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MLA Citation Guide

What is MLA?

MLA Citation Style, created by Modern Language Association, is a style for formatting papers and recording the sources you used during your research.

Why do I need it? It is a requirement for some subjects, such as English.

How do I use it? Browse this website for examples of formatting your paper, recording in-text citations, and creating a Works Cited list. Follow the links where available, or make an appointment with a (free) tutor for more help.

The new MLA Handbook, 8th Edition was published in April 2016. There are notable changes in the publication format of sources (i.e. we do not need to include the city of publication and medium) with emphasis on core elements (author, title of source and container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, and location of the source) and attempts to implement a universal template that can be used for citing all types of sources and formats. The new template uses containers that are particularly helpful when working with electronic sources. This is new for MLA citation because in the past guidelines have focused on specific templates for each type of source. 

To find the manuals in GPRC library, click on te picture of the corresponding book.

You may be confused why there are two different editions in our guides and why we did not just delete the previous edition of MLA referencing.

Do not worry! There are some differences between the two editions and even though most instructors will want you to use the 8th Edition of the MLA Handbook, some still accept the 7th Edition. Ask or email your instructor as to which edition he/she wants you to use. 

Previous, 7th Edition of MLA Handbook gives step-by-step advice on every aspect of writing for each type of resource. For over half a century, the MLA Handbook is the guide millions of writers have relied on.  Even though the new, 8th Edition is replacing the 7th, there is still some transition from the old to new edition.

Note: It is important to give credit to the authors and sources from where you get your ideas. Not giving credit to a source is considered plagiarism. Click on the link below to understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Talk to your instructor if you are still unsure. 

Important terms to remember

Paraphrased vs. direct quote: To paraphrase means to take someone's idea or words and put them into your own words. A direct quote is when you take someone's idea word for word. Put direct quotes in quotation marks. Do not put paraphrased information in quotation marks. Place an in-text citation after a paraphrase and a direct quote. 

In-text citations: the brief source information that you place immediately after a direct quote or a paraphrased idea. 

Works Cited List: The full bibliographic citation for the sources you have used in your paper. Every in-text citation must have a corresponding reference entry. Hint* Create a full bibliographic entry at the same time as your in-text citation. This will save you a lot of time at the end of your paper.

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