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MLA Citation Style & Formatting 7th & 8th Edition: Introduction to MLA Style

A comprehensive guide to creating citations in MLA style

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Updates from the MLA 8th edition (2016)

The MLA format and style guide is now in its 8th edition. The newest version has radically altered some of its rules regarding format, especially in terms of citations and Works Cited pages. Please see our MLA 8 page in this guide, which will help explain some of the differences between MLA 7 and MLA 8 and provide resources so you can use the new version.

 

Please remember that keeping up with writing and style guides is generally the work of academics and librarians. Many professors may have not yet shifted their classes to MLA 8 or simply may not like the new system, and many databases and web resources for producing citations will not make the shift until 2017. With that in mind, you should check in with your professor to see which version of MLA they prefer.

 

Welcome

What is MLA Style?

MLA Style is a set of standards and guidelines to properly write and format papers. Developed by the Modern Language Association, MLA Style is the style typically used in the arts and humanities departments, including English and Literature classes.

This online guide is designed to help students with several areas of MLA Style including:

  • Citing sources, both in print and online sources
  • In-text citations
  • Creating a Works Cited page
  • Basic formatting
  • Avoiding plagiarism

 

For more information about MLA Style, please refer to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, available in the reference section of the library.

Why do I need to use MLA Style?

Odds are that your instructor wants you to use MLA Style if you are in an English class or other humanities class (such as art, literature, etc.). MLA Style creates rules for students to follow when writing and formatting papers. Using MLA Style not only helps your instructors read and understand your work, but the act of creating citations and citing sources helps prevent plagiarism. Plagiarism is when you use a quote, idea, or any other kind of information from a source and present it as your own. If you don't cite your sources then you risk committing plagiarism, which is a serious academic offense that will or can get you expelled from school. So, to sum up the benefits of using MLA Style:

  • It makes your life easier
  • It makes your teacher's life easier
  • It keeps you from getting kicked out of school

How do I use this guide?

The dropdown menu at the top of this guide can be used to learn more about print and electronic resources and how to properly create MLA citations for a Works Cited list. There are also links throughout this guide to tools, books and other resources to help you properly format an entire MLA formatted paper.

 

MLA LibGuide created by Lia Thomas, Librarian 1/10

Citation Tools

Adjunct Faculty Librarian

Chris Burns
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College of San Mateo Library
1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd., Bldg 9
San Mateo, CA 94402
650-574-6232