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MLA Style, 8th Edition: Citing a book

Use this guide to find resources on MLA Style, 8th ed. and find examples for citing various types of sources.

MLA Core Elements to an entry for a "Works Cited" list

The 8th edition of MLA uses nine core elements to create a works cited entry.  Using the information you have, you can create an entry for a source by following the order of the core elements listed below.  If a core element does not apply to your source or is missing then proceed to the next core element.  Using the core elements correctly requires an understanding of "containers."  A source may be part of a larger work or collection (with one or more containers), or it may be a stand alone self-contained work.  See the MLA Works Cited: A Quick Guide and use the practice template to better understand this concept.



Begin with the author's last name, followed by a comma, and then the remainder of the author's name as it was listed in the work.  This element should end with a period.  If the remainder of the author's name ended with a period, do not follow it with another period. [MLA Handbook, pages 21-25]

2 Title of source.  

For self-contained and independent sources place the title in italics.  For titles that are part of a larger work or collection, place the title in quotation marks (e.g., a single poem within a book that is a collection of poems) End the element with a period.  [MLA Handbook, pages 25-29]

3 Title of container,  

When element two was part of a larger work or collection, provide the title of the larger work or collection (the container) in italics, followed by a comma.  [MLA Handbook, pages 30-36]

4 Other contributors,  

Identify those people whose participation is important to your research or to the identification of the work.  Precede each person's name with a description of their role (e.g., edited by, illustrated by, translated by), and end the element with a comma. [MLA Handbook, pages 37-38]

5 Version,  

Provide this element when the source has been made available in more than one form (e.g., second edition, updated edition, director's cut), followed by a comma. [MLA Handbook, pages 38-39]

6 Number,  

Provide this element when the source is part of a numbered sequence, (e.g., one volume of a multi-volume set, a volume and issue of a journal), followed by a comma. [MLA Handbook, pages 39-40]

7 Publisher,  

Provide the name of the organization responsible for producing or making available the source, followed by a comma.  This element is not necessary for certain publications (e.g., journals, magazines, newspapers) or Web sites that are not involved in producing the works made available (e.g., YouTube, JSTOR). [MLA Handbook, pages 40-42]

8 Publication date,  

Provide the publication date in day-month-year format, as provided in your source.  Also include times if available in the source.  Months may be abbreviated. For sources with more than one date, provide the date that is most relevant to your use of that source. End this element with a comma unless it is the end of the entry. [MLA Handbook, pages 42-46]

9 Location.  

The location is dependent on the medium of publication.  It may be a page or range of pages in a print publication. For an online publication it would be an URL (Web address) / Permalink, or a DOI (preferable to an URL). For a physical object experienced in-person it would be a place & city. End this element with a period. [MLA Handbook, pages 46-50] 


MLA Optional Elements to an entry for a "Works Cited" list


Optional elements are just what they sound like; they are included at the writer's discretion.  They may follow at the end of the entry, or they may follow one of the core elements if there is an element that they clarify.  Some optional elements that might be included are:  date of original publication, city of publication, the date that you accessed an online source, and other factual items about the source that will assist the reader in locating the item.    [MLA Handbook, pages 50-53]

Want to learn more?  See Optional Elements: A Primer at the MLA website.

Book with one author


Davis, Michael. Street Gang: The Complete History of

Sesame Street. Viking, 2008. 

Cover Art

Book with two authors

   Cover Art

Hoobler, Dorothy, and Thomas Hoobler. The Crimes of

Paris: A True Story of Murder, Theft, and Detection.

1st ed., Little, Brown, 2009. 



Edited book


Steinberg, Shirley R., and Joe L. Kincheloe, editors.

Christotainment: Selling Jesus through Popular

Culture. Westview Press, 2009. 

Cover Art   

Electronic Book

Cover Art

Wreden, Nick. Profit Brand: how to increase the profitability, accountability & sustainability of brands. Kogan Page, 2005, ProQuest Ebook Central,  


Note:  A unified, stand alone work is self-contained. The container for this source is the name of the electronic database that contains the book, followed by the next relevant core element -- location.   



Electronic Book

Fang, Karen. John Woo's A Better Tomorrow. Hong Kong UP, 2004, Project Muse,

Citing part of a book -- Chapter in an edited book

Dueck, Jeffrey. "Religious Pluralism and the Super Best Friends." South Park and Philosophy: You Know, I Learned Something Today, edited by Robert Arp, Blackwell Publishing, 2007, pp. 224-35. 
Cover Art   



Citing part of a book -- Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword

Cover Art
Macdonald, Nancy. "The feminine touch: the highs and lows of the female graffiti experience." Introduction. Graffiti Women: Street Art from Five Continents, by Nicholas Ganz, Abrams, 2006, pp. 12-13.


[MLA Handbook, page 106, the unique title for the Introduction is listed before the descriptive title and enclosed in quotation marks]


In-text citations

Inside your paper, give credit to the works you quote.

See examples of how to tell your readers where facts, paraphrases, or quotes in your paper come from at this site from the Purdue OWL: MLA In-text Citations.