MLA Citation

16.07.20 MLA style overview Time to read: 6min

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What is MLA citation style?

This article focuses on the MLA style of formatting and seeks to introduce you to all that you need to know about it. The article highlights some of the frequently asked questions about MLA style, MLA in-text citation, MLA citation machine, and examples of MLA citation. The article is useful to students, tutors, and any other person who would want to know more about the MLA style of formatting.

MLA Citation: Definition

MLA is an abbreviation of ‘Modern Language Association’. It is a kind of writing designed for college-level writing and often preferred for language, literature, liberal arts, sociology, and other humanities disciplines. The Modern Language Association is credited with promoting the scholarship of literature and languages.

MLA Citation – FAQ

When citing an essay in the MLA format, you must identify the author and page number of the source if you are inserting in-text citation. For example, when referencing a book by David and the page is 56 your in-text MLA citation will be ‘(David 56)’.

If you accessed a book online in the course of your writing, cite it as you would any physical book but include the website where you accessed it and include a location indicator (e.g. URL).

MLA is the abbreviation of Modern Language Association. It is a style of formatting that is preferred for college students, especially in the fields of language and humanities.

According to the MLA Handbook (8th edition), one must include the URL when inserting online sources in MLA citation. A URL makes it easy for the reader to locate and retrieve more information from the source. Since some tutors may have different opinions for their classes, it is always important for students to seek further clarification from them regarding what to include in an MLA citation.

Yes, you can. With social media platforms becoming popular globally, more people are using them as sources of information. If you want to include a tweet in MLA citation, ensure that the whole tweet is quoted and close it in quotation marks as your title. Remember to include the date and time of the tweet. You can also include the tweeter’s name in parenthesis if it is listed in a pseudonym.

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MLA Citation: In-text

This is a brief reference to the source of information used in writing. It is used to indicate the exact location of data, ideas, or information in the source used. To insert the credit, you can either use direct quotes or a paraphrased text. It works to direct readers to the source in the Work Cited list. When making an in-text MLA citation, one must put the author’s identification and page in parentheses. If the author has been mentioned in the text, it is allowed to use the page number only for your citation.


  1. Direct quotation in-text citation

Democracy is ‘a government of the people, by the people and for the people.’ (Sam 34)

  1. Paraphrasing

According to Sam, a democracy is defined as a government of the people, by the people for the people (34).

MLA Citation: Machine

This is an online citation generator that makes it easy to make a citation in MLA format. All you need to do is fill in the required information about the source you used and it will automatically cite the source for you. The citation machine is accurate and creates the desired in-text citation within seconds. It comes in handy for people who are not familiar with the MLA citation style.

MLA Citation: Website

Citing a website in MLA requires one to cite a certain page on the website for clarity and accuracy. Here is a guide on how to cite a website in MLA citation style:

  • Start by identifying the author of the information on the website.
  • If there is no author, begin with the title; it must be in quotation marks.
  • Next, name the website in italics followed by a comma.
  • You then need to include the publisher’s identity. If the author is also the site’s publisher, avoid including it in your citation.
  • Include the date of publication for the page or website.
  • Lastly, end the in-text citation with the website or page URL.


Rothfeld, Lindsay. “Smarter Education: The Rise of Big Data in the Classroom.” Mashable, 3 Sept. 2014,

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MLA Citation example

When making an MLA citation, the format you follow relies on the type of source you want to cite. An MLA citation requires you to list the name and the page where you found the information when making a citation. Here are examples of how to MLA cite different sources:

a) Book

When citing a book, start with the author’s name followed by the last name, the book’s specific title, edited by First name Last name, the volume of the book, the city where the book was published, year of publication and the page number. When authors are two, you list both of them but if the authors are three or more, you only need to list the first one and insert et al. after the name.


One author: Roth, Veronica. Divergent. Katherine Tegen Books, 2011.

Two authors: Olsen, Gregg, and Rebecca Morris. If I Can’t Have You: Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children. St. Martin’s True Crime, 2015, pp. 18-22.

Three authors: Matthews, Graham, et al. Disaster Management in Archives, Libraries, and Museums. Ashgate, 2009.

b) Tweet

Start with the name, followed by the entire tweet. You can list the full name in parentheses if it is shown in a pseudonym.

This tweet, for instance, could be cited as:

(Ahrefs) ahrefs, ‘Look at what we just received in our office! Thank you so much for subscribing, watching and supporting our YouTube channel.’ Feb 19, 2020, 5:18 PM.


c) Music

When citing music, be sure to specify the musician’s name followed by the song title, date and URL if you listed via an online streaming service.


Zedd. “I Want You To Know.” Spotify, vocals by Selena Gomez, 18 May 2015,

In a nutshell

  • MLA citation is among the most used citation styles by students when presenting their academic research.
  • The information provided above is a summary of the basic MLA formatting guidelines and the most frequently asked questions about this style of citation.
  • The two basic components of MLA citation is the in-text citation part and the work cited page.
  • As the name suggests, an in-text citation is used to refer to the sources of information and is written in parentheses.
  • The work cited page comes is the last page of the paper and contains all the sources used in compiling the paper ranked alphabetically in order of the author’s last name.
  • When quoting in MLA style, be sure to use quotation marks to avoid plagiarism.


Lisa Neumann

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About the author

Lisa Neumann is studying marketing management dual at IU Nuremberg and working towards a bachelor's degree. She has already gained practical experience and regularly writes scientific papers during her studies. For these reasons, Lisa is a perfect fit as a BachelorPrint employee. In this role, she emphasizes the importance of high-quality content and wants to help students navigate their stressful lives. Being a student herself, she knows what matters and what is important.

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