How to Cite a Short Story in a Paper

Proper citation of sources is critical in any research paper, news article or book. Various fields of study have specific formats for reference in footnotes or endnotes, or for a bibliography. Three common styles are MLA or Modern Language Association style; AP, or Associated Press style; and APA, or American Psychological Association style. Many colleges and universities have their own suggested style, usually based on one of these formats. MLA style is used for papers in the field of art, literature or language and includes a specific format for citing works such as short stories.

Citing Short Stories in the Works Cited or Bibliography

Step 1

Put the cursor at the end of the last page of the paper and press "CTRL+Enter" to insert a new page. Type the title of the page (usually "Bibliography" or "Works Cited") in upper case (all capital letters). Highlight or select the title and click "Format," select "Paragraph," select "Center" from the drop-down menu next to "Alignment," then click "OK" to center the title. Press "Enter" to position the cursor at the beginning of the list.

Step 2

Type the author of the story following the format "last name comma first name" and enter a period. Type the title of the story followed by a period in quotations.

Step 3

Type the title of the book in which the short story is published in italics followed by a period. Type "Ed" then the first name and last name of the editor of the book in regular, non-italic text followed by a period. Type the edition of the book if there is one.

Step 4

Press "Enter" to insert a line then indent the second line. Type the city of publication followed by a colon. Then type the publishing company followed by a comma, then the year of publication followed by a period. Type the page numbers where the story appears in the book followed by a period.

Citing Short Stories in Parenthetical References in the Body of the Paper

Step 1

Type the passage you are quoting in quotations if you are using the exact wording from the story. If the quotation is short, include it in the regular paragraph. If the quotation is longer than four lines, format the quotation as a block, indenting the text of the entire quotation.

Step 2

Type the author's last name and the page number on which the quotation appears in the story, followed by a period.

Step 3

Surround the author's name and the page number in parentheses.


Double space all citations in the "Works Cited" for "Bibliography" page.

If you paraphrase a quotation, use a phrase such as "according to author's name..." before the text of the paraphrased quotation and correctly cite the author and page number as a parenthetical reference.

Things You'll Need

  • MLA Style manual