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How to Cite Sources in MLA Format   Tags: citations, how_to, mla, style_guides  

Creating in-text citations and works cited lists in MLA style. Note: This LibGuide was originally created by Kimberley Stephenson.
Last Updated: May 13, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Citing Print Resources Print Page

General Information

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, 2009, is the standard guide for college students to the documentation style of the Modern Languages Association (MLA). The following information and most of the examples are taken from the Handbook. Consult the full Handbook for specific citation types not included here. (Copies of the 7th edition are available in all APU libraries.)


Citing the Bible

For guidelines on citing the Bible in MLA style, please see this guide: How do I cite the Bible in MLA format?


MLA Citation Manuals at APU

Cover Art
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.
Call Number: LB2369 .G53 2009
ISBN: 1603290249

More Citation Help

  • The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University
    Includes visual examples for many different citation situations.
  • Zotero
    A free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. Includes a Microsoft Word "cite while you write" plugin.

In-text Citations

In the text of your paper, you must document sources from which you are quoting or paraphrasing, using brief parenthetical citations that correspond to your alphabetical list of works cited at the end of the paper.

Here is an example:

Ancient writers attributed the invention of the monochord to Pythagoras, who lived in the sixth century BC (Marcuse 197).

The parenthetical citation “(Marcuse 197)” tells the reader that the information in the sentence was derived from page 197 of a work by an author named Marcuse. If the reader wants more information about this source, he/she can turn to the works cited list, where a complete citation for Marcuse’s work will be found.

If no author is given, include a brief version of the title of the work, along with the page number. If you are citing an article with no author, put the article title in quotes. If you are citing a book with no author, italicize the title of the book.


By most estimates, "Iraq has the fourth-largest oil reserves in the world behind Saudi Arabia, Canada and Iran" ("Deterring Foreign Investors" 61).

This in-text citation refers back to this entry in the works cited list:

"Deterring Foreign Investors." The Economist 26 Sept 2009: 61-62. Print.



These examples are for printed books and periodicals only. Please consult the "Citing Electronic Sources" tab if you are attempting to cite an eBook, a web site, an online document, or an article obtained through an online database.


The Works Cited List

The list of works cited appears at the end of the paper. Center the title, Works Cited, an inch from the top of the page. Double-space between the title and the first entry. Begin each entry flush with the left margin; if an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line or lines one-half inch from the left margin. Double-space entire list, both between and within entries.

Basic format for MLA print citations:


Author's last name, First name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Print.


Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Print.

Citing a book with one author:


Author's last name, First name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Print.


Benner, David G., ed. Psychotherapy in Christian Perspective. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987. Print.

Reno, Russell R. Redemptive Change: Atonement and the Christian Cure of the Soul. Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 2002. Print.

Citing a book with multiple authors:


First author's last name, First author's first name, and Second author's full name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Print.


Harvey, Stephanie, and Anne Gouvdis. Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2007. Print.

Note: if there are more than three authors, you may name only the first and add et al after the first author.

Citing a book by a corporate author:


Corporate Author’s Name. Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Print.


American Medical Association. The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine. New York: Random, 1989. Print.

Citing a work in an anthology:


Author's last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection. Ed. Editor's Name(s). Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page range of entry. Print.


Hamilton, Victor P. “The Ethics of the Old Testament.” Christian Ethics: An Inquiry into Christian Ethics from a Biblical Theological Perspective. Eds. Leon O. Hynson and Lane A. Scott. Anderson, IN: Warner Press, 1983. 9-30. Print.

Citing an article in a reference book:


Author’s Last Name, First Name. [if the article is unsigned, give the title first] “Title of the Article.” Title of the Reference Work. Editor of the reference book [for less familiar works]. Edition. [for specialized reference books, include the city and publisher here, followed by a comma] Date of Publication. Print.


“Transfiguration.” Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. 2nd ed. 2001. Print.

Thomas, R. M. “Religious Education.” The International Encyclopedia of Education. Eds. Torsten Husén and T. Neville Postlethwaite. 2nd ed. New York: Elsevier Science, 1994. Print.

Citing a government publication:


Government Name. Government Agency. Title of Publication. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date of publication. Print.


United States. Census Bureau. Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001. Washington: GPO, 2001. Print.

California. Dept. of Justice. California Attorney General’s Women’s Rights Handbook. Sacramento: Office of the Attorney General, 1990. Print.

Citing a scholarly journal article:


Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Print.


Moreland, J. P. “Intelligent Design Psychology and Evolutionary Psychology: A Comparison of Rival Paradigms.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 29.4 (2001): 361-77. Print.

Citing a magazine article:


Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Day [only include if the magazine is published more than once per month] Month [abbreviate except for May, June, or July] Year: pages [do not give the volume and issue numbers even if they are listed]. Print.


Jeschke, Marlin. “Fixing Church Discipline: What Corrective Love Really Looks Like in the Body of Christ.” Christianity Today Aug. 2005: 30-32. Print.

Citing a newspaper article:


Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Day Month [abbreviate except for May, June, or July] Year, edition: pages [use + if article covers more than one page]. Print.


Goodstein, Laurie, and David D. Kirkpatrick. “On a Christian Mission to the Top.” New York Times 22 May 2005, late ed.: A1+. Print.

Citing a dissertation or thesis found in a library and not available through ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (aka, "unpublished" dissertations and theses):


Author Last Name, First Name. "Title of Dissertation or Thesis." Thesis (include degree type)/Diss. School, Year. Print.


McVay, Lori Ann. "Women as Relational Leaders: Nature or Nurture?" MA thesis. Azusa Pacific U, 2006. Print.

Heil, Jacob Allen. "Authors, Audiences, and Elizabethan Prologics." Diss. Texas A&M U, 2009. Print.


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