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Citing Sources: MLA Examples

A quick guide to citations

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MLA Citations

MLA Basics

MLA uses parenthetical in-text citations and a "Works Cited" page at the end.

In-text Citations

MLA in-text citations include the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses, i.e.: (Tolkien, 176).

You can also use the author’s name in your own text, in which case you only need to use the page number in the parentheses, i.e.:

According to Tolkien, certain aspects of truth are best received through myth, or story (176).

Multiple authors in a parenthetical citation are connected by commas (if more than two) and the word "and" (and for multiple authors with the same last name, include a first initial):

“Tolkien experienced words as a maddening liquor, a phonic ambrosia, tastes of an exquisite, rapturous, higher world” (P. Zaleski and C. Zaleski 24).

Works Cited Page

Capitalization and italicization rules:

Capitalize the first word of titles and subtitles, and capitalize all other words except prepositions, conjunctions, or articles.

Italicize the titles of longer works (i.e. books). Put the titles of shorter works (i.e. articles) in quotation marks.

Reference List Examples

Printed Book:

Author, Firstname. Title of Book. City: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.

Pearce, Joseph. Man and Myth: A Literary Life. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001. Print.

Book with editor or translator:

Author, FirstnameTitle of Book. Ed. Firstname Lastname. City: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Ed. Humphrey Carpenter. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. Print.

Note: if the books has a translator, place the translator’s name in the same spot and the same format as the editor: Trans. Firstnam Lastname. If the book has no author other than the editor, use the editor’s name like an author’s name (at the start of the citation), followed by a command and ed.


Note: cite an ebook the way you would cite a print book, but include the type of file at the end, i.e. Kindle file, ePub file. If you don't know the type, write Digital file.

Author, FirstnameTitle of Book. City: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.

Atherton, Mark. There and Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Origins of The Hobbit. London: I.B. Tauris, 2012. Digital file.

Book Chapter/Section from Anthology:

Author, Firstname. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection. Ed. Editor's Name(s). City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page range of entry. Medium of Publication

MacDonald, George. "The Golden Key." Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy. Ed. Douglas A. Anderson. New York: Ballantine, 2003. 27-57. Print.

Print Journal

Author, Firstname. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Medium of publication.

Hirsch, Bernhard. "After the 'End of All Things': The Long Return Home to the Shire." Tolkien Studies 11.11 (2014): 77-107. Print.

Online Journal (i.e. from a database):

Note: Cite an online journal article as you would a print article, but specify "Web" as the medium of publication, followed by the date you accessed it.

Author, Firstname. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Medium of publication. Day Month Year accessed.

Munro, Rebecca. "The Art of the Lord of the Rings: A Defense of the Aesthetic." Religion & the Arts 18.5 (2014): 636-52. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.


Author, Firstname. "Page or Article Title." Name of Site. Publishing Organization, Day Month Year of publication or psoting. Medium of publication. Day Month Year accessed.

Doughan, David. "Biography." The Tolkien Society. The Tolkien Society, n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Note: if no date information is available, use n.d., and if no publisher information is available, use n.p.

Website with no evident author:

"Page or Article Title." Name of Site. Publishing Organization, Day Month Year of publication or psoting. Medium of publication. Day Month Year accessed.

"Bridge of Khazad-dûm." Tolkien Gateway. n.p., n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2015

Note: if no date information is available, use n.d., and if no publisher information is available, use n.p.

Online Newspaper Article:

Author, Firstname. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper. Day Month year of publication. Medium of publication. Day month year of access. 

Downes, Lawrence. "An Unexpected Journey: Hobbits in the Heartland." The New York Times 8 Dec. 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Note: if no date information is available, use n.d.

Classroom Lecture Notes:

Professor's name. "Title of lecture." Class name. School name. Location of lecture, Day Month Year.

Tkacz, Michael. "The Cosmological Argument." PHIL 439 Christian Metaphysics. Gonzaga University. Spokane, 27 Nov. 2015.


Author, Firstname (Twitter handle). "Full tweet." Day Month Year of tweet, time of tweet. Tweet.

Olsen, Corey (tolkienprof). "I've come to the part of @JohnGarthWriter's book where Tolkien's friends are just about to die. V moving and painful. #whatimreading." 8 Aug. 2015, 2:19 a.m. Tweet.

YouTube Video:

Poster’s Username. “Title of Video.” Media Type. Name of Website. Name of Website’s Publisher, date of posting. Publication Medium. Day Month Year accessed.

CGP Grey. "The Lord of the Rings Mythology Explained (Part 1)." Online video. YouTube. Google, 17 Dec. 2014. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Personal Interview:

Lastname of interviewee, Firstname. Personal interview. Day Month Year.

Tolkien, Christopher. Personal interview. 14 Aug. 2015.

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