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How to Cite Your Sources

MLA 8: How to Cite A Source

Type of reference

Exact Wording


Enclose in quotes, with the author and page number in parentheses



Paraphrase with attribution to original author with page number, no quotation marks

Long Quotes (4+ lines or 3+ lines of verse)


Indent full quotation with (Author page number) after period, no quotation marks (unless part of quote)

Works Cited


Include everything you quoted or were influenced by in the list of works cited
(note: for requirements of works cited page, see box below)


“My cat’s fur is brown” (Smith 23).

Smith observed that the fur on his cat was brown (23).

My cat… scratched me. (Smith 23)

Smith, Max. “My Cat.” Journal of Feline Felicities, vol. 43, no. 2, Jan. 1999, pp. 19-34.

Writing Help

MLA 8: Formatting a Citation

Author(s).“Title of Source.” Title of Container, version, number, Publisher, Publication date, Location. Database, Location. Accessed __.



Author - see box below for uses of author names

"Title of Source" - article, website, blog post, book chapter, essay in anthology, tweet.

Title of Container - journal, webpage, blog, book, Twitter.

Version - edition, volume.

Location - page numbers (pp.), URL, DOI. Database locations should be DOI or permalink URLs.

Accessed - use for websites and social media posts.



Smith, Max. “My Cat.” Journal of Feline Felicities, vol. 43, no. 2, Jan. 1999, pp. 19-34.

Smith, Max. All About My Cat. Clear Mountain Publishers, 1999.


MLA 8: Works Cited List Requirements

  • Left-aligned
  • Double-spaced
  • Hanging indent of 1/2 in.
  • Alphabetical by authors' last name (or source title if no author)
  • Single entry = "Work Cited" (rather than "Works")


(Screenshot used to show indent)

MLA 8: Articles and Books

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MLA 8: Author.

How to list the authors if given the following conditions:

1 author Lastname, Firstname.
2 Lastname, Firstname, and Firstname Lastname.
3+ Lastname, FIrstname, et al.
editor/translator, performer/etc. Lastname, Firstname, editor.
2+ Lastname, Firstname, and Firstname Lastname (or et al.), editors.
Pseudonym @username./Online username.
No author Title of Source.
Corporate author Organization Name.

MLA 8: 1+ Chapter(s) from an Anthology

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MLA 8: Art Works

When using images in a paper, you must include a full citation of the image in your list of works cited.

Aerial view of Hoboken Digital ID: 1630052. New York Public Library(this image is in the public domain!)

Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc. Aerial View of Hoboken. N.d., New York Public Library Digital Gallery,

-- Purdue OWL

MLA 8: Musical Works

Musical works are cited in different ways depending on their medium. Sound recordings are different from sheet music which is different from .mp3 files, so it's important to be specific when you cite a work you have used.

Sound recording

Beethoven, Ludwig van. The 9 Symphonies. Performance by NBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, RCA, 2003.

-- Purdue OWL

MLA 8: Reviews

When citing a review of a work (music recording, film, artwork, book, etc.), it's important to include the name of the work being reviewed as well as citation information about the review itself.

Review Author. "Title of Review (if there is one)." Review of Performance Title, by Author/Director/Artist. Title of Periodical, Day Month Year, page.

Dickar, Maryann. "Coming of Age in New Jersey." Review of Teenage New Jersey, 1941-1975, by Kathryn Grover. American Quarterly, Mar. 2000, pp. 127-44.


-- Purdue OWL

MLA 8: Poetry


When mentioning a poem in-text, cite it by division (art, scene, canto, book, part), stanza, and line number if possible, separating the division and line by periods (example: Iliad 9.19 means book 9, line 19 of the Iliad; 1.2.15-16 means part 1, stanza 2, lines 15 and 16) with the name of the poem in quotes, and use a / to indicate a line break (or // to indicate a stanza break). More than three lines of verse should be inset as a block quote.

In "The Lady of Shalott," Tennyson notes that "Four gray walls, and four gray towers, / Overlook a space of flowers" (1.2.15-16).

-- MLA Handbook, 8th ed., 2016: 1.3.3 Poetry; see also 3.3.2 and 1.2.2


To cite a poem in your list of works cited, think of it as a work in a larger anthology or as a book chapter. If it's from an online source, include that information:

Tennyson, Alfred. "The Lady of Shalott." The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900, edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch,
            Clarendon, 1919, n. pag.,

-- MLA Handbook, 8th ed., 2016, p. 27

MLA 8: Translated Works


Cite a work in another language as if it were in English, giving the translated title in square brackets if it seems necessary for clarification. If citing a poem in an anthology, include all relevant information:

Hanzlik, Josef. "Vengeance." Translated by Ewald Osers. Interference: The Story of Czechoslovakia in the Works of Its Writers,

edited by Peter Spafford, New Clarion, 1992, p. 54.

-- MLA Handbook, 8th ed., 2016, p. 37


If you're citing the translation of the work specifically, list the translator as the author:

Sullivan, Alan, and Timothy Murphy, translators. Beowulf. Edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson, 2004.

-- MLA Handbook, 8th ed., 2016, p. 23