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MLA Style: Basics

This guide is intended to help you cite sources in MLA style, avoid plagiarism, learn what MLA style is and includes, find examples of MLA style, lead you to campus resources that can help you cite sources in MLA, and more.

MLA Works Cited

In MLA Style, the list of bibliographic citations that appears at the end of your paper is called the works cited list. It's a list of the works you've cited, so this makes sense. Every source you cite in your paper with in-text citations should have a corresponding bibliographic or full citation in your works cited this. If you cite the same source multiple times in your paper, it only needs one bibliographic citation in your works cited list.

The purpose of this longer form citation is to provide enough information that your readers can find the sources you cite. Every style has their own rules for citing sources. The following pages will walk you through crafting bibliographic citations in MLA. The MLA Handbook, now in it's ninth edition, includes additional information you may find helpful when citing sources and styling your papers.

Work(s) Cited

The title of this page is called the works cited page- that's works, plural. In the rare situation where you cite a single source, you title this page "Work Cited" because there is only one.

Formatting your Works Cited Page

  • Your works cited entries should start on a new page with the words, "Works Cited" centered at the top.
  • Each resource cited in your paper should be represented in the works cited list (with some exceptions). Do not include citations in your works cited list if you did not cite them in your paper.
  • Text should be in an easily readable font at 12 p.t. (e.g. Times New Roman) and double spaced
  • References should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author
  • References which wrap to two or more lines should have the subsequent lines indented one tab space, a.k.a., the hanging indent
  • The works cited page will have the same running head as the rest of the paper and page numbers should continue from the previous section