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MLA 8th Edition Citation Format: Basic Guidelines and Recommendations

MLA 8th edition referencing style stresses on the credibility of sources. Basically, credible citations must include the author’s name and title of the reference and container. In this case, sufficient quotes should consist of issue and volume numbers for causes that are part of a sequence or a multi-volume book or journals. Then, referencing details presented in this guide on MLA 8th edition citation reveals that an essayist must include other essential information that must appear for providing appropriate location identifiers. For example, the most common forms of location identifiers include places of publication, DOI numbers, and Internet links. Moreover, papers documented in MLA 8 citation style require a Works Cited page that contains the quoted sources. In particular, this element with a list of references must begin on a separate page and cover sources in alphabetical order. Besides, this list of referenced sources must have standard spacing and capitalization. In turn, all the essential words in all the headings and names of sources must start with capital letters. As a result, the current MLA 8th edition citation style allows scholars to use a more comprehensive number of sources compared to the previous 7th version of the manual.

General Guidelines on MLA 8th Edition Citation Format

The Modern Language Association (MLA) of America, founded in 1883, allows its members to share their scholarly findings with colleagues’ teaching experiences. Basically, MLA members host an annual convention and other meetings where they work with related organizations to maintain a sustainable publishing program for human subjects. For more than a century, MLA members have worked to strengthen the study and teaching of literature and languages. Moreover, MLA manuals established guidelines that scholars should follow when acknowledging sources used in essays or research papers. In turn, regular meetings help to upgrade various MLA editions. For example, the most recent update was the upgrading from MLA 7th to 8th edition citation format. As a result, the primary role of such improvements is to ensure that scholars use the most current and acceptable guiding principles to format their scholarly papers. 

MLA 8th edition citation format

1. Formatting Aspects in MLA 8th Edition Citation Style

Scholars should format their paper by following specific guidelines on MLA 8 citations to meet academic expectations. Basically, formatting refers to structuring the cover page, headers, page numbers, in-text citations, and bibliographic entries. In most cases, MLA 8th edition citation style does not require a title page. However, writers must include their names, the lecture’s names, specific courses, and dates in the essay’s first page. Also, each page must have the writer’s surname and pagination as the header. Then, in-text citations should identify authors of cited sources and page numbers that contain the mentioned information. Finally, the MLA Works Cited page must include all the references used inside the essay’s body. In turn, one must follow specific rules when formatting bibliographic entries.

2. Avoiding Plagiarism Cases

MLA 8th edition citation relies on specific formatting guidelines that allow scholars to avoid accidental plagiarism. Basically, learners must follow such guiding principles to ensure that they acknowledge the evidence borrowed from external sources. In this case, including page, paragraph, and line numbers within in-text citations allow readers to locate the quoted information. For instance, a reader compares cited sources with bibliographic entries on the MLA Works Cited page example to find the cited evidence. Also, students must provide accurate citations to avoid a possible violation of academic rules and requirements. In turn, the Works Cited page should include adequate details that can allow the audience to locate sources and compare them for credibility purposes.

3. Legibility

MLA 8th edition citation ensures that essays and other scholarly papers remain legible to the target audience. Basically, failure to follow structuring rules can lead to poor grades issued by specific institutions. For example, some of the formatting strategies that enhance readability include page numbers, different level headings, and indenting some paragraphs. Also, such an approach ensures that readers identify specific sections that they want to consider. In turn, it enhances the organization of facts and the flow of ideas.  

4. Evaluation

Colleges and universities grade the learner’s ability to format scholarly papers effectively. In this case, each student receives grades that depend on the ability to format essays effectively. Basically, lectures consider specific rules when formatting essays in MLA 8th edition citation. Moreover, such laws affect overall grades that one may get at the final examinations. Hence, this guide provides concrete steps that one must follow when referencing and formatting essays and other scholarly papers in MLA 8th edition citation.

Difference Between MLA 8th Edition and MLA 7th Edition Citations

MLA 7th and 8th editions have specific differences. Basically, the current MLA 8th edition citation allows scholars to use a more comprehensive number of sources compared to the previous 7th version of the manual. Hence, particular differences between these two editions are:

1. Pseudonyms

Pseudonyms – MLA 8th edition citation allow scholars to use aliases when citing media sources. Basically, pseudonyms refer to online usernames given to identify an author. In this case, scholars can use pseudonyms when citing online sources, like Twitter posts or screen names. Hence, an example of a source by using a pseudonym is:

Scheme of a bibliographic entry should take the form:

  • Pseudonym. “Title of the Online Post.” Media Name, Day Month Year, Time, URL link. Access date.

Example of a bibliographic entry of a source with a pseudonym should take the form:

  • @persiankiwi. “We have Report of Large Street Battles in East & West Tehran now – #Iranelection.” Twitter, 23 June 2009, 11:15 a.m., twitter.com/persiankiwi/status/2298106072. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

In-text citation with a pseudonym should take the form:

(Pseudonym par. 1).

Note: The phrase “par” represents the actual paragraph number that contains the cited information.

The example provided above shows that the bibliographic entry should contain the pseudonym, the title of the online post, the media, date and time, and URL link. In this case, one should note the date and time when the author posts the information on social media. Also, the title of the media should appear in the italicized form. Then, MLA 8th edition citation provides specific guidelines for formatting a pseudonym. Also, scholars should use the inverted form when using pseudonyms that follow the traditional style of first and second names. Hence, bibliographic entries with pseudonyms should begin with the name. Otherwise, one should not alter the pseudonym.

MLA 7th edition does not allow writers to use pseudonyms. For instance, MLA 7th edition manual did not have guidelines that scholars would follow in citing information contained in social media posts. However, scholars would use the information presented by incredible online sources.

2. Containers

Containers – MLA 8th edition citation introduced the concept of a container. Basically, writers may obtain sources documented as part of a larger document. In this case, they can perceive this source as a container that holds specific scholarly articles. Then, an excellent example is when an author quotes some lines from a short story contained in an anthology book. In turn, short stories act as sources, while the title of this document becomes the container.

Citation scheme that contains the container is:

  • Surname, First Name. “Source’s Title.” Container 1, Year, Page. Container 2, URL Link. Access date.

Example of a Work Cited citation with the container is:

  • Lorensen, Jutta. “Between Image and Word, Color, and Time: Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series.” African American Review, vol. 40, no. 3, 2006, pp. 571-86. Academic Search Complete, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=24093790&site=ehost-live. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

The example provided above contains two containers. Basically, the first container is a scholarly journal database – African American Review – with a volume and issue number. Then, the second container is Academic Search Complete. Then, this example presents a case of a container found within the second one. In turn, readers can find this journal in a database, which is the second container. Hence, MLA 8th edition citation allows one to use books, journals, and websites as containers for credible sources used as citations. Besides, MLA 7th edition did not let the use of abbreviations “vol.” and “no.” when citing the sources’ containers. 

3. URLs

URLs – Web links allow readers to access cited sources from respective online databases. In this case, both MLA 7th and 8th editions enable writers to include URLs in their citations. However, 8th edition citation requires one to use URLs without the “https://” or “https://.” Hence, citations in two versions show this underlying difference:

MLA 7th edition citation example:

  • The United States. “Vietnamese Amerasian Resettlement: Education, Employment, and Family Outcomes in the United States.” Www.Govinfo.Gov, 1994, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GAOREPORTS-PEMD-94-15/html/GAOREPORTS-PEMD-94-15.htm. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

MLA 8th edition citation example:

  • The United States. “Vietnamese Amerasian Resettlement: Education, Employment, and Family Outcomes in the United States.” Www.Govinfo.Gov, 1994, www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GAOREPORTS-PEMD-94-15/html/GAOREPORTS-PEMD-94-15.htm. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

Formatting 1st Page (Title) in MLA 8th Edition Citation

1. Header

MLA 8th edition citation requires students to include a header on each page. Basically, headers should consist of the writer’s surname and the corresponding page number. As a rule, one should format headers to the right margin. In this case, space should separate the author’s last name and page numbers. Moreover, one may use the phrase “Surname” or “Last Name” in headers when saving MLA templates. Hence, each page in an MLA sample paper must have a header that contains the student’s surname and page numbers.

2. Credentials

The first page of an essay formatted in MLA 8 should contain specific credentials. Basically, writers should include their names and those of lecturers, instructions, or professors. Then, other details include course numbers or titles and dates when writing such essays is completed. As a rule, one should flush these credential details to the left margin of the page. In turn, each entry must begin in a new line. Hence, the first page in the MLA paper format must contain the necessary credentials flushed to the left page margin.

3. Topic Title

The first page of an MLA style paper must contain a concise title. Basically, topic sections should appear below the date field. As a rule, one should align this title to the center of the page. Moreover, students must follow the title case rule to format this type of heading. In turn, all the words must begin with a capital letter. However, linking words and those with three or fewer letters should start with lower case letters. Also, topic titles should summarize essays and should not be more than twelve words. Unfortunately, longer titles may appear vague and hard to understand.

Formatting In-Text Citations in MLA 8th Edition

MLA 8th edition citation requires authors to cite all quotes, summaries, or paraphrases used in the essay’s body. Basically, each in-text citation must include author surnames and exact page numbers containing the mentioned information. For websites, scholars should count paragraph numbers containing the evidence used. As a rule, one should use a space to separate surnames and page or paragraph numbers. In turn, students can use parenthetical and narrative styles to format in-text citations. Hence, specific guidelines that a student should follow when formatting MLA citations are:

1. Citing Unknown and Different Numbers of Authors in MLA 8

Each in-text citation should identify authors of sources. For example, students may use sources that contain corporate authors. Basically, such quotes should include the full name of the corporate author as opposed to initials. For sources with two authors, writers should use the phrase “and” to separate these two names. Besides, one should use the phrase “et al.” for sources that contain more than three authors. However, some causes may not include a specific author. In turn, in-text citations for evidence obtained from such sources should include the title in place of the author. Hence, specific guidelines that one should follow when formatting unknown and multiple authors are:

A. In-text citation scheme for sources that contain unknown authors is:

  • (Source’s Title Page or Paragraph Number).

Example of a Works Cited entry for a source with no author:

  • “Advantages and Disadvantages of Cosmetic Surgery.” Flawless.Org, 2019, flawless.org/journal/advantages-and-disadvantages-cosmetic-surgery/. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

Example of an in-text citation for this source should appear as:

  • (“Advantages and Disadvantages of Cosmetic Surgery” par. 2).

Note: The phrase “par. 2” represents the paragraph number that contains the evidence. In turn, the source’s title should appear inside double quotation marks. Also, this format remains consistent in both MLA 7th and 8th edition citation.

Example of a narrative in-text citation for this source should take the form:

  • The evidence presented in the article “Advantages and Disadvantages of Cosmetic Surgery” covers … (par. 2).

B. For sources with a single author, an in-text citation should follow a scheme:

  • (Author’s Surname Page or Paragraph Number).

Example of a Works Cited entry for one author:

  • Booth, Stephanie. “Yes, More People Are Getting Plastic Surgery. Here’s Why.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 25 Mar. 2019, www.healthline.com/health-news/more-people-getting-plastic-surgery#Advice-for-the-cosmetically-inclined. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

Example of an in-text citation for this source should appear as:

  • (Booth par. 2).

Note: In this example given above, the numeral “2” represents the paragraph number that includes the cited evidence.

Example of a narrative in-text citation for this source should take the form:

  • Booth defines plastic surgery as… (par. 2).

C. For sources that contain two authors, an in-text citation should appear as:

  • (Surname of Author 1 and Surname of Author 2 Page or Paragraph Number).

Example of a Works Cited entry for two authors:

  • Sandhu, Brindar K., and Shonna M. McBride. “Clostridioides Difficile.” Trends in Microbiology, vol. 26, no. 12, 2018, pp. 1049–1050, doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2018.09.004. Accessed 21 Nov. 2019.

Example of an in-text citation for this source should appear as:

  • (Sandhu and McBride 3).

Example of a narrative in-text citation for this source should take the form:

  • Sandhu and McBride noted that… (3).

Note: In this case, the numeral “3” represents the actual page number that contains the cited evidence.

D. For sources with three or more authors, an in-text citation should appear as:

  • (First Author’s Surname et al. Page or Paragraph Number).

Example of a Works Cited entry for three or more authors:

Zhu, Duolong, et al. “Clostridioides Difficile Biology: Sporulation, Germination, and Corresponding Therapies for C. Difficile Infection.” Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, vol. 8, no. 29, 2018, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2018.00029. Accessed 12 Dec. 2019.

Example of an in-text citation for this source should appear as:

  • (Zhu et al. 3). 

Example of a narrative in-text citation for this source should take the form:

  • According to Zhu et al., cellular and infection microbiology covers… (3).

Note: In this case, the numeral “3” represents the actual page number that contains the cited information.

E. For a source containing corporate author, an in-text citation should follow a scheme:

  • (Corporate Author Page or Paragraph Number).

Example of a Works Cited entry for corporate author:

National Labor Relations Board. “National Labor Relations Act.” Nlrb.Gov, 2012, www.nlrb.gov/guidance/key-reference-materials/national-labor-relations-act. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

Example of an in-text citation for this source should appear as:

  • (National Labor Relations Board par. 4).

Note: In this case, “National Labor Relations Board” is the corporate author.

Example of a narrative in-text citation for this source should take the form:

  • According to the National Labor Relations Board, research shows … (par. 3).

For narrative in-text citation, page or paragraph numbers must appear at the end of the sentence. In this case, students should include details inside wounded brackets. Moreover, these details should precede closing punctuation marks. When citing a source containing more than three authors, a period must follow the phrase “et al.” In turn, one must observe this aspect even when using narrative in-text citation.

2. Citing Sources by Using Titles of Articles or Names of Organizations

Writers may use titles of various sources inside the essay’s body when citing evidence. Basically, MLA 8th edition citation provides specific guidelines for writing titles of different sources or organization’s names. Hence, specific guidelines that one must follow when including these details within the essay’s texts are:

A. Organizational Names

All organizations included inside body texts should follow title case rules. For instance, all the words in the organization’s titles should begin with upper case letters. When mentioning organizations for the first time, students should use their full names followed by initials inside rounded brackets. In this case, an example of an organization should appear as “World Health Organization (WHO)” for the first time in the paper. For a consecutive time, one should use the initial “WHO.”

B. Book Titles

Students may mention a book’s title inside the body of an essay. As a rule, one should follow the title case when denoting a book. Besides, one should italicize this entry. For example, the title of the book by David Harvey should appear as Social Justice and the City inside an MLA formatted essay. In turn, this example shows that all significant words begin with a capital letter. Also, only the words with fewer than three letters should start with a lower case letter.

C. Periodical’s Titles

Scholars obtain evidence from reliable sources contained in periodicals. When mentioning credible publications inside the essay’s body, writers should use the title case. Besides, one should italicize such types of entries. Hence, an excellent example is a journal entry – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open.

D. Book Chapters

Writers may require to mention a specific section of a book. As a rule, such entries should appear inside double quotation marks and must follow the title case. Hence, a good example is when students mention Chapter 2 of the book Social Justice and the City. Basically, this entry for an in-text citation should appear as “Liberal Formulations.”

E. Articles in Periodicals

Students may mention an item found in a publication inside the essay’s body. As a rule, the article’s title should appear inside double quotation marks. Basically, one should follow the title case when writing these details. Hence, a good example is when writers mention an item found in the periodical Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open. In turn, MLA 8th edition citation entry should appear as “Influence of Social Media on the Decision to Undergo a Cosmetic Procedure.”  

Preceding examples show that all titles must follow the title case in MLA 8 when they appear inside the essay’s body. Basically, one should remember that titles of books and periodicals should appear as italicized. However, citation entries for articles and book chapters must appear inside rounded quotation marks. In turn, violating these rules can lower the quality of an essay and lead to poor grades.

3. Page, Paragraph, and Line Numbers

Learners use page numbers for citing academic sources, like books, chapters, and articles found in journals. In practice, one should place page number identifiers inside rounded brackets. As a rule, students should not use phrases, like “p.” or “pp.,” when citing page numbers inside their essay or research paper. Then, essayists must use paragraph numbers that contain the quoted information for web articles. Basically, MLA 8th edition citation requires one to use the phrase “par.” after the author’s surname and before noting the actual paragraph number. In turn, a period must follow this phrase. Further on, writers must denote specific lines when citing poems and Shakespeare’s sources. Hence, specific guidelines that one must follow when using in-text citations for different types of sources are:

A. Citing scheme for a page number:

  • (Arab et al. 2).

B. Citing format for a paragraph number:

  • (National Labor Relations Board par. 4)

C. Citing structure for a line number from Shakespeare’s source:

  • (Shakespeare 3.3.165-171).

Note: This citation shows that the author cited information found in lines from 165 to 171 in Act 3, and it is the 3rd scene in Shakespeare’s source. 

4. Block Quotes

Scholars need to cite block quotes in MLA 8th edition citation. As a rule, a block quote contains more than four lines. Basically, one should place the quotes as free-standing blocks within body texts. Also, such blocks should not appear inside double quotation marks. In this case, writers should ensure that a cited quote starts on a new line. Then, one must indent used quotes at 0.5 inches from the left margin. Moreover, block quotes should maintain the font size and spacing, using the rest of the essay. In turn, parenthetical citations of quotes must appear after closing punctuation marks at the end of passages.

When citing a block quote from the article “Yes, More People Are Getting Plastic Surgery. Here’s Why” by Stephanie Booth, it should appear as: 

Stephanie Booth gives a personal reflection about surgery:

Twenty-five years ago, I had my first cosmetic surgery procedure — liposuction on my chest and love handles — to achieve a slimmer, more masculine appearance. At 18 years old, low self-esteem told me that a more contoured physique would generate favorable regard from my peers who were absent while growing up. (par. 2)

In other instances, students may quote information from more than one paragraph. In this case, writers should format indent the second paragraph of the blockquote at an extra 0.25 inches. Moreover, the second paragraph of the block quote should begin at 0.75 inches from the left margin. In turn, this unique formatting helps scholars to denote the beginning of a new section.

When citing two paragraphs from the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, one follows the example below:

In the poem “My Papa’s Waltz,” Theodore Roethke explores his childhood experience with his father:

We romped until the pans.

Slid from the kitchen shelf;  

My mother’s countenance  

Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist  

Was battered on one knuckle;  

At every step you missed

My right ear scraped a buckle. (5-12) or (par. 2-3)

Note: The element “par. 2-3” means paragraph numbers from 2 to 3. while the element “5-12” covers line numbers counted in this poem. In turn, students should use line numbers instead of paragraph numbers when citing the poem’s lines for block quotes.

The example provided above shows that the block quote that contains more than one paragraph should not appear inside double quotation marks. In turn, prudent writers provide a context sentence before the block quote. Basically, the process allows students to understand the implication and purpose of the quote inside the text. Like the block entirely with one passage, one should place parenthetical citations after closing punctuation marks.

How to Cite Charts in MLA 8th Edition

MLA 8th edition citation provides guidelines for citing several sources that appear in varied formats. When completing college and university essays, students may supplement their work with charts. Basically, the most common types of maps include images and tables. In this case, pictures obtained from books and magazines, photographs, and drawings are some of the images that one can use to support and supplement arguments presented in an essay. Hence, some guidelines that students must use when citing charts in MLA 8 are:

1. Citing Images in MLA 8

MLA 8th edition citation recognizes all visuals and illustrations that are not tables or musical examples as images. Basically, if students know how to cite an image in MLA, they consider sources that include maps, diagrams, charts, and podcasts. As a rule, one must label them as “figures.” Then, one must refer to a specific figure inside the text when using it as evidence. In this case, writers must apply such rules to all the images that appear inside the body of an essay. Then, a suitable paper should contain Arabic numerals that correspond to figure numbers. Also, label names should appear below images, but they should not appear in bold or italics. In turn, the phrase “Fig.,’ followed by a period, should precede the name. Besides, expressions must begin with an upper-case letter. Hence, specific guidelines that one must follow when citing an image in MLA 8 are:

A. Citing Own Image in MLA 8

In some instances, writers may create their images to support the evidence presented in essays. Basically, one must follow the right format of naming the image to avoid plagiarism. However, one does not have to mention the author of the picture. In turn, students must cite the source as Fig. 1. Besides, one must include a brief description of the image or the relevant title.

Example of citing a picture made by an author of the entire paper:

  • Fig. 1. An insect pollinating a flower.

B. Citing an Image Placed in a Research Article

Students may opt to cite an image found in a research article or another scholarly source. For example, writers must include such citations of sources that contain images. In turn, one must observe the following rules to meet MLA 8th edition citation requirements:

  • The image’s caption must begin with a brief and precise description of the figure. Basically, writers should ensure that readers understand the meaning of visuals provided in written papers. In this case, citations of the articles that contain used visuals must follow brief descriptions. In this case, one must provide full bibliographic entries of such sources.
  • One must label all figures, starting from the Arabic numeral “1.”
  • Students should place the figure’s caption below the image. In turn, this approach helps readers to understand the value quoted inside the text.
  • One must include the full citation underneath the image. In this case, one should include sources in the Works Cited page.

The following example shows how students should cite an image obtained from a scholarly source.

Fig. 2. Gene neighborhoods of aerobic respiratory developments from: Soo, Rochelle M., et al. “On the Origins of Oxygenic Photosynthesis and Aerobic Respiration in Cyanobacteria.” Science, vol. 355, no. 6332, 30 Mar. 2017, pp. 1436–1440, do: 10.1126/science.aal3794. Accessed 22 Nov. 2019.

Note: Students must use the phrase “from” when citing the image. In turn, the colon must follow this phrase.

Scholars should refer to a cited image in the text while following the necessary guidelines. In this case, MLA 8th edition citation requires learners to mention images where necessary. Hence, possible ways that one may refer to an image placed in the essay are:

  • Some scholars argue that gene neighborhoods influence gaseous exchange during aerobic respiration (see Fig. 2). From this example, students should not use the word “figure.” Instead, one must use the label used to denote the illustration inside the text.
  • From Fig. 2, gene neighborhoods influence gaseous exchange during aerobic respiration.

MLA 8th edition citation allows writers to identify containers that contain cited images. In this case, books or websites that include cited visuals should act as containers of illustrations. As a rule, the second container must appear after the source’s title and before contributors. Then, other bibliographic details should follow contributors.

Example of a citation for an image contained in a source with two containers:

  • Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Gardener’s Art Through the Ages, 10th ed., by Richard G. Tansey and Fred S. Kleiner, Harcourt Brace, p. 939.

Two containers appear in the italicized form. From the example above, the first container is the chapter, and the second one is the book. Basically, students should consider website titles as containers for cited images. In this case, citations must include the website’s title and the relevant URL link. Also, these details must appear at the end of the quote.

Example of how one must cite an image obtained from an online source:

  • Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Museo del Prado, museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-family-of-carlos-iv/f47898fc-aa1c-48f6-a779-71759e417e74. Accessed 13 Nov. 2019.

From the example provided above, a period must appear after the date. Basically, one should not use a comma because the year represents the image’s original creation. For example, scholars should not assume that the year included in the citation represents the source’s publication time. In turn, MLA 8th edition citation considers this date an “optional element” in the quote. 

2. Citing a Table in MLA 8

MLA 8th edition citation requires authors to draw statistical figures from specific tables. As a rule, one must label each table by using Arabic numerals. Basically, labels must appear at the top of the actual illustration. However, the caption of the table must appear below the picture. In this case, writers should ensure that the figure begins with the word “Source.” Also, captions must contain full citations of sources, providing tables. In turn, one must follow the guidelines for developing bibliographic entries for websites, journal articles, or books. Besides, one should include such sources with tables in the Works Cited page if a person uses them within the essay’s body. The following is the actual citation of the table obtained from an external source.

Example of how one should quote information contained in a table as an in-text citation:

  • In 1985, women aged 65 and older were approximately 59% more likely than men of the same age to live in a nursing home, men over the same period ranged from between 30,000 and 39,000 people while women accounted for 49,000 to 61,500 even though 11,700 fewer ladies of that age group received their enrollment in 1999 (see Table 1).

Caption that must appear below the table should appear as:

  • Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Older Americans 2008: Key Indicators of Well-Being, Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Mar. 2008, table 35A.

MLA 8th edition citation presents specific guidelines that one must follow when developing actual citations for tables. Hence, the most crucial aspects that a prudent learner must consider are:

  • Students should refer to tables and their matching numerals when developing in-text citations. In this case, writers should not capitalize the word “table.” Besides, details must appear inside the parenthesis.
  • Scholars should place the table near the text that refers to its content.
  • One should alight all the tables flush-left to the margin. Although some paragraphs begin at 0.5 inches from the left margin, students must avoid this formatting for tables and captions.
  • One should label the illustration as “Table,” followed by the corresponding numeral number. As a rule, one should not include a period after the Arabic numeral. Hence, the first label must appear as “Table 1.”
  • Writers should provide the title that describes the table below the label. This caption should follow the title case format where all the words must begin with a capital letter.
  • The actual table should appear below the caption and must follow the basic MLA formatting guidelines. In this case, one must maintain a 1-inch margin from the left edge of the page.
  • MLA 8th edition citation allows students to include additional information to explain the data contained in the table. In this case, explanation notes must appear in lowercase letters, formatted as superscripts in the caption or inside the table. Alternatively, one may provide a summary after the source. Besides, one should indent the first line following source information at 0.5 inches. In turn, the information should appear in lower case but not as superscript.
  • All the notes, captions, and notes provided to support the table must include a spacing format that corresponds to the entire essay.  

How to Format Headings in MLA 8th Edition Citation

MLA 8th citation edition allows writers to organize their work in different headings. In practice, one may use five-heading levels to organize different subsections in academic essays. Hence, specific rules for headings from 1st to 5th levels are:

  1. Level 1 – First-level headings must begin on a new line. Basically, writers should flush-left entries. In this case, all the words must start with upper case letters. Besides, students should bold first-level headings. In turn, new paragraphs or content following this entry must begin on a new line below.
  2. Level 2 – Second-level headings begin at the left margin. For example, authors should flush-left entries and ensure that they follow title case guidelines. Also, one must italicize this type of heading to distinguish it from the first-level entry. In this case, one should not use bold letters for this type of entry. However, a period must follow the last word in the heading. Besides, the text must begin after the period.
  3. Level 3 – Third-level headings should appear at the center of the page. In this case, writers must use the title case and bolded letters when creating this heading. Moreover, all the words in heading entries must begin with an upper case letter. In turn, paragraphs follow the title and start in a new line below the heading. Also, one must flush-left the content so that the first sentence begins at the left margin of the page.
  4. Level 4 – Fourth-level headings appear at the center of the page in the title case. Basically, all the essential words in the heading must begin with a capital letter. In turn, the main difference with the third-level title is that this heading must appear in the italicized form. Besides, writers should not use bolded letters when preparing this heading. Then, the text must begin in a new line below the title, while students should flush-left the content to avoid indentation.
  5. Level 5 – Fifth-level headings begin at the left margin of the page. For example, one must underline this heading and ensure that it appears in the title case. However, authors should not use bolded letters for this type of heading. Also, paragraphs that follow this title must begin in a new sentence. In turn, further passages start in the line immediately below the entry. Besides, one should not indent the first sentence.

Discussed details show that a writer can use up to five types of subheadings when formatting an essay outline by following the rules of MLA 8th edition citation. Basically, one must note that all headings appear in the title case. Also, all paragraphs must begin at the left margin of the page. However, students must indent the second paragraph after each subsection at 0.5 inches from the left margin. In turn, an active organization enhances the essay’s readability level.   

How to Format a Works Cited Page in MLA 8th Edition Citation

MLA 8th edition citation style requires students and other writers to use credible sources to support their arguments. For instance, credible sources refer to scholarly sources that contain accurate and reliable evidence on specific topics. In this case, MLA 8 edition citation style provides specific rules that help scholars identify suitable sources for use in essays and research papers. In practice, each piece must contain a Works Cited section that includes all the references cited in the essay’s body. Also, this section should appear on a separate page at the end of a written piece. Hence, each paper formatted in MLA 8 must contain a separate page that contains all the sources used in supporting arguments in the essay’s body.

1. List of Sources on Works Cited

 Works Cited pages must contain a list of all the sources used inside the essay’s text. For instance, writers must arrange sources by using surnames of authors in alphabetical order. In some cases, scholarly sources may lack specific authors. However, one must organize bibliographic entries by following alphabetical order with titles. Then, other facts that one must observe include the use of the title case for the source’s title. As a rule, significant words in titles must begin with an upper case letter. Hence, one must organize bibliographic entries in alphabetical order by using the first author’s surname or title of the article.

2. Elements of Citations

Each bibliographic entry must contain specific details to meet MLA 8th edition requirements. For example, some of the features that should appear in each listing include author’s names, titles of references and containers, issue and volume numbers, publication dates, location identifiers, where applicable, when citing sources. As a rule, one must provide names when citing books, journals, websites, magazines, encyclopedia, and newspapers, among other acceptable sources. For instance, a credible citation must begin with the first author’s surname. In turn, this author can wither be an individual or an organization or corporate. When some sources contain one author, students should write initials by using the inverted form. For two authors, only the names of the first one should begin with the surname. Hence, each entry in the Works Cited page must start with the author’s surname.

3. Punctuation

MLA 8th edition citation requires scholars to observe correct punctuation rules when preparing bibliographic entries. For instance, essayists must use proper punctuation when writing author’s names. Basically, a comma should separate second and first names for sources that contain a single author. Then, writers should include a period after providing the author’s names. For sources that contain two authors, one should use the word “and” between initials. Also, students should use a comma to separate the first’s author’s name and the phrase “and.” For sources that contain three or more sources, one should use the phrase “et al.” after the first author’s names. In turn, essayists should separate the author’s first name and “et al.” with a comma. Hence, one must observe correct punctuation guidelines when writing the author’s names for bibliographic entries.  

4. Titles and Containers

MLA 8th edition citation requires writers to include reference and container’s titles. For example, one must list titles of sources after names of authors. Basically, this information depends on the type of reference that a writer uses for citations. As a rule, one should italicize titles for books. However, scholars should place titles for journal articles and electronic sources inside double quotation marks. Moreover, each bibliographic entry should include containers’ names. For instance, a container refers to a source where a scholar locates this document. In turn, one must italicize this entry to ensure that readers can distinguish it from the source’s article. Thus, students need to identify the source’s container where applicable.

5. Volume and Issue Numbers

MLA 8th edition citation requires students to include other publications that help to identify sources. For instance, bibliographic entries should contain volume and issue numbers where applicable. Also, some article exists as a numbered sequence or a multi-volume book or journals. In this case, essayists must include relevant symbols in bibliographic entries to meet these requirements. As a rule, one must use the phrases “vol.” and “no.” before including corresponding numbers. Hence, adequate publication details help writers to meet the required credibility.

6. Publication Dates

MLA 8th edition manual requires that all credible citations must contain an accurate publication date. For instance, each source has an exact creation date. In this case, a writer may come across some references with the same authors and titles, but articles may have different volumes and publication dates. Basically, publication years become crucial in differentiating such scholarly sources. In turn, identifying exact publication dates enhances its authentication of sources. Thus, all references in MLA 8 must contain an accurate publication date.

7. DOI Numbers and URL Links

MLA 8th edition citation requires scholars to provide the most accurate identifications of relevant sources. As a rule, each citation must have the corresponding location identifiers. For example, the most common location identifiers for sources include digital object identifiers or DOI numbers and Internet links. Basically, places of publications are suitable for identifying the credibility of online sources like books. Besides, most universities require students to use books published in their specific countries. In turn, DOI numbers and URL links help readers to locate precise sources used inside the essay’s body. Thus, authors include relevant location identifiers for all sources used in supporting arguments.

Examples of Works Cited Entries in MLA 8th Edition Citation

Scholars must observe these guidelines to ensure that their papers meet specifications of MLA 8th edition citation. Hence, specific examples can help authors to format their Works Cited pages correctly.   

1. Books

Students may find different types of books for use in essays and research papers. For instance, one may use printed books or locate some files from online databases. In turn, the ground rule is ensuring that book entries have adequate bibliographic details.

A. Bibliographic entries of a printed book with one author should follow a scheme:

  • Author’s Surname, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle, when given. Edition, if it is given and is not 1st edition, Publisher Name (it is often shortened), Year of Publication. 

Sample citation for a printed book with a single author should appear as:

  • Kirsh, Steven J. Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence: A Critical Look at the Research. 2nd ed., Sage, 2006. 

B. Bibliographic entries of a printed book with two authors should appear as:

  • Surname, First Name of Author 1, and First Name Surname of Author 2. Title of Book: Subtitle, when given. Edition, if it is given and is not 1st edition, Publisher Name (it is often shortened), Year of Publication.

Sample citation for a printed book with two authors should appear as:

  • Wykes, Maggie, and Barrie Gunter. The Media and Body Image: If Looks Could Kill. Sage, 2005.

C. Bibliographic entries of a source authored by three or more author should appear as:

  • Surname, First Name of First Author et al. Title of Book: Subtitle. Edition, if it is given and is not 1st edition, Publisher Name (it is often shortened), Year of Publication.

Sample citation for a source should appear as:

  • Nickels, William et al. Understanding Canadian Business. 9th ed., McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2016. 

D. Bibliographic entries of a book prepared by a corporate author should appear as:

  • Name of Corporate Author. Title of Book: Subtitle, when given. Edition, if it is given and is not 1st edition, Publisher Name (it is often shortened), Year of Publication.

Sample citation for a book authored by a corporation or organization should appear as:

  • Calgary Educational Partnership Foundation. Employability Skills: Creating My Future. Nelson, 1996.

E. Bibliographic entries of a book found in an Internet-based database should follow a scheme:

  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle, when given. Edition, if it is given and is not 1st edition, Publisher Name (it is often shortened), Year of Publication. Website Title, URL. Accessed Day Month Year when this site was visited.

Sample citation for an e-book found from online databases is:

  • Harvey, David. Social Justice and the City. University of Georgia Press, 15 Apr. 2010, Google Books, books.google.co.ke/books/about/Social_Justice_and_the_City.html?id=VCwLi2nVmooC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

F. Bibliographic entries of a book obtained from a library database should appear as:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle, when given. Edition, if it is given and is not 1st edition, Publisher Name (it is often shortened), Year of Publication. Name of Library Database.

Sample citation for a book obtained from a library database is:

  • Waldau, Paul. Animal Rights: What Everyone Needs To Know? Oxford University Press, 2010. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). 

2. Websites

Students may obtain evidence from a specific website. Hence, necessary schemes and examples for citing websites in MLA 8th edition citation are:

A. Entry format of a website with specific authors should follow a scheme:

  • Author’s Surname, First Name. “Article Title.” Publisher Title, Organization Name, Publication Date (Day Month. Year), URL link. Access date.

Example of a bibliographic entry for a website should appear as:

  • Booth, Stephanie. “Yes, More People Are Getting Plastic Surgery. Here’s Why.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 25 Mar. 2019, www.healthline.com/health-news/more-people-getting-plastic-surgery#Advice-for-the-cosmetically-inclined. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

B. Entry format for a website article published by a corporate author should follow a scheme:

  • Corporate Author. “ArticleTitle.” Publisher Title, Publication Date, URL link. Access date.

Example of a bibliographic entry for a website article prepared by a corporate author is:

  • National Labor Relations Board. “National Labor Relations Act.” Nlrb.Gov, 2012, www.nlrb.gov/guidance/key-reference-materials/national-labor-relations-act. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

C. Entry format for a website without an author should follow a scheme:

  • “Article Title.” Publisher Title, Publication date, URL link. Access date.

Example of a Works Cited entry for a website that does not have an author is:

“Advantages and Disadvantages of Cosmetic Surgery.” Flawless.Org, 2019, flawless.org/journal/advantages-and-disadvantages-cosmetic-surgery/. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.

3. Scholarly Articles

Students can find scholarly articles from specific scientific journals. Hence, schemes and actual examples for bibliographic entries for journal articles in MLA 8th edition citation are:

Structure of a journal article’s bibliographic entry found online is:

First Author’s Surname, First Name, et al. “Journal Article’s Title.” The Periodical, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Publication Date (Day Month. Year), pp. page ranges, URL link or DOI number. Access date.

Example of a Work Cited Entry for a journal article:

  • Arab, Khalid, et al. “Influence of Social Media on the Decision to Undergo a Cosmetic Procedure.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open, vol. 7, no. 8, 2019, p. e2333, doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000002333. Accessed 20 Dec. 2019.

See how to cite a journal article in MLA.

4. Videos

MLA 8th edition format requires authors to provide suitable citations for videos. In most cases, learners may obtain films from online databases. Basically, one must follow the basic guidelines for citing such sources in MLA 8. Hence, actual examples of bibliographic entries for different videos are:

A YouTube video sponsored by TED Talks:

  • TED Talk. “After Watching This, Your Brain Will Not Be the Same | Lara Boyd | TEDxVancouver.” YouTube, 15 Dec. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNHBMFCzznE.

See how to cite a TED Talk in MLA.

A YouTube video without a director:

  • “8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

See how to a YouTube a video in MLA.

A film that has a director found in an online database:

  • Tanne, Richard. “Southside With You.” IMDb, 2016, www.imdb.com/title/tt4258698/. Accessed 21 Aug. 2020.

See how to cite a movie or video in MLA 8.

General Rules of Formatting Citations in MLA 8th Edition

MLA 8th edition citation provides specific guidelines that writers must follow when formatting entire essays and research papers. In this case, the primary aim of using particular instructions is to ensure that a written piece appears presentable. Hence, specific guidelines that one must follow when formatting papers are:

  1. Indentation – One must indent second and subsequent paragraphs after each subsection. As a rule, the first sentence of these paragraphs must begin at 0.5 inches from the page’s left margin.
  2. Margins – Authors use uniform margins when presenting various sources. For instance, each page should have a uniform of a 1-inch margin all around.
  3. Font – Students rely on a readable format. Basically, the ground rule is that readers should not face challenges when interacting with the topic. In practice, one should use Times New Roman form and 12 points. Also, this configuration promotes the readability level of the essay.
  4. Spacing – MLA 8th edition citation requires writers to use a double spacing format throughout their academic papers. Also, this rule applies to block quotes and captions for all the images and figures cited. However, professors may provide specific guidelines for formatting essays. For instance, instructions may require scholars to use a single spacing format. However, one must use consistent spacing throughout a written piece.
  5. Sentence Case – Writers use a sentence case rule in rare cases. Basically, sentence case refers to the process of ensuring that all words in a title begin with lowercase letters. However, only the first word in the title of subsection and nouns must start with an uppercase letter.   
  6. Title Case – Scholars use a title case rule when writing headings and source titles. Basically, one should capitalize on all the significant words in the title, entries in all levels, and the Works Cited page. Also, significant terms refer to nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. Then, other instances when one must use uppercase letters include writing the second part of a hyphenated word. Besides, one must use an upper case letter when writing words with four or more letters.

A title case rule requires one to begin all minor words with lowercase letters. For instance, minor words have three or fewer letters. Hence, some categories of shorter words that must begin with small letters:

  • Conjunctions – “and,” “or,” “nor,” and “but.”
  • Article – “as,” “at,” “by,” “for,” “in,” “of,” “on,” “per,” and “to.”

Students should begin the above examples of words with a small letter only when they do not start a sentence or after the symbol “:” in the title of the article. Otherwise, one should start with an upper case letter.

Summing Up on MLA 8th Edition Citation Rules

Modern Language Association (MLA 8th edition) developed the writing style that scholars who take humanities may use to acknowledge sources. In this case, the MLA organization upgrades citing manuals to ensure that scholars acknowledge evidence presented in a wide range of sources. Basically, MLA 8th edition citation allows scholars to recognize information from external sources to avoid all forms of plagiarism. Also, general formating guidelines of MLA 8 does not require a title page. However, one must include specific credentials that include student’s and lecturer’s names, relevant courses or titles of classes, and the actual date of writing. Besides, the first page must contain the essay’s topic. In turn, identification details must appear at the left-upper corner of the page. AS a result, the title and the content must follow identification details without leaving a space between lines.

Other MLA 8th Edition Citation Changes

Key details presented in this guide revealed that papers formatted in MLA 8 require author-page, -paragraph, or line in-text citations. Basically, essayists must provide an in-text citation that contains the author’s name and page numbers that contain the quoted information. In particular, this style applies to printed sources, like journals found in periodicals, books, and reports. Also, students should use a space to separate the author’s name and page numbers. Then, MLA 8th edition citation requires writers to use author-paragraph citations for sources without page numbers. In this case, writers must identify paragraph numbers that contain the evidence quoted. Moreover, one must use the phrase “par.” to precede paragraph numbers. For poems and Shakespeare’s works, scholars should identify lines that contain quotes. In turn, one should include specific scenes and acts within parenthetical in-text citations where applicable.

Takeaways

One should always remember the following tips when formatting papers and following the rules of MLA 8th edition citation:

  • Papers formatted in MLA 8 do not require title pages. Basically, one must provide identification details at the left-upper end of the first page. In this case, a centered heading and content of papers appear below identification details.
  • An MLA in-text citation should follow the author-page format for all printed sources. Besides, this style covers the author-paragraph format for in-text citations if unprinted sources are used.
  • The last section of papers formatted in MLA 8 is a Works Cited page. Basically, this section contains all sources arranged in alphabetical order. In turn, one should organize references in hanging indentation and with capitalized headings.
  • All the entries in the Works Cited page must follow alphabetic order.
  • The current version of MLA 8th edition citation allows scholars to use a more comprehensive number of sources compared to the previous 7th version. In particular, MLA 8 enables scholars to use usernames when citing media sources, like Twitter posts or screen names.
  • A scheme of a bibliographic entry should take the form: Pseudonym. “Title of the Online Post.” Media Name, Day Month Year, Time, URL Link.
  • An in-text citation should take the form: (Pseudonym par. 1). In this case, the phrase “par.” represents the actual paragraph number that contains the cited information.
  • MLA 8th edition citation introduced the concept of a container. Basically, essayists may obtain sources documented as part of a larger whole. In this case, they can perceive the whole file as a container that holds the specific scholarly source.
  • A bibliographic entry of a printed book with one author should follow the scheme: Author’s Surname, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle, when given. Edition, if it is given and is not 1st edition, Publisher Name (it is often shortened), Year of Publication.
  • A bibliographic entry of a source authored by three or more authors should appear as: Surname, First Name of First Author et al. Title of Book: Subtitle when given. Edition, if it is given and is not 1st edition, Publisher Name (it is often shortened), Year of Publication.
  • Entries of a website with specific authors should follow the scheme: Author’s Surname, First Name. “Article Title.” Website Title, Publication Date (Day Month. Year), URL link. Access date.
  • A scheme of a journal article’s bibliographic entry is: First Author’s Surname, First Name, et al. “Journal Article’s Title.” The Periodical, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Publication Date (Day Month. Year), pp. page ranges, DOI number or URL link. Access date.
  • Writers must indent second and subsequent paragraphs after each subsection. As a rule, the first sentence of these paragraphs must begin at 0.5 inches from the page’s left margin.
  • Authors use uniform margins when presenting various sources. For instance, each page should have a uniform of a 1-inch margin all around. 
  • Students rely on a readable format. In practice, one should use Times New Roman form and 12 points. Also, this configuration promotes the readability level of academic essays. 
  • Writers use the double spacing format throughout their papers. However, one must use consistent spacing throughout essays, depending on assigned instructions.
  • Scholars follow a sentence case rule in rare instances. Basically, sentence case refers to the process of ensuring that all words in a title begin with lowercase letters. 
  • Essayists consider a title case rule when writing headings and sources’ titles.