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MLA Citation Style (8th Edition)

MLA Citation Style 8th Edition

The Modern Languages Association (MLA) style is commonly used for citing references in humanities courses, such as English.

This guide is based on the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), published in 2016. A summary of the main changes in the new edition can be found on the MLA website.

MLA style consists of two parts: a brief reference in the text, which points to a more detailed entry in the Works Cited list (MLA Handbook, p. 19). This arrangement is intended to minimize reader distraction while still providing information on source material.

Source citations include the answers to the following questions:

  • Who is the author of the source?
  • What is the title of the source?
  • How was the source published?
  • Where did you find the source?
  • When was the source published? (MLA Handbook, p. 13)

Why Cite Your Sources?

In all types of research and scholarly writing, it is important to cite your sources in order to:

  • Help readers identify and locate the sources you used.

Readers may want to locate a source you have cited, to verify the information or to learn more about the topic. A proper citation includes all of the information for a reader to locate a source.

  • Provide evidence that your position is well-researched.

Scholarly writing is grounded in research. Citations allow you to demonstrate that your position is thoroughly researched.

  • Give credit to the author of ideas which are not your own, and thereby avoid plagiarism.

Giving proper credit to those whose ideas, words, and thoughts you use is not only respectful to those authors, but also helps you avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is "the use and submission of another's work without appropriately attributing and crediting the individual.” (from Lakeland College Student Policies and Procedures, 5.12)

Citation Tools

Citation tools can help you to quickly generate and manage your citations. Remember to double-check citations for accuracy. Some tools to try:

Learn More


Thank you to Red Deer College Library for allowing us to adapt their MLA citation guide.