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.

MLA Works Cited Example
MLA Works Cited page example

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.

  1. Highlight the whole list and right click to open the Paragraph options.
  2. Under Indentation > Special, choose Hanging from the drop-down menu.
  3. 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.

Author

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 authorZetter, Roger.
2 authorsKovras, Iosif, and Simon Robins.
3 or more authorsFox, Jon E., et al.
No authorStart with the title instead.

Title

Give the full title of the source in title case (all major words capitalized). If there is a subtitle, separate it with a colon and a space.

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 wholeAustralia 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.

Container

A container is the larger work that the source appears in. Containers are italicized and treated the same as titles.

SourceContainer
Book chapterWhole book
Journal articleJournal
TV episodeTV series
News articleNewspaper
Web pageWebsite
YouTube videoYouTube
LectureCourse 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.

Other contributors

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.

TranslatorTranslated by Catherine Porter.
EditorEdited 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 edition3rd ed.
Movie versiondirector’s cut
Journal articlevol. 21, no. 4
TV episodeseason 1, episode 7

If there is only one version of the source, leave out this element.

Publisher

When citing sources such as books and movies, you should include the name of the publisher.

Book publisherPalgrave Macmillan
Movie publisherWarner 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.

Date

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.

Year2006
MonthSept. 2002
Day19 Oct. 2015
No dateAccessed 23 June 2018.

Location

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 rangepp. 143–168.
URLwww.refugeecouncil.org.uk/information/refugee-asylum-facts/the-truth-about-asylum/.
DOIdoi:10.1177/1367549415592898.

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).

Receive feedback on language, structure and layout

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

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See an example

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.

Barker, Juliet. The Brontës. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1994.
‐‐‐. 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 Global Appeal and Supplementary Appeals.” UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency, https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/1951-refugee-convention.html. Accessed 25 June 2018.
“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?

The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator.

Search by book title, page URL or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.

What is the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook?

The MLA Handbook is currently in its 8th edition, published in 2016.

This quick guide to MLA style explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.

Are titles capitalized in MLA?

Yes. MLA Style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and some conjunctions) are capitalized.

This applies to titles of sources as well as the title in the heading of your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization.

How do I format a DOI in MLA style?

In MLA style citations, format DOIs with the prefix doi: followed by the string of letters and numbers.

doi:10.1177/0269881118806297

DOIs are used mainly when citing journal articles in MLA.

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Shona McCombes

Shona has a bachelor's and two master's degrees, so she's an expert at writing a great thesis. She has also worked as an editor and teacher, working with students at all different levels to improve their academic writing.

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