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Overview of MLA Style

What is MLA Style?

What is referred to as MLA style is a collection of rules and guidelines compiled by the Modern Language Association. It is designed to help writers clearly and consistently document sources used in their writing. First produced in 1951, the MLA Handbook is now in its 7th edition, and it is the preferred style guide in many fields. In particular, English and literature most often rely upon MLA style.

In the IVCC Stylebook, the guidelines described align with the official publication:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: MLA, 2009.

Common terms

As you explore the pages about this style, you will see these terms used. This is a quick glossary.

The Works Cited is an alphabetized list of all of the sources you used. With each source, you list the information a person would need to get that source. Click here for more information.

In-text citations tell the reader, directly after the use of a source, where the material came from. They most often appear in parentheses at the end of the sentence in which the source was used. Sometimes in-text citations are referred to as "parenthetical citations."  Click here for more information.

A quotation is a passage of language copied directly by the writer from another source. It is enclosed in quotation marks and cited with an in-text citation.

A paraphrase is a passage of language in the writer's own words that expresses an idea from another source. It is not enclosed in quotation marks, but it is cited with an in-text citation.