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MLA Citation: Welcome


When writing a research paper, you must cite the ideas, information, arguments, phrases or any other intellectual or creative output by another person that you borrow. Not to do so is referred to as plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious offense that has severe academic consequences (see KPU's Policy ST2, Student Academic Integrity Policy) and the related Procedures for Dealing with Academic Integrity Violations.

Common examples of plagiarism:

  • Copying sentences, paragraphs, data or visuals without citing their source
  • Quoting material without proper use of quotation marks (even if otherwise cited appropriately)
  • Paraphrasing or summarizing information from a source without acknowledgement;
  • Paying someone for writing the assignment
  • Listing a source in the bibliography/reference list that was not cited in the assignment

Find out more about Plagiarism

Why do we cite?

  • to distinguish previous from new thought
  • to give credit to the person whose ideas you used
  • to respect intellectual property
  • to help a reader locate the source(s) you used
  • to show that you have investigated your topic well
  • to avoid plagiarism

Citing in MLA

MLA style is often used to document sources for papers in the Humanities (English, Arts, Literature, Philosophy, etc.). Cite all sources that you quote, paraphrase or summarize: 

  • in the body of your paper with brief in-text citations
  • in a Works Cited list at the end with the full information of the sources

For detailed information on MLA refer to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, call number LB 2369 M57 2016, available at all campuses. Also check the MLA Style Center tab above.

If you have a specific MLA citing question, you may also try ask MLA

Guides from other institutions:

Major changes from the 7th to the 8th edition:

  • If a core element does not exist or cannot be found, omit the element from the Works Cited entry. Placeholders like "n.d." for "no date" and "n.p." for "no publisher" are no longer used.
  • For sources with three or more authors, list the first author's name followed by ", et al.".
  • The city of publication for books is no longer included.
  • Journal volumes and issues are now formatted: "vol. 12, no. 3,".
  • If a journal issue includes a publication month or season include that in the publication date, like: "Spring 2016," or "Jan. 2016,".
  • If an organization is both the author and the publisher, list the organization only once as the publisher and begin the citation with the title.
  • Include a DOI (digital object identifier) when available using the format "doi:############." If a DOI is not available, use a stable URL.
  • The URL, without http:// or https://, should be included for Web sources. Angle brackets are no longer used.
  • The source's medium (Print. Web., etc.) is no longer included.
  • In the Works Cited entry, "p." is used before citing a page number and "pp." is used before citing a page range. These are not used in the in-text citation.

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources that you researched. It consists of two things: 

  • citation of each source (book, article, etc.)
  • the annotation, which is a brief descriptive and/or critical, analytical, and evaluative paragraph of the source


We suggest to format your annotated bibliography the following way, but please check with your instructors about their preference:

(Examples on the template taken with thanks from Vancouver Island University Library)

MLA Works Cited Core Elements

Entries in the MLA Works Cited are based on nine core elements. The elements appear in the order and with the punctuation marks shown in the image to the left.

If an element cannot be found or does not apply to the source being cited, omit that element from the entry.


Image credit: What’s New in the Eighth Edition. Modern Language Association, 2016,


Practice worksheets (from the KPU library):

Practice worksheets (from Noodletools):

MLA Quiz from KPU:

The MLA Style Center contains helpful information on the following:

It also recorded a MLA webinar that you can watch and listen to here (you will need to register):


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