Citing multiple authors in MLA (Modern Language Association) format can often seem daunting to students and researchers alike. With a clear understanding of the MLA Citation, though, particularly its 9th Edition, this process can be straightforward and easy to manage. In his guide, we want to demystify the process and provide clear examples to help you correctly format citations for works by multiple authors in your academic papers.

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MLA Citation Style

The MLA Citation Style, now in its 9th Edition, is a widely accepted method of documenting sources used in academic writing. It emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the contributions of Multiple Authors to the body of academic work. Whether you are citing books, articles, or digital content, understanding how to format these citations is crucial for any scholarly work.

Citing Works by Two Authors

When you encounter a source with Two Authors, the MLA format requires that you list them in the order they appear on the source. The first author’s name is inverted (Last Name, First Name), followed by the word “and” and then the second author’s name in normal order (First Name Last Name). For example, in the Works Cited page:

An example of a book citation of two authors in MLA

In-text citations for two authors should include both last names, either within the narrative or in parenthesis. For instance,

How to Cite Multiple Authors in MLA

Citing Works by Three or More Authors

For works with Three or More Authors, the MLA format simplifies the citation process by allowing the use of “et al.” after the first author’s name. This indicates that there are additional authors without having to list everyone involved. An example in the Works Cited section would be:

How to Cite Multiple Authors in MLA

In-text citation:

How to Cite Multiple Authors in MLA

Digital Sources: E-Books and Articles

Citing E-Books and Articles – Multiple Authors follows the same principle but includes the digital medium’s specific details, such as the URL or DOI. The format remains consistent with physical sources, guaranteeing clarity and consistency across all types of media.


Citing multiple authors in MLA format asks of you to pay attention to detail and understand the specific rules that apply to different types of sources. Whether dealing with Two Authors or more, the key is to follow the MLA Citation Style, 9th Edition guidelines closely. By doing so, you guard the integrity of your academic work and pay respect to the contributions of all authors. Remember, accurate citation is not just a requirement; it’s a mark of scholarly respect and a way to connect your work to the broader academic conversation.


How should I handle in-text citations for works with multiple authors to avoid redundancy?

When you need to cite the same work with multiple authors multiple times in your text, the MLA format allows you to include all authors’ names in the first citation. For subsequent citations, if the work is by three or more authors, you can use “et al.” after the first author’s name to simplify the citation. For works by two authors, always cite both names. For example, the first in-text citation for a work by three authors would be (Garcia, Liu, and Patel), and subsequent citations would be (Garcia et al.). For two authors, always use both names, e.g., (Garcia and Liu).

Do I need to list all authors in my Works Cited list for a source with four or more authors, or can I just use “et al.”?

In the Works Cited list, when you are citing a source with three or more authors, MLA style allows you to list only the first author followed by “et al.” This abbreviation stands for “and others” and signals that the work was co-authored by additional people without having to list every name. For example, a Works Cited entry for a book by four authors would be formatted as: Hernandez, Maria, et al. Title of the Book. Publisher, Year. This simplifies the citation process and keeps your Works Cited list concise.

How do I cite a source with two authors in my paper if I’m only discussing the contribution of one of the authors?

Even if you are focusing on the contribution of one author in a work co-authored by two people, MLA guidelines require you to cite both authors in your in-text citation. The reason for this is that both authors contributed to the work as a whole, and omitting one name would not accurately represent the authorship. Therefore, you should mention both authors in your in-text citation, e.g., (Smith and Doe), regardless of whose contribution you are specifically discussing. This ensures proper attribution and respects the collaborative nature of the publication.

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