How to Cite a Short Story in MLA with Format Rules

This helpful guide will show you how to cite a short story in MLA with all the rules and examples. You will learn how to overcome citing challenges when your literary or any other task requires this citation type. You will learn about various kinds of short stories that can be either in the book or online, in a magazine, or a newspaper. Once you see the citation examples, things will become easier, and your assignments will earn the highest grades and appreciation. 

The main rules: learning to quote and cite a short story 

When you need to cite a short story in MLA style format, you need to obtain the following information: 

  • Last name and first name of the author.
  • Title of the story (it must be placed in quotation marks!).
  • Title of the original book (a magazine, journal, textbook, or newspaper) that appears in italics. 
  • Name of the editor(s) with the full name. 
  • A publisher. 
  • Year of publication. 
  • Page number(s). 

Here is a template on how to cite a short story in MLA: 

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Your Story." Book Title, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year, pp. 

Smith, Patricia. "The Day Punk Movement Has Been Born." Rock Tales Selected Anthology, edited by Rick Rubin, Music Press, 1996, pp. 2-11. 

An in-text citation should contain the last name of the author and page(s): (Smith, 2).

Citing a short story found online 

When accessing a short story online, be it an online magazine or a scientific database, you must list the name of the web source, the date of publishing, and the URL. You don't have to use parenthetical citations if there are no page numbers and the author was mentioned in your narrative citation as you quote. 

Here is a citation template on how to cite a short story in MLA format available online: 

Last Name, First Name of the author. "Story Title." Website Name, Day Month Year, URL. 

O'Kane, Liam. "Irish Culture in Short Poems." Irish Poetry Reading Archive, 11 July. 2022,

In-text citation: (O’Kane).

How to cite a short story discovered in a book 

In most cases, students have to cite a short story found in an edited collection, a book that contains several different narrations. You must locate the book's author and ensure you know the editor's name. Don't forget to specify the pages where the story appears, along with the rest of the information. See citation examples below. 

Last Name, First Name. "Story Title." Book Title, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year, pp. range of pages. 

Stine, Robert. "The Haunted Mask." Goosebumps and Other Scary Stories, edited by Michael Wise, Scholastic Corporation, 2023. pp. 11-16. 

In-text citation: (Stine 11). 

Note: If the short story has been published in a collection of stories by the same author and you cannot locate the editor's name (not used), skip the editor part from your reference. 

How to cite a short story mentioned in a textbook

Since it's easy to get confused regarding what to include from the textbook, citing a short story MLA, you only need to locate the author of the short story and the editor(s). The MLA 9th edition citation guide recommends using the following template when the textbook includes a short story: 

Last Name of the Author, First Name. "Short Story's Title or Chapter Title." Title of Your Textbook, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year of Publication, pp. Page Range. 

Hammett, Kirk. "The Call of Wilderness." American Classic Literature: From Fiction to Survival, edited by Ruth Pulsford, 8th ed., Oxford University Press, pp. 334-339. 

In-text citation: (Hammett 334).

Citing a short story from a newspaper or magazines 

Many good and useful stories that can be cited appear in newspapers or various scientific magazines. Using newspapers as sources, you can find short stories as well. Likewise, as you explore newspaper referencing, take your time to learn how to cite an interview MLA style, as it might just come in handy! Now, for the short story citation, you must list the periodical's name, the date when the story was published, and the range of page(s) or sections where the story can be located. Have a look at the MLA short story citation template to make this citation type easier: 

Last Name of the Author, First Name. "Story Title." Newspaper or Magazine Name, Day Month Year, pp. Page range. 

Clark, R.V. "The Story of One Indian." The Daily Telegraph, 7 Dec. 2019. pp. 19-21. 

In-text citation format: (Clark 19).


In what cases should I cite a book chapter in MLA style?

According to the MLA citation manual, there are two cases when you should cite a book chapter within a book. One of them is when different authors write the book chapters. The other scenario is when the book represents a collection of self-contained works. It means that a specific book chapter must be cited if you have poetry, dramatic plays, or short stories written by the same author. 

Should I use italics or quotation marks for short story titles?

Titles of individual short stories and poems must be placed in quotation marks. The titles of poetry collections or short stories must be placed in italics. 

"The Paradise Lost", a short story by Nick Holmes, appears in his collection, Thoughts On God and Religion

What are the rules for short story titles? 

Short story book titles appear in italics, capitalizing all the major words. If you have a subtitle, it's separated from the main title with a colon and a space. If you mention the title in your text, there's no need to include the subtitle. 

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