Skip to content
View print version
1. 2.

MLA - book

MLA (Modern Language Association) is an author-page number style, based on listing core elements of your source in a particular order. It has the flexibility to reference a wide variety of source materials. A summary of this approach is available at Purdue OWL, and a practice template is available at (practice template).

Works Cited

Add a 'Works Cited' list at the end of your essay, citing all sources used in the body of your writing.

For a numbered edition, place the abbreviation after the book title, eg ‘2nd ed.’ This part should not be italicised. Use ‘Rev. ed.’ for revised editions and ‘Abr. ed.’ for abridged editions.

Note: reference the source as an e-book if it was accessed online.

Note: Publisher's names appear in full as they appear on the title or copyright pages e.g., Harper Collins Publishers. An exception to this is:

Omit abbreviations like Co., Inc., Corp., and Ltd.

Only use U and P when it is a university press e.g., Cambridge University Press would become Cambridge UP.

One author

Two authors

Three or more authors

Unknown or corporate author

Edited book


In-text citation

Cite the source when paraphrasing another person's ideas or words. Either add parenthesised author and page number following the cited material, or if you name the author in the structure of your text, just add the page number at the end of your sentence. When citing material from the same author in the same paragraph, only the page number is needed, as long as the work cannot be confused with other citations.

One author

Two authors

Three or more authors

Unknown or corporate author

Multiple volumes/editions


Direct quotes require quotation marks and page numbers.

  • Research suggests that "students perform better when rested" (Smith 56).
  • Smith observed that "students perform better when rested" (56).

See also: more on quoting, including long quotes ...

This material is based on:

MLA Handbook. 8th ed. Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

"MLA Works Cited: Books." Purdue Online Writing Lab. Purdue University, 2016.

For further information please consult the manual directly.

Edit page