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How to Punctuate in MLA Works Cited


Students Discussing How to Punctuate in MLA Works Cited

Arranging your MLA Works Cited page properly is an important part of finalizing your school research assignment. Your teacher will provide guidance as to any particular formatting issues; however, in general you should follow these rules.

MLA doesn’t have a lot of fancy punctuation rules. For the most part, it’s simply using commas and periods.

While creating your core elements, you will notice that there is a period after each of the first two elements:

  • Author.
  • Title.

Then each remaining element has a comma until the final element.

Locational Elements

You may notice a plus sign after a page number in a works citation. This simply indicates that the pages of an article are not printed on consecutive pages. For example, A front page article will often continue on to two or more pages in a newspaper. In fact, most long articles will spread out throughout the newspaper.

Allen, Tamin. “On Ice.” Los Angeles Times Book Review, 12 Dec. 2010, pp. 12 +.


Note: Enter a space between the page number and the plus sign.

Other Punctuation Marks

Use square brackets to set off information that is not included in the original source.


[circa 1979]


If you’re unsure of a date, put the date in brackets followed by a question mark



If you’re using information from a smaller, local paper, put the city of publication in brackets after it.


The Communicator [Santa Rosa]


Note: For large well-known papers, such as Los Angeles Times or USA Today, no city name is needed. Simply use the full titles in the citation. Include the word The, if it’s part of the newspaper title – The Wall Street Journal.


You may use the forward slash in the works cited page if there is multiple information for the same element, such as two publishers.


Getty Museum / Random Books



You should include the doi or the url if it’s available.

  • Omit the http:// or https:// from the URL.
  • Don’t use URLs from services that shorten the link.
  • Use a DOI if available. Place doi: before the number


doi: 10.xxxxxx


MLA style is a flexible easy editorial style for school papers. However, you still have rules to follow. The best thing to do when finalizing your MLA works cited page is to pay attention to the small details of each cited source. Make sure you have the core elements punctuated correctly, and that you’ve formatted the full citation correctly, including in-text citations.

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About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico.

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