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Citation Style Guides: MLA

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MLA Handbook 8th Edition (2016)

The 8th edition is intended to be used primarily for citation purposes.  The preface to the book directs inquiries on style and formatting to the organization's style website:




Parenthetical Citations (in-text)  p. 54-58 of MLA Handbook 8th ed.:

As long as you have an accurate Works Cited page, you follow this format: (author page number). (Bloom 135).

If there are two authors with the same surname, use first initial of first name: (H. Bloom 135).

You may use abbreviations for common words: (Natl. Res. Council 135). 

MLA generally advises against parenthetical references to sources without page numbers, preferring in-text discussion.


Double or single spacing?

The MLA website strongly encourages double spacing throughout papers.  This includes the body of the notes, paper, quotes, and works cited.  The website refers readers to pp. 76-80 of the MLA Handbook (2016). 

For annotated bibliographies, the MLA website (someone asked them that question) says double space annotations for up to one paragraph.  If more paragraphs are needed, indent each paragraph and single space.


How many spaces after a period or punctuation mark?

The MLA website generally supports just one space after punctuation.  Most publishers require only one space due to standardization between word processors.  However, some professors expect students to use two spaces.  There is nothing wrong with it.


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