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How to Cite a Book


Properly citing a book can be one of the most frustrating parts of writing an essay, term paper or research paper. Whenever you use a quote, you must properly cite it within the paper and list the source in the bibliography at the end of the paper.

There are two ways to cite a quote from a book within an MLA-style essay, term paper or research paper: author cited in a signal sentence or author not named in a signal sentence.

Cite the book using a signal sentence for a quote that is four lines or less by adding the author’s last name before using the quote. Use quotation marks around the quote. Add the page number where the quote was found inside parentheses. After the page number in parenthesis, punctuate the sentence with a period. Example: In demonstrating Maria and Yurii’s poverty, Pasternak writes, “At times they were destitute through his fault, and in order not to leave him alone at such moments she would give up her own job” (479).

Cite a book not using a signal sentence for a quote that is four lines or fewer. If you are not naming the author in a signal sentence, you must use his name at the end of the quote. Use quotation marks around the quote. Add the author’s last name followed by the page number where the quote was found inside parentheses. After the page number in parentheses, punctuate the sentence with a period. Example: “At times they were destitute through his fault, and in order not to leave him alone at such moments she would give up her own job” (Pasternak 479).

Cite a book using a signal sentence for a quote that is more than four lines by adding the author’s last name before using the quote. Do not use quotation marks around the quote. Hit "Enter" on your keyboard and begin the quote on a new line. Punctuate the quote before the page number. Add the page number where the quote was found inside parentheses. Indent the quotation 1 inch or 10 spaces.

Cite a book not using a signal sentence for a quote that is more than four lines. Do not use quotation marks around the quote. Hit "Enter" on your keyboard and begin the quote on a new line. Punctuate the quote before the page number. Add the author’s last name before the page number where the quote was found inside parentheses. Indent the quotation 1 inch or 10 spaces.

Write a bibliography or works-cited page. On a new page following the end of your paper, center the text and title the page "Works Cited." Skip two lines by pressing the "Enter" key twice. Right-click or select "Paragraph" through the tool bar. Using the pull-down menu under "Special," select "None." Start with the author's last name, comma, first name, period. Space. Book title underlined. Period. Space. City of publication (if city is relatively unknown, put city’s name, comma, state). Colon. Publisher's name, comma, date of publication, period. List all authors alphabetically, hitting "Enter" to start a new listing. After listing all the works cited, select the text and right-click or click "Paragraph" on the toolbar. Using the pull-down menu under "Special," select "Hanging."

Tips
  • Unless otherwise instructed, MLA papers are double-spaced.
  • Prepare your bibliography or works-cited page before writing your paper. As you gather and read your research sources, keep a works-cited list prepared in MLA format. That way, all your sources are cited so you don’t have to worry about looking them up after you’ve written your paper. If you save writing your bibliography till the end, chances are you’ll leave something out. If you decide not to use a book, simply delete it from your bibliography.
Warning
  • Watch your punctuation. Points typically are deducted for incorrect citation, including forgetting punctuation or using it incorrectly.
About the Author

Joanne Mendes has been professionally writing since 2007 and began specializing in education topics in 2009. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master's degree from Chatham University.

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