Changes in the 8th edition

For more detail see (page numbers in parentheses):

Gibaldi, Joseph, and Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook. Eighth ed., The Modern Language Association of America, 2016.


  • Common terms in the Works Cited list like editor, edited by, translator, and review of are no longer abbreviated. The eighth edition provides a shorter list of recommended abbreviations (96–97).


  • When a source has three or more authors, only the first one shown in the source is normally given. It is followed by et al. (22). (Previously, the omission of co-authors was limited to sources with four or more authors and was presented as an option.)


  • Issues of scholarly journals are now identified with “vol. 64, no. 1” rather than “64.1” (39–40).
    If an issue of a scholarly journal is dated with a month or season, the month or season is now always cited along with the year (45).

Online Works

  • The URL (without http:// or https://) is now normally given for a Web source.
  • The citing of DOIs (digital object identifiers) is encouraged (110).
  • Citing the date when an online work was consulted is now optional (53).
  • Placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (“no date”) are no longer used. If facts missing from a work are available in a reliable external resource, they are cited in square brackets (2.6.1). Otherwise, they are simply omitted.

Page numbers 

  • In the Works Cited list (but not in in-text citations) are now preceded by p. or pp. (46).

Place of publication

  • For books,  except in special situations (51),  the City of Publication should only be used if the book was published before 1900, if the publisher has offices in more than one country, or if the publisher is unknown outside North America.

Publisher names

  • Publishers’ names are now given in full, except that business words like Company (Co.) are dropped and, for academic presses, the abbreviations U, P, and UP are still used (97).
  • A forward slash (/) now separates the names of co-publishers (108).
  • The kinds of publications that don’t require a publisher’s name are defined (42).
  • When an organisation is both author and publisher of a work, the organisation’s name is now given only once, usually as the publisher (25). No author is stated.


  • Full publication information is now given for widely used reference works. Page-number spans are given for articles in alphabetically arranged reference books in print. In other words, reference works are treated like other works and are no longer subject to exceptions.
  • The medium of publication is no longer stated, except when it is needed for clarity (52).

In-Text Citations

The principles behind in-text citations in MLA style are unchanged. A few details have been added or clarified, though:

  • For time-based media like video, times are now cited in the text (57).
  • The use of my trans. to identify the writer’s translation of a non-English quotation is described (90–91).
  • How to shorten long titles when they have to be included in a parenthetical citation is clarified (117–18).
  • The common practice of documenting borrowings from Greek, Roman, and medieval works with part numbers, not page numbers alone, is described (122).
  • The punctuation used when various items are combined in one parenthetical citation is summarised (126–27).
  • Ways of formatting citations in research projects other than traditional papers are suggested (127–28).
  • Recommended abbreviations can be found on pages 96-97 of the MLA handbook ( If confusion may result, spell the word out in full.

Other Aspects of Writing

Following are new points that concern the writing in a research project:

  • When the title of a periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper) begins with an article (A, An, The), the article is now treated as part of the title: the article is italicised and its first letter capitalised. For example, the handbook previously specified “the Georgia Review”  in text and “Georgia Review” in the Works Cited list but now specifies “The Georgia Review” in all contexts.
  • For works in a language not written in the Latin alphabet, writers must choose between giving titles and quotations in romanisation or in the language’s writing system (74, 91).
  • Two forward slashes (//) mark stanza breaks in run-in quotations of verse (78).
  • 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).