What Is MLA Referencing?

The modern language association or MLA format is said to be one of the most accurate in-text referencing formats that help you quote other scholar’s work in yours by crediting them. Knowing about such formats is necessary as different colleges follow different citation formats. MLA citation is based on ‘author-page’ citation in comparison to ‘author-date citation which is used in APA. Currently, the 8th edition of MLA citation, also known as MLA8 is being used as it is the latest and updated format.

While writing an academic document, such as an assignment, dissertation, thesis, or lab report, we take help from various published sources, such as books and articles. But do you know that using someone else’s work without acknowledging his/her effort is a serious offense known as plagiarism? This might lead to loss of marks or rejection of the document. To avoid such consequences, you must mention where that information came from. There are numerous formats prescribed by Australian universities for providing credit to the published materials that have been used within an academic document. For the students of arts and humanities, MLA referencing style is considered the best as it allows them to track down the exact sentences. The MLA format and style guide are now in its 8th edition. The newest version has radically altered some of its rules regarding format, especially in terms of citations. Take a look at those guidelines:

  • The list of references that you have used in the document should begin on a separate page, with the title "Works Cited."
  • Start the list alphabetically using the last name of the author. However, in case there is no author, arrange them by writing title, eliminating any initial such as a, an, and the.
  • Begin each entry at the left margin. Double-space within each entry, and follow the punctuation and capitalization rules.
  • Write the name of the publisher by eliminating articles, descriptive words(Books, House, Press), and business abbreviations (Co., Inc.). However, in case you are using a document published by a university press, include the abbreviation "UP" (Monash UP). And, if the publisher’s name is the name of one or more persons, cite the first surname only (Abrams).

There are a few key differences that you should be aware of while citing different documents and types of content. In this guide, you will find all the necessary formats that you could require in the forthcoming future with examples for your better understanding.

Basic Format of Citing in MLA

To start with MLA format, you should know the 2 important terms in citations, i.e., Work-cited list and in-text citation.

Work-Cited List: In MLA8, the reference list is called the work-cited list, which holds all the information about the citations which are made in the entire piece of your writing. This list contains information such as the name of the author(s), the title of the source, date of publishing, etc. Other information varies depending on the type of content being cited.

In-Text Citation: This is similar to APA format and citation is done by quoting the work and giving it a reference of the work-cited list where all the information about the author and the work is mentioned.

There are different types of sources that you can refer to with the help of the MLA citation manual and these two terms are important for all of them.

How to Cite Books in MLA8 Format?

  • Basic Book References

The most reference for any study or research is a book. The basic format of citing a book addresses the name of authors, title (italicized), version for the book, name of the publisher, and year of publication.

Format: Name of Author(s). Title. version, Location Title, Role players, Edition, Number, Publisher, Publication Year.

Please note that the title of container, contributors, version, and number are all optional, depending on the availability.

Example: Raina, Jordan C.  A Guide to MLA Citation. 22nd ed, My American Publisher, 2017.

  • Edited/Translated Book Citation

The format for referencing an edited book is similar to that of a basic book with a tiny difference that the editor(s) or translator(s) name must be mentioned. This can be done in 2 ways, either you mention ‘editor’ or ‘translator’ after the name of the author, or you can mention ‘translated by’ or ‘edited by’ before the names of the authors.

Format for Both Are as Follows: 

  1. Name of author (Last/first format), editor. Title. Place of the content, Contributors, Edition, Number, Publisher, publishing year.

    Example: Joy, Ben F., editor, A Guide to MLA Referencing Rules. Cambridge Publishers, 2010.


  1. Name(s) of authors. Title. Title of location, edited by Contributors, edition, Number, Publisher, PublicationYear

    Example: Cayne, Katty, and Jordan MLA 8 Citation Manual. Translated by Chris Anthony, New Orleans Publishing, 2014.

  • How to Cite an E-book in MLA8 Format?

As you might be familiar, an e-book is an electronic book that is not in the printed form but can be accessed with the help of e-readers or computing devices. E-book serves as the identifier of the format and hence, it is mentioned in the format. The rest of the format stays similar to that of a book.

Note: E-books from specific providers, such as kindle can be referred to as kindle.ed, pointing out the fact that the book is a kindle edition of a book.

Format: Name of author(s) Title. edition, e-book, Number, Publishing authority, publication year.

Example: Tenzing, Den M. A Guide to MLA 8 Citation. 22nd ed, e-book, New Jersey Publishers, 2010.

  • How to Cite a Specific Chapter/Essay from a Book?

There might be times when you want to specify the chapter you are talking about in your work. Or maybe you are working with an essay collection and there are different authors for different essays. In that case, the format becomes:

Format: Author names, “Chapter title”. Title of the book, Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Year of publication, range of pages.

Example: Vinny, Joel T. “MLA 8 Referencing”. A Beginners’ Guide to the basics of Citation, United Publisher, 2015, pp. 137-144

How to Cite Articles in MLA8 Format?

The articles are a vital source of accurate information to support your work. Articles from various journals, newspapers, magazines can be cited with the help of MLA8 citation format. These citations can help you use data and facts derived from other author’s work without being subject to plagiarism.

The basic format for citing articles from different sources, such as journals, newspapers, and magazines are the same.

The Basic Format Is Given By: 

Author name(s). “Article title”. Title of location, Helpers, Editions, number, publication date, page number, database Title, URL or DOI

Note: The title of the database, DOI, or URL part is only included if the source of your cited article is online. And the date varies for journals, newspapers, and magazines. In journals, only the season is mentioned whereas, in magazines and newspapers, the date of publishing is mentioned.

  • Citing an Article from a Journal

Format: name of author(s). “title of the article”. Location, contributors, edition, numbers, date of publication, page number

Example - Michael, Jonas A. “Citation: the real reason for usage”. Mandy Journal, vol. 5, no. 8, Summer 1997, pp .617-644.

  • Citing an Article from a Newspaper/Magazine 

Format - Author name(s). “Article title”. Title of Container, contributors, version, numbers, date of publication, location(page number)

Example:  Mitch, Jammy A. “ Research World and the Importance of Citation”. The Dowel, Weekend Edition, vol. 26, no. 8, 21 September 2013, pp. 70-81.

  • Citing an Article from Internet Source (Online Articles)

Now, this is the type of citation where we use information such as DOI, URL, or a database title of the corresponding article.

Format - Author name(s). “Article title”. Title of Container, contributors, version, numbers, date of publication, location(page number), the title of the database, DOI, or URL

Example - Mike, Johnson A. “Citation Formats and How to Master Them?”. Mother Teresa Journal, vol. 4, no. 6, Summer 1999, pp .607-674. Journal Database,

How to Cite Images and Audio Visual Content in MLA8 Format?

There are a lot of instances when you get ideas from different sources such as films, images, music, etc. With MLA citation format you can now use these sources and cite them in your work.

  • Citing an Image

Format: Creator’s surname, other names. “Title of Image”. Website Title, contributors, reproduction, number, date, URL.

Example - Millais, Sir John Everett. “Ophelia”. Tate, N01506, 1851-2,

  • Citing a Film (Motion Picture)

While citing a film, you should keep in mind that if the subject of your work is the director, then you use:

Format: Director name, director. “Title of the film”.  Contributors, Distributor, year of release. Medium

Example: Hitchcock, Alfred, director. “Rear Window”. Contributions by Grace Kelly and James Stewart, Paramount Pictures, 1956. VCD

Whereas, if your work is not focused on the director only, then the place of the name of director and title of the film in the format can be interchanged and the format becomes:

Format: “Title of the film”. Directed by director name, contributors,  Distributor, year of release. Medium

Example: “Rear Window”. Directed by Hitchcock, Alfred, Contributions by Grace Kelly and James Stewart, Paramount Pictures, 1956. VCD

Note: In MLA8, mentioning the “medium” is not necessary but we use it anyway because it is easier for the reader to trace the origin. If the film is from an online streaming platform, the medium is replaced by the direct URL of the film.

  • Citing a TV Series

The TV series citation uses a similar format to that of a film. However, in a TV series, the number of seasons and episodes number is mentioned.

Format: “Episode Title”. Program Title, created by Creator Name, contributors, season #, episode #. Network, Year of Release/broadcast.

Example: “Fly.” Breaking Bad, written by Sam Catlin and Moira Walley-Beckett, directed by Rian Johnson, season 3, episode 10, AMC, 2010.

  • Citing Music in MLA 8 Module

MLA8 even allows you to cite music in your work if you want to quote a few lines or you want to talk about the creator of that song in the context of the composition.

Format: Singer name(s). “Title of the Track”. Title of the Album, other contributors, version, Record Label, Year of Publication

Example: Beyonce. “Hold Up”. Lemonade, Parkwood Entertainment, 2016.

  • Citing a YouTube Video

If you want to talk about or quote anything from a YouTube video, you can refer to it in MLA 8.

Format - “Title of the Video.” YouTube, Name of the Channel, Date of Publishing, URL.

Example - "Dog Turns Roomba Off." YouTube, Uploaded by ilovetobamom, 28 Dec. 2016,

How to Site Web-Pages in MLA Format?

  • Citing an Entire Website in MLA

There are a lot of websites that can provide you with some of the best stats for your project. It is also possible that you want to talk about a website in the context of the contents available or the publisher of the website. In all the case, you need to cite the entire website.

Format: Last name, first name. Site title. Sponsoring institution/Publisher, Publication Date Day month abbreviation. Year: URL

Example: Mitchell, Sherlock H., and Martha Stuart. How to cite in MLA Referencing. 25 Jan. 2017:

  • Webpage Citation According to MLA

To cite a particular from an entire website, the format is almost the exact same except for one small addition. Just add “Title of the page” before the title of the site and you are done. The URL used is also the exact address to that page.

Format: Last name, first name. “Title of the Page”. Site Title. Sponsor institution/publication. Publication date day month abbreviation. year, URL.

Example: Thomson, Martha. “MLA Citation”.  MLA Referencing Guide. 5 Nov. 2020:

  • Citing a Tweet in MLA Referencing Format

These days, Twitter has become one of the most active sources of worldwide news. To cite a tweet update in your work, follow the following format.

Format: User handle, “content of tweet”, Twitter, the date the tweet was posted, Time, URL

Example: @realDonaldTrump. "Wow, the Fake News media did everything in its power to make Republican Healthcare victory look as bad as possible. Far better than Ocare!" Twitter, 5 May 2017, 4:22 p.m.,

  • Citing a Blog Post According to MLA

While working with information from online blogs, you have to include them in the work-cited list as it is also somebody’s work.

Format: Surname of the author, First name of Author, “Blog Title”, Publisher, date of publishing, URL

Example: Australia, Instant Assignment Help. “How to write an argumentative essay| A beginners guide”. Instant assignment help Australia Blogs. 10 Oct. 2020,

Other Sources in MLA Format

Modern Language Association handbook is a guideline holding format that standardizes the way scholars write and format their cited sources in their papers. The above mentioned are some major and most commonly used sources that might come in handy for you while working on your paper. Currently, MLA is in its 8th edition and keeps revising accordingly.

Hope you found what you were looking for. Our experts have especially curated all the important and most commonly used citation formats. Instant Assignment Help Australia always works in the favor of students.

You may also like to read: Harvard Referencing Guide | APA Referencing Guide | OSCOLA Referencing Guide

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