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University of Portland Clark Library

MLA Style (9th Edition) Citation Guide: 9th Edition Updates

New Handbook, No Citation Style Changes

The Modern Language Association (the MLA) released an updated version of their MLA Handbook in April 2021. The great news is that not much has changed from the 8th edition to the 9th edition! The format for both in-text and Works Cited citations remains the same through this update. Many of the changes are to the Handbook itself, to help the Handbook serve as a better tool for teaching students how to write.

List of Handbook Updates

While the format for citations has not changed in the MLA Handbook, 9th edition, there have been some updates to the content of the Handbook itself. Below is a quick guide to some of the newest features of the Handbook and where to find that information:

  • Guidance on each of the MLA Core Elements (author, title of source, title of container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, and location), with examples of what the element is, where to find it, and how to cite it.
  • An updated appendix with hundreds of examples for citations, such as books, scholarly articles, audiovisual sources, reports, and more (pp.303-346).
  • Updated guidelines on in-text citations. Please note that the formatting for in-text citations has not changed, but the 9th edition provides guidance for more nuanced in-text citations, such as citations for two authors with the same last name, how to cite using a time stamp, and more (pp. 227-286). 
  • Updated guidelines for students about why citations matter and how to avoid plagiarism in writing (pp. 95-102).
  • Recommendations for how to include inclusive language in writing (pp. 89-94).
  • Guidelines on how to format a paper in MLA format (pp. 1-14). Please note that the formatting has not changed, but the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook did not include this information.
  • Guidelines on spelling, punctuation, and grammar in MLA format (pp. 15-87).
  • Guidelines on using notes in MLA style (pp. 287-291).

Many thanks to the librarians at Spartanburg (South Carolina) Community College for their permission to reuse content from their guide to MLA 9th edition.

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