MLA Works Cited Page: Format, Template & Examples

by Divya Sreekumar

The Works Cited page is a part of research papers written in the Modern Language Association (MLA) format where all sources used by the author are listed. While writing research papers, authors may consult several sources and use their data or paraphrase parts of the original text. It is essential to give due credit to the used sources and cite them appropriately to avoid plagiarism. This list of sources offers an easy reference for readers who may want to refer to the original source for their own research.  

A well-formatted and accurate Works Cited page can provide readers with specific details to help them access that source. For example, for a journal article, in addition to basic details like author name, title, journal name, etc., the MLA Works Cited page also provides the volume and issue numbers, page numbers, publisher, etc. A Works Cited page gives credibility to the research paper, proving that the information published is accurate and backed by evidence. 

This article describes the template of an MLA Works Cited page along with examples and suggests steps to ensure accurate formatting of all entries. 

Table of Contents

What is a Works Cited Page?

The MLA Works Cited page1 lists all the sources used while writing research papers. This page is always the last one after the main content. A Works Cited page uses the official MLA format and has similar content as reference lists used by other styles such as the Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago style), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the American Medical Association (AMA). Each style uses a different format, emphasizing different elements. 

The Works Cited page helps avoid plagiarism by crediting the sources and allows readers to quickly locate the sources. Papers in MLA format should always have a Works Cited page and each entry on this page should be cited in the text at the corresponding location. 

Basic Rules for an MLA Works Cited Page

Here are some basic rules for writing the MLA Works Cited page:2 

  • Start your Works Cited list on a fresh page at the end of your paper, with the same formatting as other sections, such as one-inch margins, last name, page number, and header. 
  • Align the title, “Works Cited,” at the top center. Don’t use italicization, boldfacing, quotation marks, or all-caps to highlight the title. 
  • Left align the citations and arrange them alphabetically by authors’ last names. If author names are unavailable, arrange by the first letter in the title (other than A, An, or The). 
  • Do not use serial numbering or bullets to list the entries. 
  • Double space all citations. 
  • Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent (Figure 1). 
Figure 1: Example of a hanging indent in an MLA Works Cited page1
  • List page numbers of the sources correctly. If only one page of a print source is used, use the abbreviation “p.” before the page number (e.g., p. 232). If a page range is used, use “pp.” (e.g., pp. 232-38). 
  • For online sources, include a location, like a URL or a digital object identifier (DOI). Delete “http://” from URLs. The DOI or URL is usually the last element in a citation. 
  • End all entries with a period. 
Figure 2: Example of an MLA Works Cited page displaying the basic rules3

Citing Sources in MLA

A citation in an MLA Works Cited page requires the following core elements. These elements should be written in the order given below, followed by the punctuation mark shown unless the particular element is the final element of the entry, in which case, it should end with a period.4,5 

  1. Author’s name
  1. Title of source
  1. Title of the container, (a container is the larger publication in which the text is published. For example, if citing an article from a journal, the journal is the container) 
  1. Other editors, translators, contributors
  1. Version
  1. Number
  1. Publisher
  1. Publication date
  1. Location (page numbers in print versions; DOI or URL in online versions) 

A few optional elements can be included, if available: 

  1. Date of access (the date you last accessed the online source) 
  1. Date of original publication 
  1. Format of media source 
Figure 3: Example of an MLA Works Cited page displaying the basic format1

All style guides have their own specific formats for writing different sources in a reference list—journal articles, printed and digital books, videos, websites, etc. The MLA-style format for different types of sources is listed below:4

Online journal article with DOI or URL

Author’s last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, vol., no. (issue), date of publication, pp. (if available). Database Name, DOI or URL. 

Online newspaper article

Author’s last name, First name. “Title of Article.” Name of Newspaper, Publication Date, p. (if available), URL. Access date. 

E-book

Author’s last name, First name. Title of Book. E-book, publisher, publication year, DOI or URL (if available). 

Specific type of e-book (Kindle, Nook)

Author’s last name, First name. Title of Book, editor or translator (if necessary), (Kindle/Nook) ed., publisher, year. 

Author’s last name, First name. Title of Book. City*, Publisher, Publication Date. 

*City is cited only if the book is published before 1900 or if the publisher has multiple offices worldwide. 

Chapter in edited book

Author’s last name, First name. Title of Book. Edited by FirstName LastName, publisher, year, page range of chapter. 

Web page with an author

Author’s last name, First name. “Title of Webpage.” Title of Website, URL. Access date. 

Web page with no author

“Title of Article.” Title of Website, date of publication, URL. Access date. 

Web page with no author or organization

“Title of Webpage.” Title of Website (if different), publication year, URL. Access date. 

Blog post

Author’s last name, First Name (or, in some cases, screen name, editor, etc.). “Title of Post.” Name of Website, version or date of post, name of organization (if different), URL. Access date. 

Video

Title of Motion Picture/Film. Directed by First Name Last Name, performances by First Name Last Name, Studio Name, Year. Access date, Media format. 

Last Name, First Name, director/writer/producer. Title of Motion Picture/Film. Studio, Year. Access date, Media format. 

YouTube video

If author is different from the uploader: 

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Video.” YouTube, uploaded by [Screen name], date, URL. Access date, Media format. 

If author and uploader are the same OR if there is no clear author: 

“Title of Video.” YouTube, uploaded by [Screen name], date, URL. Access date, Media format. 

Artist’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Image, date of creation, institution, city. Name of web site, URL. 

Image

Title of Piece. Date of creation. Name of Website, URL. 

Conference paper presentation

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Conference Paper Title.” Conference Title that Includes Date and Location, edited by Conference Editor(s). Publisher. Date of Publication. 

Dissertation from a database

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Dissertation (Doctoral dissertation). Database name, date of publication, URL (if available). 

Twitter (now X) posts

Twitter Handle (First Name Last Name if Known). “The entire tweet word-for-word.” Twitter, Day Month Year of Tweet, Time of Tweet, URL. 

Format of an MLA Works Cited Page

Here’s a list of steps for formatting the MLA Works Cited page:

  • Place one-inch margins around the entire document except for the “running head.” In the page setup settings, you can view and modify the margin size. 
  • Double space the entire page using the “Line spacing” or “Paragraph spacing” options in your word processing program. 
  • Organize the Works Cited entries in either alphabetical (by author name or title) or non-alphabetical order.1,2

Example: 

Benjamin, Chloe. The Immortalists. Penguin, 2018. 

Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler, performance by Chadwick Boseman, Marvel Studios, 2018. 

Egan, Jennifer. Manhattan Beach. Scribner, 2017. 

Figure 4: Example of an MLA Works Cited page and how entries are listed 6

Formatting Headings and Citation Titles on an MLA Works Cited Page

The following points outline the basic format for headings and titles used on a Works Cited page.1 The running head is at the top right corner of every page of the document. It displays the last name of the author and the page number (e.g., Letterman 6). 

  • The running head should be placed half an inch from the top of the page and along the right side’s one-inch margin. 
  • The page title (Work/Works Cited) should be written below the running head.  
  • No center alignment 
  • No boldfacing, italicization, or underlining 
  • Same font size (12 point) and type as the entire document 
  • Separated by a double space from the first citation on the page 

Consider the following rules while formatting source titles:1,5,7,8 

  • List the full title as the original source and use title case (capitalize all principal words, except articles [a, an, the], prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions [and, for, but, or, so, nor, yet] when in the middle of the title). 

Examples:  

The Code of the Exiled, Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 

Cheyfitz, Eric. The Poetics of Imperialism: Translation and Colonization from The Tempest to Tarzan. Expanded ed., U of Pennsylvania P, 1997. 

  • Separate the subtitle from the title with a colon and space. 

Example: 

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, 2010, pp. 69-88. 

  • Italicize titles if the source is self-contained and independent, e.g., titles of books, plays, films, periodicals, journals, magazines, databases, and websites. 

Example: Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Little Brown, 1991. 

  • Enclose titles in quotation marks if the source is part of a larger work, e.g., articles, essays, chapters, poems, short stories, webpages, songs, television episodes, and speeches. 
  • Titles beginning with numbers are placed in the reference list as if the title was written out alphabetically. 

Formatting Author Names on an MLA Work Cited Page

Few important rules to consider when formatting author names:1,2 

Single author

  • List author names alphabetically by the author’s last name (or, for entire edited collections, editor names). The format for writing author names is as follows: 

Last name, first name, middle name or middle initial  

Example: 

Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. Knopf, 1994. 

  • To cite more than one work by the same author, order the entries alphabetically by title, and use three hyphens in place of the author’s name for every entry after the first. 

Example: 

Alcott, Louisa May. “Eight Cousins.” Project Gutenberg, 2018, www.gutenberg.org/files/2726/2726-h/2726-h.htm

—. Little Women. Bantam Classics, 1983. 

—. Rose in Bloom. CreateSpace, 2018. 

Two authors

The first listed author’s name on the source is the first author in the reference.  

Last name, First name of author 1, and First name Last name of author 2 

Example: 

Pavear, Richard, and Larissa Volokhonsky, translators. Crime and Punishment. By Feodor Dostoevsky, Vintage eBooks, 1993. 

Three or more authors

Include only the first listed author’s last name, followed by a comma and their first name, followed by another comma and then “et al.”  

Example:  

Baron, Sabrina Alcorn, et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P / Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007. 

General rules

  • Do not list titles (Dr., Sir, etc.) or degrees (PhD, MA, MD, etc.) with names but include suffixes like “Jr.” or “II.”  

Example: 

King, Martin Luther, Jr. 

  • Alphabetize works with no known author by their title; use a shortened version of the title in the parenthetical citations in your paper. 

Example: 

Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulations. […] 

Boring Postcards USA […] 

  • To cite works by authors using a pseudonym or stage-name, cite the better-known name if the person is well known. For example, Lewis Carroll is the pseudonym of Charles Dodgson, and is the better-known name so only the pseudonym should be used. If the pseudonym is less well known, cite the real name in square brackets after the pseudonym.  

Example:  

Van Dyne, Edith [L. Frank Baum]. Aunt Jane’s Nieces At Work. 1st World Library, 2006. 

Key Takeaways

To summarize, an MLA Works Cited page should have the following format: 

  1. Starts on a new page at the end. 
  1. Centered page title without any highlights. 
  1. Double-spaced citations, preferably in Times New Roman 12-pt font. 
  1. Left-justified entries with a hanging indent of 0.5 inches. 
  1. Source titles in title case. 
  1. Entries ordered by the first word, typically author name or the first word in the title (except articles a, an, the). If the title begins with a year or a number, alphabetize it as if the number/year is spelled out. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the difference between bibliography, MLA Works Cited, and references? 

A1. The Works Cited page and references have a similar purpose; both include sources that have been specifically cited or paraphrased in the paper and whose data have been directly used. A bibliography includes a list of sources related to the content in a research paper, that is, sources that you may have consulted while writing your research paper, but may not have actually used, cited, or paraphrased from.1  

Q2. Are there any styles other than MLA for citing references? 

A2. Yes, there are a few other styles for citing references, such as the Chicago Style, AMA Manual of Style, APA Manual of Style, and the IEEE style. All of these have different referencing formats. In addition, organizations may create their own referencing styles, commonly called a house style. 

Q3. Do I need to include every source I consulted on the MLA Works Cited page? 

A3. No, the Works Cited page should include only those sources that you have cited or whose data you have used in your research paper. Sources that you have only consulted while conducting research should be included in a bibliography. 

Q4. How do I alphabetize a Works Cited entry that begins with a hashtag or another symbol? 

A4. Per MLA format, ignore symbols, such as hashtags when alphabetizing. Use the first letter in the entry to alphabetize.9 

Example: 
@AP. “It’s been four years since the #MeToo movement took over social media. . . .” X, 15 Oct. 2021, https://twitter.com/AP/status/1449019990741590025. 

“#MeToo Poll: Many in US More Willing to Call Out Misconduct.” Associated Press, 15 Oct. 2021, https://apnews.com/article/sexual-misconduct-metoo-79688da3a0c3519d2a76b5b6e6b23ba7. 

“#MeToo Protest in Amsterdam after Allegations at TV Show.” Associated Press, 29 Jan. 2022, https://apnews.com/article/entertainment-business-arts-and-entertainment-netherlands-amsterdam-4bb589aae061e534b1a47ac453e9d85f

Q5. How do I add a hanging indent in Microsoft Word? 

A5. Here is one way of adding a hanging indent in MS Word:10 

1. Highlight the text that you want to format.  

2. Click the Home tab at the top of the page; in the “Paragraph” section click the small arrow in the lower-right corner to open a window with different paragraph setting options.  

3. In that settings window, look for a section, “Indentation,” which has an option, “Special.” Click the drop-down menu beneath Special and select Hanging.  

4. MS Word will mostly have the default spacing of the hanging indent set to 0.5 inches. To adjust the spacing, change the number in the By section. 

5. Click OK to save and apply the hanging indent to your highlighted text. 

To summarize, an MLA Works Cited page is an essential part of a manuscript written using the MLA style and includes all sources used by the author to write the research paper. As described in the article, the Works Cited page and its entries have a specific format that should be strictly followed, and all the core elements included in the individual entries.  

We hope this article has provided a deeper understanding of the MLA style and will help you apply this format to all your Works Cited pages. 

References 

  1. What is a works cited page? EasyBib website. Accessed May 14, 2024. https://www.easybib.com/guides/citation-guides/mla-format/how-to-format-a-mla-works-cited-list/ 
  1. MLA Works Cited page: Basic format. Purdue Online Writing Lab. Accessed May 14, 2024. https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_basic_format.html 
  1. MLA Citation: Works Cited Example. Press Books @ MSL website. Accessed May 16, 2024. https://pressbooks.ulib.csuohio.edu/csu-fyw-rhetoric/chapter/12-4-mla-works-cited-examples/ 
  1. MLA Works Cited Page. The University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center. Accessed May 17, 2024. https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/mla-works-cited-page 
  1. Section 5. List of Works Cited. MLA Handbook eighth edition. 
  1. Sample MLA Works Cited Page. College of San Mateo library website. Accessed May 17, 2024. https://www.collegeofsanmateo.edu/library/docs/MLAWorksCited7.pdf 
  1. MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: Title of Source. Accessed May 18, 2024. https://irsc.libguides.com/c.php?g=483085&p=3303403#:~:text=Italicize%20titles%20if%20the%20source,are%20placed%20in%20quotation%20marks
  1. Frequently Asked Questions about Citing Sources in MLA Format. Harvard Guide to Using Sources. Accessed May 20, 2024. https://usingsources.fas.harvard.edu/frequently-asked-questions-about-citing-sources-mla-format 
  1. How do I alphabetize a works-cited-list entry that begins with a hashtag or another symbol? MLA Style Center. Accessed May 21, 2024. https://style.mla.org/alphabetizing-hashtags-and-other-symbols/ 
  1. Hanging Indents and Microsoft Word. MLA Style Center. Accessed May 21, 2024. https://style.mla.org/hanging-indents/ 

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