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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).

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:

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


….(Wheeler Cafarelli).

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.



Before we get to all the different cases that change the way to cite an article in your essay, we must clarify a couple of things first.

Usually, your assignment sheet instructions say what style you must stick to. If it doesn’t, ask your tutor for help.

Indicating your citations in the essay’s body is meant to be as short and as readable as possible. It’s quite different from the references pages where you indicate tons of details about the source. Your in-text citation is a link to the works cited page at the end of your paper.

The author’s words are left unchanged and enclosed within quotation marks. Examples:

Use the author’s last name before the quote.

Use a lengthy excerpt (block quote) without quotation marks but with left indentation (half an inch). Moreover, note that you will have to place a period before the parentheses. A quote is regarded as long if it takes four or more lines in your essay.

Sometimes, you might choose to paraphrase individual quotes from multiple pages. In such a case, you can indicate the pages or a page range separated by a comma like this: (Smith 26, 28, 31-33).

Just use “and” to separate them. For instance:

Mention the last name of the first author followed by “et al.” (which means “and others”). For example:

The author’s name might be unknown. If it’s the case, use the first several words from the article’s title but omit “A,” “An,” or “The” at the beginning. It can be written in quotes or italics, depending on how it’s written in your list of references. The number of words you pick to use depends on the title. You want as many as to make it clear for the reader what source the quote is from. For example:

To avoid confusion, use the author’s initials or their full names (if the initials are also identical) like this:

LastName, I. (Year). Title of essay. In I. LastName (Ed.), Title of larger work (pp. ##-##). Publisher.

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How To Cite My Essay

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