What Is the MLA Citation Format for Short Stories?

When writing a research paper, give credit to the person whose ideas you have quoted, summarized or paraphrased. According to the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Edition," citations must be included within the body of the document, and a Works Cited page should be provided at the end. When citing a short story in Modern Language Association format, follow the guidelines for citing from an anthology or an online resource.

Stories From Anthologies

When citing a short story from a collection or an anthology, start the Works Cited entry with the last name of the author of the short story, put a comma after it and include his first name with a period after it. Write the title of the short story in quotation marks, then italicize the title of the collection, with a period at the end. Include the editor's name after the word "Ed." State the city of publication, a colon, the name of the publishing company, a comma and the year, followed by a period. Provide the page numbers on which the story appears with a period at the end. Include the medium of publication, such as print or Web, followed by a period. Your citation should look as follows:

Doe, James. "The Story Title." The Short Story Book. Ed. Samantha Jones. New York: Penguin, 2002. 217-219. Print.

Multiple Authors

When citing a source with multiple authors, there are two approaches. For a book with two or three authors, include both the authors’ names and follow the standard MLA format:

Smith, John and Jennifer Doe. "The Shortest Story." The Book of Short Stories. New York: Penguin Publishers, 1988. Print.

When a source has more than three authors, use the abbreviation et al. instead of including all of the authors’ names. Then continue to follow the MLA guidelines, as follows:

Brown, Charlie, et al. "My Short Story." Reading Short Stories. Chicago: Genius Press, 1995. Print.

Works Cited: Online Sources

For an online source, give the author’s last name, then provide the title of the story in quotation marks. If publisher information is given, include it. After the date, put the site name in italics, followed by a period. Use "Web" as the publication medium. Give the date of access in a day-month-year order and close with a period. Do not include the URL. Your citation of an online story should follow this format:

Does, James. "The Story Title." New York: Penguin, 2002. The Website of Many Stories. Web. 3 April 2014.

In-Text Citation

Introduce the material being cited with a signal phrase, such as:

James Doe reports that interval training is the most effective form of exercise when trying to reach weight-loss goals (146).

When using the author’s name as a signal phrase, give the page in parentheses at the close of the statement. When writing in-text citations and a signal phrase does not name the author, put the author’s last name in parentheses along with the page number. Do not include punctuation between the name and the page number. For example:

Many personal trainers believe that interval training is the most effective form of exercise when trying to reach weight-loss goals (Doe 146).

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