How does the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook compare with the eighth edition?

The ninth edition retains the MLA’s unique system of documentation established in the eighth edition. New to the ninth edition are hundreds of additional example citations and visuals; expanded guidance on formatting papers, citing sources, quoting and paraphrasing, and avoiding plagiarism; and entirely new sections on inclusive language, annotated bibliographies, and notes. The chart below gives a head-to-head comparison of the two editions.

  MLA Handbook, 9th edition MLA Handbook, 8th edition
Publication date April 2021 April 2016
Audience students, teachers, librarians, advanced scholars, writers, and editors students, teachers, librarians and advanced scholars

paperback, hardcover, spiral, e-book

400 pages

142 visuals

paperback, large print, e-book

160 pages

24 visuals

Sample citations 333 sample citations in the text, with an appendix of over 200 additional examples by publication format 164 sample citations in the text
Citing sources

newly expanded guidance spans 3 chapters

Paper-formatting guidelines

plus new guidelines on group projects, title pages, and lists

Writing advice punctuation; capitalization; styling terms, names, and titles in prose; and more
Inclusive language guidelines tips to help writers use language thoughtfully when discussing race and ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age, and economic or social status  
Plagiarism guidelines

with new advice on common knowledge, passing mentions, allusions, and epigraphs

Annotated bibliographies  
Quoting and paraphrasing sources

with new guidance on differentiating one’s own ideas from those of the source, punctuation and capitalization with quotations, and more

Footnotes and endnotes   
Abbreviations lists

with a new list demonstrating how to create abbreviations for any title