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MLA 9 Style Guide: Author or Creator

Updated for the 2021 9th edition

What It Is

MLA works cited entry core elements template with Author field highlightedThe author is a source's creator.

The author can be a single person, more than one person, or a corporate body, such as a governmental agency, non-profit group, or company.

It is the primary Core Element of the entry.

  • Alphabetize authors on the works cited list.
  • List authors by their last name first.

Where to Find It

The author can usually be found near the beginning of the source. Sometimes, there is no author listed.

How to Style It

  1. Author is always the first element listed in the works cited entry.
  2. It stands alone in its own sentence, so end with a period.

No author

Skip this element if no author is named. Start the entry with the Title of Source.

 

If Anonymous is actually listed as the source's author, treat that as the author's name. Format as one author.

One author

  1. Write the first author as Last name comma first name -- LastName, FirstName.
    1. If the author is an organization or government agency, just list it.
  2. End with a period.
LastName, FirstName.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two authors

  1. List them in the order they appear in the source
  2. Write the first author as Last name comma first name -- LastName, FirstName
  3. Add the word and
  4. Write the second author FirstName LastName
  5. End with a period.
LastName, FirstName and FirstName LastName.
Abutaleb, Yasmeen and Damian Paletta.

Three or more authors

  1. List the first author last name first -- LastName, First Name
  2. Add by the phrase et al.
    1. Et al. is a Latin abbreviation meaning "and others." Using this phrase tells the reader there was the lead author and two or more others who created this source.
  3. End with a period.
LastName, FirstName, et al.
Martinez, David R., et al.

 

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES 

Two or more works by the same author or same two authors

Have two works or more by the same author? Follow the formatting for one or two authors as described above for the first work, and add these instructions below for the second work (or more).

  1. Work 1: List the author last name first -- LastName, First Name -- for the first work. For two authors: LastName, FirstName, and FirstName LastName.
  2. Work 2 or more: Replace the author(s) in the next entry with ---. [three dashes followed by a period].
  3. Complete the works cited entry for all works per normal.
  4. Arrange the works alphabetically by title.
LastName, FirstName. "Title of Source 1." 
---. "Title of Source 2." 

Two or more works by the same 3 or more authors

All Works Cited entries by three or more authors are listed the same. There are no shortcuts or special instructions for multiple sources by the same group of authors. List each work separately and fully.

  1. List the first author last name first -- LastName, First Name
  2. Add by the phrase et al.
    1. Et al. is a Latin abbreviation meaning "and others." Using this phrase tells the reader there was the lead author and two or more others who created this source.
  3. End with a period.
LastName, FirstName, et al.
Martinez, David R., et al.

Examples

These examples show where the Author element fits within the bigger works cited entry

Author. "Title of Source." Title of Container, contributor, numbers, Publisher, date, location. Second Container, location.
Roiphe, Katie. "16 Things to Remember at College."  The Atlantic, 6 Aug. 2021,  www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2021/08/advice-college/619687/.
---.  “Katie Roiphe: ‘Why Am I Being Paid Less than My Male Colleagues?’” The Guardian, 20 Feb. 2016, www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/feb/20/katie-roiphe-why-paid-less-than-male-colleagues.
Goldberg, Shari L., and Mawn, Barbara E. “Predictors of Food Insecurity among Older Adults in the United States.” Public Health Nursing, vol. 32, no. 5, Sep.-Oct. 2015, pp. 397-407. Wiley Online Libraryonlinelibrary-wiley-com.proxy01.nwacc.edu/doi/10.1111/phn.12173. Accessed 10 Aug. 2021. 
Dean, Emma Boswell, et al. "Food Insecurity, Health Care Utilization, and Health Care Expenditures." Health Services Research, vol. 55, no. 5, Oct. 2020, p. 883+. Gale In Context: Collegelink.gale.com/apps/doc/A639890303/CSIC?u=nwestakcc&sid=bookmark-CSIC&xid=10207026. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021. 

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