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MLA 9th Edition


The format for both in-text and Works Cited citations remains the same through this update.

Notable Changes Overview

In MLA 9th Edition, new container rules as well as new inclusive language changes, which will help writers to use safe and appropriate language when discussing sensitive issues like race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, health, socioeconomic status, etc.

It has capitalization style changes that will follow the rules for non-English publications that must use their specific capitalization rules. There are also some other very minor changes listed below.

Video Overview of Changes

New Inclusive Language Rules

  • Avoid using terms that specify the subject's ethnicity, religion, gender, social orientation, disability age, or social status if it is not critical for your context. 
  • Implement gender neutrality as "human-made" can be used instead of "man-made". 
  • Use Latinx terminology instead of Latino or Latino. The same goes for similar terms. 
  • Avoid using terms like Muslim community or Native American language by changing it to Sunni Muslims in India or Chinookan languages. 
  • Avoid religious generalizations for this newest MLA format edition by always making it clear what religion or beliefs you are referring to. ​

New Container Rules

  • A bibliographic citation must include two containers if you are using a source within a source. It is common for a source to have two containers, especially a digital source.

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, spring 2010, pp. 69-88. JSTOR, 

In the example citation above, the first container is the title of the journal (The Georgia Review) because it "contains" the article ("Questions of Transport"). The second container is the name of the database (JSTOR) because it "contains" the journal (Georgia Review).

*Note: Containers are always italicized

New Foreign Language Capitalization Rules

  • Foreign language sources or quotations use their native grammar and punctuation according to this new MLA format. 

Other Minor Changes

  • Full URLs are still recommended, but optional; especially if the URL is behind a paywall. When citing URLs from databases and online scholarly journal articles, it is recommended to cite the Permalink (permanent link) or the DOI (digital object identifier) when possible.
  • Include http:// or https:// or www. in your Works Cited page. 
  • If you include anything that you have merely consulted, use "Works Cited and Consulted" by placing your consulted sources after any endnotes if necessary. 
  • When the Publication Date element of a citation includes a season, lowercase it (ex. winter).

Goldman, Anne. “Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante.” The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, spring 2010, pp. 69-88. JSTOR,