What is MLA?
MLA style was created by the Modern Language Association of America. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers.
There are two parts to MLA: In-text citations and the Works Cited list.
In MLA, you must “cite” sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:
- In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation.
- In the Works Cited list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.
Looking for MLA 7th Edition?
Top 10 Differences between MLA’s 7th and 8th Editions
Commonly Used Terms
Access Date: The date you first look at a source. The access date is added to the end of citations for all websites except library databases.
Citation: Details about one cited source.
Citing: The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.
In-Text Citation: A brief note at the point where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Works Cited List.
Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.
Plagiarism: Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.
Quoting: The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.
Works Cited List: Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.
This citation guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (8th ed.). The contents are accurate to the best of our knowledge.
Some examples illustrate Seneca Libraries’ recommendations and should be viewed as modifications to the official MLA guidelines.