How to cite Books in MLA

Wondering how to cite a book in MLA format? Here’s the general rule.

General book format:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

In our citation examples we use the following color coding:

  • Red – Author
  • Blue – Title of book/article/charter/webpage
  • Pink – Date
  • Orange – Website/Publisher
  • Violet – Editor/Translator
  • Black – Volume/Issue
  • Sienna – Pages
  • Peach – Additional information about the source (i.e. its type, specific features etc.)
  • Light Magenta – Dictionary entry

Single author

Example:

Sepetys, Ruta. Salt to the Sea. Philomel Books, 2016.

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Two authors

The second author should appear as he or she is mentioned in the book.

Example:

Grey, Ann, and Erin Bell. History on Television. Routledge, 2013.

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Three and more authors

If there are three and more authors, the first name must be followed by et al.

Example:

White, Karen, et al. The Forgotten Room. Berkley, 2016.

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Corporate/Organization author

The corporation’s name should start the line and appear in text instead of the author.

Example:

World Trade Organization. From GATT to the WTO: The Multilateral Trading System in the

New Millennium. Kluwer Law International, 2000.

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Unknown author

Example:

Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather. Oxford University Press, 2011.

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Two or more works by the same author

The dashes at the beginning of the following line stand for the same author’s name.

Example:

Borroff, Marie. Language and the Poet: Verbal Artistry in Frost, Stevens, and Moore.

University of Chicago Press, 1979.

—. Pearl: A New Verse Translation. W. W. Norton, 1977.

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Two or more works by the same author, same year.

Example:

Jones, Caleb. Assessing Hypotheses. University of Western Sydney, 1999.

—. Forming Hypotheses. University of Western Sydney, 1999.

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Author with an editor

Example:

Howells, William Dean. Their Wedding Journey. Edited by John K. Reeves, Indiana University

Press, 1968.

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Author with a translator

Example:

Eco, Umberto. The Prague Cemetery. Translated by Richard Dixon, Houghton Mifflin

Harcourt Publishing Company, 2010.

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Editor with no Author

Example:

Baker, Russell, editor. The Norton Book of Light Verse. W. W. Norton, 1986.

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Work in an anthology

Example:

Arnold, Matthew. “Sweetness and Light.” Cultural Theory: An Anthology, edited by Imre

Szeman and Timothy Kaposy, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, pp. 12-17.

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Edition other than first

Example:

Tortora, Gerald J., and Bryan H. Derrickson. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. 14th ed.,

Wiley Global Education, 2013.

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Multivolume work

Some book series may consist out of several volumes. In this instance, when citing it, it is necessary to state the volume of the book where the information was taken from. However, if the volume has its own name, it is formatted as a book.

Example:

Priestley, Joseph. Experiments and Observations on Different Types of Air. Vol. 2, Johnson,

1775.

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Encyclopedia/Dictionary

This entry should not include information about the publisher or page number.

Example:

“Activist Media.” A Dictionary of Journalism. 2nd ed., 2016.

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Foreword, Introduction, Preface or Afterword

Example:

Priestley, Joseph. Preface. Experiments and Observations on Different Types of Air, by

Priestley, vol. 2, Johnson, 1775, pp. v-xxviii.

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Further study