About MLA style
Students in the Humanities (English Literature, Philosophy, Religion, etc.) are usually expected to submit papers in MLA style.
The purpose of documentation is to:
- Identify (cite) other people’s ideas and information used within your essay or term paper.
- Indicate the authors or sources of these in a Works Cited list at the end of your paper.
Your instructor may give you specific instructions on format or style. Always make sure you follow your instructor's guidelines.
Instructors Requirements Differ!
MLA 8th Edition
Note: This guide is based on the MLA Handbook 7th Edition. The MLA Handbook 8th Edition was published in 2016 and is the most current. For this reason we recommend following the 8th Edition (see links below), but please confirm with your instructor which edition you are required to use.
See What's New in the Eighth Edition posted by Modern Language Association
Why You Should Cite It Right
Check out this tutorial from UTSA Libraries!
Why Must You Cite Your Sources?
In all areas and in all types of research and academic writing (college assignments and papers regardless of subject area), it is necessary for you to cite your sources. Why?
Citing your sources is expected and will:
- Help readers identify and locate the sources you used in your assignment or paper.
Readers do look at the reference list found at the back of your paper to locate a source you have cited, to verify the information, or to learn more about the topic. A proper citation includes all of the bibliographic elements necessary for a reader to locate a source.
- Provide evidence that your position is well-researched and you have synthesized what you have learned with your prior knowledge.
Academic writing is based on solid research. Citations offers you the opportunity to demonstrate that your ideas, argument, or explanation is well researched.
- Give credit to the author of ideas and positions that are not your own to avoid plagiarism.
Providing accurate credit to those whose ideas, words, and thoughts you use is not only respectful to those authors, but also helps you avoid plagiarism
Learn more about the Modern Language Association style from the association website.
A clearly organized and well presented document offering details on various levels of MLA citation style.
An alternative to College of the Rockies Library MLA Citation Style Guide
The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University offers an online resource which can be used in some cases. However, it does not include everything required for citing sources in one place.
The MLA Style does not cover Canadian government sources, and has only a limited section on American government resources.
Please refer to the staff at the Library Reference Desk for clarification when citing Canadian government sources.
Librarians at SFU have created what is considered the definitive resource for use when citing Canadian Government documents and online resources in MLA Style.