Skip to Main Content

Citing Sources in MLA 9

A quick guide to help you cite sources in MLA 9.

Why We Cite Sources in MLA 9

MLA Style is "a set of standards for writing and documentation used by writers to find and evaluate information, alert their audience to the trustworthiness of their findings through citation, and shape the expression of their ideas in conversation with others." Citing your sources tells your reader they can trust your work, a very important consideration in this unfortunate era of misinformation and disinformation.

MLA Style is the second most used citation style (APA is first).  It is generally used for writing about topics in the Humanities fields which focuses on how one piece of writing (yours) builds on others.

Some areas in the Humanities Field are:

  • English Language and Literature,
  • Comparative Literature
  • History
  • Foreign Languages
  • Cultural and Ethnic Studies
  • The Arts - Drama, Music, Art History
  • Gender Studies
  • Philosophy and Ethics
  • Religious Studies

Because of it's flexibility, some business areas may use MLA Style as well. 

MLA Style uses an author-page citation system, which consists of in-text citations formed by the author's last name and the page number of the source. These point to a list of sources or Works Cited at the end of the paper. This information allows scholars to track down easily the exact sentences you’re analyzing.

You need to cite both direct quotes from the author AND any passages that you've summarized or paraphrased to give credit not only the author's words, but their thoughts and ideas as well.

NOTE: Use the citation style your instructor requires no matter what the field.

Source: (linked below)

Short Videos - MLA 9 Formatting



MLA ( cover image



MLA Handbook - print copy.

Located in Western Library at the Circ Desk!



Link to MLA Style Center Online

Credit Where Credit is Due

credit is always due - graphic


 "You should always share the work of others as if it were your own, treating it with respect and care." - Austin Kleon

Style Cat with sunglasses icon


  • Kleon, Austin. Show Your Work. eBook. New York, Workman, 2014. 

Western Technical College
Western Technical College Learning Commons
Student Success Center, Room 201
400 7th Street North
La Crosse, WI 54601
State Relay: 711
EEO Statement

Learn more about Western and the Learning Commons.
The Learning Commons provides library and academic support services on campus and online. The Learning Commons will set you up for success!

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For details and exceptions, see the Library Copyright Statement.
©2020, Western Technical College

If you are experiencing disability related accessibility issues with any information on this website, please email or call 608-785-9524.