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How should I style a Web address like google.com?

As the MLA Handbook (2.5.2) notes, “When giving a URL,” or Web address, “copy it in full from your Web browser.” Thus, a Web address should generally be set roman and styled lowercase:

The search engine can be found at google.com.

Note, however, that a Web site’s address should not be confused with its title. In MLA style, you should use the title of a Web site as it appears on the site and italicize it as you would any independent work. Do not use the Web address as the title unless the address and the title are identical.

Published 1 April 2019

Should et al. be italicized in MLA style?

Only italicize et al., meaning “and others,” if it is referred to as a term, as the examples in this sentence and the question above show. In parenthetical citations and works-cited-list entries, the abbreviation should be set roman, as shown in the MLA Handbook (116, 22):

(Burdick et al. 42)
Burdick, Anne, et al. Digital_Humanities. MIT P, 2012.

Work Cited
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

Published 17 January 2019

If a book title within an essay title is not italicized in the source, should I italicize it in my works-cited-list entry?

Yes. A title within a title should be styled according to the guidelines in section 1.2.4 of the MLA Handbook, regardless of how a title within a title is styled in the source.
For example, the title of an essay about Gone with the Wind is styled in EBSCOHost as follows:

Since Gone with the Wind is the title of a novel, if you were to include this essay in your works-cited list, you would set it in italics instead of enclosing it in quotation marks:

Adams, Amanda. “‘Painfully Southern’: Gone with the Wind,

Published 3 October 2018

Should I italicize titles not written in the Latin alphabet?

No. Note that there are many languages in the world that do not have an italic font—Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Armenian, for example. Arabic sometimes uses a typeface that slants to the left instead of to the right.
Given the complexity and specificity of historical, cultural, linguistic, and printing practices throughout the world, a writer should not use italics when a book title is in a foreign language that is not written in the Latin alphabet. If you are preparing a work for publication, leave the decision about italicizing such a title to the publisher.
For more on italicizing titles not written in the Latin alphabet,

Published 19 September 2018

If the title of an essay I am citing is also the name of a work that normally appears in italics, how should I style the name of the essay?

If the title of an essay consists solely of the title of a work normally styled in italics, the title of the work should be both italicized and enclosed in quotation marks:

In the essay “The Portrait of a Lady,” about Henry James’s novel The Portrait of a Lady, the author provides a detailed character study of Isabel Archer.

Published 21 August 2018

How should I treat foreign terms in MLA style?

Treat foreign terms according to the guidelines in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing: In general, italicize foreign words used in an English text: The Renaissance courtier was expected to display sprezzatura, or nonchalance, in the face of adversity. The numerous exceptions to this rule include quotations entirely in another language ("Julius Caesar said, ‘Veni, . . .

Published 31 July 2018

When italic characters are unavailable, how should I style a title or a word used as a word?

In handwritten and typewritten material—where italics are impossible to render—titles of works normally italicized, words used as words, and letters used as letters are underlined:

MLA Handbook

Accommodation has two c’s and two m’s.

In digital environments, if italics and underlining are unavailable and you need to refer to the title of a work normally italicized, insert an underscore on either side of the title:

_MLA Handbook_

For words used as words and letters used as letters, use quotation marks:

Put “i” before “e” except after “c” or when sounding like “a” as in “neighbor” and “weigh.”

But if the quotation marks would cause clutter,

Published 24 April 2018

Is it OK to italicize a word for emphasis in my paper?

The MLA style discourages the use of italics in academic prose to emphasize or point, because they are unnecessary—most often, the unadorned words do the job without typographic assistance. And if they don’t, then rewording is often the best solution. This policy is a matter of stylistic convention, not grammar.  
Reserve italics for emphasis for those few occasions when misreading is likely to result without them or when you simply feel that emphasis is the most effective means of getting your idea across.
Advice: You should always give extra consideration to how a sentence reads without the italics you were thinking of adding,

Published 23 January 2018

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