How to Cite an Essay in MLA

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Published July 29, 2020. Updated September 15, 2021.

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The guidelines for citing an essay in MLA format are similar to those for citing a chapter in a book. Include the author of the essay, the title of the essay, the name of the collection if the essay belongs to one, the editor of the collection or other contributors, the publication information, and the page number(s).

Citing an Essay

MLA Essay Citation Structure:

Last, First M. “Essay Title.” Collection Title, edited by First M. Last, Publisher, year published, page numbers. Website Title, URL (if applicable).

MLA Essay Citation Example:

Gupta, Sanjay. “Balancing and Checking.” Essays on Modern Democracy, edited by Bob Towsky, Brook Stone Publishers, 1996, pp. 36-48. Essay Database, www.databaseforessays.org/modern/modern-democracy.

MLA Essay In-text Citation Structure:

(Last Name Page #)

MLA Essay In-text Citation Example:

(Gupta 40)

Click here to cite an essay via an EasyBib citation form.


 

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How do I cite my sources in an essay in MLA format?

To cite your sources in an essay in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the author’s name(s), chapter title, book title, editor(s), publication year, publisher, and page numbers. The templates for in-text citations and a works-cited-list entry for essay sources and some examples are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author on the first occurrence. For subsequent citations, use only the surname(s). In parenthetical citations, always use only the surname of the author(s).

Citation in prose:

First mention: Annette Wheeler Cafarelli

Subsequent occurrences: Wheeler Cafarelli

Parenthetical:

….(Wheeler Cafarelli).

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

The title of the chapter is enclosed in double quotation marks and uses title case. The book or collection title is given in italics and uses title case.

Template:

Surname, First Name. “Title of the Chapter.” Title of the Book, edited by Editor(s) Name, Publisher, Publication Year, page range.

Example:

Cafarelli, Annette Wheeler. “Rousseau and British Romanticism: Women and British Romanticism.” Cultural Interactions in the Romantic Age: Critical Essays in Comparative Literature, edited by Gregory Maertz. State U of New York P, 1998, pp. 125–56.

How do I cite an essay in MLA format?

To cite an essay in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the author(s), the essay title, the book title, editor(s), publication year, publisher, and page numbers. The templates for citations in prose, parenthetical citations, and works-cited-list entries for an essay by multiple authors, and some examples, are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author (e.g., Mary Strine).

For sources with two authors, use both full author names in prose (e.g., Mary Strine and Beth Radick).

For sources with three or more authors, use the first name and surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues” (e.g., Mary Strine and others). In subsequent citations, use only the surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues” (e.g., Strine and others).

In parenthetical citations, use only the author’s surname. For sources with two authors, use two surnames (e.g., Strine and Radick). For sources with three or more author names, use the first author’s surname followed by “et al.”

Examples:

Citation in prose:

First mention: Mary Strine…

Subsequent mention: Strine…

First mention: Mary Strine and Beth Radick…

Subsequent mention: Strine and Radick…

First mention: Mary Strine and colleagues …. or Mary Strine and others

Subsequent occurrences: Strine and colleagues …. or Strine and others

Parenthetical:

…. (Strine).

….(Strine and Radick).

….(Strine et al.).

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

The title of the essay is enclosed in double quotation marks and uses title case. The book or collection title is given in italics and uses title case.

Template:

Surname, First Name, et al. “Title of the Essay.” Title of the Book, edited by Editor(s) Name, Publisher, Publication Year, page range.

Example:

Strine, Mary M., et al. “Research in Interpretation and Performance Studies: Trends, Issues, Priorities.” Speech Communication: Essays to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Speech Communication Association, edited by Gerald M. Phillips and Julia T. Wood, Southern Illinois UP, 1990, pp. 181–204.