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How to Cite Something in MLA Format

MLA formatting refers to the writing style guide produced by the Modern Language Association. If you’re taking a class in the liberal arts, you usually have to follow this format when writing papers. In addition to looking at MLA examples, it helps to know the basics of the style guide.

Parenthetical Citations

MLA requires parenthetical citations within the document. This means you must include source information inside parentheses placed after a quotation or paraphrase from a source. Each parenthetical citation must have the page number where you found the information you used. It may also have the author’s or creator’s name. Do not use a comma to separate the name and the date.

In-text Citations

The format for in-text citations depends on the format of the source material. For print material like books and journals, you need the author’s name and publication date. If the source has two authors, use and to join them and the term “et al.” if it has more than two authors. You can also reference the authors in the document and include only the page number in parentheses.

Citations for Nonprint Material

If you use nonprint materials as sources, you have to cite them. However, you don’t have to include page numbers with the in-text citations. You do have to include information like the name of the work, the creator’s name and the year of publication on the Works Cited page.

When you complete the Work Cited page, each source requires additional information. For images, you need to include contributors, the reproduction number and URL where you located the image online. Movies must list the director’s name and distributor. A TV series needs the episode title and number, series title, season number and network. Pieces of music should include the title of the track and album and the record label.

Works Cited List

When you use MLA format, you must have a Works Cited page that lists all of the sources you used for the paper. This page goes at the end of the document on a separate page. You list all of the sources in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. Make sure the page is double-spaced and that you follow the specific guidelines for formatting each entry.

Citation Generators

If you don’t have access to printed MLA style guides or don’t understand how to format your sources, you can turn to a citation generator. There are several citation generators available online for free or as part of a subscription service. You can also find them in word processing programs.

To use a citation generator, you enter information about each source. The program automatically formats the sources for the works cited page. You can also select the places in the document to add in-text citations.


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Cite a Book in MLA

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Citing books in mla.

How do you cite a book? What information do you need to include and where does it go? Citation Machine citing tools can help you easily create formatted citations for your research paper.

First, find your book using the search box above. The book’s author, title, or ISBN will work. If there are books with similar titles, authors, different editions, etc., you will be shown all possibilities, so you can choose the correct book. From there, the citing tools will automatically pull information on the source and help you create a citation.

Books aren’t just in print. They can be electronic, too. You can find them in online databases, websites, audiobooks, and other forms of media. Citation Machine citing tools can handle those, as well.

Standard book citation:

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic, 2008.

Translated works in MLA format:

If the focus was on the text, rather than the actual translation, cite the source like this:

Vila-Matas, Enrique. Never Any End to Paris. Translated by Anne McLean, New Directions, 2011.

If the focus was on the translation, include the translator’s name first in the citation.

McLean, Anne, translator. Never Any End to Paris. By Enrique Vila-Matas, New Directions, 2011.

Wish you had an automatic MLA citation generator to do all of the heavy lifting for you? Try out our generator, at the top of this page.

How to cite a textbook in print:

To cite a full textbook in print in MLA format, you’ll need to find the following pieces of information:

  • Name of the author(s) or editor(s)
  • Title of the textbook, including any subtitles
  • Version of the textbook (such as a numbered edition or revised edition)
  • Name of the publisher
  • Year the textbook was published

Place the pieces of information in this format:

Last name, First name of the author or Last name, First name, editor. Title of the Textbook. Version, Publisher, Year published.

If the textbook was compiled by an editor, use this format at the beginning of the citation:

Last name, First name, editor.

Examples of how to cite a textbook in print:

Lilly, Leonard S. Braunwald’s Heart Disease: Review and Assessment . 9th ed., Elsevier Saunders, 2012.

Cherny, Nathan, et al., editors. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine . 5th ed., Oxford UP, 2015.

E-books in MLA format:

Citing an e-book (a digital book that lacks a URL and that you use software to read on a personal e-reader):

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. E-book ed., Barnes & Noble Classics, 2004.

In the “version” section of the citation, include “E-book ed.” to specify that you used an e-book version of a printed book.

You can also use the “final supplemental” section of the citation to specify the file type of the electronic edition of the work if you know the work varies by file format.

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. E-book ed., Barnes & Noble Classics, 2004. EPUB.

If you’re citing a book available from a website, here’s an example in MLA format:

Doyle, Arthur Conan. “A Scandal in Bohemia.” The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Internet Archive,

The website is the container, which is found in the third position of the citation, in italics.

Wish you had a second set of eyes to review your citations? Use our MLA citation generator and compare the output to yours.

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Cite a Book in MLA

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Consider your source's credibility. ask these questions:, contributor/author.

  • Has the author written several articles on the topic, and do they have the credentials to be an expert in their field?
  • Can you contact them? Do they have social media profiles?
  • Have other credible individuals referenced this source or author?
  • Book: What have reviews said about it?
  • What do you know about the publisher/sponsor? Are they well-respected?
  • Do they take responsibility for the content? Are they selective about what they publish?
  • Take a look at their other content. Do these other articles generally appear credible?
  • Does the author or the organization have a bias? Does bias make sense in relation to your argument?
  • Is the purpose of the content to inform, entertain, or to spread an agenda? Is there commercial intent?
  • Are there ads?
  • When was the source published or updated? Is there a date shown?
  • Does the publication date make sense in relation to the information presented to your argument?
  • Does the source even have a date?
  • Was it reproduced? If so, from where?
  • If it was reproduced, was it done so with permission? Copyright/disclaimer included?
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  • MLA Citation Generator

Free MLA Citation Generator

Generate accurate citations in MLA format automatically, with MyBib!

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😕 What is an MLA Citation Generator?

An MLA citation generator is a software tool designed to automatically create academic citations in the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation format. The generator will take information such as document titles, author, and URLs as in input, and output fully formatted citations that can be inserted into the Works Cited page of an MLA-compliant academic paper.

The citations on a Works Cited page show the external sources that were used to write the main body of the academic paper, either directly as references and quotes, or indirectly as ideas.

👩‍🎓 Who uses an MLA Citation Generator?

MLA style is most often used by middle school and high school students in preparation for transition to college and further education. Ironically, MLA style is not actually used all that often beyond middle and high school, with APA (American Psychological Association) style being the favored style at colleges across the country.

It is also important at this level to learn why it's critical to cite sources, not just how to cite them.

🙌 Why should I use a Citation Generator?

Writing citations manually is time consuming and error prone. Automating this process with a citation generator is easy, straightforward, and gives accurate results. It's also easier to keep citations organized and in the correct order.

The Works Cited page contributes to the overall grade of a paper, so it is important to produce accurately formatted citations that follow the guidelines in the official MLA Handbook .

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's MLA Citation Generator?

It's super easy to create MLA style citations with our MLA Citation Generator. Scroll back up to the generator at the top of the page and select the type of source you're citing. Books, journal articles, and webpages are all examples of the types of sources our generator can cite automatically. Then either search for the source, or enter the details manually in the citation form.

The generator will produce a formatted MLA citation that can be copied and pasted directly into your document, or saved to MyBib as part of your overall Works Cited page (which can be downloaded fully later!).

MyBib supports the following for MLA style:

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BibGuru MLA Citation Generator

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Your Works Cited page in MLA

  • A closer look at MLA's core elements

In-text citations in MLA

Formatting your paper in mla, helpful resources on mla style, the ultimate guide to citing in mla.

The MLA citation style was developed by the Modern Language Association of America, an association of scholars and teachers of language and literature.

The MLA publishes several academic journals, and the MLA Handbook , a citation guide for high school and undergrad students. The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for writing and documenting research, as well as tips for the use of the English language in your writing.

MLA is a very popular citation style. However, if you are unsure which citation style to use in your paper, ask your instructor. There are many different citation styles and using the style your instructor or institution has established correctly can have a positive impact on your grade.

This guide is based on the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook and aims at helping you cite correctly in MLA. The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for a large variety of sources and uses a two-part documentation system for citing sources:

  • in-text parenthetical citations (author, page)
  • a reference list at the end of paper with all literature used in text.

Each source that was cited in the text or notes of your paper should appear in a list at the end of the paper. MLA calls the reference list a "Works Cited" page.

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Your Works Cited list identifies the sources you cite in the body of your research project. Works that you consult during your research, but don't use and cite in your paper, are not included. Your Works Cited list is ordered alphabetically by the part of the author's name that comes first in each entry.

Entries in the list of works cited are made up of core elements given in a specific order, and there are optional elements that may be included. The core elements in your works cited list are the following, given in the order in which they should appear, followed by the correct punctuation mark. The final element in an MLA reference should end with a period:

  • Title of source.
  • Title of container,
  • Contributor,
  • Publication date,

To use this template of core elements, first evaluate what you are citing to see which elements apply to the source. Then list each element relevant to your source in the order given on the template. For a work containing another work (e.g. an article published in a journal and contained in a database), you can repeat the process by filling out the template again from Title of container to Location , listing all elements that apply to the container.

Step-by-step guide to create a Works Cited entry

Let's try this with a journal article. If you wanted to cite the article , “What Should We Do with a Doctor Here?”: Medical Authority in Austen’s Sanditon ," from the journal, Nineteenth-Century Contexts , the process would look like this:

  • First, you would determine the author. In this case, that's Amy Mallory-Kani. so the first part of your reference would be: Mallory-Kani, Amy.
  • Next, you'd want to include the title of the source in quotation marks, followed by a period: “What Should We Do with a Doctor Here?”: Medical Authority in Austen’s Sanditon."
  • After the title of the source, you need to list the container. In this case, it's the journal's name, Nineteenth-Century Contexts , italicized and followed by a comma.
  • For journal articles, the title of the container needs to be followed by version, or the volume number of the journal, separated by a comma from the issue number: vol. 39, no. 4,
  • Since there is not typically a publisher listed for journal articles, the next step is to include the date, followed by a comma: 2017,
  • Finally, you'll end your reference by adding the page numbers for the article, followed by an ending period: pp. 313-26.

If we put this all together, the full reference will look like this:

EXAMPLE Journal article

Mallory-Kani, Amy. “'What Should We Do with a Doctor Here?': Medical Authority in Austen’s Sanditon ”. Nineteenth-Century Contexts , vol. 39, no. 4, 2017, pp. 313-26.

MLA has a specific rule about how to structure page numbers in a works cited entry. Use pp. and then list the number. If the page range is within ten or one hundred digits, you don't need to repeat the first digit. For example, you would write pp. 51-8 or pp. 313-26.

The following section takes a deeper look at the core elements of an MLA works cited entry to help you get your citation right.

MLA explainer image

A closer look at MLA's core elements

When formatting the author element, make sure to follow these guidelines:

  • When a work is published without an author's name, do not list it as Anonymous . Skip the author element instead and begin with the Title of source .
  • Begin the entry with the last name of the author, so it can be alphabetized under this name. Follow the last name with a comma and the rest of the name as presented by the work.
  • When a source has two authors, include them in the order in which they are presented in the work. Reverse the first of the names as described above.
  • When a source has three or more authors, reverse the first of the names as described above and follow it with a comma and the abbreviation, et al.

EXAMPLE Source with two authors

Gabrielle, Matthew, and David M. Perry. The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe . Harper, 2021.

In the Title of Source element, you list the title of the work you are citing:

EXAMPLE Title of Source element

Cox, Taylor.  Creating the Multicultural Organization: A Strategy for Capturing the Power of Diversity . Jossey-Bass, 2001.

In general, titles in your Works Cited list are given in full exactly as they are found in the source, except that capitalization, punctuation between the main title and a subtitle, and the styling of titles that normally appear in italic typeface are standardized. The Title of Source element is followed by a period unless the title ends in a question mark or exclamation point.

A container in the context of the MLA template is a work that contains another work. An example of a container can be:

  • A periodical, such as a journal, magazine or newspaper is the container of an article published there.
  • A website or database can be the container of a post, a review, a song, a film, or other media.
  • An art exhibit is the container of an artwork featured in it.

In the example below, the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability is the container of the article “Vocabulary Knowledge of Deaf and Hearing Postsecondary Students”: 

EXAMPLE Title of Container

Sarchet, Thomastine, et al. “Vocabulary Knowledge of Deaf and Hearing Postsecondary Students.”  Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability , vol. 27, no. 2, Summer 2014, pp. 161–178.

Importantly, a website or a database is not always automatically the container of a work that can be found there. If you click on a Facebook link that takes you to a New York Times article, Facebook is not the container of the article, but the New York Times website is. Be careful to make the distinction here.

The title of Container is normally italicized and followed by a comma.

People, groups, and organizations can be contributors to a work without being its primary creator. There can be a primary author, but a work can also be created by a group of people. Key contributors should always be listed in your entry. Other contributors can be listed on a case-by-case basis. Whenever you list a contributor, include a label describing the role. These kinds of contributors should always be listed in your entry:

  • translators
  • editors responsible for scholarly editions and anthologies
  • editors responsible for edited collections of works by various primary authors from which you cite an individual contribution

EXAMPLE Translator of a work with a primary author

Chartier, Roger. The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, Stanford UP, 1994.

It may be necessary to include other types of contributors if they shaped the overall presentation of the work. Use labels (in lowercase) to describe the contributor's role, such as:

  • translated by

EXAMPLE Creator of a television show

"Strike Up the Band." The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel , created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, season 3, episode 1, Amazon Studios, 2019.

When a source has three or more contributors in the same role, list the first contributor, followed by et al.

EXAMPLE Three or more contributors

Balibar, Étienne. Politics and the Other Scene . Translated by Christine Jones et al., Verso, 2002.

If a source is a version of a work released in more than one form, you need to identify the version in your entry. For example, books are commonly issued in versions called editions .

When citing versions in your Works Cited list, write original numbers with arabic numerals and no superscript. Abbreviate revised (rev.) and edition (ed.) .

EXAMPLE Edition of a work

Black, Joseph, et al., editors. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Victorian Era . 3rd ed., Broadview, 2021.

The source you are documenting may be part of a sequence, like a volume, issue, or episode. Include that number in your entry:

EXAMPLE Work with a number

Warren, R., et al. “The Projected Effect on Insects, Vertebrates, and Plants of Limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C Rather than 2°C.”  Science (New York, N.Y.) , vol. 360, no. 6390, 2018, pp. 791–795, doi:10.1126/science.aar3646.

Always use arabic numerals in the Number element. If necessary, convert roman numerals or spelled out numerals to arabic numerals.

The publisher is the entity primarily responsible for making the work available to the public. The publisher element may include the following:

  • book publisher
  • studio, network, company, or distributor that produced or broadcast a television show
  • institution responsible for creating website content
  • agency that produced government publication

A publisher's name may be omitted when there is none, or when it doesn't need to be given, for example in:

  • some periodicals (when publication is ongoing)
  • works published by their authors or editors (self-published)
  • websites not involved in producing the content they make available (e.g. Youtube)

This element tells your reader when the version of the book you are citing was published. In the example below, the book was published in 2018:

EXAMPLE Publication date

Lavelle, Christophe, editor.  Molecular Motors: Methods and Protocols. 2nd ed., Humana Press, 2018, doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-8556-2.

If roman numerals are used, convert them to arabic numerals. Use the day-month-year style to minimize commas in your entry and use the most specific date you can find in your source. Include day, month, and year if your source does:

EXAMPLE Specific Publication date

Merrill, Stephen. "Teaching through a Pandemic: A Mindset for This Moment." Edutopia , 19 Mar. 2020,

When time is given and helps define and locate the work, include it.

For paginated print or similar formats (e.g. PDFs), the location is the page range. In other cases, additional information may need to be included with the page numbers so that the work can be found. In this overview, you can see examples for locations:

As mentioned above, Works Cited list entries in MLA style are based on the template of core elements. In some cases, you may need or want to give additional information relevant to the work you are documenting. You can do so by adding supplements to the template. There are two sections where you can add supplements, either:

  • after the Title of Source, or
  • at the end of the entry.

A period should be placed after a supplemental element. Three pieces of information are the most likely to be placed after the Title of Source:

  • A contributor other than the author
  • The original publication date (for a work contained in another work)
  • Generically labeled sections (if any part or section of the work has a unique title as well as generic label)

For example, inserting the contributors' roles and names after the Title of Source element tells the reader that Leila El Khalidi and Christopher Tingley translated only The Singing of the Stars , not all the other works in Short Arabic Plays :

EXAMPLE Supplemental elements

Fagih, Ahmed Ibrahim al-. The Singing of the Stars . Translated by Leila El Khalidi and Christopher Tingley. Short Arabic Plays: An Anthology , edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Interlink Books, 2003, pp. 140-57.

If you need to clarify something about the entry as a whole, you can do it at the end of the entry , like:

  • Date of access
  • Medium of publication (when more than one version of a source is accessible on the same landing page and you are citing a version that is not the default version)
  • Dissertations and theses
  • Publication history
  • Book series
  • Columns, sections, and other recurring titled features
  • Multivolume works
  • Government documents

EXAMPLE Government documents

United States, Congress, House. Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act of 2016. , 114th Congress, 2nd session, House Resolution 6394, passed 6 Dec. 2016.

How to use Bibguru for MLA citations

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In-text citations aim at directing the reader to the entry in your Works Cited list for the source. while creating the least possible interruption in the text. An in-text citation usually contains the author's name (or other first element in the entry in the works cited list) and a page number. The page number usually goes in a parenthesis, placed where there is a natural pause in the text.

A parenthetical citation that directly follows a quotation is placed after the closing quotation mark. No punctuation is used between the author's name (or the title) and a page number:

EXAMPLE Parenthetical citation

“It's silly not to hope. It's a sin he thought.” (Hemingway 96)

The author's name can appear in the text itself or before the page number in the parenthesis:

Cox names five strategies to implement Diversity Management in companies (50).

Here are some additional examples of in-text citations and their corresponding Works Cited entries:

EXAMPLE Citation in prose using author's name

Smith argues that Jane Eyre is a "feminist Künstlerroman " that narrativizes a woman's struggle to write herself into being (86).
Jane Eyre is a "feminist Künstlerroman " that narrativizes a woman's struggle to write herself into being (Smith 86).

EXAMPLE Works cited

Smith, Jane. Feminist Self-Definition in the Nineteenth-Century Novel . Cambridge UP, 2001.

How to correctly style your in-text citations

  • If you are citing an author in your paper, give the full name at first mention and the last name alone thereafter.
  • If you are citing a work with two authors, include both first and last names the first time you mention them in your paper. Then, in a following parenthetical citation, connect the two last names with and .
  • If the source has three or more authors, you may list all the names or provide the name of the first collaborator followed by "and others" or "and colleagues". In a parenthetical citation, list the last name of the first author and et al .

Ditch the frustrations for stress-free citations

The MLA Handbook also provides guidelines on how to present your paper in a clear and consistent way. These are the general guidelines to format your paper correctly , according to MLA. For more details, refer to the MLA Handbook :

  • Use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Font size should be 12 pt.
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Double-space the entire text of your paper.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.
  • Indent every new paragraph one half-inch from the left margin. You can use your tab bar for this.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one half-inch from the top and flush with the right margin.
  • Use italics for the titles of longer works.
  • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically required.
  • On the first page, make sure that the text is left-aligned. Then, list your name, the name of your teacher or professor, the course name and the date in separate lines.
  • Center align your heading. Do not italicize, bold, or underline your title. Also, do not use a period after the title.

The MLA Handbook gives guidance for a multitude of different sources, like websites, television series, songs, articles, comic books, etc., and considers various types of contributors to these sources. BibGuru's MLA citation generator helps you create the fastest and most accurate MLA citations possible. If you want to learn more about MLA citations, check out our detailed MLA citation guides .

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How to cite an annual report

Resources based on the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook

  • Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
  • California State University, Northridge Library MLA Style Guide
  • Columbia College Library MLA Style Guide
  • McMaster University Library MLA Style Guide
  • Spartanburg Community College Library MLA Style Guide
  • Madison College Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills Library MLA Style Guide
  • University of Wisconsin-Parkside Library MLA Style Guide

The following resources are based on the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook , but still offer relevant insights on MLA style

  • University of Washington Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • University of North Texas Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • Valencia College Library MLA Style Guide
  • College of Southern Nevada Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • University of Nevada, Reno Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • Montana State University Library MLA Style Guide
  • University of Michigan Library MLA Style Guide
  • University of Vermont Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • University of Illinois Library MLA Style Guide
  • Hillsborough Community College Libraries MLA Style Guide
  • Southern Connecticut State University Library MLA Style Guide
  • Arizona State University Library MLA Style Guide

An in-text citation usually contains the author's name (or other first element in the entry in the works cited list) and a page number. The page number usually goes in a parenthesis, placed where there is a natural pause in the text.

In MLA style, audio-visual material uses the specific time of the audio/video for in-text citations. You need to cite the author's last name and the time or a short version of the title and the time within parentheses, e.g.:

The following scene exemplifies the performer's physical abilities (Thurman 00:15:43-00:20:07).

Anyone can use MLA style given its versatility. However, this format is often used by writers and students working in the arts and humanities, such as linguistics, literature, and history.

Yes, the BibGuru MLA citation generator is completely free and ready to use by students and writers adopting MLA guidelines.

The most recent version of the MLA guidelines is the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook, released in 2021. It is still very new so you should check with your instructor or institution to make sure you're using the right version.

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What is the Cite This For Me MLA Citation Generator?

Are you looking for an easy and reliable way to cite your sources in the MLA format? Look no further because Cite This For Me’s MLA citation generator is designed to remove the hassle of citing. You can use it to save valuable time by auto-generating all of your citations.

The Cite This For Me citation machine accesses information from across the web, assembling all of the relevant material into a fully-formatted works cited MLA format page that clearly maps out all of the sources that have contributed to your paper. Using a generator simplifies the frustrating citing process, allowing you to focus on what’s important: completing your assignment to the best of your ability.

Have you encountered an unusual source, such as a microfiche or a handwritten manuscript, and are unsure how to accurately cite this in the MLA format? Or are you struggling with the dozens of different ways to cite a book? If you need a helping hand with creating your citations, Cite This For Me’s accurate and powerful generator and handy MLA format template for each source type will help to get you one step closer to the finishing line.

Continue reading our handy style guide to learn how to cite like a pro. Find out exactly what a citation generator is, how to implement the MLA style in your writing, and how to organize and present your work according to the guidelines.

Popular MLA Citation Examples

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  • Image online or video
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  • Video, film, or DVD 

Why Do I Need To Cite?

Whenever you use someone else’s ideas or words in your own work, even if you have paraphrased or completely reworded the information, you must give credit where credit is due to avoid charges of plagiarism. There are many reasons why.

First, using information from a credible source lends credibility to your own thesis or argument. Your writing will be more convincing if you can connect it to information that has been well-researched or written by a credible author. For example, you could argue that “dogs are smart“ based on your own experiences, but it would be more convincing if you could cite scientific research that tested the intelligence of dogs.

Second, you should cite sources because it demonstrates that you are capable of writing on an academic or professional level. Citations show that your writing was thoughtfully researched and composed, something that you would not find in more casual writing.

Lastly, and most importantly, citing is the ethical thing to do. Imagine that you spent months of your life on a paper: researching it, writing it, and revising it. It came out great and you received many compliments on your thesis and ideas. How would you feel if someone took those ideas (or even the whole paper) and turned them in as their own work without citations? You’d probably feel terrible.

For all of these reasons, be sure that all of the source material that has contributed to your work is cited. There are two steps:

  • Acknowledge a source with an MLA in-text citation (also known as a parenthetical citation )
  • Feature a full citation for the source in your works cited list

Create citations, whether manually or by using the Cite This For Me MLA citation generator, to maintain accuracy and consistency throughout your project.

Do I Have to Cite Everything?

When writing a research paper, any information used from another source needs to be cited. The only exceptions to this rule are everyday phrases (e.g., all the world’s a stage) and common knowledge (e.g., President Kennedy was killed in 1963).

Also, your own work does not need to be cited. That includes your opinions, ideas, and visuals (e.g., graphs, photos, etc.) you created. However, you do need to cite your own work if you have previously published it or used it in another assignment. Otherwise it’s considered self plagiarism . For example, submitting a paper that you wrote and already turned in for another class is still plagiarism, even though it is your own work.

If you have any doubts about whether or not something you’ve written requires a citation, it’s always better to cite the source. While it may be a tedious process without an MLA citation machine, attributing your research is essential in validating the statements and conclusions you make in your work. What’s more, drawing on numerous sources elevates your understanding of the topic, and accurately citing these sources reflects the impressive research journey that you have embarked on.

Consequences of Not Citing

The importance of crediting your sources goes far beyond ensuring that you don’t lose points on your assignment for citing incorrectly. Plagiarism, even when done unintentionally, can be a serious offense in both the academic and professional world.

If you’re a student, possible consequences include a failing assignment or class grade, loss of scholarship, academic probation, or even expulsion. If you plagiarize while writing professionally, you may suffer legal ramifications as well, such as fines, penalties, or lawsuits.

The consequences of plagiarism extend beyond just the person who plagiarized: it can result in the spread of misinformation. When work is copied and/or improperly cited, the facts and information presented can get misinterpreted, misconstrued, and mis-paraphrased. It can also be more difficult or impossible for readers and peers to check the information and original sources, making your work less credible.

What is the MLA Format?

The MLA format was developed by the Modern Languages Association as a consistent way of documenting sources used in academic writing. In 2021, the Modern Languages Association replaced its 8th edition of the guidelines with the current 9th edition. Most of these changes were made to reflect the expanding digital world and how researchers and writers cite online information resources. MLA is a concise style predominantly used in the liberal arts and humanities, first and foremost in research focused on languages, literature, and culture. You can find out more here .

It is important to present your work consistently, regardless of the style you are using. Accurately and coherently crediting your source material both demonstrates your attention to detail and enhances the credibility of your written work. The MLA format provides a uniform framework for consistency across a scholarly document, and caters to a large variety of sources. So, whether you are citing a website, an article, or even a podcast, the style guide outlines everything you need to know to correctly format all of your MLA citations.* The style also provides specific guidelines for formatting your research paper, and useful tips on the use of the English language in your writing.

The Cite This For Me style guide is based on the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook. Our citation generator also uses the 9th edition — allowing you to shift focus from the formatting of your citations to what’s important — how each source contributes to your work.

MLA has been widely adopted by scholars, professors, journal publishers, and both academic and commercial presses across the world. However, many academic institutions and disciplines prefer a specific style of referencing (or have even developed their own unique format) so be sure to check which style you should be using with your professor. Whichever style you’re using, be consistent!

So, if you’re battling to get your citations finished in time, you’ve come to the right place. The generator above will create your citations in MLA style by default, or it can cite any source in 7,000+ styles. So, whether your discipline uses the APA citation style, or your institution requires you to cite in the Chicago style citation , simply go to the Cite This For Me website to find generators and style guides for ASA , IEEE , AMA , Harvard and many more.

*You may need to cite a source type that is not covered by the format manual – for these instances we have developed additional guidance and MLA format examples, which stick as closely as possible to the spirit of the style. Where examples are not covered in the official handbook, this is clearly indicated.

How Do I Create and Format MLA In-text Citations?

The MLA format is generally simpler than other referencing styles as it was developed to emphasize brevity and clarity. The style uses a straightforward two-part documentation system for citing sources: parenthetical citations in the author-page format that are keyed to an alphabetically ordered MLA works cited page. This means that the author’s last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text as a parenthetical citation, and a complete corresponding reference should appear in your works cited list.

Keep your MLA in-text citations brief, clear and accurate by only including the information needed to identify the sources. Furthermore, each parenthetical citation should be placed close to the idea or quote being cited, where a natural pause occurs – which is usually at the end of the sentence. Essentially you should be aiming to position your parenthetical citations where they minimize interruption to the reading flow, which is particularly important in an extensive piece of written work.

Check out the examples below…

MLA Format Examples

In-text citation MLA examples:

  • Page specified, author mentioned in text:

If the author’s name already appears in the sentence itself then it does not need to appear in the parentheses. Only the page number appears in the citation.

Here is an MLA format example for a source with one author :

Sontag has theorized that collecting photographs is a way “to collect the world” (3).

Here is an MLA format example for a source with two authors :

According to MacDougall and Sanders-Parks, “employers seldom expect you to know every aspect of a new job” (31).

  • Page specified, author not mentioned in text:

Include the author’s last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken in a parenthetical citation after the quote. This way of citing foregrounds the information being cited.

Example for source with one author :

“To collect photographs is to collect the world” (Sontag 3).

Example for a source with two authors :

“But employers seldom expect you to know every aspect of a new job” (MacDougall and Sanders-Parks 31).

When the author is referred to more than once in the same paragraph, you may use a single MLA in-text citation at the end of the paragraph (as long as the work cannot be confused with others cited).

If you are citing two works by the same author, you should put a comma after the author’s surname and add a shortened title to distinguish between them. If there are two authors with the same surname, be sure to include their first initial in your citation to avoid confusion.

  • Website, author known:

Books are not the only sources you will cite; odds are that you will also use many web-based sources. An MLA website citation in the text of your paper looks similar to a book citation, except that it does not include a page number.

“Photography reflects, records and advertises our lives online” (O’Hagan).

  • Website, unknown author:

Many web pages don’t have a clear author listed. In these cases, MLA citation format guidelines say to include the title of the web page. You can shorten the title if it is long.

“The most expensive photograph ever sold was not by a photographer, nor was the photograph taken by the artist” (“Photography Market”).

For any in-text citation, don’t forget to include a corresponding full citation in your bibliography. If you are struggling with how to cite a website in MLA, try the Cite This For Me MLA generator at the top of this page.

Works cited / bibliography example:

Unlike an MLA in-text citation, you must include all of the publication information in your works cited entries.

Franke, Damon. Modernist Heresies: British Literary History, 1883-1924. Ohio State UP, 2008.

O’Hagan, Sean. “What Next for Photography in the Age of Instagram?” The Guardian , 14 Oct. 2018,

“The Photography Market is About Not Just Names.” The Economist , 13 Jul. 2017,

Sontag, Susan. On Photography . Penguin, 2008.

Luckily for you, we know where the commas go, and the Cite This For Me citation generator will put them there for you.

If citing is giving you a headache, use the Cite This For Me free, accurate MLA citation generator to add all of your source material to your works cited page with just a few clicks.

How Do I Format My MLA Works Cited Page?

A works cited page is a comprehensive list of all the sources that directly contributed to your work – each entry links to the brief parenthetical citations in the main body of your work. An in-text citation only contains enough information to enable readers to find the source in the works cited MLA format list, so you’ll need to include the complete publication information for the source in your works cited entries.

Your works cited MLA page should appear at the end of the main body of text on a separate page. Each entry should start at the left margin and be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name (note that if there is no author, you can alphabetize by title). For entries that run for more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) – this format is called a ‘hanging indentation.’

The title of the page should be neither italicized nor bold – it is simply center-aligned. Like the rest of your MLA format paper the list should be double-spaced, both between and within entries.

Sometimes your professor will ask you to also list the works that you have read throughout your research process, but didn’t directly cite in your paper. This list should be called ‘Work Cited and Consulted,’ and is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the full extent of the research you have carried out.

Remember, indicate all of your sources via both parenthetical citations and an MLA format works cited list, to acknowledge the work of other authors.

Works cited examples:

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. Verso, 1983.

Fox, Claire F. The Fence and the River: Culture and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border. U of Minnesota P, 1999.

Sontag, Susan. On Photography. Penguin, 2008.

MLA Style Research

When you are gathering sources in your research phase, be sure to make note of the following bibliographical items:

  • Name of original source owner: author, editor, translator, illustrator, or director
  • Titles: article or newspaper title, title of publication, series title
  • Important dates: date of publication, date of composition, issue date, event date, date accessed
  • Publishing information: publisher name
  • Identifying information: number of volumes, volume number, issue number, edition, chapter, pages, lines

If you’re still in your research phase, why not try out Cite This For Me for Chrome? It’s an intuitive and easy-to-use browser extension that enables you to instantly create and edit a citation for any online source whilst you browse the web.

Racing against the clock? If your deadline has crept up on you and you’re running out of time, the Cite This For Me MLA citation maker will help collect and add any source to your MLA bibliography with just a click.

In today’s digital age, source material comes in all shapes and sizes. Thanks to Cite This For Me’s citation generator, citing is no longer a chore. Accurately and easily cite any type of source in a heartbeat, whether it be a musical score, a work of art, or even a comic strip. Cite This For Me elevates students’ research to the next level by enabling them to cite a wide range of sources.

MLA Citation Formatting Guidelines

Accurately citing sources for your assignment doesn’t just prevent the appearance or accusations of plagiarism – presenting your source material in a clear and consistent way also ensures that your work is accessible to your reader. So, whether you’re following the MLA format citation guidelines or using the Cite This For Me generator, be sure to abide by the presentation rules on font type, margins, page headers and line spacing.

To format your research paper according to the guidelines:

  • Set the margins to 1 inch (or 2.5 cm) on all sides
  • Choose an easily readable font, recommended Times New Roman
  • Set font size to 12 point
  • Set double space for your entire paper
  • Indent every new paragraph by ½ inch – you can simply use your tab bar for this
  • In the header section – on the top right corner of the pages – give your last name followed by the respective page number

MLA format heading, title, and running head: Within this formatting style, an MLA title page isn’t necessary. What’s needed instead is a header. The header is a small section added to the first page of your paper and it includes all of the same basic information a title page would.

To format your MLA header and title:

  • On the first page, ensure the text is left-aligned and then give your details: starting with your full name in line one, followed by the name of your teacher or professor, the course name and number, and the date in separate lines
  • Center align your heading – do not italicize, bold or underline, or use a period after the title
  • The body of your text should start in the next line, left-aligned with an indentation

On every page, you will also need to include what is called a “running head.” Follow these directions to create one:

  • On the top right corner of each page – give your last name followed by the respective page number. This is your running head.
  • It should be positioned ½ an inch from the top of the page, and 1 inch from the right edge of the page.

If your instructor asks for or insists on having an MLA cover page for your paper, ask them to show you a cover page example. That’s the best way to know what your instructor will be looking for.

Here is a visual MLA format template for the first page of your paper:

mla cite book generator

MLA Style 9th Edition - Changes From Previous Editions

It is worth bearing in mind that the MLA format is constantly evolving to meet the various challenges facing today’s researchers. Using Cite This For Me’s generator will help you to stay ahead of the game without having to worry about the ways in which the style has changed.

Below is a list outlining the key ways in which the style has developed since previous editions.

  • Titles of independent works (such as books and periodicals) are now italicized rather than underlined .
  • Listing URLs for web citations is now always encouraged, and you should no longer include “https://” at the beginning of the URL with the exception of DOIs.
  • You no longer are required to list the place of publication for a source unless the version of the work changes based on location, or it was published prior to 1900.
  • You are no longer required to provide medium information in your citations (e.g. ‘Print.’, ‘Web.’, ‘DVD.’ etc.)
  • The style guidelines now call for the inclusion of both volume and issue numbers in listings for journal articles.

How Do I Cite My Sources With the Cite This For Me Citation Machine for MLA?

If you’re frustrated by the time-consuming process of citing, the Cite This For Me multi-platform citation management tool will transform the way you conduct your research. Using this fast, accurate and accessible generator will give you more time to work on the content of your paper, so you can spend less time worrying about tedious references.

To use the MLA format generator:

  • Choose the type of source you would like to cite (e.g. website, book, journal & video
  • Enter the URL , DOI , ISBN , title, or other unique source information to locate your source
  • Click the ‘Search’ button (If there is more than one result, review the sources presented and select one)
  • See what information was found on your source, then click the “Continue” button
  • Review or edit your citation information, then click “Complete citation” to create it
  • Copy your fully-formatted citation into your works cited list</li/>
  • Repeat the same process for each source that has contributed to your work

As well as making use of the powerful citation generator on this MLA citation website, you can cite with our Chrome add-on or Word add-on.

Manage all your citations in one place

Create projects, add notes, cite directly from the browser.

Sign up to Cite This For Me – the ultimate citation management tool.

Published October 1, 2015. Updated July 21, 2021.

  • Reference List


The simple guide to mla book citations , tomas elliott (ma).

  • Published on 04/17/2021
  • Updated on 10/26/2023

This page details everything you need to know about how to construct an MLA citation for a book. It has been compiled by experts, and the information comes from the most up-to-date version of the MLA Handbook (9th Edition).


There are two parts to any citation. The first part appears in the main body of your text, and the second part appears in a “Works Cited” list at the end of your document.


There are two ways of citing a source in the main body of your text. You can include the name of the author in your text, followed by a page number in round brackets if necessary. Alternatively, you can group both the author and the page number in brackets together. For example:

Samuel Beckett begins Murphy on a characteristically nihilistic note: “The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new” (3).


The irony of the novel’s opening line is that it provides a new twist on the old cliché that there is “nothing new” under the sun (Beckett 3).


At the end of your paper, you should include a list of Works Cited. This should contain all the information necessary for your reader to locate your sources. The basic layout is as follows:

Author Surname, Author First Name and/or Initial(s). Title. Version if not the first, Publisher, Publication Date.

So, the entry in the Works Cited list for the above novel by Beckett would be:

Beckett, Samuel. Murphy . Faber and Faber, 2009.

Note that, since this is the first edition of this publication of the novel, it does not include a version number or edition.


The layout above is the basic example for a single-author work. However, there are many different kinds of sources that you may need to cite. The following is a list of all the major types of book that you might come across.


Some books, particularly textbooks, have co-authors. To generate an MLA citation for a textbook with two authors, include both their surnames in your text and in your Works Cited list. In the Works Cited list, only the names of the first author are inverted. The second author’s names should appear in their natural order. For example:

Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer trace the “intersection between the history of natural philosophy and the history of political thought” (21).

Shapin, Steven, and Simon Schaffer. Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life . Princeton UP, 2011.


If a work has three or more authors, include the first author’s name followed by “and colleagues” in your prose. In the Works Cited list, use the phrase “et al.” (which means “and the rest”).

Henry Jenkins and colleagues propose the term “spreadable media” to describe media circulation (3).

Jenkins, Henry, et al. Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York UP, 2013.


Works that don’t have an author can be cited using their title, like so:

The eponymous knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight carries a “dreadful axe” (line 202).   

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight . Translated by Keith Harrison, Oxford UP, 1998.


If a book has editors rather than authors, simply use the editors’ names in your text and include a note in your Works Cited list that highlights the fact that it was compiled by editors. 

Scholars have argued that loss and mourning can be positive and creative, rather than simply negative (Eng and Kazanjian).

Eng, David L., and David Kazanjian, editors. Loss: The Politics of Mourning . U of California P, 2003.


When citing a specific chapter in an edited collection, cite the chapter author’s name in your text. Your Works Cited list should then include the chapter title and the title of the collection, followed by page numbers for the chapter.

Poststructuralist theory demanded a “rethinking of time” in relation to language (Maclachlan 136). 

Maclachlan, Ian. “Temporalities of Writing: Time and Difference after Structuralism.” Time and Literature , edited by Thomas W. Allen, Cambridge UP, 2018, pp. 134-49.


When citing texts in other languages, follow the style preferences for capitalization that are used in the original language. You don’t typically need to include a translation of the title, unless you think your audience will be composed primarily of people who don’t know the language. If that is the case, include a translation in round brackets in the text and square brackets in your Works Cited list.

The world of Combray is first introduced in Du côté de chez Swann ( The Way by Swann’s ).

Proust, Marcel. Du côté de chez Swann [ The Way by Swann’s ]. Gallimard, 1988.


If an older work has been republished many times, you may wish to include the original publication date in your Works Cited list. This is not required but it may be useful to writers with specialist knowledge. In this case, the original publication date comes after the title, like so:

Baudry, Leo, and Marshall Cohen, editors. Film Theory and Criticism. 1974. 8th ed., Oxford UP, 2016.


Citing books in multiple volumes can be slightly complicated. If you cite material from one volume, then you only need to specify that particular volume in your Works Cited list. There’s no need to include the volume number in your text:

Marx notes that the value of a commodity depends on the “socially necessary labour time” required to produce it (129).

Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy . Translated by Ben Fowkes, vol. 1, Penguin, 1976.

If you cite more than one volume in your paper, include the volume and the page number in your text, separated by a colon. Don’t include the words “volume,” or “page,” or any abbreviations. You should then include the total number of volumes in your Works Cited list, like so:

Beckett corresponded several times with the British director Peter Hall, sending him some “depressingly inadequate” notes for a production of Waiting for Godot in 1955 and some advice on reviving Krapp’s Last Tape in 1964 (2: 575; 3: 632).

The Letters of Samuel Beckett. Edited by George Craig et al., Cambridge UP, 2009-2016. 4 vols.


Citing a digital book is very similar to citing a print book. In your bibliographic citation, you just have to note that the source is an “E-book” edition. Note, though, that e-books are less likely to have set page numbers, so you may wish to use another designator to refer your reader to a specific part of the text, as in the example below. For more on this, see our guide to in-text citations.

Modern technologies are currently revolutionizing global espionage (Lucas, ch. 1).

Lucas, Edward. Spycraft Rebooted: How Technology is Changing Espionage. E-book ed., Amazon Publishing, 2018.

Note that the MLA uses the term “e-book” to refer to publications that are specifically formatted for reading on an e-reader (such as a Kindle). These e-books will not have URLs or DOIs. If you are citing book content from an ordinary webpage with a URL, please see our guide on citing websites .


–––. The Letters of Samuel Beckett,  edited by George Craig et al. Cambridge UP, 2009-2016. 4 vols.

Lucas, Edward. Spycraft Rebooted: How Technology is Changing Espionage. E-book ed., Amazon Publishing, 2018. 

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

Proust, Marcel. Du côté de chez Swann [ The Way by Swann’s ]. Paris, Gallimard, 1988.

Shapin, Steven, and Simon Schaffer. Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life . Princeton UP, 2011. 

mla cite book generator

Tomas Elliott is completing a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has taught academic writing, research methodologies, and citation practices.


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