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HNU Library

MLA Citation Guide

MLA Guidelines


The Modern Language Association (MLA) is the primary professional association for language and literature scholars. Its documentation system is commonly used in the fields of English and foreign language and literature, as well as in other disciplines in the humanities.

To create an essay that follows MLA style, you need to focus on 3 things

  • Formatting style, such as titles, headings, page numbers, etc., which organizes the essay for readability.
  • In-text citations, which show where you found your sources that you are quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing.
  • Reference list, this list includes citations for all the resources you consulted or cited within your paper.


MLA Key Elements for your formatted essay: 

  • Heading and Title
  • Format Page Numbers
  • Incorporate In-Text Citations for
    • Quotes
    • Summaries
    • Paraphrased Material
  • Create Work Cited Page (which includes all in-text citation material)
  • Compare Essay with Formatted Sample Essay
  • Proofread Your Essay

Online Resources for MLA

MLA Cheatsheets