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Research Coach

Make a research coach appointment with a librarian today and get help framing research questions, finding or accessing resources, and citation help.  Students can meet with a librarian face-to-face, over the phone, or through Zoom video conferencing. 

MLA Syle Guide 8th edition

This page a brief overview of the MLA Handbook 8th edition. For additional information refer to the MLA Handbook 8th edition. Please contact Savannah (731-661-6544) on the Jackson campus or schedule a research coach appointment for more help.

In-text Citation

In-text citations tell the reader where you found the information you are quoting or referencing. MLA format uses author and page number for in-text citation. Each in-text citation should have a corresponding full citation on the Works Cited page. 

If the author is unknown uses the first few words or the full title. Use the style of page number found in the work (i.e. Roman numerals if the book used Roman numerals).

The general format for in-text citations is:

Parenthetical Citation: (Author Page Number)

Narrative Citation: Author "Quotation" (Page Number). 

A parenthetical citation comes at the end of a quotation and outside of the quotation marks or the end of a sentence when a work is paraphrased. In a narrative citation, you introduce the author of the quote or idea in the text. At the end of the thought or quotation, you would add the page number in parenthesis.

Source Type Parenthetical Citation
One Author (Rodriguez 447)
Two Authors (Dorris and Erdrich 23)
Three or More Authors (Burdick et al. 42)
Corporate Author (Yale University Press 26)

No author


                 One noun phrase


          Abbreviated Title

                 Multiple noun phrases


Title: Faulkner's Southern Novels

Citation: (Faulkner's Southern Novels 12)


Title: The Double Vision: Language and Meaning in Religion

Citation: (Double Vision 56)

Poem or Verse Work (Hemans line 131-132)
Modern Prose

(Author page number; other identifying information)

Example: (Miller 9; act 1)


(Bible edition title, Scripture reference)

Example: (New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 1.5-10)

Subsequent citations: (Rev. 4.6-8)


The Purdue OWL website has helpful tips and sample papers.

Formatting Guidelines: 

  • Margins: 1 inch on all sides
  • Font: easy to read font (12 pt. Times New Roman or professor preference)
  • Double space
  • One space after a punctuation mark
  • First page: heading is flush with left margin and double spaced
    • Include on separate lines: your name, professor's name(s), course number, and date\
    • Center title on a new line after heading 
  • The paper header is right aligned with your last name followed by page number 
  • Your references/sources are listed at the end of your paper in the Work(s) Cited page

Many of these formatting guidelines can be programmed into your Word processing program, please see a librarian for help.

Full Citations: Works Cited Page

Formatting guidelines for "Works Cited" page:
  • Start your Works Cited page on a new page after your main text
  • Center the words "Work(s) Cited" at the top of the page
  • Use hanging indentation (first line is aligned with the left margin and additional lines are indented 0.5 inches)
  • Continue using the same heading on your Works Cited page as well
  • Double space
  • Organize alphabetically by last name or first word of the full citation
  • Each in-text citation should have a corresponding full citation on the reference list. 

More information and a template for creating a "Works Cited" page can be found on the MLA Style Guide website. 

Basic Format

Author. Title of source. Title of container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

*If a source is part of a larger body of work or whole, the container is the larger whole that holds the source. For example an article in a newspaper; the article is the source and the newspaper is the container.