The MLA Handbook Eighth Edition was published in April 2016 and adopted by IRSC Libraries in August 2016. In 2021, the Modern Language Association released the MLA Handbook Ninth Edition. There are no major changes in this edition. However, changes, updates, and clarifications found in the Ninth Edition are reflected in this guide. Many databases and citation generators have been updated to the Eighth Edition. Please check with your instructor about which version of MLA to use in your assignments.
Always refer to the MLA Handbook for authorized examples of citations.
Some of the citations in this guide are taken from the MLA Handbook; others are recommendations from IRSC librarians.
Always ask your instructor for specific directions pertaining to your assignment.
Copies of the eighth and ninth edition MLA Handbooks are available at all IRSC campus libraries.
The core elements of any entry in the Works Cited list are shown in the chart below. The core elements are in the order in which they should appear, followed by the appropriate punctuation mark. If an element cannot be found or does not apply to the source being cited, omit that element from the entry. End the entry with a period.
Each core element is explained in detail with examples on its own page under the Works Cited Entries Core Elements dropdown menu.
Image credit: Modern Language Association. Works Cited: A Quick Guide. 2021, MLA Style Center, style.mla.org/works-cited/works-cited-a-quick-guide/.
The standard citation style guide for the humanities, especially languages and literature, is the MLA Handbook, 8th edition, 2016. The Modern Language Association of America (MLA) publishes the manual. It is commonly referred to it as the "MLA Manual" or the "MLA Handbook".
The English departments at IRSC recommend MLA format for papers written in these fields.
Two types of citations are included in most research papers: citations within the text of the document and a list of reference citations at the end of the paper.
In-text citations appear in the body of your paper. They identify your use of an idea or quotation from one of your sources. The MLA Handbook uses the author-page citation system for in-text citations.
Information about the sources you use in your work are included as a separate list at the end of the paper. The MLA Handbook suggests using the title, "Works Cited", for the list.
Any source information that you provide in an in-text citation must correspond to a source in your Works Cited page.
Read more about the changes to the new edition in this article from the Modern Language Association.
Old Way (MLA 8th Edition)
New Way (MLA 9th Edition)
Core element: Other Contributors
Core element: Contributor
|Core element: Optional Elements||
Core element: Supplemental Elements
This change was made because, in some cases, the information that corresponds to this element is not optional, but rather required.
|No guidance on group assignments||Paper formatting for group assignments|
|No mention of inclusive language||Instructions for using inclusive language in research papers|
Seasons are capitalized e.g. Spring 2008
Seasons are now lowercase e.g. spring 2008
|Instructed to style University Press publishers as UP||Continue to abbreviate University Press as UP but publishers like MIT Press should remain MIT Press|
|Digital object identifiers were styled doi:||Digital object identifiers should include the prefix https://doi.org to make them active links.|
In-text citations for works without page numbers
Can skip in-text citation completely if the author was listed in the prose
|Little to no guidance regarding annotated bibliography formatting||Guidance on annotated bibliography formatting - see the new template here|
The MLA Handbook Ninth Edition was published in 2021. It does not feature any major changes from the previous edition - mostly additions and clarifications. Copies of the MLA Handbook Ninth Edition are available at each IRSC Libraries location. The MLA Handbook Ninth Edition includes:
The MLA Handbook Ninth Edition includes a new section with guidance on using inclusive language when discussing race and ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age, and economic or social status. See pp. 89-93 in the MLA Handbook. Some highlights include:
MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions LibGuide by Angie Neely-Sardon, Indian River State College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://style.mla.org/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://irsc.libguides.com/prf.php?account_id=63648.