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Assembling a Works Cited List

For more detailed explanations of how to use the MLA format, consult one of the following:

  • The official MLA style manuals: MLA Handbook / Modern Language Association of America (READY REF/LB2369 .G53 2016) (Ask a librarian to show you this book.)
  • The official MLA webpage: Frequently Asked Questions about MLA Style

What is a Works Cited List?

  • The Works Cited list appears at the end of the paper on a separate page (or pages, if necesary).
  • It lists the citations for all of the cited sources in alphabetical order according to the last name of the author.
  • If no author is listed, alphabetize by the first word in the title (ignoring "A", "An" or "The" at the beginning of a title).
  • Do not organize the citations by type of source.
  • Put the title, "Works Cited", at the beginning of the list.
  • The first line of each citation is not indented, but each line of each citation after the first line is indented (the opposite of a typical paragraph).
  • Skip a line between each citation.

General Information

    • In all cases, the citation begins with the author's name (last name first) whenever the author's name is listed.
    • If the author's name is not given, then the citation begins with the title of the work (book, article or other document).
    • Only the first author's name should be listed last name first.
    • If there are two authors, the second authors' name is listed first name first, as shown in the book example.
    • For a work with 3 or more authors, list only the first author's name followed by a comma and the words et al.
    • Book, magazine, journal and newspaper titles are always italicized.
    • Article titles are always put in "quotations".
    • Subtitles are designated by a colon (:) and a space.
    • All principle words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.) in any titles (of books, articles or other documents) are capitalized, except the following parts of speech (when they are not the first word in a title or subtitle) :
    • Articles (a, an, the)
    • Prepositions (e.g., in, of , to, against, between)
    • Coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet)
    • the to in infinitives (as in How to Play Chess)

  • Medium: The medium of publication is only stated when it is needed for clarity (MLA 52).

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