Citations & Creating a Works Cited

What's the MLA?

The Modern Language Association (MLA) is the "referee" for all papers in the humanities. It establishes a set of rules and guidelines for formatting, citations and more.

Click here to access the The MLA Style Center.

What are OWLS?

Online Writing Labs (OWLs) are resources provided by universities to help students with the writing process.

Some of my favorite OWLs are:


What does an MLA parenthetical citation look like?

"Call me Ishmael" (Melville 3).

Generally, a parenthetical citation includes the author's last name and the page number where the passage can be found. The period is placed to the right of the citation. See below for more specific rules and exceptions.

What does a block quotation look like and when should it be used?

Learn all about how to use quotations/passages including how to format a block quotation with this link.

What information is included in a citation?

The exact type of information changes depending on the work you are citing (such as a book, film, article, song, lecture, e-mail, website etc.) Your goal is to offer enough information so your reader can find the extact resources you used in your paper. For specific examples, go to the MLA Style Center.

The MLA Style Center can also answer the following questions:

          • How do I cite poetry in the body of a paper?
          • How do I cite a something that will take up more than three lines in my paper?
          • How do I cite an indirect source ( a quote from a source within a source)?

Why do we cite work?

The basic logic behind citation is to:

          • credit others for their work (thereby avoiding plagiarism)
          • provide information for other scholars to validate your thesis and/or begin their own research on a topic you presented.

What needs to be cited?

Any work or ideas that are not your own should be cited. This means that you should cite your work if you …

          • copy a passage from another work
          • reword a passage from another work
          • got your idea from another source

Worried about Turn-It-In?

As long as you have made a good faith effort to indicate the source(s) of your ideas, quotes (passages) and inspiration, you will be fine.