Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citations: MLA Style (9th ed.)

A guide to writing and citing in MLA format.

General Notes

 

Author. Title of Book. Version, Edition, Publisher, date.

Author, FirstName.

Author1, FirstName1, and FirstName2 Author2.

Author, FirstName, et al.

Organization Name.

Title of Book: Subtitle of Book. E-book ed.,

Xth ed.,

Unabridged ed.,

Publisher Name,

YYYY,

Don't rely solely on the cover for information! Look inside at the beginning of the book for the title page and copyright information page to confirm titles, authors, publication date, publishers, and editions.

Follow the usual MLA rules about authors:

  • 1 author: Last, First.
  • 2 authors: Last1, First1, and First2 Last2.
  • 3+ authors: Last1, First1, et al.

As standalone works, the titles of books are italicized. Technically MLA considers books to be self-contained, so we're effectively skipping element 3 (Title of Container).

However:

If you're using a piece of a book that has a distinct, different author from the overall book, you will start your citation with the author and title of that smaller piece. The chapter title (or short story title or article title) will go inside "quote marks" (short little source, short little lines). You'll also note the range of pages this section spans.

If a book has just one author but only one chapter is useful to you... do not cite that chapter separately! Your parenthetical citations will specify where you were pulling content. Your Works Cited citation will be for the book as a whole.

Print books don't need this. (Normally.)

E-books may specify that this is an "e-book ed."

Commonly, this will be 14th ed. or 3rd ed. or so on. Abbreviate edition to "ed."

If there's a descriptive edition specified, use that instead/too! E.g. ...Barnes & Noble ed., 3rd ed., ...

You can exclude any business labels in the publisher name -- Inc, Ltd, LLC, and so on.

If a publisher is named Something & Someone, write it in your citation as: Something and Someone  [bolded for emphasis].

You can abbreviate publisher names like Oxford University Press to Oxford UP. (Unfortunately doesn't work for University of Something Press names...)

Big publishers often have smaller publishers under them (called imprints). In this case, only name the imprint in your citation, as it is the entity that is most directly responsible for putting the book out.

This will be just the year of publication.

If a book has been reprinted and you want to include the original year of publication + the year of your copy:

  • Original year will come after the title.
  • Your copy's year will be in the normal spot, after the publisher.

Print Books

One Author:

Peattie, Donald Culross. A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America. 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin, 1950.

Parenthetical citation: (Peattie). (Peattie 125).

Two Authors:

Brown, Nathan, and Sheryle A. Proper. The Everything Paying for College Book. Adams, 2005.

Parenthetical citation: (Brown and Proper). (Brown and Proper 81).

Three or More Authors:

Graff, Gerald., et al. "They Say/I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. Across disciplines ed., 4th ed., Norton, 2018.

Parenthetical citation: (Graff et al.). (Graff et al. 50).

Organization as Author and Publisher:

MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association, 2021.

Parenthetical citation: (MLA Handbook). (MLA Handbook 120).

E-Books

Library Database

Glen Whitman, and James Dow. Economics of the Undead: Zombies, Vampires, and the Dismal Science. Rowman and Littlefield, 2014. EBSCO eBook Collection, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,cpid&custid=s1088435&db=nlebk&AN=815518&site=ehost-live.

Parenthetical citation: (Whitman and Dow). (Whitman and Dow 76).

Online

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. E-book ed., Grosset and Dunlap, 1897. Project Gutenberg, www.gutenberg.org/files/345/345-h/345-h.htm.

Parenthetical citation: (Stoker). (Stoker ch. 4).

Article/Story in a Book/Anthology

Arnold, H. F. "The Night Wire." Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural, edited by Marvin Kaye, Barnes & Noble ed., Barnes and Noble Books, 1993, pp. 328-334.

Parenthetical citation: (Arnold). (Arnold 330).

 

Cadwalladr, Carole. "Google, Democracy, and the Truth about Internet Search." "They Say/I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. Across disciplines, 4th ed., Norton, 2018, pp. 536-555.

Parenthetical citation: (Cadwalladr). (Cadwalladr 540).

 

Jackson, Shirley. "The Beautiful Stranger." The Dark Descent, edited by David G. Hartwell, Tor, 1987, pp. 874-879.

Parenthetical citation: (Jackson). (Jackson 875).

Audiobooks

Digital Audiobook:

Martin, George R. R. A Feast for Crows. Narrated by Roy Dotrice, Random House Audio, 2011, www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/A-Feast-for-Crows-Audiobook/B006LPIVL8/.

Parenthetical citation: (Martin 01:47:12-29).

Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer. Narrated by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer, Macmillan Audio, 2017, hcpl.overdrive.com/media/3284488.

Parenthetical citation: (Sanderson 10:16:08-34).

 

Audiobook on CD:

Martin, George R. R. A Feast for Crows. Narrated by Roy Dotrice, Random House Audio, 2011. CD.

Parenthetical citation: (Martin disc 2 01:47:12-29).

Image in a Book

Hopper, Edward. Nighthawks. 1942, Art Institute of Chicago. Prebles' Artforms, by Patrick Frank, 11th ed., Pearson, 2014.

Parenthetical citation: (Hopper).
If you were discussing more than one Hopper piece: (Hopper Nighthawks). (Hopper Automat).

 

Landacre, Paul. Illustration of paper birch trees. A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America, 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin, p. 164.

Parenthetical citation: (Landacre).

Note: in the Landacre example, the art was produced for the book, rather than being reproduced in the book. The Landacre illustration is not titled in the book, so we write a description of the image instead. Because it's a description and not a formal title, we do not italicize it nor put "quotes" around it.

Generic Sections (Preface, Intro, etc)

This example also applies to prefaces, forewords, afterwords, and other appendices not part of the main text.


Kaye, Marvin. Introduction. Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural, edited by Marvin Kaye, Barnes & Noble ed., Barnes and Noble Books, 1993, pp. xiii-xv.

Parenthetical citation: (Kaye). (Kaye xiv).

Notes: Introduction is more of a label than a proper title, so it does not receive quotes. The page numbers at the end (xiii-xv) give the range of pages the introduction is found on; it is typical for introductions to have Roman numerals for their pages.

The "Barnes & Noble ed." could be excluded in light of B&N also being the publisher, but the copyright information page did provide enough detail about the arrangement that in this case, the redundancy seemed appropriate.


Pine, Frank Woodworth. Introduction. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, e-book ed., Holt and Co., 1916, www.gutenberg.org/files/20203/20203-h/20203-h.htm.

Parenthetical citation: (Pine).

Theses & Dissertations

Because these documents are standalone and lengthy, their citation actually mimics a book (or an e-book, to be more precise, because you'll also be including information about the website or repository hosting the manuscript as a second container).


Dusza, Erin M. Epic Significance: Placing Alphonse Mucha's Czech Art in the Context of Pan-Slavism and Czech Nationalism. 2012. Georgia State University, Master's thesis. ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University, scholarworks.gsu.edu/art_design_theses/103/.

Parenthetical citation: (Dusza). (Dusza 34).

Reports

UN Environment. Global Environment Outlook: GEO-6: Healthy Planet, Healthy People. Edited by Paul Ekins et al., 6th ed., Cambridge UP, 4 Mar. 2019, www.unep.org/resources/global-environment-outlook-6. PDF.

Parenthetical citation: (UN Environment). (UN Environment 207).

Graphic Novels

Superman: Birthright. By Marc Waid, illustrated by Leinli Francis Yu, inked by Gerry Alanguilan, colored by Dave McCraig, DC Comics, 2005.

Parenthetical citation: (Superman: Birthright).