MLA Works Cited Page

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Published October 16, 2013. Updated November 30, 2021.

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What is a works cited page?

The works cited page is a list of all the sources cited within the body and notes of your paper. A works cited page should begin on its own page after the end of the paper content and should list all the entries in alphabetical order by the first item in each entry (usually the author’s name). It should be included in order to give full credit to the sources used and avoid plagiarism, as well as to allow the reader to easily locate each source if needed. MLA Style papers should always have a works cited page.

It is not necessary to include sources that you consulted but did not directly reference in the works cited list – it should only include the sources you directly quoted or paraphrased. Each in-text citation should therefore have a corresponding entry in the works cited list.


Citing Sources in MLA

When students and scholars create a research paper, they seek out information in books, websites, journal articles, and many other types of sources. The information from these sources, combined with the scholar’s own thinking and knowledge, aid in the formation of a final project.

However, simply placing information from books, websites, journal articles, newspaper articles, and other source types into a project without a reference is not acceptable. Without a reference or citation, it’ll look like the paper’s author came up with everything themselves!

That means it’s necessary to call out when information is included from outside sources and originated elsewhere.


Bibliography vs. Works cited – What’s the difference?

Quite often, the two terms are used interchangeably. While similar, they have some unique differences.


Another commonly used reference style is APA. If your teacher or professor requests your references be made in APA citation style, check out this page on APA format.

Here’s more information on how to develop an MLA in-text citation and APA in-text citation.


Formatting the MLA works cited page

The reference page is the final page of a research paper and starts on its very own page.

If your project isn’t an actual research paper, but a slideshow, video, or another type of project, follow the same guidelines as above. Place the works cited list on the final slide, page, or screen of the project.

While an APA reference page is very different from a Modern Language Association style works cited, note that  APA bibliography pages also use double spacing throughout and 1 inch margins.


Heading & title format in MLA

This next section focuses on how to properly label and format the page numbers and title.

If you’re reading through this page, but have yet to determine your research paper topic, look no further! We have thorough guides on historical individuals to rev up your brainstorming engine! Check out our guides on Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali, and Marilyn Monroe.


Organizing the references in the MLA works cited list


Formatting Author Names in MLA

If you need help structuring or formatting the author’s name (or multiple authors’ names) in your references, this section will help.

Formatting Author’s Names in Other Languages

Many names in languages other than English include conventions and features that are different from names in English. This next section provides information to help you properly structure and organize the names of authors in other languages. It follows rules from section 2.73 in the official Handbook.

Title rules


Developing MLA references on EasyBib.com

EasyBib.com has an MLA works cited generator, which helps you produce references . This means you don’t have to spend time determining how to structure and organize the components of a citation.

To create your complete page of works cited in MLA with our tools, head to the EasyBib homepage.


MLA Works Cited

“Formatting a Research Paper.” MLA Style Center, Modern Language Association of America, style.mla.org/formatting-papers/.

MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021


Published October 16, 2013. Updated June 20, 2021.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.


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What is the basic format of an MLA works cited page?
  • Align the title to the center of the document
  • Add a one-inch margin below the top edge of the paper
  • Do not bold, italicize, or underline the title
  • The title should be the same size and style as the rest of the document (12-point font)/li>
  • Place a double space between the title and the first citation on the page
Do I italicize titles in the MLA works cited page?

If the title stands alone, place the title in italics. If the title was found in a container, such as a website, anthology, edited book, or another type of container, place the source in quotation marks and the container in italics.

According to Section 1.2 of the Handbook, titles should be written in title case format. Any coordinating conjunctions (and, for, but, or, so, nor, and yet), articles (a, an, the), and prepositions in the title are not capitalized.

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • The Wizard of Oz
How do I cite a source if the author has suffixes in MLA?

If an author has a suffix in his or her name, the last name is displayed in the first position followed by a comma, the first name, and the middle name. After the first and middle names, a comma is placed, and the suffix of the individual is placed at the end.

Cal Ripken Jr. would be structured as

  • Ripken, Cal, Jr.

Author with roman numeral suffix would be structured as

  • William, Frederick, III.
How do I cite a source if the author has a middle name/initial in MLA?
  • Burroughs, William S.
  • Yeats, W. B.
  • Alcott, Louisa May.
What is an MLA works cited list?

An MLA works cited list contains complete details of all the sources that are cited in the text. It helps the reader locate the source in case they want to read it for further understanding. It is included at the end of the paper after the main text. Each entry provides all of the information about each source so that it can be easily located. For example, the works cited list entry for a journal article would include the following elements:

Author(s)

Title of the article

Journal title

Volume number

Issue number

Publication date

Page range

With the help of the mentioned elements, a reader can locate the source for future reference. In addition, the works cited list arranges entries in alphabetical order according to the surname of the first author or title (if there is no author) to help the reader locate the entry in the list quickly. A few works cited list entries are listed below as examples:

Brenner, Barbara. “Pink Ribbons and Lou Gehrig: Time to Bury Useless Symbols.” So Much to be Done: The Writings of Breast cancer Activist Barbara Brenner, edited by Barbara Sjoholm, UP of Minnesota, 2016, pp. 199–202.

Feldman, Alice E. “Dances with Diversity: American Indian Self‐Presentation Within the Re‐presentative Contexts of a Non‐Indian Museum.” Text and Performance Quarterly, vol. 14, no. 3, 1994, pp. 210–21.

Hymes, Dell H. Discovering Oral Performance and Measured Verse in American Indian Narrative. Johns Hopkins UP, 1977.

What is the main purpose of a works cited list?

The main purpose of the works cited list is to provide the readers with the complete details of the sources cited in the text. It helps the reader locate the source in case they want to do further research or verify information. It also helps to ensure that full credit is given to the sources utilized in the paper. The works cited list is placed at the end of the paper after the main text. For example, the works cited list entry for a journal article would include the author’s name, the title of the article, the journal title, the volume and issue number of the journal, the date the article was published, the page numbers of the article, and the URL if the article was found online. With the help of the mentioned elements, a reader can locate the source for future reference.

The works cited list arranges entries in alphabetical order according to the surname of the first author or title (if there is no author) to help the reader locate the entry in the list quickly.