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ESL 924: Prof. Carey: MLA


Plagiarism is the copying or close imitation of information from a published source.

 Plagiarism is not allowed at Cañada College. If a student is caught plagiarizing, he or she could fail the class or even be expelled. To avoid plagiarism you must put quotation marks around information that is directly copied from a source. You must  cite all thoughts, ideas, arguments, research, quotations and obscure facts taken from your sources using a recognized citation format like MLA.

MLA Introduction

What's MLA?

MLA stands for Modern Language Association.

It is a style for writing researching papers and formatting citations.

As a college student, you are required to cite all published quotations, ideas, arguments, research and obscure facts that you have used to write your paper.

There are two main parts to MLA citation, the in-text citation and Works Cited list. When using MLA, it is important to format your citations exactly as stated paying close attention to punctuation, capitalization and italics.                   

Why cite?

Why Cite?

The point of citation is to give credit to the author of your sources and explain to your professor where you found the information to support the argument of your paper.

In-text Citations

What's an In-Text Citation?

In your essay, in the text or body of your essay, you need to give a very brief citation.

In MLA, in-text citations are added in the body of your paper to briefly document the source of your information.

Why use In Text Citations?

Brief in-text citations point the reader to more complete information in the works cited list at the end of the paper.

  • In-text citations include the last name of the author followed by a page number enclosed in parentheses. "Here's a direct quote" (Smith 8).
  • If the author's name is not given, then use the first word or words of the title. Follow the same formatting that was used in the works cited list, such as quotation marks. This is a paraphrase ("Trouble" 22).
  • When you quote from online sources that do not provide page numbers (like Web pages), cite the author name only. No page number is necessary.

    For example:

  • "Three phases of the separation response are protest, despair, and detachment" (Garelli).

 Note: The period goes outside the brackets, at the end of your in-text citation.


MLA Handbook

The MLA Handbook (2016) is the offical guide of MLA citation formatting.

You can find the manual at the reference desk and in the reference section of the library's collection.

Call Number:  REF/LB2369.G53 2016  


What is EasyBib?

EasyBib is an automatic bibliography composer. When you have sources you need to cite properly for your research paper, EasyBib will help you format your sources quickly and accurately.

Cañada College students can use the premium features by registering (setting up an account).You must be on campus to register; once you you have registered you can use EasyBib from anywhere to create bibliographies for your entire career at Cañada College.  Come see us in the Library if you need help getting registered!

Using Sources you Found on the Internet

When you use sources outside of the library article databases, like articles or websites from Google, the citation is not usually provided.

You will need to form your own citation "from scratch."

MLA Core Citation Elements

Significant revisions in MLA handbook (8th edition) that was published in April 2016. The work's publication format is no longer considered. Citations are created using MLA's list of core elements:

  Core Elements  Punctuation 
1. Author. Include maximum two authors in the entry (first author's last name, first name and second author's name in direct order; for more than two authors, list the first author's last name, first name, followed by a comma and et al
2. Title of source. In quotation mark if the source is part of a larger work, but italicized it if the source is self-contained; for example, an article title is placed in quotation mark, but a book title is italicizedThis element is required for all sources in the Works Cited List; if there is no official title, provide a description of the source.
3. Title of container, Italicized; title of a periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper), a collection of essays, stories, poems, a website, a television series, a comic book series, etc.,
4. Other contributors, Precede contributors' name with a description of the role such as: adapted by, directed by, edited by, illustrated by, introduction by, narrated by, performance by, translated by, etc.,
5. Version, Editions (e.g., 2nd ed., expanded ed., updated ed., etc.), versions (e.g., unabridged version, director's cut, etc.),
6. Number, Precede volume number with vol. (e.g., vol. 2), issue number with no. (e.g., no. 12), spell out the season number of a television series (e.g.,, season 2, episode 6),
7. Publisher, If the name of a publisher is not indicated on the source cited, but available in another reliable source, cite the name in square brackets (MLA 2.6.1); do not use n.p.,
8. Publication date, If there are more than one publication date, cite the date that is most relevant (for example, when citing an online article, cite only the online publication date if it is different from the print one). If the publication date is not indicated on the source cited, but available in another reliable source, cite the date in square brackets (MLA 2.6.1); do not use n.d.,
9. Location. Page or paragraph numbers, DOIs or URL for online works, disc # for DVD sets, place/city for physical objects, venue/city for live presentations, a code/number for objects in an archive.

Put the nine core elements together:

Note: Some sources may not include all the elements. if that happens, list only the relevant elements you can find within the source.

If the source is available in more than one container, add elements 3-9 to the end of the entry for each container (see examples in MLA Handbook, pp. 32-36). Optional elementsmay be included if they are relevant to the source and/or your use of the source; click here for more information or consult pages 50-53 of the MLA Handbook, Eighth Edition.