Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

MLA Citation Style 9th Edition: Author

Author (Works Cited)

Author is the first core element of the Works Cited entry. The term "author" is used loosely to mean the person or group primarily responsible for producing the source. Editors, translators, directors, performers, artists, and corporate authors such as organization or government may fill the author core element, but a descriptive label should be included (MLA 5.3).

  • List author names as they appear in the document or text -  including any middle names or initials; do not abbreviate the names.
  • Reverse only the name of the first author followed by a comma. For example, reverse "Sam Jones" to "Jones, Sam" (MLA 5.5).
    • Do not reverse name of organizations, groups, and government authors; for example, "World Health Organization" (MLA 5.17).
    •  Also, do not reverse names in some languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, when the last name (surname) appears before the given name on the publication (MLA 5.9). 
  • Give the other names in normal form (as they appear). 
  • If there are two authors, use the word "and", not an ampersand (&), before the second author's name.
  • For three or more authors, list the first author with the name reversed followed by a comma and "et al."
  • If a work has no personal or organizational author but has an editor, begin the citation with the name(s) of the editor(s) followed by a comma, and the descriptive label "editor" or "editors" then a period.
  • For corporate authors ( organizations, groups, and government authors), give the names in normal form but omit any initial articles in the name, like "the" (MLA 5.17).
  • It is acceptable to use online usernames or social media handles as the author’s name. 
  • If a work has no identifiable author (personal, organization, or editor), begin the citation with the title.
  • When an organization is both author and publisher of a work, the organization’s name is now given only once, usually as the publisher (MLA 5.19). No author is stated.
  • This element ends with a period.

One author: 

Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People. 7th ed, McGraw Hill, 2014, p. 525.

Two authors: 

McKee, Timothy, and James A. McKee. Business Ethics: The Political Basis of Commerce. Oxford UP, 2009.

Three or more authors: 

Tucker, Virginia M., et al. “Learning Portals: Analyzing Threshold Concept Theory for LIS Education.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, vol. 55, no. 2, Apr. 2014, pp. 150-65.

One editor: 

DiYanni, Robert, editor. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed., McGraw Hill, 2007.

Two editors: 

Zeigler-Hill, Virgil, and David K. Marcus, editors. The Dark Side of Personality: Science and Practice in Social, Personality, and Clinical Psychology. American Psychological Association, 2016.

Three or more editors: 

Damrosch, David, et al., editors. The Longman Anthology of World Literature, 2nd ed., vol. A, Pearson Education, 2009.

Author in languages that the last name (surname) appears before the first name on the source cited: 

Cho Nam-Joo. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982: A Novel. Translated by Jamie Chang, Liveright Publishing Corp., 2020.

Organization, corporation, or group as an author: 

 "Body Image." Learn, Planned Parenthood, 2016,

Treating other contributors as the author when your focus is on the contributor's work:

Bloom, Harold, editor. Hamlet. By Shakespeare, Bloom's Literary Criticism, 2008. 

Wraxall, Lascelles, translator. Les Miserables. By Victor Hugo, Heritage Press, 1938. 

Two or more sources with the same author(s): only list the author's name in the first entry, and use three dashes --- followed by a period for the subsequent entries.

Sparks, Nicholas. A Walk to Remember. Warner, 1999. 

- - -. Dear John. Grand Central, 2007, p. 82.

The only instance when it is acceptable to include an author’s name more than once in a Works Cited Page is when the author is a coauthor with another individual or team. 

Example when the author is a coauthor with another individual or team:

Patterson, James, and Chris Grabenstein. House of Robots. Little, Brown and Co., 2014.

Patterson, James, and Chris Tebbetts. Middle School: Get Me Out of Here. Little, Brown and Co., 2012.

Using an online username or social media handle:

@Steven_Hawking. "Run, jump, throw: The physics behind Olympic events explained." Twitter, 12 Aug 2016, 5:30 a.m.,

When no author is listed: When there is no author listed for a source, place it in alphabetical order by the title. Omit words such as A, An, and The. If the title begins with a number, write the number out in word form. 

Twenty-Eight Days Later. Directed by Danny Boyle, produced by Alex Garland, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2002. 


Part of the information above is adapted from IRSC Libraries.