How to format your references using the Natural Language & Linguistic Theory citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Begley, C. Glenn. 2013. Six red flags for suspect work. Nature 497: 433–434.
A journal article with 2 authors
Altshuler, Jill S., and David Altshuler. 2004. Organizational challenges in clinical genomic research. Nature 429: 478–481.
A journal article with 3 authors
Alves, J. F., C. J. Lada, and E. A. Lada. 2001. Internal structure of a cold dark molecular cloud inferred from the extinction of background starlight. Nature 409: 159–161.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Argo, A. M., J. F. Odzak, F. S. Lai, and B. C. Gates. 2002. Observation of ligand effects during alkene hydrogenation catalysed by supported metal clusters. Nature 415: 623–626.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Fant, Karl M. 2005. Logically Determined Design. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Mancuso, Stefano, ed. 2012. Measuring Roots: An Updated Approach. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Crooks, Andrew T., and Alison J. Heppenstall. 2012. Introduction to Agent-Based Modelling. In Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems, ed. Alison J. Heppenstall, Andrew T. Crooks, Linda M. See, and Michael Batty, 85–105. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Natural Language & Linguistic Theory.

Blog post
Andrew, Elise. 2015. Why Did SpaceX’s Rocket Explode In The Atmosphere? IFLScience. IFLScience. June 29.


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. 1985. Second-Year Implementation of the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act in the Department of Education. HRD-85-78. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Hinchey, Bruce Andrew. 2010. Punishing the Penitent: Disproportionate Fines in Recent FCPA Enforcements and Suggested Improvements. Doctoral dissertation, Washington, DC: George Washington University.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Walsh, Mary Williams. 2010. State Pension Fund Faces Shortfall, Candidate Says. New York Times, September 2.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Begley 2013).
This sentence cites two references (Altshuler and Altshuler 2004; Begley 2013).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Altshuler and Altshuler 2004)
  • Three or more authors: (Argo et al. 2002)

About the journal

Full journal titleNatural Language & Linguistic Theory
AbbreviationNat. Lang. Linguist. Theory
ISSN (print)0167-806X
ISSN (online)1573-0859
ScopeLanguage and Linguistics
Linguistics and Language

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