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ENGL 2025: Intro to English Studies: MLA

This is the course guide for ENGl 2025 Intro to English Studies

Style Guide

For many of your style and citation questions, it's best to go straight to the source! Find a copy of the MLA style manual at the Help Desk or in the stacks.

In-Text Citations

Parenthetical citations typically go at the end of a sentence that quote, paraphrases, or refers to a source. Closing punctuation for that sentence goes after the citation.

Each item cited in your text should have a corresponding item in your bibliography.

Standard citation
List the author's last name followed by a page number: (Barron 194).

Author has more than one work in your bibliography?
Add a short title to your citation: (Barron, "Redefining" 194).

Source has no author?
Use a short form of the title: (Reading at Risk 3)

Source has no page numbers?
Exclude page numbers or use a marker that is prominent in the text (like paragraph numbers, section numbers, time stamps, chapter numbers, line numbers, etc): (Chan, par. 41), (sec. 3), "Hush" 00:03:16-17), (ch. 17), ("Ode" 1-3), etc.

Citing more than one source in a single sentence?
Separate the citations with a semicolon: (Baron 194; Jacobs 55).

Already mentioned the author's name in the sentence?
Omit the author's name from the citation: (194).

Citing the Bible?
Use the title, followed by abbreviated book name, followed by chapter and verse separated by a period: (Bible, Ezek. 1.5-10).

Citing Shakespeare?
Use the play's abbreviated title followed by act, scene, and line numbers separated by periods: (Mac. 1.5.17).


Most of this guide was taken from Carleton College's GouldGuide on MLA Citation.  (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Citation Examples- Reference List (8th Edition)

Your bibliography should be alphabetized by author last name. For works that do not have an author, alphabetize by item title (omitting articles like "a" or "the"). Your bibliography should also be formatted using hanging indents.

Journal Article

Last Name, First Name MI. “Title of Article.” Journal Title, vol. #, no. #, Mon. Year, pp. #-#. Database, doi    if listed

Baron, Naomi S. “Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media.” PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193-200.

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, spring 2010, pp. 69-

88. JSTOR,


Entry in a dictionary, thesaurus, or reference book

Last Name, First Name MI. “Title of Article.” Reference Source Title, edited by First Name Last Name, vol. #, Publisher, Year Published, pp. #-#.

Online Publisher, https://xxxx

Botterill, Steven N. “Angela Da Foligno, Saint.” Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia, edited by Christopher Kleinhenz et al., vol. 1, Routledge, 2004,

pp. 35-36. Google Books,


Basic Book Format

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

  • Book with more than one author
    • Last name, First Name and First Name Last Name.
  • Books with 3+ authors
    • Last name, First Name et al.

Edited Book

Last name, First name MI., editor. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Year

Sánchez Prado, Ignacio M., editor. Mexican Literature in Theory. Bloomsbury, 2018.


Chapter in a Book

Copeland, Edward. “Money.” The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, Edited by Copeland and Juliet McMaster, Cambridge UP, 1997, pp. 131-


Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Masque of the Red Death." The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by James A. Harrison, vol. 4, Thomas Y.

Crowell, 1902, pp. 250-58. HathiTrust Digital Library,;view=1up;seq=266.


Newspaper Articles


Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper [City of Publication if not stated in newspaper title], Day Month Year of

Publication, URL.

In-print or through database:

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper [City of Publication if not stated in newspaper title], Day Month Year of

Publication, pp. Page Numbers if given. Database Name.


Web sites

Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Title of website, Day Mon. Year, website link

If no author name, “Article Title.” should be the first part of your citation.


Deresiewicz, William. “The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.” The Atlantic, 28 Dec. 2014, the-death-of-the-artist-and-the-birth-of-thecreative-entrepreneur/383497/.

          “Acoustical Recording.” Library of Congress, 2022,


Note that in this example, the optional original date of publication is included, as well as several people in the Other Contributors category. If you were studying a particular person associated with the work, that person could be listed in the Author position, like so:

"Capra, Frank, director." It’s a Wonderful Life. 1946. Directed by Frank Capra, Performance by James Stewart et al., Republic, 2001.


Television Episodes
Whether you decide to put the episode director into the author position or not depends on the show and your use of the show in your writing. If the show features episodes with distinct story lines or dramatic styles, the director for each episode may take on authorial importance, otherwise the creator or director of the series as a whole may be placed in the author position. If no one takes authorial importance for your work, place the title of the episode in the first position.

Bernstein, Adam director. "Hazard Pay." Breaking Bad, season 5, episode 3, High Bridge Productions et al., 29 Jul 2012.

"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Geller, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1999.


Image or Artwork
If you view it first hand, the Location is the physical location of the work. If you view a reproduction, follow the standard rules for Containers. If your image has no title, give a brief description of the item in the title location. Do not include quotation marks or italicize this description.

DaVinci, Leonardo. Mona Lisa. 1503?, Louvre Museum, Paris.

DaVinci, Leonado. Mona Lisa. 1503?, Wikipedia,,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci,_from_C2RMF_retouched.jpg.                Image of cat. 2016, Work      in a series.

Clowes, Daniel. David Boring. Eightball, no. 19, Fantagraphics, 1998.

Basic Citation Patterns in MLA

Format your paper so that each item in your bibliography begins with a hanging indent, and do not put extra spaces between entries in your bibliography.

Each bibliographic entry in MLA style is designed on the same principles, with very little variation from publication type to publication type.

Each cited work has common elements listed in the following order with the punctuation listed on this chart. Works may be published as single units, but many are held in "Containers" (like an essay or poem in a book, or an episode of a TV show, or an article in a newspaper). If information about an element isn't available, skip the element and move to the next.

image of citation elements

Here are some useful examples:

Using the Basic Elements

Authors are understood very broadly. If you are concentrating on the work of a particular actor in a movie, that actor is the Author, and you add a descriptive label like so: Pitt, Brad, performer. If you have 3 or more authors, list the first author followed by "et al."

Titles of sources are italicized if the source is a complete thing unto itself (a book, play, or movie). Titles are enclosed in quotation marks if the source is part of a larger published thing (a poem in a collection, an episode of a TV show, an article in a journal). For this reason, the title of a container is nearly always italicized. If there is no title, add a brief description of the work but do not use italics or quotation marks.

Other Contributors can be noted if they are important to your work. Precede each name or group of names with a description such as "adapted by" or "edited by." If the person's role must be in noun form, do so followed by a comma as in "general editor, Edwin H. Cady." If the contributor was important to the source but not the container, put this contributor information between the Title of the Source and the Title of the Container.

Versions are occasionally important, such as "8th ed" for this version of the MLA Handbook.

Numbers refer to volume and issue numbers on books and periodicals. Use "vol." and "no." for "volume" and "number."

Publisher refers to the organization that made the source/container available to the public. Place of publication is no longer listed as of the 8th edition, except in special circumstances (see page 51). Multiple publishers which are equally responsible are all listed, separated by a forward slash. "University Press" is abbreviated to "UP." Publishers are not listed for the following types of sources:

  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)
  • Works published by their authors or editors
  • Web sites that have titles essentially the same as their publishers' names
  • Web sites not involved in producing the works it makes available (such as a service like, or an archive like JSTOR). If the contents of the site are organized into a unified whole (as with YouTube or JSTOR), the site is listed earlier as a Container title.

Publication Dates are listed in the format "28 Dec. 2014, 10:34 AM." In general, use as much of the date as you can find. For example, for journals listing a month or season and year of an issue's publication, list both the month or season and the year (this is a change from the 7th edition).

Locations may be page numbers (now listed with p. for single pages, pp. for page ranges), or DOIs, or URLs (though leave off the http:// part of the URL). When using URLs, look for "permalinks" or "stable URLs," especially in library databases. Often the URL in the browser will not work after you close your browser or for people other than yourself, but these stable URLs will work for other people. When given the choice between a DOI and a URL, choose the DOI (which will start with "doi:" and continue on like a URL). Locations are flexible and may refer to things like disc numbers in DVD sets, identifying numbers on manuscript collections, or (if you experience something in the real world like an art installation) a city name.

There are also optional elements and additional clarifications for special cases

These are listed in the book, pages 50-128. Of special note are the times when listing a place of publication might be useful (page 51), and citing portions of Shakespeare, the Bible, or other classic works of literature (pages 118-124).