MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format Rules and Guidelines


It is necessary for any MLA citation style to have a Works Cited page at the end of the research paper that confirms to MLA basic format rules. One should note that the contents of this page should correspond to the works cited in the main work.

MLA Works Cited Page Basic rules

  • It is critical that the Work Cited page comes at the end of the research paper on a separate page. It also adapts the one-inch margins rule and the organization of last name, page number header as the rest of the paper.
  • It is important to label the page as Works Cited and ensure that it is not italicized or put in quotations. In addition make sure the words Works Cited are center staged and at the top of the page.
  • Double-spacing also applies in this section, while ensuring no space is left between entries.
  • The entries should have their second and following lines indented by 0.5 inches to form a hanging indent.
  • It is also necessary for a writer to list the page number and incase one is referring to a journal article from page 56 through 78 then the list of pages in the Work Cited page as 56-78 . In MLA style,a hyphen is used to list the page numbers.
  • In case you are required to cite an article or a publication that was initially issued in print form but in this case it has been retrieved from the internet then one is required to type the online database in italics. There is no need of adding extra subscription information on the database name.

Additional basic rules new to MLA 2016

New to MLA 2016

  • It is important for a writer to indicate the location where he or she  got or retrieved the source. Majority of researcher opt using DOI (digital object identifier) in their citation for those who are capable of citing with it. Alternatively scholars use URLs e.g. http://. Depending with the choice of the scholar, either the DOI or URL is the last element in citation and therefore should be followed by a period.

Capitalization and punctuation

  • It is a requirement for all the words in the titles of books, articles and other sources to be capitalized, but one should not capitalize articles (like the, an, a), prepositions, and conjunctions except if they are the first words in the title or subtitle. The Rich also Cry, A Better Tomorrow, Not a Chance.
  • It is advisable to italicize the title of larger works (books, magazines) rather than underlining them and using quotation marks in the case of shorter work; i.e., poems and articles.

Listing author names

Not that the Work Cited Entry is arranged alphabetically using the author’s last name. the author’s name follow the systematic arrangement starting from the last name, then the middle names or initials, and the first name comes last.

  1. Miller, Paul
  2. Reich, Christopher J.
  3. Kruger, Eva Ransom

Titles like Dr. Sir, Saint etc. are not included or level of degrees like PhD, MA, DDS and other with the names. A name like Dr. Michael Marti in a book that is used will appear as Marti, Michael in the citation. On the contrary, suffixes like “Jr. or “II.” are not omitted but are included like the case of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in citation will be “King, Martin Luther, Jr.”

More than one work by an author

If more than one work of an author appears on the text then one is required to use the titles to list the entries alphabetically. In this scenario, it is essential for one to understand that three hyphens are used in place of the author’s name after the first entry is done:

Fitch, Austen. Rules of Vengeance. [. . .]

—. A Place of Holiness. [ …]

There are some instances that leads an author to appear as a sole author and also work in a group of authors. In such circumstances a writer is supposed to list all the solo author entries first then the group ones follow:

Yates, Susan. The Espionage.

Yates, Susan, and Miller David.Depression among Teenagers.

Work with no known author

Lastly, for the works that have no known author are listed in alphabetical order by their titles; it is advisable to use a shortened version of the title in the parenthetical citations in the paper. For example, Boring Postcards USA have no known author:

  1. Cullen, Jane. Killing Motives. […]
  2. Davos, Paul. The Final Chance. […]