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MLA 8th edition: The Works Cited List

Created by Eryn Roles @ Marshall University in 2018

Creating the "Works Cited" List

You identify the sources you borrow from--and therefore cite--in the "Works Cited" list at the end of your paper. Each entry in this list is made up of core elements given in a specific order; there are optional elements that may be added if they assist your reader. (If you want to include sources you didn't cite in your text you can create, with your instructor's permission, a "Works Consulted" page.)


Even though the list appears at the end of your paper, you need to draft it before you start writing, so you can include the proper information in the in-text [parenthetical] citations.


When creating your "Works Cited" page:

  1. Think   about the source you are documenting,
  2. Select   the information about the source that is appropriate to the project you are creating,
  3. Organize  the information logically and without complication.

The MLA Handbook (8th edition) has a good section (pp. 14-18) on finding the facts about publications, and an extensive discussion of each of the core/optional elements.

For good examples of Works Cited pages, see the sample papers (written by MLA staff members) in the MLA Style Center.


The individual entries in the list:

  • use the "hanging indentation" format, so the second and subsequent lines are indented half an inch from the left margin
    • If indentation is difficult or impossible--in certain digital contexts, for example--leave extra space between the entries
  • are arranged in alphabetical order, by the term that comes first
    • this is usually the author's last name
      • the order is letter-by-letter, ignoring punctuation, spaces, and diacritics/special characters - e.g. Descartes, René; De Sica, Vittorio; MacDonald, George; McCullers, Carson
      • suffixes that are an essential part of the name appear after the given name, preceded by a comma - e.g. Rockefeller, John D., IV; Rust, Arthur George, Jr.
      • omit titles, affiliations, and degrees that precede or follow names - e.g. PhD, M.D., Sister, Saint, Sir, RBA
      • when two or more last names are identical, continue the alphabetization following the comma - e.g. Morris, Robert; Morris, William
      • when two or more entries citing coauthors begin with the same name, alphabetize by the last name of the second author
      • multiple sources by the same author are alphabetized by their titles, ignoring any terms describing the author's role (e.g. translator)
    • an author may be a corporate entity - e.g. an institution, association, government agency
      • when a work's author and publisher are different, include both names and start the entry with the author organization
      • when a work's author and publisher are the same, start the entry with the title, rather than the author, and give the organization as the publisher
      • when an entry starts with a government agency:
        • begin with the name of the government, followed by a comma and the name of the agency
        • between the names include any organizational units of which the agency is part (see, for example, the first citation for Corporate author in the table)
        • all names are arranged from the largest entity to the smallest
        • at the end of entries for U.S. congressional publications, you may add the number and session of Congress, the chamber (HR for the House of Representatives, S for the Senate), and the type and number of the publication
    • if there is no author, use the title of the source, not "Anonymous"
      • the order is letter-by-letter, ignoring punctuation and diacritics/special characters
      • also ignore initial A, An, or The, or their equivalents in other languages
      • if the title begins with a numeral, treat it as if the numeral were spelled out - for example,1984 would be alphabetized as if it was "Nineteen Eighty-four"
  • use three hyphens to replace exactly the same names, in the same order, as in the preceding entry (see the examples in the table)
  • use information from the source itself; if a source does not include information for a required element, give as much of the missing information as you can and enclose it in square brackets
    • if a date is approximated, include circa ('around') - e.g. [circa 2008]
    • if you are uncertain about the accuracy of the information, add a question mark - e.g. [2008?]
    • if the city of publication is not given in the name for a locally published newspaper, add the city (not italicized) after the name - e.g. The Star-Ledger [Newark]
      • the city is not needed for a nationally published newspaper - e.g. The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • use a forward slash to separate multiple pieces of information for a single element in the entry, - e.g. National Gallery of Art / Yale UP

Special Situations

Multiple works by one author

Borroff, Marie. Language and the Poet: Verbal Artistry in Frost, Stevens, and Moore. U of Chicago P, 1979.

---, translator. Pearl: A New Verse Translation. W. W. Norton, 1977.

---. "Sound Symbolism as Drama in the Poetry of Robert Frost." PMLA, vol. 107, no. 1, Jan. 1992, pp. 131-44.

---, editor. Wallace Stevens: A Collection of Critical Essays. Prentice-Hall, 1963.

Single author is also first of multiple authors

Tannen, Deborah. Talking Voices: Repetition, Dialogue, and Imagery in Conversational Discourse. 2nd ed., Cambridge UP, 2007. Studies in Interactional Sociolinguisitics 26.

---. You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation. Ballentine Books, 2006.

Tannen, Deborah, and Roy O. Freedle, editors. Linguistics in Context: Connecting Observation and Understanding. Ablex Publishing, 1988.

Tannen, Deborah, and Muriel Saville-Troike, editors. Perspectives on Silence. Ablex Publishing, 1985.

Multiple works by coauthors

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar, editors. The Female Imagination and the Modernist Aesthetic. Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1986.

---. "Sexual Linguistics: Gender, Language, Sexuality. " New Literary History, vol. 16, no. 3, Spring 1985, pp. 515-43. JSTOR,

Scholes, Robert, and Robert Kellogg. The Nature of Narrative. Oxford UP, 1966.

Scholes, Robert, and Eric S. Rabkin. Science Fiction: History - Science - Vision. Oxford UP, 1977.

Cross references - Author names

Bakhtin, M. M. (see also Vološinov, V. N.). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Edited by Michael Holquist, translated by Caryl Emerson and Holquist, U of Texas P, 1981.

Benton, Thomas H. (William Pannapacker). "The Professor as Pitchman." Chronicle of Higher Education, vol. 54, no. 38, 30 May 2008, p. C1

Penelope, Julia (see also Stanley, Julia P.). "John Simon and the 'Dragons of Eden.'" College English, vol. 44, no. 8, Dec. 1982, pp. 848-54

Stanley, Julia P. (see also Penelope, Julia). "'Correctness,' 'Appropriateness' and the Uses of English.'" College English, vol. 41, no. 3, Nov. 1979, pp. 330-35.

Vološinov, V. N, (M. M. Bakhtin). Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. Translated by Ladislav Matejka and I. R. Titunik, Harvard UP, 1986.

Cross references - Authors in collected works

Agee, James. "Knoxville: Summer of 1915." Oates and Atwan, pp. 171-75.

Angelou, Maya. "Pickin Em Up and Layin Em Down." Baker, Norton Book, pp. 276-78.

Atwan, Robert. Foreword. Oates and Atwan, pp. x-xvi.

Baker, Russell, editor. The Norton Book of Light Verse. W. W. Norton, 1986.

---, editor. Russell Baker's Book of American Humor. W. W. Norton, 1993.

Kingston, Maxine Hong. "No Name Woman." Oates and Atwan, pp. 383-94.

Lebowitz, Fran. "Manners." Baker, Russell Baker's Book, pp. 556-59.

Lennon, John. "The Fat Budgie." Baker, Norton Book, pp. 357-58.

Oates, Joyce Carol, and Robert Atwan, editors. The Best American Essays of the Century. Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Walker, Alice. "Looking for Zora." Oates and Atwan, pp. 395-411.

Corporate author

The Adirondack Park in the Twenty-First Century. Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century, New York State, 1990.

Great Britain, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food. Our Countryside, the Future: A Fair Deal for Rural England. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 2000.

New York State, Committee on State Prisons. Investigation of the New York State Prisons. 1883. Arno Press, 1974.

United Nations. Consequences of Rapid Population Growth in Developing Countries. Taylor and Francis, 1991.

United States, President. Economic Report of the President Transmitted to the Congress February 2016.Government Printing Office, 2016.

United States, Congress, House, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Al-Qaeda: The Many Faces of an Islamist Extremist Threat. Government Printing Office, 2006. 109th Congress, 2nd session, House Report 615.

---, ---, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. Access to the Court: Televising the Supreme Court. Government Printing Office, 2012. 112th Congress, 1st session, Senate Hearing 112-584.

White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Innovations in Compassion: The Faith-Based and Community Initiative: A Final Report to the Armies of Compassion .President of the United States, 2008.

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