MLA Sample Paper

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Published October 31, 2020. Updated October 4, 2021.

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MLA Sample Paper #1

 

MLA Sample Paper #2

See below for an example paper or click below to download it as a Word Document.

 

 

The MLA header should be one inch from the top and left margins. The heading and the entire paper should be double spaced.



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What is an example of an MLA in-text citation?

An in-text citation is a short citation that is placed next to the text being cited. The basic element needed for an in-text citation is the author’s name. The publication year is not required in in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when text is quoted from the source being cited. In-text citations are mentioned in the text in two ways: as a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation.

Citation in prose

Citations in prose are incorporated into the text and act as a part of the sentence. Usually, citations in prose use the author’s full name when cited the first time in the text. Thereafter, only the surname is used. Avoid including the middle initial even if it is present in the works-cited-list entry. An example of the first citation in prose for a source with one author is given below:

Doug Barry explains the status of the UK.

Parenthetical

Parenthetical citations add only the author’s surname at the end of the sentence in parentheses. An example of a parenthetical citation is given below:

The status of the UK is explained (Barry).

Examples of in-text citations

Here are a few examples of in-text citations for works with various numbers and types of authors:

One author

Use both the first name and surname of the author if you are mentioning the author for the first time in the prose. In subsequent occurrences, use only the author’s surname. Always use only the author’s surname in parenthetical citations.

Citation in prose:

First mention: Stephen George asserts …. (17).

Subsequent occurrences: George argues …. (17).

Parenthetical:

…. (George 17).

Two authors

Use the first name and surname of both authors if you are mentioning the work for the first time in the prose. In subsequent occurrences, use only the surnames of the two authors. Always use only the authors’ surnames in parenthetical citations. Use “and” to separate the two authors in parenthetical citations.

Citation in prose:

First mention: Kane Williams and Clark Ronald ….

Subsequent occurrences: Williams and Ronald ….

Parenthetical:

…. (Williams and Ronald).

Three or more authors

For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues.” For parenthetical citations, use only the surname of the first author followed by “et al.”

Citation in prose:

Krishnan Sethu and colleagues…. or Krishnan Sethu and others ….

Parenthetical:

…. (Sethu et al.).

Corporate author

For citations in prose, treat the corporate author like you would treat the author’s name. For parenthetical citations, shorten the organization name to the shortest noun phrase. For example, shorten the Modern Language Association of America to Modern Language Association.

Citation in prose:

The Language Literary Association of Canada….

Parenthetical:

…. (Language Literary Association).

No author

If there is no author for the source, use the source’s title in place of the author’s name for both citations in prose and parenthetical citations.

When you add such in-text citations, italicize the text of the title. If the source title is longer than a noun phrase, use a shortened version of the title. For example, shorten the title Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to Fantastic Beasts.

Citation in prose:

Endgame explains …. (121).

Parenthetical:

…. (Endgame 121).

What is an example of MLA format?

In MLA style, two types of citations are used to cite a source: a short citation used within the text (called the in-text citation) and a full citation (called the works cited list entry) within the works cited list, which appears at the end of a paper.

The works cited list entry provides the complete details of a source. An in-text citation is a short citation that is placed next to the text being cited. The in-text citation lets the reader know that the information is derived from the cited source, and helps the reader find the full citation within the works cited list.

In order to properly cite a source in MLA style, you must have both citation types in your paper. Every in-text citation has a works cited list entry. Every works cited list entry has at least one (maybe more) corresponding in-text citation.

In-text citations

The basic element needed for an in-text citation is the author’s surname. The publication year is not required in in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when text is quoted from the source being cited.

One author

Citation in prose:

First mention: Sian Anderson studies ….

Subsequent occurrences: Anderson analyzes ….

Parenthetical:

….(Anderson)

or if quoting directly:

…(Anderson 9)

Two authors

Citation in prose:

First mention: Paul Fin and Anna Gabriel ….

Subsequent occurrences: Fin and Gabriel ….

Parenthetical:

….(Fin and Gabriel)

or if quoting directly:

…(Fin and Gabriel 27)

Three or more authors

Narrative:

Paul Hill and colleagues…. or Paul Hill and others ….

Parenthetical:

….(Hill et al.)

or if quoting directly:

…(Hill et al. 138)

Examples of works cited list entries

Below are a few examples of different types of works cited list entries. The examples given are for one author.

Book

Steinman, Louise. The Knowing Body: Elements of Contemporary Performance and Dance. Shambhala Publications, 1986.

Journal article                                      

Barad, K. “Nature’s Queer Performativity.” Qui Parle, vol. 19, no. 2, 2011, pp. 121–58.

Webpage of a website

Midgelow, Vida L. “Experiences and Perceptions of the Artistic Doctorate: A Survey Report.” Artistic Doctorates in Europe, 5 Feb. 2018, www.artisticdoctorates.com/2017/12/28/experiences-and-perceptions-of-the-artistic-doctorate-survey-report/.

YouTube video

“Behind the Scenes Chili’s Baby Back Ribs Spot.” YouTube, uploaded by Alvin Chea, 11 Sept. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTDLh7gNRYA.