Skip to Main Content

MLA Quick Citation Guide

Quick citation guide for using MLA 9 style

Formatting Notes

Unless directed otherwise by your instructor, when using MLA 8 Style for your paper, follow these steps for formatting your citations:

  • Start your works cited list on a separate page at the end of your paper
  • Double space all of your citations, but don't add extra spaces between citations. Spacing should be consistent for the whole list.
  • Use a hanging indent for each citation by indenting the second line and any following lines of a citation. 

The Purdue Owl site has a helpful page with more detailed information about formatting:

Due to some limitations on this guide's design, many of the examples do not use double spaces and hanging indents (they don't work well with responsive design). Any color-coded images of citations, however, do show citations with standard MLA style spacing and indents.

Online Books & E-books

Online Books and eBooks: Not Quite the Same Thing

MLA makes a distinction between online books and eBooks:

  • Online book: a book with a URL that you can access on a website or database like Project Gutenberg, Google Books, ProQuest Ebook Central, EBSCOhost eBooks, Early English Books Online, etc.
  • E-book: "a book that lacks a URL and that you use software to read on a personal device or computer" (MLA Style Center FAQ); includes Kindle, EPUB, Nook editions.

Each is cited somewhat differently, although the core style elements still provide the basis for your citations.


Online Books (books with URLs or DOIs, accessed on the web)

color coded MLA style citation of an book read online

  • Author (Last name, first name).Title of Book. Edition (if available), Publisher (if available), Year of online publication. Name of Website or Database, URL (without the http:// or https://) or DOI number.
    • For most online books, you do not need to include an access date at the end of the citation, but you may wish to include an access date if you think the online book URL may not be stable or if you suspect the online book may be changed in the future.

Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan. Carmilla. 1872. Project Gutenberg.

Bell, Nancy. We Are Not Amused: Failed Humor in Interaction, De Gruyter, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central,


E-books (books without URLs, accessed on an e-reader, e-reader app, or on your computer using e-reader software)

color coded MLA citation for an eBook

  • Author. Title of Book. Name of e-book Edition. Publisher, Year of publication.

Gay, Roxane. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. EPUB, Harper, 2017.

Part of an Online Book or E-book

  • Author. "Title of Book Part." Title of Book. Publishing info (if available). Page Numbers (if available and stable). Title of Database or Website where Book was Found. URL or DOI
    • Sometimes online books and e-books (for example, those we can read in PDF formats) have stable page numbers, but many online books and e-books don't provide numbers as print books do. Don't include page numbers if they are unavailable or device-specific.
Online Book Examples:

Osawa, Yoshimi. “‘We Can Taste but Others Cannot’: Umami as an Exclusively Japanese Concept." Devouring Japan: Global Perspectives on Japanese Culinary Identity, Oxford UP, 2018. Oxford Scholarship Online.

Henry, O. “The Fox in the Morning.” Cabbages and Kings, Doubleday, Page & Co., 1919, pp. 11-24. Google Books.

E-book Examples:

Bottigheimer, Ruth B. “A New History.” Fairy Tales: A New History. EPUB, Excelsior Editions/State U of New York P, 2009, pp. 103-15.

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us