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Using MLA Style

MLA style refers to the writing style guidelines developed by The Modern Language Association of America and is used mostly by writers in the humanities. MLA provides writers with a credible system for formatting their works and referencing any outside sources of information.

In MLA style, when you use information or ideas from an outside source, either by paraphrasing or directly quoting, you need to reference them in two ways:

  • In-text Citations: provide the name of the source (the author's last name or the title if no name is available) and the number of the page where the information is found in a parenthetical citation directly following the paraphrase or quote in the text of your paper. Note: the name contained in the parenthetical citation will be the first item in the Works Cited entry, giving the reader a direct path of reference.
  • Works Cited: provide the full citation information for the source on your Works Cited page.

This way, the reader can follow the information in the parenthetical citation to the Works Cited page, which contains the full source information, without disrupting the flow of your paper.

For the comprehensive MLA guidelines, refer to The MLA Style Manual , the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , or the official MLA website. For more information on the MLA handbooks, other official writing style manuals (like The Chicago Manual of Style) , or other writing handbooks, visit our Writing Resources page.