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Citation Basics

MLA Guides

MLA Core Elements

MLA 8th edition provides 9 core elements (or containers) to complete any works cited entry. To build a citation, fill in these core elements with the information you have about a source. If any element is missing or not applicable, you can skip that element.

The 9 Core Elements

(1) Author.
(2) “Title of source.”
(3) Title of Container,
(4) Other contributors,
(5) Version, 
(6) Number, 
(7) Publisher,
(8) Publication date,
(9) Location.

Notes:

For sources that are part of a larger work, you include core element (2) “Title of source.”
​        ( e.g. journal articles from a journal, essays or chapters from a book, webpages from a website)

For sources that are self-contained, you skip core element (2).
        (e.g. books, websites, or journals)

Other contributors include people such as editors, translators, or directors.

MLA Works Cited Examples

Basic examples of common citations. See the guides linked above for additional examples and explanation.


Book

Elements: 

(1) Minot, Stephen.
(2) 
(3) Three Genres.
(4) 
(5) 
(6) 
(7) Pearson,
(8) 2003.
(9) 

Citation: Minot, Stephen. Three Genres. Pearson, 2003.


Chapter in Edited Book

Elements: 

(1) Young, Willie.
(2) “Knowing the Unknowable."
(3) Poker and Philosophy
(4) Eric Bronson (editor)
(5) 
(6) 
(7) Carus Publishing Company,
(8) 2006, 
(9) pp. 41-57. (In this case, location refers to the page numbers where the chapter can be found)

Citation: Young, Willie. "Knowing the Unknowable." Poker and Philosophy, edited by Eric Bronson, Carus Publishing Company, 2006, pp. 41-57.


Online Journal Article

Elements: 

(1) Collins, Ross.
(2) "Writing and Desire: Synthesizing Rhetorical Theories of Genre and Lacanian Theories of the Unconscious." 
(3) Composition Forum
(4) 
(5) Volume 33
(6) 
(7) 
(8) Spring 2016
(9) compositionforum.com/issue/33/writing-desire.php. (In this case, location refers to the URL or DOI of the online article.)

Citation: Collins, Ross. "Writing and Desire: Synthesizing Rhetorical Theories of Genre and Lacanian Theories of the Unconscious." Composition Forum, vol. 33, Spring 2016, compositionforum.com/issue/33/writing-desire.php.


Webpage

(1) Hollmichel, Stephanie.
(2) "The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print."
(3) So Many Books,
(4) 
(5) 
(6) 
(7) 
(8) 25 Apr. 2013
(9) somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-print/. (In this case, the Location refers to the webpage URL.)

Citation: Hollmichel, Stephanie. "The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013, somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-print/.

Examples from Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL) used under a Creative Commons Attribution-4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License