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Citation Guide: MLA

Citation help for popular styles such APA, MLA, and Chicago, as well as some of the less common styles such as ACS and CSE.


MLA provides preliminary official guidance for citing information produced by generative AI.

  • Writers should not credit the AI as an author. 
  • Description of the content of the generated product should be treated as the title of the source, as if it were an article or chapter title. 
  • Cite a generative AI tool whenever you paraphrase, quote, or incorporate into your own work any content (whether text, image, data, or other) that was created by it 
  • Acknowledge all functional uses of the tool (like editing your prose or translating words) in a note, your text, or another suitable location 
  • Take care to vet the secondary sources it cites

In-text example:

While the green light in The Great Gatsby might be said to chiefly symbolize four main things: optimism, the unattainability of the American dream, greed, and covetousness (“Describe the symbolism”), arguably the most important—the one that ties all four themes together—is greed.

Works Cited entry example:

“Describe the symbolism of the green light in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023,

These are basic guidelines to citing sources for your works cited page using MLA style. If you need to cite a different type of source, see the MLA style guide in the Reference area of the library (2nd floor) or use one of the links listed on the right.


Book by One Author

Mantel, Hilary. Wolf Hall. Picador, 2010.

Book by an Unknown Author

Beowulf. Translated by Alan Sullivan and Timothy Murphy, edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson, 2004.

An Edited Book

Sánchez Prado, Ignacio M., editor. Mexican Literature in Theory. Bloomsbury, 2018.

Online Works

Article on a website

Deresiewicz, William. “The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur.” The Atlantic, 28 Dec. 2014, the-death-of-the-artist-and-the-birth-of-thecreative-entrepreneur/383497/.

Book on a website

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Masque of the Red Death.” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by James A. Harrison, vol. 4, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1902, pp. 250-58. HathiTrust Digital Library,

Journal Article in a Database

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, spring 2010, pp. 69-88. JSTOR,

Songs, Recordings, and Performances

Song from an Album

Snail Mail. “Thinning.” Habit, Sister Polygon Records, 2016. Vinyl EP. 

Song on a website

Snail Mail. “Thinning.” Bandcamp,

Concert Attended in Person

Beyoncé. The “Formation” World Tour. 14 May 2016, Rose Bowl, Los Angeles.

Movies, Videos, and Television Shows

A Movie Viewed in Person

Opening Night. Directed by John Cassavetes, Faces Distribution, 1977. 

A Movie Viewed Online

Richardson, Tony, director. Sanctuary. Screenplay by James Poe, Twentieth Century Fox, 1961. YouTube, uploaded by LostCinemaChannel, 17 July 2014,

A Television Show Viewed on Physical Media

“Hush.” 1999. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season, created by Joss Whedon, episode 10, Mutant Enemy / Twentieth Century Fox, 2003, disc 3. DVD.


A Photograph Viewed in Person

Cameron, Julia Margaret. Alfred, Lord Tennyson. 1866, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

A Painting Viewed Online

Bearden, Romare. The Train. 1975. MOMA,

An Untitled Image from a Print Magazine

Karasik, Paul. Cartoon. The New Yorker, 14 Apr. 2008, p. 49.

Typically, parenthetical citations follow the format of the author's last name followed by a page number. The following are basic guidelines only. For works with no author, or special cases, see this site for more guidelines.

Direct Quotations (copied exactly from the original text)

Quotations that are less than four lines: place a parenthetical citation after the quotation mark, but inside the period. Example:

"A savory pie or tart can be the star of a brunch, lunch, casual supper, or buffet" (Malgieri 121).

Quotations that run more than four lines in your paper: use block quote format and do not use quotation marks. The parenthetical citation goes after the last period of the quotation. Block quotes should be double-spaced and indented one inch from the left margin. Example:

So Kilgore Trout had a depressing childhood, despite all of the
sunshine and fresh air. The pessimism that overwhelmed him in later
life, which destroyed his three marriages, which drove his only son,
Leo, from home at the age of fourteen, very likely had its roots in the
bittersweet mulch of rotting Erns. (Vonnegut 34)

Paraphrasing (writing an author's ideas in your own words)

If you paraphrase an author, place the parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence or paragraph. Example:

States with a high celebrity population, such as California and New York, should consider writing legislation that makes it unlawful to publish non-newsworthy photographs of celebrities that exploit their image, so as to protect the celebrities' privacy (Willis 202).

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