Skip to Main Content

Prof. DeMonte -- Introduction to Nutrition: Special Characteristics of MLA 8

9 Core Elements

9 Common Core Elements

Rather than give strict format rules for different types of sources, the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook identifies 9 "core elements" common to most sources and provides flexible guidelines on how to reference them in your Works Cited list.

(Commas separate details of the "container" or master work until all details are exhausted.)

BASIC MODEL OF A CITATION (to be set in Times New Roman, 12 Pt font, double spaced, with a "hanging indent")

NOTE: A "Container" is a larger work that can take the form of a book/e-books, performance, journal, magazine or newspaper, as well a website, search engine or database. Cite the container if you used the whole work.



The idea is to avoid complexity and confusion, as well as ambiguity. If there is information you can add to help the reader, make that distinction. As noted in MLA 8: 

  • There is "more than one way to cite a source" (4).
  • Writers have permission to be selective in choosing what to include and what to eliminate considering the context of their work (4).
  • Ultimately the goal is to build documentation that demonstrates thoroughness, gives credit, and provides the reader with enough information to find the source (4).

Nested Containers

First Container -- Title of larger or self-contained work

E.g.: Book, Journal, Newspaper, Magazine, Website


Second Container* -- Name of service or platform that serves up the work. *Use if applicable

E.g.: Database, Streaming Service, Social Media Platform, Website (sometimes); Book Collection or Series 

In-Text and Style Changes

In-Text (Parenthetical) and Style Changes

MEDIA: Include time of video when citing media (MLA 57). Buffy's promise that "there's not going to be any incidents like at my old school" is not one she can honor ("Buffy" 00:03:16-17).
Shorten to the shortest "Noun Phrase" (MLA 117)

The Double Vision: Language and Meaning in Religion

(Double Vision 6)

Articles on Titles Reintroduced The New York Times
Two forward slashes (//) mark stanza breaks in run-in quotations of verse (78).

"I’d like to get away from earth awhile /And then come back to it and begin over.//Earth’s the right place for love: I don’t know where it’s likely to go better (Frost 48-52) ."

If a block quotation of prose contains internal paragraphing, the first line of the quotation now begins without a paragraph indention even if one is present in the source (77).  

Other Changes to MLA from 7 to 8

Other changes include:

  • No cities of publication for books.
  • No medium (print, web, etc.).
  • The use of abbreviations such as vol. for volume, no. for number, and p. or pp. for page number(s).
  • In most cases no date of access for electronic resources.
  • Permanent URLs.

Celebrating 75 Years of Excellence!

Westchester Community College provides accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community. We are committed to student success, academic excellence, workforce development, economic development and lifelong learning.

Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook

75 Grasslands Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
Tel: (914) 606-6600