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ENG 101: Composition I (Woodbery): MLA Citation Style

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MLA Template

Feel free to use the following document as a template for properly formatting your paper in MLA, but please double-check with your instructor to make sure that you're following his/her specific directions!

MLA Handbook

Citation Help

Check Out These MLA Citation Style Guides!

MLA Citation Style

What is the MLA citation style?

"MLA [Modern Language Association] style is a system for documenting sources in scholarly writing. For over half a century, it has been widely adopted for classroom instruction and used throughout the world by scholars, journal publishers, and academic and commercial presses."

Who uses the MLA citation style?

"MLA style is most commonly used to cite sources within the language arts, cultural studies, and other humanities."


That means, unless your instructor says otherwise, that if you're writing a research paper for your Art, English, Film, Humanities, Music, Religious Studies, or Theater classes, then you should probably be citing your sources according to the MLA citation style.

How do I use the MLA citation style?

MLA papers are divided into at least two (and sometimes three) sections but don't typically include a title page (unless your instructor says otherwise).

  1. Paper
    1. Your entire paper should be double-spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font with 1" (inch) margins all around.
    2. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, include your name, your instructor's name, the course number, and the date (format: dd Month yyyy) on four separate lines.
    3. Center the title but don't bold, italicize, or underline it or place the title within quotation marks. Write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
    4. Add page numbers in the top right-hand corner of each page using consecutive Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) and be sure to include your last name to the left of the page numbers so that your name and the current page number is included on every page of your paper.
  2. Notes (Optional)
    1. Use endnotes to explain a point in your paper that does not quite fit in with the rest of your paper; however, avoid lengthy discussions.
    2. Endnotes begin on a new page after the paper but before the Works Cited page.
  3. Works Cited
    1. The Works Cited page is a list of all of the sources that were cited in your paper, arranged alphabetically by the authors' last names (or title for a resource with an unknown author).
    2. Every source that was cited in your paper must appear on your Works Cited page, and every source on your Works Cited page must be cited in your paper.

How do I cite a resource using the MLA citation style?

Citing references in-text follow the parenthetical citation model:

  • Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).
  • Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).
  • Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).

How do I properly format my Works Cited page?

According to MLA citation style, you must have a Works Cited page at the end of your research paper. All entries on the Works Cited page must correspond to the resources that were cited in the main text of your paper.
Entries are listed alphabetically by the author's last name (or the editor's or translator's name) or the title (ignoring initial articles), and the hanging indent style is used. For example:

Dean, Cornelia. "Executive on a Mission: Saving the Planet." The New York Times, 22 May 2007, www.nytimes.com/2007/05/22/science/earth/22ander.html?_r=0. Accessed 12 May 2016.

Ebert, Roger. Review ofAn Inconvenient Truth, directed by Davis Guggenheim. rogerebert.com, 1 June 2006, www.rogerebert.com/reviews/an-inconvenient-truth-2006. Accessed 15 June 2016.

An Inconvenient Truth. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, performances by Al Gore and Billy West, Paramount, 2006.