How to cite authors in MLA (8th ed.)?

Create a spot-on reference in MLA 8 and 9

Select a source type:

Basic rules

In accordance with MLA Style (8th ed.), the data pertaining to the authors are put in the beginning of a reference, before the title of the work, and are separated from all other citation elements with a full stop.

Complete data should be given for one or two authors. For a source with three or more authors, the first name and middle name of the first author only should be given, followed by ‘et al.’

The order of authors in the reference should be the same as it is found on the source’s cover.

If the source’s author is an institution, organisation, etc., i.e. not an individual, the name of the group author is given as well in the beginning of the reference, before the title of the source.

How to cite in a bibliography

Source with one author

Use the following template for bibliographic references:

Last Name, First Name Middle Name.

Examples of references for sources with one author:

Hemingway, Ernest. Fiesta. 2nd ed., Cape, 1954.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. Unwin Hyman, 1987.

Voltaire. Dictionnaire philosophique. Garnier-Flammarion, 1964.

Alcott, Louisa M. Little Women. Harmondsworth, 1985.

United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. New York, 1952.

Source with two authors

Reference template:

Last NameFirst Name Middle Name, and First Name Middle Name Last Name.

Sample references:

Ojakangas, Richard W., and Charles L. Matsch. Minnesota’s Geology. U of Minnesota P, 1982.

Motschi, Herbert, and Robert J. Angelici. "Synthesis of Cyclic Aminooxo- and Dioxocarbenes from Carbonyl Ligands in Complexes of Iron and Manganese." Organometallics, vol. 1, no. 2, 1982, pp. 343-49.

Source with three or more authors

The authors should be cited following this template:

Last Name, First Name Middle Name, et al.

Examples of bibliographic references:

Vernimmen, Pierre, et al. Corporate Finance. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.

Berwick, Robert C., et al. “Songs to Syntax: The Linguistics of Birdsong.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol. 15, no. 3, Elsevier BV, 2011, pp. 113-21, doi:10.1016/j.tics.2011.01.002.

Keith Cuthbertson, et al. Derivatives. Wiley, 2019.

Editors, translators, and other contributors

In bibliographic references under MLA Style (8th ed.), the data related to editors, translators, and other contributors (photographers, illustrators, and so on) are given after the title of the work, with their roles explained:

Stendhal. The Red and the Black. Translated by Roger Gard, Penguin Books, 2002.

Whitman, Walt. The Complete Poems. Edited by Francis Murphy, Penguin Classics, 2005.

For sources with no authors and with an editor (which can be the case of collections, anthologies, and so on), the data of the editors can be cited in the beginning of the reference:

Flint, Kate, editor. The Cambridge History of Victorian Literature. Cambridge UP, 2016.

Also, the names of editors, translators, etc. can be given in the beginning of the reference where one wants to put an emphasis on the edition, translation, etc. of the work:

Sullivan, Alan, and Timothy Murphy, translators. Beowulf. Edited by Sarah Anderson, Pearson, 2004.

Other citation styles: