How many containers can a works-cited-list entry have?

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.

The primary goal of assembling a works-cited-list entry is to identify the work you are citing and the version of it you consult. Here are examples of the most commonly structured works-cited-list entries.

Entry for a Work with One Container

Sigmund, Paul E. “Chile.” Latin American Politics and Development, edited by Howard J. Wiarda and Harvey F. Kline, 7th ed., Westview Press, 2011, pp. 168-99.

Entry for a Work with Two Containers

Quirk, Tom. “The Flawed Greatness of Huckleberry Finn.” American Literary Realism, vol. 45, no. 1, Fall 2012, pp. 38-48. JSTOR, doi: 10.5406/amerlitereal.45.1.0038.

Entry for a Work with No Container

Ravitch, Diane. The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn. Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.

In our editorial practice, we discourage using the container system to provide publication history. Such information, when relevant to your discussion of the source, can usually be treated using the optional-element slot, as demonstrated on pages 50–53 of the handbook and in the examples below.

Newcomb, Horace, editor. Television: The Critical View. 1976. 7th ed., Oxford UP, 2007.

Johnson, Barbara. “My Monster / My Self.” The Barbara Johnson Reader: The Surprise of Otherness, edited by Melissa Feuerstein et al., Duke UP, 2014, pp. 179-90. Originally published in Diacritics, vol. 12, no. 2, 1982, pp. 2-10.