Documenting sources is an important aspect of writing common to all academic fields. Writers must have comprehensible, verifiable means of referring to one another's work. The references are formatted in a standard way so they can be quickly understood and used by all, like a common language.
Think of MLA style principles as flexible guides rather than rules. The goal is to inform, persuade, and otherwise connect with the audience; error-free writing, along with trustworthy documentation, allows readers to focus on your ideas. Once the basic principles of style and citation are known, it allows for application for wide and generative use. The 8th and 9th edition MLA Handbook provides detailed guidelines for using MLA style. Please see our video below for a general overview.
. MLA 9 provides more clarity, examples, and guidance on MLA style, and everything from MLA 8 is still accurate and useful. Your instructor may provide more specific guidance or requirements, but rest assured that information from both 8 and 9 will be accepted for your writing needs.
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., MLA, 2016.
MLA Handbook. 9th ed., MLA, 2021.
Core Principles of MLA 9th Edition
1. Cite simple traits shared by most works
2. There is often more than one correct way to cite a source
3. Make your citations useful to readers