Texas Tech University

MLA Citations

Note: Always read your assignments carefully and defer to your instructors' guidelines if they differ from MLA. Instructors may have their own preferences about citing and formatting. This page represents the standard MLA style according to the MLA Handbook, 9th Edition. A printable version of this information is available here.

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Formatting MLA Papers

How to set up the first page for a student MLA paper

 The top left of the paper includes the following information in this order, doubled spaced: Student's first and last name, instructor's name, course name and number (e.g., Engineering 1301), and the date in day month year format with no punctuation1 inch margins on all sides

The paper's title should be centered on the page below the date and above the first paragraph.

Indent paragraphs. Tip: Use the Tab key, not the space bar.  Double space the lines, but there is no extra line between paragraphs

How to make the header with your last name and page number

  • Microsoft Word Software: Select the Insert tab. Click Page Number in the Header & Footer section. Select the option with the page number in the top right corner. In the header, write your last name in front of the inserted number.
  • Word Online: (TTU Student Version): Select the Insert tab. Click Page Number. Select the option with the page number in the top right corner. In the header, write your last name in front of the <#>.
  • Google Docs: Select Insert dropdown menu. Scroll down until you find the # Page numbers options. Select the option with the page number in the top right corner. In the header, write your last name in front of the inserted number.

How to make a hanging indent for the Works Cited page

A hanging indent is when the first line of a paragraph is flush against the left margin and the following lines in the paragraph come in half an inch. For the References page, this means the authors' last names stick out and are easy to locate and read.

  • Microsoft Word Software: Select the sources you are ready to format. On your Home tab, click the arrow to the right of the word Paragraph (it is pointing down and to the right). This will open a new menu. Look for the Indentation section and the option Special. Click the Special dropdown, and select Hanging.
  • Word Online: (TTU Student Version): Click on downward-pointing triangle to the right of the icon that has horizontal lines and a backwards P (Paragraph icon). Click on Special Indent. Click on Hanging Indent.
  • Google Docs: Select the sources you are ready to format. Click on the Format menu at the top of the page, then Align & Indent, and click on Indentation options at the bottom of the menu. This will open a pop-up window. Click the selection bar under Special indent, and select Hanging. Click on Apply.

In-Text Citations

The two main components are the author's last name (or title/description of the work when there is no author) and the page number, as applicable (MLA Handbook, 9th Ed. 227-228).

In-text citations, both citations "in prose" and "parenthetical" appear in the body of a paper. For MLA style, in prose means the author's name is part of sentence; however, the page number will still be in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Parenthetical means both the author's name and the page number are in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

See the drop-down options below for examples.

NOTE: The ending punctuation mark goes after the parenthetical citation, as the citation is part of the sentence.

One (1) author

For the first citation in prose, include the author's first name.

Citation in prose example:

After 3 years of research, Leticia Rociano determined the base was ineffective in multiple settings (65).

Parenthetical example:

The base was used in multiple experiments during a 3-year period, but it proved to be ineffective (Rociano 65).

If there is no page number, leave it out.

Two (2) authors

Citation in prose example:

Yaiba and Gotouge found several examples of cooperation in the original texts (17).

Parenthetical example:

The examples of cooperation indicated there was a greater degre of communication within the different groups than previously thought (Yaiba and Gotouge 38).

If there is no page number, leave it out. Include the first names for the first reference only.

Three (3) or more authors

If there are three or more authors, you only list the first author's last name in text, followed by the Latin abbreviation et al. Include the first name for the first reference only.

Citation in prose example:

Kawada et al. proved cultural influences were the greatest factor in how audiences interpreted the dialog (3).

Parenthetical example:

Audiences relied most on their cultural backgrounds when interpreting author intent through the dialog (Kawada et al. 3).

One (1) author with multiple last names

Refer to an author in the same way it is written in the source for the first reference, then only by the last name. If an author has a hyphenated last name, include them both with the hyphen in the in-text citations. In most cases, if the author has two last names that are not hyphenated, only use the second last name. Exceptions are made for people who voice their preference for including both last names or for historic people who are listed by both last names in dictionaries (MLA Handbook, 9th Ed. 43).

Citation in prose example:

Bonnie Matthews Wolfe essentially created the trend. Wolfe notes others incorporated her style of syntax into their writing (12).

Parenthetical example:

The effect of this syntax in creative prose encourages readers to look past standardized English and embrace meaning-making in their own ways (Wolfe 34).

Abbreviations and particles in last names

If an author has an abbreviation (e.g., St. James) or particle (e.g., de la, von) in their name, include it in the in-text citations. Include suffixes such as Jr. or VIII at the first citation in prose, but leave them out for subsequent references (MLA Handbook, 9th Ed. 42-43).

Citation in prose example:

Dane Le Emilio, Jr. concurred. Le Emilio added the idea that the setting created a sense of urgency for the characters (22).

Parenthetical example:

The setting adds a sense of urgency for the characters (Le Emilio 22).

Corporate or group author

A business, university, or government agency can produce documents. If they have a common acronym, spell out their name the first time, and use the acronym for subsequent references (MLA Handbook, 9th Ed. 51-52).

Citation in prose example:

Texas Tech University (TTU) increased student retention through two key initiatives (2).

Parenthetical example:

The initiatives encouraged students to use the many resources available to them (TTU 3).

Citation in prose example:

MagneBlock Inc. created the first toy building block that uses electromagnetic forces to hold the blocks together.

Parenthetical example:

Without increasing user difficulty, the blocks hold designs together even when met with greater forces (MagneBlock Inc. 5).

Multiple sources, same idea

If there are multiple sources that have the same or similar ideas, you can put them all in one parenthetical citation separated by semicolons. The order of the authors is up to you.

Parenthetical example:

Many think William Shakespeare was actually multiple authors writing under the same name (Crosby; Applebaum et al.; Morrison; Gill and Learner).

No author

For webpages without a specified author, some historical documents, or other artifacts that do not have an author, use the first couple of words in place of the author's name (MLA Handbook, 9th Ed. 227-228).
Citation in prose example:

According to the website "There Be Dragons," there are several notable differences in traditional eastern and western dragons.

Parenthetical example:

Eastern dragons fly without wings, while western dragons have large wings that can double as forelegs ("There Be Dragons").

Secondary author

Sometimes you find good information from an author who is quoting someone else. Ideally, you will find the original source, and cite it yourself. When that is not possible, you can have an indirect source. To do this, include the original author's name in the prose, and use the abbreviation qtd. in (quoted in) with the second-hand source parenthetically (MLA Handbook, 9th Ed. 284).


Linn said, "Without the fine arts program, half of the kids would have dropped out of school" (qtd. in Richards 331).

Videos or podcasts

Instead of referencing a page number, include a time stamp with an Hour:Minute:Second format, as needed.

Narrative example:

Becks explained, "No time might ever be exactly right, you just have do your best in any moment" (1:00:13).

Parenthetical example:

Being prepared for any situation is always beneficial (Beck 27:30-28:00).


For 1-3 lines of poetry, include it in the text as you would a normal quote, using a space forward slash space sequence ( / ) to separate lines of poetry. The word line(s) is lowercase. If the poet's name is used in the narrative, only put word line(s) and the line number(s) in the parenthesis at the end of the sentence.

Parenthetical example:

"I'm nobody! Who are you? / Are you nobody, too? / Then there's a pair of us — don't tell" (Dickinson lines 1-3)!

For 4 or more lines of poetry, use a block quote. Indent the lines .5 inches from the left margin. The parenthetical citation goes on the last line, after the end punctuation. If there is not room for the citation, put it on its own line flush against the right margin.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog! (Dickinson lines 1-4)

Works Cited

General order of information, including punctuation

Author. "Title of source." Title of container (e.g., journal, magazine), Other contributors (e.g., editors, translators), Volume, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location (e.g., page numbers, URL, building name or address where lecture was held).

Titles of books, journals, magazine, websites, etc., are italicized. Chapter titles, lecture titles, episode titles, etc., are surrounded by quotation marks. Note that the end quote mark in titles comes AFTER the period.

What to include in a citation

  • In general, the more information you can include the better. You want your readers to be able to access your sources if they want to read them for themselves.
  • City of publication is not required unless your source was published before 1900 or if your source was published in more than one country. For example, the British vs. American spelling of words creates differences in the text and requires the inclusion of the city of publication (MLA Handbook, 9th Ed. 172-73).
  • Not all publications will have all the containers/fields recommended by MLA. If your source does not have an editor or URL, for example, just skip that option.

Author names

  • Authors are listed alphabetically by last name then first name (e.g., Clay, Raymond).
  • If an author has a middle initial or middle name they use with their publications, include them in the Works Cited (e.g., Clay, Raymond Dean).
  • For works with two authors, list the first author in last name, first name order and the second author in first name last name order (e.g., Seymour, Lydia, and Diya Matthews) (MLA Handbook, 9th Ed. 313).
  • For works with three or more authors, list only the first author's name, followed by the Latin abbreviation et al. (e.g., Kawada, Miri, et al.) (MLA 9th Ed. 313).
  • If an author has a last name with a particle (e.g., de, van, von), leave it lower case, and alphabetize the author by the particle (e.g., von Schmit Schwarzt, H. would be alphabetized as a "V" name and not an "S" name). Include suffixes, such as Jr. or IV but not prefixes, such as Dr. or Sir.


If citing a website that is unstable and features frequent changes, consider putting Access + the date you last viewed the website in day month year format.


"Hours and Locations." TTU Undergraduate Writing Center, https://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/uwc/undergraduate/Hours_Location.php. Accessed 10 July 2023.


Type/Notes: (MLA 105-226) Works Cited

One Author
(MLA 313-14)

Alighieri, Dante. The Inferno. Translated by Kari Fields, Barn & Nile Classics, 2003.

Book, Two Authors (MLA 313)

Andrews, Mindy, and Louise Erdrich. The Cup of Colombia: Looking for the Key to the Past. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010.

Book, Three or More Authors/Editors (MLA 313)

Bailey, Merlin, et al., editors. Agent Orange: The Fallout of One Generation's Lack of Foresight. Parks Publishing, 2015

Journal Article (MLA 319)


Baron, Naomi S. "Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media." PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193-200.

Online Newspaper or Magazine (MLA 322-23)
(PowerPoint slides,
APA p. 347)

Bass, Ray. "How to Know When You Have Had Enough." The Atlantic, 12 May 2018, www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/enough/598843/.

Book Chapter or Essay in an Anthology (MLA 146, 318)

Bazin, Patrick. "Toward Metareading." The Future of the Book, edited by Geoffrey Nunberg, U of California, 1996, pp. 153-68.

Corporate Author (MLA 313-14) When author is same as publisher, leave author out.

"Beginning an International Push to Improve Food Safety." World Health Organization, 12 Feb. 2019, www.who.int/news-room/detail/12-02-2019-international.

Lecture (MLA 70, 72, 335)

Cellus, Marge. Lecture. Introduction to College Rhetoric, 4 Jan. 2021, Texas Tech University.

Tweet and other social media sources (MLA 118)

City of Lubbock [@cityoflubbock]. "We're under a Thunderstorm Warning." Twitterr, 17 June 2019, 7:14 p.m., twitter.com/cityoflubbock/status/11408048279220.

Blog Entry

Hollmichel, Stefanie. "Catching Up in the Garden." Somanybooksblog.com, 9 June 2019, somanybooksblog.com/2019/06/09/catching-up-in-the-garden/.

Object/Artwork (MLA 331-32)

If object doesn't have a title, give a general description.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie. Chair of stained oak. 1897-1900, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

E-Book (MLA 316)

O'Connor, Patricia. Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English. E-book ed., Riverhead Books, 2009.

Object/Artwork (MLA 331-32)
The artist gave painting title Pelvis IV.

O'Keeffe, Georgia. Pelvis IV. 1944, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, N.M.

Episode of TV series (MLA 329)

"Special." Lost, created by J.J. Abrams, season 1, episode 14, Bad Robot, 19 Jan. 2005.

YouTube, with Author (MLA 148)

Urban, Tim. "Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator." YouTube, uploaded by TED, 6 April 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=arj7oStGLkU.

YouTube, Corporate Author (MLA 148)

"Will We Survive Mars?" YouTube, uploaded by Vox, 8 Oct. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8fpeVICeGg.

Song (MLA 330)

Zane, Murray. "Pretty." Parkwood Studios, 2013, www.mzane.com/songs.

Webpage, no Author (MLA 324)

"Zoo Day: Plan Your Visit." Lubbock City Zoo, 2020, www.lubbockcityzoo.ci.tx.

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