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Citing and Writing MLA 9: Home

Information on style guides, specifically MLA (9th edition), example citations, and other resources for citing and writing.

Citing and Writing

Doing strange things in

literature, in art – I like that. 

- Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature in conversation with Eleanor Wachtel on CBC’s The Best of Writers and Company.

“Doing strange things” works for Pamuk and it could work for you too, but there are times when even a Nobel Prize Winner must follow a specific format or writing style. Corporations, journalists and other professionals all use specific style guides. Academics also use style guides and part of your postsecondary education will be learning how to and practicing following a style guide in your writing.

Why Cite?

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Academic writing at AUArts

What is a style guide? Why cite?

A style guide describes how to format writing and give credit to your sources of information. You’ll hear your instructors talking a lot about citations. A citation is a way to tell your readers that what you wrote about (what you paraphrased or quoted) came from another source, and what that source is. There are short “in-text” citations in the body of your writing which refer to longer, full citations in the Works Cited section which appears at the end of your writing.

In addition to describing how to format citations for a works cited list and conventions such as when to use [square] brackets or how to use italics, you will learn how to create in-text citations which are brief references that show the sources you consulted (ex. author, title, publication date).

Note: Works cited refer only to sources which you directly reference in your writing, whereas a Bibliography or Works Consulted includes all the sources of information you consulted but may not have directly cited for your assignment.


What style guide does AUArts use?

At AUArts, we use the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style Guide 9th Edition, which is commonly used for academic writing in the humanities, including English, history, philosophy, music and the fine arts. Below is an introduction to MLA Style and a few examples. Go to Academic Support at AUArts for comprehensive guides on MLA citations, essay writing, exam prep and time management.


Why follow a style guide?

  1. Engage in scholarly conversation: Citations allow you, as well as other readers and scholars to keep track of the sources you consulted during your research. Your writing may or may not present new ideas, but the citations show how previous ideas and conversations have influenced your thinking and allows readers to follow a trail of crumbs to explore a wider conversation.
  2. Avoid plagiarism: As part of an ongoing conversation, you also have a responsibility to give credit to other researchers.
  3. Produce writing in a format easily accessible to other scholars: Like the format of addresses on envelopes. 

MLA 8th edition vs. 9th edition

What is the difference between 8th edition and 9th edition?

MLA 9 is the most recent edition, released in 2021. It is very similar to the 8th edition, but has been expanded upon in some key areas. 

The main differences are:

  • More information about MLA core elements and how to use them

  • More accessibility by way of more explanations and examples

  • Increased guidance on in-text citations and how to make sure they are being used correctly

  • Guidance on research papers have been reintroduced, having been absent from 8th edition

  • Expanded information on the mechanics of grammar and ensuring it is used correctly

  • An all new chapter on inclusive language