Selections from Books
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:
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
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
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.)
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
- Click here for notes on
- If the selection was original published
somewhere else, finish the complete citation of the
original source here. Most commonly, this part will
be the information for an article, so you would include:
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
- 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."
- 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]
- For an edition other than the
first, include the number of the edition followed by
- 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.
(Only one, i.e. don't write "5th ed..")
- 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.
- 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."
- The publication place is usually found on the title page
of the book. If there are several listed, give
only the first city.
- 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
- 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."
- The publisher is usually found on the title page of the
- 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
- The publication place is usually found on the back the
title page of the book.
- 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,"
- 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."
Read the Notes on punctuation
and spacing and on italicization and underlining.
Citation Examples (from The Ready Reference
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.