In-Text Citation



Selections from Books


Online Sources


Citing Selections from Books in MLA Style

Remember that entries in the Works Cited list are listed alphabetically by author.  This page deals with selections from books and anthologies.  There are separate pages for entire books and entries in dictionaries and encyclopedias

The Words Cited list entry contains all the information about the book itself, but also information about the specific selection.  

If you cite more than one selection from an anthology, cite the anthology like a normal book and cite each individual selection.  See these details.   

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


Formatting Details

Author(s) of the Selection
  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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."

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

  • If there is no author, but an editor or editors instead, list the editor(s), followed by "ed." or "eds."
  • If the work is anonymous, start the citation with the title (and alphabetize it based on the title.)
  Period (.)
Title of the Selection
  • If you are citing a selection from an anthology, Enclose the title of the selection within quotation marks[Example]
  • If there is a title within the title, use single quotation marks (like apostrophes) for the shorter title.  
  • The period goes inside the quotation marks. 
  • If you are citing an introduction, foreword, preface, or afterword, simply list the element being cited.  You do not need any italicization, underlining, or quotation marks.  [Example] 
  • Click here for notes on capitalization.
  Period (.)
Original Publication Information   Period (.)
Title of the Anthology
  • 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.
  • If you underline, do not underline the period that follows, unless it is placed within quotation marks.
  • If the selection was original published somewhere else, precede the title with "Rpt. in" (reprinted in).  Do not italicize or underline "Rpt. in."  [Example]
  Period (.)
Editor or Author
  • If you are citing from an anthology, include the name of the editor of the anthology, preceded by "Ed."  Put the editor's name in normal order, i.e. first name then last name.  [Example]
  • If there are two editors, use "Eds." and  "and" between them.   [Example]
  • If there are more than two editors, follow each editor with a comma.  
  • If you are citing the introduction, foreword, preface, or afterword of a regular book, write "By" followed by the name of the author in normal order. [Example]
  Period (.)
  • For an edition other than the first, include the number of the edition followed by "ed." 
  • 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. 
  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."
  • If the book is a multivolume work, include the number of volumes, followed by "vols."
  • If the book is part of a series, include the series name, "Ser." and the series number.
  Period (.)
Publication Place
  • Include the city of publication.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Abbreviate University Press as "UP" (without periods).
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • If the date of publication is not given, write "n.d." here.
  • The publication place is usually found on the back the title page of the book.  
  Period (.)
Page Numbers
  • If you are citing a selection from an anthology, give the page numbers of the selection you are citing.  [Example]
  • Separate the first and last page numbers with a hyphen (-).  Do not write "pages," "pp," etc.   [Example]
  • You only need to give the last two digits, unless more are necessary, i.e. 205-12 but 295-303.  [Example]
  • If there are no page numbers, write "n. pag."
  Period (.)

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

Citation Examples (from The Ready Reference Handbook)

Duncan, Jeffrey L.  Introduction.  Thoreau: The Major Essays.  By Henry David 
     Thoreau.  New York: Dutton, 1972.  
Schorer, Mark.  "With Grace under Pressure."  The New Republic 6 Oct. 1952: 19-20.
     Rpt. in Ernest Hemingway: Critiques of Four Major Novels.  Ed. Carlos
     Baker.  New York: Scribner's, 1962.  132-34.
Tolstoy, Leo.  "The Three Hermits."  Short Shorts: An Anthology of the Shortest
     Stories.  Ed. Irving Howe and Ilana Wiener Howe.  New York: Bantam, 1983. 
(Dodds 331-333)

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