MLA referencing style

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

John Dewey

One of the four most widely used referencing styles in academics is the MLA, i.e. Modern Language Association. The Modern Language Association of America was founded in 1883 and is currently one of the world’s largest scholarly associations. Its aim is to promote the study and teaching of languages and literature. It is the foremost professional association in the United States of America for scholars of language and literature.

The MLA referencing system has been prescribed by the Modern Language Association of America. It is a parenthetical system that links full-length citations in the bibliography at the end of the essay. The MLA referencing style consists of two parts:

  • A brief in-text citation which becomes a part of the body of the essay.

Here, the author’s name is usually the first element to be added followed by the page number or numbers in parenthesis (brackets). There is no punctuation mark to be used between the name and the page number. For example: (David 254).

Alternatively, if the name of the author is present in the body of the text itself, then the name can be avoided in the parenthesis and leaving only the page number. For example, David talks about…has been applied. (254).

  • A detailed list of all the works which have been cited in the body of work, at the end of the work.

Here, all the sources are to be cited that have been used to take information for the work. These need to be arranged in alphabetical order. The first element is usually the author’s surname. Any element which is irrelevant must be omitted. Punctuation marks are very important and must not be overlooked. Format the second and subsequent lines of each entry with a hanging indent.

The format would look somewhat like this:

Author, Title of source. Title of Container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.