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MLA Citation Style   Tags: citing sources  

Last Updated: Feb 5, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Tips That Help

Follow the style guide – ALWAYS.  This is not time to be creative.  Don’t agonize about why the guide tells you to do something, just do it!


Be consistent.  If the style guide says to use italics for the title of the book or journal (and MLA does) use italics ALWAYS.


Don’t mix style guides.  MLA and APA cannot be used simultaneously in a paper.  Choose one and stick to it.


If you don’t know how to cite a particular source, look it up.  The style guide has thought of nearly every type of source.


Print off the citation of the source you consulted, when you consult it. Don’t say, “I’ll do it later,” or “I am not sure I want to use this source, I’ll go back to it if I do.”  Going back later without the citation is often impossible.



    This guide will explain how to cite information sources using the MLA style.  It will also provide many examples of properly cited paper and electronic sources.  If you do not find what you need in this guide, the links at the right side of the screen may provide more assistance.  The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition) available at EWC Library is the best place to look when online guides do not help.  Ask at the desk and we will show you where it is located.  If you cannot come to the library, call us and we will help answer your question.



      Parts of MLA Style


      MLA style has two elements:

       1.      Reference cited in the text

                              For example, this sentence would appear in my paper:

      The courts in Helena provided a liberal definition of mental cruelty which then provided women with a path out of unhappy  marriages (Petrik 97).


      Paula Petrik found that the courts in Helena provided a liberal definition of mental cruelty which then provided women with a path out of unhappy marriages (97).

                  2.     Reference List

      For example, this reference would appear at the end of my paper, arranged in alphabetical order by author’s last name, along with all the other references I used:


                              Petrik, Paula. No Step Backward: Women and Family on the Rocky

                             Mountain Mining Frontier. Helena: Montana Historical


                            Society, 1987. Print.



      Each reference cited in the text must also have a full citation in the reference list at the end. You only need list the reference once at the end.  For example, if I cite several pages in the Petrik book, I only need list the full citation once in the Works Cited list.





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