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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

When you are gathering book sources, be sure to make note of the following bibliographic items: the author name(s), other contributors such as translators or editors, the book’s title, editions of the book, the publication date, the publisher, and the pagination.

The 8 th  edition of the MLA handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.

Please note these changes in the new edition:

Below is the general format for any citation:

Author. Title. Title of container (do not list container for standalone books, e.g. novels), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI). 2 nd  container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Basic Book Format

The author’s name or a book with a single author's name appears in last name, first name format. The basic form for a book citation is:

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

* Note: the City of Publication should only be used if the book was published before 1900, if the publisher has offices in more than one country, or if the publisher is unknown in North America.

Book with One Author

Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science . Penguin, 1987.

Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House . MacMurray, 1999.

Book with More Than One Author

When a book has two authors, order the authors in the same way they are presented in the book. Start by listing the first name that appears on the book in last name, first name format; subsequent author names appear in normal order (first name last name format).

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring . Allyn and Bacon, 2000.

If there are three or more authors, list only the first author followed by the phrase et al. (Latin for "and others") in place of the subsequent authors' names. (Note that there is a period after “al” in “et al.” Also note that there is never a period after the “et” in “et al.”).

Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition . Utah State UP, 2004.

Two or More Books by the Same Author

List works alphabetically by title. (Remember to ignore articles like A, An, and The.) Provide the author’s name in last name, first name format for the first entry only. For each subsequent entry by the same author, use three hyphens and a period.

Palmer, William J. Dickens and New Historicism . St. Martin's, 1997.

---. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History . Southern Illinois UP, 1993.

Book by a Corporate Author or Organization

A corporate author may include a commission, a committee, a government agency, or a group that does not identify individual members on the title page.

List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry.

American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children . Random House, 1998.

When the author and publisher are the same, skip the author, and list the title first. Then, list the corporate author only as the publisher.

Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.

Book with No Author

List by title of the book. Incorporate these entries alphabetically just as you would with works that include an author name. For example, the following entry might appear between entries of works written by Dean, Shaun and Forsythe, Jonathan.

Encyclopedia of Indiana . Somerset, 1993.

Remember that for an in-text (parenthetical) citation of a book with no author, you should provide the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. You may also use a shortened version of the title of the book accompanied by the page number. For more information see the In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author section of In-text Citations: The Basics .

A Translated Book

If you want to emphasize the work rather than the translator, cite as you would any other book. Add “translated by” and follow with the name(s) of the translator(s).

Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason . Translated by Richard Howard, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

If you want to focus on the translation, list the translator as the author. In place of the author’s name, the translator’s name appears. His or her name is followed by the label, “translator.” If the author of the book does not appear in the title of the book, include the name, with a “By” after the title of the book and before the publisher. Note that this type of citation is less common and should only be used for papers or writing in which translation plays a central role.

Howard, Richard, translator. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason . By Michel Foucault, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

Republished Book

Books may be republished due to popularity without becoming a new edition. New editions are typically revisions of the original work. For books that originally appeared at an earlier date and that have been republished at a later one, insert the original publication date before the publication information.

For books that are new editions (i.e. different from the first or other editions of the book), see An Edition of a Book below.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble . 1990. Routledge, 1999.

Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine . 1984. Perennial-Harper, 1993.

An Edition of a Book

There are two types of editions in book publishing: a book that has been published more than once in different editions and a book that is prepared by someone other than the author (typically an editor).

A Subsequent Edition

Cite the book as you normally would, but add the number of the edition after the title.

Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students . 3rd ed., Pearson, 2004.

A Work Prepared by an Editor

Cite the book as you normally would, but add the editor after the title with the label "edited by."

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre,  edited by Margaret Smith, Oxford UP, 1998.

Note that the format for citing sources with important contributors with editor-like roles follows the same basic template:

...adapted by John Doe...

Finally, in the event that the source features a contributor that cannot be described with a past-tense verb and the word "by" (e.g., "edited by"), you may instead use a noun followed by a comma, like so:

...guest editor, Jane Smith...

Anthology or Collection (e.g. Collection of Essays)

To cite the entire anthology or collection, list by editor(s) followed by a comma and "editor" or, for multiple editors, "editors." This sort of entry is somewhat rare. If you are citing a particular piece within an anthology or collection (more common), see A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection below.

Hill, Charles A., and Marguerite Helmers, editors. Defining Visual Rhetorics . Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

Peterson, Nancy J., editor. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches . Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.

A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection

Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:

Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection , edited by Editor's Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.

Some examples:

Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One , edited by Ben Rafoth, Heinemann, 2000, pp. 24-34.

Swanson, Gunnar. "Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art: Design and Knowledge in the University and The 'Real World.'" The Education of a Graphic Designer , edited by Steven Heller, Allworth Press, 1998, pp. 13-24.

Note on Cross-referencing Several Items from One Anthology: If you cite more than one essay from the same edited collection, MLA indicates you may cross-reference within your works cited list in order to avoid writing out the publishing information for each separate essay. You should consider this option if you have several references from a single text. To do so, include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor's name as below:

Rose, Shirley K, and Irwin Weiser, editors. The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher . Heinemann, 1999.

Then, for each individual essay from the collection, list the author's name in last name, first name format, the title of the essay, the editor's last name, and the page range:

L'Eplattenier, Barbara. "Finding Ourselves in the Past: An Argument for Historical Work on WPAs." Rose and Weiser, pp. 131-40.

Peeples, Tim. "'Seeing' the WPA With/Through Postmodern Mapping." Rose and Weiser, pp. 153-67.

Please note: When cross-referencing items in the works cited list, alphabetical order should be maintained for the entire list.

Poem or Short Story Examples :

Burns, Robert. "Red, Red Rose." 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Philip Smith, Dover, 1995, p. 26.

Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories , edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.

If the specific literary work is part of the author's own collection (all of the works have the same author), then there will be no editor to reference:

Whitman, Walt. "I Sing the Body Electric." Selected Poems, Dover, 1991, pp. 12-19.

Carter, Angela. "The Tiger's Bride." Burning Your Boats: The Collected Stories, Penguin, 1995, pp. 154-69.

Article in a Reference Book (e.g. Encyclopedias, Dictionaries)

For entries in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works, cite the entry name as you would any other work in a collection but do not include the publisher information. Also, if the reference book is organized alphabetically, as most are, do not list the volume or the page number of the article or item.

"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary.  3rd ed. 1997. 

A Multivolume Work

When citing only one volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number after the work's title, or after the work's editor or translator.

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria . Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980.

When citing more than one volume of a multivolume work, cite the total number of volumes in the work. Also, be sure in your in-text citation to provide both the volume number and page number(s) ( see "Citing Multivolume Works" on our in-text citations resource .)

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria . Translated by H. E. Butler, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. 4 vols.

If the volume you are using has its own title, cite the book without referring to the other volumes as if it were an independent publication.

Churchill, Winston S. The Age of Revolution . Dodd, 1957.

An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword

When citing an introduction, a preface, a foreword, or an afterword, write the name of the author(s) of the piece you are citing. Then give the name of the part being cited, which should not be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks; in italics, provide the name of the work and the name of the author of the introduction/preface/foreword/afterword. Finish the citation with the details of publication and page range.

Farrell, Thomas B. Introduction. Norms of Rhetorical Culture , by Farrell, Yale UP, 1993, pp. 1-13.

If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work , then write the full name of the principal work's author after the word "By." For example, if you were to cite Hugh Dalziel Duncan’s introduction of Kenneth Burke’s book Permanence and Change, you would write the entry as follows:

Duncan, Hugh Dalziel. Introduction. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose, by Kenneth Burke, 1935, 3rd ed., U of California P, 1984, pp. xiii-xliv.

Book Published Before 1900

Original copies of books published before 1900 are usually defined by their place of publication rather than the publisher. Unless you are using a newer edition, cite the city of publication where you would normally cite the publisher.

Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions . Boston, 1863.

Italicize “The Bible” and follow it with the version you are using. Remember that your in-text (parenthetical citation) should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). (See Citing the Bible at In-Text Citations: The Basics .)

The Bible. Authorized King James Version , Oxford UP, 1998.

The Bible. The New Oxford Annotated Version , 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2001.

The New Jerusalem Bible. Edited by Susan Jones, Doubleday, 1985.

A Government Publication

Cite the author of the publication if the author is identified. Otherwise, start with the name of the national government, followed by the agency (including any subdivisions or agencies) that serves as the organizational author. For congressional documents, be sure to include the number of the Congress and the session when the hearing was held or resolution passed as well as the report number. US government documents are typically published by the Government Printing Office.

United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearing on the Geopolitics of Oil . Government Printing Office, 2007. 110th Congress, 1st session, Senate Report 111-8.

United States, Government Accountability Office. Climate Change: EPA and DOE Should Do More to Encourage Progress Under Two Voluntary Programs . Government Printing Office, 2006.

Cite the title and publication information for the pamphlet just as you would a book without an author. Pamphlets and promotional materials commonly feature corporate authors (commissions, committees, or other groups that does not provide individual group member names). If the pamphlet you are citing has no author, cite as directed below. If your pamphlet has an author or a corporate author, put the name of the author (last name, first name format) or corporate author in the place where the author name typically appears at the beginning of the entry. (See also Books by a Corporate Author or Organization above.)

Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System . American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006.

Your Rights Under California Welfare Programs . California Department of Social Services, 2007.

Dissertations and Master's Theses

Dissertations and master's theses may be used as sources whether published or not. Unlike previous editions, MLA 8 specifies no difference in style for published/unpublished works.

The main elements of a dissertation citation are the same as those for a book: author name(s), title (italicized) , and publication date. Conclude with an indication of the document type (e.g., "PhD dissertation"). The degree-granting institution may be included before the document type (though this is not required). If the dissertation was accessed through an online repository, include it as the second container after all the other elements.

Bishop, Karen Lynn. Documenting Institutional Identity: Strategic Writing in the IUPUI Comprehensive Campaign . 2002. Purdue University, PhD dissertation.

Bile, Jeffrey. Ecology, Feminism, and a Revised Critical Rhetoric: Toward a Dialectical Partnership . 2005. Ohio University, PhD dissertation.

Mitchell, Mark. The Impact of Product Quality Reducing Events on the Value of Brand-Name Capital: Evidence from Airline Crashes and the 1982 Tylenol Poisonings.  1987. PhD dissertation.  ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry if the author and publisher are not the same.

Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.

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How to Cite a Book in MLA | Format & Examples

Published on June 28, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on June 16, 2022.

An MLA book citation always includes the author(s) , title (italicized), publisher, and publication year in the Works Cited entry. If relevant, also include the names of any editors or translators, the edition, and the volume. “University Press” should be abbreviated to “UP” in a Works Cited entry.

The in-text citation gives the author’s last name and a page number in parentheses.

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

Table of contents, citing a book chapter, editions of books, multi-volume books, translated books, e-books and online books, where to find information for a book citation, frequently asked questions about mla style.

Use this format if the book’s chapters are written by different authors, or if the book is a collection of self-contained works (such as stories , essays, poems or plays ). A similar format can be used to cite images from books or dictionary entries . If you cite several chapters from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each one.

Start the Works Cited entry with the author and title of the chapter, followed by the book’s title, editor, publisher, and date , and end with the page range on which the chapter appears.

If there are two editors, give the full names of both. If there are more than two editors, follow the same rules as for citing multiple authors : name only the first editor followed by et al.

If you are citing a work from a book with no named editor (e.g. a collection of a single author’s poems or plays), use the same format, but leave out the editor element.

Citing a whole collection or anthology

If you refer to a whole collection without citing a specific work within it, follow the standard book citation format. Include the editor(s) where the author would usually go, with a label to identify their role.

If the book cover or title page specifies an edition, add the edition number or name, followed by the abbreviation “ed.”, after the title. Note that versions of the Bible are treated slightly differently.

Including the original publication date

Classic books are often published and republished many times. If the original publication date is relevant or necessary to put the source in context, you can also include this directly after the title.

What can proofreading do for your paper?

Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words, and awkward phrasing.

mla book citation 9th edition

See editing example

If you cite only one volume of a multi-volume work, include the volume number in the Works Cited entry.

If you cite more than one volume of the book, cite them as a single work and specify the total number of volumes in your Works Cited entry. In this case, the in-text citations must include the volume number as well as the page number.

If the book is translated, include the translator’s name after the title.

The citation format for an e-book depends on how you accessed it.

Books accessed online

If you accessed the book via a website or database, use the standard MLA book citation format, followed by the name of the website or database and a link to the book. Look for a DOI, stable URL or permalink. If the book was accessed as a PDF, you may note this in your reference .

Downloaded e-books

If you downloaded the book onto an e-reader device or app, you only have to add “E-book ed.” after the title.

If the e-book does not have page numbers, use an alternate locator, such as a chapter or section heading, in your in-text citation. Do not use locators that are specific to the device (e.g. Kindle locations).

The title, author, publisher, and publication year are usually found on the book’s title page. You might have to check the copyright page for the publisher and publication year.

Note that the copyright date is not always the same as the publication date. If several different years appear on the copyright page, use the most recent one.

If the book has any editors or translators named on the cover page, include them in the citation after the book’s title.

mla-book-citation

In MLA style , book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example:

The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.

The title of a part of a book—such as a chapter, or a short story or poem in a collection—is not italicized, but instead placed in quotation marks.

If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.

In MLA Style , you should cite a specific chapter or work within a book in two situations:

If you cite multiple chapters or works from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each chapter.

Some source types, such as books and journal articles , may contain footnotes (or endnotes) with additional information. The following rules apply when citing information from a note in an MLA in-text citation :

You must include an MLA in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book , movie , website , or article ).

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McCombes, S. (2022, June 16). How to Cite a Book in MLA | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/book-citation/

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Building confidence in the information and ideas we share with one another is perhaps more important today than ever before, and for nearly a century it has been the driving principle behind MLA style, a set of standards for writing and documentation used by writers to find and evaluate information, alert their audience to the trustworthiness of their findings through citation, and shape the expression of their ideas in conversation with others. 

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MLA Handbook , 9th Edition

The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook , published in spring 2021, builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements—facts common to most sources, like author, title, and publication date—that allows writers to cite any type of work, from books, e-books, and journal articles in databases to song lyrics, online images, social media posts, dissertations, and more. With this focus on source evaluation as the cornerstone of citation, MLA style promotes the skills of information and digital literacy so crucial today. The new edition offers

  • New chapters on grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, numbers, italics, abbreviations, and principles of inclusive language
  • Guidelines on setting up research papers in MLA format with updated advice on headings, lists, and title pages for group projects
  • Revised, comprehensive, step-by-step instructions for creating a list of works cited in MLA format that are easier to learn and use than ever before
  • A new appendix with hundreds of example works-cited-list entries by publication format, including websites, YouTube videos, interviews, and more
  • Detailed examples of how to find publication information for a variety of sources
  • Newly revised explanations of in-text citations, including comprehensive advice on how to cite multiple authors of a single work
  • Detailed guidance on using notes in MLA style
  • Instructions on quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, and avoiding plagiarism
  • Annotated bibliography examples
  • Numbered sections throughout for quick navigation
  • Advanced tips for professional writers and scholars

The MLA Style Center offers free online resources on MLA style, including an interactive MLA format template, answers to common questions on Ask the MLA, advice from the MLA editors, and more. Get updates by signing up for The Source newsletter, and follow us on Twitter @MLAstyle .

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MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Books, eBooks & Pamphlets

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On This Page: Books & eBooks

Citing a part of a book vs citing the whole book, book in print - one author, book in print - two authors, book in print - three or more authors, book - group or corporate author, ebook from a library database - one author, ebook from a library database - two authors.

  • eBook from a Library Database - Three or More Authors
  • eBook from a Website

eBook from an eReader Platform

Open textbook (free online textbook), a book chapter uploaded to moodle, a book prepared by an editor, chapter, short story, or essay from a book (edited anthology or collection), short story or essay from a book (anthology or collection of author's own work), article or essay in an authored textbook, book with editor(s) but no author, how can i tell if it's a book in print or an ebook.

A print book means it's printed on paper. If you checked the book out of a library or bought it from a bookstore, it's print.

An eBook is a book you can read entirely online or on an eReader.

Citing an eBook with no Page Numbers

When there are no page numbers listed on an ebook, or it is a resizable format like Kindle or EPUB, cite the chapter number instead in your in-text citation.

Example: (Smith ch. 2).  

In-Text Citation For Two or More Authors/Editors

Access Date

Works from the web can be changed or removed at any time, so it is often important to include the date you accessed the material in your citation. This is  optional , but is especially important when there is no date specifying when the item (web document, article, webpage) was produced, or you believe the source has been edited without notice. Add the access date to the end of your citation.  E.g. Accessed 23 July 2019.

Authors/Editors

An author can be a person but can also be an organization, or company. These are called group or corporate authors.

If you are citing a chapter from a book that has an editor, the author of the chapter is listed first, and is the name listed in the in-text citation.

The format of all dates is: Day Month (shortened) Year. E.g. 5 Sept. 2012.

Write the full date as you find it on the source. If there is only a year listed, you will only put the year in your citation. For others, you will also include a month and day if they are given.

If there is no date listed, just leave it out unless you can find that information available in a reliable source. In that case the date is cited in square brackets to show that you found that information somewhere else. E.g. [2008]

Page Numbers

On your Works Cited page (but not for in-text citations), single page numbers are preceded by p. and a range of page numbers is preceded by pp. E.g. p. 156 or pp. 79-92.

You have the option to use the shortened name of the publisher. For example, you can use UP instead of University Press (e.g. Oxford UP instead of the full name Oxford University Press).

You also have the option to remove articles (A, An, The), business abbreviations (e.g. Co., Inc.) and descriptive words (e.g. Books, House, Press, Publishers). 

Capitalize the first letter of every important word in the title. You do not need to capitalize words such as: in, of, or an. Do not use all-caps (except for words like USA where each letter stands for something), even if the words appear that way on the book or article.

If there is a colon (:) in the title, include what comes after the colon (also known as the subtitle).

Note : For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches. Microsoft Word and some other text editing programs allow you to highlight a citation and apply a hanging indent. 

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. 

Last Name, First Name of First Author, and First Name Last Name of Second Author. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any.  Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. 

  Note: Only the first author's name appears in "Last Name, First Name" format. The second author's name appears in "First Name Last Name" format. 

Last Name, First Name of First Author, et al. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any.  Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. 

  Note:  If there are three or more authors   list  only the  first  author's name followed by et al. instead of listing all authors' names.  The first author is  the first name listed on the work  you are citing, not the first name alphabetically.

Name of Corporate Author. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any.  Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of Publication.

 Note : When the organization that published the work is also the corporate author of the work, begin the entry with the title, skipping the author element, and list the organization only as publisher. If the corporate author is a division of a larger organization, the division is the author and the organization is the publisher. 

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication.  Name of Library Database .

Last Name of First Author, First Name, and First Name Last Name of Second Author. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any.  Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication.  Name of Library Database.  

  Note: Only the first author's name appears in "Last Name, First Name" format. The second author's name appears in "First Name Last Name" format.

eBook From a Library Database - Three or More Authors

Last Name of First Author, First Name, et al. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any.  Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication.  Name of Library Database.  

eBook From a Website

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication.  Website Name, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited if there is no publication date . File type.

  Note : When the landing page provides a choice of formats (such as PDF or EPUB), include the file type at the end of the citation (in case there are slight differences between versions). If you use the default format of the book, omit this element. In most cases, a URL should be provided. However, if there is a DOI, use it instead (because it is the most stable link to the book), beginning with https://doi.org. 

Author's Last Name, First Name.  Title of Book: Subtitle if Any.  Edition if given and is not first edition, e-book ed., Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication. File type.

  Note:  The file type is important to include, since only a PDF will have stable page numbering. Do not cite the website (Amazon, VitalSource, Google Play, etc) as a container.

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any. Edition if given and is not first edition,   Publisher name if different from website name ,  Year of Publication. Website Name , URL if no DOI is provided. File type.

Author Last Name, Author First Name. "Title of Book Chapter."  Moodle , uploaded by Instructor Name, upload date [if known], moodle.columbiacollege.bc.ca/.

Note:  The MLA Style Center has more guidance on citing online handouts and readings , including the difference between a reading that is uploaded to a course versus one that is shared via a link. If your instructor asks you to practice citing a course reading using the original publication information, follow the model for the original type of source (book chapter, journal article, etc.). 

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book: Subtitle if Any,  edited by Editor's First Name and Last Name ,  Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Chapter, Short Story, or Essay." Title of Book: Subtitle if Any,  edited by Editor's First Name and Last Name,  Edition if given and is not first,  Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication, Page numbers of the chapter, short story, or essay. 

  Note:  The author listed at the beginning of the citation is the author of the chapter, short story, or essay.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Short Story or Essay."  Title of Book: Subtitle if Any,  Edition if given and is not first,  Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication, Page numbers of the short story or essay. 

  Note:   Use this format when the book is a collection of an author's own work. In this case, there will be no editor.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article or Essay."  Title of Book: Subtitle if Any,  by Author's First Name and Last Name,  Edition if given and is not first,  Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication, Page numbers of the article or essay. 

  Note:  The first author's name listed is the author of the article or essay. The second is the author of the textbook.

Last Name of editor, First Name, editor(s).  Title of Book: Subtitle if Any.  Edition if given and is not first edition, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of Publication.

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mla book citation 9th edition

What’s New in the Ninth Edition of the MLA Handbook (Spring 2021)

Published in April 2021, the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook works as both a textbook and a reference guide. You can order a copy from the MLA Bookstore . An all-in-one resource that makes MLA style easier to learn and use for writers at any level, the handbook includes

  • expanded, in-depth guidance on how to use the MLA template of core elements to create works-cited-list entries that shows what each core element is, where to find it, and how to style it
  • clarification that element names are not always literal and can apply to a range of situations (e.g., the Publisher element can refer to the publisher of a book or a sponsoring organization like the theater company that put on a play)
  • a new, easy-to-follow explanation of in-text citations
  • a new chapter containing recommendations for using inclusive language
  • a new appendix with hundreds of sample works-cited-list entries listed by publication format, including books, databases, websites, YouTube videos, interviews, and more
  • updated guidelines on avoiding plagiarism
  • a new chapter on formatting a research paper
  • new, expanded guidelines on spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and more
  • a new chapter on using notes in MLA style

Order the MLA Handbook  from the MLA Bookstore .

Get updates on MLA style from our bimonthly newsletter, The Source .

Questions? Write to us at  [email protected] .

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / How to Cite a Book Chapter in MLA

How to Cite a Book Chapter in MLA

This page is a how-to guide for using individual book chapters as sources and citing them correctly in your papers. This guide will help you determine when to cite a chapter separately and teach you how to cite a chapter both in the text of your paper and in the Works Cited page.

The information below follows the guidelines of the MLA Handbook , 9th Edition, but it is not associated with the Modern Language Association.

Table of Contents

Why you need to cite sources.

  • When to Cite a Chapter

In-text citations

Works cited citations/references.

  • Core elements of MLA citations
  • Note on containers

Chapter/Article in an Edited Book

Chapter in an anthology/compilation/reference.

  • Chapter in an Encyclopedia or Multi-volume set

Introduction/Preface/Foreword/Afterword

To write successful papers, you need to do research on your topic, and you include that research in your papers using citations. Citing a source in your paper means that you are using other people’s expertise to support your ideas. You “borrow” the credibility of these experts to increase your own credibility as a researcher. According to the Modern Language Association’s Handbook , “By giving credit to the precursors whose ideas they work with, scholars allow future researchers interested in the history of a conversation to trace the line of inquiry back to its beginning” (95).

In other words, when you cite sources properly, you are establishing and demonstrating your credibility as a researcher, and you ensure that you are not plagiarizing the material. This improves your writing and makes it more persuasive. The citations also allow readers to distinguish the information found in sources from your original thoughts on the topic.

When to Cite a Chapter 

The main reason writers will cite a chapter of a book instead of the whole book is when the chapter is written by an author(s) different from the book’s editor(s). An editor compiles a selection of articles written by other experts in the field.

If the author of the book wrote all of the chapters, you do not need to cite the chapters separately even if the chapters have names, and can instead use the standard format for citing a book in MLA . You should, however, include page numbers.

How to Cite a Chapter in a Paper

You can use information from your research in three ways:

  • Paraphrase – Take the information from a specific sentence, paragraph, or section of the chapter and rewrite it in your own words.
  • Summarize – Take a larger view of the section or the chapter and rewrite it in your own words.
  • Quote – Use the exact words written  by the author and enclose the words in quotation marks.

With all the above methods of citing research in your paper, you need to follow that information with an in-text citation and create a corresponding reference for the source on the Works Cited page.  

Creating correct in-text citations within your text are important. Each in-text citation

  • Alerts your reader that you are using information from an outside source.
  • Usually appears in parentheses at the end of a sentence.
  • Is short and only has enough information to help the reader find the complete reference listed in the Works Cited page at the end of the paper.

An in-text citation in the Modern Language Association (MLA) style has two parts (227-228):

  • Name of the author or authors
  • While many online sources do not have a page number, academic journals almost always do, even when they are available online.

In most cases, the in-text citation is at the end of the sentence in parentheses. When you cite the author’s name in your text, you don’t have to repeat it in the parentheses at the end. Do not separate the author’s name and the page number with a comma. See below for examples.

In-text citations are helpful, but they do not give a lot of information on the source. That’s where your works cited citations come in handy. The works cited citations are designed to provide enough information so that your reader can find the original source, if needed. Every full citation follows the core elements outlined below.

Core Elements of MLA Citations

The outline for any MLA citation follows this format. Please note the punctuation at the end of each section.

Note on Containers

The 9th edition of the official Handbook uses a term for citing references that was first introduced in the 8th edition: c ontainers .

In books that have individual chapters written by different authors, the book is considered the container because it contains parts of a larger whole. The title of the first container, the book name, is printed in italics and follows the chapter name.

When accessing book chapters through a database, the database is considered the second container. This title is also printed in italics.

Below, let’s look at how to cite different types of chapters.

An edited book contains chapters that are written by authors different from the editor. When citing from a book that has been edited by someone other than the writer of the chapter, the chapter writer’s name is cited first, followed by the title of the chapter. The chapter is the source article, and the book is the first container. The editor’s name follows the name of the book.

Example citations for a chapter in an edited print book

Cite your source

Example citations for the same chapter accessed through an online source/database

Anthologies or compilations are collected works of literature such as poems or stories. An anthology can contain a selection of work from one author or from many authors. The editor of the book chooses the pieces to include and usually writes a foreword or introduction. When citing work from an anthology or compilation, the original creator of the work is listed first, followed by the title of the piece. The anthology is the first container and is listed in italics after the name of the individual piece. The editor’s name follows the name of the book.

Example of citations from a chapter in an anthology

Chapter in an Encyclopedia or Multivolume Set 

Encyclopedias are reference works that provide summaries of information from all branches of knowledge or all branches of knowledge in a particular field. Entries in an encyclopedia often have a title, but no author listed. When citing a section of an encyclopedia, the section or chapter name is listed first. The name of the encyclopedia is the first container. The publisher of the encyclopedia follows its name.

Encyclopedia sections often do not have author names. If no author is listed, start the citation with the section name. Online sources will also not have page numbers, so omit them as well.

Examples of citations from an encyclopedia

Multivolume sets can have one title for the entire set and may have individual titles for each volume. When citing these sources, cite the title of the entire multi-volume set followed by the volume number.

Example of citations from a multivolume work

Books that are edited or are part of an anthology or compilation often have additional sections that are written by the book’s editor or another writer. These pieces can be an introduction, a preface, or a foreword, which is at the beginning of the book, or an afterword, which is at the end. When citing information from one of these sections, the writer of that section is listed first, followed by the name of the section (Introduction, Preface, etc.). This section name is not enclosed in quotation marks. The title of the book is the first container, and it is listed in italics after the section name. The editor’s name follows the name of the book.

Examples of Citations from an Introduction/Preface/Foreword/Afterword

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

Published October 31, 2011. Updated June 19, 2021.

Written by Catherine Sigler . Catherine has a Ph.D. in English Education and has taught college-level writing for 15 years.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Sample Paper
  • Works Cited
  • MLA 8 Updates
  • MLA 9 Updates
  • View MLA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all MLA Examples

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It’s 100% free to create MLA citations. The EasyBib Citation Generator also supports 7,000+ other citation styles. These other styles—including APA, Chicago, and Harvard—are accessible for anyone with an EasyBib Plus subscription.

No matter what citation style you’re using (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) the EasyBib Citation Generator can help you create the right bibliography quickly.

Yes, there’s an option to download source citations as a Word Doc or a Google Doc. You may also copy citations from the EasyBib Citation Generator and paste them into your paper.

Creating an account is not a requirement for generating MLA citations. However, registering for an EasyBib account is free and an account is how you can save all the citation you create. This can help make it easier to manage your citations and bibliographies.

Yes! Whether you’d like to learn how to construct citations on your own, our Autocite tool isn’t able to gather the metadata you need, or anything in between, manual citations are always an option. Click here for directions on using creating manual citations.

If any important information is missing (e.g., author’s name, title, publishing date, URL, etc.), first see if you can find it in the source yourself. If you cannot, leave the information blank and continue creating your citation.

It supports MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, and over 7,000 total citation styles.

To cite a book chapter in MLA style with an editor and/or a translator, you need to have basic information including the authors, chapter title, editors and/or translators, publication year, book title, publisher, and page numbers. The templates for in-text citations and a works-cited-list entry of a book chapter (edited and translated) and examples are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author on the first occurrence. For subsequent citations, use only the surname. In parenthetical citations, always use only the surname of the author(s).

Citation in prose:

First mention: Chris Rojek states that ….

Subsequent occurrences: Rojek confirms ….

Parenthetical:

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

Enclose the chapter title in double quotation marks and use title case. The title of the book is given in italics and title case.

Surname, First Name. “Title of the Chapter.” Title of the Book , edited and translated by Name of the Editor(s)/Translator(s), Publisher, Publication Date, page range.

Rojek, Chris. “Indexing, Dragging and the Social Construction of Tourist Sights.” Touring Cultures: Transformations of Travel and Theory , edited and translated by Chris Rojek and John Urry, Routledge, 1997, pp. 52–74.

To cite a chapter in an edited book in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the authors, chapter title (unique title and/or generic label), editors, publication year, book title, publisher, and page numbers. The templates for in-text citations and works-cited-list entries for a chapter in an edited book written by a single author and some examples are given below:

First mention: Gayatri Gopinath ….

Subsequent occurrences: Gopinath ….

….(Gopinath).

Include the unique chapter title in title case and enclose it in double quotation marks. If the chapter does not have a unique title and instead uses a generic label, do not enclose it in quotation marks.

Include the book title in title case and in italics.

Surname, First Name. Generic Label. Title of the Book , edited by Editor(s) Name, Publisher, Publication Date, page range.

Surname, First Name. “Unique Chapter Title.” Title of the Book , edited by Editor(s) Name, Publisher, Publication Date, page range.

Surname, First Name. “Unique Chapter Title.” Generic Label. Title of the Book , edited by Editor(s) Name, Publisher, Publication Date, page range.

Notice that the last template uses a chapter with both a unique chapter title and a generic label. In this case, use the unique chapter title first and enclose it in double quotation marks and follow it with the generic label (as shown in the third example below).

Gopinath, Gayatri. Introduction. Political Emotions , edited by Ann Cvetkovich et al., Routledge, 2010, pp. 167–92.

Gopinath, Gayatri. “Archive, Affect, and the Everyday: Queer Diasporic Re-Visions.” Political Emotions , edited by Ann Cvetkovich et al., Routledge, 2010, pp. 167–92.

Gopinath, Gayatri. “Archive, Affect, and the Everyday: Queer Diasporic Re-Visions.” Introduction. Political Emotions , edited by Ann Cvetkovich et al., Routledge, 2010, pp. 167–92.

MLA Citation Examples

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  1. MLA 9th Edition Changes

    This 9th edition focuses on clarification, guidance, and expansion on MLA 8, an edition that featured extensive changes. The use of core elements for Works Cited was designed to be more user-friendly, with built-in flexibility that allows writers to cite their sources in ways that works best for their specific projects.

  2. MLA Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition): Books

    Books - MLA Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition) - Library Guides at University of Nevada, Reno MLA Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition): Books Book with One Author Format Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date. (Author Last Name page number). Example

  3. MLA Works Cited Page: Books

    The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows: Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection, edited by Editor's Name (s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry. Some examples: Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers."

  4. MLA Style (9th Edition) Citation Guide: Books & Ebooks

    Citations will be very similar to physical book citations; just add the word "eBook" in the "version" slot of the MLA template (i.e., after the author, the title of the source, the title of the container, and the names of any other contributors). Works Cited List Example: Silva, Paul J.

  5. MLA In-text Citations

    Published on July 9, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on May 19, 2022. An MLA in-text citation provides the author's last name and a page number in parentheses. If a source has two authors, name both. If a source has more than two authors, name only the first author, followed by " et al. "

  6. How to Cite a Book in MLA

    Editions of books Multi-volume books Translated books E-books and online books Where to find information for a book citation Frequently asked questions about MLA style Citing a book chapter

  7. MLA Citation Style, 9th Edition

    MLA Citation Style, 9th Edition; Books - with editors, translators, etc. ... This guide will assist you in formatting your in-text and Works Cited citations in MLA, 9th Edition, format. MLA Style, 9th Edition; In-text citations; Works Cited: Books. Books - Multiple Authors ; Books - with editors, translators, etc. Book - Essay, Short Story ...

  8. MLA Style, 9th Edition

    MLA Citation Style, 9th Edition MLA 9th Edition: Guiding Principles The MLA Handbook provides a "universal set of guidelines" for citing sources across all format types. Luckily, the 9th edition mainly expands upon the rules listed in the 8th edition. There are no significant changes in Works Cited/In-Text Citations (whew!).

  9. PDF MLA Format & Citations 9th Edition

    FollowingMLA Style allows readers to more easily focus on the writer's ideas and increases the writer's credibility. The information in this handout is based on the MLA Handbook, Ninth Edition and the MLA Style Center online (style.mla.org). For each topic, the corresponding section number or pages in the handbook are listed in parentheses.

  10. MLA Handbook Ninth Edition Ninth Edition

    Ninth Edition Pages: 400 Published: 2021 ISBN: 9781603293518 (Paperback) ISBN: 9781603295628 (Spiral) ISBN: 9781603295611 (Hardcover) Electronic Editions Share Paperback ($24.00) Add to Cart A Choice Outstanding Academic Title "I've been using the MLA Handbook since my student years.

  11. MLA Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition): Ebooks

    MLA Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition): Ebooks. Discover the ins and outs of MLA citation. MLA 9 Intro Toggle Dropdown. Understanding Core Elements ; ... MLA Handbook. 9th ed., e-book ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021. E-Book From a Website Format. Author's Last Name, First Name. ...

  12. PDF Works Cited and In-text Citations for Mla 9th Edition

    WORKS CITED AND IN-TEXT CITATIONS FOR MLA 9TH EDITION There are nine MLA core elements, and they are basic pieces of information that should be common to all sources. The overwhelming majority of changes to MLA 9 will not impact the way you draft the Works Cited pages or in-text citations.

  13. MLA Style

    MLA Handbook, 9th Edition. The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook, published in spring 2021, builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements—facts common to most sources, like author, title, and publication date—that allows writers to cite any type of work, from books, e-books, and journal ...

  14. MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Books, eBooks & Pamphlets

    If you are citing a chapter from a book that has an editor, the author of the chapter is listed first, and is the name listed in the in-text citation. Dates The format of all dates is: Day Month (shortened) Year. E.g. 5 Sept. 2012. Write the full date as you find it on the source.

  15. How do I cite the ninth edition of the

    Cite the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook as you would cite any other work written and published by the same nongovernment organization. To avoid redundancy, skip the Author element and list the Modern Language Association of America only as the publisher. MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

  16. What's New in the Ninth Edition of the

    MLA Handbook. (Spring 2021) Published in April 2021, the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook works as both a textbook and a reference guide. You can order a copy from the MLA Bookstore. An all-in-one resource that makes MLA style easier to learn and use for writers at any level, the handbook includes. expanded, in-depth guidance on how to use the ...

  17. Research Guides (LibGuides): Citation Guide: MLA 9th Edition

    Version] 9th ed., [7. Publisher] Modern Language Association of America, [8. Publication date] 2021. Because the publisher is an organization who is also the author, this organization - the Modern Language Association - is only listed once, as the publisher. An in-text citation for this handbook could be ( MLA Handbook 45) to refer specifically ...

  18. MLA 9th Ed.

    This guide is a quick introduction to the Modern Language Association 9th edition citation style. Be sure to consult the MLA Handbook or the online MLA Style Center for detailed standards and procedures. MLA Handbook (9th Ed.) by The Modern Language Association of America. Call Number: Reference Collection - BF76.7 .P83 2021. ISBN: 9781603293518.

  19. PDF CFCC Library Selected Citation Guide

    Selected Citation Guide* -- MLA 9th edition Books Electronic book on website or database Author's last name, First name. "Title of the chapter or section." Title of the e-book, Translated by or edited by First name Last name, Vol. number, Publisher, Year of publication., page number(s). Title of the web site or database, URL.

  20. How to Cite a Book Chapter in MLA

    The 9th edition of the official Handbook uses a term for citing references that was first introduced in the 8th edition: containers. In books that have individual chapters written by different authors, the book is considered the container because it contains parts of a larger whole.