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MLA Style

Styling entries

Styling the bibliographic entries of a works cited list follows specific rules for consistency purposes. These guidelines refer to the following stylistic aspects of entries:

  • alphabetization,
  • capitalization,
  • italicization,
  • abbreviations,
  • punctuation.
Click on the options below to find out the details.

Works cited entries are placed in alphabetical order. Check the table below to find out how to alphabetize entries.
All principal words in a citation should be capitalized. You should also capitalize words which appear at the beginning of a title or a subtitle. Check the table below to find out which words are considered to be principal words and therefore should be capitalized.


Stand-alone titles, such as books, periodicals, reports, films, websites etc. are italicized. Titles of databases are also italicized. Do not italicize titles that make up parts of a greater whole, such as articles, chapters, blog posts, episodes, etc. Do not italicize comments and supplementary information that appears in parentheses or brackets. Check the table below to find out examples.
The MLA style suggests a list of terms that could be abbreviated. However, if you think that an abbreviation may confuse your audience, state the full word and do not use its abbreviated form. For specialized abbreviations on the books of the Bible and the works of Shakespeare check Appendix 1 of the MLA Handbook, 9th edition. All months should be abbreviated except for May, June, July.
Check the table below to find out the abbreviations of these common terms.
Use punctuation marks in work cited list entries to separate elements or group parts within the same element.