How to format and cite a paper in MLA style | 9th Edition

Are you tired of the same old MLA Handbook? The Modern Language Association (MLA) updated MLA 8th edition to 9th edition in April 2021. Get your hands on the new MLA Handbook, and don’t forget to check out all the updated formatting and citation rules. You’ll find everything you need about notable changes in the new MLA ninth edition on this post!

MLA citation style is primarily used in humanities, arts, cultural studies, English, and literature.

What’s new with MLA 9th edition?

The novel MLA Handbook is the ultimate guide for any writer, regardless of their level. The new edition contains more templates and style guidelines that all types of writers and students can use.

The new Handbook offers a great resource whether you’re new to academia or need some help brushing up your MLA citation and formatting skills.

mla handbook ninth edition cover. mla ninth edition is an update of mla eighth edition. mla citation, mla ninth edition.
Source: MLA

If you are already a pro in MLA 8th edition, grasping MLA 9th edition updates is easy as pie for you.

You may be wondering whether the changes in the new edition are significant or not. Let’s find out shortly in this post.

MLA 9th edition sample and basics

How to format a paper in MLA 9th edition

Step 1: Enter your details

Start with your name (student’s name), the professor’s name, course title and number, and the date of the paper – double spaced.

MLA date format: Day, month, and year.

Do not abbreviate the month.

Step 2: Insert page numbers

Page numbers begin on the first page. Type your last name a space after the page number in the right-upper corner of the page.

Step 3: Title of the paper

Type the title, indent center, 12-point Times New Roman font.

Do not bold, underline, or italicize the title of the paper.

Check the sample above for more illustration.

Notable changes in MLA 9th edition

  • New container rules

A citation should include a container for digital sources. The title of the container is placed as the third core element of a citation.

The title of container may represent the online database or website where you retrieved the source or where it was published.

Example: According to MLA Handbook ninth edition, Google, Facebook, Amazon, cannot be generalized as containers. You are required to be specific with the digital source container.

You should also include the format of the media source.

For instance, “MP4 format”, “BBC channel”, and “Amazon Prime” video app.

If using a source within a source, you must include two containers in the bibliographic entry. This is common when using digital sources.

Example 1

In the above example, the first container is “The Georgia Review“, the title of the journal. The name of the online database “JSTOR” is the second container.

The journal title contains the article while the database contains the journal.

Example 2

An example of a source with two containers in MLA 9th edition. mla citation, mla guide.
Source: Scribbr

Check if you can correctly identify the containers in the above example. Refer to example 1 to confirm if you are right.

Please note that the containers must be italicized always.

More examples of Containers in MLA

More examples of containers in mla. The source type, source title, and container title are included. mla citation, mla guide.
Source: Scribbr
  • Use of more inclusive language

The new edition emphasizes the need to use more inclusive language. Writers and students must learn to be inclusive when writing about gender, religion, age, and sensitive issues.

For instance, avoid specifying a person’s age because it would sometimes deter readers from engaging the content.

However, you could say middle-aged instead of elderly, which has been proven more sensitive regarding this particular topic area.

Writers have the power to counteract discrimination by writing with an inclusionary focus. Working actively on enhancing quality and diversity within your content helps strengthen the reader’s worldviews. Writing inclusively also addresses social hierarchies and makes more readers feel represented.

The new edition also highlights the need to be clear and avoid generalizations when discussing religion, ethnicity, and more subtle issues.

  • New capitalization rules for Foreign languages

According to the new MLA format, sources in Foreign languages should use their native grammar and punctuation. The update also applies to quotations.

  • More comprehensive guides

The new MLA 9th edition is a comprehensive guide to learners, essay and research paper writers, editors, freelance writers, business writers, and professionals citing sources.

MLA works cited list

9 elements of mla works cited list. Author, title of the source, title of the container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, location.
Source: Scribbr

MLA works cited page entry has nine core elements about the source. The core elements are indicated above.

You are required to apply the elements applicable to the source you are citing.

MLA in-text citation

MLA works cited entry. mla in text citation, author's last name and page number of the source.
Source: Scribbr

Like MLA 8th edition, in-text citation in MLA 9th new format follows the (Author’s last name Page) rule.


In brief, this guide highlights notable changes in the new MLA 9th edition, an update of MLA 8th edition.

The post simplifies the basics and the process of formatting a paper following the new MLA format.

Learners, technical writers, business writers, editors, and professionals citing sources should embrace and adopt the new changes.

MLA new edition changes highlights: New chapters, updated guidelines, revised and simplified instructions, updates on footnotes and endnotes, sample essay, and more.

It would be best to access the new MLA 9th edition Handbook to read more about the comprehensive updates and changes.

To view MLA Handbook ninth edition, click here.

To read more about MLA ninth edition changes on Purdue Online Writing Lab, click here.

Do you have any questions?

Do you need more detailed MLA 9th edition guides and samples?

Drop a short message, and we’ll be happy to help.

Check our posts for more interesting updates.

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