Writing Well

Documentation Format

MLA Documentation

The Modern Language Association (MLA) uses internal documentation in place of footnotes and endnotes, embedding the reference in the text of the paper. As you learned in “Paper Chase,” you usually need to include only the author's last name (or the title, if the source does not have a credited author) and the page number in an internal documentation.

Following are the standard MLA formats for a Works Cited page. Remember to use MLA style-formatting for papers in the humanities (English, literature, composition, and rhetoric).

Citing Books

The basic citation for a book looks like this:

Author's last name, first name. Book Title. Place of publication: publisher, date of publication.

Here are some models to show you how the variations are written:

Citing Periodicals

The basic citation for an article looks like this:

Author's last name, first name. “Title of the Article.” Magazine. Month and year of publication: page numbers.

Notice that the date in a bibliographic citation is written in European style, with the date before the month, rather than after. For example: 12 September 1989.

If the page numbers in an article are not consecutive, cite the first page number followed by a plus sign (+).

Here are some variations on periodical citations:

book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well © 2000 by Laurie Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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