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All You Need to Know About the MLA

Referencing is the process of citing the sources used as a reference by students for documenting. MLA- Modern Language Association is an organization that focuses on language and literature. This organization has launched a citation handbook following which the scholars cite the sources for their documents. There are two types of referencing formats used in this style, as mentioned below:

1. Reference List Citation

This is the citation type where the reference sources are listed at the end of the document.

2. In-Text Citation

This is the citation type where the reference sources are listed inside the test along with it.

When using any of these 2 citations, you must ensure including all the necessary elements in the content. Want to know the elements? Read the below section.

What Are Some Mandatory Elements to Include in the MLA Referencing Style?

Here are a few elements that must be included in the MLA referencing style; make sure not to miss any of them in the document:

1. Author

a. Author

Last name, First name

Example: Smith, Robert

b. Authors

First Author’s Last name, First name and Second Author’s First name, Last name

Example: Smith, Robert, and John David

c. + Authors

First Author’s Last name, First name followed by et al.

Example: Smith, Robert, et al.

2. Title of Source

Author’s Last name, First name followed by the title of the source in capitalization form (Use italics for mentioning the entire title).

Example: Franzen, Jonathan. The Corrections. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001.

3. Title of Container

The chapter of a book, page of a website, and article of the journal is the container. The title of this container is used in italics. But, if there is no title, then a quotation can be used instead.

a. With one container:

Author’s Last name, First name followed by the title of a source: Title of the container.

Example: Nasar, Sylvia. A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash. Simon and Schuster, 2001. Franzen, Jonathan. The Corrections. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001.

b. With two containers:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, other contributors, version, numbers, Publisher, publication date, location. Title of Second Container, Other contributors, version, number, Publisher, publication date, location.

Example: Sallis, James, “Physical Education’s Role in Public Health: Steps Forward and Backward Over 20 Years and Hope for the Future.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, vol. 83, no.2, Jun. 2012, pp. 125-135. ProQuest.

4. Other Contributors

The contributor is added next to the title of the container. This is ended with a comma and is described by: “Translated by, illustrated by or directed by.” If the contributors are more than one, then use et al. after the name of the first contributor.

Example: Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Translated by Catherine Porter, Harvard University Press, 2004.

5. Version

The format to be used when the source has more than one versions, such as the second edition of the book, expanded version of a collection, or such is:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, other contributors, version, Publisher, publication date, location.

Example: Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Translated by Catherine Porter, Harvard University Press, 2004.

6. Number

For sources with numbers, use comma to separate them and include the same in the citations.

Example: Wieseke, Jan, et al. “Willing to Pay More, Eager to Pay Less: The Role of Customer Loyalty in Price Negotiations.” Journal of Marketing, vol. 68, no. 6, 2014, pp.17-37.

7. Publisher

Publication sources need to be cited properly in the document. But for websites, journals, newspapers and magazines, and platforms like YouTube, Netflix, or JSTOR, there is no need to mention the publisher. And the format to follow for this is:

Example: Grissom, Kathleen. The Kitchen House. Touchstone, 2010.

8. Publication Date

If the publication date of the source is available, then make sure to include it in the citation for better assurance of the authentic data.

Example: Ratatouille. Directed by Brad Bird, Pixar, June 29, 2007.

9. Location

The information to be included in this section totally depends on the source used for collecting information:

  • Book Chapter – Page numbers of the chapter range
  • Web Page –URL of the web page with HTTPS://
  • Journal Article –Date of issue or stable URL
  • Live Event –Name of location and city

Example: Szabo, Liz. “Zika Culd Hit People in Poverty Hardest.” USA Today, 30 June 2016, www….

How to Make MLA Citation Using Reference Lists?

1. Citation for Books-

a. One Author

Author’s Last name, First name. Book Title. Publisher, and the publishing year.

Example: Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones, 1818.

b. Two Authors

First Author’s Last name, First name, and First name of the second author, Last name. Book Title. Publisher, and the publishing year.

Example: Smith, John, and Bob Anderson. The Sample Book. Books For Us, 2017.

c. More than Two Authors

First Author’s Last name, First name, et al. Book Title. Publisher, and the publishing year.

Example: Campbell, Megan, et al. The Best Noun Book. Books For Us, 2017.

2. Citation for Translated Books

Original Author’s Last name, First name. Title. Translated by First Name Last Name. Publisher, and the publishing year.

Example: Coelho, P., 1993. The Alchemist. Translated by A. Clarke. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

3. Citation for e-Books

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of E-Book. Publisher, and the publishing year. Title of Website, URL.

Example: Rodgers, Tara. Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound. Duke UP, 2010. Google Books, books.google.com/books?

4. Citation for Chapters

Last name, First name of Chapter’s Author. “Title of Chapter.” Title of Book, other contributors and their roles, version (if there’s a specific edition), Publisher, and the publishing year, page, or page range.

Example: Levi-Strauss, Claude. “The Structural Study of Myth.” Literary Adverb Theory: An Anthology, edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, 3rd ed., Wiley Blackwell, 2017, pp. 178-195.

5. Citation for Edited Books

Author’s Last name, First name, editor. Title of Book. Numbered ed., Publisher, and the publishing year.

Example: Ferraro, Gary, and Susan Andreatta, editors. Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective. 10th ed., Cengage Learning, 2014.

6. Citation for Websites

Author’s Last name, First name, editor. “Title of Individual Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date, URL.

Example: Fosslien, Liz, and Mollie West. “3 Ways to Hack Your Environment to Help You Create.” HuffPost Preposition Endeavor, Huffington Post, Dec. 7, 2016, www….

7. Citation for Online Journals

Author’s Last name, First name, editor. “Title of Individual Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date, URL.

Example: Fosslien, Liz, and Mollie West. “3 Ways to Hack Your Environment to Help You Create.” HuffPost Preposition Endeavor, Huffington Post, Dec. 7, 2016, www….

8. Citation for Blogs

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Blog Post.” Title of Blog, Publisher, Date of publishing, website address.

Example: Williams, Lindsay. “How to Get the Most from Your Online Language Lessons with a Tutor.” Lindsay Does Languages, 2019 Feb. 12, www…

9. Citation for Newspapers

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper’s Website, Date of publishing, URL.

Example: Hageman, William. “Program Brings Together Veterans, Neglected Dogs.” Chicago Tribune, 4 Jan. 2015, p.10.

10. Citation for Music

Singer’s Last name, First name OR Band Name. “Title of Song.” Title of Website or Service, other contributors, and their roles (if applicable), version, date of publishing, URL.

Example: Lopez, Jennifer. “Us.” Spotify, 2 Feb. 2018, open.spotify.com/track/2…

11. Citation for Films

Title of the Film. Directed by First name Last name, performance by First name Last name, publisher, Year.

Example: BibMe: The Movie. Directed by John Smith, performance by Jane Doe, New York Stories, 2017.

12. Citation for Lectures

Speaker’s Last name, First name. Title of Lecture. Date of Lecture Conduction, Venue, Location.

Example: Pausch, Randy. Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. 18 Sept. 2007, McConomy Auditorium, Pittsburgh.

13. Citation for Encyclopedias

Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Encyclopedia Name, Publisher, Year of Publishing.

Example: Smith, John. “Internet.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 2012.

14. Citation for Magazines

Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Magazine Name, Vol. number, issue no., date of publishing, page numbers, or URL.

Example: Pratt, Sybil. “A Feast of Tradition.” BookPage, Oct. 2017, p.8.

15. Citation for Dissertation

Author’s Last name, First name. Title of Dissertation or Thesis. Year of completion. University or College, Degree abbreviation. Database, URL.

Example: Fletcher, Marissa. Influences of Nutrition and Pathogenicity from a Microbial Diet on Immunity and Longevity in Caenorhabditis Elegans. 2012. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D. DSpace@MIT, HTTPS…

These are the different formats for citing various sources using the MLA referencing lists. You can check in-text citation formats in the below section.

How to Do In-Text Citation Using MLA Referencing?

1. One Author

Author’s Last Name and Page Number

Example: (Twain 8)

2. Two Authors

First Author’s Name “and” Second Author’s Name Page Number

Example: (Malcolm and Knowles 12)

3. Three or More Authors

First Author’s Name et al. and Page Number

Example: (Smith et al. 12)

These are a few referencing formats for referencing sources using in-text citation.

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