How to Cite in MLA 8 | Best Tips

How to Cite in MLA 8| The Modern Language Association (MLA) formatting style plays an integral role in citing sources for cultural studies, language and literature, arts, and literary criticism. The format allows readers to concentrate on your work and avoid distractions by complex formatting. This way, your readers can efficiently flow with your ideas and trace more information that sparks their interest.

Guidelines on How to Cite in MLA 8

It would be best to get started and familiarized with general MLA formatting requirements and notation standards. MLA recommends double spaced text and ensures that the font size is 12 pt. Also, there isn’t any specified font style but ensure that you use a legible font.

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The regular and italics should have a visible contrast within the essay. Have a header that numbers all pages in the upper right corner.

First Page Formatting in MLA 8

The first page doesn’t include a title page. On the upper left corner of your first page, include your name, instructor’s name, course, and date. The title name should be in standard capitalization and italics or quotation marks if referred from another source.

Include a header in the upper right corner with your last name and page number though the instructor may require you to omit it.

Headings in MLA 8

The headings in your work help to make the article more readable and appear organized. For essays, your headings should be numbered sections and a period before the heading title. For books, there isn’t a specified system for writing your headings. You can choose a system of your choice but ensure that it’s consistent throughout the article.

The citations in your Works Cited entry should include the following components in order:

  1. Author
  2. Source Title
  3. Container Title
  4. Other Contributors
  5. Version
  6. Number
  7. Publisher
  8. Publication Date
  9. Location

However, the MLA 8th edition has made changes that primarily focus on universally acceptable academic writing standards rather than a rigid set of rules.

The title source follows the author’s name and may be listed in italics or quotation marks. The container is the source collection that encompasses your reference point. For instance, if you cite a poem in a poem collection, the single poem is the source while the collection is the container. The container is written in italics followed by a comma

Other contributors are other parties in addition to the author that contributed to the source. They should be credited if their participation is relevant to your research.


Kincaid, Jamaica. How to Cite in MLA 8, edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.

Dennis, K. “How to Cite in MLA 8.” Know-How, vol.1, 1997.

The location should also be included to show where you were able to retrieve specific information. It can be a page number for essays or articles or a URL for web pages.

In-text Citations

When referring to works done by others in MLA style, it is usually done using parentheses. However, parentheses’ source information depends on the source media such as articles, books, or websites.

Any in-text information must also be parallel to the cited page. MLA uses the author-page style for the in-text citation. The author’s name may be included in the parentheses or in the sentence itself.


Dennis stated that it is easier to learn how to cite in MLA 8  (280).

It is easier to learn how to cite in MLA 8 (Dennis 280).

Dennis conclusively explored the boomerang effect (280).

These examples show the author’s name and tell readers that the information is on page 280.

Work Cited Page

The works cited page should be on a new page at the end of your paper.

Author names are written beginning with the last name, first name, and middle name or initials. The name shouldn’t include titles or degrees.


The citation format includes author, title, container, contributors, publisher, publication date, location. For example, Henley, Patricia. How to Cite in MLA 8. MacMurray, 1999.

Web pages

The format includes author, title, container, contributors, version, publisher, publication date, URL, and access date. For example, Beluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, Accessed 10 May 2006.

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