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What Does MLA Citation for a Book Mean?

by Christine Maddox Martorana, Demand Media

    Modern Language Association style provides extensive citation guidelines for almost any source you might encounter when writing a research paper for English or humanities courses. Books are basic sources for research information and the citation information for a book serves as the starting point for the citations of many other sources. Understanding how to cite a book, therefore, is an important skill.

    In-Text Citation For a Book

    For direct quotes or paraphrases from a book, provide the author's last name and the specific page number where the information can be found in the source text. This information is placed in parentheses at the end of the quote or paraphrased sentence before the ending punctuation. For example: Henry Giroux, author of "Stealing Innocence," writes, “On the contrary, the threat to innocence and childhood takes many forms” (18). It’s important to recognize that adults often “impose on young people the demands and responsibilities they themselves have abandoned” (Giroux 18). Henry Giroux, author of "Stealing Innocence," explains that there are varied ways of manipulating innocence and childhood (18).

    Works Cited Citation For a Book

    The entire citation information for a book is included on the Works Cited page. Each entry begins with the author's last name, followed by a comma and then the first name and a period. Include the title of the book in italics and then a period. Next, list the place of publication, a colon, the name of the publisher, a comma, and the year of publication. Finish with the medium of publication, capitalized, and a period. The medium of publication will be either Print or Web. For example: Giroux, Henry. Stealing Innocence. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000. Print.

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    About the Author

    Christine Maddox Martorana has been writing professionally since 2003. Martorana has been teaching college-level composition and journalism classes since 2007. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English at Florida State University.

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