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How to Cite a Book in MLA Style

Citing a book in MLA style involves including several key details in your Works Cited entry. Always list the author(s), italicized title, publisher, and publication year. Additionally, if applicable, include the names of editors or translators, the edition, and the volume number.

Basic Structure of a Book Citation

Essential Components of a Book Citation

An MLA book citation includes several key elements: the author’s name, the book title, the publisher, and the publication date. These details provide the necessary information to identify and locate the book. For example:

Smith, John. The Art of Fiction. Penguin Books, 2020.

Formatting Rules for MLA Citations

MLA citations follow specific formatting rules to ensure uniformity. The author’s name appears with the last name first, followed by a comma and the first name. The book title is italicized and uses title case capitalization. Next, list the publisher’s name, followed by the publication year. Each segment ends with a period.

Creating a Citation for a Single-Author Book

Author’s Name: Last Name, First Name

The author’s name is the first part of an MLA citation and is crucial for proper credit. It should be formatted with the last name first, followed by a comma, then the first name. For instance:

Smith, John.

Title of the Book: Italics and Capitalization

The book’s title must be italicized and capitalized correctly. Use title case, which means capitalizing the first and last words, and all principal words. For example:

The Art of Fiction

Publisher and Publication Date: Key Details

The publisher’s name and the publication date come next. After the title, add the publisher’s name, followed by a comma, and then the publication year. Here’s an example of a complete citation:

Smith, John. The Art of Fiction. Penguin Books, 2020.

Citing a Book with Multiple Authors

Handling Two Authors: Proper Formatting

When a book has two authors, list them in the order they appear on the title page. Separate the names with a comma and the word “and”. Only the first author’s name is inverted. For example:

Smith, John, and Jane Doe. The World of Writing. Oxford University Press, 2018.

Citing Three or More Authors: The “et al.” Rule

For books with three or more authors, list the first author followed by “et al.” which stands for “and others.” This simplifies the citation. For instance:

Smith, John, et al. A Comprehensive Guide to Literature. HarperCollins, 2015.

Special Cases in Book Citations

Citing Edited Books

Edited books require a different approach. Include the editor’s name followed by the abbreviation “ed.” For example:

Brown, Emily, ed. Modern Literary Theory. Random House, 2019.

Citing a Book with a Corporate Author

When a book is authored by an organization, list the organization’s name as the author. For instance:

American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 7th ed., APA, 2020.

Citing Translated Books

For translated books, include the translator’s name after the title, preceded by “translated by.” Here’s an example:

Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Translated by Gregory Rabassa, Harper & Row, 1970.

In-Text Citations for Books

Parenthetical Citations: How and When to Use Them

In-text citations in MLA style typically include the author’s last name and the page number where the information was found, all enclosed in parentheses. For example:

(Smith 45)

This brief citation directs readers to the corresponding entry in the works cited list.

Examples of In-Text Citations for Different Book Types

Single author: (Smith 45)

Two authors: (Smith and Doe 67)

Three or more authors: (Smith et al. 89)

Corporate author: (American Psychological Association 123)

Tools and Resources for MLA Citations

WriterBuddy is an excellent resource for generating citations with ease. Check out our citation tool at WriterBuddy.

FAQs

What are the essential components of an MLA book citation?

An MLA book citation must include the author’s name, the book title, the publisher, and the publication date, all formatted according to specific MLA guidelines.

How do you cite a book with multiple authors in MLA style?

For two authors, list both names in the order they appear on the title page, separated by a comma and “and”. For three or more authors, list the first author followed by “et al.”

What is the correct format for citing an edited book in MLA style?

When citing an edited book, include the editor’s name followed by “ed.” after the book title, for example, Brown, Emily, ed. Modern Literary Theory. Random House, 2019.

How can you ensure accuracy and consistency in MLA citations?

To ensure accuracy and consistency in MLA citations, double-check each element of your citation, use reliable sources or tools like WriterBuddy, and adhere strictly to MLA guidelines throughout your document.

Conclusion

Citing a book in MLA style requires attention to detail in listing the author’s name, book title, publisher, and publication year. Proper citation not only respects intellectual property but also makes it easier for readers to locate the sources you used.

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