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MLA Style Guide Ninth Edition


Title of Source.

The title is usually taken from an authoritative location in the source such as the title page. It is the name of the source you are using.

Capitalize the following parts of speech in a title: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, subordinating conjunctions (although, because, unless, after, until, when, where, while, etc.

Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, the "to" in infinitives if they appear in the middle of the title.

A colon separates the title from the subtitle unless it ends in a question mark or exclamation.


Titles should be italicized or enclosed in quotations marks. Titles that are independent and self-contained (e.g. books) and titles of containers (e.g. anthologies) should be italicized. Titles that re contained in larger works (e.g. short stories) should be in quotations.

Exceptions to the above rules are:

1) Scripture (Genesis, Bible, Gospels, Upanishads, Old Testament, Talmud, etc. Titles of individualized scripture writings, however, should be italicized and treated like any other published work (e.g. The Interlinear Bible)

2) Names of laws, acts and political documents (Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta, Treaty of Marseilles, etc.)

3) Musical compositions identified by form, number, and key (Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A, op. 92)

4) Series titles (Critical American Studies, Bollingen Series, etc.)

5) Conferences, seminars, workshops, and courses (MLA Annual Convention, English 110)


The title of the work follows the author and ends with a period.

Apostol, Gina. Insurrecto. Soho Press, 2018.

Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With The Wind. Macmillan, 1961.


A sub-title is included after the main title.

Baron, Sabrina Alcorn, et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth l. Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P/Library of Congress,
          Center for the Book, 2007.


The title of a story, poem or essay in a collection, as part of a larger whole, is placed in quotation marks.

Dewar, James A., and Peng Hwa Ang. "The Cultural Consequences of Printing and the Internet." Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth l.
. U of Massachusetts P/Library of Congress, Center for the Book, 2007, pp. 365-77.

Independent work in a collection

When a work that is normally independent (such as a novel or a play) appears in a collection, the work's title remains in italics.

Euripides. The Trojan Women. Ten Plays, translated by Paul Roche, New American Library, 1998, pp.457-512.


The title of a periodical (journal, magazine or newspaper) is in italics and the title of the article is in quotation marks.

Boggs, Colleen Glenney. "Public Reading and the Civil War Draft Lottery." American Periodicals, vol. 26, no. 2, 2016, pp.149-66.

Goldman, Anne. "Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante." The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, 2010.


Episode in a television series

"Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy/WB Television Network, 14 Dec. 1999.



Digital monograph with author and publisher

Bauch, Nicholas. Enchanting the Desert: A Pattern Language for the Production of Space. Stanford UP, 2016, www.enchanting the

Note: When giving a URL, omit http and https.

Article on a website

Hollmichel, Stefanie. "The Reading Brain: Differences Between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 April 2013,
          brain-differences-between digital-and-print/.

From a scholarly journal, published online

Fisek, Emine. "Palimpsests of Violence: Urban Dispossession and Political Theatre in Istanbul." Comparative Drama, vol. 52, no. 3,


A song or piece of music in an album

Beyonce. "Pretty Hurts." Beyonce. Parkwood Entertainment, 2013.


Untitled source

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie. Chair of stained oak. 1897-1900, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Comment or review in an online forum

Rohrbaugh, Lisa. Review of Zero Zone, by Scott O'Connor. Library Journal, 1 July 2020,



Chaucer Doth Tweet [@LeVostreGC]. "A daye wythout anachronism ys lyke Emily Dickinson wythout her lightsaber." Twitter, 7 Apr. 2018,


Email message

Elahi, Nareen. E-mail to Standards Committee. 15 Jan. 2019.

Zamora, Estelle. E-mail to Penny Kinkaid. 3 May 2018.


Introduction, Preface, Forward or Afterward

With a generic label and no unique title

Capitalize the term in the works cited list but do not italicize or enclose in quotation marks. The term need not be capitalized in in-text discussion.

Felstiner, John. Preface. Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan, translated by Felstiner, W. W. Norton, 2000, pp.xix-xxxvi.


With a unique title

Seyhan, Azade. "Novel Moves." Tales of Crossed Destinies: The Modern Turkish Novel in a Comparative Context. by Seyhan, Modern Language Association
          of America, 2008, pp. 1-22.


Translations of titles

Place translations of titles for foreign works in square brackets in the works cited list. The translation appears next to the title.

Erpenbeck, Jenny. Gehen, ging, gegangen [Go, Went Gone]. Penguin verlad, 2015.


Shortened titles

Very long titles can be shortened in the list of works cited. Be sure to include enough of the title to make identification of the work unambiguous, and use ellipses to indicate that a title has been shortened. If a period or comma is need to make the end of an element, insert it after the ellipsis.

Bulwer, John. Philocophus; or, The Deafe and Dumbe Mans Friend . . . . Humphrey Moseley, 1648.