What Are the MLA Citation Guidelines?


Quick Answer

Modern Language Association citation guidelines are the formatting styles followed when citing sources within the humanities and liberal arts. These include formatting guidelines for in-text citations, the works cited page and the printing paper formatting styles.

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Full Answer

In MLA, writers use the author-page method when referring to the works of others. The author’s surname from which a quotation is taken must appear in the text, either in the sentence or in parentheses. Authors’ first initials are included to differentiate authors who have similar surnames. The page number of the quotation always appears in parentheses. Writers mention a maximum of three authors, since only the name of one author followed by the term “et al” is used when referencing a source edited by multiple authors.

A works cited page listing all the works referred to in the text must appear at the end of the research paper. Entries of the page are arranged alphabetically and double spaced with no spaces skipped between the citations. The second and subsequent lines of citations are indented by 0.5 inches. Page numbers to journal citations are listed with a hyphen indicating span of pages. Author surnames appear first followed by the other names and the medium of publication mentioned at the end. All words in the source titles apart from articles, prepositions and conjunctions are capitalized.

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