Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

MLA Citation Rules and Guidelines

Every citation format includes a list of sourced references at the end of your school research paper. These references detail the elements of the sources you used to conduct your research in the form of a bibliography. When formatting the MLA 8 works cited page for your humanities paper, be sure to follow these guidelines and rules for proper MLA citation.

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Citation Rules for MLA Works Cited

In MLA 8, you may create a full bibliography that outlines all the work you consulted in your research. However, it is more likely you will create a list of references called a works cited list.

To write and organize a works cited reference page, follow these rules:

  • Include all sources you used within your paper.
  • Start your Works Cited page on a separate page after your report.
  • Use the same font and margins as the rest of your paper.
  • Double space your text.
  • Left-align the citations and use hanging indents for citations that are two or more lines.
  • Use the letter-by-letter alphabetizing method.
  • Alphabetize entries by the authors’ last names.

How to Format MLA Citation Entries

Students in a classroom making an MLA style bibliography

To format each entry on your MLA Works Cited page, follow these rules:

  • Include the URL for the source, if available. If a DOI® is available, include this instead of the URL.
  • Do not include http:// or https:// in the web address.
  • Include the access date, if the source is undated or your instructor requests it.
  • Format each entry using MLA Core Elements.
  • Place a period at the end of each entry, including after a URL or DOI.

MLA Works Cited Example Page

Refer to this example for what a finalized MLA style Works Cited page should look like.

Your Last Name 7

Works Cited

Arterburn, Stephen. Hand-Me-Down Genes and Second-Hand Emotions: You Can Overcome the Genetic and Family Factors That Can Lead to Depression, Alcoholism, Obesity, and Suicide. Simon & Schuster. 1994.

Begleiter, Henri and Benjamin Kissin. The Genetics of Alcoholism. Oxford University Press, 1995.

Jackson, Joan K. “Alcoholism and the Family.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 315, no. 1, 1958, pp.90-98, doi:10.1177/000271625831500112.

Roy, Marc‐André, et al. “Biases in The Diagnosis of Alcoholism by the Family History Method.” Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, vol.18, no.4, 1994, pp. 845-851.

VandenAkken, Sherri, director. My Name was Bette: The Life and Death of an Alcoholic. New Alliance East, 2014.

Patterson, Bradley W., et al. “Alcoholism and Family History of Alcoholism: Effects on Visual and Auditory Event-Related Potentials.” Alcohol, vol. 4, no.4, 1987, pp. 265-274.


Follow Your Teacher’s Instructions

As long as you follow the MLA basic citation format while writing your research paper and works cited page, your teacher will be happy with you. Remember to always follow your instructor’s guidelines, even if it differs from MLA format guidelines.

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