Formatting an MLA Works Cited Page

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 11886

You've written your paper in MLA style, including in-text citations. Have fun finding them when you need them! For the reader's sake, learn to compile a Works Cited page for easy reference and credit!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Some say nothing is original. In an essay, that is partially true. You got your information from somewhere, and it's only right and fair to give credit to those sources.

  • So, how do you do it?

You've made it to the end of your essay.

You've written the final word in the last paragraph and put a period at the end of the last sentence.

  • You're done with your paper now, right?

If you used research in your paper and are writing in the MLA format, the answer is, "No!"

You still have to add the Works Cited page to your essay. The Works Cited page is the final page of an essay that contains in-text citations. The Works Cited page includes the full citations of the sources cited in the text of the essay.

In the five-part MLA In-text Citations series, found in Additional Resources in the right-hand sidebar, you learned how to cite sources in your paper using parenthetical citations for the sources' information.

In this series, MLA Works Cited Page, found in the Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar, you will learn how to set up this page and write citations for different types of sources.

The Works Cited page follows the final page of the essay. On a correctly formatted Works Cited page:

  1. Your last name and the page number are listed in the top right-hand corner (or header) of the page.
  2. The regular margins used in the rest of the paper are used for the Works Cited page.
  3. The title, "Works Cited," is written at the top of the page in Times New Roman 12-point font. The title is centered and is written with a capital W and capital C. The title is written in regular font with no bolding, quotation marks, or underlining.
  4. Only the sources that have at least one parenthetical in-text citation are listed on the Works Cited page. If you read a source but did not cite it in the text of the essay, then that source is NOT listed on a Works Cited page.
  5. All sources on the Works Cited page are listed in alphabetical order from A-Z, based on the author's last name. If the source has no author, then the next piece of information in the citation, the source's title, is used instead.
  6. All sources are double-spaced but do not add any additional space between sources.
  7. All sources that have a citation longer than one typed line use a hanging indent where the first line of the citation is flush to the left-hand margin, but the rest of the lines in the citation are indented by one tab if typing, or one half-inch if handwriting.

You can find these formatting requirements listed on the MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format webpage, courtesy of the Writing Lab and the OWL at Purdue. The OWL is the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University, which is considered one of the most respected student writing centers in the United States. The OWL has information on both the MLA and APA citation formats, as well as general writing information and grammar exercises.

To see the creation of an MLA Works Cited page, watch MLA 2016 Basic Format of Works Cited Page by ProfessorAllenNPCC.

This video (below) shows a correctly-formatted Works Cited page and provides useful tips on how use shortcuts in MS Word to double-space citations and create the hanging indent for citations longer than one line. You may want to take notes for yourself if you are not familiar with these features in MS Word and you use this program for writing:

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  • Now that you know how to format a Works Cited page correctly, why do you think sources are listed alphabetically on the Works Cited page instead of in the order they are used in an essay?

Move on to the Got It? section to practice these formatting skills.

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