How to Cite in MLA: Everything a Student Should Know about the Most Popular Essay Format

How to Cite in MLA: Everything a Student Should Know about the Most Popular Essay Format

The primary question, which comes to mind of a highs school student who faces the need to include the words of other authors in his or her essay, is how to cite in MLA. Without this knowledge, you risk failing the assignment. This article from professional writers explains how to cite in MLA format on the examples of different types of sources and the latest guide’s edition.

MLA formatting is the easiest one but may be tricky. Students should not waste their time on studying numerous guides any longer – come to the professional online writing services to get immediate help with your homework!

What is MLA Format?

What is MLA format? It is a great way to start our discussion: it is the most popular type of academic writing format established by The Modern Language Association to provide English-speaking students with the proper guidelines to quote the essays for the following classes:

  • English Composition 101
  • Literature
  • History & Anthropology
  • Religious Studies
  • Arts
  • Humanities

It is critical to check the updates of the association not to miss a thing. Writing styles help to structure essays.

How to Cite in MLA Format: General Guidelines

The next thing to discuss is how to cite in MLA format. Students need some good work cited examples to master the topic. A writer should quote various types of sources in different ways. It makes any writing format complicated, no matter whether a student deals with APA, Harvard, or Turabian, so it is better to analyze several examples and tips below.

  • A student should use an 8.5 x 11-inch paper;
  • Double-space the entire content;
  • Apply a legible font (Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri);
  • There should be a single space after the periods and the rest of the punctuations marks;
  • The margins must be a single inch on all sides;
  • It is important to indent the opening line of each paragraph 1/2-inch from the left margin;
  • Develop a header with the numbers of pages in the upper right-hand corner;
  • Apply italics while writing a paper when the titles pop up (based on the emphasis);
  • The endnotes should go to the separate piece of paper prior to the Works Cited section. The name of this part is Notes (centered & unformatted).

MLA Work Cited Examples

Below, writers can find the ways to cite various sources. We have added vivid examples to each section.

How to Cite a Thesis MLA?

A thesis is an important document submitted at the university level to earn Masters or Ph.D. degree in the particular field.

If a student needs to learn how to cite a thesis written by someone else, look at the example:

Walsh, Theodore. Practical Advice from the Registered Nurses and Certified Psychologists for the Young Stay-at-Home Moms. University of Maryland, 2011. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.

How to cite a report in MLA

A report is an official document with the results shared by the individual or team, and it usually consists of the technical part, publication, problem background, or a working paper. In school, teachers may assign a book report homework. A student should know how to cite in MLA to be ready to face a challenge.

Start with a title page, which is not a common element of this style, that contains three basic components:

  • Report’s Title
  • Publisher
  • Year
  • (in the order of appearance)

Note that Writer and City details are from the Acknowledgements. It is a separate part at the end of the paper. A student does not need to include issue, edition, volume or other tiny details while writing a report of any type.


Nickson, Gerald, Freeman, Austin. The Impact of Stressful Situations and Conflicts with Family Members on the Mental Health of the US High School Students. New York: Human Rights Watch. Print.

How to cite a poem in MLA

No specific guidelines to cite a poem in this format exist. A writer may quote the lines from poetry in the context in which he/she discovered it (like including the specific book chapter to quote the lines from a book).


Johnson, Matt. “The Life is Not a Bed of Roses, or Why Young People May Want to Leave Their Homes Earlier These Days.” Collection of Poems. Ed. John Barlycorn. New York: Publication House, 1988. 23-25. Print.

How to cite a textbook in MLA format

In this situation, a student has to memorize several simple rules. A couple of primary parts constitute a citation of a textbook: a Work Cited page (in other formats, it is called References page or Bibliography) and a direct/indirect in-text quotation. Experts recommend coming up with a quotation before developing a reference. It is important to keep in mind the works cited format to understand the way people can find the sources based on the in-text quotes, which are an abbreviated version of the references. In the Works Cited, a writer should identify the used sources in alphabetical order. Look at the front cover of the chosen book. A writer must include several elements to acknowledge the work of another author:

  • Writer’s name
  • Editor
  • Title
  • Publisher
  • Location (city)
  • Date of release
  • Edition

A student should explore the small stamp with a circle around it. It is a copyright page containing everything you need.


Acker, Mary. Several Magic Tips to Help Students & Young Writers to Overcome Writer’s Block and Other Delicate Situations. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2015. Print.

How to cite a quote in MLA

A parenthetical citation is one of the most popular types of in-text quotes. Students, writers, and researchers locate short parenthetical descriptions to let the readers know the sections of their works retrieved from certain sources. A writer should mention the author’s surname and the quoted pages (you may exclude the details if they appear in the text’s body).


After the company has introduced its new product in the field of mobile software, the sales went up thanks to the well-optimized version of their main product (Spencer 13-16, 19).

How to cite a film in MLA

Nowadays, it is trendy to use different documentaries & motion pictures as the primary sources. Movies have turned into a powerful medium used to interpret events, commentary/feedback, expression, study, art, and more in a creative manner. In addition to the official distributors and service providers like Netflix or Fox, each person can become a movie director & producer in one face by posting self-made videos online (YouTube, Vine, etc.)

What about quoting films? No matter which type of video a writer wants to cite (website, database, online), it is important to include these elements:

  • Movie’s director/idea’s author
  • The title of the piece
  • The name of the online source of the film
  • List of contributors (like a cast)
  • The version (optional)
  • Numbers related to the movie
  • The publisher
  • Date of release
  • Title of the database (optional)
  • Retrieved from… [full URL address]


“Another Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Opening Guru’s Eyes on the World of Luxury European Cookery and the Best Restaurants in the World.” New York College Library, 13 August 1016, [full URL address without http://].

How to cite a book in MLA format

The way MLA format citation appears to quote a book is identical to the way we cite a textbook in the academic writing. Take a few steps back to recall the approach to quoting a textbook.

How to cite a picture in MLA

An image is an important addition to the academic paper. Visualization helps to understand and perceive the discussed topic better, and inserting an image in the essay has its rules. Digital photos have their addresses and descriptions like online videos. A writer may pick images electronically using any digital device. Those could be:

  • Photos
  • Illustrations
  • Graphics
  • Tables

A student should include the same elements as in case of video quotation. The image obtained from Google Images should not have Google in a publisher field. Click on the image to discover the detailed info from the hosting website.

Omit http:// - cut down the full website’s address to www. Each time a writer opens a citation on a digital device of any type, it is useful to make it clickable – let the target audience access the original website without obstacles.


Cranberry, Donald J. Photograph of the Winning Skating Couple on the Winter Sports Games in Canada with Their Coach George Smith. NBC Olympics, USA Today, 12 Nov. 2015, [website’s address].

How to cite a website MLA in text

Follow the most recent, 8th edition’s instructions to quote a website. The edition introduced many changes to this type of source:

  1. Exclude the medium of publication (web/print);
  2. Do not add the city to the book quotes;
  3. Avoid adding URLs of web publications in the Works Cited entries;
  4. If a source has a URL along with the digital object identifier, use DOI;
  5. Do not forget to include the volume and issue numbers of the journals.


Torres, Antonio. “Analyzing Different Internet Research Tools and Brainstorming Techniques to Create a Powerful IT Coursework Project.” VirtualSalt. 8 February 2016.  Accessed 30 May 2016.

How to cite an interview in MLA

There are two ways to add interviews in the academic paper. A more frequent one refers to using the quotes from the interviews taken by the professionals and published in the primary sources. A student may take interview independently.

If a student decides to quote the interview published in one of the primary sources (newspaper, magazine), he/she should stick to our sample.


Wright, Matthew. “Anthony Giles Has a Conversation with the President of the United States Last Saturday.” Interview by Anthony Giles. The Oprah Magazine June 2015: 104-111. Print.

How to cite a dictionary in MLA

How to properly cite in MLA when it comes to using dictionaries? It is the final thing to discuss. A dictionary is a printed book or online open source (website/database), which contains detailed interpretations of words and phrases in particular language.


“Anorexia Nervosa.” Def.2. Oxford Dictionaries, Aug. 2013. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

Are there any questions left about this format citing? Contact certified writers & editors online at any time to get prompt, quality academic papers done in any writing format of your choice.