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The basic format for citing articles is as follows:

Article Overview Purple-01

Notice that the periodical title is italicized. Be careful also to follow the rules for punctuation (commas and periods).


Scholarly article

Our example in the introduction is of a scholarly article, so there’s little new here:

Chuckle, Hillary. “Ventriloquizing the Belly Laugh: An Ethnographic Perspective.” ROFL, vol. 5, no. 1, Dec. 2005, pp. 1-14.

Notice though that in addition to the year of publication, you can provide the month (or season).

Scholarly article from a Database

If you accessed the article through a database, you can provide some extra information. Where possible, add the DOI number and the database title.

Zinzendorf, Obadiah. “George Herbert’s Visual Poetry: Hidden Easter Eggs in ‘The Easter Bunny.’” The Shapely Poem, vol. 88, no. 5, 2000, pp. 90-105. Journal Pod, https://doi:10.1234/tsp.2000.4321.

A DOI is a digital object identifier, a code that identifies the article even if the URL changes.

If there is no DOI, you might provide a URL that will remain stable over time. Databases typically provide a persistent URL in the citation information that accompanies the article.

Here is an example with a URL:

Sanchez, Alfie. “A Freudian Analysis of Don Quixote’s Tilting at Windmills.” Journal of Windmill Architecture, vol. 33, no. 1, 1973, pp. 1-18. Journal Pod,

If you cannot find a persistent URL, you could copy the link from your browser. You may omit the http:// or https://.

Finally, since URLs can clutter up the Works Cited, you can shorten them or leave them out. Check with your instructor for their preference.

Special issue

Occasionally, an article appears in a special issue of a periodical:

Rudimentri, Dimitri. “Eastern Europeans and The Fear of Washing the Baby Away With the Bath Water.” Fear and Courage, special issue of Studies in the History of Emotions, edited by Vladimir Moldau, vol. 9, no. 3, 1988, pp. 55-69.

You can instead cite the special issue as a whole:

Moldau, Vladimir, editor. Fear and Courage. Special issue of Studies in the History of Emotions, vol. 9, no. 3, 1988, pp. 1-179.

This is especially useful if you’re citing multiple articles from the same issue.

Article in a Book

Cite the article first and add the book title as the container:

Noseworthy, Edward. “Indie Music and American Identity.” Contemporary Indie Music, edited by Alex Sharp, McCord Press, 2017, pp. 87-103.

Magazine article

Cite just like a regular article, but pay attention to the date. Add the day/month or season as appropriate:

Maestro, Julia. “Beyond Beyonce’s Booty-full Body: How I Got My Teenager Listening to Classical Music.” Sharp and Natural, 17 Dec. 2014, pp. 1-3.

Newspaper article

If the newspaper is not well-known, add the city in square brackets:

Dougherty, Jack. “Heffalumps Win State Championship.” Chuggington Post [Feuilleton, CA], 9 Apr. 2016, F1.

Notice that the page numbers are often numbered differently.


A review often appears in a periodical, magazine, or newspaper, and is cited accordingly:

Moss, Stephanie. “Papa Still Has a Life.” Review of The Brotherhood of the Stay-at-Home Dads, by Harold Humber. Filch’s Review of Books, 8 Aug. 2017,

Oglethorpe, Arnold. Review of The Merchant of Mars, directed by Honoria Glossop. Contemporary Shakespeares, vol. 1, no. 2, 2014, pp. 9-10.

Here is what to watch out for:

  • Start with the author of the review.
  • If the review has a title, you do not have to include the phrase “Review of [the title],” though we would recommend you still do.
  • Use italics for titles of longer works (films, plays, books), and quotation marks for shorter works (poems, articles).
  • Note that the creator of the item under review doesn’t have to be an author, but may be an editor, translator, director, and so forth. Just add the relevant phrase after the title (e.g., edited by).

Editorial or Letter to the Editor

If a work lacks a title, you may insert a short descriptive phrase. This applies to editorials and letters to the editor, which may occasionally be missing a title:

Johnson, Breanna. Letter. Chuggington Post [Feuilleton, CA], 11 Apr. 2017, E9.

Gimmick, Flip. Editorial. Chuggington Post [Feuilleton, CA], 11 Apr. 2017, E9.

On the other hand, if the letter or editorial has a title, use that instead:

Johnson, Breanna. “No More Dog Poop on My Lawn!” Chuggington Post [Feuilleton, CA], 11 Apr. 2017, E9.

Finally, for unusual sources you are allowed to add a descriptive phrase at the end of your citation:

Gimmick, Flip. “The Current Housing Crisis.” Chuggington Post [Feuilleton, CA], 11 Apr. 2017, E9. Editorial.

This is of course not necessary if you have already replaced the title with such a description.

Note on Page Numbers

If the article continues elsewhere in a periodical, then cite only the page it starts on and add a plus sign (+):

Lovejoy, Percy. “Save the Planet or Have Another Child? The Ethics of Procreation.” The Avuncular Philosopher, vol. 99, no. 4, 2016, pp. 9+.

For more information, see the MLA Handbook (9th ed.), especially the sample citations at the back.