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 titleThe MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
CountryUnited States
SubjectStyle guide
PublisherModern Language Association of America
Publication date
Published in English
April 2016
Pagesxiv + 146
LC ClassLB2369 .G53 2016
Preceded byMLA 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 United States-based Modern Language Association. According to the organization, their 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 began as an abridged student version of the MLA Style Manual. Both are academic style guides that have been 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]

MLA announced in April 2016 MLA Handbook will henceforth be "the authoritative source for MLA style", and that the 2008 third edition of the MLA Style Manual would be the final edition of the larger work. The announcement also stated that the organization "is in the process of developing additional publications to address the professional needs of scholars."[4]


The MLA Handbook grew out of the initial MLA Style Sheet of 1951[5] (revised in 1970[6][7]), a 28-page "more or less official" standard.[8] 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.[9] Additionally, the seventh edition included a website with the full text of the book.[10] Later online additions allowed for citation of e-books[11] and tweets.[12]

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".[8] 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.[13]


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

Edition Year
1 1977
2 1984
3 1988
4 1995
5 1999
6 2003
7 2009
8 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.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ Feal, Rosemary G. (2016). "Foreword". MLA Handbook. Modern Language Association. pp. vii–viii. ISBN 978-1-60329-262-7.
  4. ^ "Ask the MLA: Is a new edition of the MLA Style Manual going to be published?". The MLA Style Center. Modern Language Association. April 8, 2016. Archived from the original on July 11, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  5. ^ "The MLA Style Sheet". PMLA. 66 (3): 3–31. 1951. doi:10.2307/2699076. ISSN 0030-8129.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Kathleen (2016). "Preface". MLA Handbook (8th ed.). Modern Language Association. pp. ix–xiv. ISBN 978-1-60329-262-7.
  9. ^ "What is new in the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook?". MLA. 3 February 2012. Archived from the original on 1 April 2013.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "How do I cite an e-book?". MLA (7th ed.). Archived from the original on 11 March 2015.
  12. ^ "How do I cite a tweet?". MLA (7th ed.). Archived from the original on 10 November 2013.
  13. ^ "What's New in the Eighth Edition". Modern Language Association. Retrieved 5 April 2016.

External links[edit]