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MLA 8th referencing style

A guide to using MLA 8th referencing style

Using in-text references

  • The citation in the text consists of the author's last name only. Unlike other referencing styles, the year of publication is not included. Example:

The question of Branwell's authorship has been extensively discussed (Thomson).

  • Citations are usually placed just before a mark of punctuation, such as a comma or full stop.
  • To cite a specific page for a reference, add the page number after the name in the citation. The specific page number is essential when you have quoted text from that reference. Example:

One critic has gone so far as to assert that "it is impossible that Branwell could have written this work" (Thomson 57).

  • If the author's name appears in the text, it is not repeated in the citation. Only the page number is required. Example:

Thomson has argued that "it is impossible that Branwell could have written this work" (57).

  • If you are citing more than one reference at the same point in your document, separate the references with a semicolon. Example:

(Mortimer 138; Smith 203)

  • If your document refers to the same text, in successive references, give the full citation in the first reference, and then just the page reference in the following citation. Example:

First reference sentence (Hoggart 85). Successive reference sentence by the same author (93).

  • For time-based media such as audio and videos, cite the time display or range of times, separating the numbers with colons. Refer to the MLA Handbook p. 57. Example:

Buffy's reference to incidents at her old school ("Buffy" 00:03:16-17) allude to...

  • For translated works, give the source of a translation in addition to the source of the quotation. If you created the translation, insert my trans. in place of a source. Refer to the MLA Handbook section 1.3.8.

Other in-text referencing rules relating to author names

Corporate author

A corporate author should be used in the citation where applicable. Abbreviate commonly abbreviated terms (e.g. Department as Dept. - refer to MLA Handbook pp. 96-97) to avoid overlong citations. When you have a resource where the author is also the publisher, the reference in the list of works cited will omit the author and begin with the title and the organisation listed as the publisher. For this type of reference, the in-text citation will contain a shortened version of the title (refer to MLA Handbook p. 70 for more on shortened titles).


According to the Annual Report 2015-2016 over 20% of Queensland children aged 0-8 years live in rural and remote areas (21).


Over 20% of Queensland children aged 0-8 years live in rural and remove areas (Annual Report 21).

No known author

If a work is published where the author's name is unknown, skip the author and use the title or shortened title in your in-text citation. 


The poem begins, "'The boneless tongue, so small and weak, / Can crush and kill,' declared the Greek" ("A-Propos" 94) ... 

Two different authors with the same last name

Add the first initial (or the full name if necessary) to differentiate authors with the same last name.


(Brontë, E)

Additional works by the same author

Include a short form of the sources title to differentiate the works you are referring to.


(Green, Turtles 16)