Basic Directions On How To Cite An MLA Research Paper


The citations and sticking to the guidelines of your style guide are two essentials for a successful research paper. Here are some basic directions to get you started. They include in-text citation rules for different types of authors and sources.

MLA (Modern Language Association) is perhaps the most common style used for papers in the liberal arts and humanities fields.

The Basics: Citation Rules for in-text applications


  • Relevant sources can be placed in parentheses directly after the quote or phrase being cited from that source.
  • Source information for all citations should be provided in the Works Cited page.

Author-page style for in-text citations


  • The name of the author and the page number where the quoted material is located must appear in the text. The complete reference would be provided on the Works Cited page.
  • Author’s name may or may not appear within the parentheses; page numbers must always be inside the parenthesis.

Print sources with known authors: how to handle in-text citations


  • Includes sources such as magazines, books, scholarly journal articles or newspapers.
  • A single phrase or word such as the author’s last name may appear with the page number.
  • The single word or phrase doesn’t have to be provided within the parentheses.

Corporate author sources for in-text citations


    Use the name of the corporation. It should appear first, followed by the location or page number. Use abbreviations where appropriate to avoid excessively long citations within paragraphs. For example, use nat’l for national.

Print sources that have no known author: how to do in-text citations


  • Write a shortened version of the title of the work to take the place of the author name when it isn’t available.
  • For titles of short works such as articles, place the name inside the parentheses.
  • For titles of longer works such as books, television shows and so forth, italicize the name.
  • Provide a page number.

You may run into sources that don’t fall exactly into any of these categories. In that case, you will need to consult a more extensive guide than this short one. However, the basic rules are here and will serve you well as you learn how to accurately apply the MLA style to your research paper. Comply with all the rules and guidelines in order to add extra credibility to your paper. These are some of the small details that count a lot when determining the grade for your written assignment.

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