MLA Style Guide

The documentation style of the Modern Language Association

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 4th ed., offers complete guidelines for manuscript style and citation in MLA, the documentation style of the humanities. This handout illustrates the most commonly used types of sources with examples drawn from the MLA Handbook. If you have a source not illustrated here, consult the MLA Handbook. A copy of the handbook is available for use in the Writing Lab.

The OSU-N Writing Lab

Founders 106B 366-9411



Welty, Eudora. One Writer's Beginnings. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 

Leghorn, Lisa, and Katherine Parker. Woman's Worth. Boston:

     Routledge, 1981.
Kelly, Alfred H., Winfred A. Harbison, and Herman Belz. The American

     Constitution: Its Origins and Development. New York: Norton, 1983.
Moore, Mark H., et al. Dangerous Offenders: The Elusive Target of

     Justice. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1984.
Morris, Desmond. Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.

     New York: Abrams, 1977.
---. Primate Ethology. London: Widdenfield, 1967.
The Boston Women's Health Collective. Our Bodies, Ourselves.

     New York: Simon, 1985.
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 4th ed.

     Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1994.
Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights. 1847. Ed. David Daiches.

     London: Penguin, 1985.
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Trans. Myra Bergman

     Ramos. New York: Seabury, 1970.
Bartholomae, David, and Anthony Petrosky, eds. Ways of Reading: An

     Anthology for Writers, 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford, 1993.
Fiske, John. "Madonna." Ways of Reading: An Anthology for 

     Writers, 3rd ed. Ed. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. 

     Boston: Bedford, 1993. 158-177.
Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar, eds. The Norton Anthology of

     Literature by Women. New York: Norton, 1985.
Kingston, Maxine Hong. "No Name Woman." Gilbert and Gubar


If you are using two or more volumes of a work, cite the total number of volumes in the work:

Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Oxford Sherlock Holmes. Ed. Owen Dudley

     Edwards. 9 vols. New York: Oxford UP, 1993.

If you are using only one volume of a multivolume work, state the number of the volume in the bibliographic entry and give publication information for that volume only:

Dante. The Inferno. Trans. Mark Musa. Vol. 1. New York: Penguin,

     1984. 3 vols.
Stewart, Joan Hinde. Colette. Twayne's World Authors Ser. 679.

     Boston: Twayne, 1983.
Washburne, E.B. Memphis Riots and Massacres. US 39th Cong., 2nd sess. 

     H. Rept. 101. Washnington: GPO, 1866. New York: Arno, 1969.

If the author of the document is not known, cite the agency:

United States. Cong. House. Memphis Riots and Massacres. 39th Cong., 2nd

     sess. H. Rept. 101. Washington: GPO, 1866. New York: Arno, 1969.
Freed, Barbara F., ed. Foreign Language Acquisition Research and the 

     Classroom. Proc. of Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning

     Conference, Oct. 1989, U of Pennsylvania. Lexington: Heath, 1991.


Johnson, Peder J. "Concept Learning." Encyclopedia of

     Education. 1971. 


"Ireland." Encyclopedia Britannica. 1974 ed. 

Note that special reference books require full publication information:

Holt, Robert R. "Freud, Sigmund." International Encyclopedia of the 

     Social Sciences. Ed. David L. Sills. 18 vols. New York: Macmillan,



Roosevelt, Anna. "Lost Civilizations of the Lower Amazon."

     Natural History Feb. 1989: 74-83.
Cochran, D.D., W. Daniel Hale, and Christine P. Hissam. "Personal

     Space Requirements of Indoor versus Outdoor Locations." Journal

     of Psychology 117 (1984): 132-133.

Give both volume (7) and issue (2):

Hashimoto, Irvin. "Pain and Suffering: Apostrophes and Academic

     Life." Journal of Basic Writing 7.2 (1988): 91-98.
Manegold, Cathrine S. "Becoming a Land of the Smoke-Free, Ban by

     Ban." New York Times 22 Mar. 1994, late ed.: A1+.
Kauffmann, Stanley. "A New Spielberg." Rev. of Schindler's

     List, dir. Steven Spielberg. New Republic 13 Dec. 1993: 30.


Angier, Natalie. "Chemists Learn Why Vegetables Are Good for You."

     New York Times 13 Apr. 1993, late ed.: C1. New York Times Ondisc.

     CD-ROM. UMI-Proquest. Oct. 1993. 

If all the information for your entry is not given, use what is available.

Readings, Bill. "The Terror of European Humanism." Surfaces

     1.11 (Dec. 1991): 19 pp. Online. Internet. 2 Feb. 1992. 

     Available FTP:


Bartoli, Cecilia. If You Love Me: Eighteenth-Century Italian Songs.

     London, 1992.
Ellington, Duke, cond. Duke Ellington Orchestra. First Carnegie Hall

     Concert. Rec. 23 Jan. 1943. LP. Prestige, 1977.
Berlioz, Hector. Symphonie Fantastique, op. 14.
The Little Sister. Writ. and dir. Jan Eglson. With Tracy Pollan and John Savage. 

     Prod. Rebecca Eaton. American Playhouse. PBS. WGBH, Boston. 7 April 1986.
Like Water for Chocolate [Como agua para chocolate]. Screenplay by 

     Laura Esquivel. Dir. Alfonso Arau. Perf. Lumi Cavazos, Marco 

     Lombardi, and Regina Torne. Miramax, 1993.
Medea. By Euripides. Trans. Alistair Elliot. Dir. Jonathan Kent.

     Perf. Diana Rigg. Longacre Theatre, New York. 7 Apr. 1994.
Kennedy, John Fitzgerald. Address. Greater Houston Ministerial 

     Association. Houston. 12 Sept. 1960.
Friedman, Randi. Telephone interview. 30 June 1989.
Bernini, Gianlorenzo. Ecstasy of St. Teresa. Santa Maria della

     Vittoria, Rome.
Woolf, Virginia. "To T.S. Eliot." 28 July 1920. Letter 1138 of 

     The Letters of Virginia Woolf. Ed. Nigel Nicholson and Joanne

     Trautmann. Vol. 2. New York: Harcourt, 1976. 437-38.
Stevens v. National Broadcasting Co. 148 USPQ 755. CA Super. Ct.



Sakala, Carol. "Maternity Care Policy in the United States: Toward

     a More Rational and Effective System." Diss. Boston U. 1993.


Valentine, Mary-Blair Truesdell. An Investigation of Gender-Based

     Leadership Styles of Male and Female Officers in the United 

     States Army. Diss. George Mason U. 1993. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1933. 



The list of works cited at the end of your paper indicates to your readers what works you used in writing the paper. Parenthetical documentation, or in-text citation, clearly points to specific sources, and specific parts of those sources, in the list of works cited:

Medieval Europe was a place both of "raids, pillages, slavery, and extortion" and of "traveling merchants, monetary exchange, towns if not cities, and active markets in grain" (Townsend 10).

If you include an author's name in the sentence, do not repeat the name in the parenthetical page citation:

Tannen has argued this point (178-85).


This point has already been argued (Tannen 178-85).

If the quotation is lengthy (more than four lines of text), use the form of block quotation (double-spaced, no quotation marks):

Mahon adds insight to our understanding of the War of 1812:

If you are quoting an author who has been quoted by another author, indicate both names: (Cather qtd. in McClave)


Some instructors prefer endnotes or footnotes to document sources. If you use notes for documentation, you may not need a list of works cited. Check with your instructor.

Subsequent notes use only author and page: