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How to Abbreviate a Chapter in an MLA Format


Most English college courses require that students format formal papers using Modern Language Association style. Usually, students use research from books or other print materials to strengthen their arguments. Students must cite all information that they gather from other sources, including chapter and page numbers, within a separate Works Cited page as well as by using in-text citations.

Works Cited Page

Find the chapter containing the information in the book you used to substantiate your claims. Generally, you cite the page range rather than listing the chapter number. To cite the work, list the last name of the author, a comma and then the first name. Put the title of the book in title case and in italics followed by a period, the city of publication followed by a colon, the publisher followed by a comma, the year of publication followed by the page range, a period and the medium of publication followed by a period. Use a hanging indent, where you make the first line flush left and indent the second and subsequent lines by 0.5 inch. For example:

Stone, Lucille. How to Dance (in italics). Los Angeles: Harper Publishing, 2003. 26-34. Print.

In-Text Citations

Cite the entire chapter that you used to back statements in your paper. The standard abbreviation for chapter is "ch." or "chap." without the quotation marks. Generally, indicate the chapter with the page ranges. For example:

In chapter 4 of How to Dance (in italics), the author emphasizes the importance of flexibility to movement on the dance floor (Smith 26-34).

For classic works that might have multiple editions, cite the page numbers followed by a colon followed by the chapter number, using "ch." as the abbreviation for chapter. For example, Purdue Owl notes that such as citation might read:

Marx and Engels described human history as marked by class struggles (55-79; ch. 1).

About the Author

Sav Keo has been a freelance writer and editor since 2009. She received her Bachelor's degree in English literature and Journalism from Georgia State University and has written for several cultural and academic publications, including "Creative Loafing" and "The Signal." Sav is an Atlanta native and when she is not taking red pen to paper, she can be found devouring zines over a pot of coffee.

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