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Author Names in MLA | Citing One or Multiple Authors
Published on March 27, 2019 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on October 3, 2023 by Shona McCombes.
In MLA style , up to two authors are included in a citation. For sources with more than two authors, the citation is shortened with “ et al. ”
In the Works Cited list , the first author’s name is inverted (surname followed by first name). In an MLA in-text citation , only surnames are included.
The author element specifies the main creator of the source. For audiovisual sources, this may be the director, composer, or painter, for example. The author may also be an organization.
Table of contents
Sources with multiple authors, sources with corporate authors, sources with no author, citing contributors other than authors, double surnames, hyphens, titles, and suffixes, pseudonyms and simplified names, foreign-language names, frequently asked questions about authors in mla.
For each source, list the authors in the order they appear in the source itself ( not in alphabetical order).
Multiple authors in the Works Cited
The first author’s name is always inverted. The last name comes first, followed by a comma, then the first name (and any middle initials, if relevant).
When there are two authors , the second author’s name is not inverted:
When there are three or more authors , only list the first author, followed by a comma and “et al.”:
Multiple authors in in-text citations
In an MLA in-text citation, you may name the author either in parentheses or in the main text.
When there are two authors , simply cite both surnames, separated by “and”.
When there are three or more authors , cite the first author’s surname followed by “et al.” if the citation appears in parentheses. If you cite in the main text, instead of “et al.”, write “and colleagues” or “and others”.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
Sometimes sources are created by corporate authors, such as institutions, government agencies, and other organizations, with no individual authors credited. In this case, simply cite the name of the organization in place of the author name.
When citing corporate authors, omit articles (the/a/an) at the start of organization names.
In this example, the publisher is separate from the organization. Sometimes, an organization is both the author and the publisher. In this situation, do not list the organization as author. Instead, start the citation with the source title , and list the organization as the publisher only.
Publications from government agencies
If you are citing a publication from a government agency, start with the name of the government and follow with the name of the agency. Always arrange the entities from largest to smallest.
Note that in the in-text citation, you should abbreviate names longer than four words.
If a source does not specify any author, begin the reference with the title of the work . In the in-text citation, if the title is longer than four words, abbreviate it to the first noun phrase, and ensure that the first word matches the first word of the Works Cited entry.
Some sources are created by many different people. If your discussion of the source focuses on the contribution of someone other than the main author (e.g. when analyzing an actor’s performance or comparing translations of a text), you may cite them in the author position with a label specifying their role (e.g. performer or translator). Don’t include this label in the in-text citation.
Citing the editor of a collection
Usually, when citing an edited collection, you should cite the author of the specific chapter or work . However, if you want to cite an entire collection or anthology, cite the editor(s) in the author position, followed by a label specifying their role. Don’t include the label in the in-text citation.
If an author has more than one surname, include all of them in the surname position. For example, Federico Garcia Lorca would be listed in the works cited as Garcia Lorca, Federico , and in an in-text citation as ( Garcia Lorca ).
If there is a hyphen in the author’s name, keep the hyphen exactly as it appears in the source.
Do not include titles, affiliations, and degrees in source citations. For example, Sir Walter Scott would be listed as Scott, Walter .
If an author has a name with an essential suffix (one that distinguishes them from identically named members of the same family, such as “Jr.” or a roman numeral), include this at the end of the name. For example, John D. Rockefeller IV would be listed as Rockefeller, John D., IV .
When writing in MLA, it is acceptable to use pseudonyms and simplified names of famous authors. It’s usually best to list all of an author’s works under one consistent name, even if different names appear in the sources themselves.
Commonly accepted pseudonyms and simplified names include:
- Dante Alighieri → Dante
- Mary Ann Evans → George Eliot
- Samuel Clemens → Mark Twain
Names from languages that do not use the Latin alphabet, such as Chinese or Russian, may vary in spelling. If this is the case, find the most authoritative variant (i.e. the variant favored by an authoritative source, such as an academic or government publication) and apply that throughout your Works Cited list and in-text citations.
In Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, the author name will often appear with the surname first, followed by the first name. In this case, do not include a comma between the surname and first name when creating the source reference, as the name is already inverted.
The various articles in French have different rules, which can even depend on the number of syllables in the name.
* English-language context means when the author writes in English but happens to have a French name.
For German names, von is usually considered part of the first name. However, in an English-language context, the von stays with the surname. For example, Von Trapp, Maria .
For Italian names, da , de , del , della , di and d’ are capitalized and treated as part of the surname. For example, Di Costanzo, Angelo .
For Spanish names, de is not treated as part of the surname. For example, Rueda, Lope de . However, del stays with the surname and is always capitalized. For example, Del Rio, Angel .
You may come across some Spanish authors with more than one surname. Often these authors are commonly known by one part of their surname, but you must include the entire last name—and alphabetize according to that—in your Works Cited list. For example, Garcia Lorca, Federico (commonly known as Lorca).
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.
If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .
If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).
If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:
- Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
- The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
A standard MLA Works Cited entry is structured as follows:
Only include information that is available for and relevant to your source.
Cite this Scribbr article
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Gahan, C. (2023, October 03). Author Names in MLA | Citing One or Multiple Authors. Scribbr. Retrieved November 9, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/authors/
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Other students also liked, how to format your mla works cited page, a complete guide to mla in-text citations, mla titles: formatting and capitalization rules, what is your plagiarism score.
MLA 8 Citation Guide
- TITLE of SOURCE
- TITLE of CONTAINER
- OTHER CONTRIBUTORS
- PUBLICATION DATE
- Works Cited
- Journal Article with One Author
- Journal Article with 2 Authors
- Journal Article with 3 or more Authors
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- One Author or Editor
- Two Authors or Editors
- Three or More Authors
- Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
- Article in a Reference Book
- Reference Work
- Basic Web Page
- Entry in a Reference Work
- Government or Agency Document
- YouTube Video
- Electronic Image
- Figures and Charts
- Class Lecture/Notes
- Secondary Sources
MLA Works Cited Page: Books
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Book with Three or More Authors
(Author Surname, et al. page number)
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MLA Citation Style 7th Edition: C. More than Three Authors
- Quotes & Paraphrasing
- Works Cited Guidelines
- A. One Author
- B. Two or Three Authors
- C. More than Three Authors
- D. Anthology or Compilation
- E. Work in an Anthology
- F. Corporate Author
- G. No Author
- I. Article in a Reference Book
- J. Edition other than the First
- K. Introduction, Foreword, Preface, or Afterword
- L. Translation
- M. Government Publication
- A. Basic Journal Article
- B. Journal Article from an Online Periodical
- C. Journal Article from Database
- D. Magazine Article
- E. Magazine Article from Database
- F. Newspaper Article
- A. Basic Web Page
- B. Document from a Web site
- C. No Author
- A. Video or DVD
- B. Sound Recording
- C. Musical Composition
- D. YouTube Video
- A. Work of Art
- B. Online Image
- C. Indirect Sources
- D. Scripture
- MLA 8th edition This link opens in a new window
Book with more than Three Authors (155-156)
Printable MLA Handouts
- MLA Guidelines General guidelines for using the MLA style.
- MLA Sample Paper Click here to view a sample paper and reference list in MLA style.
- MLA Electronic Resources Tips for creating a reference list in MLA style from electronic resources.
- MLA In-Text Citation Tips for creating in-text citations in MLA style.
- MLA Print Resources Tips for citing print resources in MLA style.
- MLA Frequently Asked Questions A few FAQs on MLA style.
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Citation Generators and MLA Style
In previous posts on the Style Center , we have advised writers to use caution when working with online citation generators and provided a lesson plan for instructors to help students work with and correct citations from these generators. Citation generators function by culling bibliographic details associated with published sources in online databases. So the citations generated depend on both how the developers programmed the generator and the specific details about the sources in the databases. For this reason, the quality of the citations can vary according to the accuracy of the programming instructions and the bibliographic information. Some citation generators include warnings to double-check the accuracy of the citations and some do not.
In this post I discuss three representative examples of automatically generated citations in MLA style and show how to correct them using the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook . All three examples refer to a 1995 edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby .
Example 1: WorldCat
The website WorldCat.org provides an option to cite any book found in its database. The button to cite a source is located underneath the image of the book’s cover and displays a quotation mark. If you navigate to the page for the 1995 edition of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby , click the citation button, and then choose “MLA 9th Edition” from the dropdown menu, the following citation is displayed:
Fitzgerald F. Scott and Matthew J Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby : The Authorized Text . Simon & Schuster 19951992.
There are a few problems with this citation. First is that the author should be Fitzgerald only, not Fitzgerald and Bruccoli. The website specifies that Bruccoli has provided notes for the edition. He is not listed as the editor, so it is not necessary to include his name in the entry, though you can do so if you prefer. Further, the Author element needs a comma: “Fitzgerald, F. Scott.”
The title also needs a bit of revision. Since “The Great Gatsby” is a title within the longer title, it should appear roman: The Great Gatsby : The Authorized Text . Also, according to MLA style, the ampersand in the publisher should be changed to “and.” Finally, the citation generator has mashed two dates together in the Publication Date element at the end. This edition is a 1995 reprint of an edition first published in 1992. Only the date of the specific edition is needed, so the date should read 1995 and be preceded by a comma. Here is the corrected entry:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby : The Authorized Text . Simon and Schuster, 1995.
Or, with Bruccoli’s role specified:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby : The Authorized Text . Notes by Matthew J. Bruccoli, Simon and Schuster, 1995.
WorldCat.org does not include a warning to double-check its citations, but as with all citation generators you should approach its citations as starting points and not as final products.
Example 2: University of Michigan Library
The record for the same book on the University of Michigan Library’s website shows much the same information as the record on WorldCat.org . But when you click the button with the quotation mark that says “Citation,” you get a much different citation:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby . 1st Scribner Paperback Fiction ed., Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995.
This citation is listed simply as “MLA citation” and does not specify which edition of the handbook is used. It is fairly close to the ninth edition format, however. The Author element is correctly formatted with a comma. The title is italicized. The Publisher and Publication Date elements are correctly formatted. The only change I would make is to remove the information about the edition. It’s usually not necessary to specify that a work is the first edition. Readers will assume it is the first edition unless otherwise noted in the entry. So the revised entry reads as follows:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby . Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995.
The University of Michigan does include a warning: “These citations are generated from a variety of data sources. Remember to check citation format and content for accuracy before including them in your work.” This particular citation is fairly close to the MLA’s current guidelines, but the quality of other citations generated on the website might vary.
Example 3: University of North Carolina Library
Like the entries on WorldCat.org and the University of Michigan Library’s website, the entry for the book on the University of North Carolina Library’s website includes all the basic information about the edition. When you click on the button with the quotation mark that reads “Cite,” you get yet another version of the citation:
Fitzgerald, F S. The Great Gatsby . New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995. Print.
This citation is listed under “MLA,” but it clearly is based on the seventh edition of the handbook. The place of publication and the word “Print” at the end are the giveaways. The MLA eliminated those two requirements in the eighth edition. The citation is mostly correct for the seventh edition, except for the Author element, which has omitted Fitzgerald’s middle name and the period after the “F.” To update to the ninth edition, correct the Author element and remove the place and medium of publication:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby . Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995.
The University of North Carolina includes this warning: “These citations are automatically generated and may not always be correct. Double-check your citations to make sure they match an official citation manual or guide.” In this case, it is helpful to know that citation generators will not always specify which version of a citation guide they are using to generate citations. Citation formatting in style guides like the MLA Handbook does sometimes change with new editions, so be sure you are consulting the latest version or the version specified by your instructor or publisher.
Interactive Practice Template
While the MLA does not offer its own citation generator, it does offer an interactive practice template where users can produce their own works-cited-list entries. Users enter the details of their source in the various element slots, and the site generates the entry bit by bit on the top right. This helps students and other writers practice producing their own entries by looking at the details of the sources they’re citing. Online citation generators can be a useful place to start the citation process, but they should always be supplemented by official citation guides like the MLA Handbook and resources like the MLA’s interactive practice template.
Laurie Press 08 November 2023 AT 11:11 PM
How would a student cite a page from the Occupational Outlook Handbook produced by the Dept. of Labor? Here's a link as an example: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm. I am seeing WC entries that start with the page title and others that start with the Agency, so I am confused.
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Home > University Libraries Instruction Materials > Cite Instruction Materials > Handouts > 2
MLA Citation Correction (Multiple-Choice Exercise)
Mary Ruge , Grand Valley State University Follow
This exercise is a multiple-choice exercise meant to help students spot inconsistencies in MLA citations. There are seven citations (of mostly articles but one book) that are formatted incorrectly. Underneath each incorrect citation are three revisions of the same citation, but only one is correct. The student is supposed to choose which of the three revisions is correct and in-line with MLA 9th Edition. This exercise would be best for 100-level classes, or classes where students' knowledge of MLA citation is either emerging or progressing (in accordance with the GVSU Libraries stats rubric).
Cite, Citations, First Year Writing
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Ruge, Mary, "MLA Citation Correction (Multiple-Choice Exercise)" (2023). Handouts . 2. https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/cite_handouts/2
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MLA Citation Style, 9th Edition
- MLA Style, 9th Edition
- In-text citations
- Books - Multiple Authors
- Books - with editors, translators, etc.
- Book - Essay, Short Story, Poem, etc
- Books - later editions
- Articles - Multiple Authors
- Articles - from scholarly journals
- Articles - from newspapers
- Articles - from magazines
- YouTube Video
- Television Shows
- Images from the Web
- Works Cited: Websites
- Works Cited: Social Media / Informal Communication
- Don't See an Example for Your Source?!
- Report an Error / Question
When a work has two authors, include them in the order they appear on the work, and invert the first author's name but write out the second author's name normally.
Works Cited Format (2 authors, scholarly journal):
In-Text Citation Examples:
Author within the text, direct quote:
Authors not in the text, direct quote:
Three or More Authors
Invert the first author's name add a comma and "et al."
Works Cited Format (3 or more authors, scholarly journal):
In-text Citation Examples:
Authors within the text, direct quote:
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- Next: Articles - from scholarly journals >>
- Last Updated: Aug 24, 2023 9:54 AM
- URL: https://libguides.uwf.edu/mla9
MLA 9 Citation Style: Textbook With Three or More Authors
- Textbook With One Author
- Textbook With Two Authors
- Textbook With Three or More Authors
- Textbook as an Anthology or Edited Book
- Textbook Work Within an Anthology or Edited Book
- Textbook Two or More from an Anthology or Edited Book
- Textbook with One Author (Mobile)
- Textbook with Two Authors (Mobile)
- Textbook with Three or More Authors (Mobile)
- Textbook as an Anthology or Edited Book (Mobile)
- Textbook Work Within an Anthology or Edited Book (Mobile)
- Textbook Two or More from an Anthology or Edited Book (Mobile)
- Two Authors
- Three or More Authors
- Anthology or Edited Book
- Work in an Anthology or Edited Book
- Two or More Selections from the Same Anthology or Edited Book
- Journal Article (Print)
- Journal Article (Online)
- Newspaper Articles (Print)
- Newspaper Articles (Online)
- Database Article with One Author
- Database Article with Two Authors
- Database Article with More Than Three Authors
- Database Previously Published Scholarly Article (Blooms, MasterPlots, Literary Reference Center)
- Online Government Publication
- Website with an Author’s/Contributor’s Name
- Website with No Author’s/Contributor’s Name
- Web Page with Author
- Web Page with No Author’s/Contributor’s Name
- Art – From a Book
- Art – From a Web Page
- Picture/Photo Online -- General
- Motion Picture -- DVD
- Motion Picture -- Streaming
- Video -- Online (YouTube, etc.)
- An Interview You Conducted
- Lecture Notes, PowerPoints, or Handouts from Class
- In-Text Citations
- Works Cited Page
- Popular vs. Scholarly Sources
- Direct Quotes, Paraphrasing, Summarizing
MLA Citation -- Cengage Textbook With Three or More Authors
Works Cited List Format
Last name of first author, First name of first author, et al. Title of Book . Edition (if any), Publisher, Date.
Platform , URL. Accessed Date.
In-Text Citation Format
(First Author's Last Name et al. p. # * )
*If the page number is not available, you should include either the chapter number or the section number. Also, the in-text citation should be just the number and should not include p.
Works Cited List Example
Montoya, Maria E., et al. Global Americans: A History of the United States . Cengage Learning, 2018.
MindTap , ng.cengage.com/static/nb/ui/evo/index.html?
Accessed 15 Jan. 2019.
In-Text Citation Example
(Montoya et al. ch. 3)
MLA In-Text Citations
When writing an MLA paper using citations, you use two types of citations:
- in-text (or parenthetical) citation
- Works Cited citation.
These citations are directly linked. Any in-text citation should reflect a citation in your Works Cited page at the end of your MLA paper.
The in-text citation is a brief reference to your source which then leads your reader to your Works Cited page for the full citation.
A Word About Punctuation
The punctuation in your citations does matter. Make sure you pay attention to where the periods and commas are in the examples.
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Citing an article in MLA style
When citing an article in MLA style, your citation should follow one of the basic formats below.
Article with a DOI
A DOI, or digital object identifier, is a unique string of numbers and letters associated with an online publication. You can use DOIs to easily find a journal article. You can learn more in our quick-how-to page on finding a DOI .
Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Article.” Journal/Magazine/Newspaper Title , vol., issue no., Year, pages # - #, Name of Database , DOI.
Richardson, Janice. "Spinoza, Feminism and Privacy: Exploring an Immanent Ethics of Privacy." Feminist Legal Studies , vol. 22, no. 3, 2014, pp. 225-241. Genderwatch , https://doi.org/10.1007/s10691-014-9271-3 .
Article without a DOI, from an academic research database or print version
If you have found an article in a database but it does not have a DOI, you can use a permalink or shortened database URL. Permalinks are usually found in the “Share” options of an article in a database, and stand for “Permanent Link” – use these instead of just copy-pasting from the browser, as they are more stable and less likely to break over time.
Author Last Name, First Name. "Title of the Article." Journal/Magazine/Newspaper Title , vol., no., Year, page # - #, Name of Database , Permalink.
Russell, Bertrand. “The Expanding Mental Universe.” Saturday Evening Post , vol. 232, no. 3, pp. 24-93. Academic Search Premier , https://unr.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=17824382&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Article without a DOI, with a non-database URL
You do not need to include https://www in your shortened URL.
Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Article.” Journal/Magazine/Newspaper Title , vol., no., Day Month Year OR Season, Permalink or shortened URL. Accessed Day Month Year.
Ramanan, Mohan. "The Classical Music Culture of South India." Indialogs: Spanish Journal of India Studies , vol. 1, 01 July 2014, pp. 134-45, revistes.uab.cat/indialogs/article/view/v1-ramanan/pdf. Accessed 10 Aug. 2017.
To see more examples and other situations of citing books in MLA style, see the library's online MLA Citation Guide . You can also find the MLA Handbook (9th edition) in the Knowledge Center’s reference collection and in the Book Stacks. Purdue’s Online Writing Lab also has a comprehensive guide to MLA style .
APA Citation Style, 7th edition: Three to Five Authors or Editors
- General Style Guidelines
- One Author or Editor
- Two Authors or Editors
- Three to Five Authors or Editors
- Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
- Article in a Reference Book
- Edition other than the First
- Government Publication
- Journal Article with 1 Author
- Journal Article with 2 Authors
- Journal Article with 3–20 Authors
- Journal Article 21 or more Authors
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Basic Web Page
- Web page from a University site
- Web Page with No Author
- Entry in a Reference Work
- Government Document
- Film and Television
- Youtube Video
- Audio Podcast
- Electronic Image
- Secondary Sources
- Citation Support
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Formatting Your Paper
About Citing Books
For each type of source in this guide, both the general form and an example will be provided.
The following format will be used:
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase) - entry that appears in the body of your paper when you express the ideas of a researcher or author using your own words. For more tips on paraphrasing check out The OWL at Purdue .
In-Text Citation (Quotation) - entry that appears in the body of your paper after a direct quote.
References - entry that appears at the end of your paper.
Information on citing and several of the examples were drawn from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).
Book with Three to Five Authors or Editors
The general format below refers to a book with three or more authors.
If you are dealing with a book that has three to five editors instead of authors, you would simply insert the names of the editors into the place where the authors' names are now, followed by "(Eds.)" without the quotation marks (as per the example). The rest of the format would remain the same.
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase):
(Author Surname et al., Year)
NOTE: The in-text citation for works with three or more authors is shortened to the first author's name followed by et al. and the year.
In-Text Citation (Direct Quote):
(Author Surname et al., Year, page number)
Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial., Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial., & Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Book title: Subtitle . Publisher.
(Johnson et al., 1999)
(Johnson et al., 1999, p. 72)
Johnson, N. G., Roberts, M. C., & Worell, J. (Eds.). (1999). Beyond appearance: A new look at adolescent girls . American Psychological Association.
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- What is MLA Style?
- General Formatting Rules
- Books Works Cited
- Journals Works Cited
- Newspaper Article Works Cited
- Magazine Article Works Cited
- Film & YouTube Works Cited
- Websites Works Cited
- Images & Artwork Works Cited
- Formatting Dates
- Citing a Work by One Author/Creator
- Citing a Work by Two Authors/Creators
- Citing a Work by Three+ Authors/Creators
- Citing Works by the Same Author
- Citing a Work Without Page Numbers
- Citing a Work With No Known Author/Creator
- Citing a Multivolume Work
- Citing an Indirect Work
- Citing Multiple Works in One In-Text Citation
- Formatting a Paper in MLA Style
- Citing Sources in MLA: Books & Web Resources
- Citing Sources in MLA: Video Tutorials
- Discussion Board
- Citing Your Sources Guide
The bibliography entry text should be left-justified; if an entry is more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) half an inch from the left margin.
NOTE : The library's webpage doesn't show the hanging indent in our examples.
Work by Three or More Authors/Creators
IMPORTANT! See note about the hanging indent requirement on the left-bottom of the page.
(AuthorLastNameA et al. page#)
AuthorLastNameA et al. stated that ... (page#).
See note ¹
Marscot et al. discuss the ... (29).
The authors disagree with a hypothesis proposed by .... (Marscot et al. 14).
Corresponding Works Cited entry
Marscot, Michel et al. Applied Social Sciences . Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.
¹ For works with three or more authors, include the last name of the first author followed by et al (see the MLA Handbook p. 116 for more information).
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- Last Updated: Apr 27, 2023 4:13 PM
- URL: https://iot.libguides.com/c.php?g=1130933
MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: In-text Examples
- Works Cited entries: What to Include
- Title of source
- Title of container
- Publication date
- Supplemental Elements
- Book with Personal Author(s)
- Book with Organization as Author
- Book with Editor(s)
- Parts of Books
- Government Publication
- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Multivolume Works
- Newspaper Article
- Other Formats
- Websites, Social Media, and Email
- About In-text Citations
- In-text Examples
- How to Paraphrase and Quote
- Citing Poetry
- Formatting Your MLA Paper
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Author Page Number System
MLA Handbook, 8th Edition uses the author page number style for in-text citations in this format: (AuthorLastName 43).
Example: (Hemingway 13)
When there is no author, the author is unknown, or the author is not the first element listed in the corresponding Works Cited citation, use the first element listed in the citation in the in-text citation instead. In most causes this will be the title. After this include the page reference. If the title is long, use a shortened version of the title.
Example: ("A New Deal" 121) or ( The Open Box 23)
Chart of In-Text Examples
Give the author's name and the page number or page range in parentheses. If the author's name is stated in the sentence, always place the page number in parentheses at the next natural pause in the text, usually at the end of the sentence.
Alexander notes that race was a critical topic in the 1968 presidential race (22-29).
Give both names separated by the word and when including the names in the text of a sentence or in parentheses.
Wilson and Schlosser state the results...(47).
(Wilson and Schlosser 47).
Three or more authors
When mentioning the authors in the text, give all of the authors' names or list the first author and write "and others". For the parenthetical citation and Works Cited citation, give the first author's name followed by et al.
James and others claim that social customs prevalent in the southern United States have...(157-65).
Social customs in the southern United States have become...(James et al. 157-65).
Multiple works by the same author
Include the author's name, then a comma, then a shortened version of the title, followed by the page reference.
(Dickens, David Copperfield 347).
(Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities 89).
Multiple citations by the same author in one sentence
When you have two citations for the same author in one sentence, usually quotes from two different pages, you can combine them in one citation at the end of the sentence like this: (Ibsen 1700, 1704).
Authors with the same surname
When authors of two separate works in your Works Cited list have the same surname, include the first initial of the author you are referencing in the in-text citation.
(H. Smith 34).
Multiple works by different authors in the same citation
Include the last name and page reference for the first author, then a semi-colon, followed by the last name and page reference for the next author.
(Smith 93; Fayett 131-32).
Organizations as authors/Corporate author
List the corporate author followed by the page reference. Abbreviate words like Department.
(American Library Association 17).
Organizations as authors/Corporate author that is also the Publisher
When the author is an organization or corporation that is also the publisher, the Works Cited citation will begin with the title, instead of the author. Corresponding in-text citations should use an abbreviated version of the title and the page reference.
( Publication 3).
If the author is a government or government body, include the administrative layers listed in the Works Cited entry separated by commas. Use abbreviations for common words like Department (as "Dept.").
(United States, Congress, House, Committee on the Judiciary 7).
Works without authors
If the Works Cited entry begins with a title because there is no author, use the title followed by the page reference in the in-text citation. Use an abbreviated version for long titles. To abbreviate a title, use as few words as possible, dropping articles and prepositions, but keeping the first word of the title as alphabetized in your Works Cited. The abbreviated title should be a noun phrase, so likely the first noun in the title along with any adjectives that come before it. Titles of an article, chapter, or web page should be placed in double quotation marks. Titles of a periodical, book, entire website, report, or brochure should be italicized.
ARTICLE title ("New Deal" 121).
BOOK title ( Open Box 18).
LONG book title ( Handbook of Geriatric Therapy 26).
Works with Anonymous listed as author
Only list Anonymous as the author when Anonymous is given as the author's name. Follow that with the page reference. When the author's name is just unknown, skip the author element and move to the next element. Do not use the term Anonymous for works without authors listed.
Works without pagination
When citing a website or webpage (without page numbers), include the author's name only in the in-text citation.
(United States, Congress, House, Committee on the Judiciary)
If you are referring to an entire work, you may identify the work in your text using the author or title name from your Works Cited list rather than a parenthetical citation.
To Kill a Mockingbird was published over fifty years ago and is still read by many students today.
Multivolume works (one volume consulted)
If your Works Cited entry indicates only one volume of a multivolume set, include the page reference in the parenthetical citation. The volume is already specified in the Works Cited entry.
Norat, Gisela. "Isabel Allende: Chilean and American Novelist." Notable Latino Writers, vol. 1, Salem Press, 2006, pp. 27-34.
Multivolume works (more than one volume consulted)
If your Works Cited entry indicates more than one volume of a multivolume set, include both the volume and the page reference in the parenthetical citation to distinguish which volume is being referenced.
( Notable , 1: 27).
Notable Latino Writers, vol. 1, Salem Press, 2006, 3 vols.
Media with a timestamp and no page numbers
If your source has no page numbers but has a timestamp, such as a video or audio source, give the timestamp range instead of the page number ranges.
(Busari 00:02:30 - 00:03:15).
Busari, Stephanie. "How Fake News Does Real Harm." TED , Feb. 2017, www.ted.com/talks/stephanie_busari_how_fake_news_does_real_harm?language=en.
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In-Text Citations: Author/Authors
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Though the APA's author-date system for citations is fairly straightforward, author categories can vary significantly from the standard "one author, one source" configuration. There are also additional rules for citing authors of indirect sources, electronic sources, and sources without page numbers.
A Work by One Author
The APA manual recommends the use of the author-date citation structure for in-text citation references. This structure requires that any in-text citation (i.e., within the body of the text) be accompanied by a corresponding reference list entry. In the in-text citation provide the surname of the author but do not include suffixes such as "Jr.".
Citing Non-Standard Author Categories
A work by two authors.
Name both authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses each time you cite the work. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the ampersand in parentheses.
A Work by Three or More Authors
List only the first author’s name followed by “et al.” in every citation, even the first, unless doing so would create ambiguity between different sources.
In et al. , et should not be followed by a period. Only "al" should be followed by a period.
If you’re citing multiple works with similar groups of authors, and the shortened “et al” citation form of each source would be the same, you’ll need to avoid ambiguity by writing out more names. If you cited works with these authors:
They would be cited in-text as follows to avoid ambiguity:
Since et al. is plural, it should always be a substitute for more than one name. In the case that et al. would stand in for just one author, write the author’s name instead.
If the work does not have an author, cite the source by its title in the signal phrase or use the first word or two in the parentheses. Titles of books and reports are italicized; titles of articles, chapters, and web pages are in quotation marks. APA style calls for capitalizing important words in titles when they are written in the text (but not when they are written in reference lists).
Note : In the rare case that "Anonymous" is used for the author, treat it as the author's name (Anonymous, 2001). In the reference list, use the name Anonymous as the author.
Organization as an Author
If the author is an organization or a government agency, mention the organization in the signal phrase or in the parenthetical citation the first time you cite the source, just as you would an individual person.
If the organization has a well-known abbreviation, you may include the abbreviation in brackets the first time the source is cited and then use only the abbreviation in later citations. However, if you cite work from multiple organizations whose abbreviations are the same, do not use abbreviations (to avoid ambiguity).
Two or More Works in the Same Parentheses
When your parenthetical citation includes two or more works, order them the same way they appear in the reference list (viz., alphabetically), separated by a semi-colon.
If you cite multiple works by the same author in the same parenthetical citation, give the author’s name only once and follow with dates. No date citations go first, then years, then in-press citations.
Authors with the Same Last Name
To prevent confusion, use first initials with the last names.
Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Year
If you have two sources by the same author in the same year, use lower-case letters (a, b, c) with the year to order the entries in the reference list. Use the lower-case letters with the year in the in-text citation.
Introductions, Prefaces, Forewords, and Afterwords
When citing an Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword in-text, cite the appropriate author and year as usual.
For interviews, letters, e-mails, and other person-to-person communication, cite the communicator's name, the fact that it was personal communication, and the date of the communication. Do not include personal communication in the reference list.
If using a footnote to reference personal communication, handle citations the same way.
Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples
When citing information you learned from a conversation with an Indigenous person who was not your research participant, use a variation of the personal communication citation above. Include the person’s full name, nation or Indigenous group, location, and any other relevant details before the “personal communication, date” part of the citation.
Citing Indirect Sources
Generally, writers should endeavor to read primary sources (original sources) and cite those rather than secondary sources (works that report on original sources). Sometimes, however, this is impossible. If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in your reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses. If you know the year of the original source, include it in the citation.
If possible, cite an electronic document the same as any other document by using the author-date style.
Unknown Author and Unknown Date
If no author or date is given, use the title in your signal phrase or the first word or two of the title in the parentheses and use the abbreviation "n.d." (for "no date").
Sources Without Page Numbers
When an electronic source lacks page numbers, you should try to include information that will help readers find the passage being cited. Use the heading or section name, an abbreviated heading or section name, a paragraph number (para. 1), or a combination of these.
Note: Never use the page numbers of webpages you print out; different computers print webpages with different pagination. Do not use Kindle location numbers; instead, use the page number (available in many Kindle books) or the method above.
The APA Publication Manual describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the manual does not describe, making the best way to proceed unclear.
In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of APA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard APA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite. For example, a sensible way to cite a virtual reality program would be to mimic the APA's guidelines for computer software.
You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source.
Updates regarding library resources and services.
The DiMenna-Nyselius Library is open. To learn more about our resources and services, visit the link below
More details here. →
- Research Guides
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- Chicago Notes-Bibliography
- Chicago Author-Date
Table of Contents
MLA Handbook, 9th ed., Ref. LB 2369.G53 2021
Need more help? Try Asking a Librarian .
- MLA Citation Checklist
Citations are comprised of a series of nine "core elements" in the following order . The core elements are as follows:
Title of Source.
Title of Container,
O ther Contributors,
An element should be omitted from the entry if it is not relevant to the work being documented. Each core element should be followed by the above punctuation, unless it is the final element, which should end with a period. These changes reflect the difficulties in citing the ever growing forms of information that are sometimes difficult to fit into traditional style guidelines This is particularly true for non-print items and is intended to simplify the process of creating citations. This guide will explain each core element and give examples.
A newly created citation, regardless of the type of source , will look like this:
Author(s). Title of Source. Title of Container, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.
Containers are the name given to the entity in which an article is located i.e. the journal, the magazine, the newspaper, etc. However, when those entities are located within another container such as a database, that container should also be cited. The second container should be cited as follows after the initial citation:
Title of Second Container, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location. (Date of access - optional, usually used if there is no published date online).
Core Elements Defined
The term author is defined as the person or group primarily responsible for producing the work or the aspect of the work that is being cited. If the role of that person or group is something other than creating the work's main content, follow the name(s) with a label that describes the role i.e. editor(s), translator(s), etc. Pseudonyms, including online user names, usually function as the author names.
Regardless of role, the following rules will apply regarding the number of people involved in the author role:
One person: Last name, first name.
Two people: Last name, first name, and first name last name.
Three or more people: Last name, first name, et al.
Title of Source
The title of the source is dependent on whether it is a stand alone work or a greater part of a whole. Stand alone works will be italicized and parts of a work will be in quotation marks .
Note: When the source is a stand alone work, even if it is part of a collection, the title will be italicized because it is considered a stand alone work within a stand alone work:
Title of Container
Container is the term used for the larger whole when the cited source is only a part thereof. Usually it will be italicized followed by a comma allowing for further details about the container.
In addition to the author, other individuals such as editors or translators may have contributed to the creation of a source. In such cases, these individuals and their roles need to be cited. Some of the more common roles are as follows: adapted by, directed by, edited by, illustrated by, introduction by, narrated by, performance by, and translated by.
If the source carries a notation indicating that it is a version of a work released in more than one form, identify the version in your entry.
If a source is part of a multi-volume set, indicate the number of the consulted volume. For journals, there may be a volume, issue, and/or number.
The publisher is the organization primarily responsible for producing the source or making it available to the public. If two or more organizations are named in the source and they seem equally responsible for the work, cite each of them, separating the names with a forward slash (/).
Sources, especially those published online, may be associated with more than one publication date. When a source has more than one date, cite the date that is most meaningful or relevant to your use of the source. Typically you will write the date as you find it. In cases where there is a time along with the date, include the time. For books with multiple copyright dates, use the most recent.
Note: All months except for May, June, and July are abbreviated to three letters followed by a period.
How to cite where a work is located depends on the type of source that it is. For print sources, a page number (p.) or a range of page numbers (pp.) identifies the location. For online sources, the web address or URL should be used. If it is in the work, the DOI is preferable to a URL.
Choose a book type.
More in-text Citation Information
Book with One Author
MLA Manual p. 313
Book with Two Authors
Book with three or more authors, book with organization as author.
A work may be created by an organization rather than an individual. In such cases the organization becomes the author.
Book with Organization as Author and Publisher
MLA Manual p. 314
When a work is published without an author, begin the entry with the title of the work.
Anthology/edited book, collection of essays.
MLA Manual p. 317
Edition Other than First
MLA Manual p. 315
Multivolume work (citing only one volume).
MLA Manual p. 316
Multivolume Work (Citing All the Volumes)
MLA Manual pp. 327-328
Foreword, Preface, Introduction, or Afterword
A reprinted scholarly work in a collection.
Choose an ebook type
Ebook (entire book), religious and classical works, religious works.
MLA Manual p. 339
Religious Work Translation
Classical works, journal article.
Choose a journal type
Journal Article from Library Database
MLA Manual p. 320
Online Journal Article
Print journal article.
MLA Manual p. 319
MLA Manual p. 323
Choose a magazine type
Magazine Article from Library Database
Magazine article from online website, print magazine article, newspaper article.
Choose a newspaper type
Newspaper Article from Library Database
MLA Manual pp. 321-322
Article from Newspaper Website
Print newspaper article, newspaper article with unknown author, letter to editor, government reports and cases, governmental and organizational reports.
MLA Manual pp. 338, 343-344
U.S. Supreme Court Case
MLA Manual p. 344
State Supreme Court Case
MLA Manual p. 346
Website, Blog, or Social Media
Choose a source type
MLA Manual p. 324
MLA Manual pp. 317, 324
MLA Manual p. 326
Comment on Post or Article
MLA Manual pp. 326-327
E-mail, Personal Communication, and Class Materials
MLA Manual p. 337
Electronic Mailing List (List-serv)
MLA Manual p. 336
MLA Manual p. 335
MLA Manual p. 341
Audio/Video and Performance
When you are citing online videos, movies, and television shows you may also include the location of where you viewed the video at the end of the citation. For example add the following to the end of your citation:
- Netflix, www.netflix.com.
- Hulu, www.hulu.com.
- Amazon, www.amazon.com.
MLA Manual p. 329
MLA Manual p. 328
MLA Manual pp. 329-330
MLA Manual pp. 328-330
Sound Recording (Individual Tracks)
MLA Manual p. 330
Sound Recording (Entire Album)
MLA Manual p. 331
MLA Manual pp. 334-335
Image or Advertisement
MLA Manual pp. 331-333
Work of Art
MLA Manual pp. 331-332
MLA Manual p. 333
Cartoon or Illustration
MLA Manual pp. 333
MLA Manual pp. 332
In-text citation examples, two authors, three authors, unknown author, authors with the same last name, multiple works by the same author, multiple works in the same parenthesis, the bible and other classical works, other resources, for more examples and information on how to format your paper:.
- Purdue Owl Writing Lab
- MLA style center
- How to format a research paper
- MLA Handbook, 9th ed., Ref. LB 2369.G53 2021 (available at the Library Services and Information Desk)
For additional help , contact a Research Librarian
- In-person at the Library Services & Information Desk
- By phone at (203) 254-4000 ext. 2188
- By e-mail: [email protected]
- Via Web chat (available 24/7)
- MLA sample paper This sample paper is adapted from Seneca Libraries: http://seneca.libguides.com/c.php?g=498632&p=3414052
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All you need to know about citations
How to cite a book chapter in MLA
To cite a book chapter in a reference entry in MLA style 9th edition include the following elements:
- Chapter author(s): Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by ‘and’ and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson). For three or more authors, list the first name followed by et al. (e. g. Watson, John, et al.)
- Title of the chapter: Titles are italicized when independent. If part of a larger source add quotation marks and do not italize.
- Title of the book: Container titles are italicized and followed by a comma.
- Editor(s) or Author of the book: Give the name of the author or editor of the book. Start with 'edited by' if it is an editor. If not available, omit this part.
- Publisher: If the name of an academic press contains the words University and Press, use UP e.g. Oxford UP instead of Oxford University Press. If the word "University" doesn't appear, spell out the Press e.g. MIT Press.
- Year of publication: Give the year of publication as presented in the source.
- Page numbers: Give the full page range preceded by pp. If only one page, precede with one p.
Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a book chapter in MLA style 9th edition:
Chapter author(s) . " Title of the chapter ." Title of the book , by Editor(s) or Author of the book , Publisher , Year of publication , pp. Page numbers .
Take a look at our works cited examples that demonstrate the MLA style guidelines in action:
A chapter from a book of short stories with one editor
Edgeworth, Maria . “ The Limerick Gloves .” The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories , edited by William Trevor , Oxford UP , 2010 , pp. 27–51 .
Schwartz, Paula . “ Redefining Resistance: Woman’s Activism in Wartime France .” Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars , edited by Margaret R. Higonnet et al. , Yale UP , 1987 , pp. 141–53 .
This citation style guide is based on the MLA Handbook (9 th edition).
More useful guides
- MLA Works Cited Page: Chapter
- MLA Referencing Guide: Book Chapters
- How do I cite a book chapter in MLA?
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- AMA: how to cite a government or agency bulletin
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