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Citing Periodicals in MLA Style

Remember that entries in the Works Cited list are listed alphabetically by author.  This page deals with printed periodicals only; there is another page for online periodical databases and articles on the Internet.  

When citing periodicals, you cite the individual articles rather than an entire issue of the periodical.  This page covers articles in magazines, (scholarly) journals, and newspapers. 

The components of a Works Cited list entry for articles from periodicals, listed in the proper order:  


Formatting Details

  • For the first (or only) author, first include the author's last name, followed by a comma, followed by the author's first name.  [Example]

  • If the author's name has already been listed on the Works Cited page, do not list it again.  Instead, use "---" for all works other than the first.  List all the works by an author alphabetically by title.

  • For two or three authors, list the authors in the order in which they appear on the title page.  Do not reverse the names of authors other than the first.  Follow each author's name with a comma and precede the last author with "and."

  • For four or more authors, either list all the authors as with two or three authors, or cite only the first author listed on the title page, followed by ", et. al."

  • If the article is unsigned, start the citation with the title (and alphabetize it based on the title.)  [Example]
  Period (.)
  • Enclose the title of the article or the headline within quotation marks. [Example]
  • If there is a title within the title, use single quotation marks (like apostrophes) for the shorter title.  [Example]
  • The period goes inside the quotation marks. 
  • Even though the standard journalistic style for headlines is analogous to a regular sentence, the MLA citation style is to capitalize all the words you would capitalize in any other title.  [Example]
  • If you are citing a letter to the editor, use "Letter" in place of the title.  [Example]
  Period (.)
Editorial or Review
  • If the article you are citing is an editorial, write "Editorial" here to identify it as such.  [Example]
  • If the article is a review, write "Rev. of" followed by the title of the work being reviewed.  Then include a comma (,) and "by" followed by the author or "dir." followed by the director.  Give either of these names in normal first-name-first order. [Example]
  Period (.)
Magazine, Newspaper, or Journal Title
  • Italicize or underline the title of the periodical. [Example]
  • If the title begins with "The," do not include "the" in the citation.  [Example]
  None (a single space before next element)
Issue/Date Information
  • If the article is from a monthly magazine, write the month (abbreviated) and year (four-digits) of publication.  [Example]
  • If the article is from a newspaper or a weekly magazine, include the exact date of publication.  Put the date, followed by month (abbreviated) and year (four digits), e.g. 28 Sept. 1993.  [Example]  [Example]
  • If the article is from a scholarly journal paged consecutively throughout a volume, give the volume number (using digits), a space, and then the year of publication (four digits) in parentheses.  [Example]
  • If the article is from a scholarly journal paged separately by issue, give the volume number, followed by a period, followed by the issue number (all using digits and no spaces).  Then give a space and the year of publication (four digits) in parentheses.  [Example]
  If anything is given in next part, Comma (,)

Otherwise, Colon (:)

Edition Information
  • If an edition name is given in the masthead of a newspaper, include it here.  [Example]
  • If each section of the newspaper is paged separately, include "sec." followed by the section number or letter.  [Example]
  • If there is both an edition and section, include the edition, followed by a comma, followed by the section (as above).  [Example]
  Colon (:)
Page Number(s)
  • Include the page numbers of the article.  [Example]
  • If the article appears on consecutive pages, separate the first and last page numbers with a hyphen (-).  Do not write "pages," "pp," etc.  [Example]
  • You only need to give the last two digits, unless more are necessary, i.e. 205-12 but 295-303.  [Example]
  • If the article appears on nonconsecutive pages (starts on one and jumps to another), give the first page number, followed by "+" (the plus sign).  [Example]
  • If there are no page numbers, write "n. pag."
  Period (.)

Read the Notes on punctuation and spacing and on italicization and underlining.

Citation Examples (from The Ready Reference Handbook)

Begley, Sharon.  "The Puzzle of Genius."  Newsweek 28 June 1993: 46-51.
Coates, James.  "Crowds Pose Threat to U.S. Park System."  Chicago Tribune 
     21 Apr. 1991, Chicagoland North, sec. 1: 1+.
Kasmer, Lisa.  "Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wall-Paper': A Symptomatic
     Reading."  Literature and Psychology 46.3 (1990): 1-15.
McAuliffe, Kathleen.  "The Undiscovered World of Thomas Edison."  Atlantic 
     Monthly Dec. 1995: 80+.
Rafferty, Terrence.  "Fidelity and Infidelity."  Rev. of Sense and Sensibility, 
     dir. Ang Lee.  New Yorker 18 Dec. 1995: 124-26.  
Rout, Kathleen.  "Dream a Little Dream of Me: Mrs. May and the Bull in Flannery
     O'Connor's 'Greenleaf.'"  Studies in Short Fiction 16 (1979): 233-34.
Stout, Michael.  Letter.  Harper's Feb. 1993: 5-6.
"Turning Nature On and Off."  Editorial.  Los Angeles Times 6 Sept. 1998, sec 2: 6.
(Dodds 334-35)

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Created: 06/27/2000
Last Modified: 09/25/2002