The Works Cited in MLA style
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.
Works Cited elements
MLA provides nine core elements that you can use to build a reference for any source.
You only include the elements that are relevant to the type of source you’re citing.
Works Cited examples
Works Cited examples 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.
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.
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, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/.
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.
Organizing 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 Case for Reparations.” The Atlantic, Jun. 2014, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/.
‐‐‐. 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.
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.
You can also use our free Word template to create your Works Cited page.
Frequently asked questions about the Works Cited
- Who uses the MLA citation style?
- What is the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook?
- 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.
- Are titles capitalized in MLA?