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MLA Citation Style: Home

Books in the UFV Library

Basic Rules

The following is a summary of the basic rules for MLA citations.

Author Names

  • use the author's full name, e.g., Public, John Q., not Public, J. Q. or Public, J.
  • invert only the first author's name, not any of the others
  • cite author names in the same order as they're listed on the document
  • include up to 3 authors; if there are additional authors, use the first author's name and et al. ("and others")
  • Editors names are not inverted

Make sure the date of publication is in the correct format

  • for journals and books, give the year only, e.g., (2007)
  • for magazines, newspapers, and web sites, include the full date as provided on the publication, e.g. (15 Nov. 2007)
  • if there is no date of publication, indicate so with 'n.d.'

If there are no pages given, do not count unmarked paragraphs but if there are section numbers or the paragraphs are numbered, use par. or pars. for (paragraph or paragraphs) or sec. or secs. for (section or sections)


Watch for capitalization:

  • journal (periodical) titles should be capitalized and italicized (e.g., Advertising Age; Journal of Contemporary Health Issues; The New York Times)
    • journal volume numbers should not be italicized
  • all titles should be capitalized, except for the prepositions and conjunctions, e.g.
    • Electronic Arts Canada to Announce Third Quarter Results on December 20
    • Donut Wars: Can Anyone Catch Tim?
  • put article titles in quotation marks
  • italicize book titles (e.g., Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life)


The name of the organization that makes the work available for you to see/use.

  • for books, it is usually listed on the title page. Oxford University Press, Toronto University Press, UBC University Press


Place of publication is no longer necessary. Instead just give the name of the publisher and the date of publication. (e.g., Oxford University Press, 2016 or HarperCollins Publishers 1999)

For online documents or websites, give the url. If there is a doi for an online journal, use that rather than the url.

Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers

Last name, First name. Nation/Community. Treaty Territory if applicable. City/Community they live in if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if applicable. Date Month Year.

For example:

Cardinal, Delores. Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. 4 April 2004.

Template taken from: MacLeod, Lorisia. 2021. “More Than Personal Communication: Templates For Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers”. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 5 (1).


ChatGPT and AI citations

“Describe the symbolism of the green light in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023,


  • (“Describe the symbolism”)

Taken from the MLA blog, March 17, 2023:

Sample Citations

More Resources from the MLA

MLA Citation Builders

The library's research databases will help you format sources you find while searching them, but they will not help you with other sources. These tools can help you format your references in MLA style. Select the resource type, enter your data, and get a formatted citation that you can paste into your bibliography.

Caveat: These citation machines are not perfect - they are only as good as the data you feed them. You will still need to proofread your references - use the basic rules above to catch the most common mistakes.

MLA Citation Help

Popular Citation Websites and Youtube How to videos


"[P]lagiarism, in an academic context, refers to an intentional decision not to acknowledge the work of others in assignments – or ignoring usually well-publicized obligations to do this."


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