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Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Modern Language Association (MLA): Single Author

When only a single author is listed for a text, typical bibliography entries will appear as follows:

The author's name should be given as it is listed on the title page of the text. For example, if the author's name contains a middle initial on the title page, the middle initial should appear in the bibliographic entry. If the author's name is abbreviated on the title page (A. L. Rowse), the initials (and not the author's full first and middle name) should appear in the bibliography. In the entry, the author's last name should appear first, followed by a comma and then the author's first name. A period should be placed immediately after the name and one space should be included before the next part of the entry. If the author's name contains a middle initial, only one period should appear after the author's middle initial, followed by one space prior to the next part of the entry.

Underline (or put in italics) the title of the work. According to the Modern Language Association: "Most word-processing programs and computer printers permit the reproduction of italic type. In material that will be graded or edited for publication, however, the type style of every letter and punctuation mark must be easily recognizable. Italic type is sometimes not distinctive enough for this purpose. In printed material submitted for grading and editing, therefore, words that would be italicized in a publication are usually underlined to avoid ambiguity. If you wish to use italics rather than underlining, check your instructor's or editor's preferences. When preparing a manuscript for electronic publication, consult your editor on how to represent italicization."

Capitalize each of the principal words in the title. These include nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions. You do not need to capitalize articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, or the "to" in infinitives when they fall in the middle of the title.

Include the publication information after the title. This includes the city of publication followed by a colon, the name of the publisher, and the date of publication.

For additional information, please see the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (6th edition) and the MLA style website.