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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, archive.org/details/deysayan844_gmail_Cano/mode/2up?ref=ol&view=theater&q=119.

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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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:

Image of daniel-elias

Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

In-Text Citations: An Overview

In-text citations are brief, unobtrusive references that direct readers to the works-cited-list entries for the sources you consulted and, where relevant, to the location in the source being cited.

An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that di­rects your reader to the entry in the works-cited list. Thus, it begins with what ever comes first in the entry: the author’s name or the title (or descrip­tion) of the work. The citation can appear in your prose or in parentheses.

Citation in prose  Naomi Baron broke new ground on the subject. Parenthetical citation At least one researcher has broken new ground on the subject (Baron). Work cited Baron, Naomi S. “Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media.” PMLA , vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193–200. 

When relevant, an in-text citation also has a second component: if a specific part of a work is quoted or paraphrased and the work includes a page number, line number, time stamp, or other way to point readers to the place in the work where the information can be found, that location marker must be included in parentheses.

Parenthetical citation According to Naomi Baron, reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (194).

The author or title can also appear alongside the page number or other loca­tion marker in parentheses.

Parenthetical citation Reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (Baron 194).

All in-text references should be concise. Avoid, for instance, providing the author’s name or title of a work in both your prose and parentheses.

Citation (incorrect) According to Naomi Baron, reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (Baron 194). Citation (correct) According to Naomi Baron, reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (194).

For more on what to include in an in-text citation and how to style it, see sections 6.3–6.30 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook ).

52 Comments

Brandi unruh 10 april 2021 at 11:04 am.

Hello! I am a high school English teacher trying to answer a question that came up during our research unit. I can’t seem to find a definitive answer online. When using a shortened title in an in-text citation, does an ellipsis need to be included? For example, if the title was “The Problem of Poverty in America: A Historical and Cultural Analysis”, would the in-text citation be (“The Problem of Poverty in America...”) or (“The Problem of Poverty in America”)? Thank you for your time and expertise!

Your e-mail address will not be published

Laura Kiernan 12 April 2021 AT 11:04 AM

No, an ellipsis would not be used in an in-text citation. We provide extensive guidance on shortening titles in 6.10 of the new ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

angel 10 May 2021 AT 02:05 PM

hii How to write an in text citation of an entry from encyclopedia which has an editor but no separate authors for each entry ?

William Feeler 11 May 2021 AT 01:05 PM

I see no mention of paragraph numbers for unpaginated prose or sections/lines for drama. are these practices gone?

Laura Kiernan 18 May 2021 AT 01:05 PM

This post provides a general overview of our approach to in-text citations. The complete guidelines appear in sections 6.1–6.30 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Vonceil Park 11 May 2021 AT 01:05 PM

Dear MLA Staff, A professor at my College demands students to provide paragraph number in the in-text citation for online articles that have no page number nor paragraph number. Do we just count the paragraph number and put them in the parenthesis, for example: (para. 3)?

Laura Kiernan 18 May 2021 AT 12:05 PM

Thank you for your question. Your approach to modifying our style in accordance with your professor's instructions works, but we would suggest confirming that styling with your professor.

Arathi Babu 17 May 2021 AT 08:05 AM

How to write an in text citation of an unsigned entry from a reference work?

Laura Kiernan 08 June 2021 AT 11:06 AM

If the entry was in a print work, the in-text citation would include the entry’s title or a shortened version of the entry’s title and the page number of the quotation. If the entry was in a reference work without page numbers, the in-text citation should just contain the title or shortened title of the entry.

Sethu 17 May 2021 AT 02:05 PM

For example: Can I give an in-text citation like the following: Shakespeare, in his work Hamlet, quotes: "To be or not to be" (7).

For citing commonly studied verse works, see 6.22 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Trinity Klein 21 May 2021 AT 11:05 AM

Can you please help with proper in-text citation placement for an embedded quotation? Does the citation come immediately after the quotation or at the very end of the sentence? For example, is this correct: He asks her to take him home “in the voice of a child afraid of the dark” which comes as a shock to Scout because he has so long held a bold and rebellious reputation (372). Or should the (372) come immediately after ...dark"...? Thank you!

For more information about the placement of a parenthetical citations, see 6.43 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Karima 30 May 2021 AT 05:05 PM

Dear MLA staff, 1) In case i am quoting from multiple sources by the same author, am i required to introduce again the source i am quoting from in the beginning of my sentence? (Quotes are used in multiple paragraphs)

For guidance on citing multiple sources by the same author, see 6.8 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Yves 23 June 2021 AT 06:06 PM

Hello, is there a specific rule about how to format a range of page numbers in the parenthetical citation? For example, could (Eden 44-45) be written as (Eden 44-5), or is only one example correct?

Laura Kiernan 24 September 2021 AT 02:09 PM

For information about styling number ranges, see section 2.139 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Faliravo 11 August 2021 AT 05:08 AM

Good morning MLA team, My professor insists that I include the year of publication for in-text citations. Is it going to be okay if I insert the year between the author and the page number?

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Laura Kiernan 24 September 2021 AT 01:09 PM

Your approach to modifying our style in accordance with your professor’s instructions works, but we would suggest confirming that styling with your professor.

Pauline 14 September 2021 AT 11:09 PM

How do I cite an entire work. For example, if I want to say Toni Morrison's the "Bluest Eye" has been used as a textbook for many English literature classes, I suppose I shouldn't put any page number in the parenthetical citation. But I can't find any MLA references on this.

See section 4.14 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

myron glassenberg 04 February 2022 AT 01:02 PM

if source is the whole book, how do I cite in text and in works cited pages. e.g. freud (no page number) Freud , ( 1892) The Pleasure Principle.

Lauren McFall 13 October 2021 AT 02:10 PM

Students often refer to the same source consecutively across more than one sentence. I'm having a hard time finding information about the preferred approach according to the MLA. As a parallel, APA makes a specific recommendation - "cite the source in the first sentence in which it is relevant and do not repeat the citation in subsequent sentences as long as the source remains clear and unchanged" https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/appropriate-citation

Laura Kiernan 20 October 2021 AT 04:10 PM

See 6.45 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Ruth Schafer 01 December 2022 AT 07:12 PM

6.45 out of the MLA Handbook's ninth edition does not provide an example of how to cite a multi-sentence paraphrase when using an unpaginated source. Can you give an example of how to cite a multi-sentence paraphrase where the source does not have published page numbering?

Should I introduce the source in my prose and then again at the end of the multi-sentence paraphrase in parentheses when I have finished citing the paraphrase? Example: John Smith from Smith Architecture explains that crawl space foundations are...blah blah blah. These foundations are most commonly used in midwestern constructions where the frost line is...blah, blah, blah. Keep writing the paraphrase and then at the end of the final sentence instead of a page citation write the author's last name (Smith). This way if you switch to a different source, at least the reader knows that you have finished with the Smith source and have moved on to your own commentary or another source's information. Usually, I'd use a page citation at the end of the paraphrase, but when dealing with a source that does not have page numbering, I'm unsure what to do.

Lizzie 18 October 2021 AT 10:10 PM

If I only use textual evidence from the novel I'm examining, do I need to include the authors name with each in text citation? There are no other works cited, so it seems redundant/clutter-y to me

Kayden 29 October 2021 AT 05:10 PM

If I'm trying to cite multiple paragraphs from the same source would it be correct to say (par. 3 and 13) or should it be (par. 3, 13) and is it different if they are next to each other too like (par. 6-7) or (par. 6 and 7).

Laura Kiernan 04 November 2021 AT 11:11 AM

See sections 6.18–6.20 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Rachel 17 November 2021 AT 01:11 PM

When citing from an online source without pagination, if you include the author's name in the introduction to the quote, do you need to include anything in parentheses like the article title?

Laura Kiernan 22 November 2021 AT 12:11 PM

See section 6.26 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

July 25 November 2021 AT 05:11 PM

When quoting an online source (e.g. a website), do I have to indicate the fact that it's an online source in the in-text-citations as in (Name [online]) or is the author's name enough?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

Laura Kiernan 29 November 2021 AT 10:11 AM

According to MLA style, an in-text citation for an online work should not note that the work is online.

Pinkie 19 March 2022 AT 08:03 PM

If I'm writing a response paper, and I need to summarize the whole article to introduce it, then should I use in-text citation?

Laura Kiernan 25 March 2022 AT 01:03 PM

For guidance on paraphrasing, see sections 4.5–4.8 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Kay 09 April 2022 AT 06:04 PM

Hi, am I supposed to include the DOI when one is available in the citation? If I cite the print version of a journal article that has a DOI, still include the DOI in the citation? Thank you!

Laura Kiernan 11 April 2022 AT 11:04 AM

Thank you for your questions. For guidance on including a DOI in your works-cited-list entry, see sections 5.84 and 5.93 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Mike 16 April 2022 AT 05:04 PM

Website in-text Citation...

When I'm writing an in-text citation for a website, I'm seeing all manner of different things to include. Do I need to add the author name and year of publishing for the article?\ Do I just need the website name? I'm not really understanding what I need to add or obtain for such a citation within the text I'm writing.

I'm writing a book on my life, and I'm quoting a particular webpage to show one particular angle of an argument I'm making, and, of course, it's not common knowledge, so I want to make sure that I follow all the rules for this kind of thing, so I don't get in trouble with the author(s) of the sources I have quoted from...

Laura Kiernan 18 April 2022 AT 02:04 PM

Thank you for your questions about MLA style. For guidance on in-text citations for web pages, see section 6.26 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Cynthia 21 May 2022 AT 10:05 PM

When you're doing an In-text citations do you put the quotations over the chapter title and then quotations over what you get from the text or do you italicize the title?

Laura Kiernan 25 May 2022 AT 03:05 PM

Thank you for your question. For guidance on how to style chapter titles, see 2.109 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Napatsi 15 August 2022 AT 07:08 PM

I'm trying to find how to put in the in-text citation for a UN declaration article but can only find the "Resolutions of International Governing Bodies" on page 446 of the 9th edition but not how to out it in without an author.

Kim 27 September 2022 AT 12:09 PM

I'm quoting a passage from an unpublished manuscript, and it is not the only work I'm citing by the author, but the only one without a year. So using "Smith 1995, 82" is not possible. What would an in-text citation for this case look like?

Jen 17 November 2022 AT 08:11 PM

How do I cite a news cast for in-text citation like ABC News?

Samantha 04 December 2022 AT 05:12 PM

Hi, For MLA format, should a quote where you need to de-capitalize the first letter be written as "you want" or "(y)ou want". Thanks!

Laura Kiernan 07 December 2022 AT 01:12 PM

Thank you for your question. For guidance on how to indicate that you have lowercased the first letter of a quotation, see 6.56 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Maria Albeti 07 February 2023 AT 01:02 PM

Stewart, David W. Focus groups. In: Frey, B.B. (ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation, vol. 2, pp. 687–692. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications 2018 In this case, how is the correct form to write, because the article is IN the the book?

Eros Karadzhov 15 February 2023 AT 02:02 PM

If we have a sentence that is a statement, but at the end we quote a question, which punctuation mark do we keep, the question mark or the period; maybe both? Example: (1) The author ends his poem with the following question on purpose: "Or does it explode?" (Hughes 11). (2) The author ends his poem with the following question on purpose: "Or does it explode" (Hughes 11)?

Which would be correct, or maybe both are wrong?

Thank you in advance!

Laura Kiernan 16 February 2023 AT 03:02 PM

Thank you for your question. For guidance on quotations ending in a question mark, see section 6.53 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Anonymous 08 March 2023 AT 05:03 PM

What about online articles with no known author or multiple authors? What should the in-text citation look like?

Maria 25 March 2023 AT 04:03 PM

Please settle a dispute with my colleagues. I encourage composition students to avoid listing the title of journal articles within the essay unless it is especially relevant because it clutters their arguments. I came to this conclusion from my interpretation of this statement from MLA: "All in-text references should be concise. Avoid, for instance, providing the author’s name or title of a work in both your prose and parentheses." Could someone please provide an answer or further clarification?

Erika Suffern 30 March 2023 AT 04:03 PM

You are right to identify a principle of concision in our guidelines. That said, it is not wrong to mention a title in prose, but it should be done, as you note, when relevant–not as a de rigeur practice or for “filler.” As Eric Hayot notes in The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities (Columbia UP, 2014), “giving the title” in prose “suggests fuller forthcoming treatment” (159). Another reason for including the title in prose might be to call attention to something about it. Many writers who do mention a title in prose fear having an incomplete citation and are tempted also to include the title in a parenthetical reference, which is unnecessary.

Jay 29 April 2023 AT 12:04 AM

How do I in-text cite a direct quote from the introduction of an ebook with no page numbers? Would I write (Author "Introduction") or just write (Author)?

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MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

The MLA Handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.

However, this guide will highlight a few concerns when citing digital sources in MLA style.

Best Practices for Managing Online Sources

Because online information can change or disappear, it is always a good idea to keep personal copies of important electronic information whenever possible. Downloading or even printing key documents ensures you have a stable backup. You can also use the Bookmark function in your web browser in order to build an easy-to-access reference for all of your project's sources (though this will not help you if the information is changed or deleted).

It is also wise to keep a record of when you first consult with each online source. MLA uses the phrase, “Accessed” to denote which date you accessed the web page when available or necessary. It is not required to do so, but it is encouraged (especially when there is no copyright date listed on a website).

Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA

Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as Youtube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.

Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL.

Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.

Abbreviations Commonly Used with Electronic Sources

If page numbers are not available, use par. or pars. to denote paragraph numbers. Use these in place of the p. or pp. abbreviation. Par. would be used for a single paragraph, while pars. would be used for a span of two or more paragraphs.

Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)

Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available); last names first.
  • "Article name in quotation marks."
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
  • DOI (if available, precede it with "https://doi.org/"), otherwise a URL (without the https://) or permalink.
  • Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed). While not required, saving this information it is highly recommended, especially when dealing with pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.

Use the following format:

Author. "Title." Title of container (self contained if book) , Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2 nd container’s title , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Citing an Entire Web Site

When citing an entire website, follow the same format as listed above, but include a compiler name if no single author is available.

Author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), DOI (preferred), otherwise include a URL or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site . Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites . The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Apr. 2008.

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory . Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/. Accessed 10 May 2006.

Course or Department Websites

Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course (or the school catalog designation for the course) in italics. Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title.

Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England . Purdue U, Aug. 2006, web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/241/241/Home.html. Accessed 31 May 2007.

English Department . Purdue U, 20 Apr. 2009, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/. Accessed 31 May 2015.

A Page on a Web Site

For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by an indication of the specific page or article being referenced. Usually, the title of the page or article appears in a header at the top of the page. Follow this with the information covered above for entire Web sites. If the publisher is the same as the website name, only list it once.

Lundman, Susan. “How to Make Vegetarian Chili.”  eHow , www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html. Accessed 6 July 2015.

“ Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview. ”   WebMD , 25 Sept. 2014, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/athletes-foot-topic-overview.

Citations for e-books closely resemble those for physical books. Simply indicate that the book in question is an e-book by putting the term "e-book" in the "version" slot of the MLA template (i.e., after the author, the title of the source, the title of the container, and the names of any other contributors).

Silva, Paul J.  How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. E-book, American Psychological Association, 2007.

If the e-book is formatted for a specific reader device or service, you can indicate this by treating this information the same way you would treat a physical book's edition number. Often, this will mean replacing "e-book" with "[App/Service] ed."

Machiavelli, Niccolo.  The Prince , translated by W. K. Marriott, Kindle ed., Library of Alexandria, 2018.

Note:  The MLA considers the term "e-book" to refer to publications formatted specifically for reading with an e-book reader device (e.g., a Kindle) or a corresponding web application. These e-books will not have URLs or DOIs. If you are citing book content from an ordinary webpage with a URL, use the "A Page on a Web Site" format above.

An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)

Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, and the date of access.

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV . 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado , www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-family-of-carlos-iv/f47898fc-aa1c-48f6-a779-71759e417e74. Accessed 22 May 2006.

Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine . 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive , www.artchive.com/artchive/K/klee/twittering_machine.jpg.html. Accessed May 2006.

If the work cited is available on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author.

Adams, Clifton R. “People Relax Beside a Swimming Pool at a Country Estate Near Phoenix, Arizona, 1928.” Found, National Geographic Creative, 2 June 2016, natgeofound.tumblr.com/.

An Article in a Web Magazine

Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, URL, and the date of access.

Bernstein, Mark. “ 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web. ”   A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites , 16 Aug. 2002, alistapart.com/article/writeliving. Accessed 4 May 2009.

An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal

For all online scholarly journals, provide the author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. Include a DOI if available, otherwise provide a URL or permalink to help readers locate the source.

Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal

MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format (i.e. there is no corresponding print publication) that does not make use of page numbers, indicate the URL or other location information.

Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/60/362. Accessed 20 May 2009.

Article in an Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print

Cite articles in online scholarly journals that also appear in print as you would a scholarly journal in print, including the page range of the article . Provide the URL and the date of access.

Wheelis, Mark. “ Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. ”   Emerging Infectious Diseases , vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/00-0607_article. Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.

An Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)

Cite online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services as containers. Thus, provide the title of the database italicized before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access if you wish.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. “ Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates. ”   Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library , https://doi.org/10.1002/tox.20155. Accessed 26 May 2009.

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest , https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)

Give the author of the message, followed by the subject line in quotation marks. State to whom the message was sent with the phrase, “Received by” and the recipient’s name. Include the date the message was sent. Use standard capitalization.

Kunka, Andrew. “ Re: Modernist Literature. ”  Received by John Watts, 15 Nov. 2000.

Neyhart, David. “ Re: Online Tutoring. ” Received by Joe Barbato, 1 Dec. 2016.

A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting

Cite web postings as you would a standard web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets.

Author or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site , Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), URL. Date of access.

Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek , 29 Sept. 2008, boardgamegeek.com/thread/343929/best-strategy-fenced-pastures-vs-max-number-rooms. Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.

Begin with the user's Twitter handle in place of the author’s name. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader's time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the date accessed if you deem necessary.

@tombrokaw. “ SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign. ”   Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.

@PurdueWLab. “ Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week. ”   Twitter , 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m., twitter.com/PurdueWLab/status/176728308736737282.

A YouTube Video

Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. If the author is different from the uploader, cite the author’s name before the title.

McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube , uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

“8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

A Comment on a Website or Article

List the username as the author. Use the phrase, Comment on, before the title. Use quotation marks around the article title. Name the publisher, date, time (listed on near the comment), and the URL.

Not Omniscient Enough. Comment on “ Flight Attendant Tells Passenger to ‘Shut Up’ After Argument Over Pasta. ”  ABC News, 9 Jun 2016, 4:00 p.m., abcnews.go.com/US/flight-attendant-tells-passenger-shut-argument-pasta/story?id=39704050.

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / Using short quotes and block quotes in MLA

Using short quotes and block quotes in MLA

Quotations (also known as quotes) are the exact words that are taken directly from a text and repeated by someone other than the original author. When you use the exact words and sentence structure as your source, you are quoting that source. When using quotes in your writing, you need to copy the words exactly as they appear in the source.

Quotes should be used sparingly because the majority of the text should be your own ideas. Keep quotations short and to the point to keep your readers interested. Quotes are most effective when the exact words of the source are particularly well suited for your purposes and back up your own ideas.

Short quotes vs. block quotes

There are several ways to incorporate quotations into your text. You can include short quotes of four lines or less, which are incorporated into your text and are set off from the text with quotation marks.

If the section you wish to quote is longer than four lines, you can use a block quote . Block quotes are set off from the text in a separate paragraph that has larger indents at the left margin.

The MLA Handbook says this about quotes:

Construct a clear, grammatically correct sentence that allows you to introduce or incorporate a quotation accurately. When you quote, reproduce the source text exactly. Do not make changes in the spelling, capitalization, interior punctuation, italicization, or accents that appear in the source. Generally place citations at the end of your sentence or quotation. (253)

The quote above from the MLA Handbook is formatted in block quote style.

When using quotes in your papers, you must include the author’s last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation is taken as an in-text citation, unless you have named the author is the sentence preceding the quote. A full reference should appear in your Works Cited page.

Using short quotes in MLA

When you want to cite a section of your source that is four lines or less, you set off the quote in the text with double quotation marks directly before and after the quoted material. End punctuation goes before the final quotation mark.

Quotations can be integrated into a text in several ways.

1. Use the quote as a sentence

She recalled the moment of her husband’s passing. “John was talking, then he wasn’t” (Didion 10).

2. Directly integrate the quote into the sentence

Didion writes that for many months, “there has been occasions on which I was incapable of thinking rationally” and that she was “thinking as small children think, as if my thoughts or wishes had the power to reverse the narrative, change the outcome” (35).

3. Place the quotation in the middle of the sentence

Joan Didion says that after returning to her apartment after her husband’s death, she felt that, “there must be certain things I needed to do,” when she got home from the hospital (28).

Guidelines that apply to all short quote formats:

  • All punctuation should be the same in the quote as in the source text.
  • The MLA in-text citation should always appear in parentheses at the end of your sentence, regardless of the location of the quote within the sentence.
  • If the source does not use page numbers, do not include a number in the parenthetical citation.
  • If the source does not have an author’s name, you should use the title of the work or the first item listed in the full reference in the parenthetical citation instead.
  • Punctuation such as periods, commas, and semicolons are placed after the parenthetical citation.

Quoting poetry

When quoting up to three short lines of poetry, indicate breaks in verse by placing a forward slash at the end of each verse line. A space should precede and follow the slash. If there is a stanza break within the quotation, indicate this with a double slash ( // ).

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” (Oliver 94).

“What is my name? // What is the name of the deep breath I would take / over and over” (Oliver 125).

Block quotes

If you want to quote a section of text that is longer than four lines or a section of poetry that is longer than three lines, use a block quote. Block quotes are also used when quoting lines from a play.

You introduce the block quote with a sentence in your own words. You want to let your reader know who the quote is from and why you are including it.

Joan Didion ends her first chapter by laying out her goal for writing the book:

This is my attempt to make sense of the period that followed, the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I had ever had about death, about illness, about probability and luck, about good fortune and bad, about marriage and children and memory, about grief, about the ways in which people do and do not deal with the fact that life ends, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself. (7)

How to format a block quote

  • Lead into the quote with a summary sentence that lets the reader know why you are including the quote.
  • End the sentence before quote with a colon (unless the grammatical connection between the sentence leading into the quote requires some other punctuation or none at all).
  • Start a new line.
  • Indent the quote ½ inch or five spaces from the left margin for the entire quote (not just the first line).
  • Do not use quotation marks.
  • Double space the quote.
  • Put the parenthetical citation after the final punctuation mark in the quote.
  • Comment on the quote after using it. Do not end a paragraph with a block quote. You should always have text after it.

Adding or omitting words in quotations

  • If you add words to a quotation, enclose them in brackets like [this].
  • If you omit words in a quotation, use an ellipsis, which is three periods separated by spaces ( . . . ) to show where the words were removed.

You may want to add or omit words in quotations to make them clearer, shorten them, or help them to fit grammatically into your sentence.

Additional block quote formatting for prose

  • If you are directly quoting one paragraph or part of one, do not indent the first line of the block quote more than the rest of the quote.
  • If you are quoting two or more paragraphs and the first sentence of the quote is also the first sentence of a paragraph in the source, indent the first line of each paragraph an additional ½ inch or five spaces.
  • If the first sentence of a multi-paragraph quote is not the first sentence of a paragraph in the source, indent only the first line of the second paragraph ½ inch or five spaces.

Formatting block quotes for poetry

Format it as you would prose unless the poem has unusual spacing or formatting.

  • Indent ½ inch or five spaces from the left margin.
  • Do not add any quotation marks unless they appear in the source.
  • If the line of poetry does not fit on one line in the paper, continue it on the next line, but indent that line an additional ½ inch or five spaces (like a hanging indent).
  • When citing longer sections of poetry, keep the formatting as close to the original as possible.

In her poem, Rain, Mary Oliver describes the sensation of rain on a tree:

All afternoon it rained, then

such power came down from the clouds

on a yellow thread,

as authoritative as God is supposed to be.

When it hit the tree, her body

Opened forever. (3)

Formatting block quotes for drama/plays

Formatting quotes from plays has slightly different rules than prose and poetry.

To format dialogue from plays:

  • Begin with the name of the character speaking printed in all capital letters followed by a period.
  • Start the quotation. If the line a character is saying needs more than one line, indent the subsequent lines a ½ inch or five spaces.
  • Some lines of dialogue start with extra spaces between the character name and the first line of dialogue. Print the dialogue exactly as it appears in the play, including the extra spaces.
  • When the dialogue shifts to a new character, follow the pattern above.
  • For the in-text citation, cite the act, scene, and line of the quote instead of the page number.

ROMEO.                                     By a name

I know not how to tell thee who I am.

My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,

Because it is an enemy to thee.

Had I it written, I would tear the word.

JULIET. My ears have yet not drunk a hundred words

Of thy tongue’s uttering, yet I know the sound.

Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?

ROMEO. Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike. (Shakespeare 2.2.54-61)

  • Works Cited

Didion, Joan. A Year of Magical Thinking . Vintage International, 2006.

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

Oliver, Mary. New and Selected Poems. Vol. 1, Beacon Press, 2004.

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet . Arden Shakespeare , edited by René Weis, Bloomsbury, 2012, 118–338. Drama Online , https://doi.org/10.5040/9781408160152.00000039.

Published October 27, 2020. Updated July 18, 2021.

By Catherine Sigler. Catherine has a Ph.D. in English Education and has taught college-level writing for 15 years.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Sample Paper
  • MLA 8 Updates
  • MLA 9 Updates
  • View MLA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all MLA Examples

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