Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Writing Resources for the Seminary: MLA

MLA Format

This guide is a general overview of the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style for references and citations. Be sure to consult the MLA Handbook or the MLA Website for detailed standards and procedures.

Creative Commons License CC by NC 4.0 This guide was based on the guide created by Tessa Withorn at CSUDH Library and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

How do I format my MLA paper?

The information provided below will assist you in properly formatting your paper according to the MLA standards.  Please check with your professor to ensure that you are meeting all requirements for your specific class and project.

Please visit the MLA website to learn more about formatting your MLA style paper.  

In-text Citations

When you reference someone else's words or thoughts, use an in-text citation in the body of your paper. Watch the video below to learn more. 

Basic Format:
(Author's Last Name Page#).

How do I format my citations?

The information provided below will assist you in properly formatting your in-text citations according to MLA standards. 

I'm using...


If you're quoting the exact words of someone else, make certain to include quotation marks around those words. You must also cite information that you have placed into your own words, a paraphrase.

  • According to Brown, "Direct quote" (1021).
  • Brown found that paraphrased passage (1021).
  • [Some other introduction] "Direct quote" (Brown 1021).


If you're directly quoting a passage that is longer than 4 lines, use a blockquote. Block quotes don't need quotation marks. Instead, indent the text 1/2" as a visual cue that you are citing. The in-text citation in parentheses goes after the punctuation of the quote.

Shavers' study found the following:

While research studies have established that socioeconomic status influences disease incidence, severity and access to healthcare, there has been relatively less study of the specific manner in which low SES influences receipt of quality care and consequent morbidity and mortality among patients with similar disease characteristics, particularly among those who have gained access to the healthcare system. (1021)

Tip: Use direct quotes sparingly! Focus on summarizing the findings from multiple research studies. In the sciences and social sciences, only use the exact phrasing or argument of an individual when necessary.


If your source has two authors, include the last names of both authors, tied together with the word and.
(Brown and Little 56).
If your source has three or more authors, include only the last name of the first author listed, followed by the phrase et al.
(Jones et al. 105).


If the source you are citing does not list an author, use a shortened form of the title instead.
(Growing 67).
Title of Work: Growing Gardens in the Winter Months


If your source has paragraph numbers, section numbers, or chapter numbers, utilize these numbers in the absence of normal page numbers. Use the appropriate abbreviation to identify the type of number identification you are using. Add the letter s to the abbreviation when listing multiple paragraphs, sections, or chapters.
Paragraph: par. or pars.
Section: sec. or secs.
Chapter: ch. or chs.
If your source has no page numbers listed and does not have any paragraph, section, or chapter numbers listed, omit the page number from the citation.

Works Cited Template

A list of core elements: click to see an explanation of each component of the Works Cited Entry.

The author is the person, persons, or organization responsible for the creation of the work.

One Author:
  • Last name, First name.
    • Smith, Mary R.
    • Thomas, George.
Two Authors:
  • Last name, First name of first author listed followed by a comma and the second author's name listed First name Last name.
    • Smith, Mary R., and Samuel C. Turner.
    • Fry, Bob, and Elizabeth Duncan.
Three or More Authors:
  • Last name, First name of only the first author listed followed by the phrase et al.
    • Brown, Katherine G., et al.
    • Green, Doug, et al.
Corporate Author:
  • Institution, Corporation, Organization, or Agency listed as the author.
    • Lee University.
    • Tennessee Department of Health.
  • If the organization is also responsible for the publication of the work, list the organization as the publisher only; do not list as the author.
No Author Listed:
  • If not author information is available, skip this element and go to the title of the work.
The title of the source should always be included.
  • List the complete title, using the exact words listed in the source, including subtitles.
  • Standardize the punctuation and capitalization of the title and subtitle, regardless of how it is listed in the work.
If no title is available, you must list a concise description as the title.
  • Todd, Elizabeth G. Diary Entry.
Should the title be placed in "Quotation Marks" or should the title be placed In Itlialcs?
    • Works that are stand-alone works should have the title placed In Italics.
    • What is a stand-alone work?
      • Anything that is not part of a larger work.
        • A Book
        • A Website
        • A Television Series
        • A Film
    • Works that are part of a greater whole should be placed in "Quotation Marks."
      • What is a work that is part of a greater whole?
        • "A Chapter in a Book"
        • "An Essay, Short Story, or Poem in a Book"
        • "An Article in a Journal, Newspaper, or Magazine"
        • "An Article or Posting on a Website"
        • "A Specific Episode of a Television Series"
        • "A Specific Song from an Album"
Containers can be thought of as holders of information.  Where did you access the information being cited?

For works that are parts of a greater whole, such as a chapter in a book or an article in a journal, the greater whole is considered the container.  

Also, there are instances when you will have a second container, such as a chapter in a book that was accessed online through the HathiTrust Digital Library or an article in a journal that was accessed through the library's JSTOR database

In these instances, the second container must also be listed in your citation. The second container's information will be listed at the very end of your citation.   

In addition to the author, list the names of other people who contributed to the creation of your work and whose work played an important part in your research or whose participation in important to identifying the work. 
Here are some examples of contributors that you may need to mention.  Provide the description of the contributor's role followed by the contributor's name or names.
  • translated by
  • edited by
  • adapted by
  • directed by
  • illustrated by
  • introduction by
  • narrated by
  • performance by
Some contributors roles are better described by simply stated the name of the role, such as general editor.  You may also list more than one contributing role if it is important to your research and the identification of the work. 


Some works have been released in multiple forms.  If your work identifies itself as a particular version or edition, include this information in your citation.
Here are just a few examples of Version:
  • New International Version
  • 9th ed.
  • Revised ed.
  • director's cut


The number element should be included for any work that is part of a numbered sequence. This would include such items as:
  • one volume of a set of books
  • the volume and issue number of a journal
  • the season and episode number of a television series  
For journal articles, include the prefix vol. for the volume number and the prefix no. for the issue number.  
The publisher is the organization responsible for making the work available to the public.
  • For Books, this is the publisher that should be listed on the title page or copyright page.
  • For Television and Film, the publisher is the main production company listed.
  • For Websites, the managing organization should be listed.
For the following publications, DO NOT include a publisher:
  • Journals
  • Periodicals
  • Magazines
  • Any work where the individual author or editor is the publisher (does not apply to corporate authors)
  • Any website where the publisher name is the same as the title of the website
  • Any website that simply acts as a host to content but is not actually responsible for publishing the content
Always include the date your source was published.
Publication date refers to the following, depending on source type:
  • Publication Date 
  • Air Date
  • Release Date
  • Posted Date
The definition of location depends upon the source type.
  • Print Resources - page number (p.) or page range (pp.)
  • Online Resources - URL
    • DOI number
    • Stable URL or Permalink
Use the Practice Template available at The MLA Style Center.