Ask the MLA

Search Our List of Frequently Asked Questions

Haven't found what you're looking for? Submit a question.

Browse 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Questions about unpublished works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

Previous Next

Popular Questions

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.

Work Cited

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,


The World Wildlife Fund celebrated Earth Day on its Facebook page with a photo of a wolf cub.

Work Cited

World Wildlife Fund. “Happy Earth Day from all of us at WWF!” Facebook, 22 Apr. 2019,


On Shark Awareness Day, the World Wildlife Fund posted a video with five facts about sharks.

Work Cited

World Wildlife Fund. “Five Things to Know on Shark Awareness Day.” Facebook, 14 July 2020,


You can see photos of many endangered species on the World Wildlife Fund’s Facebook page.

Work Cited

World Wildlife Fund. “Photos.” Facebook, 2020,


  1. 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

Pythagorean theorem

Einstein’s general theory of relativity

Schrödinger’s equation

Fermat’s last theorem

Bayesisan statistics

Cartesian coordinate

Newton’s first law of motion

Mendel’s law

Avogadro’s number

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle

Euclidean algorithm1

Laws, Theories, and Terms without Proper Adjectives

general theory of relativity

big bang theory

string theory

field theory

quantum theory

law of definite proportions

conservation of mass

binomial theorem

uncertainty principle


See also our related post on citing mathematical theories.

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.

Works Cited

The Chicago Manual of Style. U of Chicago P, 2021,

“Euclidean Geometry, N.” Merriam-Webster, 2021,

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.

Even More

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

Yes, generally.

An infinitive is the to form of a verb: to goto 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” ([1879] 7).


  1. All citations of David Copperfield are from the 1850 edition unless otherwise noted.

Works Cited

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.

Wall Writers page 354 with publication information

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.

The MLA presented a free webinar about what’s new in the ninth edition. In the webinar, MLA editors provided an overview of what’s covered in each chapter, discussed style changes, highlighted new material, and answered questions. Visit this site to view a recording of the webinar.

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:

Publishers Weekly review

But if you click on Details at the bottom of the review,

Publishers Weekly Details buttong

you’ll find additional publication details, including the date on which the work was reviewed: 2 April 2020:

Publishers Weekly publication details

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,

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:

Title with 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:

Title without 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

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

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
ch. 3
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.