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Citing: MLA style

Introduction American Modern Language Association (MLA style)

The citation style of the American Modern Language Association (MLA style) is frequently used in Humanities, for instance in Linguistics and Literature Studies.


MLA guides

On the website of the Modern Language Association you will find a guide to practise citing in the MLA style.

The Purdue PWL MLA help guide is useful if you use the Modern Language Association style (MLA-style).

Examples of references in MLA style

In the boxes below you will find some examples of references in the MLA style.

For more information go to the MLA quick guide at the website of the Modern Language Association.

MLA citing: books

Book by one author:

Last namefirst nameTitle: Subtitle. Publisheryear of publication.  

Jameson, Fredric. The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on Postmodernism 1983-1998. Verso,1998. 

Please make sure you put the last name of the author first. That is useful, because in the actual text of your essay you refer to a source by including the last name of the author and the page number. When your reader checks the reading list at the end it is easy to retrace the source by searching for the last name.

Book by more than one author

Last namefirst name, and first name last nameTitle: Subtitle. Publisheryear of publication. 

Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. Empire. Harvard University Press, 2000. 

Do not change the order of the author's names. Please note: only the name of the first author starts with the last name. If there are more than two authors, only mention the first author, followed by "et al." You can leave out the other authors ) "et alli" means "and others".)

MLA citing: edited volume and chapter in a book

The edited volume itself:

Last namefirst name, editor. TitleSubtitlePublisher, year of publication.

Docherty, Thomas, editor. Postmodernism: A Reader. Columbia University Press, 1993. 

Article in an edited volume:

Last namefirst name“Title of the article.” Title of the book: Subtitle of the book, edited by first name last name of the compiler of the book. Publisher, year of publicationpp. first and last page of the article. 

Gorz, André. “The Conditions of Post-Marxist Man.” Postmodernism: A Reader, edited by Thomas Docherty. Columbia University Press, 1993, pp. 344-354. 

N.B.: The title of the article is not in italics, but put between brackets. The title of the edited volume itself is in italics.

MLA citing: article from a scholarly journal


Last name, first name“Title of the article.” Journal titlle, volume, issue, year of publicationpp. first and last page.
Stanford Friedman, Susan. “Definitional Excursions: The Meanings of Modern/Modernity/Modernism.” Modernism / Modernity, vol8, no. 3, 2001, pp. 493-513.


Last namefirst name“Title of the article.” Title of the newspaper or magazineday, month, year, first and last page.

Shaviro, Steven. “Post-Cinematic Affect: On Grace Jones, Boarding Gate, and Southland Tales.” Film-Philosophy, vol. 14, no. 1, 2010, pp. 1-102, Accessed 2 August 2010.

MLA citing: article from a (printed) newspaper or magazine

Last namefirst name“Title of he article.” Title of the newspaper or magazineday, month, year, first and last page.

Pole, Steven. “Big Fish, Little Fish.” New Statesman, 5 March 2007, pp. 57-58. 

MLA citing: Page on a website or online newspaper

Last namefirst name. “Title of the page.” Title of the Website, publication date of the website (if available), URL, DOI or permalinkDate on which the website was last visited by you. 

Blooijs, Joost de. “Tiqqun. Een weerwoord.” nY Web, 5 mei 2010, Accessed 2 August 2010.

When you cite a page on a website or an online newspaper, start with the author if you know the name. Next the name of the website or online newspaper.

MLA citing: Blogpost

Last name, first name or nickname of the blogger. “Title of the post.” Name of the Website, publlication date, URL, DOI or permalink. Date on which the website was last visited by you.

Dean, Jodi. “Complexity (not worth the effort).” I Cite, 7 July 2010, Accessed 2 August 2010.

Characteristics MLA citatiton style

Characteristics of the MLA citation style:

  • It is an author/date style, also known as bracket style
  • The references to the source are put between brackets in the running text, as a whole or abbreviated
  • The quoted sources are listed at the end of the publication

MLA: in-text references

  • State the last name of the author, followed by the page number of the quote between brackets. Example:  "Here's a direct quote" (Smith 8).
  • If you do not know the author, give the first word (or first words) of the title (in the original style of the title). Example: This is a paraphrase ("Trouble" 22).
  • If the author is already mentioned in the sentence, you only have to give the page number (between brackets). Example: In his Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin states that he prepared a list of thirteen virtues (135)