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CIS Secondary Library: MLA - Citations

MLA Basics

Page Format

Times New Roman or Arial font
12 point font
1 inch margins on all sides
Double spaced text
Text remains the same throughout with no variation other than italicizing.
Use the “Tab” key Indent the first line of each paragraph 
Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
Do not use footnotes.


Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks


MLA recommends that when dividing an essay into sections you number those sections with an Arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name
You may italicize, bold, or underline your headings. 

1. Early Writings
2. The London Years
3. Traveling the Continent
4. Final Years

In-text citations

Do not use footnotes.

Source with author and page numbers:
(Authors last name page number) → (Smith 59)

Source with author and no page numbers:
(Authors last name) → (Smith)

Source with no author:
(“Title”) or (Title) or (“Title” page number) or (Title page number)

Place the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (e.g. plays, books, television shows, entire Web sites) and provide a page number if it is available.

Titles longer than a standard noun phrase should be shortened into a noun phrase by excluding articles. For example, To the Lighthouse would be shortened to Lighthouse.

For more information on in-text citations

Works Cited 

Works Cited begins on a separate page, immediately following the final page of the essay
Works Cited title is centered at the top of the page (it is not labeled "Bibliography" or "References").
Alphabetical order for all entries (do not divide sources by type or genre).
The first line of each citation is at the left margin, second and third lines are indented 1/2" (thus a "hanging" indent).

Same font and formatting as the essay (size 12 font, Times/Times-New Roman, double-spaced).

For more information on Works Cited

Citing Figures, Charts, Pictures, Graphs

All visuals/illustrations that are not tables or musical score examples (e.g. maps, diagrams, charts, videos, podcasts, etc.) are labeled Figure or Fig.

Each illustration must include a label, a number, a caption and source information.


Fig. X. Description of the figure (in-text citation).

Main citation should be placed in Work Cited. 


Fig. 1. Flowers in Monet's Garden (Warner).


Fig X. Description of the figure; "Title"; Name of site where image was found, date, URL. 


In-text reference:

Some readers found Harry’s final battle with Voldemort a disappointment, and recently, the podcast, MuggleCast debated the subject (see fig. 2).

Figure caption (below an embedded podcast file for a document to be viewed electronically):

Fig. 2. Harry Potter and Voldemort final battle debate from Andrew Sims et al.; “Show 166”; MuggleCast;, 19 Dec. 2008,


More examples: 


If you provide source information with all of your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page. 

The illustration label and number should always appear in two places: the document main text (e.g. see fig. 1) and near the illustration itself (Fig. 1).

Citing Tables

In-text citation:

Refer to the table and its corresponding numeral in-text. Do not capitalize the word table. This is typically done in parentheses (e.g. "(see table 2)").

Labeling and citing the table:

Label the table 'Table' and provide its corresponding Arabic numeral. No punctuation is necessary after the label and number (see example below). On the next line, provide a caption for the table, most often the table title. Use title case.
Place the table below the caption, flush-left, making sure to maintain basic MLA style formatting (e.g. one-inch margins).

Below the table, signal the source information with the descriptor "Source," followed by a colon, then provide the correct MLA bibliographic information for the source in note form (see instructions and examples above). If you provide source information with your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.
Labels, captions, and notes are double-spaced.

Table Example:


Where should I place the appendix in my paper?

An appendix should be placed before the works-cited list. If your paper includes a notes section, the order of the items should be appendix, notes, works-cited list. 


How do I format an appendix and style its headings?

For multiple appendices, use ABC or numbers to organize and title them. 


Appendix 1

Appendix 2


The headings in an appendix should follow the same principles as headings in your main text.

...follow a consistent format for the entries


How do I cite an appendix?

Click link. 


IB guidelines for appendices

"Students must take care in their use of appendices as examiners are not required to read them. All information with direct relevance to the analysis, discussion and evaluation of the essay must be contained in the main body of the essay."


"Appendices are not an essential part of the extended essay and examiners will not read them, or use any information contained within them, in the assessment of the essay. Students must take care to ensure that all information with direct relevance to the analysis, discussion and evaluation of their essay is contained in the main body of it. Appendices should therefore be avoided except in the following instances:

  • an exemplar of a questionnaire or interview questions
  • an exemplar of permission letters
  • group 1, category 1 essays: copies of poems or short stories (of less than three pages)
  • group 1, category 3 essays: excerpts from newspapers, advertisements and transcripts of speeches
  • language acquisition, category 1 and 2: excerpts from newspapers, advertisements, transcripts of speeches, etc
  • language acquisition, category 3: excerpts or copies of poems or short stories (less than 3 pages)
  • an external mentor letter, where one has been used
  • raw data or statistical tables for experimental sciences (this should not include any analysis or conclusions).

Students should not continually refer to material presented in an appendix as this may disrupt the continuity of the essay and examiners are not required to refer to them."

Questions from CIS students

Should I cite my own work? 

"...authors should cite their own work the same way they would cite any other source." Link


Fig. 1. Ardea Smith. “Books that make me laugh”; Chinese International School, 20 September 2022.

If full citation information is provided in the caption, use the same formatting as you would for your Works Cited page. However, names should be listed in first name last name format. If you provide source information with all of your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.


FOR THE IB: Your name should not appear on any IB documents. Therefore, omit your name and begin with the title of the image and then the program used to create the work (if applicable). 


"Books that make me laugh"; Google Sheets, 20 September 2022. 


Do I include the copyright © logo when referring to a brand, whether in in-text citations or just saying the brand name?

Short answer: No. 

Long answer: No, and...

Neither the MLA nor IB discuss the use of trademark symbols within in-text or Works Cited explicitly. 

In academic papers written by scholars and researchers they are also not mandated to use trademark symbols. 

See here: "Because the fair and consistent use of these symbols (or of footnotes denoting the trademark owners) requires exhaustive verification and vigilance on the part of the editor and because the use of these symbols (or footnotes) is not required by law, do not add trademark symbols, registered-trademark symbols, or trademark-denoting footnotes to trade names in MLA publications. In the interest of consistency, editors should also delete such references when inserted by authors." 

This was from a medical organization that deals with researchers and scholars journal submissions.


Am I allowed to cite PHD students' thesis as a secondary source?

Short answer: Not advised.

Long answer, No and here is why: 

PhD theses are generally not peer reviewed or accepted by any journal. A thesis can be great because it may promote 'new' ideas or cutting edge advancements but the data or views presented have generally not been vetted or reviewed by other experts or scholars. A thesis should not be relied upon as a main source in your EE and should be looked at 'critically'. If you review the list of recommended sources from IB, you will note that theses and dissertations are not listed. See here.


Can I use footnotes?

Not advised for any year level in preparation for IB requirements. IB discourages the use of footnotes. Footnotes, if used, are calculated as part of the word count. 


How do I cite poetry?

If the poem includes line numbers, include the line numbers in the citation. If no line numbers are available, do not count them manually. Instead, cite page number. 

"If you do not mention the poet's name, title, or both in your" writing, include this information in your citation separated by a comma. 

You asked about citing two poems from one book - because you have to cite the poets name and title of poem plus page numbers, this helps differentiate the sources. 

Citing poems in-text: 


Citing poems in a Works Cited/Bibliography:


How do I cite a government publication found online?

If I have multiple sources with the same author and similar titles, how do I format my in-text citations?


Should a time stamp be given in an in-text citation for a video regardless of whether the video is viewed online or on a DVD?

Yes. Source


What if my URL is too long? 

Guidelines on Truncating

URLs are composed of a few basic components:

  • the protocol (basically anything before //)
  • the double forward slash
  • the host (which encompasses the domain–like World Wide web, or www)
  • the path

URL diagram

In addition, sometimes file-specific information or a query string is appended:

The MLA Handbook advises writers to truncate a URL in one specific way (by omitting the protocol and //). If you need to shorten it further, retain the host, which will allow readers to evaluate the site and search for the source.


How do I cite an article written in a language that does not use roman characters, like Chinese?

"MLA prefers to give the original characters (script) and a translation for titles and quotations...all three elements can be useful to readers searching for a source on the Internet...using the original characters shows a respect for the foreign language that once was generally not shown in academic work." Source


For citations in non-Roman scripts, MLA recommends:

The title should be written in the original script
An English translation of the title in brackets and
A transliteration of the Chinese characters in works geared to non-specialists (optional)

These three elements should be included in this order: original characters, then transliteration (if included), then translation.


Johnson, Maxime. La réalité virtuelle pour transformer le télétravail [Virtual reality to transform telelwork]. L'Actualité, 1 June 2020,


Author: 學愚

Title: 中國佛教的社會主義改造

Citation: Xue, Yu. 中國佛教的社會主義改造 Zhongguo fojiao de shehuizhuyi gaizao [The socialist transformation of Chinese Buddhism]. Hong Kong: Xianggang Zhongwen daxue chubanshe, 2015.



“Quanmian zhengque lijie shehuizhuyi xinnongcun jianshe 全面正确理解社会主义新农村建设” [Fully and correctly understand the building of a new socialist countryside]. State Council 国务院. Web. 15 March, 2006.

Journal article:

Hua, Linfu 华林甫. “Qingdai yilai Sanxia diqu shuihan zaihai de chubu yanjiu” 清代以来三峡地区水旱灾害的初步研究 [A preliminary study of floods and droughts in the Three Gorges region since the Qing dynasty]. Zhongguo shehui kexue 中国社会科学 1 (1999): 168–79. Print.

See more examples for Chinese, Korean, and Japanese language. 

How do I quote for text written in a language that does not use roman characters, like Chinese?

Include a quotation in the original language followed immediately by your translation in parentheses and quotation marks.

In place of the citation at the end of the quotation, include the words “my trans.” with the page number.

Need more examples? See this handy PDF created by the Emily Carr Writing Center. 

MLA & APA Samples

MLA Samples & Guides

APA Samples & Guides