What is MLA?

MLA is the acronym for Modern Language Association. In general, if one of your professors at Limestone tells you that a paper must be written in MLA format, the professor is telling you to follow MLA's guidelines for format, punctuation, source use, and documentation.

What does "source use and documentation" mean?

In a research paper, you will quote and paraphrase ideas from various sources. Documenting sources means giving credit to the person or people whose ideas you are quoting or paraphrasing.

Why use MLA?

Using standard guidelines, like those provided by MLA, helps to ensure clear and consistent presentation of your written material and is simply what is expected in academic writing.

Is MLA anything like APA?

Both MLA and APA are often used for academic writing. While they vary slightly in technique and style, both provide guidelines for format and documentation.

When should I use MLA?

In general, you will use MLA when  you are writing for classes in the Arts and Letters (Art, English, History, Music, Theatre,) and sometimes in Professional Studies courses. Each course is different though. When in doubt, ask your professor.

What does it mean to "cite sources" using in-text citations and a Works Cited page?

Citing sources means that you are giving credit to the sources you used in your paper. You need to cite your sources both in the text of your paper (inside the paragraph(s) where each source is used) and at the end of your paper. The citations you create inside of your paper are called in-text citations. The list of citations you create at the end of your paper is called a Works Cited page.

Why should I cite my sources?

Citing sources is an important part of academic writing. Citing your sources provides your audience with a record of the research you are using in your paper. This lends credibility to your work and gives credit to the person or people who originally came up with the information you are now using to support ideas in your paper. If you do not cite your sources, you are plagiarizing.

Do I need to cite sources even when I have put them into my own words?

Yes! You have to give credit to the source, even when you are paraphrasing (putting the ideas into your own words).

Where can I go to find out how to create in-text citations or a Works Cited page?

You can visit the library's website to find more information and take online tutorials.

What if I want to get help from a real person?

You can visit the Limestone College Online Writing Lab (LC OWL) during our hours of operation to receive help during a live tutorial session with an LC OWL writing consultant. If you have a quick question about MLA, you can call the Writing Center (x4411) during Grammar SOS hours (September 1st through April 30th only).

Are there any other helpful websites out there?


Helpful Websites for MLA Format


The Modern Language Association's (MLA) Literary Research Guide was previously available only in print.  Now the guide (fifth edition) is available in a searchable online format.

You can access LRG from the Library's home Web page at (listed in the Spotlight) or from our Research Databases page at .