If I cite a text for the purpose of comparison, should it be included in my works-cited list?

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.

Yes. A text cited for comparison is not a passing reference, so you should include a works-cited-list entry for the work, as shown in the following example:*

Diminutive staffs (between ten and twenty officials to inspect the nation’s multifarious workhouses) necessarily meant that much was left to “local discretion” (Fraser 53; cf. Wood 79–83).

Works Cited

Fraser, Derek. The Evolution of the British Welfare State. Macmillan, 1984.

Wood, Peter. Poverty and the Workhouse in Victorian Britain. Sutton, 1991.

In the example, Fraser is the main work that the writer is citing; Wood is cited for comparison, as indicated by the abbreviation cf.

Read our post on the abbreviation cf.

*Example taken from Lauren M. E. Goodlad’s “Beyond the Panopticon: Victorian Britain and the Critical Imagination” (PMLA, vol. 118, no. 3, May 2003, pp. 539–56).