The Modern Language Association (MLA) is the primary professional association for language and literature scholars. Its documentation system is commonly used in the fields of English and foreign language and literature, as well as in other disciplines in the humanities. If you’re not sure if you’re supposed to be using MLA style for an assignment, consult with your instructor.
As detailed in the 2016 MLA Handbook, MLA uses a parenthetical documentation system, which means you will place citations in parentheses within your own sentences to indicate you have used ideas, information, and quotations from sources at that particular spot in your paper; the parenthetical information points to specific sources in an alphabetized list of works cited (it’s not called a bibliography in MLA), which appears at the end of your paper. Notes—footnotes or endnotes numbered consecutively throughout your paper—may be used for explanations or comments that the paper itself cannot accommodate or for a more lengthy bibliographic note.
These webpages explain how to correctly format in–text citations and works cited list entries for some of the most common print and electronic sources.
For additonal information, visit the MLA’s style web site: https://www.mla.org/MLA-Style.
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