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How Do I Cite a Book in MLA Format?

  1. General Guidelines
  2. General Formula
  3. Book with No Author or Unknown Author
  4. Book with One Author
  5. Book with Two or Three Authors
  6. Book with Four or More Authors
  7. Edited, Translated or Compiled Book
  8. Article or Chapter in a Book with Editors
  9. Book with Authors with the Same Name

1. General Guidelines:

  • Give the author’s name as it appears on the book. If first names are provided, list them; if only the author’s initials are given, just use the initials.
  • The title and any subtitles should be italicized.
  • If more than one place of publication is given, only provide the first one listed.
  • Publishers’ names should be listed abbreviated as much as possible e.g. omit articles (a, an, the), business abbreviations (Co., Corp, Inc., Ltd.) and descriptive words (Books, House, Press, Publishers). When citing a university press, always add the abbreviation P (Ohio State UP) because the university itself may publish independently of its press (Ohio State U).

2. General Formula:

In Text Citation:(LastName PageNumber)

Example: (Barnet 97)

Works Cited:Author Last Name, First Name. Title of book. Place of publication: Name of publisher, Year of publication. Medium.

Example: Barnet, Sylvan. The Practical Guide to Writing. Toronto: Longman, 2003. Print. 

3. Book with No Author or Unknown Author:

In Text Citation: If there is no author or the author is unknown, use the title. Shorter titles can be included in full in the in text citation. Longer titles can be shortened for the in text citation but the first word (not counting articles like a, an, the, etc.) must remain so the title can be found in the alphabetized bibliography at the end of the paper. Titles of entire works (e.g. book titles) are italicized.

In Text Citation:(Encyclopedia of Virginia 212)
Works Cited:Encyclopedia of Virginia. New York: Somerset, 1993. Print.

4. Book with One Author:

In Text Citation:(Barnet 97)
Works Cited:Barnet, Sylvan. The Practical Guide to Writing. Toronto: Longman, 2003. Print.

5. Book with Two or Three Authors:

The first author’s name listed is reversed – the last name comes before the first name. The names of the second and third authors are given in regular first and last name order. List the names in the same order as they appear on the book.

In Text Citation:(Booth, Colomb, and Williams 190)
Works Cited:Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 2nd ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003. Print.

6. Book with Four or More Authors:

Either list all authors, or list only the first author and add the phrase et al (“and others”). Use the same format for the in text citation and works cited entry.

In Text Citation:(Barclay et al. 144-145)
Works Cited:Barclay, Michael, et al. Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance, 1985-95. Toronto: ECW, 2001. Print.

7. Edited, Translated or Compiled Book:

When using an entire book that lists editors, translators or compilers on its title page use the appropriate abbreviation – ed. (if only one editor), eds. (if more than one editor is listed), trans., or comps.

In Text Citation:(Greenspan and Rosenberg 77)
Works Cited:Greenspan, Edward, and Marc Rosenberg, eds. Martin’s Annual Criminal Code: Student Edition 2010. Aurora: Canada Law Book, 2009. Print.

8. Article or Chapter in a Book with Editors:

List the editor after the book title, with the abbreviation ‘Ed.’ (even if there is more than one editor still use ‘Ed.’). List the page numbers of the article or chapter after the year of publication.

In Text Citation:(Naremore 266)
Works Cited:Naremore, James. “Hitchcock at the Margins of Noir.” Alfred Hitchcock: Centenary Essays. Ed. Richard Allen and S. Ishii-Gonzales. London: BFI, 1999. 263-77. Print.

9. Book with Authors with the Same Name:

In Text Citation: When authors have the same last name, identify each by first initial (or entire first name, if necessary for clarify).


Despite improved health information systems (J. Adams 308), medical errors continue to increase (D. Adams 1).

By Durham College

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