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MLA started as a more or less official standard back in 1951 when the Modern Language Association published it. Over the years, the publisher kept releasing new editions. The final one, the 9th MLA edition, was published in 2021.
MLA established various standards of written communication, including citing sources in research papers. Students often request writing papers and citing sources within humanities disciplines and liberal arts. While more and more academic sources are available online now, citing books is still in high demand.
The MLA standard clearly outlines rules for citing secondary sources when formatting reference lists. The general rules go as follows:
To properly format reference lists and cite books, you need to know the basic MLA standard rules for book citing:
Template – Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.
There are 3 scenarios when you need to add “City of Publication” according to the MLA guide:
E.g. – Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. MacMurray, 1999.
If a book has two authors, you are required to list the authors by the same order they are ordered in the book using the “last name, first name” format:
E.g. – Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
In case there are three authors or more, you only need to list the author that appears first in the book, followed by “et al.”
E.g. – Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Utah State UP, 2004.
E-book – Author(s). Title of Book. E-Book, Publisher, Publication Date.
To refer to a book in your paper, you need to use parenthetical citations, and MLA outlines requirements for those as well. In-text citations should be followed with parentheses containing a single word or phrase that can be easily paired with the corresponding entry in your references list:
E.g. – Human beings have been described as “symbol-using animals” (Burke 3).
E.g. – Human beings have been described by Kenneth Burke as “symbol-using animals” (3).
E.g. last names in the sentence – Best and Marcus argue that one should read a text for what it says on its surface, rather than looking for some hidden meaning (9).
E.g. no signal words in the sentence – The authors claim that surface reading looks at what is “evident, perceptible, apprehensible in texts” (Best and Marcus 9).
As a student, you need to deliver your papers according to the outlined requirements. Using proper citation doesn’t only give proper credit to the authors of sources and ideas you used, but it also makes it easy for the readers to find more about sources you’ve included in your paper. As you can see, learning how to cite books according to all MLA standards is quite hard.
Fortunately, you can use the MLA book reference generator by Grades Fixer. Simply select the source you want to cite, set the citation style to MLA, enter the required data in the box, and hit the big green “Search” button.