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MLA Citation Guide

MLA Core Elements in Book Citations

Author

  • One author: Listed as LastName, FirstName. Example: Smith, Jane.
  • Two authors: Listed in the order they appear in the work as Author1LastName, FirstName, and Author2FirstName LastName. Example: Smith, Jane, and John Doe.
  • Three or more authors: Listed as Author1Lastname, FirstName, et al. Example: For a work with the authors Jane Smith, John Doe, and Rita Jones, the author element becomes Smith, Jane, et al.​​​​​​​
    • ​​​​​Et al. is an abbreviation for et alia, a Latin phrase that means "and others." Style manuals and editors use the abbreviation "et al." to save space and ink.
  • Corporation or organization as author: Do not reverse any part of the organization's name. If the organization's name begins with an article (aan, or the), omit it. Examples: RAND CorporationBeatles

Title of Source

  • Book chapters: The chapter goes in quotation marks. Example: "Art Fraud."
  • Entire books: The title is italicized. Example: The SAGE Handbook of Child Research.

Title of Container

  • Book chapters: The title of the entire book in italics. Example: Skateboarding: The Ultimate Guide.
  • Entire books: Omit this element and skip to Other Contributors.

Supplemental Element 1

  • Contributors: If the author of a book chapter is different than the book's editor, or if there is an editor or translator in addition to the book's author, use the phrase Edited/Translated by FirstName LastName. Examples: Edited by Jane DoeTranslated by Seamus Heaney
  • Original Publication Date: If the book or chapter is a reprint, it is sometimes helpful to include the original publication date.

Version

  • Book chapters: Same as for entire books - see below.
  • Entire books: If the book's publication information includes a version (e.g., "Revised edition." "King James Version," or "3rd edition"), use the phrase X ed. or X version. Examples: 3rd ed., King James Version

Number

  • Book chapters: Same as for entire books - see below.
  • Entire books: Only included if it is a multi-volume work. Use the phrase vol. X. Example: vol. 3

Publisher

  • Book chapters: Same as for entire books - see below.
  • Entire books: Omit "the" if it begins the publisher's name. Abbreviate the words Company (Co.), Corporation (Corp.), Incorporated (Inc.), and Limited (Ltd.). For academic presses, University is abbreviated as U (no period) and Press is abbreviated as P (no period).

Publication date

  • Book chapters: The year the book was published.
  • Entire books: The year the book was published.

Location

  • Book chapters: Use the same formatting as for articles.
    • For a single-page chapter, use the format p. X. Example: p. 22.
    • For chapters of two pages or more, use pp. X-X. Example: pp. 37-52.
    • Some books use Roman numerals for introductions and prefaces. If this is the case, use the same number formatting as the book. Examples: p. III,  pp. xx-xiv.
  • Entire books: Do not use this element.

Supplemental Element 2

  • Government documents: Specifically for documents created by the United States Congress (the Senate and/or the House of Representatives). Include: the number of Congress, the session of Congress, whether the document came from the Senate or House of Representatives, the type of document (bill, resolution, report), and the number of the document. If it was legislation that passed, also include the date. Example: 115th Congress, 2nd session, House Resolution 6147, passed 1 Aug. 2018.

Citation Examples

Print Book - One Author

Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year.

Gay, Roxane. Bad Feminist: Essays. Harper Perennial, 2014.

Kelly, William R. The Future of Crime and Punishment: Smart Policies for Reducing Crime and Saving Money. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.

Print Book - Two Authors

Author 1 Last Name, First Name, and Author 2 First Name Last Name. Title of Book. Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year.

Jeandron, Carol, and Gail Robinson. Creating a Climate for Service Learning Success. American Association of Community Colleges, 2010.

Weiss, Michael, and Hassan Hassan. ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror. Regan Arts, updated ed., 2016.

Print Book - Three or More Authors / Editors

Author Last Name, First Name, et al.[, editors if relevant.] Title of Book. Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year.

Melton, Gary B., et al., editors. The SAGE Handbook of Child Research. Sage Publications, 2014.

Print Book - No Author

Title of Book. Version if relevant, Publisher of Book, Publication Year.

Go Ask Alice. 1971. Simon Pulse, 2006.

ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2014. 2nd ed., ProQuest, 2013.

Print Book - Corporation or Organization as Author

Corporation or Organization That Authored the Book. Title of Book. Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year.
NOTE: When a corporate author is also the publisher of the item, leave out the author (see the second example below).

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. The 9/11 Commission Report. Norton, 2004.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th ed., American Psychological Association, 2010.

Print Book - Editor or Translator Instead of Author

Last Name, First Name, editor. Title of Book. Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year.

​Thompson, Tamara, editor. Poverty in America. Gale Cengage Learning, 2015.

Last Name, First Name, translator. Title of Book. Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year.

Heaney, Seamus, translator. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. ​

Print Book with Author and Editor

Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Edited by Editor First Name Last Name, Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year.

Austen, Jane. The Annotated Pride and Prejudice. Edited by David M. Shapard, revised and expanded ed., Anchor Books, 2012.

Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works. Edited by Stanley Wells et al., 2nd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.

Print Book with Author and Translator

Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Translated by Translator First Name Last Name, Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year.

Beauvoir, Simone de. The Second Sex. Translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, Knopf, 2009.

Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. Don Quixote. Translated by Edith Grossman, HarperCollins, 2003.

Essay or Chapter from Edited Print Book

Chapter/Essay Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Chapter or Essay.” Title of Book, edited by Editor First Name Last Name, Version if relevant, Publisher, Publication Year, pp. x-x.

Norville, Valerie. “The Role of Women in Global Security.” World Peace, edited by Margaret Haerens, Greenhaven Press, 2015, pp. 116-130.

US Department of Agriculture. “Poverty Impacts Rural Communities.” Poverty in America, edited by Tamara Thompson, Gale Cengage Learning, 2015, pp. 36-39.

Print Encyclopedia or Dictionary

Author of entry Last Name, First Name if available. "Title of Entry." Title of Encyclopedia, edited by Editor First Name Last Name if available, vol. x if multivolume encyclopedia, Publisher, Publication Year, pp. x-x.

Constans, Claire. “Le Brun, Charles.” The Dictionary of Art, edited by Jane Turner, vol. 19, Macmillan, 1996, pp. 19-25.

Eisenberg, Theodore. “Bankruptcy Reform Act.” Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, edited by Leonard W. Levy et al., vol. 1, Macmillan, 1986, p. 100.