How to create an MLA Works Cited list
The MLA Works Cited page appears at the end of your paper and gives full details of every source that you cited in the text. These are the most important format rules:
- Double line spacing (but no extra space between entries)
- One-inch margins
- Hanging indent on entries that run over one line
- Alphabetized by the author’s last name
Use the interactive tool to see examples of MLA citations for different source types.
You can also use the free MLA Citation Generator to create your Works Cited list automatically. Enter a URL, DOI or ISBN to create correctly formatted references, and then download your full Works Cited list.
Scribbr MLA Citation Generator
Formatting the Works Cited page
The Works Cited appears at the very end of your paper. Like the rest of an MLA format paper, it should be left-aligned and double-spaced with 1-inch margins.
The header contains your last name and the page number in the top right corner. The title is capitalized and centred, with no other formatting.
Creating a hanging indent
If an entry is more than one line long, each line after the first must be indented 0.5 inches. This is called a hanging indent, and it helps the reader see where one entry ends and the next begins.
In Microsoft Word, you can create a hanging indent on all entries at once.
- Highlight the whole list and right click to open the Paragraph options.
- Under Indentation > Special, choose Hanging from the drop-down menu.
- Set the indent to 0.5 inches.
Creating Works Cited entries
Each entry on the Works Cited page must contain all the necessary information for a reader to find the source you consulted.
The 8th (most recent) edition of MLA style provides nine core elements that you can use to build a reference for any source:
Author. Title. Container, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Date, Location.
You only include the elements that are relevant to the type of source you’re citing.
The first author’s name is inverted so that the entry begins with their last name. If there are two authors, follow the order that they are named in the source. If there are more than two authors, name the first author followed by “et al.”
|1 author||Zetter, Roger.|
|2 authors||Kovras, Iosif, and Simon Robins.|
|3 or more authors||Fox, Jon E., et al.|
|No author||Start with the title instead.|
Use italics for self-contained works (e.g. books, websites) and quotation marks for sources contained within a larger work (e.g. book chapters, web pages).
|Source part of a larger work||“The Migration Imaginary and the Politics of Personhood.”|
|Source a self-contained whole||Australia and the Insular Imagination: Beaches, Borders, Boats, and Bodies.|
If there is no title, simply give a short description of the source, in plain text with no quotation marks.
A container is the larger work that the source appears in. Containers are italicized and treated the same as titles.
|Book chapter||Whole book|
|TV episode||TV series|
|Lecture||Course or event|
Sources can also have two containers. For example, when citing a journal article accessed on a database, the journal is the first container and the database is the second container.
If the source you’re citing is a self-contained whole, you leave out this element.
If the source names any editors, translators or other important contributors to its creation, include these after the container title, together with a label describing their role.
|Translator||Translated by Catherine Porter.|
|Editor||Edited by Michi Messer et al.|
If there are no other contributors named, leave out this element.
Version and number
If there is more than one edition, volume, or issue of the source, include this in the citation.
|Book edition||3rd ed.|
|Movie version||director’s cut|
|Journal article||vol. 21, no. 4|
|TV episode||season 1, episode 7|
If there is only one version of the source, leave out this element.
When citing sources such as books and movies, you should include the name of the publisher.
|Book publisher||Palgrave Macmillan|
|Movie publisher||Warner Bros.|
With sources such as websites, journals and newspapers, the publisher is usually the same as the container title. In this case, you leave out the publisher element to avoid repetition.
Include the most precise and recent date given in the source. If no publication date is given (as is often the case with web pages), add the date you accessed the source instead.
|Day||19 Oct. 2015|
|No date||Accessed 23 June 2018.|
In a print or PDF source, the location is the page number or page range on which the source appears (e.g. the location of a chapter within a book). Use “p.” to refer to a single page and “pp.” for a page range.
In an online source, the location is the URL or DOI. Always include a DOI if there is one available, as it is more reliable than a URL.
If the source has both page numbers and a URL (for example, a journal article in a database), include both as part of the different containers.
|Page range||pp. 143–168.|
If you are citing a live event (such as a lecture, presentation or performance), include the physical location where the event took place (i.e. the venue and city).
Ordering Works Cited entries
Arrange the entries in your works cited list alphabetically by the author’s last name.
Multiple sources by the same author
If your works cited list includes more than one work by a particular author, arrange the sources alphabetically by title. Instead of the author’s name, use three hyphens for each source listed after the first.
‐‐‐. The Brontës: A Life in Letters. Harry N. Abrams, 1998.
‐‐‐. Brontë Yearbook. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990.
If the same author appears again at the start of an entry by multiple authors, repeat the name in full instead of using the hyphens.
Sources with no author
If there is no author, alphabetize the source based on the title of the work. Ignore articles (the, a and an) for the purposes of alphabetizing. If a title begins with a number, alphabetize it as you would if the number was spelled out.
“The 1951 Refugee Convention.” UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency, https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/1951-refugee-convention.html. Accessed 18 June 2018.
“The Truth About Asylum.” Refugee Council, www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/information/refugee-asylum-facts/the-truth-about-asylum/. Accessed 23 June 2018.
In the example above, the second entry is alphabetized under n, as in “Nineteen fifty-one”.
Alphabetizing special characters
If a source starts with a special character such as @ (for example, when the author of a source is an online username), ignore the character and begin alphabetization with the first letter that follows it. Similarly, ignore accents and other marks. For example, a German “ö” should be treated as an “o.”
Frequently asked questions about the Works Cited
- What is the basic structure of an MLA citation?
A standard MLA Works Cited entry is structured as follows:Author. “Title of the Source.” Title of the Container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.
Only relevant information is included in the reference.
- What is the easiest way to create MLA citations?
- What is the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook?
- Are titles capitalized in MLA?