journal of Medicine .

What citation style should I use?

The citation style that you use depends on the discipline in which you are writing, and where, or by whom, your work will be published or read.

When in doubt, ask your professor if there is a particular style that he/she would like you to use. 

Where can I find more information on how to cite a specific type of source in a particular style?

The library has style manuals in print and online for several commonly used styles such as American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA) and Chicago.  In addition, there are several excellent citation style guides on the web. (See below)

For examples of APA and MLA and Chicago Manual of Style, visit Purdue's OWL (Online Writing Lab) site.

Frank, H. (2011). Wolves, Dogs, Rearing and Reinforcement: Complex Interactions Underlying Species Differences in Training and Problem-Solving Performance.  Behavior Genetics ,  41 (6), 830-839. 

Frank, H. 2011. "Wolves, Dogs, Rearing and Reinforcement: Complex Interactions Underlying Species Differences in Training and Problem-Solving Performance."   Behavior Genetics  41 (6):830-839. 

Frank, H. "Wolves, Dogs, Rearing and Reinforcement: Complex Interactions Underlying Species Differences in Training and Problem-Solving Performance."  Behavior Genetics  41.6 (2011): 830-39. Print.

Citation in Book

Source: Gabriel, R. A. (2001). Gods of Our Fathers: The Memory of Egypt in Judaism & Christianity . Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Press.

Citation in Journal Article

Source: Bradt, J., Potvin, N., Kesslick, A., Shim, M., Radl, D., Schriver, E., … Komarnicky-Kocher, L. T. (2015). The impact of music therapy versus music medicine on psychological outcomes and pain in cancer patients: a mixed methods study. Supportive Care in Cancer : Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer , 23 (5), 1261–71.

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Free Reference Generator for Students

Our reference generator can create a perfect bibliography or a reference list for your next assignment! It supports many styles, including APA, MLA, Harvard referencing style, Chicago AD and NB styles, and others.

📚 Referencing Styles Explained

🧐 What Are Reliable Sources?

🔗 references, 🔥 benefits of the reference generator.

🚀 How to Use the Free Reference Generator

Here’s how to use our reference generator step by step.

The picture enumerates which formatting styles the citation generator can work with.

You can also paste the link to your source, and our tool will reference it automatically. Just check the preview and edit it if needed.

No matter what format you're using, it's essential to know how to write in-text citations and references. What are they? Well, we can start by looking at the similarities between the two:

So, as you can see, they are meant to refer the reader to a text which a quote or an idea is taken from . However, a citation and a reference are not the same. Here's how they differ:

There are many citation styles in academic writing, but the most popular ones are APA (American Psychological Association,) MLA (Modern Language Association,) Chicago, Harvard, and Turabian systems. You're likely to encounter them during your studies, so let's have a closer look at them!

MLA Reference Style

MLA Reference Style is a system developed by the Modern Language Association. This style is commonly used to format papers and cite sources in the field of humanities. It consists of an in-text citation and a detailed list called Works Cited at the end.

When you need to use MLA format, make sure to check the MLA Handbook (9th edition) . It is the only official and authorized guide on MLA style. And if you want to accelerate the process, use our reference generator!

In-text citation: (Burke 3)

Works cited: Gosine, Kevin, and Emmanuel Tabi. "Disrupting Neoliberalism and Bridging the Multiple Worlds of Marginalized Youth via Hip-Hop Pedagogy: Contemplating Possibilities." Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, vol. 38, no. 5, 2016, pp. 445-467. Research Gate, doi: 10.1080/10714413.2016.1221712.

APA Reference Style

APA is a referencing system developed by the American Psychological Association. It contains two components: in-text citations and corresponding reference list entries. Everything you used and referred to in your work should be included in the text and reference list.

In-text citation: (Field, 2022)

Reference list: Troy, B.N. (2015). APA citation rules. In S.T, Williams (Ed.) A guide to citation rules (2nd ed., pp. 50-95). New York, NY: Publishers.

Harvard Reference Style

Harvard is a formatting system developed by the eponymous university. It uses bracketed references in the body of the work: the last name and date of publication. The list of sources is called References . All sources are in alphabetical order, arranged by the first letter of the author’s surname.

In-text citation: (Pears and Shields, 2019)

Reference list: Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2019) Cite them right: The essential referencing guide. 11th ed. London: MacMillan.

Chicago Reference Style

Chicago reference style has 2 types: a Note-Bibliography (NB) system and the Author-Date (AD) system. In Chicago NB , a referencing number is added to the text with a corresponding footnote at the bottom of the page. This formatting type is often used in papers on the subject of literature, history, and arts. The Chicago AD system is used more in the sciences and social sciences. Each in-text citation corresponds with an entry in a reference list.

In-text citation: (Dickstein 2002, 71)

Reference list: Dickstein, Morris. 2002. “A Literature of One’s Own: The Question of Jewish Book Awards.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 63, no. 1–2 (Winter): 70–74. https://doi.org/10.25290/prinunivlibrchro.63.1-2.0070.

Turabian Reference Style

This is a simplified version of the Chicago style designed for students and researchers. When you are asked to use the Chicago style to work on your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, chances are high that you will have to use the Turabian style. It differs from Chicago in minor aspects: mainly, it's less detailed and easier to follow .

In-text citation: (Lerner, “The Grimke Sisters,” 290)

Reference list: (Gerda Lerner, "The Grimke Sisters and the Struggle against Race Prejudice," The Journal of African American History 48, no. 4 (October 1993): 278, https://doi.org/10.2307/2716330.)

✍️ ISBN and DOI Identifiers Explained


ISBN and DOI are two different identifiers used to uniquely label and locate published works. They play an essential role in citations by helping ensure accuracy, reliability, and ease of access to the cited sources.

Using ISBNs and DOIs in citations also helps to standardize the citation process and make it more efficient. This is particularly important in academic and scientific writing, where accuracy and efficiency are especially important.

ISBN Definition

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a standard book identification system . It consists of a 13-digit number (formerly 10) and is unique to each book published internationally. Using ISBNs can help avoid confusion and errors when citing a specific edition.

DOI Definition

A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that can be used to identify an article or a document . A DOI can help your reader to find a document from your citation without a hassle. DOIs are also crucial for articles and other online publications because they provide a permanent link to the source, even if the URL changes over time.

In most cases, you can find the DOI on the first page of a source. If it is not included, you can look it up on the website CrossRef.org .

Using credible sources is essential when you are writing a research paper. Telling good sources from bad ones can be pretty challenging, but fear not: we have some tips to help you find credible and reliable sources for research online.

The picture enumerates the characteristics of a credible source.

But first, let's see what a credible source is:

Meanwhile, here's what an unreliable source is:

Criteria for Evaluating Your Sources

As you are working on your research paper, start thinking about how to find credible sources. Here are some of the criteria to look at when choosing whether to use the source or not:

Whether you are looking for a free citation generator or an explanation regarding the reference styles, we hope our tips will help you. Share it with your peers and friends and tell them about our free online reference maker! We also recommend you try out our free plagiarism detector and a summary generator to help you work with sources.

❓ Reference Generator FAQs

❓ what is a reference and citation generator for.

A reference and citation generator is a tool that automatically creates accurate citations and references for various types of sources, such as books, articles, and websites. These tools can save you a lot of time and effort by taking care of the tedious task of formatting citations and references correctly.

❓ How Can Using Reference and Citation Generator Help You?

Using a citation generator can help you integrate referencing into your essay or research paper quickly and efficiently. The process that was once time-consuming can be accomplished in minutes, saving you time and energy.

❓ How Can I Create a Reference?

You can create a reference by following a corresponding style guide. But you may also speed things up and generate a reference using our citation generator! Simply input all the necessary info about the source and click the button to create the reference.

❓ What Is the Best Referencing Generator?

If you are looking for the best referencing generator, look no further. Custom-Writing referencing generator is the best out there, allowing students to work with APA, MLA, Chicago, Turban, and Harvard styles free of charge.


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