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student learning MLA style 8th edition

The MLA 8th edition manual book was released in 2016. Students are therefore, expected to use the latest MLA 8th edition style in their academic works such as essays, research papers, and many more.

In this guide, we will discuss in details, key concepts that every learner should know about the MLA 8th edition, and how you can excell in your studies while using it. We have simplified everything so that you can gain more on our guide.

According to the MLA 8th edition rule, there are a few elements that every citation must must. First of all, before we go into that, it is worth stating that mla style uses author-number citation style. That is, for every in text citation included in your paper, you must include the name of the author and the number of the page / paragraph where you retrieved the inform.

MLA 8th Edition Key components of every source.

Now, these are the key components of every source cited in MLA 8th edition style;

  1. Author.

  2. Title of source.

  3. Title of container

  4. Other contributers

  5. Version

  6. Number

  7. Publisher

  8. Publication date

  9. Location.

Please, note that if your source, be it a book, article or website etc. does not have any of the above elements, it is okay, so include only the available elements in your citations. If you can find all the elements, there is no need of leaving any without putting them into your citation.

Addtional thing to note is that for every online source, you must;

  • Place the URL (without http:// or https://) at the end of the reference entry. Please, do not use angle brackets around it.

  • Include the DOIs (digital object identifiers) when possible.

  • It is optional to Cite the date when an online work was consulted.

  • Do not use placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (“no date”).

NB: Just like in other ciation styles like APA, the MLA recommends using hanging indentation for the second and subsequent lines of each entry.

Below is a picture summarizing the key components of a source cited in an MLA 8th edition.

Basic Rules for the References (Works Cited ) List.

According to MLA 8, all references used in the paper are listed at the last page of the paper with a a heading, Works Cited List. In this list, be sure to include all the sources you have used in the paper in a format highlighted above.

Here are key rules that you should follow when writing the references down within your works cited list:

  • Start writing in a new page at the end of the document.

  • Order your references alphabetically by name of first author (or title if the author is unknown, in terms of alphabetising this ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’ should be ignored)

  • If there are multiple works by the same author these are ordered by date, if the works are in the same year they are ordered alphabetically by the title.

  • Double space all the entries.

  • Second and subsequent lines of a source must be indented 0.5inches from the margin.

  • If multiple works by the same author are listed, the first reference must contain the full name but subsequent references should have author name replaced with ‘- - -’

  • Be sure to include full references for all in-text references used in your paper.

Basic Rules for the intext citations

Now that we have known how to write the references within the works cited page. We will learn how to write these references within your paper ,what is called intext citations.

Remember, for every source of information included in your paper in a form of intext citation, there must be a corresponding reference entry within the works cited page.

Here are the key basic guidlines for writing intext citations in MLA 8th edition:

  • Number one, make sure that the intext citation included in your paper correspond to a reference in the main reference list.

  • Secondly, make sure that your in text citations entail first word of the reference, which is often the author’s surname, and the page, or page-range in which the reference is found.

  • Third, make sure that your intext citations come directly after the quote or parenthetical or in a natural pause.

Using the example author Anthony . K. Tobin they take the form:

Tobin states “...” (213) Or (Tobin 213)

How to cite Web Pages and Social media in the MLA 8th edition

For websites, the following apply:

  • Include the URL (without http:// or https://). Angle brackets are not used around it.

  • Use DOIs (digital object identifiers) when possible.

  • Citing the date when an online work was consulted is optional.

  • Placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (“no date”) are no longer used.

Website with author:

Kraizer, Sherryll. Safe Child. Coalition for Children, 2008,

Web page with no author:

"Several Injured in Wrong-Way Crash on FDR: NYPD.", 13 Nov. 2014, Wrong-Way-Crash-Traffic-Jam-282538721.html.

The in text citations for the above references would be: (Kraizer paragrah number) and (NBCNeyork) respectively.

For social media, this is the format:

Youtube video:

CNBC Television. "Unemployment rate to hit 16.4% in May: Economist." YouTube, 2020,

TIME. "Angela Merkel is TIME's 2015 Person of the Year." Facebook, 9 Dec. 2015,


Blog Post:

Whitehead, Tiffany. (librariantiff). "Interacting with Non-Fiction Text." Mighty Little Librarian, 27 Oct. 2015,

How to Cite Articles in MLA Format

Journal articles, maganize articles, and newspaper article all use the same citation format in the MLA 8. Below is a citation format for all the articles in the MLA8:

Examples of cited articles:

Article in a monthly magazine:

Swedin, Eric G. “Designing Babies: A Eugenics Race with China?”The Futurist, May/June 2006, pp. 18-21.

Article in a magazine article from an online database: ProQuest

Poe, Marshall. “The Hive.” Atlantic Monthly, Sept. 2006, pp. 86-95. ProQuest,

Article in a weekly magazine:

Will, George F. “Waging War on Wal-Mart.” Newsweek, 5 July 2004, p. 64.

Article in a daily newspaper:

Dougherty, Ryan. “Jury Convicts Man in Drunk Driving Death.” Centre Daily Times, 11 Jan. 2006, p. 1A.

Article in a scholarly journal:

Stock, Carol D. and Philip A. Fisher. “Language Delays Among Foster Children: Implications for Policy and Practice.” Child Welfare, vol. 40, no. 3, 2006, pp. 445-462.

Article in an online magazine:

Schumaker, Erin. "What's the Deal with 'Natural' Sunscreen?" Huffington Post, 5 July 2016,

Book Review:

Rifkind, Donna. “Breaking Their Vows.” Review of The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2005, p. T6.

How to Cite Music in MLA 8 Edition

Music will take the following format when referenced:

Author name(s). “Title of the Track”. Title of the Album, other contributers, version, Record Label, Year of Publication.

Music Example:

Bieber. “Sorry”. The Best, 2019.

How to Cite Non Print Material in MLA 8th Edition .

Citing an image in MLA Format

The basic format to cite an image is as follows:

Creator’s surname, other names. “Title of Image”. Website Title, contributors, reproduction, number, date, URL.

How to Cite a book in MLA 8th Edition.

The format for print book in MLA 8th edition takes the form:

Last Name, First Name. Title of the book. Publisher,Year of Publication.

Book by a group author:

Name of the group i.e American Psychology Association. Title of the book, nth edition, Publisher, Year.

How to Cite interviews in MLA 8th Edition.

Last Name, First Name. Personal interview. Date Month Year.

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