University of Portland Clark Library

Thursday, February 23: The Clark Library is closed today.

MLA Style (9th Edition) Citation Guide: Journal Articles

  • Introduction to MLA Style
  • Journal Articles
  • Magazine/Newspaper Articles
  • Books & Ebooks
  • Government & Legal Documents
  • Biblical Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Videos/DVDs/TV Shows
  • How to Cite: Other
  • 9th Edition Updates
  • Additional Help

Table of Contents

Basic style for citations of electronic sources (including online databases), journal article from library database with doi or a url, journal article in print.

Note: For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

If there is no known author, start the citation with the title of the article instead.

Access Date

Date of access is optional in MLA 8th/9th edition; it is recommended for pages that may change frequently or that do not have a copyright/publication date.

In your works cited list, abbreviate months as follows: 

January = Jan. February = Feb. March = Mar. April = Apr. May = May June = June July = July August = Aug. September = Sept. October = Oct. November = Nov. December = Dec.

Spell out months fully in the body of your paper. 

Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every Web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible both for your citations and for your research notes:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available); last names first.
  • "Article name in quotation marks."
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
  • ​Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL.
  • “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.
  • Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed)—While not required, it is highly recommended, especially when dealing with pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.
  • Remember to cite containers after your regular citation. Examples of containers are collections of short stories or poems, a television series, or even a website. A container is anything that is a part of a larger body of works.

Cite online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services as containers. Thus, provide the title of the database (italicized) before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access if you wish.

The eighth edition of the MLA Handbook does not require that you include a date of access—the date on which you consulted a work—when you cite an online work from a reliable, stable source. However, you may include an access date as an optional element if it will be useful to others. (See the MLA Handbook, eighth edition, pp. 50–53, for more on optional elements.)

Including an access date for an online work may be especially useful if the work lacks a publication date or if you suspect that the work may be altered or removed, which is more common with informal or self-published works. Place the access date at the end of the entry.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number.  N ame of Database,  doi:DOI number/URL/ Permalink . 

Works Cited List Example:

Cardanay, Audrey. “Illustrating Motion, Music, and Story.” General Music Today, vol. 29, no. 3, 2016, pp. 25-29. Academic Search Premier , doi:10.1177/1048371315626498.

In-Text Citation Example:

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: ( Cardanay  444)

Two Authors

First Author's Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number.  Name of Database ,  doi:DOI number/URL/Permalink.

Best, David, and Sharon Marcus. “Surface Reading: An Introduction.”  Representations , vol. 108, no. 1, Fall 2009, pp. 1-21. JSTOR , doi:10.1525/rep.2009.108.1.1.

(First Author's Last Name and Second Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Best and Marcus 18)

Three or More Authors

For sources with three or more authors, list only the first author’s name followed by the phrase et al. (Latin for “and others”)

First Author's Last Name, First Name et al. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number.  Name of Database,  doi:DOI number/URL/Permalink. 

Isaac, Kathleen et al. "Incorporating Spirituality in Primary Care." Journal of Religion and Health , vol. 55, no. 3, 2016, pp. 1065-77. ATLA Religion Database , login.uportland.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=114118885&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

(First Author's Last Name et al. Page Number)

Example: (Isaac et al. 1067)

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number.  

Poythress, Vern S. "Rain Water Versus a Heavenly Sea in Genesis 1:6-8." The Westminster Theological Journal, vol. 77, no. 2, 2015, pp. 181-91.

Example: (Poythress 183)

  • << Previous: How to Cite: Common Sources
  • Next: Magazine/Newspaper Articles >>
  • Last Updated: Apr 11, 2024 1:28 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.up.edu/mla

Works-Cited-List Entries

How to cite an online work.

To create a basic works-cited-list entry for an online work, list the author, the title of the work, the title of the website as the title of the container, and the publication details. You may need to include other elements depending on the type of work (e.g., book, scholarly article, blog post) and how you accessed it (e.g., from a journal website, from a database). Below are sample entries for online works along with links to posts containing many other examples.

Article on a website

Deresiewicz, William. “The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.” The Atlantic , 28 Dec. 2014, theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/01/ the-death-of-the-artist-and-the-birth-of-thecreative-entrepreneur/383497/.

Book on a website

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Masque of the Red Death.” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe , edited by James A. Harrison, vol. 4, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1902, pp. 250-58. HathiTrust Digital Library , hdl.handle.net/2027/coo.31924079574368.

Journal Article in a Database

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review , vol. 64, no. 1, spring 2010, pp. 69-88. JSTOR , www.jstor.org/stable/41403188.

More Examples

Digital Sources

Government Publications

Journal Articles

Reference Works

Social Media  

  • Previous Example
  • Next Example

Citation guides

All you need to know about citations

How to cite an online journal article in MLA

MLA online journal article citation

To cite an online journal article in a reference entry in MLA style 9th edition include the following elements:

  • Author(s) name: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by ‘and’ and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson). For three or more authors, list the first name followed by et al. (e. g. Watson, John, et al.)
  • Title of the article: Titles are italicized when independent. If part of a larger source add quotation marks and do not italize.
  • Title of the journal: Container titles are italicized and followed by a comma.
  • volume number: Give the volume number preceded by vol. (e. g. vol. 56).
  • issue number: Give the number of the source preceded by no. (e. g. no. 7).
  • Year of publication: Give the year of publication as presented in the source.
  • doi: Include https:// with the digital object identifier (DOI).

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of an online journal article in MLA style 9th edition:

Author(s) name . " Title of the article ." Title of the journal , vol. volume number , no. issue number , Year of publication , doi .

Take a look at our works cited examples that demonstrate the MLA style guidelines in action:

An online journal article with two authors and a DOI

Langner, Michael, and Ruedi Imbach . “ The University of Freiburg: A Model for a Bilingual University .” Higher Education in Europe , vol. 25 , no. 4 , 2000 , https://doi.org/10.1007/s10814-017-9105-3 .
Hofman, Courtney A., and Torben C. Rick . “ Ancient Biological Invasions and Island Ecosystems: Tracking Translocations of Wild Plants and Animals .” Journal of Archaeological Research , vol. 26 , no. 1 , 2018 , https://doi.org/10.1080/03797720120037796 .

mla cover page

This citation style guide is based on the MLA Handbook (9 th edition).

More useful guides

  • MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources
  • Citation Help for MLA, 8th: Journal Article
  • How to Cite an Online Newspaper Article Using MLA 8

More great BibGuru guides

  • APA: how to cite a TV show
  • APA: how to cite an undergraduate thesis
  • Chicago: how to cite an undergraduate thesis

Automatic citations in seconds

Citation generators

Alternative to.

  • NoodleTools
  • Getting started

From our blog

  • 📚 How to write a book report
  • 📝 APA Running Head
  • 📑 How to study for a test

Banner

MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Journal Articles

  • What Kind of Source Is This?
  • Advertisements
  • Books, eBooks & Pamphlets
  • Book Reviews
  • Class Handouts, Presentations, and Readings
  • Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  • Government Documents
  • Images, Artwork, Charts, Graphs & Tables
  • Interviews and Emails (Personal Communications)
  • Journal Articles
  • Magazine Articles
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Primary Sources
  • Religious Texts
  • Social Media
  • Videos & DVDs
  • In-Text Citation
  • Works Quoted in Another Source
  • No Author, No Date etc.
  • Works Cited List & Sample Paper
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Powerpoint Presentations

On This Page: Journal Articles

Volume, issue, and number in a journal citation.

  • Journal Article from a Library Database With a DOI Number - One Author
  • Journal Article from a Library Database With a DOI Number - Two Authors

Journal Article From Library Database Without a DOI Number - One Author

Journal article from library database without a doi number - two authors, a course reading uploaded to moodle, journal article from a website - one author, journal article from a website - two authors, journal article in print - one author, journal article in print - two authors, citing three or more authors, in-text citation for two or more authors/editors, what is a doi.

DOI Numbers for Journal Articles

Some electronic content like journal articles are assigned a unique number called a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). The DOI provides a stable way to see a description of the article. If a DOI is provided for a journal article, include it after the page numbers of the article as a URL beginning with https://doi.org/ followed immediately by the DOI number.  

Abbreviating Months

In your works cited list, abbreviate months as follows: 

January = Jan. February = Feb. March = Mar. April = Apr. May = May June = June July = July August = Aug. September = Sept. October = Oct. November = Nov. December = Dec.

Spell out months fully in the body of your paper. 

Note : For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

How Can I Tell if it's a Journal?

Photo from Flickr under Creative Commons license, created by the.Firebottle

Not sure whether your article is from a journal? Look for these characteristics:

  • Main purpose is often to report results of original search
  • Articles usually have a very specific subject focus
  • May see sections such as abstract, discussion, results, and conclusion
  • Author of the article is an expert or specialist in the field and often their credentials are listed
  • Article is intended for students, scientists, researchers and/or professionals instead of the general public
  • Usually includes a References list at the end

Articles may also come from  newspapers  or  magazines .

Journal Article From Library Database With a DOI Number - One Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number. Name of Database,  https://doi.org/DOI number.

Journal Article From Library Database With a DOI Number - Two Authors

Author's Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number.  Name of Database,  https://doi.org/DOI number.

 Note: Only the first author's name appears in "Last Name, First Name" format. The second author's name appears in "First Name Last Name" format. 

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number.  Name of Database.

 Note:  While MLA 9th edition recommends including URLs, Columbia College Library recommends that URLs be left out when citing a work found in a library database. This is because most URLs from library databases will stop working after the session ends. If your instructor requires a URL, look for the "Permalink" icon in the article description and place the URL generated after the name of the database. 

Author's Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number.  Name of Database. 

Author Last Name, Author First Name. "Title of Article or Book Chapter."  Moodle , uploaded by Instructor Name, upload date [if known], moodle.columbiacollege.bc.ca/.

 Note:  Use this format only for files that you download directly from Moodle. If the reading is shared on Moodle via a link, do not include Moodle as a container. Cite the reading according to the format for the type of source it is (eg a journal article from a library database, a news article from a website, etc).  Also see the note below about instructors' preferences for how course materials are cited.

The MLA Style Center has guidance based on the 8th edition of the  MLA Handbook   on citing online handouts and readings , including the difference between a reading that is uploaded to a course versus one that is shared via a link. The 9th edition of the  MLA Handbook  notes that instructors may wish students to practice citing course materials according to the original publication information, as training for citing materials found while doing research (xxii-xiii). Students should follow the requirements of their assignment and seek clarification from their instructor when necessary.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number if Given, URL. Accessed  Day Month Year site was visited.

Author's Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number if Given, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number.

Author's Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number.

If there are three or more authors, cite only the name of the first author listed with their Last Name, First Name Middle Name followed by a comma et al.

Example: Smith, James, et al.

  • << Previous: Interviews and Emails (Personal Communications)
  • Next: Magazine Articles >>
  • Last Updated: Apr 15, 2024 11:24 AM
  • URL: https://columbiacollege-ca.libguides.com/MLA9

Banner

MLA Citation (7th edition)

  • Citing a book
  • Citing the Parts of a Books

In Text Citations

Basic journal article citation, scholarly journal article - print, scholarly journal article - from a library database, magazine article - print, magazine article - from a library database.

  • Citing a newspaper article
  • Citing a Website
  • MLA Resources

Writing Center

Visit the Writing Center for help with brainstorming, organization, revising, citations, and other writing assistance! 

  • Every Monday: Saurwein 232
  • Tuesday-Sunday in Campus Center 313: The Owen Center

Regular Writing Center Hours:

  • Monday-Friday 12:00PM-7:00PM
  • Sundays 12:00PM-5:00PM

Book an appointment  with a Writing Center consultant. 

For an overview of the various ways to cite information in text in MLA style, see the Purdue OWL , which provides an overview of the basic in text citation formats.

Author's last name, Author's first name.   "Title of the Article."   Name of   Publication  volume.issue (Year): pages.   Medium of

          publication.

Additional information required in citations of electronic journals:

After the page numbers, include the name of the database or website the piece comes from, and include the date the information was accessed after the medium of publication.

Mueller, Ned.   "The Teddy Bears' Picnic: Four-Year-Old Children's  Personal Constructs in Relation to Behavioural Problems and

          to  Teacher Global Concern."    Journal of Child Psychology and   Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines   37.4 (1996): 381-389.  

          Print.

Otgaar, Henry, Ingrid Candel, Harald Merckelbach, and Kimberley A. Wade.   "Abducted by a UFO: Prevalence Information Affects

          Young Children's False Memories for an Implausible Event."   Applied Cognitive Psychology   23.1 (2009): 115-125.  

          Psychology and Behavioral Sciences  Collection .  Web.  12 Aug. 2010.

Magazines are cited differently than journal publications. See if you can spot the difference between the journal citations above and the magazine citations below.

Davies, Paul.   "Are ALIENS Among Us?"    Scientific American  Dec. 2007:  62-69.   Print.

Citations from magazines for the general public, such as Scientific American , Time , Newsweek , or People , do not require volume or issue number, and the date is not placed in parentheses.

Brandt, Andrew.   "Gummi Bears Trick a Fingerprint Scanner."   PC   World  Aug 2004: 124-125.   Academic Search

          Complete .   Web. 10 June 2009.

  • << Previous: Citing the Parts of a Books
  • Next: Citing a newspaper article >>
  • Last Updated: Sep 30, 2022 1:39 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.heidelberg.edu/mla7

University Libraries      University of Nevada, Reno

  • Skill Guides
  • Subject Guides

MLA Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition): Journal and Magazine Articles

  • Understanding Core Elements
  • Formatting Appendices and Works Cited List
  • Writing an Annotated Bibliography
  • Academic Honesty and Citation
  • In-Text Citation
  • Charts, Graphs, Images, and Tables
  • Class Notes and Presentations
  • Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
  • Generative AI
  • In Digital Assignments
  • Interviews and Emails
  • Journal and Magazine Articles
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Social Media
  • Special Collections
  • Videos and DVDs
  • When Information Is Missing
  • Citation Software

General Guidelines

The general MLA 9 formatting for articles is:

Works Cited List: Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , Volume Number, Issue Number, Date of Publication, First Page Number-Last Page Number.  Name of Database,  DOI, Permalink or URL.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article"  Name of Magazine , Volume Number, Issue Number (if applicable), Date (usually month or season year), First Page Number-Last Page Number.  URL .

In-text citation:  (Author's Last Name Page Number)

DOIs and Permalinks

Many journal articles accessed from library databases will include a digital object identifier (DOI). A DOI is a string of numbers and letters assigned to an electronic publication.

Two Interlinked Chains, the typical permalink icon.

If a DOI is not available, look for a permanent URL (or permalink ) which is a URL that will stay active past the time that you are on that webpage. Look for the "Permalink" button, sometimes indicated by an icon made of two connected gray links as show, when using Library Search or a database. The permalink will lead on-campus users to the source and prompt off-campus users to log in.

If neither a DOI nor a permalink are available, include a URL if applicable.

Journal Article in Print

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number- Last Page Number.

Ki, Eyun-Jung. "A Measure of Relationship Cultivation Strategies."  Journal of Public Relations Research , vol. 21, no. 1, 2009, pp. 1-24.

Journal Article From a Website

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any."  Name of Journal , vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number- Last Page Number if available, DOI, permalink or URL.

Elson, Peter. "A Comparative Analysis of Nonprofit Policy Network Governance in Canada."  Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research , vol. 6, no. 2, 2015, pp. 42-64,  https://doi.org/10.22230/cjnser.2015v6n2a201.

Journal Article from Library Database

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal , Volume Number, Issue Number, Date of Publication, First Page Number-Last Page Number. Name of Database, DOI, Permalink or URL.

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Guillen , Jorge. "Does Financial Openness Matter in the Relationship Between Financial Development and Income Distribution in Latin America?"  Emerging Markets Finance & Trade , vol. 52, no. 5, 2016, pp. 1145-1155.  Business Source Premier,  https://doi.org/10.1080/1540496X.2015.1046337.

(Guillen 1147)

Two Authors

Cite the first author listed Last Name, First Name followed by a comma, then "and [the Second Author's First Name Last Name.]"

Author Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. "Title of Article." Journal/Magazine/Newspaper Title , Publication Information [volume, issue/number, year, pages]. Name of Database , DOI, Permalink or shortened URL for article in the database.

(Author Last Name and Second Author Last Name Page Number)

Latartara, John, and Melanie Bass. "The Timbre of Thai Classical Singing." Asian Music , vol. 43, no. 2, 2012, pp. 88-114. Project MUSE , https://doi.org/10.1353/amu.2012.0013.

(Latartara and Bass 97-8)

Three Authors

Cite only the Last Name, First Name of the first author followed by a comma et al.

First Author Last Name, First Name, et al. "Title of Article."  Journal/Magazine/Newspaper Title , Publication Information [volume, issue/number, year, pages]. Name of Database , DOI, Permalink or shortened URL for article in the database.

(Author Last Name et al. Page Number)

Latartara, John, et al. "The Timbre of Thai Classical Singing." Asian Music , vol. 43, no. 2, 2012, pp. 88-114. Project MUSE , https://doi.org/10.1353/amu.2012.0013.  

(Latartara, et al. 97-8)

When No Author is Listed

If no author is listed, skip the author entry and begin the citation with the article title. 

"The Horror."  Career World , vol. 37, no. 2, p. 2, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1515/9780823237289.

Magazine Article

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article."  Name of Magazine , Volume Number, Issue Number (if applicable), Date (usually month or season Year), First Page Number-Last Page Number. URL.

(Author's Last Name Page Number).

Fort, Ellen. "The Ultimate Mushroom Trip: A Foray into the Woods of Big Sur in search of Spores, Caps, and Other Elusive Mycological Delights." Sunset,  Jan.-Feb. 2020, pp. 64-71. www.sunset.com/food-wine/big-sur-mushroom-foraging.

(Fort 66).

  • << Previous: Interviews and Emails
  • Next: Newspaper Articles >>

MLA Citation Style Guide: MLA Examples - Online and Electronic

  • In-text Citations
  • MLA Examples - Print
  • MLA Examples - Online and Electronic
  • MLA Examples - Images, Video, and Audio
  • Citation Resources and Guidelines
  • 7th Edition MLA Citation Style Guide

Author. Title. Publisher, Publication date. Title of container, URL or location.

Gikandi, Simon. Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Cambridge UP, 2000. ACLS Humanities E-book , hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.07588.0001.001.

MLA Handbook, 8th ed., pg. 34,  

  • Articles in Scholarly Journals

For articles found in online journals:

Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal , volume, number, Date of Publication, URL.

Levine, Caroline. "Extraordinary Ordinariness: Realism Now and Then."  Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net , no. 63, Apr. 2013, id.erudit.org/iderudit/1025618ar.

Articles in Scholarly Journals from Databases

Author. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal , Volume, Number, Date of Publication, Page(s). Database , URL or DOI.

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review,   vol. 64, no. 1, 2010, pp. 69-88.  JSTOR , www.jstor.org/stable/41403188 .

Lorensen, Jutta. “Between Image and Word, Color, and Time: Jacob Lawrence’s  The Migration Series .”  African American Review , vol. 40, no. 3, 2006, pp. 571-86.  EBSCOHost ,  search.ebscohost.com/ login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=24093790&site=ehost-live. 

  • Articles in Popular Magazines

Author(s). "Title of Article."  Title of Periodical . Date of Publication, URL.

Plait, Phil "Climate Change is Partly to Blame for the Mass Extinction  of Dinosaurs."  Newsweek , 2 6 Jul. 2016,  www.newsweek.com/ dinosaur-extinction-climate-change-giant-asteroid-484174. 

Newspaper Articles/News Websites

Author(s). "Title of Article."  Title of Newspaper or Website,  Publisher, Date of Publication,  URL.

Wade, Nicholas. "Meet Luca, the Ancestor of All Living Things." The New York Times ,  New York Times, 26 Jul. 2016,  www.nytimes.com/2016/07/26/science/last-universal -ancestor.html? hpw&rref=science&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well- region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0

Kottasova, Ivana. "Amazon to Test Drone Delivery in the UK."  CNN.com,  Cable News Network,  26 Jul, 2016,  money.cnn.com/2016/07/26/ technology/amazon-delivery-drones-uk/index.html? sr= cnnmoneybin072616amazontestdrone0715VODtop

  • Encyclopedia Entries

"Title of Entry."  Title of Reference Source.  Publisher, Year, URL. 

Author(s). "Title of Entry."  Title of Reference Source.  Edited by Editor's Name(s), Edition, Volume, Publisher, Year, Page range of entry. Database , URL or DOI.

Stourzh, Gerald. "Hamilton, Alexander (1755–1804)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution . Edited by Leonard W. Levy and Kenneth L. Karst, 2nd ed., Vol. 3, Macmillan Reference USA, 2000, pp. 1257-1260. Gale Virtual Reference Library . go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3425001169

A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting

Cite web postings as you would a standard web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets.

Editor, screen name, author, or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.”  Name of Site , Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), posting date, URL. Date of access.

Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?”  BoardGameGeek , 29 Sept. 2008,  boardgamegeek.com/thread/ 343929/best-strategy-fenced- pastures-vs-max-number-rooms . Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.

Speeches, Lectures, or Other Oral Presentations (Including Conference Presentations)

Start with speaker’s name. Then, give the title of the speech (if any) in quotation marks. Follow with the title of the particular conference or meeting and then the name of the organization. Name the venue and its city (if the name of the city is not listed in the venue’s name). Use the descriptor that appropriately expresses the type of presentation (e.g., Address, Lecture, Reading, Keynote Speech, Guest Lecture, Conference Presentation).

Stein, Bob. “Reading and Writing in the Digital Era.” Discovering Digital Dimensions, Computers and Writing Conference, 23 May 2003, Union Club Hotel, West Lafayette, IN. Keynote Address.

What can be omitted in online citations

When a URL is needed, you may omit “http://” or “https://” within the citation.

A publisher’s name may be omitted for the following kinds of publications, either because the publisher need not be given or because there is no publisher.

  • A periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper)
  • A work published by its author or editor
  • A web site whose title is essentially the same as the name of the publisher
  • A web site not involved in producing the works it makes available (e.g., a service for users’ content like Wordpress.com or YouTube, an archive like JSTOR or ProQuest). If the contents of the site are organized into a whole, as the contents of YouTube, JSTOR, and ProQuest are, the site is named earlier as a container, but it still does not qualify as a publisher of the source. 

Creating a Works Cited Page

In MLA style your bibliography should be called Works Cited.

A hanging indent should be used for each citation.

Within your Works Cited list, your references should be in alphabetical order based on the author's last name.  If there is no author listed, use the title of the source.

Works Cited Examples

  • Work in an Anthology or a Compilation
  • Newspaper Articles

Government Documents

Images, Video, and Audio

  • Video (film)
  • Video (television)
  • Sound Recordings

Entire Website:

A publisher may be omitted when the Website title is essentially the same as the name of the publisher.

Author, editor, or compiler name (if available).  Name of Website . Publisher, Year of publication. URL.

Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible. Folger Shakespeare Library/ Bodleian Libraries, U of  Oxford / Harry Ransom Center, U of Texas, Austin, manifoldgreatness.org.

Post or article on a website:

Author, editor, or compiler name (if available).  " Title of post."  Name of Website , Publisher,  date of resource creation (if available), URL.

Clancy, Kate. “Defensive Scholarly Writing and Science Communication.” Context and Variation,  Scientific American Blogs, 24 Apr.  2013, blogs.scientificamerican.com/context-and-variation/ 2013/04/24/defensive-scholarly-writing-and-science-communication/.

Hollmichel, Stefanie. “The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print.” So  Many Books,  25 Apr. 2013,  somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the- reading-brain -differences-between-digital-and-print/.

MLA Handbook, 8th ed., pg.28 and 41-42

Twitter and other Social Media

Pseudonyms, including online user names, are generally listed like regular author names.

Name [username]. "Entire text of Tweet."  Twitter,  Date and Time of Posted  Message, URL of message.

Example: 

National Geographic [@NatGeo]. "Do cats communicate in different dialects, like humans do? Science is trying to find  out." Twitter ,  24 Jul. 2016, 4:43  p.m., twitter.com/NatGeo/status/757360481401208832.

Name [username]. "Video description and hashtags."  TikTok , Year, URL of message.

Lilly [@uvisaa]. "[I]f u like dark academia there's a good chance you've seen my tumblr #darkacademia."  TikTok,  2020. www.tiktok.com/@uvisaa/video/6815708894900391173.

Name. Description of image or video.  Instagram , Date, URL of post.

Thomas, Angie. Photo of The Hate U Give  cover.  Instagram, 4 Dec. 2018, www.instagram.com/p/Bq_PaXKgqPw/.

MLA Handbook 9th Ed., pg. 326-327.

Government Agency.  Title of Publication. Name of Web site, Date of Publication, URL.

When a work is published by an organization that is also its author, begin the entry with the title and list the the organization as the publisher.

Title of Publication. Name of Web site, Date of Publication, URL

ChatGPT and other AI Tools

From the MLA Style Center :

You should:

  • cite a generative AI tool whenever you paraphrase, quote, or incorporate into your own work any content (whether text, image, data, or other) that was created by it 
  • acknowledge all functional uses of the tool (like editing your prose or translating words) in a note, your text, or another suitable location 
  • take care to vet the secondary sources it cites

Description of what was generated by the AI tool.  Name of AI Tool , version, Publisher, Date generated, URL of the tool.

While the green light in The Great Gatsby might be said to chiefly symbolize four main things: optimism, the unattainability of the American dream, greed, and covetousness (“Describe the symbolism”), arguably the most important—the one that ties all four themes together—is greed.

Works Cited:

“Describe the symbolism of the green light in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023, chat.openai.com/chat.

  • << Previous: MLA Examples - Print
  • Next: MLA Examples - Images, Video, and Audio >>
  • Last Updated: Dec 8, 2023 9:35 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.lib.miamioh.edu/MLA_citation_guide
  • Free Tools for Students
  • MLA Citation Generator

Free MLA Citation Generator

Generate accurate citations in MLA format automatically, with MyBib!

MLA 9 guidebook cover

😕 What is an MLA Citation Generator?

An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA-compliant academic paper.

The citations on a Works Cited page show the external sources that were used to write the main body of the academic paper, either directly as references and quotes, or indirectly as ideas.

👩‍🎓 Who uses an MLA Citation Generator?

MLA style is most often used by middle school and high school students in preparation for transition to college and further education. Ironically, MLA style is not actually used all that often beyond middle and high school, with APA (American Psychological Association) style being the favored style at colleges across the country.

It is also important at this level to learn why it's critical to cite sources, not just how to cite them.

🙌 Why should I use a Citation Generator?

Writing citations manually is time consuming and error prone. Automating this process with a citation generator is easy, straightforward, and gives accurate results. It's also easier to keep citations organized and in the correct order.

The Works Cited page contributes to the overall grade of a paper, so it is important to produce accurately formatted citations that follow the guidelines in the official MLA Handbook .

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's MLA Citation Generator?

It's super easy to create MLA style citations with our MLA Citation Generator. Scroll back up to the generator at the top of the page and select the type of source you're citing. Books, journal articles, and webpages are all examples of the types of sources our generator can cite automatically. Then either search for the source, or enter the details manually in the citation form.

The generator will produce a formatted MLA citation that can be copied and pasted directly into your document, or saved to MyBib as part of your overall Works Cited page (which can be downloaded fully later!).

MyBib supports the following for MLA style:

Image of daniel-elias

Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / How to Cite a Journal Article in an Online Database in MLA 8

How to Cite a Journal Article in an Online Database in MLA 8

A journal is a periodical published by a special group or professional organization, often focused around a particular area of study or interest. Journals can be scholarly in nature (featuring peer-reviewed articles), or popular (such as trade publications). Journal articles are generally written by professionals and experts, thus making the content of journals excellent for research purposes.

There are numerous sites that provide access to journal articles. These sites are called databases. Databases collect information, in this case journal articles, and make them easily accessible to researchers. While some databases are free to access, the majority of high quality journal databases require a subscription. Many school and public libraries provide access to journal databases. Ask your librarian for help! Some of the more common databases include ProQuest, JSTOR, Google Scholar, Gale databases, and EBSCO databases.

To cite a journal article in an online database in MLA 8, locate the following pieces of information:

  • *The name of the author of the article
  • The title of the journal
  • The names of any other contributors to the article (if applicable)
  • The version of the journal (if applicable)
  • *Any numbers associated with the journal, such as a volume or issue number.
  • The publication date=
  • The location, such as a page number
  • The name of the database the article was found on
  • *The URL or DOI where the article can be found

*Notes: If the article is written by more than one author, refer to EasyBib’s page on How to Format the Author’s Name in MLA 8 to learn how to display more than one author in a citation.

Many journals include a volume and issue number. The volume number usually refers to the number of years that the publication has been circulating. The issue number is the number of issues that have been circulated in a specific year. For example, the first issue of a journal for the year 2016 that was first circulated in 1996 would be volume 20, issue 1. In a journal’s citation, this information is displayed as vol. 20, no. 1.

When including the URL in the citation, omit “https://” and “https://” from the site’s address. In addition, if the citation will be viewed on a digital device, it is helpful to make it clickable. This ensures that readers will be able to easily access and view the source themselves.

*In addition, publisher’s names can be omitted for periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers).

Structure of a citation for a journal article from a database in MLA 8:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of the article.” Title of the journal , First name Last name of any other contributors (if applicable), Version (if applicable), Numbers (such as a volume and issue number), Publication date, Page numbers. Title of the database, URL or DOI.

Example of a citation for a journal article found on a database in MLA 8:

Brian, Real, et al. “Rural Public Libraries and Digital Inclusion: Issues and Challenges.” Information and Technology Libraries , vol. 33, no. 1, Mar. 2014, pp. 6-24. ProQuest, ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=https://search.proquest.com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/docview/1512388143?accountid=35635.

Asafu-Adjaye, Prince. “Private Returns on Education in Ghana: Estimating the Effects of Education on Employability in Ghana.” African Sociological Review , vol. 16, no. 1, 2012, pp. 120-138. JSTOR , www.jstor.org/stable/24487691.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Citation Basics

Harvard Referencing

Plagiarism Basics

Plagiarism Checker

Upload a paper to check for plagiarism against billions of sources and get advanced writing suggestions for clarity and style.

Get Started

  • Plagiarism and grammar
  • Citation guides

MLA Citation Generator

Keep all of your citations in one safe place

Create an account to save all of your citations

Don't let plagiarism errors spoil your paper

The complete guide to mla & citations, what you’ll find in this guide.

This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources.

Looking for APA? Check out the Citation Machine’s guide on APA format . We also have resources for Chicago citation style as well.

How to be a responsible researcher or scholar

Putting together a research project involves searching for information, disseminating and analyzing information, collecting information, and repurposing information. Being a responsible researcher requires keeping track of the sources that were used to help develop your research project, sharing the information you borrowed in an ethical way, and giving credit to the authors of the sources you used. Doing all of these things prevents plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using others’ information without giving credit or acknowledging them. There are many examples of plagiarism. Completely copying another individual’s work without providing credit to the original author is a very blatant example of plagiarism. Plagiarism also occurs when another individual’s idea or concept is passed off as your own. Changing or modifying quotes, text, or any work of another individual is also plagiarism. Believe it or not, you can even plagiarize yourself! Reusing a project or paper from another class or time and saying that it’s new is plagiarism. One way to prevent plagiarism is to add citations in your project where appropriate.

What is a Citation?

A citation shows the reader of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote to your project. Citations are also included in the body when you’re paraphrasing another individual’s information. These citations in the body of a research paper are called in-text citations. They are found directly next to the information that was borrowed and are very brief to avoid causing distraction while reading a project. These brief citations include the last name of the author and a page number. Scroll down for an in-depth explanation and examples of MLA in-text citations.

In-text citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, though they usually don't include the title and other components. Look on the last page of a research project to find complete citations.

Complete citations are found on what MLA calls a works-cited list, which is sometimes called an MLA bibliography. All sources that were used to develop a research project are found on the works-cited list. Complete citations are also created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text. Complete citations include the author’s name, the title, publisher, year published, page numbers, URLs, and a few other pieces of information.

Looking to create your citations in just a few clicks? Need an MLA format website or book citation? Visit Citation Machine.net! Our Citation Machine MLA generator, which is an MLA citation website, will create all of your citations in just a few clicks. Click here to see more styles .

Why Does it Matter?

Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It shows that you’re a responsible researcher and that you located appropriate and reputable sources that support your thesis or claim. In addition, if your work ends up being posted online or in print, there is a chance that others will use your research project in their own work!

Scroll down to find directions on how to create citations.

How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher

What is mla format.

The Modern Language Association is an organization that was created to develop guidelines on everything language and literature related. They have guidelines on proper grammar usage and research paper layouts. In addition, they have English and foreign language committees, numerous books and journal publications, and an annual conference. They are not connected with this guide, but the information here reflects the association’s rules for formatting papers and citations.

What are citations?

The Modern Language Association is responsible for creating standards and guidelines on how to properly cite sources to prevent plagiarism. Their style is most often used when writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities fields. “Liberal arts” is a broad term used to describe a range of subjects including the humanities, formal sciences such as mathematics and statistics, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and social sciences such as geography, economics, history, and others. The humanities focuses specifically on subjects related to languages, art, philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature, and ethics.

Believe it or not, there are thousands of other types of citation styles. While this citation style is most often used for the liberal arts and humanities fields, many other subjects, professors, and schools prefer citations and papers to be styled in MLA format.

What’s the difference between a bibliography and a works-cited list?

Great question. The two terms cause a lot of confusion and are consistently misused not only by students but educators as well! Let’s start with what the two words mean.

A bibliography displays the sources the writer used to gain background knowledge on the topic and also research it in-depth. Before starting a research project, you might read up on the topic in websites, books, and other sources. You might even dive a bit deeper to find more information elsewhere. All of these sources you used to help you learn about the topic would go in an MLA format bibliography. You might even include other sources that relate to the topic.

A works-cited list displays all of the sources that were mentioned in the writing of the actual paper or project. If a quote was taken from a source and placed into a research paper, then the full citation goes on the works-cited list.

Both the works-cited list and bibliography go at the end of a paper. Most teachers do not expect students to hand in both a bibliography AND a works-cited list. Teachers generally expect to see a works-cited list, but sometimes erroneously call it a bibliography. If you’re not sure what your teacher expects, a page in MLA bibliography format, a works-cited list, or both, ask for guidance.

Why do we use this MLA style?

These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations were developed for numerous reasons. When scholars and researchers in literature, language, and numerous other fields all cite their sources in the same manner, it makes it easier for readers to look at a citation and understand the different components of a source. By looking at an MLA citation, we can see who the author is, the title of the source, when it was published, and other identifiable pieces of information.

Imagine how difficult it would be to understand the various components of a source if we didn’t all follow the same guidelines! Not only would it make it difficult to understand the source that was used, but it would also make it difficult for readers to locate it themselves. This streamlined process aides us in understanding a researcher’s sources.

How is the new version different than previous versions?

This citation style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition.

The new version expands upon standards previously set in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook, including the core elements. The structure of citations remains the same, but some formatting guidance and terminology have changed.

  • DOI numbers are now formatted as https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx
  • Seasons in publishing daters are lowercased: spring 2020
  • The term “optional elements” is now “supplemental elements”
  • “Narrative in-text citations” are called “citations in prose”

In addition, new information was added on the following:

  • Hundreds of works-cited-list entries
  • MLA formatting for papers
  • Punctuation, spelling, and other mechanics of prose
  • Chapter on inclusive language
  • Notes (bibliographic and content)

For more information on MLA 9, click here .

A Deeper Look at Citations

What do they look like.

There are two types of citations. The first is a full, or complete, citation. These are found at the end of research projects. These citations are usually listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last names and include all of the information necessary for readers to be able to locate the source themselves.

Full citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a DOI, URL, or page range).

There are times when additional information is added into the full citation.

Not sure how to transfer the information from your source into your citation? Confused about the term, “containers”? See below for information and complete explanations of each citation component.

The second type of citation, called an “in-text citation,” is included in the main part, or body, of a project when a researcher uses a quote or paraphrases information from another source. See the next section to find out how to create in-text citations.

What are in-text citations?

As stated above, in-text citations are included in the main part of a project when using a quote or paraphrasing a piece of information from another source. We include these types of citations in the body of a project for readers to quickly gain an idea as to where we found the information.

These in-text citations are found directly next to the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular MLA citation. The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project, on the works-cited list.

Here’s what a typical in-text citation looks like:

In the book The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements…. Too much fire and you have a bad temper...too little wood and you bent too quickly...too much water and you flowed in too many directions” (Tan 31).

This specific in text citation, (Tan 31), is called an MLA parenthetical citation because the author’s name is in parentheses. It’s included so the reader sees that we are quoting something from page 31 in Tan’s book. The complete, regular citation isn’t included in the main part of the project because it would be too distracting for the reader. We want the reader to focus on our work and research, not get caught up on our sources.

Here’s another way to cite in the text:

In Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements... Too much fire and you have a bad temper... too little wood and you bent too quickly... too much water and you flowed in too many directions" (31).

If the reader would like to see the source’s full information, and possibly locate the source themselves, they can refer to the last part of the project to find the regular citation.

The regular citation, at the end of the project looks like this:

%%Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Penguin, 1989, p. 31.

Notice that the first word in the full citation (Tan) matches the “Tan” used in the body of the project. It’s important to have the first word of the full citation match the term used in the text. Why? It allows readers to easily find the full citation on the works-cited list.

If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a line number (use line or lines), paragraph number (use the abbreviation par. or pars.), sections (sec. or secs.), or chapters (ch. or chs.). Only use these other terms if they are actually labeled on the source. If it specifically says on the source, “Section 1,” for example, then it is acceptable to use “sec. 1” in the in-text citation.

If there are no numbers to help readers locate the exact point in the source, only include the author’s last name.

To determine how to create in-text citations for more than one author, no authors, or corporate authors, refer to the “Authors” section below.

More about quotations and how to cite a quote:

  • Use quotes from outside sources to help illustrate and expand on your own points. The majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas.
  • Include the quote exactly as you found it. It is okay to use only certain words or phrases from the quote, but keep the words (spelling and capitalization) and punctuation the same.
  • It is acceptable to break up a direct quote with your own writing.

Example from a movie:

Dorothy stated, "Toto," then looked up and took in her surroundings, "I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore" ( Wizard of Oz ).
  • The entire paper should be double-spaced, including quotes.
  • If the quote is longer than four lines, it is necessary to make a block quote. Block quotes show the reader that they are about to read a lengthy amount of text from another source.
  • Start the quote on the next line, half an inch from the left margin.
  • Do not use any indents at the beginning of the block quote.
  • Only use quotation marks if there are quotation marks present in the source.
  • If there is more than one paragraph in the block quote, indent the beginning of the paragraphs after the first one an additional half an inch from the left margin.
  • Add your in-text citation after the final period of the block quote. Do not add an additional period after the parenthetical citation.

While his parents sat there in surprise, Colton went onto say:

“Cause I could see you,” Colon said matter-of-factly. “I went up and out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying; and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.” (Burpo xxi)

How to create a paraphrase:

As stated above, the majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas. It’s acceptable to include quotes, but they shouldn’t crowd your paper. If you’re finding that you’re using too many quotes in your paper, consider adding paraphrases. When you reiterate a piece of information from an outside source in your own words, you create a paraphrase.

Here’s an example:

Readers discover in the very first sentence of Peter Pan that he doesn’t grow up (Barrie 1).

What paraphrases are:

  • Recycled information in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.
  • They’re still references! Include an in-text citation next to the paraphrased information.

What paraphrases are not:

  • A copy and pasted sentence with a few words substituted for synonyms.

Confused about whether footnotes and endnotes should be used?

Footnotes and endnotes are completely acceptable to use in this style. Use a footnote or endnote if:

  • Adding additional information will help the reader understand the content. This is called a content note .
  • You need to cite numerous sources in one small section of your writing. Instead of clogging up a small paragraph with in-text citations (which could cause confusion for the reader), include a footnote or endnote. This is called a bibliographic note .

Keep in mind that whether you choose to include in-text citations or footnotes/endnotes, you need to also include a full reference on the MLA format works-cited list.

Content note example:

Even Maurice Sendak’s work (the mastermind behind Where the Wild Things Are and numerous other popular children’s picture books) can be found on the banned books list. It seems as though nobody is granted immunity. 1

  • In the Night Kitchen ’s main character is nude on numerous pages. Problematic for most is not the nudity of the behind, but the frontal nudity.

Work Cited:

%%Sendak, Maurice. In The Night Kitchen. Harper Collins, 1996.

Bibliographic note example:

Dahl had a difficult childhood. Both his father and sister passed away when he was a toddler. He was then sent away by his mother to boarding school (de Castella). 1

  • Numerous books, such as Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG, all feature characters with absent or difficult parents.

MLA Works Cited:

Include 4 full citations for: de Castella’s article, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG .

Don’t forget to create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project.

If you need help with in-text and parenthetical citations, CitationMachine.net can help. Our MLA citation generator is simple and easy to use!

Common Knowledge: What Is It and How Will It Affect My Writing?

Footnotes, endnotes, references, proper structuring. We know it’s a lot. Thankfully, you don’t have to include a reference for EVERY piece of information you add to your paper. You can forget about including a reference when you share a piece of common knowledge.

Common knowledge is information that most people know. For example, these are a few facts that are considered common knowledge:

  • The Statue of Liberty is located in New York City
  • Tokyo is the capital of Japan
  • Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare
  • English is the language most people speak in England
  • An elephant is an animal

We could go on and on. When you include common knowledge in your paper, omit a reference. One less thing to worry about, right?

Before you start adding tons of common knowledge occurrences to your paper to ease the burden of creating references, we need to stop you right there. Remember, the goal of a research paper is to develop new information or knowledge. You’re expected to seek out information from outside sources and analyze and distribute the information from those sources to form new ideas. Using only common knowledge facts in your writing involves absolutely zero research. It’s okay to include some common knowledge facts here and there, but do not make it the core of your paper.

If you’re unsure if the fact you’re including is common knowledge or not, it doesn’t hurt to include a reference. There is no such thing as being overly responsible when it comes to writing and citing.

Wikipedia - Yay or Nay?

If you’re wondering whether it’s okay to use Wikipedia in your project, the answer is, it depends.

If Wikipedia is your go-to source for quick information on a topic, you’re not alone. Chances are, it’s one of the first websites to appear on your results page. It’s used by tons of people, it’s easily accessible, and it contains millions of concise articles. So, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the problem?”

The issue with Wikipedia is that it’s a user-generated site, meaning information is constantly added and modified by registered users. Who these users are and their expertise is somewhat of a mystery. The truth is anyone can register on the site and make changes to articles.

Knowing this makes some cringe, especially educators and librarians, since the validity of the information is questionable. However, some people argue that because Wikipedia is a user-generated site, the community of registered users serve as “watchdogs,” ensuring that information is valid. In addition, references are included at the bottom of each article and serve as proof of credibility. Furthermore, Wikipedia lets readers know when there’s a problem with an article. Warnings such as “this article needs clarification,” or “this article needs references to prove its validity” are shared with the reader, thus promoting transparency.

If you choose to reference a Wikipedia article in your research project, and your teacher or professor says it’s okay, then you must reference it in your project. You would treat it just as you would with any other web source.

However, you may want to instead consider locating the original source of the information. This should be fairly easy to do thanks to the references at the bottom of each article.

Specific Components of a Citation

This section explains each individual component of the citation, with examples for each section for full citations and in-text citations.

Name of the author

The author’s name is usually the first item listed in the MLA citation. Author names start with the last name, then a comma is added, and then the author’s first name (and middle name if applicable) is at the end. A period closes this information.

Here are two examples of how an author’s name can be listed in a full citation:

Twain, Mark.

Poe, Edgar Allan.

For in-text:

(Author’s Last name page number) or Author’s Last name... (page).

Wondering how to format the author’s name when there are two authors working jointly on a source? When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source. Place their names in this format:

Author 1’s Last Name, First name, and Author 2’s First Name Last Name.

Here are two examples of how to cite two authors:

Clifton, Mark, and Frank Riley.

Paxton, Roberta J., and Michael Jacob Fox.

(Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name page number) or Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name... (page).

There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This often happens with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.

To cite a source with three or more authors, place the information in this format:

Author 1’s Last name, First name, et al.

As you can see, only include the first author’s name. The other authors are accounted for by using “et al.” In Latin, et al. is translated to “and others.” If using the Citation Machine citation generator, this abbreviation is automatically added for you.

Here’s an example of a citation for three or more authors:

%%Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed., Nolo, 2009.

(Author 1’s Last name et al. page number)

Is there no author listed on your source? If so, exclude the author’s information from the citation and begin the citation with the title of the source.

For in-text: Use the title of the source in parentheses. Place the title in italics if the source stands alone. Books and films stand alone. If it’s part of a larger whole, such as a chapter in an edited book or an article on a website, place the title in quotation marks without italics.

( Back to the Future )

(“Citing And Writing”)

Other in-text structures:

Authors with the same last name in your paper? MLA essay format requires the use of first initials in-text in this scenario.

Ex: (J. Silver 45)

Are you citing more than one source by the same author? For example, two books by Ernest Hemingway? Include the title in-text.

Example: (Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls 12).

Are you citing a film or song? Include a timestamp in the format of hours:minutes:seconds. ( Back to the Future 00:23:86)

Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? If this is the case, in an MLA format paper, you are allowed to start the citation with the author’s handle, username, or screen name.

Here is an example of how to cite a tweet:

%%@CarlaHayden. “I’m so honored to talk about digital access at @UMBCHumanities. We want to share the @libraryofcongress collection.” Twitter , 13 Apr. 2017, 6:04 p.m., twitter.com/LibnOfCongress/status/852643691802091521.

While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors. Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. If your project focuses on someone other than the author, it is acceptable to place that person’s name first in the citation. If you’re using the MLA works cited generator at Citation Machine.net, you can choose the individual’s role from a drop-down box.

For example, let’s say that in your research project, you focus on Leonardo DiCaprio’s performances as an actor. You’re quoting a line from the movie Titanic in your project, and you’re creating a complete citation for it in the works-cited list.

It is acceptable to show the reader that you’re focusing on Leonardo DiCaprio’s work by citing it like this in the MLA works-cited list:

%%DiCaprio, Leonardo, performer. Titanic . Directed by James Cameron. Paramount, 1997.

Notice that when citing an individual other than the author, place the individual’s role after their name. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer.

This is often done with edited books, too. Place the editor’s name first (in reverse order), add a comma, and then add the word editor.

If you’re still confused about how to place the authors together in a citation, the tools at CitationMachine.net can help! Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks!

Titles and containers

The titles are written as they are found on the source and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital.

Here’s an example of a properly written title:

Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks.

Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks? It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics. If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it is from in italics.

When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics.

However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to format titles and their containers.

To cite Pink Floyd’s entire album, The Wall , cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. The Wall. Columbia, 1979.

To cite one of the songs on Pink Floyd’s album in MLA formatting, cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part I).” The Wall, Columbia, 1979, track 3.

To cite a fairy tale book in its entirety, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories. Little Brown, 2016.

To cite a specific story or chapter in the book, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Land of Stories, Little Brown, 2016, pp. 58-65.

More about containers

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone, or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. Wondering how? When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. The second container? It’s the database that the scholarly journal is found in. It is important to account for all containers, so readers are able to locate the exact source themselves.

When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix .

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation.

Use the following format to cite your source with multiple containers :

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

If the source has more than two containers, add on another full section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves.

Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found in a database. This source has two containers: the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other.

%%Zanetti, Francois. “Curing with Machine: Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” Technology and Culture, vol. 54, no. 3, July 2013, pp. 503-530. Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/article/520280.

If you’re still confused about containers, the Citation Machine MLA cite generator can help! MLA citing is easier when using the tools at CitationMachine.net.

Other contributors

Many sources have people besides the author who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word “by,” and then their name in standard order.

If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual. If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased.

Here’s an example of a citation for a children’s book with the name of the illustrator included:

%%Rubin, Adam. Dragons Love Tacos. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, 2012.

The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation.

If the source that you’re citing states that it is a specific version or edition, this information is placed in the “versions” section of the citation.

When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral. Also, abbreviate the word “edition” to “ed.”

Here is an example of a citation with a specific edition:

%%Koger, Gregory. “Filibustering and Parties in the Modern State.” Congress Reconsidered, edited by Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer, 10th ed., CQ Press, 2013, pp. 221-236. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=b7gkLlSEeqwC&lpg=PP1&dq=10th%20edition&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=10th%20edition&f=false.

Many sources have numbers associated with them. If you see a number different than the date, page numbers, or editions, include this information in the “numbers” section of the citation. For MLA citing, this includes volume and/or issue numbers (use the abbreviations vol. and no.), episode numbers, track numbers, or any other numbers that will help readers identify the specific source that you used. Do not include ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) in the citation.

It is important to include the name of the publisher (the organization that created or published the source), so that readers can locate the exact source themselves.

Include publishers for all sources except periodicals. Also, for websites, exclude this information when the name of the publisher matches the name of the website. Furthermore, the name of the publisher is often excluded from the citation for second containers, since the publisher of the second container is not necessarily responsible for the creation or production of the source’s content.

Publication dates

Publication dates are extremely important to include in citations. They allow the reader to understand when sources were published. They are also used when readers are attempting to locate the source themselves.

Dates can be written in MLA in one of two ways. Researchers can write dates as:

Day Mo. Year

Mo. Day, Year

Whichever format you decide to use, use the same format for all of your citations. If using the Citation Machine citation generator, the date will be formatted in the same way for each citation.

While it isn’t necessary to include the full date for all source citations, use the amount of information that makes the most sense to help your readers understand and locate the source themselves.

Wondering what to do when your source has more than one date? Use the date that is most applicable to your research.

The location generally refers to the place where the readers can find the source. This includes page ranges, URLs, DOI numbers, track numbers, disc numbers, or even cities and towns.

You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx .

For page numbers, when citing a source found on only one page, use p.

Example: p. 6.

When citing a source that has a page range, use pp. and then add the page numbers.

Example: pp. 24-38.

Since the location is the final piece of the citation, place a period at the end. When it comes to URLs, many students wonder if the links in citations should be live or not. If the paper is being shared electronically with a teacher and other readers, it may be helpful to include live links. If you’re not sure whether to include live links or not, ask your teacher or professor for guidance.

Looking for an online tool to do the work for you? Citation Machine citing tools could help! Our site is simple (and fun!) to use.

Need some more help? There is further good information here .

Common Citation Examples

ALL sources use this format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). *Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

*If the source does not have a second container, omit this last part of the citation.

Remember, the Citation Machine MLA formatter can help you save time and energy when creating your citations. Check out our MLA Citation Machine pages to learn more.

  • Journal Articles

How to Format a Paper

When it comes to formatting your paper or essay for academic purposes, there are specific MLA paper format guidelines to follow.

  • Use paper that is 8½-by-11 inch in size. This is the standard size for copier and printer paper.
  • Use high quality paper.
  • Your research paper or essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the paper.
  • While most word processors automatically format your paper to have one-inch margins, you can check or modify the margins of your paper by going to the “Page setup” section of your word processor.

Which font is acceptable to use?

  • Use an easily readable font, specifically one that allows readers to see the difference between regular and italicized letters.
  • Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica are recommended options.
  • Use 12-point size font.

Should I double-space the paper, including citations?

  • Double-space the entire paper.
  • There should be a double space between each piece of information in the heading.
  • Place a double space between the heading and the title.
  • Place a double space between the title and the beginning of the essay.
  • The works-cited list should be double-spaced as well. All citations are double-spaced.

Justification & Punctuation

  • Text should be left-justified, meaning that the text is aligned, or flush, against the left margin.
  • Indents signal to the reader that a new concept or idea is about to begin.
  • Use the “tab” button on your keyboard to create an indent.
  • Add one space after all punctuation marks.

Heading & Title

  • Include a proper heading and title
  • The heading should include the following, on separate lines, starting one inch from the top and left margins:
  • Your full name
  • Your teacher or professor’s name
  • The course number
  • Dates in the heading and the body of your essay should be consistent. Use the same format, either Day Month Year or Month Day, Year throughout the entire paper
  • Examples: 27 July 2017 or July 27, 2017
  • The title should be underneath the heading, centered in the middle of the page, without bold, underlined, italicized, or all capital letters.

Page numbers

  • Number all pages, including the very first page and the works-cited list.
  • Place page numbers in the top right corner, half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin.
  • Include your last name to the left of the page number. Example: Jacobson 4

Here’s an example to provide you with a visual:

The image shows an example of the first page of an MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described above under the heading How to Format a Paper.

If you need help with sentence structure or grammar, check out our paper checker. The paper checker will help to check every noun , verb , and adjective . If there are words that are misspelled or out of place, the paper checker will suggest edits and provide recommendations.

  • If a citation flows onto the second line, indent it in half an inch from the left margin (called a “hanging indent”).
  • For more information on the works-cited list, refer to “How to Make a Works Cited Page,” which is found below.

How to Create a Title Page

According to the Modern Language Association’s official guidelines for formatting a research paper, it is unnecessary to create or include an individual title page, or MLA cover page, at the beginning of a research project. Instead, follow the directions above, under “Heading & Title,” to create a proper heading. This heading is featured at the top of the first page of the research paper or research assignment.

If your instructor or professor does in fact require or ask for an MLA title page, follow the directions that you are given. They should provide you with the information needed to create a separate, individual title page. If they do not provide you with instructions, and you are left to create it at your own discretion, use the header information above to help you develop your research paper title page. You may want to include other information, such as the name of your school or university.

How to Make a Works Cited Page

The MLA Works Cited page is generally found at the end of a research paper or project. It contains a list of all the citations of sources used for the research project. Follow these directions to format the works-cited list to match the Modern Language Association’s guidelines.

  • The “Works Cited” page has its own page at the end of a research project.
  • Include the same running head as the rest of the project (Your last name and then the page number). The “Works Cited” page has the final page number for the project.
  • Name the page “Works Cited,” unless your list only includes one citation. In that case, title it in MLA “Work Cited.”
  • The title of the page (either “Works Cited” or “Work Cited”) is placed one inch from the top of the page, centered in the middle of the document.
  • Double space the entire document, even between the title of the page and the first citation.
  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the citation (usually the last name of the author or the first word in the title if the citation does not include the author’s name. Ignore “A,” “An,” and “The” if the title begins with these words.)
  • If there are multiple citations by the same author, place them in chronological order by the date published.
  • Also, instead of writing the author’s name twice in both citations, use three hyphens.

%%Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 2009.

%%---. Gather Together in My Name. Random House, 1974.

  • All citations begin flush against the left margin. If the citation is long and rolls onto a second or third line, indent the lines below the first line half an inch from the left margin. This is called a “hanging indent.” The purpose of a hanging indent is to make the citations easier to read. If you’re using our MLA citation machine, we’ll format each of your references with a hanging indent for you.

%%Wai-Chung, Ho. “Political Influences on Curriculum Content and Musical Meaning: Hong Kong Secondary Music Education, 1949-1997.” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, vol. 22, no. 1, 1 Oct. 2000, pp. 5-25. Periodicals Index Online, search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/pio/docview/1297849364/citation/6B70D633F50C4EA0PQ/78?accountid=35635.

  • MLA “Works Cited” pages can be longer than one page. Use as many pages as necessary. If you have only one source to cite, do not place the one citation below the text of your paper. In MLA, a “Work Cited” page is still created for that individual citation.

Here’s a sample paper to give you an idea of what an MLA paper could look like. Included at the end is an MLA “Works Cited” page example.

The image shows the first page of an example MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described under the heading How to Format a Paper.

Looking to add a relevant image, figure, table, or musical score to your paper? Here’s the easy way to do it, while following guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association:

  • Place the image, figure, table, or music close to where it’s mentioned in the text.
  • Provide source information and any additional notes directly below the image, figure, table, or music.

For tables:

  • Label the table as “Table” followed by an arabic numeral such as “1.” Table 1 is the table closest to the beginning of the paper. The next table mentioned in the text would be Table 2, and so on.
  • Create a title for the table and place it below the label. Capitalize all important words.
  • The label (Table 1) and the title should be flush against the left margin.
  • Double-space everything.

Example of formatting a table in MLA format.

  • A figure can be a map, photograph, painting, pie chart, or any other type of image.
  • Create a label and place it below the figure. The figure first mentioned in the text of the project is either “Figure 1” or “Fig 1.” Though figures are usually abbreviated to “Fig.” Choose one style and use it consistently. The next mentioned figure is “Figure 2” or “Fig. 2.”, and so on.
  • Place a caption next to the label. If all of the source information is included in the caption, there isn’t a need to replicate that information in the works-cited list.

Example of formatting a figure in MLA format.

MLA Final Checklist

Think you’re through? We know this guide covered a LOT of information, so before you hand in that assignment, here’s a checklist to help you determine if you have everything you need:

_ Are both in-text and full citations included in the project? Remember, for every piece of outside information included in the text, there should be a corresponding in-text citation next to it. Include the full citation at the end, on the “Works Cited” page.

_ Are all citations, both in-text and full, properly formatted in MLA style? If you’re unsure, try out our citation generator!

_ Is your paper double-spaced in its entirety with one inch margins?

_ Do you have a running header on each page? (Your last name followed by the page number)

_ Did you use a font that is easy to read?

_ Are all citations on the MLA format works-cited list in alphabetical order?

Our plagiarism checker scans for any accidental instances of plagiarism. It scans for grammar and spelling errors, too. If you have an adverb , preposition , or conjunction that needs a slight adjustment, we may be able to suggest an edit.

Common Ways Students Accidentally Plagiarize

We spoke a bit about plagiarism at the beginning of this guide. Since you’re a responsible researcher, we’re sure you didn’t purposely plagiarize any portions of your paper. Did you know students and scholars sometimes accidentally plagiarize? Unfortunately, it happens more often than you probably realize. Luckily, there are ways to prevent accidental plagiarism and even some online tools to help!

Here are some common ways students accidentally plagiarize in their research papers and assignments:

1. Poor Paraphrasing

In the “How to create a paraphrase” section towards the top of this page, we share that paraphrases are “recycled information, in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.” If you attempt to paraphrase a few lines of text and it ends up looking and sounding too close to the original author’s words, it’s a poor paraphrase and considered plagiarism.

2. Incorrect Citations

If you cite something incorrectly, even if it’s done accidentally, it’s plagiarism. Any incorrect information in a reference, such as the wrong author name or the incorrect title, results in plagiarism.

3. Forgetting to include quotation marks

When you include a quote in your paper, you must place quotation marks around it. Failing to do so results in plagiarism.

If you’re worried about accidental plagiarism, try our Citation Machine Plus essay tool. It scans for grammar, but it also checks for any instances of accidental plagiarism. It’s simple and user-friendly, making it a great choice for stress-free paper editing and publishing.

Updated June 15, 2021

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Wendy Ikemoto. Michele Kirschenbaum has been an awesome school librarian since 2006 and is an expert in citing sources. Wendy Ikemoto has a master’s degree in library and information science and has been working for Citation Machine since 2012.

  • Citation Machine® Plus
  • Citation Guides
  • Chicago Style
  • Harvard Referencing
  • Terms of Use
  • Global Privacy Policy
  • Cookie Notice
  • DO NOT SELL MY INFO

How To Do In-Text Citations with Multiple Authors in APA Format

mla citation journal article online

APA (or American Psychological Association) Style   was introduced in 1929 to establish a consistent style guide for scientific writing. It sought to make scientific works easier to read and understand. However, the style guidelines have expanded to include many disciplines, such as the humanities and health care.

The APA’s Publication Manual does not cover the general writing style rules in other editorial style guides, such as the MLA Handbook . APA Style seeks to create uniformity of common writing styles relevant to behavior and social sciences primarily.

Consistent formatting allows the reader to engage with the presented ideas rather than be distracted by the author’s personal formatting preferences. It also helps readers quickly review the document for references and sources to aid their research. Using APA Style keeps authors transparent by providing rules about citing their sources and giving credit for others’ ideas.

How to do in-text citations in APA

  • Understanding “et. al.” usage in APA

Citing multiple authors in APA

  • In-text citations for various author types in APA

Best practices and common mistakes

APA Style allows writers to credit and cite other works appropriately and avoid plagiarism through in-text citations. APA Style uses the author–date citation system, which requires notations to be included within the document to reference ideas, paraphrases and quotations from other bodies of work. Each in-text citation within the paper (or chart, footnote or figure) briefly identifies the cited work and guides the reader to a longer list of cited sources at the end of the document, called the reference list.

In-text citations can be written within a paper parenthetically or narratively. Both include the same information: the author’s last name and the publication date.

  • Parenthetical citation : Great falls can be caused by sitting on tall walls (Dumpty, 1797).
  • Narrative citation : Dumpty (1797) claims that great falls can be caused by sitting on tall walls.
  • Reference list entry: Dumpty, Humpty (1797). Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall. Nursery Rhymes, 100.

APA Style requires citations to conform to a set of guidelines , which includes proper spelling of author names, consistency between the in-text citation information and its reference list entry and rules about crediting all facts and figures mentioned – especially those which are not common knowledge.

Understanding “et al.” usage in APA

Et al. is an abbreviation used to indicate multiple people. It’s the abbreviated version of “et alia,” a neutral plural version of “and others.” Most commonly, et al. indicates more than one contributor, such as multiple authors or editors, in a work.

In APA Style citations, et al. is used to indicate a cited work with three or more authors and serves as a way to condense the in-text citation to avoid confusion and unnecessary length. An APA in-text citation with three or more authors will include only the first author’s name plus “et al.” in every citation.

Citing multiple authors in APA Style is similar to MLA Style . For one or two authors, list the last name(s) followed by the year of publication. 

  • One author: (Beyonce, 1997)
  • Contributors: Daryl Hall and John Oates

To cite three or more authors using APA Style, use only the first author’s last name listed, plus “et al.” 

  • Contributors: Earth, Wind and Fire

When two separate sources have the same abbreviated et al. form , spell out as many last names as needed to distinguish the sources from each other. It may include two last names followed by et al.

Similarly, when the first authors of separate sources share the same last name but have different initials, use their first initials in the in-text citations.

  • Beyonce Knowles & Solange Knowles

In-text citation for various author types in APA

You may face a challenging situation where you must cite a group author , such as an institution or university, rather than a list of authors’ names. In this instance, you’ll list the group or organization.

  • Group author: (Furman University, 2020)

If the group also has an abbreviation to its name, you may note the first and subsequent citations differently to be as concise as possible.

  • Group author with abbreviation – 1st citation: (American Psychological Association [APA], 2024)
  • Group author with abbreviation – 2nd citation : (APA, 2024)

The most common mistake when citing sources is forgetting to cite a source. One way to ensure you include all required sources is to document and manage your sources as you use their ideas within the document. This may mean you create the citations as you conduct your research, create your outline or type the final paper.

Some applications exist to help you manage and document citations, including EasyBib , Mendeley , EndNote and Zotero . Depending on your writing style, these applications can help you create citations, save your research sources, annotate documents and format references. 

Regarding best practices for in-text citations in APA Style, it’s good practice to proofread your citations and reference list together. When citing multiple authors, ensure all spellings are accurate and consistent throughout the document and reference list. Refer to the APA Style Publication Manual and other guideline reference documents to confirm your citing within the latest citation guidelines.

Giving credit to other authors who have shaped your research and ideas is incredibly important. You can do so without risking plagiarism accusations through in-text citations that are marked and referenced. Not only does it provide you with an honest and accurate reputation, but it also helps your readers gain more valuable knowledge from other sources.

Citing sources should not discourage you from sharing your knowledge within academic writing. Sooner or later, you’ll become a pro at in-text citations in APA style! The more you write, the more familiar you’ll become with the guidelines; you’ll no longer need to reference the style guides for help.

The perspectives and thoughts shared in the Furman Blog belong solely to the author and may not align with the official stance or policies of Furman University. All referenced sources were accurate as of the date of publication.

What Can You Do with a Political Science Degree?

How to do in-text citations in mla format: a quick guide for students, how to become a therapist.

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction.

The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives. The Purdue OWL offers global support through online reference materials and services.

A Message From the Assistant Director of Content Development 

The Purdue OWL® is committed to supporting  students, instructors, and writers by offering a wide range of resources that are developed and revised with them in mind. To do this, the OWL team is always exploring possibilties for a better design, allowing accessibility and user experience to guide our process. As the OWL undergoes some changes, we welcome your feedback and suggestions by email at any time.

Please don't hesitate to contact us via our contact page  if you have any questions or comments.

All the best,

Social Media

Facebook twitter.

COMMENTS

  1. MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

    However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs. Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL. Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a "permalink," which is a shortened, stable ...

  2. How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA

    How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA | Format & Examples. Published on April 16, 2019 by Courtney Gahan.Revised on March 5, 2024. An MLA Works Cited entry for a journal article contains the author(s); article title; journal name; volume and issue; month and year; page range; and a DOI if accessed online. In the in-text citation, include the author's last name and the page number.

  3. MLA Style (9th Edition) Citation Guide: Journal Articles

    Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL. "permalink," which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a "share" or "cite this" button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use ...

  4. How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA

    To cite an online journal or magazine article in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the author, the article's title, the journal or magazine's title, the publication date, and the DOI, permalink, or URL. If available, also include a volume and an issue number of the journal or magazine.

  5. How to Cite an Online Work

    How to Cite an Online Work. To create a basic works-cited-list entry for an online work, list the author, the title of the work, the title of the website as the title of the container, and the publication details. You may need to include other elements depending on the type of work (e.g., book, scholarly article, blog post) and how you accessed ...

  6. Free MLA Citation Generator

    MLA is one of the most common citation styles used by students and academics. This quick guide explains how to cite sources according to the 9th edition (the most recent) of the MLA Handbook. You can also use Scribbr's free citation generator to automatically generate references and in-text citations. An MLA citation has two components:

  7. Citing a Journal in MLA

    Let Citation Machine citing tools help you create references and citations for your journal articles. Easily begin by entering your article title, DOI number, or author name (s) in the search box. Citation Machine citing tools will identify sources that match your search query and present you with your journal article options.

  8. How to cite an online journal article in MLA

    To cite an online journal article in a reference entry in MLA style 9th edition include the following elements: Author (s) name: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by 'and' and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson).

  9. LibGuides: MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Journal Articles

    Journal Articles - MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition) - LibGuides at Columbia College (BC) Main purpose is often to report results of original search. Articles usually have a very specific subject focus. May see sections such as abstract, discussion, results, and conclusion. Author of the article is an expert or specialist in the field and often ...

  10. Citing a journal or magazine article

    Author's last name, Author's first name. "Title of the Article." Name of Publication volume.issue (Year): pages. Medium of . publication. Additional information required in citations of electronic journals:. After the page numbers, include the name of the database or website the piece comes from, and include the date the information was accessed after the medium of publication.

  11. Journal and Magazine Articles

    The general MLA 9 formatting for articles is: Works Cited List: Author's Last Name, First Name."Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, Volume Number, Issue Number, Date of Publication, First Page Number-Last Page Number.Name of Database, DOI, Permalink or URL. Author's Last Name, First Name.

  12. How to Cite a Journal Article

    In an MLA Works Cited entry for a journal article, the article title appears in quotation marks, the name of the journal in italics—both in title case. List up to two authors in both the in-text citation and the Works Cited entry. For three or more, use "et al.". MLA format. Author last name, First name.

  13. MLA Citation Style Guide: MLA Examples

    The MLA Citation Style Guide provides assistance for citing sources, based on the guidelines set by the Modern Language Association (MLA) in the MLA Handbook, 9th edition. ... For articles found in online journals: Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal, volume, number, Date of Publication, URL. Example:

  14. Free MLA Citation Generator [Updated for 2024]

    Scroll back up to the generator at the top of the page and select the type of source you're citing. Books, journal articles, and webpages are all examples of the types of sources our generator can cite automatically. Then either search for the source, or enter the details manually in the citation form. The generator will produce a formatted MLA ...

  15. How to Cite a Journal Article in an Online Database in MLA 8

    To cite a journal article in an online database in MLA 8, locate the following pieces of information: *The name of the author of the article. The title of the journal. The names of any other contributors to the article (if applicable) The version of the journal (if applicable) *Any numbers associated with the journal, such as a volume or issue ...

  16. MLA journal article citation generator & examples

    To cite a journal in MLA, you need to know the source type, author, publication year, article title, journal title, volume, issue, page range, and/or DOI or URL or ISBN. The templates and examples below are based on the MLA Handbook, 9th edition. On this page, you can learn how to cite the following: Print journal article. Online journal article.

  17. Citation Machine®: MLA Format & MLA Citation Generator

    Generate MLA citations in seconds. Start citing books, websites, journals, and more with the Citation Machine® MLA Citation Generator. ... Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found in a database. This source has two containers: the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other. ...

  18. Online Journal Articles

    If you are accessing a journal article directly from the journal's website, you will most likely need just one container to present publication information. NOTE: MLA now requires full URLs for online material. However, if your article includes a DOI (digital object identifier), that information should be provided instead of the URL.

  19. MLA In-text Citations

    Revised on March 5, 2024. An MLA in-text citation provides the author's last name and a page number in parentheses. If a source has two authors, name both. If a source has more than two authors, name only the first author, followed by " et al. ". If the part you're citing spans multiple pages, include the full page range.

  20. PDF Modern Language Association (MLA) Documentation

    the "hanging indent" feature. Italicize titles of major works, like books, websites, films, and journals. Put quotation marks around the titles of shorter works, like articles, webpages, and short poems. Missing information: Some electronic sources may not list all the information expected in a standard MLA citation.

  21. How To Do In-Text Citations with Multiple Authors in APA Format

    In-text citations can be written within a paper parenthetically or narratively. Both include the same information: the author's last name and the publication date. Parenthetical citation: Great falls can be caused by sitting on tall walls (Dumpty, 1797). Narrative citation: Dumpty (1797) claims that great falls can be caused by sitting on ...

  22. How to Cite a Website in MLA

    Revised on March 5, 2024. An MLA website citation includes the author's name, the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the website (in italics), the publication date, and the URL (without "https://"). If the author is unknown, start with the title of the page instead. If the publication date is unknown, or if the content is ...

  23. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects.