How to Cite Books in MLA

  • For most books, arrange information into three units, each followed by a period and one space:

    1. the author’s last name, first name
    2. the title and subtitle, underlined or italicized
    3. the place of publication, the publisher, and the date
    4. the medium: print.

    Book by one author

    • Tompkins, Jane. West of Everything: The Inner Life of Westerns. New York: Oxford UP, 1992. Print.

    Book by two or three authors

    Name the authors in order in which they are presented on the title page. Reverse the name of only the first author.

    • Rico, Barbara, and Sandra Mano. American Mosaic: Multicultural Readings in Context. Boston: Houghton, 1991. Print.

    Books with four or more authors

    Cite only the first author whose name is listed last name and then first name followed by “et al.” (Latin for “and others”).

    • Medhurst, Martin J., et al. Cold War Rhetoric: Strategy, Metaphor, and Ideology. New York: Greenwood, 1990. Print.

    Editors

    After the name or names, use the abbreviation “ed.” for “editor” or “eds.” for “editors.”

    • Anaya, Rodolfo, and Francisco Lomeli, eds. Aztlan: Essays on the Chicano and Homeland. Albuquerque: Academia-El Norte, 1989. Print.

    Unknown author

    Begin with the title, since there is no author. Alphabetize the entry by the first word of the title other than a, an , or the.

    • The Times Atlas of the World. 9th ed. New York: Times, 1992. Print.

    Author with an editor

    Begin with the author and title, followed by the name of the editor. In this case the abbreviation “Ed.” means “Edited by,” so it is the same for one of multiple editors.

    • Wells, Ida B. The Memphis Diary. Ed. Miriam DeCosta-Willis. Boston: Beacon, 1995. Print.

    Translation

    List the entry under the name of the author, not the translator. After the title, write “Trans.” (for “Translated by”) and the name of the translator.

    • Mahfouz, Naguib. Arabian Nights and D’s. Trans. Denys Johnson-Davies. New York: Doubleday, 1995. Print.

    Corporate author

    List the entry under the name of the corporate author, even if it is also the name of the publisher.

    • Bank of Boston. Bank by Remote Control. Boston: Bank of Boston, 1997. Print.

    Two or more works by the same author

    If your list of works cited includes two or more works by the same author, use the author’s name only for the first entry. For the subsequent entries use three hyphens followed by a period. The three hyphens must stand for exactly the same name or names as in the preceding entry. List the titles in alphabetical order.

    • Atwood, Margaret. Alias Grace: A Novel. New York: Doubleday, 1996. ---. The Robber Bride.  New York: Doubleday, 1993. Print.

    Encyclopedia or dictionary

    Articles in well-known dictionaries and encyclopedias are handled in abbreviated form. Simply list the author of the article (if there is one), the title of the article, the title of the reference work, the edition number, if any, and the date of the edition.

    • “Sonata.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 1997. Print.

    Volume and page numbers are not necessary because the entries are in alphabetical order and therefore are easy to locate. If a reference work is not well known, provide full publishing information as well.

    Work in an anthology

    Present the information in this order, with each item followed by a period: author of the selection; title of the selection; title of the anthology; editor of the anthology, preceded by “Ed.” (meaning “Edited by”); city, publisher, and date; page numbers on which the selection appears.

    • Malouf, David. “The Kyogle Line.” The Oxford Book of Travel Stories. Ed. Patricia Craig. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996. 390-96. print.