MLA Citation Basics

  • Manasquan High School uses the Modern Language Association, 8th ed.(MLA) citation style for all research papers. 
    If you can't find an example of the source you need to locate in the information provided below, please check the excellent style guide from The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University. They offer "examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page" (Russell et al.). 

    Works Cited 
    MLA Handbook, 8th Edition. The Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
    Purdue Writing Lab. “MLA Formatting & Style Guide.” Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL),

    MLA 8th Edition: What's New and Different

    "In April 2016, MLA replaced its seventh edition resources with a new eighth edition. This updated version reflects the ways in which digital publication has changed how writers and researchers document sources. Therefore, the new edition includes significant shifts in the approach to source documentation in academic writing. While earlier editions emphasized the importance of following specific guidelines for formatting, the eighth edition focuses on the practice and process of scholarly documentation. The logic here is basic: a style guide should offer a method that is widely applicable. Rather than insisting that writers follow strict citation formulas, this handbook outlines the principles of MLA documentation and explains how writers can use them in many different situations."

    Here is an overview of the process: 

    When deciding how to cite your source, start by consulting the list of core elements. These are the general pieces of information that MLA suggests including in each Works Cited entry. In your citation, the elements should be listed in the following order:

    1. Author.
    2. Title of source.
    3. Title of container,
    4. Other contributors,
    5. Version,
    6. Number,
    7. Publisher,
    8. Publication date,
    9. Location.

    Each element should be followed by the corresponding punctuation mark shown above. Earlier editions of the handbook included the place of publication and required different punctuation (such as journal editions in parentheses and colons after issue numbers) depending on the type of source. In the current version, punctuation is simpler (only commas and periods separate the elements), and information about the source is kept to the basics.

    Unlike earlier versions, the eighth edition refers to "containers," which are the larger wholes in which the source is located. The title of the container is usually italicized and followed by a comma, since the information that follows next describes the container. The container may be a website, which contains articles, postings, and other works. The container may also be a television series, which is made up of episodes, or a television series on Netflix.


    Book with one author:

    Eighth edition (the new way):

    Jacobs, Alan. The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Oxford UP, 2011.

    NOTE: In this version, only the most essential information is included (author’s name, book title, publisher, and date). Note that the city of publication is not needed and the medium of publication is not needed.

    Episode of a Show on Netflix:

    Eighth edition (the new way):

    “94 Meetings.” Parks and Recreation, season 2, episode 21, NBC, 29 Apr. 2010. Netflix,

    NOTE: There are 3 "containers" in this example: Netflix is the container that hosts the production company, NBC. NBC is the container that produces the television series Parks and Recreation. Parks and Recreation is the container for the episode 94 Meetings.