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MLA Guide for Word 2019

Core Elements of MLA Works Cited Entries


Begin the entry with the author's last name, followed by a comma and the rest of the name. When a source has two authors, add the second name in normal order after an and. When a source has three authors, reverse the first of the names and follow it with a comma and et. al.  


  • Smith, Alan S.
  • Smith, Alan S., and Sabrina A. Jones
  • Smith, Alan S., et. al.

A work may be created by a corporate author--an institution, an association, a government agency, etc. When a work's author and publisher are separate organizations, give both names, starting the entry with the one that is the author. When an organization is both the author and publisher, begin the entry with the work's title, skipping the author element, and list the organization only as publisher.

Title of source.

Titles are as they are found in the sources, except that capitalization and punctuation are standardized. A title is italicized if the source is self-contained and independent. The title of an essay, a story, or a poem in a collection, as a part of a larger whole, is placed in quotation marks.

  • Book: Italics
  • Article: Quotation marks
  • Website: Italics
  • Article on a website: Quotation marks
Title of container,

When the source being documented forms a part of a larger whole, the larger whole can be thought of as a container that holds the source. The container is normally italicized and is followed by a comma.

Examples of containers:

  • Book that is a collection of essays, stories, poems, or other kinds of works
  • A periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper), which holds articles, etc.
  • A website, which contains articles, postings, etc. (refer to handbook when determining when a website is a container)

Key contributors should be listed in your entry. People, groups, and organizations can contribute to a work while not being its primary creator. Precede each name with a description of the role.

Examples of common descriptions:

  • adapted by
  • directed by
  • edited by
  • illustrated by
  • introduction by
  • narrated by
  • performance by
  • translated by

If the source carries a notation indicating that is a version, identify the version in your entry. Books are commonly issued in versions called editions.


  • Expanded ed.
  • Updated ed.
  • 7th ed.

The source you are documenting may be part of a sequence, like a numbered volume, issue, episode, or season. If you consult one volume of a numbered multi-volume set, indicate the volume number.


  • vol. 5

Journal issues are typically numbered and sometimes use both volume and issue number.


  • vol. 156, no. 4

The publisher is the organization primarily responsible for producing the source or making it available to the public. To determine the publisher of a book, look first on the title page (if not there, try the copyright page).


  • Pearson
  • McGraw-Hill Education
  • Wiley
  • Harper Collins
  • Oxford University Press
Publication date,


  • Articles on the web: 25 Apr. 2016
  • Issue of a periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper): Jan. 2016
  • Book: 2013

For print sources, the location is the page number (preceded by p.) or a range of page numbers (preceded by pp.).


  • p.3
  • pp. 74-94

The location of an online work is commonly indicated by its URL, or web address. If your source offers URLs that it says are stable (sometimes called permalinks), use them in your entry. Some publishers assign DOIs to their online publications. When possible, citing DOI is preferable to citing a URL.


  • doi:10.1353/pmc.2000.0021

Note: The core elements of the entry should generally be included, if they exist. Optional elements may accompany core elements at the writer's discretion. Examples of optional elements are date of original publication, city of publication, and date of access.