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MLA Style: Introduction

The MLA Handbook

For a complete list of style rules, please consult the MLA Handbook and its companion website.

MLA Style Guidelines

Basic Guidelines

The 9th edition of the MLA Handbook  does not give instructions on how to cite sources based on their format, as it was prescribed in previous editions. The limit to this approach is that a work in a format not included in the guidelines cannot be properly documented.

To solve this problem, the new edition focuses on providing a list of core elements that are used to describe all sources across all format types. The core elements are listed below, followed by the correct punctuation:

1. Author.
2. Title of source.
3. Title of container,
4. Contributor,
5. Version,
6. Number,
7. Publisher,
8. Publication date,
9. Location.

Any core element can be omitted if it's not relevant for the source.

Behind the Style - MLA Blog and FAQ

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