MLA Tutorial


Devil in the Details

Don’t wait until you have finished your paper before you cite your sources. In fact, citing your sources should be the first thing you do.

As soon as you decide to use a particular source, put it into your Works Cited page, like this:

Works Cited

Bernstein, Dennis. "Friendly Dictators." Third World Traveler. 1995. Web. 26 Nov. 2010. < World/dictators.html>.

Note the hanging indent. The first line of the paragraph is even with the left margin, while all subsequent lines in the paragraph are indented .5 inch. If you don’t know how to do a hanging indent—ask somebody for help!

Now pay close attention to the details!

There are many small details that go along with each of the seven steps. Study the following chart:

1 Author's Name Bernstein,
Last name comes first. If you can’t find the name of the author, skip step one and go to step two: in other words, start with the name of the article.
2 Title of Article "Friendly Dictators" The names of articles are always placed within quotation marks.
3 Name of Website Third World Traveler The names of websites are always italicized.
4 Date of Article 1995 The normal format for a date is:

4 June 1995.

However, on this particular webpage, only the year was given, so that is all we can include. If you cannot find any date on the webpage, use the abbreviation n.d. to indicate “no date.”
5 Medium Web In this slot, you will put the word Web. If the source were a book, you put the word Print. There are also other possibilities, such as DVD.
6 Date You Accessed the Article 26 Nov. 2010 This is the date that I saw the article on the web. Note the proper format for the date. Months with more than 4 letters get abbreviated.
7 URL <http://www.
Put the URL within angle brackets. Note: MLA no longer requires that you put the URL (web address) in citations. MLA explains that most readers can find electronic sources via title or author searches. In fact MLA suggests leaving the URL out, unless the webpage may be hard to find. That said, many teachers still require that you include the URLURL—and I am one of those teachers. For my classes, do include the URL in all of your citations.


Check Your Understanding

  1. What is the proper way to format dates on your works cited page?

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.