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MLA Style Guide

A brief introduction to Modern Language Association (MLA) Style Citations.

General Instructions

The Works Cited page should have a page number, continuing on from the paper.

Center the words Works Cited one inch from the top of the page.

Continue double-spacing – no extra spaces between citations.

Citations should be listed alphabetically by the first word of the citation. Alphabetical arrangement of author names is done letter by letter. For example:

Descartes, René

De Sica, Vittorio

If there are multiple works by one author, use ---. in place of the author’s name.

Use a hanging indent: If the citation is longer than one line of the page, indent the remaining lines(s) approximately one-half inch from the left margin. This “hanging” indent can be done in MS Word:

  • Select and right click on the block of text,
  • From the pop-up menu, click on Paragraph
  • Under the heading Special, select Hanging.

*See further instructions on this page.

Creating a Hanging Indent - Videos and Instructions

Do not use the space bar or tabs to line up citations in your document! Use a 'Hanging Indent'.

A hanging indent is required for your citations (Works Cited or References pages) when you use MLA or APA style citations.

For more explanations of these methods, please see the videos in the playlist below or click on the tabs above for step-by-step instructions.

Google Docs.

In Google Docs you will need to use the 'ruler' to set up your page for a hanging indent. Here is what that looks like:

Create a hanging indent in Google Docs: Show ruler; Select all citations; Click and drag triangle to half inch; Click and drag rectangle back to left margin

Steps to creating a hanging indent in Google Docs:

  1. Make sure to 'Show Ruler'.
  2. Select all citations.
  3. Click and drag the triangle to the half inch (0.50) mark.
  4. Click and drag the rectangle back to the left margin (0.00).

Microsoft Word.

In Microsoft Word you may also use the 'ruler' OR (easier) use the paragraph tab to format the indentation and line spacing:

Hanging Indent using MS Word

Steps to creating a hanging indent in Microsoft Word:

  1. Select all citations.
  2. Click open 'Paragraph Settings' Menu.
  3. Select 'Special' in the Indentation Section.
    1. Choose 'Hanging.'
  4. Line Spacing is 'Double.'

Works Cited Example

Note: Do NOT highlight your citations.

Highlighting is used to show the alphabetical ordering of your Works Cited page and the naming of in-text citations. See the example on the In-text Citations page for how these sources would be used within an essay. 

Works Cited example with first words highlighted

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