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When you write an MLA Style paper, it is important to create a comprehensive record of all the sources you’ve used to compile your research. The official handbook provides citation guidelines for a plethora of sources—from journal articles and books to more modern sources such as websites, social media content, and other digital media. In this article, we’ll take a look at MLA citation examples for some of the most commonly used sources in arts and humanities research.
Included in this article are MLA citation examples for essays, websites, movies, book titles, and more.
For general information about the MLA citation style, visit our article on how to create in-text citations and the Works Cited page, as well as our post on formatting guidelines.
If you are looking for MLA work cited examples for journal articles, book chapters, and other commonly cited sources, read on.
Research papers from journals and periodicals are frequently cited in academic literature. While the MLA Works Cited page attempts to be inclusive of various publication details, every element may not be available for all sources you wish to cite. For example, some journals may not have volumes or issue numbers. In these cases, you simply omit elements that are not applicable to a particular source.
The general format for an MLA journal citation is
Author(s). “Article title.” Journal name, volume, issue number, year of publication, (pages). DOI or URL. 2nd container name.
Follow these general guidelines to cite a journal article under MLA 9:
Here are some MLA journal citation examples:
Stango, Marco. “Dewey, Semiotics, and Substances.” The Pluralist, vol. 14, no. 3, 2019, p. 26, https://doi.org/10.5406/pluralist.14.3.0026. Scholarly Publishing Collective.
Earl, Jennifer, and Katrina Kimport. “Movement Societies and Digital Protest: Fan Activism and Other Nonpolitical Protest Online.” Sociological Theory, vol. 27, no. 3, Sept. 2009, pp. 220–43, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9558.2009.01346.x.
Nusta Carranza Ko, et al. “Landing of the Wave: Hallyu in Peru and Brazil.” Development and Society, vol. 43, no. 2, 2014, pp. 297–350. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/deveandsoci.43.2.297. Accessed 19 Oct. 2022.
Students writing MLA Style papers are often confused about how to cite book chapters. The handbook lays out detailed guidelines about citing book chapters from a variety of containers, such as fiction texts, nonfiction books, or anthologies.
Here’s how you can cite a chapter in a book in MLA 9 format:
Authors. “Chapter title.” Book title: subtitle, edited by [editor’s name], Publisher, year of publication, page range.
Follow these guidelines while citing book chapters:
MLA citation examples for book chapters:
Frye, Marilyn. “Some Reflections on Separatism and Power.” The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory, Crossing Press, 1983, pp. 95–109.
Baudry, Jean-Louis. “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus.” Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader, edited by Philip Rosen, Columbia University Press, 1986, pp. 316–24.
Huxley, Aldous. “Chapter III.” Brave New World, Vintage Classics, 2004, pp. 25–48.
Zusak, Markus. “The Gates of Thievery.” The Book Thief, Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
Essays within books:
If you’re citing an essay contained in an anthology or collection, follow the same format used for book chapters. Anthologies and collections count as containers.
Barthes, Roland. “The Romans in Film.” Mythologies, translated by Annette Lavers, Vintage Classics, 2009, pp. 15–18.
Short stories in books:
The same conventions apply to short stories as well. See below for some MLA citation examples for short stories.
Coward, Matt. “The Hope of the World.” The Mammoth Book of Roaring Twenties Whodunnits, edited by Mike Ashley, Constable & Robinson Ltd., 2004, pp. 185–216.
Wilde, Oscar. “The Sphinx without a Secret.” The Happy Prince & Other Short Stories, Macmillan Popular Classics, 2016, pp. 89–95.
Sometimes you may refer to books as a whole, rather than specific chapters or lines in them. This is common in literary analysis and criticism, where a researcher may analyze entire texts.
A standard MLA book citation is done in the following order:
Author(s). Book title. Edition no. (2nd onwards), Publication city, Publisher, Publication year.
Follow these guidelines in MLA book citations:
MLA citation examples for books:
Louisa May Alcott. Little Women. 1868. Puffin Books, 2014.
Pinker, Steven. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Penguin Books, 2014.
Here is an example of an MLA citation for an anthology:
Rosen, Philip. Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader. New York, Columbia University Press, 4 Nov. 1986.
The MLA handbook also has guidelines about citing translated books and digital versions of books. Below, we’ve included more examples of how to cite a book in MLA format.
Add the name of the translator after the book title:
Kang, Han. The Vegetarian. Translated by Deborah Smith, New York Hogarth, 2015.
If you have referred to digital versions of a book in your research, you can mention that in your complete citation. While this is generally not necessary, you can include such details if they are pertinent to your research.
When you cite an ebook that you’ve accessed on Amazon Kindle or any other e-reader, you should take care that the publication details are specific to the online edition.
Here’s an example of how to cite an ebook in an MLA paper:
Louisa May Alcott. Little Women. E-book ed., Amazonclassics, 2017.
Note: Amazon Classics is an online publication. This edition of Little Women is exclusive to Amazon Kindle.
When you cite an online version of a book (from open-access sites like Gutenberg), make sure you include the URL to the page hosting the book. Instead of a publisher, you can also add the name of the website hosting it.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Gutenberg Project, 1921, www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/64317/pg64317-images.html.
MLA textbook citations:
To cite a full textbook in the MLA format, use the following template:
Copi, Irving M., et al. Introduction to Logic. 14th ed., Pearson Higher Ed, 2012.
If you’re citing chapters or page numbers, adapt the book chapter format for the text:
M. Copi, Irving, et al. “Science and Hypothesis.” Introduction to Logic, Pearson Higher Ed., 2012, pp. 513–38.
With the advent of the internet, it’s not uncommon to use online sources to compile your paper or essay. The MLA citation format, as of the 9th edition, has been updated to include online sources. The handbook has detailed guidelines about how to cite websites, online news articles, blogs, and other web resources.
This is the general format for an MLA website citation:
Author name(s). “Title of the Individual Webpage.” Title of the Website, Name of the Publisher, date of publication (day-month-year), link to URL. Accessed on day-month-year.
Follow these guidelines to cite webpages and websites in an MLA paper:
The guideline about including a site’s URL is a new addition to the MLA citation format and was not present before the 9th edition.
If you wish, you can also include the date you accessed the website. While this last step is optional, you should definitely include it if it gives your reader more context about the work.
See below for some examples of MLA citations for websites:
Online news article:
McIntosh, Steven. “Anna May Wong: Actress Becomes First Asian American on US Currency.” BBC News, 19 Oct. 2022, www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-63316940.
Poniewozik, James. “How ‘The Good Place’ Became an Antihero Antidote.” The New York Times, 31 Jan. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/arts/the-good-place-kristen-bell-ted-danson.html.
Max, D. T. “The Unfinished.” The New Yorker, 2018, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/03/09/the-unfinished.
Blogs and other websites:
Rosa, Erin La. “32 Plays You Need to Read before You Die.” BuzzFeed, 5 Aug. 2014, www.buzzfeed.com/erinlarosa/32-plays-that-will-change-the-way-you-see-the-world.
Nguyen, Hanh. “‘Atlanta’ Review: Season 1 Masterfully Subverts Everything, Including the Sweet and Somber Finale.” IndieWire, 2 Nov. 2016, www.indiewire.com/2016/11/atlanta-review-season-1-subversive-feelings-1201742565/ .
An example of a website citation with no author in MLA 9:
“Plato”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 12 Feb. 2022, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato/.
In the Works Cited list, you can cite poems from authors’ collections, compiled anthologies, and online sources. The MLA citation format for poetry depends on the container that the poem is in. If you’re using a book, you will include it as a book chapter. If you’ve referred to a web version, you may cite the website it’s hosted on.
Here are some examples of how to cite a poem in MLA:
Citing poetry from a book:
Kandasamy, Meena. “Lady Justice.” Ms Militancy, Navayana Books, 2010, pp. 28–29.
Citing poetry from an edited collection:
Lear, Edward. “There Was an Old Man with a Beard.” The Norton Anthology of Poetry, edited by Margaret Ferguson et al., 5th ed., W W Norton & Company, 2005, p. 1041.
Citing a poem from an online source:
Poetry Foundation. “Ozymandias.” Poetry Foundation, 2017, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46565/ozymandias. Accessed 25 Mar 2016.
Plays, just like poems, are cited depending on the source they were accessed through. In the Works Cited section, specify if you’ve referred to a print edition, an e-copy, or an online version by using the appropriate Works Cited entry format.
Here’s how you can cite a play in MLA:
1. Print editions
Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest. 1895. Oxford University Press, 2008.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. 1601. Signet Classics, 1998.
2. Online editions
Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People. 1895. Project Gutenberg, 1997, www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/844.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. 1601. The Complete Works of Shakespeare, 1993. http://shakespeare.mit.edu/hamlet/full.html
The MLA Handbook contains guidelines to cite both printed and online editions of magazine articles. See below for examples of both:
MLA print magazine citation:
Meaney, Thomas. “The Wages of Realism.” The New Yorker, 18 May 2020, pp. 58-62.
Asimov, Isaac. “Nightfall.” Astounding Science Fiction, Sept. 1941, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 9–34.
MLA online article citation:
Meaney, Thomas. “The Myth of Henry Kissinger.” The New Yorker, 18 May 2020, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/05/18/the-myth-of-henry-kissinger.
Students in humanities, especially those in disciplines such as media studies, cultural studies, literature, and film studies frequently cite movies in MLA Style papers. To cite a film in MLA 9, use the format below.
How to cite a movie in MLA:
Name of the movie. Contributor(s), Production house/Distributor, Year of release.
Who should you list as the “author” of a movie in an MLA citation?
Given films have many contributors—directors, actors, editors, screenwriters, and so on—you should list the contributors who are most relevant to your research. If you’re discussing the entire film, you can cite the director as the primary contributor. If you are discussing a specific aspect of the film, like its actors’ performances for instance, write “performance(s) by [name of the actors]”.
Follow these guidelines while creating MLA citations for a movie:
Additional tip: If you are including a distributor, consider adding the country of the distributor if it is relevant to the research.
Standard film citation:
Dune. Directed by David Lynch, Dino De Laurentiis Company, 1982.
Apocalypse Now. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Omni Zoetrope, 1979.
Citing different versions of a film:
Apocalypse Now. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Director’s Cut, Omni Zoetrope, 1979.
Citing films with multiple contributors:
Apocalypse Now. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, performances by Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando, Frederic Forrest, and Albert Hall. Omni Zoetrope, 1979.
The Godfather. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, performance by Marlon Brando. Paramount Pictures, 1972.
MLA citation for a non-English film:
If a foreign language has an English title, you may start with that followed by the original title enclosed in square brackets.
Breathless [À Bout de Souffle]. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Les Films Impéria, 1960.
You can also cite a foreign language film without the optional English title.
Kannathil Muthamittal. Directed by Mani Ratnam, Madras Talkies, 2002.
Citing films from streaming sites:
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Directed by Vince Gilligan, performed by Aaron Paul. Netflix / Sony Pictures Television, 2019. Netflix.
Man with a Movie Camera. Directed by Dziga Vertov. Vseukrainske Foto Kino Upravlinnia (VUFKU), 1929. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGYZ5847FiI.
An MLA film in-text citation format has two elements: the title of the film in italics and the timestamps of the sequences being discussed. For example:
(Apocalypse Now 01:23:36-01:25:49)
(Man with a Movie Camera 00:03:25–00:07:45)
A standard MLA TV episode citation follows the same structure as a movie citation. The only addition is the season and episode number. Contributors you can add for this type of citation are directors, creators, screenwriters, and performers.
Here are some examples of how you can cite TV episodes under MLA 9:
“Two Cathedrals.” The West Wing, Created and written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Thomas Schlamme, season 2, episode 22, John Wells Productions / Warner Bros. Television, NBC, 18 May 2001.
“Noël.” The West Wing, Performed by Bradley Whitford, created and written by Aaron Sorkin, season 2, episode 10, John Wells Productions / Warner Bros. Television, NBC, 20 Dec. 2000.
This is how you can cite TV episodes that don’t have titles:
The Thick of It. Created by Armando Iannucci, season 3, episode 1, BBC, 24 Oct. 2009.
If you are referring to a specific episode in the in-text citation, include the episode title and relevant timestamps. If you are discussing a show in general, italicize the show name in the in-text citation.
(“Two Cathedrals” 31:05-37:12)
(The West Wing)
MLA citations for the Bible depend on the edition you’re referring to. The citation style for the Bible follows the format used for a book. Italicize “The Bible”, followed by the version you are using. Then continue including publication details of that edition.
How to cite the Bible in MLA:
Holy Bible. King James Version. American Bible Society, 2011.
The Holy Bible. New American Standard. American Bible Society, 2000.
Note that the Works Cited entry for the Bible does not include details about chapters and verses you have used in your paper. These go inside parenthetical citations, as shown here:
“Let all your things be done with charity.” (King James Version, 1 Corinthians 16:14)
Use the same format to cite other religious texts in the MLA citation style.
Name of text. Version. Name of publisher, Publication year.
If the text you’re citing does not have alternate versions, you may skip that element. If the edition has an editor or translator, include those details after the version.
Here are some examples:
The Holy Qur’an. Islam International Publications Ltd, 2019.
The Bhagavad Gita. Translated by Juan Mascaró, Penguin, 2003.
In addition to films and television shows, students can also cite online videos from platforms such as YouTube, social media sites like TikTok and Instagram, and other video hosting sites like Vimeo. Start with the format below to create an MLA citation for a video.
How to cite a video in MLA 9:
Username. “Title of the video.” Website name, Username, Date of publication, URL.
How to cite a YouTube video in MLA:
Thorn, Abigail. “Is Art Meaningless?” YouTube, Philosophy Tube, 22 Aug. 2022, www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6EOVCYx7mY.
In-text citation: (“Is Art Meaningless?” 00:14:17-00:16:28)
Citing a video on a social media platform:
Vice Media News (@vicemedianews), “I Miss The Smiles of the Afghan Girls Who Went to School.”, Instagram. 12 August 2022, https://www.instagram.com/p/ChKFZW5jNEQ/.
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