Creating an MLA Works Cited list

In MLA style, the list of Works Cited (also known as a reference list or bibliography) appears at the end of your paper. It gives full details of every source that you cited in the text.

Like the rest of an MLA format paper, the Works Cited should be left-aligned and double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

Use the interactive tool to see variations of MLA Works Cited entries for different source types.

You can use our free Citation Generator to create and manage your Works Cited list.

MLA Works Cited elements

MLA provides nine core elements that you can use to build a reference for any source.

The Core Elements of a Works Cited entry

Author. “Title of the Source.” Title of the Container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

You only include the elements that are relevant to the type of source you’re citing.

Reference examples for different source types

Examples of Works Cited entries for common source types are shown below.


The main elements of a book citation are the author, title (italicized), publisher, and year.

  • Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. Vintage International, 2007.

If there are other contributors (such as editors or translators), or if you consulted a particular volume or edition of a book, these elements should also be included in the citation.

Book chapter

If a book is a collection of chapters by different authors, you should cite the author and title of the specific work. The container gives details of the book, and the location is the page range on which the chapter appears.

  • Andrews, Kehinde. “The Challenge for Black Studies in the Neoliberal University.” Decolonising the University, edited by Gurminder K. Bhambra et al., Pluto Press, 2018, pp. 149–144.

This format also applies to works collected in anthologies (such as poems, plays, or stories).

Journal article

Journals usually have volume and issue numbers, but no publisher is required. If you accessed the article through a database, this is included as a second container. The DOI provides a stable link to the article.

  • Salenius, Sirpa. “Marginalized Identities and Spaces: James Baldwin’s Harlem, New York.” Journal of Black Studies, vol. 48, no. 8, Jul. 2016, pp. 883–902. Sage Journals, doi:10.1177/0021934716658862.

If there is no DOI, look for a stable URL or permalink instead.


For websites (including online newspapers and magazines), you usually don’t have to include a publisher. The URL is included, with the “https://” prefix removed. If a web page has no publication date, add an access date instead.

  • Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “The Case for Reparations.” The Atlantic, Jun. 2014,

If a web page has no publication date, add an access date instead.

More MLA citation examples

We also have examples for a wide range of other source types.

What can proofreading do for your paper?

Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words and awkward phrasing.

See editing example

Ordering the list of Works Cited

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.

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me: Notes on the First 150 Years in America. Spiegel & Grau, 2015.
‐‐‐. “The Case for Reparations.” The Atlantic, Jun. 2014,
‐‐‐. The Water Dancer. One World, 2019.

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.

Format of the Works Cited page

The Works Cited appears at the end of your paper. The layout is similar to the rest of an MLA format paper:

  • Title the page Works Cited, centred and in plain text (no italics, bold or underline).
  • Alphabetize the entries by the author’s last name.
  • Use left alignment and double line spacing (no extra space between entries).
  • Use a hanging indent on entries that run over one line.
  • Include a header with your last name and the page number in the top right corner.
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.

You can also use our free Word template to create your Works Cited page.

 Works Cited template (.docx)


Frequently asked questions about the Works Cited

Who uses MLA style?

MLA Style is the second most used citation style (after APA). It is mainly used by students and researchers in humanities fields such as literature, languages, and philosophy.

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.

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.

How do I cite a source with multiple authors in MLA?

In MLA Style, if a source has two authors, name both authors in your in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.

Number of authors In-text citation Works Cited entry
1 author (Moore 37) Moore, Jason W.
2 authors (Moore and Patel 37) Moore, Jason W., and Raj Patel.
3+ authors (Moore et al. 37) Moore, Jason W., et al.
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.

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.

Is this article helpful?
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.


February 1, 2021 at 12:19 AM

What if the source for in-text citation is a translated one? whose surname will be written- author's or translator's?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
February 1, 2021 at 2:55 PM

Hi Bhavya,

The name included in the in-text citation is always the one listed at the start of the Works Cited entry. With a translated work, it's usually the original author who is listed first, and therefore also in the in-text citation. If you've listed the translator first in the Works Cited entry (for example, if the original author is unknown or the focus of your analysis is on the specific translation), then the translator's surname appears in the in-text citation.


November 7, 2020 at 6:17 AM

How do i do i citate a movie


Shona McCombes
Shona McCombes (Scribbr Team)
November 17, 2020 at 8:29 PM

Hi Ariana,

We have an article that explains how to cite a movie in MLA. Hope that helps!


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