In-Text Citation



Selections from Books


Online Sources


Citing Books in MLA Style

Remember that entries in the Works Cited list are listed alphabetically by author.  This page deals with whole books only; there is another page for encyclopedias and dictionaries and selections from anthologies.  

The components of a Works Cited list entry for a book, listed in the proper order:  


Formatting Details

  • For the first (or only) author, first include the author's last name, followed by a comma, followed by the author's first name.  [Example]

  • If the author's name has already been listed on the Works Cited page, do not list it again.  Instead, use "---" for all works other than the first.  List all the works by an author alphabetically by title.  [Example]

  • For two or three authors, list the authors in the order in which they appear on the title page.  Do not reverse the names of authors other than the first.  Follow each author's name with a comma and precede the last author with "and."  [Example]

  • For four or more authors, either list all the authors as with two or three authors, or cite only the first author listed on the title page, followed by ", et. al."  [Example]

  • If the book is a corporate or institutional publication, give the name of the corporation or institution as the author. [Example]

  • If there is no author, but an editor or editors instead, list the editor(s), followed by "ed." or "eds."  [Example]
  • If the work is anonymous, start the citation with the title (and alphabetize it based on the title.)  [Example]
  Period (.)
  • Italicize or underline the title of the book. [Example]
  • If there is a title within the title, do not italicize or underline the shorter title.  If the shorter title is usually within quotation marks, retain the quotation marks.  [Example]  [Example]
  • If you underline, do not underline the period that follows, unless it is placed within quotation marks.  
  • Click here for notes on capitalization.
  Period (.)
Editor or Translator
  • If the book has both author(s) and editor(s), include the name of the editor(s), preceded by "Ed." or "Eds."  [Example]
  • If the book is a translation, write "Trans." followed by the name of the translator. [Example]
  Period (.)
  • For an edition other than the first, include the number of the edition followed by "ed." [Example]
  • Use a digit for the edition number, as in "5th. ed." or "3rd. ed." or "10th ed."
  • If this book is a republished edition, include the original year of publication in YYYY format. [Example]
  Period (.)
(Only one, i.e. don't write "5th ed..")
Volume Information
  • If you use only one volume of a series, include "Vol. n of" and the name of the series.  Also include the number of volumes in the series, followed by "vols."  [Example]
  • If the book is a multivolume work, include the number of volumes, followed by "vols." [Example]
  • If the book is part of a series, include the series name, "Ser." and the series number.  [Example]
  Period (.)
Publication Place
  • Include the city of publication[Example]
  • If the city is not well-known or could be confused with another city, follow the city name with a comma, a space, and the state.  Use the postal state abbreviations (two capital letters, no periods.)  [Example]
  • If the place of publication is not given (and you cannot find it after a serious attempt), write "n.p." here.
  • The publication place is usually found on the title page of the book.  If there are several listed, give only the first city. 
  Colon (:)
  • Include the publisher's name[Example]
  • Shorten the publisher's name to only the last name (e.g., Knopf for Alfred Knopf).  If the name includes more than one person, use only the last name of the first person.   [Example]
  • Abbreviate University Press as "UP" (without periods).  [Example]
  • If the book was published by an imprint of a company, give the name of the imprint, followed by a hyphen (-) and the publisher's name.  [Example]
  • If the publisher is not given, write "n.p." here.
  • The publisher is usually found on the title page of the book.  
  Comma (,)
Publication Date
  • Include the four-digit year of publication. If a range is given, use the range with a hyphen between years. [Example]
  • If the date of publication is not given, write "n.d." here.
  • The publication date is usually found on the back the title page of the book.  
  Period (.)

Read the Notes on punctuation and spacing and on italicization and underlining.

Citation Examples (from The Ready Reference Handbook)

American Friends Service Committee.  Who Shall Live?  New York: Hill, 1970.
Blotner, Joseph.  Faulkner: A Biography.  2 vols.  New York: Random, 1976.
Camus, Albert.  The Stranger.  Trans. Matthew Ward.  New York: Knopf, 1988.
Durell, Lawrence.  Mountolive.  New York: Dutton, 1959.  Vol. 3 of The Alexandria
    Quartet.  4 vols.  1957-1960.
Finch, Robert, and John Elder, eds.  The Norton Book of Nature Writing.  2nd ed. 
    New York: Norton, 1990.
Fogel, Robert William, and G. R. Elton.  Which Road to the Past: Two Views of 
     History.  New Haven: Yale UP, 1983.
Frampton, Merle E., et al.  Forgotten Children.  Boston: Sargent, 1968.
Golden, Catherine, ed.  The Captive Imagination: A Casebook on "The Yellow 
    Wall-Paper."  New York: Feminist, 1992.
Howard, Lillie.  Zora Neale Hurston.  Twayne's United States Author Ser. 381.  
    Boston: Twayne, 1980.
Lane, Ann J., ed.  The Charlotte Perkins Gillman Reader: "The Yellow
    Wallpaper" and Other Fiction.  New York: Pantheon, 1980.  
---.  To "Herland" amd Beyond: The Life and Work of Charlotte Perkins Gillman.
    New York: Pantheon, 1979.
Orwell, George.  1984.  Ed. Erich Fromm.  New York: Harcourt, 1949.
Roberts, Elizabeth Madox.  The Time of Man.  1926.  Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 
Ruland, Richard, ed.  Twentieth Century Interpretations of Walden.  Englewood
    Cliffs, NJ: Prentice, 1968.
Selzer, Richard.  Mortal Lessons. New York: Touchstone-Simon, 1976.
Tuchman, Barbara.  A Distant Mirror.  New York: Knopf, 1978.
Which Road to the Past: Two Views of History.  New Haven: Yale UP, 1983.
(Dodds 331-333)

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Created: 06/27/2000
Last Modified: 09/25/2002