how to correctly cite a source in an essay in mla format

how to correctly cite a source in an essay in mla format

Citing sources correctly in an essay in MLA format is crucial to give proper credit to the original authors and to avoid plagiarism. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to correctly cite a source in an essay using MLA format:

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1. In-Text Citations:

In MLA format, you should use in-text citations to acknowledge the source of information within the body of your essay. The basic format for in-text citations includes the author’s last name and the page number (if applicable) in parentheses. Here are a few examples:

  • For a direct quote: (Smith 45)
  • For paraphrased or summarized information: (Smith)
  • For an online source without page numbers, use the author’s last name only: (Smith)

2. Works Cited Page:

At the end of your essay, include a Works Cited page that lists all the sources you referenced in your essay. This page should be titled “Works Cited” and should be alphabetically organized by the author’s last name (or by the title if there is no author). Here’s how to format a Works Cited entry for different types of sources:

  • Book:

    Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of the Book. Publisher, Year.

    For example: Smith, John. The Art of Writing. Penguin, 2021.

  • Article in a Journal:

    Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Article.” Title of the Journal, volume number, issue number (if available), year, page range.

    For example: Johnson, Mary. “The Impact of Climate Change.” Environmental Science, vol. 25, no. 3, 2020, pp. 45-60.

  • Website Article:

    Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Article.” Title of the Website, publication date (if available), URL.

    For example: Davis, Sarah. “The Role of Technology in Education.” Education Today, 15 July 2021,

  • Film or Video:

    Director’s Last Name, Director’s First Name. Title of the Film or Video. Distributor, Year.

    For example: Spielberg, Steven. Jurassic Park. Universal Pictures, 1993.

3. In-Text Citation Examples:

  • For a direct quote from a book: (Smith 45)
  • For paraphrasing an article: (Johnson)
  • For a direct quote from a website: (Davis)
  • For paraphrasing a film: (Spielberg)

Remember that the formatting of your citations should be consistent throughout the essay, and the Works Cited page should include all the necessary information for readers to locate the original sources. Be sure to follow any specific formatting guidelines provided by your instructor or institution, as there may be variations in citation style.

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