MLA Style

When writing a paper in humanities’ fields like literature, religion, and philosophy, among others, it is the standard to use MLA (Modern Language Association) formatting. However, it is always important to keep in mind that some individual departments may have their own policies on which formatting to use.,Iit is therefore, always a good idea to double check which format your humanities instructor prefers. Check our MLA Citation Generator!

Once you have established that you need to use MLA style, there are specific things to keep in mind. Namely, MLA style uses a parenthetical in-text citation and not footnotes or endnotes. This is to give the reader a quick frame of reference while reading the text. Additionally, if your citation goes past one line, you must indent it from the left margin. A good indent is about half an inch. It should just align with the other references that go on past one line.

As to quotations, it is of the utmost importance to have your quote embedded and not standing alone.

For example:

Julia Adams states, "Stavrogin from Dostoevsky's Demons is a clear example of a complicated character who acts as though he is sociopathic while in reality being a character with a conscience" (1).

!!!NOT!!!!

Julia Adams made an interesting statement about Stavrogin being one of Dostoevsky's most complicated characters. "Stavrogin from Dostoevsky's Demons is a clear example of a complicated character who acts as though he is sociopathic while in reality being a character with a conscience" (1).

At the end of your text, you must have a "Works Cited" page that lists the full bibliographic details for all used sources in your text.

Formatting Quotations

Short quotes with less than four lines are placed within double quotation marks within the text. You separate lines of poetry with slash marks.

If a quotation is more than four lines then it should be formatted into a free-standing block that is indented one-inch off the left margin. All following lines should be aligned with the first line and double-spaced. Quotation marks are unnecessary.

The punctuation before a block quotation can vary. If the preceding sentence is complete then use a colon. If it is incomplete, punctuate both the sentence and the quote as uninterrupted text.

1. Book With One Author

In-Text Citation

Either

Adams claims that Stavrogin, while seeming sociopathic, in reality has a conscience (42).

Or

Stavrogin, while on the surface seeming sociopathic, in reality has an active conscience (Adams 42).

Works Cited

Adams, Julia. Character Analysis of Dostoevsky's Demons. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

2. Two or More Works by the Same Author

In-Text Citation

Either

In Character Analysis of Dostoevsky's Demons, Adams states that Stavrogin has a conscience (42).

Or

Adams asserts that the character Stavrogin has a conscience (Character Analysis 42).

Works Cited (Titles should be arranged alphabetically by title)

Adams, Julia. Character Analysis of Dostoevsky's Demons. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

---. Damaged Women in Dostoevsky. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

3. Two or Three Authors

In-Text Citation

Either

Fine and Smerdyakov generally regard all previous research on the problem of existentialism in Russian literature as erroneous (52).

Or

The authors regard all previous research on the problem of existentialism in Russian literature as erroneous (Fine and Smerdyakov 52).

Works Cited (Authors should be listed alphabetically)

Fine, John, and Pavel Smerdyakov. Russian Existentialism. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 2005.

4. Four or More Authors

In-Text Citation

(Jones et al. 453)

Works Cited (Authors should be listed alphabetically)

Either

Jones, Dafydd, Mary Kline, Janine Murray, Lucy Rosen, Thomas Wyatt. The Problem of the Nietzschean Superman. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.

Or

Jones, Dafydd, et al. The Problem of the Nietzschean Superman. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina press, 2000.

5. Citing a Work in an Anthology

In-Text Citation

(Polanska 585)

Works Cited

Polanska, Magdalena. "A Marxist Perspective of Andrzej Wajda's Films." An Anthology of Postwar Polish Film. Ed. Ignacy Grzybowski. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003. 581-590.

6. A Book with an Editor

In-Text Citation

(Wiesel 27)

Works Cited

Wiesel, Ludwig, ed. German Literature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.

7. Article in a Scholarly Journal

In-Text Citation

(Smythe 327)

Works Cited

Smythe, Eloise. "Dostoevsky's Pushkin Statue Speech: A Post-Structural Analysis." Russian Literature Quarterly 57 (1984): 320-50.

8. Article in a Newspaper

In-Text Citation

(MacDuff 3)

Works Cited

MacDuff, Liz. "Coping with an Ever-Increasing Tuition Rate." New York Times 29 Mar. 2000: B1+.

9. Citing Electronic Sources

In-Text Citation

(Guildenstern par. 6)

Works Cited

Guildenstern, Louis. "The Empire Strikes Back: How the US is Sure to Rise Again." Journal of Modern Economics 85.1 (2002): 25 pars. 27. Apr. 2002