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ENGL 107 College Composition: Citing- MLA

This guide is for all sections of English 107: College Composition


MLA is the citation and style method used by scholars in the humanities. It is one of the most widely used styles in academia, especially in English and literature. The Modern Language Association is behind MLA style, which was created in the 1950's. Make sure to check out the manual for MLA for your citations, your Works Cited page, and overall set-up for your paper.

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MLA Handbook

How to cite...

The following are some of the most popular source types for citing. If you have a question about a particular type of source not listed or a special case, please consult the MLA Handbook, or contact the library or Writing Center.

In-text Citations

In-text citations follow a basic format of (Last Name Page #). If your source is an online document or webpage without page numbers, you can count the paragraphs until you get to the paragraph with your quote or paraphrase. You can incorporate the author's name into the sentence itself, but you must always include a page number in parentheses. 

Articles in Scholarly Journals

Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal, Volume (vol.), Issue (no.), Year, pages (pp.).

Alaei, Mahya and Saeideh Ahangari. "A Study of Ideational Metafunction in Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness": A Critical Discourse Analysis." English Language Teaching, vol. 9, no. 4, 2016, pp. 203-213.

Newspaper Articles 

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Newspaper TitleDay Month Year, pp. #.

Selingo, Jeffrey K. "Writing skills are rising on the list of job requirements — and falling in candidates." The Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2017, p. 3A.


Last Name, First Name (if known), "Page Title." Website, Day Month Year, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

"Plaigiarism and Academic Dishonesty." MLA, 2018, . Accessed 29 Aug. 2018.


Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication (if published before 1900), Publisher, Publication Date.

Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis . MIT Press, 2012.


How to format...

Remember, you also have to format your paper to MLA specifications. Here are the basics to keep in mind:

  • Use a 12 pt size legible font, usually Times New Roman
  • Use 1" margins on all sides of the paper (Note: this is already the default setting for margins in Microsoft Word)
  • Double-space your lines
  • Insert page numbers in the header section of your paper, in the upper-right corner, with your last name. Your instructor may have you omit the page number on the first page.
  • In the upper-left corner of your paper, include your name, the instructor's name, the course number, and the date, all on separate lines
  • Center your paper's title 
  • Your Works Cited sheet should start on a new page at the end of your paper, with the titled Works Cited centered in regular font (do not italicize or underline)
  • Double space your Works Cited page
  • Use left-alignment for your citations
  • Use a hanging indent for all references, which is a type of indentation that starts one-half inch from the left margin
    • Hanging indents should be used with each line after the first line of your citation


I can't find an author!

If no author is listed (remember, sometimes the author can be an organization!), skip it and go straight to listing the title. If the organization is both the author and the publisher, then skip the author section, start with the title, and list the organization as the publisher.

There's no date on my source.

If there is no date, skip this part of the citation. This happens often with information we find online, so use an "Accessed" statement stating when you accessed the site, i.e. Accessed followed by the day, month, and year. Ex. Accessed 29 Aug. 2018.

What do I do if there are no page numbers, like on a website?

If there are no page numbers available, simply leave that information out of both your in-text and Works Cited citations.

What do I capitalize when it comes to titles?

In MLA, you capitalize all words in a title, except for conjunctions (and, but, if) and articles (a, an, the), UNLESS these words are the first word in the title.