MLA style, which follows Merriam-Webster, does not use hyphens after most prefixes. We would write, for example, antiestablishment, coauthor, nonlinear, and prealgebra. A hyphen is needed, however, before a capital letter (pre-Renaissance), when the term would be hard to recognize otherwise (anti-intellectual), and to avoid misreading (the hyphen in re-cover, meaning “cover again,” distinguishes the term from recover, meaning “recuperate”).
Ask the MLA FAQ
Search our list of frequently asked questions.Haven't found what you're looking for? Submit a question.
Nonconsecutive page numbers are presented in the same order as the quotations to which they refer:
As Ann Smith notes, some scholars contend that “the sky is green,” but others claim that “the sky is red” (80, 120).
As Ann Smith notes, some scholars contend that “the sky is red,” but others claim that “the sky is green” (120, 80).
When the work you are citing is not printed on consecutive pages, include specific page numbers in the in-text citation even though they are represented by a plus sign in the works-cited-list entry:
Smith, Ann. “Debates about the Color of the Sky.” Journal of Silly Arguments, vol. 8, no. 2, 2017, pp. 80+.
Television series are divided into episodes and often air for many seasons. During the run of a series, performers, directors, and even the entity making the show publicly available (the “publisher”) can change, and thus publication information typically varies by episode. Thus, since the goal of cross-referencing entries in the works-cited list is economy and since relevant publication details pertain to the episode, not the series, this method is not usually a suitable option for television series.
If you discuss details of individual episodes and refer only to a few episodes, list the episodes individually in the works-cited list:
“Black Tie.” Directed by Arthur W. Forney, performances by Jerry Orbach and Chris Noth. Law and Order, created by Dick Wolf, season 4, episode 5, Wolf Films, 20 Oct. 1993. DVD.
“Manhattan Vigil.” Directed by Jean de Segonzac, performances by Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, created by Dick Wolf, season 14, episode 5, Wolf Films, 24 Oct. 2012. Netflix, www.netflix.com.
“Snatched.” Directed by Constantine Makris, performances by Jerry Orbach and Chris Noth. Law and Order, created by Dick Wolf, season 4, episode 12, Wolf Films, 12 Jan. 1994. DVD.
If your study focuses on one or more television series and discusses many episodes, it will generally be clearest to organize your works-cited list with subheads (read our earlier post about this method). For example, in a paper on the various shows in the Law and Order franchise, you might use the following heads:
Law and Order
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Other Primary and Secondary Works
When you use subheads, ensure that your discussion makes clear the series you refer to so that readers can locate the relevant entry easily.
If you are discussing a television show generally, you can create a works-cited-list entry for the show and refer to relevant details in your writing:
At the start of the television series Victoria, Victoria struggles to prove she can handle her monarchical duties despite her youth and inexperience. By episode 2, when several characters conspire to have her declared insane, she gains an ally in Lord Melbourne, who comes to her rescue.
Victoria. Created by Daisy Goodwin, Mammoth Screen, 2016-17.
To cite the live version of a webinar you attended, follow the MLA template of core elements. List the name of the presenter as the author, the title of the webinar, the organization responsible for the webinar, and the date. For clarity, you may add “Webinar” in the optional-element slot at the end of the entry:
Gibson, Angela. MLA Style 101. Modern Language Association, 22 Aug. 2017. Webinar.
To cite the recording of the webinar, list the date that the recording was posted and the URL:
Gibson, Angela. MLA Style 101. Modern Language Association, 30 Aug. 2017, outreach.mla.org/mla-style.
A modern editorial style keeps capitalization to a minimum. In MLA style, a movement or school of thought is only capitalized when it could be confused with a generic term–for example, Romanticism or New Criticism.
Yes. In the following example of a quotation from an early English work, the quotation appears on page 37v, so you would include both the number and the letter in your parenthetical reference:
In “Dumbe Man’s Academie,” John Bulwer writes, “The Dumbe hath the same passions as wee have for he hath the same potentialitye of the soule equal with us” (folio 37v).
Bulwer, John. “The Dumbe Man’s Academie.” British Library, London, MS Sloane 1788.
Do I need to provide a works-cited-list entry if I am citing scriptural writings in the original language?Answer
Yes. If you cite scriptural writings in the original language, provide the edition of the religious work you are using.
MLA style aims to make in-text citations as unobtrusive as possible, so we normally recommend placing them at the end of a sentence, but sometimes for clarity you may need to insert a citation earlier–for instance, when the number of quotations in your sentence exceeds the number of page numbers:
Rather than a suspicious reader’s “digging down” or a surface reader’s “standing back” (52), she would like to see readers “forging links between things that were previously unconnected” and thus “creating something new” (173, 174).*
You might also need to insert a citation earlier when you are quoting from one source but paraphrasing from another:
The call to distant reading, the demand for “macroanalysis” (Jockers), has been accompanied by a manifesto for surface reading, an insistence that we say goodbye to all that symptomatic root-canal work on rotten ideology in the text and that we eschew comparatist master narratives; surface reading’s textual description may include book history or distant reading (Best and Marcus 17).
You might insert a citation earlier as well when you want to emphasize that what follows the quotation is your own idea:
If there was ever a time for “styles of suspicious reading that blend interpretation with moral judgment” (86), it’s now.
*The first and third examples are taken from Diana Fuss; “But What about Love?” PMLA, vol. 132, no. 2, 2017, pp. 352–55. The second example is taken from Alison Booth; “Mid-Range Reading: Not a Manifesto”; PMLA, vol. 132, no. 3, 2017, pp. 620–27.
Although it is not generally necessary to indicate that a work appears in a special issue of a journal, you can cite special issues by following the MLA template of core elements. Include the same information you would for an article in a regular issue, adding the special issue’s title, a comma, and the phrase “special issue of” before the journal’s title in the “Title of Container” slot:
Charney, Michael W. “Literary Culture on the Burma-Manipur Frontier in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.” Literary Cultures at the Frontiers: Literature and Identity in the Early Modern World, special issue of The Medieval History Journal, edited by Sumit Guha, vol. 14, no. 2, 2011, pp. 159-81.
If a special issue identifies itself not by title but by description (e.g., “special issue on Shakespeare”), include that description and the journal’s title in the “Title of Container” slot:
Frelik, Paweł. “Of Slipstream and Others: SF and Genre Boundary Discourses.” Special issue on slipstream, Science Fiction Studies, vol. 38, no. 1, Mar. 2011, pp. 20-45.