Generate accurate MLA citations for free

The Scribbr Citation Generator will automatically create a flawless MLA citation

  • Knowledge Base
  • How to format your MLA Works Cited page

MLA Works Cited | 2021 Guidelines & Free Template

Published on June 7, 2021 by Shona McCombes . Revised on June 16, 2022.

In MLA style , the list of Works Cited (also known as a reference list or bibliography) appears at the end of your paper. It gives full details of every source that you cited in an MLA in-text citation .

Like the rest of an MLA format paper, the Works Cited should be left-aligned and double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

Table of contents, formatting the works cited page, examples of works cited entries, authors and titles in the works cited list, ordering the list of works cited, frequently asked questions about the works cited.

The Works Cited appears at the end of your paper. The layout is similar to the rest of an MLA format paper :

Creating a hanging indent

If an entry is more than one line long, each line after the first must be indented 0.5 inches. This is called a hanging indent, and it helps the reader see where one entry ends and the next begins.

In Microsoft Word, you can create a hanging indent on all entries at once.

If you’re using Google Docs, the steps are slightly different.

You can also use our free template to create your Works Cited page in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

Download Word template Copy Google Docs template

MLA provides nine core elements that you can use to build a reference for any source. Mouse over the example below to see how they work.

Author. “Title of the Source.” Title of the Container , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

You only include the elements that are relevant to the type of source you’re citing.

Use the interactive tool to see different versions of an MLA Works Cited entry.

Examples for common source types

The main elements of a book citation are the author, title (italicized), publisher, and year.

If there are other contributors (such as editors or translators), or if you consulted a particular volume or edition of a book, these elements should also be included in the citation.

Book chapter

If a book is a collection of chapters by different authors, you should cite the author and title of the specific work. The container gives details of the book, and the location is the page range on which the chapter appears.

This format also applies to works collected in anthologies (such as poems , plays , or stories ).

Journal article

Journals usually have volume and issue numbers, but no publisher is required. If you accessed the article through a database, this is included as a second container. The DOI provides a stable link to the article.

If there is no DOI, look for a stable URL or permalink instead. Omit the “https://” prefix if using a URL or permalink, but always include it with a DOI.

For websites (including online newspapers and magazines), you usually don’t have to include a publisher. The URL is included, with the “https://” prefix removed. If a web page has no publication date , add an access date instead.

If a web page has no publication date, add an access date instead.

More MLA citation examples

We also have examples for a wide range of other source types.

Play | Poem | Short story |  Movie | YouTube video | Newspaper | Interview | Lecture | PowerPoint Image | Song | Podcast | TV show | PDF | TED Talk | Bible | Shakespeare | Constitution

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

There are a few important formatting rules when writing author names and titles in your Works Cited entries.

Author names

Author names are inverted in the Works Cited list. However, when a second author is listed, their name is not inverted. When a source has three or more authors, only the first author is listed, followed by “ et al. ” (Latin for “and others”). A corporate author may sometimes be listed instead of an individual.

When no author is listed for a source, the Works Cited entry instead begins with the source title. The in-text citation should always match the first element of the Works Cited entry, so in these cases, it begins with the title (shortened if necessary) instead of the author’s last name.

Oxford Classical Dictionary . 4th ed., Oxford UP, 2012.

( Oxford Classical Dictionary )

Source and container titles

The titles of sources and containers are always written in title case (all major words capitalized).

Sources that are part of a larger work (e.g. a chapter in a book, an article in a periodical, a page on a website) are enclosed in quotation marks. The titles of self-contained sources (e.g. a book, a movie, a periodical, a website) are instead italicized. A title in the container position is always italicized.

If a source has no title, provide a description of the source instead. Only the first word of this description is capitalized, and no italics or quotation marks are used.

Arrange the entries in your Works Cited list alphabetically by the author’s last name. See here for information on formatting annotations in an MLA annotated bibliography.

Multiple sources by the same author(s)

If your Works Cited list includes more than one work by a particular author, arrange these sources alphabetically by title. In place of the author element, write three em dashes for each source listed after the first.

The same applies to works by the same group of authors; replace the author element with three em dashes for subsequent sources.

Note, however, that two sources by “Smith, John, et al.” aren’t necessarily by the exact same authors; the authors represented by “et al.” could be different. Only use the three em dashes if the group of authors is exactly the same in each case; otherwise, repeat the author name and “et al.”

One author in combination with different coauthors

Sometimes, multiple entries will start with the same author, but in combination with different coauthors. Works by the author alone should come first, then works by two authors, and finally works by three or more authors (i.e., entries containing “et al.”).

Within this, sources with two authors are alphabetized by the second author’s last name , while sources using “et al.” are instead alphabetized by the title of the source.

Sources with no author

If there is no author, alphabetize the source based on the title of the work. Ignore articles ( the, a , and an ) for the purposes of alphabetization. If a title begins with a number, alphabetize it as you would if the number was spelled out.

The MLA Works Cited lists every source that you cited in your paper. Each entry contains the author , title , and publication details of the source.

According to MLA format guidelines, the Works Cited page(s) should look like this:

To apply a hanging indent to your reference list or Works Cited list in Word or Google Docs, follow the steps below.

Microsoft Word:

Google Docs:

When the hanging indent is applied, for each reference, every line except the first is indented. This helps the reader see where one entry ends and the next begins.

A standard MLA Works Cited entry  is structured as follows:

Only include information that is available for and relevant to your source.

If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.

Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.

This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .

The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator .

Search by book title, page URL, or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2022, June 16). MLA Works Cited | 2021 Guidelines & Free Template. Scribbr. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, a complete guide to mla in-text citations, how to cite a book in mla, how to cite a website in mla, what is your plagiarism score.


  1. Creating an MLA Header

    mla essay format scribbr

  2. 018 Mla Format Essay Example ~ Thatsnotus

    mla essay format scribbr

  3. Proper Essay Format : Learning how to write an essay is crucial to admissions and scholarship

    mla essay format scribbr

  4. 💣 Difference between mla and apa bibliography format. APA vs MLA: Which Formatting Style You

    mla essay format scribbr

  5. MLA Works Cited

    mla essay format scribbr

  6. 005 Essay Example Mla Format Template ~ Thatsnotus

    mla essay format scribbr


  1. MLA formatting

  2. Best Resume for Hindi teacher, hindi teacher career objective, Teacher resume format, resume tips

  3. How To Write A Good Essay || English with TJ Malik

  4. Resolving Common MLA Format Errors

  5. Citations and Formatting: Paper Formatting, MLA Style

  6. MLA Page Format for an Essay on Literature


  1. MLA Format

    The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for creating MLA citations and formatting academic papers. This quick guide will help you set up your

  2. MLA Title Page

    Creating an MLA header. Most MLA papers will instead list this information in a header, which appears on the same page as your opening

  3. Student's Guide to MLA Style (2021)

    Easily cite your sources in MLA citation format (9th edition) using this quick guide and Scribbr's free MLA Citation Generator.

  4. How do I format a paper in MLA style?

    How do I format a paper in MLA style? · Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman · Set 1 inch page margins · Apply double line spacing · Include a

  5. Research Paper Format

    The formatting guidelines for a research paper differ by style guide. Download free templates to get started.

  6. Scribbr-MLA-Format-Template.docx

    In longer papers you might want to use headings to help organize and provide structure to your paper. There are no set formatting requirements by MLA – the

  7. Creating an MLA Header

    After the header, the title of the paper is centred on a new

  8. Free MLA Citation Generator

    Scribbr MLA Citation Generator · Save hours of repetitive work. · Rely on accurate citations, verified by experts. · Enjoy a clean look for minimal distraction.

  9. MLA Works Cited

    The Works Cited lists full details of your sources. Learn how to format and order your Works Cited page according to MLA 9.

  10. Setting up MLA Format Paper in Google Docs Step-by-Step (2020)

    MLA format is primarily used by students and academics in the humanities. ... Download Scribbr's free MLA format template for Google Docs