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MLA Style: Works Cited: What to Include

A guide to writing papers and citing sources in Modern Language Association style.

Core Elements

Image credit: Modern Language Association. MLA core elements. 2016,


A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a set of letters, numbers, and symbols used to permanently identify an item. The DOI can be used to retrieve an article from the web. In academia, DOIs are found attached to most digital articles. They provide a stable link back to the article, and are preferable to URLs as a source location.

Works Cited Rules

Your Works Cited page is a separate page at the end of your paper. Retain the same margins and header rules as the rest of the paper (see the infograph on the front page of this guide).

The page will be titled Works Cited, without italicization or quotes. The title should be centered, while the rest of the page should be left-aligned.

Double-space your citations, but do not skip lines between entries.

Use a hanging indent- instructions for how to do this are located on the "How to Cite..." pages of this guide.

When listing page numbers, use "p." for a single page and "pp." for a range of pages. Use a hyphen for spans of pages (pp. 225-250).

All online sources require a location. This can be a URL (delete "http://" from the beginning) or preferably a DOI (if available).

Capitalize all words in titles except for articles, prepositions, and conjunctions- unless one is the first word in a title or subtitle.

Italicize the titles of larger works (books, magazines, journals) and put quotation marks around the titles of shorter works (poems, articles).

Author Names

Works Cited entries are listed alphabetically by the primary author's last name. If citing an entire edited collection, use the editor's name instead. The first author/editor listed in a citation is written last name first, with middle names or initials following the first name.

Burke, Kenneth

Levy, David M.

Wallace, David Foster

Do not include titles or degrees, but do include suffixes such as "Jr." and "II". These are listed after the author's entire name, so for a work by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. you would cite "King, Martin Luther, Jr."

If you have more than one work by a single author, alphabetize by title, cite the first work normally, and replace the author's name with three hyphens in all subsequent entries.

Burke, Kenneth. A Grammar of Motives. etc.

---. A Rhetoric of Motives. etc.

In the case of having one book by an author and another book by more than one author including the author of the first book, cite both as normal- do not use hyphens to replace an author's name.

Example Attribution

All examples on this page taken from Purdue Online Writing Lab (