Basics of MLA

Please note! This page does not contain everything you'll ever need to know about MLA. These are the basics. For more detailed information, please visit Purdue OWL or consult the MLA handbook. A handbook is available for perusal without an appointment in the UWC, and you are welcome to make an appointment with a coach for additional help.

In-Text Citation

There are two main elements of citing something in your writing: the name(s) of the author(s) and the page number. If no page number is available, you may omit that information. Some instructors would like you to include paragraph number in the alternative, so be sure to find out what is required of you. A page number is required for both direct quotes and paraphrased material.

These two elements should be included to avoid plagiarism, but there are a few ways to do this.

Author in the Signal Phrase

Marquette writes, "Although I love dogs, I want to own cats" (12).

Marquette wants two pet cats (12).

Because the author's name is in the sentence, she can be omitted from the paranthetical.

Author in the Paranthetical

Dogs can be very high energy, which "is not ideal for living in a small apartment" (Marquette 12).

Dogs can be very high energy, which makes living with one difficult in a small apartment (Marquette 12).

Because the author's name is not in the sentence, she must be in the paranthetical.

No Author

If no author is provided in any type of source (be it a book, a website, or anything else), use a shortened title of the work. Something like an article title would be put in quotation marks, while a longer work like a book would be italicized.

By the year 2230, dogs will have evolved the ability to levitate ("Power of Imagination" 5).

The previous sentence is a blatant lie, as dogs will definitely be levitating within the next twenty years (Book of Dog Levitation 2).

Three or Fewer Authors

If a work has three or fewer authors, use each last name with each in-text citation.

Swan, Mills, and Nolan analyze the effects of power on those with no scruples (143).

Power corrupts, and magical powers corrupt absolutely (Swan, Mills, and Nolan 143).

More Than Three Authors

Either use all three+ authors each time, or use 'et al.'

Utonium, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup argue that violence is a necessary evil in modern society (15).

Utonium et al. argue that violence is a necessary evil in modern society (15).

Violence is a necessary evil in modern society (Utonium et al. 15).

Works Cited Page

Every source you use to write a paper needs to be included in your works cited page. However, do not include sources you read but are not using in your paper. The list should be double-spaced and utilize a hanging indent. Each entry should indicate the type of source: web or print.

Book Entry with One Author

Last name, First name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Print.

Marquette, Anne. Quest toward Home. San Jose: Penguin Classic, 2013. Print.

Book Entry with More than One Author

Last name, First name, First name Last name, and First name Last Name. Title of Book. Place of Publication:

Publisher, Year. Print.

Hoover, Max, and Ashley Palmer. Marquette: The Early Works. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press,

2015. Print.

Online Entry in General

In general, the URL ("http://www.blahblahblah.com") is not necessary.

Online Entry with One Author

Last name, First name. Title of Site. Publisher, Date of Publication. Web. Date of Access.

Smith, Maddi. Fonts are Fantastic. The American Association for the Celebration of Good and Effective Fonts,

24 Oct. 2014. Web. 15 May 2015.

Online Entry with More than One Author

Last name, First name, First name Last name, and First name Last name. Title of Site. Publisher,

Date of Publication. Web. Date of Access.

Delphiki, Julian, Andrew Wiggin, and Mazer Rackham. Techniques for Successful Formic EradicationInternational

Fleet, 31 Aug 2195. Web. 17 Jan 2015.

Online Entry with No Author

Title of Site. Publisher, Date of Publication. Web. Date of Access.

Mysteries of Deep Space. National Association of Star Trek Enthusiasts, 23 Mar 1990. Web. 01 Feb 2014.