MLA Citations (Updated 8th Edition)

MLA 8th Edition Overview

In college writing, writers often use citations. Citations help audiences find evidence that supports each writer’s claims. Citations are useful for both the evidence that the writer names as well as the evidence that writers have read and are using, but don’t name. Good citations allow the audience to trust the writer and respect their claims.

Professors and students of languages and literature typically use Modern Language Association (MLA) style. MLA style asks for two markers about where you found your evidence:

  • in-text citations
  • a works cited page

MLA style does not have footnotes or endnotes. Some professors may ask for both. Authorities recommend that you treat MLA style as a guideline that can change to serve your audience’s needs as MLA style changes over time. In 2016 MLA released an 8th edition of its stylebook. The eighth edition uses similar standards for many kinds of evidence. This is a big update, but it will not be the last.

In-Text Citations in MLA 8th Edition

When a writer quotes or paraphrases someone else’s idea, MLA style asks that the writer include a parenthetical citation with the author and the page.

Known author:

Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).

When the author’s name isn’t known, a writer can cite a shortened version of the title.

Unknown author:

North America has "comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change . . ." ("Impact of Global Warming" 6).

When there are three or more known authors, only the first author is included in full.

3+ authors:

The authors state "Tighter gun control in the United States erodes Second Amendment rights" (Smith et al. 76).

What’s New?

The new 8th edition of MLA is designed to:

  • Apply the same style to every kind of source, from The Book of the Dead to Facebook.
  • Emphasize “containers,” such as Netflix, for every source.
  • Include pseudonyms, such as @CoolDude89, in citations.
  • Distinguish volume and number in journal citations as “vol.” and “no.
  • Include URLs.
  • Omit the city of publication.

Works Cited in MLA 8th Edition

A Works Cited page shows the audience the source of the evidence. The eighth edition of MLA style is based around one concept that applies to all kinds of sources. MLA style asks for information about nine aspects of evidence on a Works Cited page:

1. Who is the author?

2. What is the title of the source?

3. What is the title of the container?

4. Who else contributed?

5. What is the version?

6. What is the number?

7. Who was the publisher?

8. When was the publication date?

9. Where was the publication location?

In practical terms, the citation looks like this:

Article from a scholarly journal

            Kincaid, Jamaica. “In History.” Callaloo, vol. 24, no. 2, Spring 2001, pp. 620-26.

Book by one author

            Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.

Essay from a book collection

Copeland, Edward. “Money.” The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Copeland and Juliet McMaster, Cambridge UP, 1997, pp. 131-48.

Scholarly article found on a database

Lorensen, Jutta. “Between Image and Word, Color, and Time: Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series.” African American Review, vol. 40, no. 3, 2006, pp. 571-86. EbscoHost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=24093790&site=ehost-live.

Website

Curiosity Rover Report (August 2015): Three Years on Mars!” NASA’s Journey to Mars: Videos, edited by Sarah Loff, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 30 July 2015, www.nasa.gov/topics/journeytomars/videos/index.html.

A Works Cited page

Works Cited

Copeland, Edward. “Money.” The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Copeland and Juliet McMaster, Cambridge UP, 1997, pp. 131-48.

Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.

Kincaid, Jamaica. “In History.” Callaloo, vol. 24, no. 2, Spring 2001, pp. 620-26.

Lorensen, Jutta. “Between Image and Word, Color, and Time: Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series.” African American Review, vol. 40, no. 3, 2006, pp. 571-86. EbscoHost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=24093790&site=ehost-live.

0