Use the MLA style when writing essays, papers, and documenting information sources in English courses, and the Liberal Arts and Humanities. This edition of the MLA Handbook provides a universal set of guidelines for citing sources across all format types.
MLA is the acronym for the Modern Language Association.
Learn more about using MLA including a summary of the main changes between the previous edition and the new edition published in 2016 at MLA Modern Language Association.
MLA citation style consists of two parts:
CONTAINERS AND SOURCES
MLA Handbook, 8th edition, requires writers to use a new scheme for the citation process. Writers are asked to consider containers and sources when creating citations.
"For example, a short story may be contained in an anthology. The short story is the source, and the anthology is the container (The MLA Style Center)."
Use this practice template available on the MLA Style Center website as you begin to format citations.
For details on each citation element, refer to the following tab titled Formatting Basics.
Image Credit: The MLA Style Center. Works Cited: A Quick Guide. 2016. https://style.mla.org/works-cited-a-quick-guide
CONTAINER normally appear in italics, followed by a comma because everything that comes after a container title - editor and other contributors, publisher name, date of publication, and page numbers - describes the container (30). Many MLA citations will include one or two discrete containers.
SOURCE are a segment of a container. "Use quotation marks for the titles of sources that are contained in larger works. Follow a source with a period" (68).
A container is WHERE you found your source, such as:
A source is PART of the containers, such as:
The 8th edition of MLA introduces the concept of containers. For details, refer to the previous tab titled Containers and Sources. It can be challenging to identify the following core elements of each of your sources. Not every source you use lists an author, or volume, or page numbers.
Do your best to identify the necessary elements of each of your sources. Not every source will have a listed author, a version, or other contributors. Be sure to list the elements in the correct order. If the information is not present, you will leave it out; however, be sure to list the elements of the citation in the correct order as listed below:
When formatting your research paper according to MLA style, use the following guidelines:
Your MLA style paper is not required to have specific sections and headings but to follow a logical flow for presenting and supporting your arguments. More information on essay and paper elements are located in Chapter 2 of the MLA Handbook.