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MLA 9th Citation Guide

MLA Handbook

This citation guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (9th ed.). The contents are accurate to the best of our knowledge. Some examples illustrate recommendations and should be viewed as modifications to the official MLA guidelines. 

You may still access the MLA 8th guide.

What is MLA?

MLA style was created by the Modern Language Association of America. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers. There are two parts to MLA: In-text citations and the Works Cited list.

In MLA, you must cite sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:

  1. In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation.
  2. In the Works Cited list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.

The in-text citation points the reader to the full citation of the source in the Works Cited list. The Works Cited list is in alphabetical order. The in-text citation consists of the first part of the full citation, which is usually the author's last name, and the page number (if there is one) so that a reader can find the information in the source. 

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.
  • Citing: The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.
  • 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 a citation.
  • Works Cited List: Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.



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