MLA Handbook

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The MLA Handbook
MLA Handbook 8th edition.jpg
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed.
Original title The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Country United States
Language English
Subject Style guide
Publisher Modern Language Association of America
Publication date
Published in English
April 2016
Pages xiv + 146
ISBN 978-1-60329-262-7
OCLC 930786330
LC Class LB2369 .G53 2016
Preceded by MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed., 2009)

The MLA Handbook (8th ed., 2016), formerly the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (1977–2009) is a publication of the Modern Language Association (MLA). According to the MLA, the MLA style "has been widely adopted for classroom instruction and used worldwide by scholars, journal publishers, and academic and commercial presses".[1]

The MLA Handbook, an abridged student version of the MLA Style Manual, is an academic style guide widely used in the United States, Canada, and other countries, providing guidelines for writing and documentation of research in the humanities, such as English studies (including the English language, writing, and literature written in English); the study of other modern languages and literatures, including comparative literature; literary criticism; media studies; cultural studies; and related disciplines.[2] Released in April 2016, the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook (like its previous editions) is addressed primarily to secondary-school and undergraduate college and university teachers and students.[3]


The MLA Handbook grew out of the initial MLA Style Sheet of 1951[4] (revised in 1970[5][6]), a 28-page "more or less official" standard.[7] The first five editions, published between 1977 and 1999 were titled the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. The title changed to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers in 2003 (6th ed.).

The seventh edition's main changes from the sixth edition were "no longer recogniz[ing] a default medium and instead call[ing] for listing the medium of publication [whether Print or Web or CD] in every entry in the list of works cited", recommending against listing URLs, and preferring italics over underline.[8] Additionally, the seventh edition included a website with the full text of the book.[9] Later online additions allowed for citation of e-books[10] and tweets.[11]

The eighth edition's main changes from the seventh edition are "shift[ing] our focus from a prescriptive list of formats to an overarching purpose of source documentation".[7] Released in spring 2016, it changes the structure of the works cited list, most directly by adding abbreviations for volumes and issues (vol. and no.), pages (p. or pp.), not abbreviating words like "editor" or "translator", using URLs in most instances (though preferring DOI, as in APA), and not favoring the medium of publication.[12]


The list below identifies the year of publication of each edition of the MLA Handbook.

  • 1st: 1977
  • 2nd: 1984
  • 3rd: 1988
  • 4th: 1995
  • 5th: 1999
  • 6th: 2003
  • 7th: 2009
  • 8th: 2016

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MLA Style". Modern Language Association. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "What is MLA Style". MLA. Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. 
  3. ^ Feal, Rosemary G. (2016). "Foreword". MLA Handbook. Modern Language Association. pp. vii–viii. ISBN 978-1-60329-262-7. 
  4. ^ "The MLA Style Sheet". PMLA. 66 (3): 3–31. 1951. doi:10.2307/2699076. ISSN 0030-8129. 
  5. ^ Kennedy, Scott (1999). Reference Sources for Small and Medium-sized Libraries. Chicago and London: American Library Association. p. 779. ISBN 978-0-8389-3468-5. 
  6. ^ Achtert, Walter S.; Gibaldi, Joseph (1985). The MLA Style Manual (First ed.). New York: Modern Language Association of America. p. vii. ISBN 978-0-87352-136-9. 
  7. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Kathleen (2016). "Preface". MLA Handbook (8th ed.). Modern Language Association. pp. ix–xiv. ISBN 978-1-60329-262-7. 
  8. ^ "What is new in the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook?". MLA. 3 February 2012. Archived from the original on 1 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Nicholls, David G. (2009). "Preface". MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.). New York: MLA. pp. xvii–xix. ISBN 978-1-60329-024-1. 
  10. ^ "How do I cite an e-book?". MLA (7th ed.). Archived from the original on 11 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "How do I cite a tweet?". MLA (7th ed.). Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "What's New in the Eighth Edition". Modern Language Association. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 

External links[edit]