May 21, 2024
This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to correctly cite multiple authors in MLA using a step-by-step approach and clear examples. It also highlights common mistakes, best practices, alternative methods, and frequently asked questions.

Introduction

Citing multiple authors in MLA can be challenging, especially for beginners. It is crucial to provide accurate and complete citations to avoid plagiarism and give credit to the authors for their work. This article aims to guide you through the process of citing multiple authors in MLA.

Step-by-step guide

When citing multiple authors in MLA, the general rule is to list all the authors’ last names in the works-cited-list entry and separate them with commas. For in-text citations, list only the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cite multiple authors in MLA:

Two authors: For works with two authors, list both authors’ names in the works-cited-list entry.

Example: Smith, John, and Jane Doe. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

In-text citation: (Smith and Doe)

Three or more authors: For works with three or more authors, list only the first author followed by “et al.” in both the works-cited-list entry and the in-text citation.

Example: Jones, Tom et al. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

In-text citation: (Jones et al.)

Corporate authors: For works with corporate authors, use the full name of the organization in place of the author’s name in both the works-cited-list entry and the in-text citation.

Example: American Medical Association. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

In-text citation: (American Medical Association)

Authors with the same last name: For works with authors who share the same last name, list their first name or initials in the works-cited-list entry and the in-text citation.

Example: Doe, John. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.
Doe, Jane. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.

In-text citation: (Doe, John) or (Doe, Jane)

Common mistakes

There are common errors that people make when citing multiple authors in MLA. Here are some of them and how to avoid them:

Incorrect order of authors: When listing multiple authors, make sure to follow the correct order as listed in the source. Do not change the order or use your preferred order.

Missing authors: Always list all the authors in the works-cited-list entry. Do not omit any author, even if the source has many authors.

Incorrect use of “et al.”: Use “et al.” only for works with three or more authors. Do not use it for works with two authors.

Best practices

To ensure proper citation of multiple authors in MLA, follow these best practices:

Organize your sources: Keep track of your sources and organize them correctly to avoid confusion. Create a separate list of sources for works cited and in-text citations.

Use in-text citations: Include in-text citations to credit the authors for their work and avoid plagiarism. In-text citations should follow the MLA guidelines.

Format the works cited page: Follow the MLA guidelines for formatting the works cited page. Arrange the sources alphabetically by the authors’ last names.

Alternative methods

Not all sources follow the same citation rules as others. There are some exceptional cases that require an alternative approach when citing multiple authors in MLA. Here are some examples:

Anthology: For an anthology with multiple authors, list the editor’s name in the author position followed by “ed.” in parentheses. Then list the author’s name and the title of the work.

Example: Smith, John(ed.). “Title of Work.” Title of Anthology. Publisher, Year, page numbers.

Newspaper article: For a newspaper article written by multiple authors, list the first author followed by “and others” or “et al.” Place the article’s title in quotation marks and the newspaper’s name in italics.

Example: Brown, Tom, et al. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper, date, page numbers.

Frequently asked questions

1. What if there are more than three authors?

For works with more than three authors, use “et al.” after the first author’s name in both the works-cited-list entry and the in-text citation.

2. Can I use initials instead of full names for authors?

Yes, you can use initials instead of full names for authors in both the works-cited-list entry and the in-text citation.

3. What if there are two authors with the same last name and first name?

List the authors’ full names in the works-cited-list entry and add their initials to the in-text citation to avoid confusion.

Conclusion

Proper citation is essential to give credit to authors for their work and avoid plagiarism. Citing multiple authors in MLA may seem daunting, but following the guidelines and best practices can simplify the process. Always double-check your citations to ensure accuracy and completeness.

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