You are viewing all posts tagged

If you are citing coauthors who share a last name (e.g., husband and wife or brother and sister), should you list the last name twice?

Yes. You should treat each author as an individual with a unique identity. Thus, if you are citing a work by authors who share a last name, provide the full name of each author in the entry in the works-cited list. The following sentence and the works-cited-list entry below are examples:

Beginning with the seventh volume of The Story of Civilization, Will Durant and Ariel Durant were listed as coauthors (Age of Reason).
Work Cited
Durant, Will, and Ariel Durant. The Age of Reason Begins: A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, . . .

Published 7 August 2019

If I have a work by one author and a work by that author and coauthors in my works-cited-list, how do I order my entries?

A work by one author should be listed before a work by that author and a coauthor.

Rappaport, Joanne. The Disappearing Mestizo: Configuring Difference in the Colonial Kingdom of Granada. Duke UP, 2014.
Rappaport, Joanne, and Tom Cummins. Beyond the Lettered City: Indigenous Literacies in the Andes. Duke UP, 2012.

If there is more than one coauthored work by that author in the list of works cited, list the entries alphabetically by the last name of the coauthor.

Ender, Evelyne, and Serafina Lawrence. “Inside a Red Cover: Proust and the Art of the Book.” Proust and the Arts, . . .

Published 6 June 2019

Why are both a comma and and used to separate the names of coauthors in a works-cited-list entry?

The MLA Handbook notes that “[w]hen a source has two authors,” you should “[r]everse the first of the names” and “follow it with a comma and and” before providing “the second name in normal order” (21):

Dorris, Michael, and Louise Erdrich. The Crown of Columbus. HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.

A comma is needed in addition to and so that the reader can easily distinguish the two names. In the example above, omitting the comma after “Michael” might cause the reader to momentarily misread the first name listed as “Michael and Louise Erdrich Dorris.” . . .

Published 13 May 2019

How do I cite comics or a graphic novel if I want to credit several collaborators as equal creators of the work?

When you write about a collaborative work such as comics or a graphic novel without focusing on one person’s role, begin your works-cited-list entry with the title. Then provide the names of the creators in the “Other contributors” slot preceded by a description of the role they played:

March. By John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell, book 1, Top Shelf Productions, 2013.

As the MLA Handbook advises (17), when the role cannot be described using a phrase like “illustrated by,” use a noun followed by a comma:

Superman: Birthright. By Mark Waid, . . .

Published 27 December 2018

If I cite a poem posted to a blog by someone who is not the poem’s author, do I need to write “posted by” and the blogger’s name in the “Other contributors” slot?

It depends on whether the person posting the poem is responsible for the blog as a whole. 
If the blogger is responsible for the entire blog, list the author of the poem and the poem’s title. Then list the name of the blog as the title of the container. In the “Other contributors” slot, list the blog’s author preceded by a label, such as “created by” or “curated by,” that indicates the blogger is responsible for creating or curating the entire blog, not only for posting the poem. Then include the date of publication and the URL. The example below shows a works-cited-list entry for William Blake’s “Ah! . . .

Published 20 November 2018

If more than one person is interviewed in the same interview, do I create separate entries for each person or treat them as coauthors in a single entry?

One interview is one work, no matter how many people are being interviewed or how many people are conducting the interview, so you should create only one entry. An example:
Washington, Denzel, and Michael B. Jordan. “Passing the Torch: Denzel Washington and Michael B. Jordan.” Interview conducted by Philip Galanes. The New York Times, 19 Apr. 2018,

Published 17 October 2018

If I cite sources with the same lead author but different coauthors, do I use et al.?

Yes. In MLA style, when a work has more than two authors or editors, the works-cited-list entry provides the name of the lead author or editor and et al. 
For example, if you are citing the following work—in which Sandy Taylor is the lead author and John Smith and Wendy Johnson are listed as the coauthors—your entry would appear thus:

Taylor, Sandy, et al. “Collaboration in the Twenty-First Century.” Journal of Collaborative Writing, vol. 20, no. 1, 2017, pp. 15-25.

If this same set of authors also wrote another article that you cite, and their names appear in the work in the same order as they do in the first article, . . .

Published 13 April 2018

How do I cite a chapter by an individual author in a work with coauthors?

When you cite a chapter by an individual author in a work with coauthors, you must create a separate works-cited-list entry for each chapter:

Althusser, Louis. “Marx’s Critique.” Reading Capital, by Althusser and Étienne Balibar, translated by Ben Brewster, Verso, 2009, pp. 182-200.

Balibar, Étienne. “On Reproduction.” Reading Capital, by Louis Althusser and Balibar, translated by Ben Brewster, Verso, 2009, pp. 285-305.

Published 9 February 2018

In works-cited-list entries for a work by more than one author, why is only the name of the first author inverted?

In a works-cited-list entry for a work by more than one author, the first name is inverted because the entry is alphabetized under the first author’s last name. Subsequent names are listed in normal order because they are easier to read that way, and MLA style aims to be reader-friendly.
  . . .

Published 21 December 2017

If I refer to two people with the same last name in my writing, should I repeat their full names each time I mention them?

If you refer to two people with the same last name, repeat their full names for subsequent mentions whenever your reader might not be certain which person you are discussing. For example, in the following excerpt, from an essay by Melissa Girard that mentions several people with the last name Johnson, the author gives the full name of each person in most instances:*

“Redding makes nearly identical claims about Helene Johnson, the cousin of Dorothy West. . . .”

“Redding hails James Weldon Johnson’s preface to The Book of American Negro Poetry . . . as an important ‘scholarly essay.’” . . .

Published 5 March 2018

Get MLA Style News from The Source

Be the first to read new posts and updates about MLA style.

The Source Sign-up - Style Center Footer