Search Our List of Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about works-cited lists
Questions about using sources
Questions about in-text citations
Questions about writing tips
Questions about titles of works
Questions about punctuation
Questions about quotations
Questions about formatting a paper
Questions about names
Questions about digital sources
Questions about works-cited list
Questions about websites
Questions about capitalization
Questions about books
Questions about dates
Questions about italics
Questions about page numbers
Questions about abbreviations
Questions about images
Questions about spelling
Questions about URLs
Questions about notes
Questions about poetry
Questions about one author
Questions about numbers
Questions about grammar
Questions about journal articles
Questions about movies
Questions about two authors
Questions about translations
Questions about interviews
Questions about foreign language
Questions about essays
Questions about artworks
Questions about videos
Questions about paraphrases
Questions about musical works
Questions about captions
Questions about dramatic works
Questions about usage
Questions about more than two authors
Questions about alphabetization
Questions about newspapers
Questions about songs
Questions about unpublished works
Questions about social media
Questions about performances
Questions about republished works
Questions about HB9
Questions about anthologies
Questions about edited collections
Questions about letters
Questions about magazines
Questions about credits
Questions about television shows
Questions about anonymous works
Questions about museums
Questions about editions
Questions about appendixes
Questions about data
Questions about lists
Questions about databases
Questions about e-mail
Questions about live presentations
Questions about advertisements
Questions about speeches
Questions about DOIs
Questions about headings
Questions about tables
Questions about dictionaries
Questions about corporate authors
Questions about dissertations
Questions about word choice
Questions about apps
Questions about textbooks
Questions about exhibits
Questions about containers
Questions about introductions
Questions about comics
Questions about photographs
Questions about legal works
Questions about conference presentations
Questions about e-books
Questions about multivolume works
Questions about PDFs
Questions about theses
Questions about government publications
Questions about reference works
Questions about lectures
Questions about transliteration
Questions about personal communications
Questions about reports
Questions about sound recordings
Questions about short stories
Questions about scripture
Questions about annotated bibliographies
Questions about encyclopedias
Questions about podcasts
Questions about text messages
Questions about news services
Questions about maps
Questions about Bible
Questions about video games
Questions about plays
Questions about slide presentations
Questions about formatting an essay
Questions about use of italics
Questions about special features
Questions about blog posts
Questions about summaries
Questions about audiobooks
Questions about radio programs
Questions about publishers
Questions about MLA style
Questions about Qur'an
Question about science writing
Question about pdf
Question about prefaces
Question about teaching tips
Question about brochures
Question about reviews
Question about translation
Question about plagiarism
Question about article
Question about working papers
Question about afterwords
Question about archives
Question about typography
Question about manuscripts
Question about surveys
Question about handbook corrections
Question about th
Question about quotation
Question about digital archives
Question about foreign languages
Question about book series
Below are examples of how to cite material posted on Facebook. For explanations, see our post on citing social media.
On Facebook the World Wildlife Fund announced the birth of twenty-three endangered glossy black cockatoo chicks.
World Wildlife Fund. “Inspiring conservation news: 23 endangered glossy black cockatoo chicks hatched on Kangaroo Island, an area previously ravaged by Australia’s devastating bushfires.” Facebook, 8 July 2020, www.facebook.com/worldwildlifefund/posts/10157806449919794.
The World Wildlife Fund celebrated Earth Day on its Facebook page with a photo of a wolf cub.
World Wildlife Fund. “Happy Earth Day from all of us at WWF!” Facebook, 22 Apr. 2019, www.facebook.com/worldwildlifefund/photos/
On Shark Awareness Day, the World Wildlife Fund posted a video with five facts about sharks.
World Wildlife Fund. “Five Things to Know on Shark Awareness Day.” Facebook, 14 July 2020, www.facebook.com/
You can see photos of many endangered species on the World Wildlife Fund’s Facebook page.
World Wildlife Fund. “Photos.” Facebook, 2020, www.facebook.com/
- To access the URL of a Facebook post, click the time stamp near the top of the post and then copy the URL of the page.
The MLA follows The Chicago Manual of Style in recommending that scientific laws, theories, and terms be lowercased except when preceded by a proper adjective (ch. 8, sec. 148). We also consult Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary for spelling, which generally adheres to Chicago’s principle. The following provides examples:
Laws, Theories, and Terms with Proper Adjectives
Einstein’s general theory of relativity
Fermat’s last theorem
Newton’s first law of motion
Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle
Laws, Theories, and Terms without Proper Adjectives
general theory of relativity
big bang theory
law of definite proportions
conservation of mass
1Merriam-Webster lowercases “euclidean” in “euclidean geometry” but also notes that the e in “euclidean” is “often capitalized” (“Euclidean Geometry”). Either form would be acceptable in MLA style.
The Chicago Manual of Style. U of Chicago P, 2021, www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html.
“Euclidean Geometry, N.” Merriam-Webster, 2021, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/euclidean%20geometry.
MLA Handbook Plus is a new, subscription-based digital product providing online access to the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook. MLA Handbook Plus will be available in beta in mid-September 2021, and the full launch is planned for January 2022. We’re very excited to bring the handbook to a digital platform! Sign up below to get updates on MLA Handbook Plus, including information about free trials.
We created MLA Handbook Plus because we heard—increasingly during the pandemic—that users needed a version of the handbook that could be discovered and accessed by site license through a school’s digital library collections and made available through LMSs.
Our goal, as always, is to provide instructors with clear guidelines, students with the best tools to effectively learn and use MLA style, and writers at all levels access to the advice they need. Read on to learn more about the content and user experience design of MLA Handbook Plus.
The cornerstone of MLA Handbook Plus is the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook, released in print in spring 2021. The ninth edition was created in direct, sustained dialogue with the instructors, librarians, and students around the world who use the handbook every day. A comprehensive reference work and textbook, the new handbook features
- 400 pages
- seven chapters, three of which are devoted to documentation
- 142 visual examples
- over 500 sample citations
- two appendixes
- a comprehensive index
A handy chart compares how the new handbook stacks up against the previous edition.
Access, Accessibility, and Interactive Enhancements
MLA Handbook Plus meets WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards. It will be available to an unlimited number of simultaneous users at subscribing institutions, who will get access to the platform from their institution’s network. Using the site will be intuitive and straightforward, requiring no special training. Students can also create free accounts allowing them access to the platform off-campus for designated periods of time, because we know it is essential that students have uninterrupted access to important course and reference materials like the MLA Handbook regardless of physical proximity to their institution’s libraries. Students can also access the platform from any browser or device, because students have different technological needs and preferences.
Everything in the new edition of the handbook will be available on MLA Handbook Plus, but this is so much more than an e-book. We’ve added features that enhance the content and make learning and teaching MLA style even easier. For example, throughout the site, you’ll find lots of cross-linking of related content. To reinforce core concepts, we also added a split-view feature to allow students to see figures and illustrations while reading corresponding content, so exploring the handbook will be even more interactive.
Navigation and Search
Designed for easy navigation, the print handbook has sections numbered continuously through each chapter. Cross-references at the end of sections point out related information covered elsewhere in the handbook, figure references are clearly delineated from the text, and figures are easily readable alongside the instructional text.
MLA Handbook Plus uses the same numbering of sections, so students and instructors can easily go back and forth between MLA Handbook Plus and the print and e-book editions. But because long chapters are harder to digest and navigate online, content in MLA Handbook Plus is presented in smaller, discrete sections. And different pathways through the text will be available: for example, a learner’s tour gives students new to MLA style access to the most critical information to help them get started.
We designed the search functionality of MLA Handbook Plus to allow students to quickly find the most relevant information and the hundreds of works-cited-list examples listed by format in the handbook’s appendix. With their free personal account, students can save searches for quick access, and instructors can include specific search results in their LMS or course materials to help illustrate particular concepts.
In the future we’ll be adding to MLA Handbook Plus titles in our popular MLA guides series, such as the MLA Guide to Digital Literacy and the MLA Guide to Undergraduate Research in Literature. And with MLA Handbook Plus, we’ll be able to make annual updates to the handbook, allowing MLA style to change and evolve with student needs and usage conventions. We’re also creating a companion video course series—with quizzes and assessments—that will make teaching MLA style easier than it’s ever been.
Sign Up for Updates
Throughout the summer we’ll start setting up free trials, and we’ll be recording demos and tutorials to help users make the most of the content and tools on the site. Sign up now to get updates on MLA Handbook Plus!
An infinitive is the to form of a verb: to go, to be. Writers are often taught to avoid splitting infinitives—that is, to avoid placing a term, usually an adverb, between to and the verb: to boldly go.
But words should always be arranged in a way that makes the meaning of a sentence clear. Take the following example:
The repair service arrived quickly to fix the problem.
If the writer wishes to indicate that the repair service arrived in a timely manner, then the placement of quickly is correct. But if it’s the fixing that was done quickly, then quickly should be placed between to and fix:
The repair service arrived to quickly fix the problem.
Words should also be placed to avoid ambiguity. Take this next example:
She liked to read thoughtfully translated books.
Here, thoughtfully could describe read or translated. If thoughtfully is meant to describe read, then the infinitive should be split:
She liked to thoughtfully read translated books.
If thoughtfully is meant to describe translated, the sentence could be rearranged:
She liked to read books translated thoughtfully.
The best way to ensure that you receive a complete, correct, and authorized copy published by the MLA (and not a counterfeit version with errors) is to buy it directly from the MLA’s online bookstore. The handbook is now available in paperback, spiral-bound, and hardcover versions.
If you are assigning it for courses or buying it outside the United States, you can also purchase it from our authorized distributors, Hopkins Fulfillment Services and Eurospan.
If you are citing one edition of a text as your primary source, you might need to refer occasionally to another edition. In MLA style, the usual method of specifying which edition you are citing in an in-text citation is to provide the year of publication in brackets in every citation (see our post on citing multiple editions). But in this case, providing a date in every citation might be distracting to readers, since most of the citations will be keyed to one edition only.
One strategy to get around this problem is to provide a note after the first citation. The note would specify which edition you are citing unless you indicate otherwise. If you need to then refer to another edition, you could provide that edition’s publication date in brackets. The following provides an example:
When she first appears in Charles Dickens’s The Personal History of David Copperfield, Miss Trotwood introduces herself to David Copperfield’s mother in the third person. “Miss Trotwood . . . You have heard of her?” she asks. “Now you see her” (4).1 After David Copperfield is revealed to be a boy instead of, as Miss Trotwood anticipated, a girl, Miss Trotwood leaves as abruptly as she arrived. The narrator recounts that she “aimed a blow” at the head of the doctor and then “vanished like a discontented fairy” (9). Later editions of the novel often provided amusing running heads to help readers follow the action, such as the one for this scene, “My Aunt Lays About Her” ( 7).
- All citations of David Copperfield are from the 1850 edition unless otherwise noted.
Dickens, Charles. The Personal History of David Copperfield. Bradbury and Evans, 1850.
———. The Personal History of David Copperfield. D. Appleton, 1879.
In MLA style, the first place to look for publication information for a book is the book’s title page. Additional details can be found on the copyright page. But for some books, publication information is located in an unexpected place, so you may have to do some sleuthing.
For example, in a 360-page book called Wall Writers, the name of the publisher and the publication date are located on neither the title page nor the copyright page. Instead, the information is located on page 354.
Here we learn that the book was published in 2016 by Gingko Press. Your entry would thus look as follows:
Gastman, Roger, compiler. Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence. With Caleb Neelson and Chris Pape, Gingko Press, 2016.
For more details about how to find publication information for books, as well as examples, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
Finding the publication date for online sources can be challenging. Often, the publication date is listed near the title or author’s name or in the copyright line at the bottom of a website. But in the example below, an anonymous review published in Publishers Weekly, the publication date does not appear on the page, and the site does not provide a copyright date:
But if you click on Details at the bottom of the review,
you’ll find additional publication details, including the date on which the work was reviewed: 2 April 2020:
The review date can be listed in the Publication Date element in your entry:
Review of Or What You Will, by Jo Walton. Publishers Weekly, 2 Apr. 2020, www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-250-30899-3/.
For more details about how to find publication dates, as well as examples for many source formats, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
If the title displayed on the title page of your source contains a serial comma, include the comma when you reproduce the title. For example, the title displayed on the title page below contains a serial comma:
The comma is thus included when the title is reproduced:
After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away
But here is an example of a title page displaying a title with no serial comma:
So no comma appears when the title is reproduced:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
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
paperback, large print, e-book
|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|
newly expanded guidance spans 3 chapters
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|
with new advice on common knowledge, passing mentions, allusions, and epigraphs
|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||✓|
with a new list demonstrating how to create abbreviations for any title
The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook aims for stylistic consistency in prose and works-cited-list entries. Since seasons are styled lowercase in prose (e.g., My favorite seasons are spring and fall), seasons are styled lowercase in the Publication Date element of works-cited-list entries as well. Seasons will most likely appear in entries for journal articles, as shown in the following example:
Belton, John. “Painting by the Numbers: The Digital Intermediate.” Film Quarterly, vol. 61, no. 3, spring 2008, pp. 58-65.
Yes. The following corrections have been made in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook since its publication. This chart shows in which printing the changes first appeared.
|Section number||Page number||As originally published||As corrected||Reason for correction||Printing number|
|91||When the dictionary gives both the capitalized and lowercased form as acceptable options—as many do for black and Black, for example—choose one and be consistent. If you are working directly with an author or discussing a person or community whose preferences are known, however, follow that preference.||When the dictionary gives both capitalized and lowercased forms as options, choose one and be consistent. When the dictionary notes that one form is the more commonly used one, as Merriam-Webster does for Black, generally use the more common form. But when you are working directly with an author or discussing a person or community whose preferences are known, follow that preference.||To reflect a dictionary change after the handbook went to press||3rd|
|5.41||148||Othello. Performances by Laurence Olivier et al., BHE Films, 1965.||Othello. Directed by Stuart Burge, performances by Laurence Olivier et al., BHE Films, 1965.||Generally list film directors as key contributors in the Contributor element||3rd|
|5.44||151||Burge, Stuart, director. Othello. Japanese subtitles by Shunji Shimizu, BHE Films, 1965.||Othello. Directed by Stuart Burge, Japanese subtitles by Shunji Shimizu, BHE Films, 1965.||Generally list film directors as key contributors in the Contributor element||3rd|
|5.48||154||Blade Runner. 1982. Director’s cut, Warner Bros., 1992.||Blade Runner. 1982. Directed by Ridley Scott, director’s cut, Warner Bros., 1992.||Generally list film directors as key contributors in the Contributor element||3rd|
|5.108||210||Blade Runner. 1982. Director’s cut, Warner Bros., 1992.||Blade Runner. 1982. Directed by Ridley Scott, director’s cut, Warner Bros., 1992.||Generally list film directors as key contributors in the Contributor element||3rd|
|6.1||238||And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street / And to Think||In the Time of the Butterflies / In the Time||Replaced example||3rd|
|7.1||288||Added cross-reference “Bilingual quotations: 6.75.”||To aid navigation||3rd|
|appendix 2 contents||304||“With a generic label in place of title”||“With a generic label and no unique title”||To clarify terms “general label” and “unique title”||3rd|
|appendix 2 contents||307||“With Original Release Date Given Optionally”||“With Original Release Date Given as Supplemental Element”||To clarify use of supplemental elements||3rd|
|appendix 2 contents||308||“With format optionally given in final supplemental element”||“With format given in final supplemental element”||To clarify use of supplemental elements||3rd|
|appendix 2||318||“With a generic label in place of title”||“With a generic label and no unique title”||To clarify terms “general label” and “unique title”||3rd|
|appendix 2||329||“With Original Release Date Given Optionally”||“With Original Release Date Given as Supplemental Element”||To clarify use of supplemental elements||3rd|
|appendix 2||329||Blade Runner. 1982. Director’s cut, Warner Bros., 1992.||Blade Runner. 1982. Directed by Ridley Scott, director’s cut, Warner Bros., 1992.||Generally list film directors as key contributors in the Contributor element||3rd|
|appendix 2||330||Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Narrated by Sissy Spacek, audiobook ed., unabridged ed., HarperAudio, 8 July 2014.||Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Narrated by Sissy Spacek, audiobook ed., unabridged ed., HarperAudio, 2014.||The year alone is usually sufficient as a publication date for an audiobook.||5th|
|appendix 2||331||“With format optionally given in final supplemental element”||“With format given in final supplemental element”||To clarify use of supplemental elements||3rd|
|index||358||A subentry of “online journal articles” shows the following: Location element for, 5.73, fig. 5.87||Location element for, 5.87, figs. 5.87–5.89||Correction||3rd|
|index||361||A subentry of “question marks” shows the following: in titles of works, 1.102, fig. 2.11, 2.102, 2.105||in titles of works, fig. 2.11, fig. 2.14, 2.101, 2.102, 2.105||Correction||3rd|
The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook simplifies and clarifies the terminology used to describe some of the elements of a works-cited-list entry.
In MLA style, works-cited-list entries are created using a template of core elements. But on occasion it might be necessary or useful to supply other details about a source. In the previous edition, these elements were called optional elements. But since this information is sometimes required (as in example 1 below) and other times optional (as in example 2 below), the ninth edition uses the term supplemental elements to describe it.
Example 1: A Required Supplemental Element
Translators play an important role in a work, so their names must be provided in the works-cited-list entry for a translation. In the entry below, Leila El Khalidi and Christopher Tingley are not listed in the Contributors element because they did not translate all the plays in Short Arabic Plays. They translated The Singing of the Stars, so their names are given in the middle supplemental element after the title of the play.
Fagih, Ahmed Ibrahim al-. The Singing of the Stars. Translated by Leila El Khalidi and Christopher Tingley. Short Arabic Plays: An Anthology, edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Interlink Books, 2003, pp. 140-57.
Example 2: An Optional Supplemental Element
Sometimes a section of a work has both a unique title and a generic label. If you think the generic label will provide important information to your reader, you can supply it in the middle supplemental element, but this information is optional. The entry below shows the generic label Introduction in the middle supplemental element after the unique title.
Seyhan, Azade. “Novel Moves.” Introduction. Tales of Crossed Destinies: The Modern Turkish Novel in a Comparative Context, Modern Language Association of America, 2008, pp. 1-22.
The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook simplifies and clarifies the terminology used to describe some of the elements of a works-cited-list entry. Thus, the element name Other Contributors, used in the previous edition, has been shortened to Contributor. The definition of the element remains the same: a contributor is a person who had a hand in creating the work but is not its primary author. The change in terminology helps clarify that works without a primary author (like an anonymously written work) can have a contributor (like an editor or translator).
Sections 5.38–5.41 of the MLA Handbook, ninth edition, explain the Contributor element in detail.