MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): No Author, No Date etc.
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What to do when information is missing, no page numbers, no database name, how to alphabetize titles in works cited list.
If there is no author given, your citation will start with the title of the work. You must put these citations in correct alphabetical order in your Works Cited list.
When putting works in alphabetical order, ignore initial articles such as "the", "a", or "an". For example the title The Best of Canada would be alphabetized as if it started with the word Best instead of the word The.
If the title begins with a number, alphabetize it as if the number was spelled out. For example the title 5 Ways to Succeed in Business would be alphabetized under F as if it had started with the word Five .
For example, this is how the following titles would be alphabetized:
Anthropology in Action [A] The Best of Canada [B... ignore "The"] Easy Plant Care [E] 5 Ways to Succeed in Business [F... 5=Five] A Special Kind of Madness [S... ignore "A"]
If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title of the source you are citing instead. Do not use "Anonymous" as the author's name. Use the first one, two, or three main words from the title, in either italics or in "quotation marks" (the same way it is written in your Works Cited list). You should provide enough words to make it clear which work you're referring to from your Works Cited list.
"How to Teach Yourself Guitar." eHow, Demand Media, www.ehow.com/how_5298173_teach-yourself-guitar.html. Accessed 24 June 2016.
In-text citation would be ("How to Teach")
Note : An author/creator won't necessarily be a person's name. It may be an organization or corporation, for example Health Canada or a username on a site such as YouTube. Also, it is possible for the author's name to be written as only initials. If the author is known only by initials, treat the initials as one unit. Use the initials in your in-text citation and list the entry under the first initial in your Works Cited page.
If no date is provided, skip that information in your citation. It is recommended that you add the date you accessed the work at the end of the citation in your Works Cited list. Access date is given by putting the word "Accessed" followed by the date you viewed or accessed the work (format = Day Month (shortened) Year).
"Audit and Assurance." Chartered Professional Accountants Canada , www.cpacanada.ca/en/business-and-accounting-resources/audit-and-assurance. Accessed 6 Sept. 2019.
Some sources, such as online materials, won't have page numbers provided. If this is the case, leave the page numbers out of the citation. For your in-text citation, just use the author's name or the title of the work if there is no author given. For your Works Cited list, just leave the page number part out.
Williamson, Jennifer. "Canada: Business: Attire." Global Road Warrior, World Trade Press, 2018, www.globalroadwarrior/com/#mode=country®ionId=27&uri=country-content&nid=13.08&key=country-attire. Accessed 17 July 2016.
In-text citation would be (Williamson)
Note If there are no page, chapter, paragraph, or section numbers in the original text, then don't include any. Never count pages or paragraphs yourself .
If you find an article through the search bar on the main library page, you might be unsure which database the article is from, because this searches across many different databases.
You can find the name of the database a few ways:
Method 1. Click on the title of the article in the search results list. This will bring you to a page with a description of the article as well as other useful information. Scroll down to the bottom of this list of information, and you should see "Database" listed near the bottom.
Method 2. You can also find the name of the database in the summary of information just below the title of the article in the search results list. It will look something like this:
Notice the name of the database is listed at the end.
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How do I cite a source that has no author?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook . For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .
When a work is published without an author’s name, begin the works-cited-list entry with the title of the work. Do not use Anonymous in place of an author’s name:
“English Language Arts Standards.” Common Core State Standards Initiative , 2017, www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/.
“An Homily against Disobedience and Wylful Rebellion.” 1570. Divine Right and Democracy: An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England , edited by David Wootton, Penguin Books, 1986, pp. 94–98.
For works created by a corporate author—an institution, a government body, or another kind of organization—list that entity as the author:
Hart Research Associates. It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success . Association of American Colleges and Universities , 2013, www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/it-takes-more-major-employer-priorities-college-learning-and.
An exception: if a corporate author is also the work’s publisher, list that entity as the publisher and skip the “Author” slot:
Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America . National Endowment for the Arts, June 2004.
Cite these works in your text by title or by corporate author—that is, by the first item in the works-cited-list entry:
The homily argues that rebelling against the English monarch amounts to rebelling against God (“Homily” 97).
Eighty percent of employers believe that all college students “should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences” (Hart).
Review a source carefully before deciding that it has no author. It’s important to credit authors for their work.
How do I cite a source in MLA that has no author?
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Works Cited Page
Start the citation with the title of the article or book. Put the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (such as books or entire web sites ):
- "Practical Oral Care for People with Intellectual Disability."
- In the Name of the Father.
If no author is listed, use a shortened title of the work. Put the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (such as books or entire websites ), and include page numbers (if there are any).
For example, if you had a website article with the title "Practical Oral Care for People with Intellectual Disability," the parenthetical citation would look like this:
- ("Practical Oral").
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / How to Cite No Authors or an Organization in MLA
How to Cite No Authors or an Organization in MLA
A citation on an MLA works cited page usually begins with the last name of the source’s author. However, there are times when an author isn’t stated. There are also times when instead of an individual, an organization or company is stated as the author.
The guidelines below follow rules from the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook .
No Author in MLA
When no author is given, omit the author section and start the citation with the title . MLA also discourages the use of “Anonymous” as a replacement for the author’s name (“How”).
The Epic of Gilgamesh . Translated by N. K. Sandars, Penguin Books, 1964.
The Eye of the Moon . Michael O’ Mara Books, 2009.
In-text citations also use a source’s title instead of the author name. If the title is long, it can be shortened to the first noun or noun phrase.
( Epic 10)
The Modern Language Association urges students to scrutinize the source carefully before deciding there is no author (“How”). In some cases, the work may be created by an organization or company. If that is the case, you’d cite that organization as the author (see below for more details).
Organization or Company Author in MLA
If an organization, government agency, company, or other type of association is the author of the text, include its full name in the citation ( MLA Handbook 119).
SCENARIO 1: If the organization is both the author AND publisher
- Omit the author section.
- Start your citation with the source title. (This maybe italicized or in quotations, depending on your source type.)
- Include the organization as the publisher.
MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.
“Curbing the COVID-19 Comeback in Europe.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper Limited, 1 Aug. 2020, www.economist.com/europe/2020/08/01/curbing-the-covid-19-comeback-in-europe.
In-text citations also use a source’s title. If the title is long, it can be shortened to the first noun or noun phrase.
(MLA Handbook 119)
SCENARIO 2: One company is the author, a different company is the publisher
Begin the citation with the name of company author ( Handbook 119).
Example book structure
Name of Company Author. Title of the Book . Publisher, Year published.
Example of website article structure
For URLs, do NOT include http:// or https://.
Name of Company Author. “Article Title.” Website Name , Publisher, Day Month Year published, URL.
Example in-text structure
In-text citations would include the name of the company author.
(Company Author page #)
- Citing multiple authors
- MLA in-text citations
Notes on Titles and Suffixes
Some authors will also have additional information tied to their names. It could either be a title (e.g., Sir, Saint, President, etc.), a degree (e.g., MLIS, PhD, etc.), or a suffix (e.g., Jr., III, etc.).
According to the official Handbook, leave out titles and degrees from the works cited list (49).
For suffixes, include them. Add a comma after the full author’s name, then add the suffix. No comma is needed before the suffix if it is numerical.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr.
- Eaton, Maxwell III
MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.
“How Do I Cite A Source That Has No Author?”. The MLA Style Center , Modern Language Association, 2017, style.mla.org/source-with-no-author/.
Published April 14, 2016. Updated June 19, 2021.
Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.
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MLA Style Quick Guide 8th ed
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When there is truly no author available for a given work, then use the Title to start the citation. Make sure that the Title of your work is set in Italics or "Quotation Marks" appropriately just as it would be for any given citation with an author. When you are ready to cite the source in- text, you do not need to use the entire title (see example below), but you must include at least enough of the title to ensure that your readers can adequately refer to the source when examining the works-cited bibliography.
Example Citation :
"Pizza Dough Garlic Knots Recipe." eHow, Demand Media, https://www.ehow.com/13727752/pizza-dough-garlic-knots-recipe. Accessed, 8 August 2020.
In-text Citation :
Important Note: In your review of a source, please make sure that there truly is no author known for a work. Remember that an author may be an organization, a government agency or corporation. This is especially true for content such as corporate white papers and organizational articles found online. In this case, the organization can be named as an author. Likewise, an author may be only listed by their initials. In this case, use the initials as the author. Finally, when a source is indicated and signed as "Anonymous", it will also serve as as the author's name. Only when a source truly has no known author should you begin your source with a Title .
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MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics
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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
Guidelines for referring to the works of others in your text using MLA style are covered throughout the MLA Handbook and in chapter 7 of the MLA Style Manual . Both books provide extensive examples, so it's a good idea to consult them if you want to become even more familiar with MLA guidelines or if you have a particular reference question.
Basic in-text citation rules
In MLA Style, referring to the works of others in your text is done using parenthetical citations . This method involves providing relevant source information in parentheses whenever a sentence uses a quotation or paraphrase. Usually, the simplest way to do this is to put all of the source information in parentheses at the end of the sentence (i.e., just before the period). However, as the examples below will illustrate, there are situations where it makes sense to put the parenthetical elsewhere in the sentence, or even to leave information out.
- The source information required in a parenthetical citation depends (1) upon the source medium (e.g. print, web, DVD) and (2) upon the source’s entry on the Works Cited page.
- Any source information that you provide in-text must correspond to the source information on the Works Cited page. More specifically, whatever signal word or phrase you provide to your readers in the text must be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry on the Works Cited page.
In-text citations: Author-page style
MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. For example:
Both citations in the examples above, (263) and (Wordsworth 263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:
Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads . Oxford UP, 1967.
In-text citations for print sources with known author
For print sources like books, magazines, scholarly journal articles, and newspapers, provide a signal word or phrase (usually the author’s last name) and a page number. If you provide the signal word/phrase in the sentence, you do not need to include it in the parenthetical citation.
These examples must correspond to an entry that begins with Burke, which will be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of an entry on the Works Cited page:
Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method . University of California Press, 1966.
In-text citations for print sources by a corporate author
When a source has a corporate author, it is acceptable to use the name of the corporation followed by the page number for the in-text citation. You should also use abbreviations (e.g., nat'l for national) where appropriate, so as to avoid interrupting the flow of reading with overly long parenthetical citations.
In-text citations for sources with non-standard labeling systems
If a source uses a labeling or numbering system other than page numbers, such as a script or poetry, precede the citation with said label. When citing a poem, for instance, the parenthetical would begin with the word “line”, and then the line number or range. For example, the examination of William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” would be cited as such:
The speaker makes an ardent call for the exploration of the connection between the violence of nature and the divinity of creation. “In what distant deeps or skies. / Burnt the fire of thine eyes," they ask in reference to the tiger as they attempt to reconcile their intimidation with their relationship to creationism (lines 5-6).
Longer labels, such as chapters (ch.) and scenes (sc.), should be abbreviated.
In-text citations for print sources with no known author
When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name, following these guidelines.
Place the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (e.g. plays, books, television shows, entire Web sites) and provide a page number if it is available.
Titles longer than a standard noun phrase should be shortened into a noun phrase by excluding articles. For example, To the Lighthouse would be shortened to Lighthouse .
If the title cannot be easily shortened into a noun phrase, the title should be cut after the first clause, phrase, or punctuation:
In this example, since the reader does not know the author of the article, an abbreviated title appears in the parenthetical citation, and the full title of the article appears first at the left-hand margin of its respective entry on the Works Cited page. Thus, the writer includes the title in quotation marks as the signal phrase in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader directly to the source on the Works Cited page. The Works Cited entry appears as follows:
"The Impact of Global Warming in North America." Global Warming: Early Signs . 1999. www.climatehotmap.org/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2009.
If the title of the work begins with a quotation mark, such as a title that refers to another work, that quote or quoted title can be used as the shortened title. The single quotation marks must be included in the parenthetical, rather than the double quotation.
Parenthetical citations and Works Cited pages, used in conjunction, allow readers to know which sources you consulted in writing your essay, so that they can either verify your interpretation of the sources or use them in their own scholarly work.
Author-page citation for classic and literary works with multiple editions
Page numbers are always required, but additional citation information can help literary scholars, who may have a different edition of a classic work, like Marx and Engels's The Communist Manifesto . In such cases, give the page number of your edition (making sure the edition is listed in your Works Cited page, of course) followed by a semicolon, and then the appropriate abbreviations for volume (vol.), book (bk.), part (pt.), chapter (ch.), section (sec.), or paragraph (par.). For example:
Author-page citation for works in an anthology, periodical, or collection
When you cite a work that appears inside a larger source (for instance, an article in a periodical or an essay in a collection), cite the author of the internal source (i.e., the article or essay). For example, to cite Albert Einstein's article "A Brief Outline of the Theory of Relativity," which was published in Nature in 1921, you might write something like this:
See also our page on documenting periodicals in the Works Cited .
Citing authors with same last names
Sometimes more information is necessary to identify the source from which a quotation is taken. For instance, if two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors' first initials (or even the authors' full name if different authors share initials) in your citation. For example:
Citing a work by multiple authors
For a source with two authors, list the authors’ last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:
Corresponding Works Cited entry:
Best, David, and Sharon Marcus. “Surface Reading: An Introduction.” Representations , vol. 108, no. 1, Fall 2009, pp. 1-21. JSTOR, doi:10.1525/rep.2009.108.1.1
For a source with three or more authors, list only the first author’s last name, and replace the additional names with et al.
Franck, Caroline, et al. “Agricultural Subsidies and the American Obesity Epidemic.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine , vol. 45, no. 3, Sept. 2013, pp. 327-333.
Citing multiple works by the same author
If you cite more than one work by an author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it from the others. Put short titles of books in italics and short titles of articles in quotation marks.
Citing two articles by the same author :
Citing two books by the same author :
Additionally, if the author's name is not mentioned in the sentence, format your citation with the author's name followed by a comma, followed by a shortened title of the work, and, when appropriate, the page number(s):
Citing multivolume works
If you cite from different volumes of a multivolume work, always include the volume number followed by a colon. Put a space after the colon, then provide the page number(s). (If you only cite from one volume, provide only the page number in parentheses.)
Citing the Bible
In your first parenthetical citation, you want to make clear which Bible you're using (and underline or italicize the title), as each version varies in its translation, followed by book (do not italicize or underline), chapter, and verse. For example:
If future references employ the same edition of the Bible you’re using, list only the book, chapter, and verse in the parenthetical citation:
John of Patmos echoes this passage when describing his vision (Rev. 4.6-8).
Citing indirect sources
Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited within another source. For such indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source you actually consulted. For example:
Note that, in most cases, a responsible researcher will attempt to find the original source, rather than citing an indirect source.
Citing transcripts, plays, or screenplays
Sources that take the form of a dialogue involving two or more participants have special guidelines for their quotation and citation. Each line of dialogue should begin with the speaker's name written in all capitals and indented half an inch. A period follows the name (e.g., JAMES.) . After the period, write the dialogue. Each successive line after the first should receive an additional indentation. When another person begins speaking, start a new line with that person's name indented only half an inch. Repeat this pattern each time the speaker changes. You can include stage directions in the quote if they appear in the original source.
Conclude with a parenthetical that explains where to find the excerpt in the source. Usually, the author and title of the source can be given in a signal phrase before quoting the excerpt, so the concluding parenthetical will often just contain location information like page numbers or act/scene indicators.
Here is an example from O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.
WILLIE. (Pleadingly) Give me a drink, Rocky. Harry said it was all right. God, I need a drink.
ROCKY. Den grab it. It's right under your nose.
WILLIE. (Avidly) Thanks. (He takes the bottle with both twitching hands and tilts it to his lips and gulps down the whiskey in big swallows.) (1.1)
Citing non-print or sources from the Internet
With more and more scholarly work published on the Internet, you may have to cite sources you found in digital environments. While many sources on the Internet should not be used for scholarly work (reference the OWL's Evaluating Sources of Information resource), some Web sources are perfectly acceptable for research. When creating in-text citations for electronic, film, or Internet sources, remember that your citation must reference the source on your Works Cited page.
Sometimes writers are confused with how to craft parenthetical citations for electronic sources because of the absence of page numbers. However, these sorts of entries often do not require a page number in the parenthetical citation. For electronic and Internet sources, follow the following guidelines:
- Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the citation (e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
- Do not provide paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browser’s print preview function.
- Unless you must list the Web site name in the signal phrase in order to get the reader to the appropriate entry, do not include URLs in-text. Only provide partial URLs such as when the name of the site includes, for example, a domain name, like CNN.com or Forbes.com, as opposed to writing out http://www.cnn.com or http://www.forbes.com.
Miscellaneous non-print sources
Two types of non-print sources you may encounter are films and lectures/presentations:
In the two examples above “Herzog” (a film’s director) and “Yates” (a presentor) lead the reader to the first item in each citation’s respective entry on the Works Cited page:
Herzog, Werner, dir. Fitzcarraldo . Perf. Klaus Kinski. Filmverlag der Autoren, 1982.
Yates, Jane. "Invention in Rhetoric and Composition." Gaps Addressed: Future Work in Rhetoric and Composition, CCCC, Palmer House Hilton, 2002. Address.
Electronic sources may include web pages and online news or magazine articles:
In the first example (an online magazine article), the writer has chosen not to include the author name in-text; however, two entries from the same author appear in the Works Cited. Thus, the writer includes both the author’s last name and the article title in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader to the appropriate entry on the Works Cited page (see below).
In the second example (a web page), a parenthetical citation is not necessary because the page does not list an author, and the title of the article, “MLA Formatting and Style Guide,” is used as a signal phrase within the sentence. If the title of the article was not named in the sentence, an abbreviated version would appear in a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence. Both corresponding Works Cited entries are as follows:
Taylor, Rumsey. "Fitzcarraldo." Slant , 13 Jun. 2003, www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/fitzcarraldo/. Accessed 29 Sep. 2009.
"MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL , 2 Aug. 2016, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. Accessed 2 April 2018.
To cite multiple sources in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon:
Time-based media sources
When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference. For example: (00:02:15-00:02:35).
When a citation is not needed
Common sense and ethics should determine your need for documenting sources. You do not need to give sources for familiar proverbs, well-known quotations, or common knowledge (For example, it is expected that U.S. citizens know that George Washington was the first President.). Remember that citing sources is a rhetorical task, and, as such, can vary based on your audience. If you’re writing for an expert audience of a scholarly journal, for example, you may need to deal with expectations of what constitutes “common knowledge” that differ from common norms.
The MLA Handbook describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the handbook does not describe, making the best way to proceed can be unclear.
In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of MLA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard MLA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite.
You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source. For example, Norquest College provides guidelines for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers —an author category that does not appear in the MLA Handbook . In cases like this, however, it's a good idea to ask your instructor or supervisor whether using third-party citation guidelines might present problems.
Frequently asked questions
How do i cite a source with no author, title, or date in mla.
If information about your source is not available, you can either leave it out of the MLA citation or replace it with something else, depending on the type of information.
- No author : Start with the source title.
- No title : Provide a description of the source.
- No date : Provide an access date for online sources; omit for other sources.
Frequently asked questions: MLA Style
In MLA style , footnotes or endnotes can be used to provide additional information that would interrupt the flow of your text.
This can be further examples or developments of ideas you only briefly discuss in the text. You can also use notes to provide additional sources or explain your citation practice.
You don’t have to use any notes at all; only use them to provide relevant information that complements your arguments or helps the reader to understand them.
No, you should use parenthetical MLA in-text citations to cite sources. Footnotes or endnotes can be used to add extra information that doesn’t fit into your main text, but they’re not needed for citations.
If you need to cite a lot of sources at the same point in the text, though, placing these citations in a note can be a good way to avoid cluttering your text.
According to MLA format guidelines, the Works Cited page(s) should look like this:
- Running head containing your surname and the page number.
- The title, Works Cited, centered and in plain text.
- List of sources alphabetized by the author’s surname.
- 1-inch margins.
- Hanging indent applied to all entries.
The MLA Works Cited lists every source that you cited in your paper. Each entry contains the author , title , and publication details of the source.
No, in an MLA annotated bibliography , you can write short phrases instead of full sentences to keep your annotations concise. You can still choose to use full sentences instead, though.
Use full sentences in your annotations if your instructor requires you to, and always use full sentences in the main text of your paper .
If you’re working on a group project and therefore need to list multiple authors for your paper , MLA recommends against including a normal header . Instead, create a separate title page .
On the title page, list each author on a separate line, followed by the other usual information from the header: Instructor, course name and number, and submission date. Then write the title halfway down the page, centered, and start the text of the paper itself on the next page.
Usually, no title page is needed in an MLA paper . A header is generally included at the top of the first page instead. The exceptions are when:
- Your instructor requires one, or
- Your paper is a group project
In those cases, you should use a title page instead of a header, listing the same information but on a separate page.
When an online source (e.g. web page , blog post) doesn’t list a publication date , you should instead list an access date .
Unlike a publication date, this appears at the end of your MLA Works Cited entry, after the URL, e.g. “A Complete Guide to MLA Style.” Scribbr , www.scribbr.com/category/mla/. Accessed 28 Mar. 2021 .
For offline sources with no publication date shown, don’t use an access date—just leave out the date.
The level of detail you provide in a publication date in your Works Cited list depends on the type of source and the information available. Generally, follow the lead of the source—if it gives the full date, give the full date; if it gives just the year, so should you.
Books usually list the year, whereas web pages tend to give a full date. For journal articles , give the year, month and year, or season and year, depending on what information is available. Check our citation examples if you’re unsure about a particular source type.
In an MLA Works Cited list , the names of months with five or more letters are abbreviated to the first three letters, followed by a period. For example, abbreviate Feb., Mar., Apr., but not June, July.
In the main text, month names should never be abbreviated.
In your MLA Works Cited list , dates are always written in day-month-year order, with the month abbreviated if it’s five or more letters long, e.g. 5 Mar. 2018.
In the main text, you’re free to use either day-month-year or month-day-year order, as long as you use one or the other consistently. Don’t abbreviate months in the main text, and use numerals for dates, e.g. 5 March 2018 or March 5, 2018.
In most standard dictionaries , no author is given for either the overall dictionary or the individual entries, so no author should be listed in your MLA citations.
Instead, start your Works Cited entry and your MLA in-text citation with the title of the entry you’re citing (i.e. the word that’s being defined), in quotation marks.
If you cite a specialist dictionary that does list an author and/or overall editor, these should be listed in the same way as they would for other citations of books or book chapters .
Some source types, such as books and journal articles , may contain footnotes (or endnotes) with additional information. The following rules apply when citing information from a note in an MLA in-text citation :
- To cite information from a single numbered note, write “n” after the page number, and then write the note number, e.g. (Smith 105n2)
- To cite information from multiple numbered notes, write “nn” and include a range, e.g. (Smith 77nn1–2)
- To cite information from an unnumbered note, write “un” after the page number, with a space in between, e.g. (Jones 250 un)
If you cite multiple Shakespeare plays throughout your paper, the MLA in-text citation begins with an abbreviated version of the title (as shown here ), e.g. ( Oth. 1.2.4). Each play should have its own Works Cited entry (even if they all come from the same collection).
If you cite only one Shakespeare play in your paper, you should include a Works Cited entry for that play, and your in-text citations should start with the author’s name , e.g. (Shakespeare 1.1.4).
No, do not use page numbers in your MLA in-text citations of Shakespeare plays . Instead, specify the act, scene, and line numbers of the quoted material, separated by periods, e.g. (Shakespeare 3.2.20–25).
This makes it easier for the reader to find the relevant passage in any edition of the text.
When an article (e.g. in a newspaper ) appears on non-consecutive pages (e.g. starting on page 1 and continuing on page 6), you should use “pp.” in your Works Cited entry, since it’s on multiple pages, but MLA recommends just listing the first page followed by a plus sign, e.g. pp. 1+.
In an MLA style Works Cited entry for a newspaper , you can cite a local newspaper in the same way as you would a national one, except that you may have to add the name of the city in square brackets to clarify what newspaper you mean, e.g. The Gazette [Montreal].
Do not add the city name in brackets if it’s already part of the newspaper’s name, e.g. Dallas Observer .
MLA doesn’t require you to list an author for a TV show . If your citation doesn’t focus on a particular contributor, just start your Works Cited entry with the title of the episode or series, and use this (shortened if necessary) in your MLA in-text citation .
If you focus on a particular contributor (e.g. the writer or director, a particular actor), you can list them in the author position , along with a label identifying their role.
It’s standard to list the podcast’s host in the author position , accompanied by the label “host,” in an MLA Works Cited entry. It’s sometimes more appropriate to use the label “narrator,” when the podcast just tells a story without any guests.
If your citation of the podcast focuses more on the contribution of someone else (e.g. a guest, the producer), they can be listed in the author position instead, with an appropriate label.
MLA recommends citing the original source wherever possible, rather than the source in which it is quoted or reproduced.
If this isn’t possible, cite the secondary source and use “qtd. in” (quoted in) in your MLA in-text citation . For example: (qtd. in Smith 233)
If a source is reproduced in full within another source (e.g. an image within a PowerPoint or a poem in an article ), give details of the original source first, then include details of the secondary source as a container. For example:
When you want to cite a PowerPoint or lecture notes from a lecture you viewed in person in MLA , check whether they can also be accessed online ; if so, this is the best version to cite, as it allows the reader to access the source.
If the material is not available online, use the details of where and when the presentation took place.
In an MLA song citation , you need to give some sort of container to indicate how you accessed the song. If this is a physical or downloaded album, the Works Cited entry should list the album name, distributor, year, and format.
However, if you listened to the song on a streaming service, you can just list the site as a container, including a URL. In this case, including the album details is optional; you may add this information if it is relevant to your discussion or if it will help the reader access the song.
When citing a song in MLA style , the author is usually the main artist or group that released the song.
However, if your discussion focuses on the contributions of a specific performer, e.g. a guitarist or singer, you may list them as author, even if they are not the main artist. If you’re discussing the lyrics or composition, you may cite the songwriter or composer rather than a performer.
When a source has no title , this part of your MLA reference is replaced with a description of the source, in plain text (no italics or quotation marks, sentence-case capitalization).
Whenever you refer to an image created by someone else in your text, you should include a citation leading the reader to the image you’re discussing.
If you include the image directly in your text as a figure , the details of the source appear in the figure’s caption. If you don’t, just include an MLA in-text citation wherever you mention the image, and an entry in the Works Cited list giving full details.
In MLA Style , you should cite a specific chapter or work within a book in two situations:
- When each of the book’s chapters is written by a different author.
- When the book is a collection of self-contained works (such as poems , plays , or short stories ), even if they are all written by the same author.
If you cite multiple chapters or works from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each chapter.
If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .
If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).
If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:
- Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
- The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.
You must include an MLA in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book , movie , website , or article ).
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.
A standard MLA Works Cited entry is structured as follows:
Only include information that is available for and relevant to your source.
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 of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .
The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style , but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals , newspapers , websites , or any other publication. Use italics for the title of the source where the article was published. For example:
Use the same formatting in the Works Cited entry and when referring to the article in the text itself.
In MLA style , book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example:
The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.
The title of a part of a book—such as a chapter, or a short story or poem in a collection—is not italicized, but instead placed in quotation marks.
In MLA style citations , format a DOI as a link, including “https://doi.org/” at the start and then the unique numerical code of the article.
DOIs are used mainly when citing journal articles in MLA .
The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition , published in 2021.
This quick guide to MLA style explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.
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.
MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman , since it’s easy to read and installed on every computer. Other standard fonts such as Arial or Georgia are also acceptable. If in doubt, check with your supervisor which font you should be using.
To create a correctly formatted block quote in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:
- Hit Enter at the beginning and end of the quote.
- Highlight the quote and select the Layout menu.
- On the Indent tab, change the left indent to 0.5″.
Do not put quotation marks around the quote, and make sure to include an MLA in-text citation after the period at the end.
To format a block quote in MLA:
- Introduce the quote with a colon and set it on a new line.
- Indent the whole quote 0.5 inches from the left margin.
- Place the MLA in-text citation after the period at the end of the block quote.
Then continue your text on a new line (not indented).
In MLA style , if you quote more than four lines from a source, use MLA block quote formatting .
If you are quoting poetry , use block quote formatting for any quote longer than three lines.
An MLA in-text citation should always include the author’s last name, either in the introductory text or in parentheses after a quote .
If line numbers or page numbers are included in the original source, add these to the citation.
If you are discussing multiple poems by the same author, make sure to also mention the title of the poem (shortened if necessary). The title goes in quotation marks .
In the list of Works Cited , start with the poet’s name and the poem’s title in quotation marks. The rest of the citation depends on where the poem was published.
If you read the poem in a book or anthology, follow the format of an MLA book chapter citation . If you accessed the poem online, follow the format of an MLA website citation .
Only use line numbers in an MLA in-text citation if the lines are numbered in the original source. If so, write “lines” in the first citation of the poem , and only the numbers in subsequent citations.
If there are no line numbers in the source, you can use page numbers instead. If the poem appears on only one page of a book (or on a website ), don’t include a number in the citation.
To quote poetry in MLA style , introduce the quote and use quotation marks as you would for any other source quotation .
If the quote includes line breaks, mark these using a forward slash with a space on either side. Use two slashes to indicate a stanza break.
If the quote is longer than three lines, set them off from the main text as an MLA block quote . Reproduce the line breaks, punctuation, and formatting of the original.
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When information is missing, skip that element in the citation. The only exception is the title. If there is no clear title, use one or a few words to concisely describe the source.
If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title/name of the item you are citing.
Note : An author/creator is not necessarily a person's name. It may be an organization or corporation, for example Health Canada or a username on a site such as YouTube.
If, and only if, an item is signed as being created by Anonymous, use "Anonymous" where you would normally put the author name.
Alphabetical order in works-cited list
When putting works in alphabetical order, ignore initial articles such as "the", "a", or "an". For example the title The Best of Canada would be alphabetized as if it started with the word Best instead of the word The.
If the title begins with a number, alphabetize it as if the number was spelled out. For example the title 5 Ways to Succeed in Business would be alphabetized under F as if it had started with the word Five .
If no date is provided, skip that information. It's recommended that you add the date you accessed the work at the end of the citation. Access date is given by putting the word "Accessed" followed by the Day Month (Shortened) Year the work was accessed/viewed.
Example: Accessed 20 Aug 2016.
No Page Numbers
Page numbers may not be provided for some items, such as online materials. If this is the case leave the page numbers out of the citation.
No Database Name
If you find an article using Library Search make sure to click through to read the full article. Once you are looking at the full article it usually says the database name at the top of the screen.
If it is ambiguous or says something like "searching 12 databases" and you can't tell which one database it is from, enter the name of the database provider (e.g. Proquest, EBSCO, etc.) as the database.
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Answered By: Jessica Maris Last Updated: Nov 30, 2023 Views: 11465
In-text citations :
If your source has no author listed, use the title of the article in your in-text citation instead. Put quotations around the article title if it's a short work; italicize if it is a longer work.. If the title is more than a few words, shorten the title.
Example : Research indicates that three quarters of jail inmates did not complete high school ("Saving Futures" 6).
If there are no page numbers on the document, just use the title.
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Answered By: Lindley Homol Last Updated: Sep 02, 2023 Views: 210
According to MLA conventions, if a work does not have an author, it is listed by the title in the works cited list. The title is also used instead of the author's name for in-text citations. For examples of MLA citations for works without an author, please visit the library's MLA citation guide .
If you are citing online classroom materials that are missing identifying information (like author), please follow the guidelines for online classroom materials .
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- Format Your Paper
Key Elements (p. 3)
When you use others' ideas and quotes, cite your source by including:
- Author's Last Name
- Page Number of Cited Material
In-text citations direct the reader to the full citation on the Works Cited list -- i.e., (see page 214 of the work authored by the Modern Language Association) -- and the Works Cited list will have the full publication details.
Ex. "Usually the author's last name and a page reference are enough to identify the source and the specific location from which you borrowed material" (Modern Language Association 214).
When you must cite the title, italicize book titles and put quotes around article, video, poem, play, and web page titles.
To maximize the effectiveness of your writing, you are encouraged to word your in-text citations in several ways.
- Author's last name and page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence.
Ex. "When his father told him that he was to go back to school again, Charles's eyes filled with tears of gratitude" (Hibbert 83).
- Author's name in the text and page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence.
Ex. According to Andrea Tone, President John F. Kennedy took up to eight medications a day to treat illness and stress (112).
- With no page numbers (ex. Web pages), give as much information about the source as possible in the sentence.
Ex. Copyright scholar Lawrence Lessig noted in his well-regarded blog that, as of March 2009, over 100 million photos on Flickr were licensed through Creative Commons.
One Author: Direct Quotes (p. 3)
Include the author's last name and page number.
Ex. "When his father told him that he was to go back to school again, Charles's eyes filled with tears of gratitude" ( Hibbert 83).
One Author: Paraphrasing (p. 9)
Cite the author and paraphrased page numbers.
Ex. Many insects and animals have a larger spectrum of color vision than humans, including ultraviolet and infrared (Kimura 163-65).
Two Authors (p. 116)
Include each author's last name followed by the page number.
Ex. Facebook's influence over online privacy standards reaches far beyond its 500 million users; its privacy policies, "more than those of any other company, are helping to define standards for privacy in the Internet age" (Helft and Wortham B1).
Three or More Authors (p. 116)
Give the first author's last name followed by "et al," which means "and others."
Ex. Part of the problem, one study asserts, is people "might not realize the potential consequences of publishing personal information for public view in an online social networking community" (Foulger et al. 1-2).
Foulger, Teresa S., et al. "Moral Spaces in MySpace: Preservice Teachers' Perspectives About Ethical Issues in Social Networking." Journal of Research on Technology in Education 42.1 (2009): 1-28. Academic OneFile. Web. 29 July 2010.
No Author (p. 117)
When the citation has no author, use its title in place of the author. Include page numbers when available. The title in the in-text citation should match the title in the Works Cited list.
Ex. Although many online social networking services are free to users, "they are run by commercial enterprises that want, quite reasonably, to make money. Since they cannot charge entry fees, they harvest data" ("Online Privacy" 28).
If you abbreviate a long title, make sure the first word of the abbreviated title matches the first word of the title on the Works Cited list.
Ex. Abbreviate "Oil Spill in the Gulf Coast" as "Oil Spill," not "Gulf Coast."
No Page Numbers (p. 123)
In the text, include as much information as possible, including title, author, website, etc. Cite the chapter when available.
Ex. Kurosawa's Throne of Blood adapts Shakespeare's "MacBeth" to the Japanese audience (Evans).
Has Volume (p. 119)
Only cite the volume number in the in-text citation when you use two volumes of the same set. If you only cite one volume, just include that information in the Work's Cited. Include the author, volume number, and page number.
Ex. Hemingway's tight and straightforward prose style that so heavily influenced modern writing is best exemplified in The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man and the Sea (Aviero 3: 23-5).
Ex. Raymond Bradbury's short story "I Sing the Body Electric!" takes its name from the title of a Walt Whitman poem (Wyland, vol. 1)
Common Literature with Many Editions (p. 120)
Include the author, page number, and chapter number.
Ex. Julia is foreshadowed in Winston's dream as a dark-haired girl: "Her body was white and smooth, but it aroused no desire in him, indeed he barely looked at it." (56; ch. 3)
Video (p. 57)
Since videos do not have page numbers, include the time stamp.
Ex. Cheetahs can reach "0 to 60 in three seconds, or three strides" (Smithsonian Channel 0:45).
Play (p. 80)
Cite the act, scene, and line number not page number.
- Go from the broadest division (usually act) to the smallest (usually scene or line).
- Separate each division with a period.
- If the author's name is elsewhere in your paper, do not include it. Instead, include the first significant word of the title.
Incorporate the quote into the body of the text.
Ex. Nora's epiphany occurs when she realizes her husband will never reciprocate the sacrifices she's made to protect his pride. She finally stands up to Helmer, telling him, "You neither think nor talk like the man I could join myself to" ( Doll act 3). (Note: Ibsen's A Doll House is divided by act only, so this is the only division you can cite.)
Ex. Although Oedipus blames the gods for his tragic fate, he admits that his latest misfortune is his own doing when he cries, "But the blinding hand was my own! How could I bear to see when all my sight was horror everywhere?" ( Oedipus Exodus.2.114-16). (Note: Oedipus Rex is broken into numerous divisions; all available divisions are included in the citation.)
Two or More Characters
- Begin the quotation on a new line, indent 1 inch from the margin, and double-space
- If a character's speech continues onto the next line of your paper, indent these lines another 1/4 inch
- Write the characters' names in capital letters followed by a period
- Do not use quotation marks
OEDIPUS. Ah, what net has God been weaving for me?
IOCASTÊ. Oedipus! What does this trouble you?
OEDIPUS. Do not ask me yet. First, tell me how Laïos looked, and tell me how old he was.
IOCASTÊ. He was tall, his hair just touched with white; his form was not unlike your own.
OEDIPUS. I think that I myself may be accursed by my own ignorant edict. ( Oedipus 2.2.211-16)
Shakespearean Play (p. 121)
Abbreviate the title of a work if you cite it frequently in your paper. Use the full title when first mentioned in your text with the abbreviation in parentheses, then use the a bbreviation in l ater references to the title . Cite the line numbers.
ex. In All's Well That Ends Well (AWW), Helena believes she is the master of her own fate, saying "Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, / Which we ascribe to heaven" ( AWW , 1.1.199-200).
See the document below for commonly-used Shakespearean play abbreviations.
- Abbreviations for Shakespeare Plays
Poem (p. 121)
Cite line numbers.No line numbers? If only one page, don't cite any number. If more than one page, cite page numbers.
3 Lines or Fewer
Incorporate the quotation into the body of your text.
- Use quotation marks
- Use slashes (/) to show line breaks and keep all punctuation as it appears in the poem
- If the author's name is elsewhere in your paper, do not include it . Instead, include the first significant word of the poem's title.
- If the title of the poem is in the sentences immediately before the quotation, cite the line number only.
Ex. In "Hands," Jeffers humanizes prehistoric cave drawings by giving the drawers a voice: "Look: we also were human; we had hands, not paws" (line 10)
Ex. Eliot immediately engages the reader with his use of the second person in the opening lines: "Let us go then, you and I / When the evening is spread out against the sky" ("Prufrock" 1-2).
Four or More Lines
Start the quotation on a new line.
- Do not use quotation marks unless they are used in the poem
- Indent each line 1 inch from the left margin and double-space
Ex. Yeats, an Irish nationalist himself, knew several of the Easter Monday rebels personally, and he mentions them by name in his poem. He even notes his former nemesis, Major John MacBride, who was briefly married to Yeats's love, Maude Gonne. Though he acknowledges MacBride's heroism, he does so begrudgingly:
A drunken, vainglorious lout
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart
Yet I number him in the song; ("Easter" 31-34)
Quoting a Quote (p. 124)
Start with "qtd. in," which means quoted in, and cite the author of the text that the quote is in and the page number.
Ex. Despite several dalliances, Anders claims "Gala was secure in her role as Dali's primary lifelong partner and muse" (qtd. in Chahine 13).
Two Citations in One Sentence (p. 58)
Include both authors and page numbers.
Ex. Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet has been linked to many health benefits; however, eating a diet of primarily fresh foods is too expensive for most poor people (Nejem 12; McRay 153).
Use the same rules as print resources. URLs are not used for in-text citation in MLA.
Ex. As creative entrepreneurship and networking become increasingly important to artistic success, the new paradigm is becoming “the displacement of depth by breadth" ( Deresiewicz ).
Ex. The Hövding is a new type of bicycle helmet which is worn like a collar and “protects even more of the head than traditional helmets” (“This Invisible”).
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