MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format Purdue OWL® (2023)

MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format Purdue OWL® (1)

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(Video) Purdue OWL: MLA Formatting: List of Works Cited

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9thed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

According to MLA style, you must have a Works Cited page at the end of your research paper. All entries in the Works Cited page must correspond to the works cited in your main text.

Basic rules

  • Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research paper. It should have the same one-inch margins and last name, page number header as the rest of your paper.
  • Label the page Works Cited (do not italicize the words Works Cited or put them in quotation marks) and center the words Works Cited at the top of the page.
    • Only the title should be centered. The citation entries themselves should be aligned with the left margin.
  • Double space all citations, but do not skip spaces between entries.
  • Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent.
  • List page numbers of sources efficiently, when needed. If you refer to a journal article that appeared on pages 225 through 250, list the page numbers on your Works Cited page as pp. 225-50 (Note: MLA style dictates that you should omit the first sets of repeated digits. In our example, the digit in the hundreds place is repeated between 225 and 250, so you omit the 2 from 250 in the citation: pp. 225-50). If the excerpt spans multiple pages, use “pp.” Note that MLA style uses a hyphen in a span of pages.
  • If only one page of a print source is used, mark it with the abbreviation “p.” before the page number (e.g., p. 157). If a span of pages is used, mark it with the abbreviation “pp.” before the page number (e.g., pp.157-68).
  • If you're citing an article or a publication that was originally issued in print form but that you retrieved from an online database, you should type the online database name in italics. You do not need to provide subscription information in addition to the database name.
  • For online sources, you should include a location to show readers where you found the source. Many scholarly databases use a DOI (digital object identifier). Use a DOI in your citation if you can; otherwise use a URL. Delete “http://” from URLs. The DOI or URL is usually the last element in a citation and should be followed by a period.
  • All works cited entries end with a period.

Additional basic rules new to MLA 2021

New to MLA 2021:

  • Apps and databases should be cited only when they are containers of the particular works you are citing, such as when they are the platforms of publication of the works in their entirety, and not an intermediary that redirects your access to a source published somewhere else, such as another platform. For example, the Philosophy Books app should be cited as a container when you use one of its many works, since the app contains them in their entirety. However, a PDF article saved to the Dropbox app is published somewhere else, and so the app should not be cited as a container.
  • If it is important that your readers know an author’s/person’s pseudonym, stage-name, or various other names,then you should generally cite the better-known form of author’s/person’s name. For example, since the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is better-known by his pseudonym, cite Lewis Carroll opposed to Charles Dodgson (real name).
  • For annotated bibliographies, annotations should be appended at the end of a source/entry with one-inch indentations from where the entry begins. Annotations may be written as concise phrases or complete sentences, generally not exceeding one paragraph in length.

Capitalization and punctuation

  • Capitalize each word in the titles of articles, books, etc, but do not capitalize articles (the, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of the title or subtitle: Gone with the Wind, The Art of War, There Is Nothing Left to Lose.
  • Use italics (instead of underlining) for titles of larger works (books, magazines) and quotation marks for titles of shorter works (poems, articles)

Listing author names

Entries are listed alphabetically by the author's last name (or, for entire edited collections, editor names). Author names are written with the last name first, then the first name, and then the middle name ormiddle initial when needed:

Burke, Kenneth

(Video) MLA Style: List of Works Cited (8th Ed., 2016)

Levy, David M.

Wallace, David Foster

Do notlist titles (Dr., Sir, Saint, etc.) or degrees (PhD, MA, DDS, etc.) with names. A book listing an author named "John Bigbrain, PhD" appears simply as "Bigbrain, John." Do, however, include suffixes like "Jr." or "II." Putting it all together, a work by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be cited as "King, Martin Luther, Jr." Here the suffix following the first or middle name and a comma.

More than one work by an author

If you have cited more than one work by a particular author, order the entries alphabetically by title, and use three hyphens in place of the author's name for every entry after the first:

Burke, Kenneth. A Grammar of Motives. [...]

(Video) Walk-Through of OWL Purdue's Works Cited, In-text Citation, and MLA guide

---. A Rhetoric of Motives. [...]

When an author or collection editor appears both as the sole author of a text and as the first author of a group, list solo-author entries first:

Heller, Steven, ed. The Education of an E-Designer.

Heller, Steven, and Karen Pomeroy. Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design.

Work with no known author

Alphabetize works with no known author by their title; use a shortened version of the title in the parenthetical citations in your paper. In this case, Boring Postcards USA has no known author:

(Video) Purdue OWL: MLA Formatting - The Basics

Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulations.[...]

Boring Postcards USA[...]

Burke, Kenneth. A Rhetoric of Motives. [...]

Work by an author using a pseudonym or stage-name

New to MLA 9th edition, there are now steps to take for citing works by an author or authors using a pseudonym, stage-name, or different name.

If the person you wish to cite is well-known, cite the better-known form of the name of the author.For example, since Lewis Carroll isnot only a pseudonym of Charles Dodgson, but also the better-known form of the author’s name, cite the former name opposed to the latter.

(Video) Formatting an MLA 8th edition Works Cited page (current for 2021)

If the real name of the author is less well-known than their pseudonym, cite the author’s pseudonym in square brackets following the citation of their real name:“Christie, Agatha [Mary Westmacott].”

Authors who published various works under many names may be cited under a single form of the author’s name. When the form of the name you wish to cite differs from that which appears on the author’s work, include the latter in square brackets following an italicized published as: “Irving, Washington [published as Knickerbocker, Diedrich].”.

Another acceptable option, in cases where there are only two forms of the author’s name, is to cite both forms of the author’s names as separate entries along with cross-references in square brackets: “Eliot, George [see also Evans, Mary Anne].”.


What is the format for a Works cited page in MLA format? ›

According to MLA format guidelines, the Works Cited page(s) should look like this:
  1. Running head containing your surname and the page number.
  2. The title, Works Cited, centered and in plain text.
  3. List of sources alphabetized by the author's surname.
  4. Left-aligned.
  5. Double-spaced.
  6. 1-inch margins.
Jun 7, 2021

What is the correct MLA format for works cited page entry for a book? ›

The basic form for a book citation is: Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.

What is the correct MLA format for a works cited entry for an Internet article? ›

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Work.” Title of Site, Sponsor or Publisher [include only if different from website title or author], Date of Publication or Update Date, URL. Accessed Date [only if no date of publication or update date].

How should MLA works cited entries be formatted quizlet? ›

How do I format the Works Cited page? The first line of each source should be flush against the left side, while the second line (if any) should be indented one-half inch. The entire page should be double spaced. You find the phrase "cultural tapeworm" in an article and decide to use it in your paper.

How is a works cited page arranged? ›

In general, works cited lists are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name. If the author is unknown, entries are alphabetized by the first word in their titles (note, however, to drop A, An, or The). Titles of books, periodicals, newspapers, and films are italicized.

When using MLA format a works cited page should list every source? ›

The works cited page is a list of all the sources cited within the body and notes of your paper. A works cited page should begin on its own page after the end of the paper content and should list all the entries in alphabetical order by the first item in each entry (usually the author's name).

Which is the correct MLA works cited format for a Book with two authors? ›

When a work has two authors, include them in the order they appear on the work, and invert the first author's name but write out the second author's name normally. Works Cited Format: First Author's Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. Title of Book.

How do you cite a Book in an essay MLA? ›

Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection, edited by Editor Name(s). Publisher, Year, pp Page range of entry.

How do you cite multiple authors and page numbers in MLA? ›

Include last name of both authors connected by the word 'and', followed by the page number (no comma before the page number) in parentheses. Include the first author's last name followed by 'et al. ' and the page number (no comma before the page number) in parentheses.

How to do an MLA in text citation with multiple authors? ›

As of the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook, for all in-text citations with more than 2 authors, utilize “et al.” after the first listed author to conserve space. Please note, “et al.” is an abbreviation of the Latin et alia (“and others”), so you will need to include the period after “al.” with every use!

Is MLA works cited single or double spaced? ›

All works cited entries should be double-spaced but should not skip spaces between entries. The first line of each entry is aligned along the left-hand margin, but all subsequent lines use a hanging indent. Entries appear in alphabetical order according to the author's last name.

What is the format and order of the works cited list? ›

Arrange entries in alphabetical order by the first term in each entry (the first author's last name or the title of the work when there is no author). Continue with the numbering convention used throughout the paper by including your last name and the page number in the upper right-hand corner of the Works Cited page.

What is MLA format for an essay? ›

The basic characteristics of an MLA document include double-spaced lines throughout the essay with paragraphs indented half an inch, size 12 Times New Roman font, and a double-spaced Works Cited page with a hanging indent.

How do you cite a source in an essay example? ›

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.


1. Using the Purdue/Owl Citation Generator
(Rebecca Sirevaag)
2. Navigating Purdue OWL: MLA Works Cited Page
(Lincoln Land Community College Library)
3. MLA Works-Cited OWL
(Kevin Howell)
4. Using Purdue OWL for Works Cited
(Mailin Barlow)
5. “MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format”
(Travel Journal Project: Bites, Bushcraft, Books)
6. MLA Format Works Cited Page
(Nicholls Library)


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