The Modern Language Association, or MLA, style of referencing sources is common in the humanities, particularly by schools and scholars. The MLA style provides the guidelines to properly cite works borrowed for your research paper. Failing to cite the sources can result in accusations of plagiarism. Citing MLA style can be within-text references, footnotes or as a bibliography. Although citing your references may at first seem cumbersome, with practice, MLA can eventually become a natural part of your writing.
Cite a work with a known author within the text using the MLA format
Cite the author and page of the work from which you took information when researching your paper. Place the author’s last name and corresponding page number from the cited work in parentheses. Use a dash for information spanning multiple pages. For example, “Expressing this concern is common (Dover 118-21.)” If you already referenced the author’s name in the sentence, don’t include it in the parenthetical. For example, “Dover expresses this concern (118-21).” The in-text citation needs to correspond to the complete reference in your bibliography.
Cite a work with an unknown author within the text using the MLA format
Cite a work with no known author by using the title of the work you borrowed information from, instead of the author’s name. Place it in quotation marks if it is a short work, such as an article, or italicize it if it is a long work, such as a book or a series of books and then reference the page.
Cite a work with more than one authors within the text using the MLA format
Cite multiple authors within your text by listing all the different names, using commas and then placing them in parentheses. Follow this information with the page which you used as your source. For example, “The authors state tighter gun control in the U.S. erodes Second Amendment rights (Smith, Yang, and Moore 76).
Cite more than one works within the text using the MLA format
Cite multiple works by the same or a different author. If you want to cite multiple works in your research paper, then reference the name of the first author and the page of his work. You then must do the same with the second author. You separate the two using a colon. Your within the text citation of multiple works will look like this: (Burns 54; Thomas 327).