How to Cite Multiple Authors in MLA
In this guide, you will learn how to format author names when creating an entry on a works cited page, according to guidelines in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook (the Modern Language Association is not affiliated with this guide).
Real examples are included below to help you easily understand what to do with the various author situations you’ll find when citing sources.
Are you looking for author formatting in relation to in-text citations? Review the EasyBib MLA in-text citation guide.
What is an Author?
When creating a citation, the “author” is the individual credited with creating the source you are using. Usually, this is the individual(s) or organization that wrote a source. Sometimes, the “author” element could also be the work’s editor, translator, or performer (MLA Handbook 23).
Here are general guidelines on formatting an author’s name:
- The author’s name is always the first thing listed in a works cited entry, unless there is no author.
- Entries on your works cited page should be listed in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name.
- The first (or only) author’s name is listed as Last Name, First Name.
Crystal, David. The Story of English in 100 Words. St. Martin’s Press, 2013.
Hunter, David J., et al. “Covid-19 and the Stiff Upper Lip – The Pandemic Response in the United Kingdom: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 17 Mar. 2020, www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2005755.
The “Works Cited: A Quick Guide” page from the official Modern Language Association Style Center calls each element of a works cited entry a “core element.” These elements (e.g., author, title, publisher, etc.) are the most common facts listed for most sources. They are assembled in a set order, starting with the author.
How to Format Author Names in MLA 8
It’s important that you correctly cite the last name of the author(s) whose work you’re referencing. To correctly cite the author, always begin the citation with the author’s last name, a comma, and the rest of the name as it appears on the source. Place a period after the author’s name. Below are examples for citing one or more authors.
How to Cite One Author:
List the author’s last name, add a comma, then add the author’s first name or initials (Handbook 21). Use the author’s name as it appears on the source.Patterson, James.
King, Laurie R.
How to Cite Two Authors:
Place the authors in the order in which they appear on the source (Handbook 21). Note that only the lead author’s name is listed last name first; all additional authors are listed by their first name, middle initial if applicable, and then last name:
Shields, David, and Caleb Powell.
How to Cite Three or More Authors:
List the author’s last name, first name, and then middle initial if applicable. Follow it with a comma, and then add et al. in place of the additional authors (Handbook 22):
Beck, Isabel L., et al.
How to Cite Works by Individuals Other Than the Author:
In cases where the person responsible for creating a work is someone other than the author, such as an editor, producer, performer, or artist, always include the individual’s role after the name (Handbook 23-24):
Kansaker, Tej Ratna, and Mark Turin, editors.
When citing works of entertainment, such as film or television, include the name and role of the person on whom you’ve focused (Handbook 24):
Byrne, Rose, performer.
*Note: If you are writing about a film or television show that does not focus on an individual’s role, omit the author’s name and start the citation with the title.
How to Cite Translated Works:
When your focus is on the translated text rather than the original, use the translator as the author (Handbook 23). Include the name of the original creator after the title, preceded by the word “By”:
Rojas, Carlos, translator. The Four Books. By Yan Lianke.
How to Cite Using Pseudonyms in MLA 8:
Usernames and online handles are now acceptable to use as the author’s name (Handbook 24). Use a handle when citing something from Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Notes on Titles and Suffixes
Some authors will also have additional information tied to their names. It could either be a title (e.g., Sir, Saint, President, etc.), a degree (e.g., MLIS, PhD, etc.), or a suffix (e.g., Jr., III, etc.).
According to the official Handbook, leave out titles and degrees the works cited list (103).
|Full Name (in Source)||Name in Works Cited List|
|Dame Naomi James||James, Naomi|
|Sister Joan D. Chittister||Chittister, Joan D.|
|Benjamin Hardy, PhD||Hardy, Benjamin|
For suffixes, include them. Add a comma after the full author’s name, then add the suffix.
- King, Martin Luther, Jr.
- Eaton, Maxwell, III
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
“Works Cited: A Quick Guide”. The MLA Style Center, Modern Language Association, 2020,
https://style.mla.org/works-cited-a-quick-guide/. Accessed 26 Mar 2020.
“How Do I Cite A Source That Has No Author?”. The MLA Style Center, Modern Language Association, 2017, https://style.mla.org/source-with-no-author/. Accessed 26 Mar 2020.
Published April 14, 2016. Updated April 9, 2020.
Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.
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