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MLA Style

A guide to MLA style citations for Lincoln Christian University students.


This guide helps Lincoln Christian University students write research papers using the MLA style of citations as described in Diana Hacker's A Pocket Style Manual commonly known as Hacker, and the MLA Handbook, 8th edition.  This guide does not take the place of owning and referencing a complete copy of these manuals.  Instead, this guide serves to provide specific guidelines adopted or suggested by Lincoln Christian University for our campus.

For questions not answered here, please contact the library via email ( or check with the course professor. 

Core Elements

MLA Works Cited entries must contain specific Core Elements which are listed as follows:

Author.  Author's name is listed last name first, followed by the first name and separated by a comma.  Place a period after the author.

Title of Source. Include the full title, including subtitle of the specific source being used as it appears in the item.  However, make sure all principal words are capitalized.  The title of the source may be in italics or in quotation marks depending on the source type such as book, article, or website.  Place a period after the source title. 

Title of Container, When the source being used is part of a larger source or container, the title of the container appears next.  The container title is usually in italics. Place a comma after the container title.

Note: Some sources may have multiple containers.  For example, a full-text article found in a journal database has multiple containers.  MLA indicates that additional container information is placed at the end of the works cited entry. 

Other Contributors, Describe the role played by other contributors followed by the contributor's name. Some roles are titles such as general editor while other roles are described as edited by or translated by. Place a comma after the other contributors.

Version, If the source has been released multiple times, include the version in your entry. For example, books often indicate a revised edition or 3rd edition. Place a comma after the version.

Number, If the source is part of a larger set or sequence, there may be a volume number or sometimes a volume and issue number.  Place a comma after the number.

Publisher, MLA defines publisher as the organization responsible for producing the source. Place a comma after the publisher.

Publication date, List the publication date of the source used. Some sources may have more than one date particularly if published in print and online. MLA recommends using the date of the source you used. Place a comma after the date.

Location. Location varies depending on the source. Location may be a page number or a URL.

Place a period at the very end of your works cited entry. 

MLA indicates if a core element is not present or relevant to the item being cited, it should be left out.

MLA also describes optional elements which may be included depending on the source. Those elements are described in the sections on the source types.