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MLA Citation & Formatting: About MLA Style

Useful information to help you create a well-formatted document in MLA 9th edition style

About MLA Style

The MLA Style Sheet was first officially published in 1951 to establish standards for documentation and citation.  Its scope has grown to include guidance on formatting, composition, quoting & paraphrasing, and more. Its methods have evolved over time in response to the emergence of new information formats, but it continues to provide the essential guidance that allows readers to focus on the content of a scholarly work without the distractions of style and formatting inconsistencies. It is used primarily in language, literature and cultural disciplines, but it may be used in other academic disciplines. Always ask your instructor's preference about which formatting and citation style to use for your research papers. Information in this guide is based on the MLA Handbook, 9th edition, published in 2021.

The MLA Style Center website is a comprehensive source for guidelines, tips, and examples of MLA citation and formatting.

The MLA Handbook

The MLA Handbook, 9th ed. was published in April 2021. Some faculty may still be using the 8th edition. Check with your instructor to be sure. 


What's new in MLA 9th edition? (Updates from MLA 8th)

New inclusive language guidelines (Ch. 2 & 3)

  • thoughtful language use for race & ethnicity, religion, gender & sexual orientation, etc.
  • discussion of capitalization
  • pronoun choice

Expanded guidance on Works Cited (Ch. 5)

  • what each core citation element is
  • how it applies in different information sources
  • where to find it in different information sources
  • how to format it for your Works Cited list

Better articulated explanation of in-text citations (Ch. 6)

  • core principles for in-text citations
  • use cases with examples
  • formatting titles in parenthetical citations

New Works Cited appendix

  • hundreds of examples
  • common and uncommon source types
  • organized by publication format
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