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  • Citing Your Sources and MLA

    What is a Citation?

    A "citation" is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:

    • information about the author
    • the title of the work
    • the name and location of the company that published your copy of the source
    • the date your copy was published
    • the page numbers of the material you are borrowing.

    Why should I cite sources?

    Giving credit to the original author by citing sources is the only way to use other people's work without plagiarizing. But there are a number of other reasons to cite sources:

    • citations are extremely helpful to anyone who wants to find out more about your ideas and where they came from
    • not all sources are good or right -- your own ideas may often be more accurate or interesting than those of your sources. Proper citation will keep you from taking the rap for someone else's bad ideas
    • citing sources shows the amount of research you've done
    • citing sources strengthens your work by lending outside support to your ideas.

    When do I need to cite?

    Whenever you borrow words or ideas, you need to acknowledge their source. The following situations almost always require citation:

    • whenever you use quotes
    • whenever you paraphrase
    • whenever you use an idea that someone else has already expressed
    • whenever you make specific reference to the work of another
    • whenever someone else's work has been critical in developing your own ideas.

    (Source: website

    Getting Started with MLA

    What is MLA?

    The Modern Language Association (MLA) is an organization responsible for developing the MLA format, often called the MLA style. MLA format was developed as a means for researchers, students, and scholars in the literature and language fields to use a uniform way to format their papers and assignments. This uniform or consistent, method to developing an MLA paper or assignment allows for easy reading. Today, MLA is not only used in literature and language subject areas; many others have adopted it as well.

    The Modern Language Association released the 8th and most current edition of their Handbook in April 2016. The Handbook provides thorough instructions on MLA format citing, as well as guidelines for submitting work that adheres to the Modern Language Association’s rules and standards. Although we’re not affiliated with the MLA, our citation specialists bring you this thoughtful and informative guide on the format. 


    MLA is typically used in humanities courses:

    • English Studies-Language and Literature
    • Foreign Language and Literatures
    • Literary Criticism
    • Comparative Literature
    • Cultural Studies

    (Source: Purdue University Online Writing Lab)

    Please note, this list is not inclusive, always check with your instructor regarding which citation style you should use for your course. 

    MLA and Office 365

    As a GC student, you have access to Microsoft Office 365 online through the Whitecaps Portal sign-in with your GC ID and password. 

    Once logged into Whitecaps, select Office 365, then select the Word app. 

    When Word online opens, you will see a variety of template choices, select the "MLA Style Paper Template". 

    The MLA Style Paper Template is ready to use, simply enter your information to get started. 

    Remember, MLA requires special headers. Click on the "INSERT" tab and then choose "HEADERS". 


    MLA (8th edition) Citation Format: Tutorial

    This tutorial was created by Carroll Community College designed to assist in understanding MLA style. This tutorial covers parts of citation and punctuation, containers, comparison of the 7th and 8th edition, digital object identifiers (DOIs), permalinks, web documents, journal articles, images, in-text citations, and the MLA Practice Template. There will be a quiz at the end of the slides to test your knowledge of the MLA citation format.

    Please click the image below to begin the tutorial. 

    Formatting Your Paper

    The video below, by Simple Tech Tutorials, is a tutorial on how to set up an MLA format essay (8th edition) in Microsoft Word 2016. 

    Sample Paper:



    Style Guides

    Available @ GC Library!

    Online Style Guides