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MLA Citation Style Guide

Creating citations in MLA format


As of the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook, all citations follow a standard format, with elements omitted if they do not apply to the source:

Author/creator. Title of source. Title of container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

In the case of books and book chapters, the definitions for each of these elements are as follows.

  • Author – The person who wrote the book or book chapter, or the person who edited the book if it is an anthology. Authors’ names are presented as follows:
    • One Author – Last Name, First Name.
    • Two Authors – Last Name, First Name, and First Name Last Name.
    • Three or More Authors – Last Name, First Name, et al.
  • Title of Source – The title of the book or book chapter. If you are citing an entire book, the Title of Source is italicized. If you are citing an essay or chapter from a book, put quotation marks around it.
  • Title of Container – If you are citing an entire book, omit this element. If you are citing an essay or book chapter, the Title of Container is the title book in which it appears, in italics.
  • Other Contributors – The translator or editor of the book. An editor would only go here if he or she is not taking credit for producing the original work (for example, someone who edits one of Shakespeare’s plays).
  • Version – Only use this if there is more than one version or edition of a work (for example, the King James Version of the Bible or the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook).
  • Number – Omit this element unless the book is one of two or more volumes.
  • Publisher – The company or organization responsible for publishing the book.
  • Publication Date – The year that the book was published.
  • Location – Omit this element if you are citing an entire book. If you are citing a chapter or essay from a book, the Location is the page range. In general, do not include the city of publication for a book unless your instructor requires you to.

If you found the book in a database, you will need to repeat the following two elements at the end of your citation:

  • Title of Container – The name of the database. It is italicized.
  • Location – The URL of the book. If possible, do not copy the URL from your browser’s address bar – instead, try to find the permalink or stable link in the article’s database record.

When you create your Works Cited page, it should have the following elements:

  • It should be double-spaced like the rest of your paper.
  • The title Works Cited should be centered at the top of the page.
  • Your citations should be left-justified with a hanging indent of 0.5 inches.


Jeandron, Carol, and Gail Robinson. Creating a Climate for Service Learning Success. American Association of

     Community Colleges, 2010.

Weiss, Michael, and Hassan Hassan. ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror. Regan Arts, updated ed., 2016.


NOTE: In MLA style, “University Press” is abbreviated to UP. Hence, "Princeton University Press" becomes Princeton UP.

Abbate, Carolyn. Unsung Voices: Opera and Musical Narrative in the Nineteenth Century. Princeton UP, 1991. ACLS

     Humanities E-Book,

Melton, Gary B., et al., editors. The SAGE Handbook of Child Research. Sage Publications,

     2014. Sage Knowledge,


ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2014. 2nd ed., ProQuest, 2013.


NOTE: When a corporate author is also the publisher of the item, omit the author (see the second example below).

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. The 9/11 Commission Report. Norton, 2004.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th ed., American Psychological Association, 2010.


Heaney, Seamus, translator. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. 

​Thompson, Tamara, editor. Poverty in America. Gale Cengage Learning, 2015.


Norville, Valerie. “The Role of Women in Global Security.” World Peace, edited by Margaret Haerens,

     Greenhaven Press, 2015, pp. 116-130.

US Department of Agriculture. “Poverty Impacts Rural Communities.” Poverty in America, edited by

     Tamara Thompson, Gale Cengage Learning, 2015, pp. 36-39.


Austen, Jane. The Annotated Pride and Prejudice. Edited by David M. Shapard, revised and expanded ed., Anchor

     Books, 2012.

Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works. Edited by Stanley Wells et al., 2nd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.


Beauvoir, Simone de. The Second Sex. Translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, Knopf, 2009.

Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. Don Quixote. Translated by Edith Grossman, HarperCollins, 2003.


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