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Guide to correct MLA 8 Citation and Referencing

In academic writing, it is essential to correctly cite and reference your sources. MLA 8 format provides guidelines for ensuring accuracy and consistency in your citations. Whether you are using books, articles, websites, or government documents, each source requires a specific format to be followed.

In MLA 8, citations should include the author’s name and page numbers or the first few words of the title if the author is unavailable. Parenthetical citations should be used in the text to point to specific sources in the works cited list.

MLA 8 has introduced some changes, such as including “containers” in citations, the use of online handles or screen names as author names, and the inclusion of URLs. It is recommended to include a URL in the citation, even if it becomes outdated, to trace the information online. The publisher location is no longer necessary for books published after 1900, and the city of publication can often be omitted.

The overall principles of citing and plagiarism, and the use of in-text citations and works cited pages, remain the same as in previous editions of MLA.

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Understanding MLA 8 Formatting and Title Pages

MLA 8 provides specific guidelines for formatting your paper and creating a title page. These guidelines ensure consistency and professionalism in your academic writing. Follow these instructions to ensure your paper meets MLA 8 standards.

MLA 8 Formatting Guidelines

When formatting your paper in MLA 8, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Your paper should be double spaced to improve readability.
  2. Use a legible font, such as Times New Roman, with a font size of 12 points.
  3. Avoid using excessive formatting, such as bold or italicized text, unless necessary.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your paper looks professional and is easy to read.

Title Page Requirements

Creating a title page is an important step in adhering to MLA 8 standards. Here’s what you need to include on your title page:

  • Your name
  • Instructor’s name
  • Course number
  • Date

This information should be centered on the page and capitalized, with the first letter of each major word capitalized. However, it’s essential to check with your instructor or institution for any specific requirements they may have for formatting or title page content. Their guidelines might differ from the general MLA 8 format.

The image above visually represents the key elements of MLA 8 formatting and title pages.

Formatting GuidelinesTitle Page Requirements
Double spacedYour name
Legible font – Times New Roman, 12 ptInstructor’s name
Avoid excessive formattingCourse number

Structuring Your Paper with Headings and Subheadings in MLA 8

MLA 8 provides guidelines for organizing your paper with headings and subheadings, allowing you to create a well-structured and coherent document. By utilizing MLA 8 headings and subheadings, you can enhance the readability and organization of your writing while adhering to proper citation and referencing standards.

MLA 8 Headings:

Headings in MLA 8 should be centered and formatted in title case, with all major words capitalized. They serve as a visual cue to indicate different sections or chapters within your paper. Whether you’re working on an essay, research paper, or any other MLA 8 document, headings help readers navigate through your content and understand the overall structure.

Here’s an example of how MLA 8 headings should appear:

Level 1 Heading: Major Section

Start the major section with a level 1 heading. Capitalize the first letter of each major word.

Level 2 Heading: Subsection

Use a level 2 heading for subsections within the major section. Only capitalize the first word and proper nouns.

Level 3 Heading: Subsection within a Subsection

You can continue dividing your content into subsections by using level 3 headings. Format them in sentence case, capitalizing only the first word and proper nouns.

Remember, the hierarchical structure of headings should be clear and distinct, allowing readers to easily follow the flow of your ideas.

Now, let’s take a look at how MLA 8 subheadings should be used:

Subheadings in MLA 8 help further organize your content within a specific section or subsection. They provide more detailed information and break down your ideas into manageable chunks. Subheadings should be left-aligned and formatted in sentence case, capitalizing only the first word and proper nouns.

Here’s an example of MLA 8 subheadings:

Level 2 Heading: Subsection

Level 3 Heading: Subsection within a Subsection

By incorporating MLA 8 headings and subheadings, you can create a well-structured and visually appealing paper that facilitates easy navigation and understanding for your readers.

Image: MLA 8 provides guidelines for structuring your paper with headings and subheadings.

Creating an MLA 8 Works Cited List

An important part of MLA 8 citation and referencing is creating a works cited list. This list displays all the sources that were used in your paper and allows others to locate the original sources. Each source should be listed in a specific citation format, including the author’s name, title of the source, title of the container (if applicable), other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, and location.

Citations in the works cited list should be listed in alphabetical order by the first word of the citation. If there are multiple sources by the same author, only include the author’s name in the first citation and use three hyphens for subsequent citations. It is important to follow additional guidelines for citing books, articles, websites, and other types of sources.

Furthermore, it is recommended to include a brief paragraph summarizing and evaluating each source in an MLA annotated bibliography, if required. This allows readers to gain a quick understanding of the content and relevance of the source. Remember, accurate and consistent citation formatting is crucial in creating an impactful and reliable works cited list in MLA 8.

Related Articles

Examples of MLA Format, 8th Edition

MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: Formatting Your MLA Paper


What is MLA 8?

MLA 8 refers to the 8th edition of the Modern Language Association (MLA) style guide. It provides guidelines for citing and referencing sources in academic writing.

Why is correct citing and referencing important in MLA 8?

Correct citing and referencing in MLA 8 is important because it gives credit to the original authors, allows readers to locate the original sources, and helps to avoid plagiarism.

What are the general principles of MLA 8 formatting?

In MLA 8, papers should be double spaced, use a legible font, and have a 12-point font size. The title page should include your name, instructor’s name, course number, and date. It is also crucial to follow specific guidelines for headings and subheadings.

How should I format headings and subheadings in MLA 8?

Headings in MLA 8 should be centered and formatted in title case, with all major words capitalized. Subheadings should be left-aligned and formatted in sentence case, with only the first word and proper nouns capitalized. Each level of heading should follow a hierarchical structure.

How do I create an MLA 8 works cited list?

To create an MLA 8 works cited list, you should list all the sources used in your paper in a specific citation format. The list should be in alphabetical order by the first word of the citation and include details such as the author’s name, title of the source, and publication information.

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