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A Quick MLA Referencing Guide

MLA Referencing Style Made Simple: What You Need to Know

17 Jun 2022


The MLA referencing style is a technique for making sure that every document that you write achieves higher standards of presentation. Especially for the students who have opted for the humanities stream. This referencing style is very easy to use once you get acquainted with the basic components, and this blog is the perfect place to do so.

Do not get lazy and skip on learning this extremely useful technique just because you think it is a little tough or would take too much time to master. Share all your doubts and confusions with the experts of Instant Assignment Help and they will surely set you free. This blog is literally a finely curated MLA style referencing guide to help you grasp and improve your stronghold on the above-mentioned style.

What Is MLA Referencing Style?

The Modern Language Association created this referencing style to provide a clear and precise way to acknowledge the works of others in humanities documents. It is widely used by students of social sciences in their assignments, theses, dissertations, essays, etc.

It has two parts, namely:

  1. In-text Citations
  2. Works Cited

In-text citations are brief markings in the body of the document, while Works Cited is a long list placed at the end of the document. Now, if you are thinking: "What is MLA referencing style component and how is it different from other styles?", the next section will answer that thoroughly.

Core Components of MLA Referencing Style

Like any other form of referencing style, the MLA Referencing Style also has certain fixed things that are supposed to be included in the citation, or else it won’t be deemed proper. Here is the list of these core elements:

  1. Author’s Name
  2. Source Title
  3. Title of Container
  4. Contributor
  5. Version
  6. Numbers
  7. Publisher
  8. Publication Date
  9. Location

All of these components are important and supposed to be included in the above-mentioned order only.

Moving to the most basic question that students ask: "How to use MLA referencing style in any document?", the experts have shared their extensive knowledge in the next section of this blog.

How to Refer in MLA Style: In-Text & Works Cited

The MLA referencing style is one of the oldest referencing styles in the world. It has been around since the 1800s. Since then, there have been eight different editions of it. Each one made it better and easier to comprehend. This was done to adapt to the changing demands of the growing world.

MLA uses parenthetical citations, i.e. whenever in the text there is the use of some quote or phrase of a different author, the information regarding it should be mentioned then and there.

Also, it is important that any information mentioned in the text be word-for-word listed in the works cited. Mentioned below is an MLA-style referencing guide for your students to go through. This is the outer structure, and once you are through with that, this referencing style will be very easy for you to apply to the assignments.

In-text Citations References

These are the citations made in the main body of your content. They are supposed to be brief and give just the crux of information about the original source you have used.

Things to Remember

Author-page format:

  • Works in an anthology, periodical, or collection
  • For classic and literary works with multiple editions

In-text citations for print sources

  1. Known author
  2. Corporate author
  3. Non-standard labeling systems
  4. Known author

In-text citations of authors

  1. Work by multiple authors
  2. With the same last names
  3. Multi-volume works
  4. Multiple works by the same author

In-text citations of sources from the internet/nonprint

  1. URLs
  2. Film
  3. DOI
  4. Electronic sources

Works Cited References

It is an exhaustive list of all the sources from which you have taken ideas or inspiration. It is placed at the end of any document. It will follow the sequence in which the information appears in the document itself.

Things to Remember


  1. In caps- all words
  2. Exceptions- articles,conjunctions,prepositions


  1. Italics - for larger works or titles
  2. Underline - should be avoided
  3. Quotation marks - for short titles

Listing Author Names

  1. Listing is done in alphabetical order using surnames
  2. The name was written in format - last name, middle name, first name
  3. More than one work of the same author
  4. Works of the unknown author - listed in alphabetical order of the work

New 2021 Additions

  • Apps and databases
  • Pseudonym, stage-name
  • Annotated bibliographies

Usage of Abbreviation in MLA Referencing Style

Abbreviations are used to save space for the creator of the document and also for the publishers. They also help you stay within the word limit if the document being written has one. Mentioned below are some abbreviations related to MLA style.

Uppercase Letter Abbreviations

  1. Periods are not used


  1. Exception - Proper Names
  2. J. K. Rowling, M. K. Gandhi

Lowercase Letter Abbreviations

  1. Period is used

Approx., Max., Conf.

  1. Exceptions - Internet Suffix

URL Suffixes

.com, .edu, .gov

Degree names

PhD, EdD, PsyD

Each letter represents a word in common

a.m., e.g., i.e.

Other Exceptions

mph, rpm, ns, lb

Abbreviations in Citations

Time Designations

Jan., Feb., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

  1. Geographic Names
  2. London, Eng.
  3. Orem, UT
  4. Scholarly Abbreviations
  5. or ca. for circa
  6. for chapter

For Column

  1. for definition

There is a complete list of them in the MLA Handbook

Hone Your MLA Referencing Style With the Help of Examples

Now, that the theoretical part of this blog is over, let us focus on the applicability of all the acquired knowledge. Mentioned below are some examples of the MLA referencing style. You can look at them and get better at this style:

Citing Books

  • In-text Format: Surname page number
  • Example:(Smith 100)

Works cited format: Surname, Forename. Title of book. Publisher, year.

  • Example: Smith, Liam. A Tribute to Climate Philosophy. Penguin, 2015.

Citing Edited Book

  • In-text Format: Surnamepage number
  • Example:(Payne 60)

Works cited format: Surname, Forename Initial. "Title of chapter". Title of book. Ed. Forename Initial. Surname. Publisher, year. page range.

  • Example: Payne, Patricia. "The Ancient".The Cambridge Handbook of Felony. Eds. Marry Joseph, Methwes Perry, and Robert Evans. Cambridge UP, 2011.59-65.

Citing Journal Paper(print copy)

  • In-text Format: Surnamepage number
  • Example: (Watkins 22)

Works cited format: Surname, Forename Initial. "Title of paper". Name of journal vol. #, no. #, year: pp. #-#

  • Example: Watkins, Sophie K. "Common Sense: Rethinking its Limits and Depsychologization in the Age of Modernism."Psychology and Philosophy vol. 42, no.8, 2000: pp. 16-28.

Citing Newspaper Article(with author)

  • In-text Format: Surnamepage number
  • Example: (Christi and Soori 2)

Works cited format: Surname, Forename, Initial. "Title of article". Name of the newspaper. day Mon. year: pp.#-#

  • Example: Christi, Bundi, and Rishi Soori. “55,000 were found guilty of Cheating at UK Universities.” Sunday Express 15 Mar. 2010: pp. 2-4.

Citing Interview (conducted by someone else)

  • In-text Format: Surnamepage number
  • Example: (Jenner, 2020)

Works Cited format: Surname, Forename, Initial. "Title of article". Name of the newspaper. day Mon. year: pp.#-#

  • Example: Jenner, Chloe. Interview. “A Greek Holiday with Romania (and Mrs. Cool Sex, too).” By Sandy Byron. Express Higher Education. 11 Apr. 2020. pp. 48-49.

Citing Website with Author

  • In-text Format: SurnameTitle of the specific web page
  • Example: Sutton highlights the role of the two greatest ever artists.

Works cited format: Surname, Forename Initial. "Title of the specific web page". Name of the overall website, day month year. Web. URL Accessed day month year.

  • Example: Sutton, Alang. “Art”. AlaindeBotton.com, n.d. Web.

Citing a Website with no author

  • In-text Format: Title of the specific web page
  • Example: Especial support is available for “Old Age Learners”.

The University of Boston offers special support to...

  • Works Cited Format: Organization. "Title of the specific web page". Name of the overall website. Organization. day month year. Web. URL Accessed day month year.
  • Example: “Old Age Learners”. The Learning Centre. University of York, 13 Mar. 2012.

Got More Questions? Ask Away | Professionals Are Here!

When students sit down to write their academic documents, they are already under so much pressure and often look for ways to enhance the documents so that they can get superior grades. One simple way to do so is, by learning the referencing styles. If you are wondering "How to use MLA referencing style to improve your grades?" The answer is simple: it makes your document look high end and it is something that professors love. This blog has covered everything that needs to be read by students. And even after that, if you feel the need for further assistance, feel free to contact the experts of the leading academic writing service, Instant Assignment Help, with all your MLA referencing style questions.

They can assist you with so many other academic-related problems as well. Mentioned below are some benefits of availing of their services:

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So, do not miss out on this golden opportunity to learn from the best experts in MLA referencing style in Australia and you may also like to read:

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