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How to Correctly Write a Book Title in an Essay in APA And MLA Formats

Using APA and MLA formats can be confusing to some people because of the strict rules on formatting and because the guidelines change year to year. It is important to be able to properly cite different sources and to know how to properly write a book title in both APA and MLA so that you can properly credit the book and its author.


Formatting can be easy if you follow the basic guidelines and will come more naturally as you use the format. When writing the title of a book in APA format you must be sure to italicize it. The first letter of each word that is four letters or more is capitalized as well. A properly formatted sentence including a book title with the proper in-text citations might look like this “In Smith’s (1974) The Anatomy of a Sea Cucumber, the author discusses how the sea cucumber is the trashcan of the ocean”. If you are making reference to a specific section or piece of information in the book, you must include a page number when you cite it at the end, but when you are referring to the entire book a page number is not needed.


The system for including a book title in an essay in MLA format is very similar to how it is done in APA format. In order to mention a book title, the title should be properly capitalized (each word over 4 letters has the first letter in uppercase) and it is also italicized. It is important to introduce a book when you are using it in an essay. “According to Smith’s book, The Anatomy of a Sea Cucumber, sea cucumbers are the trashcans of the ocean”. Unlike APA, you do not need to include a date before mentioning the title of the book. When citing a quote or direct piece of information from the book you should include the page number, if it is a general idea however, a page number is not needed. Other titles that are italicized include films, plays, records/cd, periodicals, and pamphlets. Newspaper or magazine articles, essays, songs, poems, and other short works are placed in quotation marks instead.


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