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How to Write a Book Chapter in 7 Simple Steps for Your Nonfiction Book

POSTED ON Aug 22, 2019

Petros Eshetu

Written by Petros Eshetu

Are you ready to learn how to write a book chapter? This is the first step towards many exciting milestones in your writing journey, so it’s time to get started!

You’ve committed to write a nonfiction book , and you’re well on your way to begin your author journey. 

So where do you start? By learning how to write a book chapter. 

Sounds simple, right? But it can be overwhelming and difficult to gain momentum, especially when we doubt ourselves and start to feel like writing a book is such a mammoth project to undertake. 

As writers, we often tend to overthink the process, causing a flood of questions that occupy our attention instead of actually writing. 

You might be asking yourself…

  • How do I even do this?
  • Where do I begin and when do I finish? 
  • How long should my chapters be?
  • How many chapters should I have?

These are just some of the questions that might be preventing you from actually getting started writing your book's first chapter. In this article, you'll learn the exact steps on how to write a book chapter, and more.

Here’s how to write a book chapter:  #1 – Create a chapter outline #2 – Build out the chapter’s structure #3 – Write an eye-catching chapter title or headline #4 – Hook readers with your chapter intro #5 – Expand your story with main points #6 – Provide a recap that summarizes the chapter #7 – Add a Call-to-Action & transition to your next chapter

But before we get started, let's make sure you have the required foundation to get started on writing a chapter.

How do you start writing a chapter?

In order to start writing a chapter, all you need to do is start writing. Remember, when you begin your draft simply focus on getting the words on the page. You can edit it later. Looking at the blinking cursor can be one of the most intimidating parts of the writing process, so just start.

Bonus: When you start writing your first chapter, it doesn't need to be chapter one. If you have a great idea for the middle of the book, write it! You may inspire yourself for chapter one.

How long does it take to write a book chapter?

The speed you write depends on many factors such as:

  • Your typing speed
  • If you choose to edit as you draft
  • Whether or not you know the direction you plan to take the story

Don't allow yourself to get hung up on your writing speed, instead, focus on your writing quality.

How many pages should be in a chapter?

The page count in each chapter depends on what is best for your story. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, how you end your chapter greatly influences if a reader turns the page.

It would likely be better for your reader, and your story, to end a chapter a bit early on a cliffhanger, rather than drag a chapter out.

As you write, ask yourself this question: What type of chapter ending would keep me turning pages? Be sure to end your chapter at this point.

Now, it's important to note that before you can even begin, you first need to have your book's general outline in place. It's okay if you have a working outline that's not finalized, but you need to have a rough idea of what chapters you need to include. If you're asking, “ What is an outline ?” read more at the link.

Your book's outline is your roadmap, and it's what you will use to get to your final destination with the chapters you write. After all, how do you know which direction you’re heading if you don’t have a path?

Think of your book like a TV show, and instead of episodes, you have chapters. Most hit shows develop a general theme for the season, so each episode progressively builds up to a grand finale. 

The same goes for writing books. You brainstorm ideas, figure out a theme for your book, and structure it by chapters, so it all fits together nicely.

Your book is the general theme, and each chapter should build up to the big picture. 

What is a chapter?

A chapter is defined as section, or division, of a book, and it is usually separated with a chapter number or chapter title. Chapters break the overall book topic into sections. Each chapter in a book is related to the overall book theme, and chapters are found in many book variations and genres, such as nonfiction, fiction, academia, law, and more. The concept of a book chapter is to allow the author to break up the work, and for the reader to digest the material in increments, or chunks that are both understandable and memorable.

After all, most readers aren’t going to go through 30,000 or more words in one sitting. They need mental breaks. That’s what your chapters provide.

Also, chapters allow you to have some kind of structure in your writing compared to just rambling all of your ideas in one go like journal writing. A journal may make sense to you in your mind, but for the average person who’s reading it, they might not get the whole picture because they don’t have the same perspective as you.

Before you can get started with how to write a chapter, you need to be clear on what the purpose of a chapter is, and how it helps your book's organization.

Related: Parts of a Book

How long should my chapter be?

The short answer is, it really depends on your topic, and your writing style. There aren’t any set rules or guidelines. That’s the beautiful thing of self publishing – you as the author gets to dictate the length of your book. 

The length of your chapters will vary depending on the genre. So, if you really want some guidance, then just compare the typical length of other books within the same niche. 

How many words are in a nonfiction book chapter?

The average number of words in a nonfiction book is around 50,000-70,000 words, and the average number of chapters in a nonfiction book are about 10-20. With this logic, the number of words in a nonfiction book chapter is about 3,500 words to 5,000 words. But, the number of words in each chapter can vary greatly, depending on the nonfiction book's topic, subject matter, and the author's writing style.

Some topics will require more details, and some will require less. There isn't a set number of chapters to include, either, so make your chapters detailed, concise, and see where your word count falls and make adjustments in your editing process as needed.

As you learn how to write a book chapter, try not to worry so much about how many words to include in each chapter of your book. Instead of focusing on your word count, focus on the quality of your writing, and that you are including all the necessary information to get your point across.

Hands Typing On Laptop Keyboard With Text Overlay: How To Write A Book Chapter

How many chapters should I write? 

Again, this is up to you.  You can write as many or as few chapters as you want. Your book is your baby, and you make the final decision.

Don't decide on number of chapters just for the sake of it. Make sure you organize your chapters with sound reasoning, as opposed to just setting a random number.

This will ensure that your chapters make logical sense, and are in the correct order. With structured, organized chapters, your reader will be able to follow the information in your book seamlessly.

Now that you understand what a chapter is, and how many words and chapters to have in your book, it's time for writing !

#1 – Create an outline for the chapter 

The best way to brainstorm ideas and create an outline for your chapter is through mindmapping. 

A mindmap, if you aren’t already familiar with it, is where you brainstorm and unload all your ideas onto paper (or type it).

Once you’re done, you can look over and see if there’s a common theme beginning to take shape. At this point, you can start linking them together. You can structure your ideas to help with your analysis and see it visually.

As you learn how to write a book chapter, you'll get a better feel for how many sections make sense for your book's topic.

Here’s how to create an outline for your chapter:  #1 – Brainstorm all of the ideas and topics that this chapter should cover #2 – Write your ideas down on a mindmap  #3 – Review your ideas and link similar ideas together #4 – Identify a common theme for your chapter #5 – Sort the ideas into a logical order of how you should present them in your chapter

Here’s an example of my mind map: 

How To Write A Book Chapter: Chapter Mind Map

After my mind map, I was able to create a structured outline:

How To Write A Book Chapter: Structured Outline

Here are more resources for mindmapping: #1 – Mindmapping tool #2 – Learn how to book map #3 – Create an outline for a book

#2 – Build the chapter structure

Now that you understand the fundamentals, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of what makes up an effective chapter structure.

You'll want to be sure to include each element of your chapter structure for every subsequent chapter that you write.

It might be helpful to create a standard format, whether you write with pen and paper, or using book software on your computer. This will help you stay on track and write your chapters in an organized, structured form.

Here are the elements of a chapter structure:  #1 – A title or headline #2 – An introduction that hooks #3 – Body paragraphs that provide further details #4 – A recap, or summary, of the chapter #5 – A transition to the next chapter

While you can add more or less to each of your chapters depending on your genre, writing style, and needs, it’s important that all of your chapter contents contain similar points or pieces of information related to your overall theme.

All of the information should also be what your reader actually needs to know to understand the overall picture. 

If any of the contents don’t fit into your chapter’s theme, take it out. If there is extra information that isn’t necessary for the reader to know, or causes the reader to go off on a tangent, take it out. 

Only add what’s absolutely necessary, and take out anything extra. Chances are, the information either doesn’t add to the value of your work, or it might belong in a different chapter.

#3 – Write an eye-catching chapter title or headline

As you learn how to write a book chapter, you’ll realize just how important writing eye-catching chapter headlines, or titles, are. 

You can have the most amazing content in the world that has the power to change people’s lives forever. But if you don't learn how to write a book chapter headline that captures their attention, then they’ll never bother reading your book. 

This is especially important when you have someone on the fence, deciding whether or not to buy your book. They’re skimming through your table of contents or flipping through the pages to see if anything sticks out.

You want a chapter headline that triggers curiosity, and makes your reader want to learn more.

Even though this is listed as the first element of a chapter’s structure, many authors find that it’s easier to create the headline AFTER the chapter has been written. 

Tip: Write your headline once your chapter is already written. 

This is because as you write, your chapter and concept might change slightly, so you don’t want to waste time tinkering with the headline every time you update your concept.

Here are three types of headlines you can write:  #1 – Use the “How to…” approach #2 – Use a phrase or belief statement #3 – Present it as a question

#1 – Write the headline as a “How to…”

The “How to” format is a common strategy when writing a book chapter title because it works. A good “how to” headline is enticing, concise, and provokes action in the reader. 

To create a “How to” headline for your book’s chapter, make a list of the benefits, barriers, and beliefs that your chapter covers and then just plug it into the “How to…” template. Play around with it and see which headline combination makes the most sense.

If you’re struggling with this, think of the problem your chapter solves. Then craft that problem into a “How to” statement.

Here’s an example: “How to (add benefit) without having to (add barrier) even if (add belief).”  #1 – Add benefit – What’s the benefit of this chapter? What insight will your readers gain? #2 – Add barrier – What barriers or obstacles are your readers facing? What is their problem? What do your readers currently believe right now? #3 – Add belief – What belief(s) or inner thoughts are your readers telling themselves about your topic? 

How-to headline examples on book writing:

  • How to self-publish your book without having to commit 8 hours a day, even if you don't think you’re a good writer. 
  • How to stay motivated when writing your book without having to sacrifice hours away from family and business, even if you don't feel you have enough time.
  • How to build your confidence when writing your book without having to do a ton of research, even if you don't feel like you’re an expert

#2 –  Use a phrase or belief statement as your headline

You can simply use a phrase or belief that your readers are thinking about. If you think about it as the problem you are trying to solve for your reader, your headline or title would simply be the problem statement. 

Here are examples of beliefs for people who want to write a book:

  • “I'm not good enough to write.”
  • “I’m not a writer.’’
  • “I'm not special; why would anyone want to read my book?”

#3 – Present the headline as a question 

This is similar to the problem statement, but you are rephrasing it as a question that your readers might ask. 

Think about what your chapter covers, and ask yourself, “What question is this chapter going to answer for my readers?”

Then, use that question to can create a compelling book chapter or headline.

Here are some examples of questions a reader might ask:

  • How long does it take to write a book?
  • Can I make a living writing books?
  • Do I need an editor for my book?

If you’re still stuck thinking of an enticing chapter title or headline, it may be that you need more time to flesh out your content. 

Or, maybe you just need to spend some time writing, and come back to the headline when you are feeling more creative. 

You can also use title generators like Portent (which is my favorite) and tweakyourbiz . It can inspire you to come up with something unique.

What's great is you can use these headline ideas for not just chapters, but also webinars, videos, blog posts, guest posts, etc. as you expand your book business. 

#4 – Hook readers with your chapter intro 

Alright! So, you’ve captured the reader’s attention and now they’re curious to find out more. This is where you want to avoid any first chapter blunders and have an engaging intro that keeps people hooked, and attracted to your content. 

To explain the power of a hook in your chapter, let’s use an example from the TV show Law and Order . In every episode, they show the murder scene in the first few seconds; this is the opening hook! 

This effective technique naturally hooks viewers, myself included, making us want to know more.

We are left with the lingering question through the screenwriter’s hook (“How did they die?”) and then the rest of the episode is focused on piecing together who committed the murder. 

Unless you’re writing a horror book, I wouldn't expect your chapter introduction to be that dramatic, but there are similar ways that you can create an engaging opener. You can learn how to write an intro with a few simple steps, then apply the same strategies to all of your chapters.

Here’s how to hook your reader at the start of your book’s chapter: #1 – Share a personal story #2 – Show a conversation or dialogue #3 – Add powerful quotes #4 – Add shocking statistics  

What else can you think of to grab your reader's attention? Get creative!

In my experience, the best chapter introduction that get the most reader engagement is when the author shares a personal story. This is for two reasons.

Reason #1 – It builds a connection

Before spitting out facts and solutions, share your own personal story about overcoming the challenge you hope to help others through when they read your book and/or other products or services you offer. 

Stories are what connect you to your readers. 

Describe how you felt before, during, and after your personal challenge. For example, if you’re helping people lose weight, how did you feel when you were overweight? 

What did you see, hear, and feel? Relive and visualize this because most likely that’s where your readers are right now in their life. 

Even though you have overcome these struggles, you need to communicate at the same level as your readers and not from where you’re at right now.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and open up. 

I attended a screenwriting class recently. What I learned was that the most successful Hollywood movies are those with characters that have the most flaws.

It’s your flaws that will connect you to your readers emotionally. People are not looking for solutions or anecdotes as much as they are seeking for connection. 

“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people” – William Butler Yeats

Reason #2 – It adds credibility

Your story helps build credibility, so people think, “ Wow! This author has been there, and done that, so they must know what they are talking about. I should read what they have to say. ”

When people are reading your book (and chapter) they may be asking:

  • ‘Why should I listen to you?”
  • “Who are you?” 
  • “How can you help me with _____?”
  • “How do you know how it feels to____?”

No one will listen to you unless they first know that they are understood. 

“People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” John Maxwell

Share your story of being in the trenches and having gone through the challenges that your readers are currently facing. Create a bridge between you and your readers. 

Once your readers know that you understand them, they will begin to trust you and will be more open to hearing your advice.

Alternatively, you could also tell a story of a client you’ve helped or share their testimonials. 

You could also paint a picture of how life will be when they finish reading your book or implementing your methods, products or services, or even how life will be if they don't.

#5 – Expand your story with main points

Okay, so you have a great opening and people are hooked. Your readers can’t put the book down.

But now it’s time to dive into the details. Expand your opening and begin to explain your points.

This is where you are offering your reader the gold. How will you solve their problem? What does the reader need to know? Keep the momentum going and make sure each point is cohesively building up.

You can have as many points as you want. I personally like sharing three points within chapter topics just because there is so much to write about for each point.

For example, in my book, The Introverted Immigrant's Journey , I share 3 steps (or points) to overcoming fear, worry, and anxiety.

  • Step 1: Awareness   
  • Step 2: Identifying self-sabotaging thoughts
  • Step 3: Take action (despite the fear)

For each point, you can simply apply the same strategy just as you would starting a chapter. Add a story, quote, stat, or some other kind of evidence. 

Then expand on your opener.

Remember when you had to write a five paragraph essay in school? Think about this in terms of your five paragraph essay. These are your body paragraphs in your chapter!

This step is where a lot of writers can get sidetracked. That's why it's important to create your chapter outline in step 1, then stick to it as much as possible so that your writing is focused and concise and you hit your writing goals .

#6 – Write a summary of the book chapter

Celebrate! You’re almost to the finish line.

Now, all you’ve got to do is summarize what you’ve just said. You’ve given your reader a ton of information, so you have to bring it back around and close the loop.

Writing a summary of your book's chapter is basically recapping the information you shared in the section.

Since people best remember what they read last, this is your chance to be truly memorable.

What’s the last thing you want people to know? The key takeaway. Keep this short and to the point.

Here's how to write a summary of a book chapter: #1 – Skim the chapter and take notes of any major points or key takeaways #2 – Jot down each point or key takeaway #3 – Summarize each point in your own words  #4 – Whittle it down to 1 or 2 sentences for each point. #5 – Combine all your summarized points into one paragraph. #6 – Add in transition words such as “first,” “next” or “then” for each new point.

For example, in my book, I summarized my chapter points by creating 1-2 sentences on each point. Then, I combined each of those sentences together in order. 

For my first chapter point, which was on creating awareness, I wrote this summary:

“It’s important to remember that awareness is the first step to overcoming fear. How can you fix something without knowing its broken in the first place? Begin writing daily in a journal. Track how you feel throughout the day without any judgment.”

#7 – Add a Call-to-Action & transition to the next chapter

A call-to-action (CTA) is when you ask the reader to take action by implementing what they have learned and applying their new knowledge in some way. 

In short: Ask the reader to do something. 

What do you want the reader to do now? If you want them to think, act, or do something, tell them so at the end of your chapter.

It could be as simple as leaving a few questions for the readers to think about.

Here are some ways to add a call-to-action for your reader: #1 – Add reflection questions: “So, what’s one AHA! moment you got from reading this chapter?” #2 – Add action steps: “What is one small action you can take today after reading this chapter?”  #3 – Sign-up to my email list: “Do you still struggle with this (chapter problem)? Sign up to my email list, where I share more tips and strategies.” #4 – Get in touch: “If this (chapter problem) is a continuous challenge you are facing, feel free to reach out” (add email or any contact info) #5 – Buy: “If you’re interested in learning more about (chapter topic), consider buying these other books that focus on X.”

Once you’ve added your call to action, you can add a short transition to prepare your reader for your next chapter. 

Transitioning your reader to the next chapter gets them excited to keep reading, and it fully closes the loop on the information they just read. 

You can easily add some transition words and craft a 1-2 sentence that briefly covers what the next chapter will be about. 

Then, you can wrap up the entire chapter, and start the chapter writing process all over again!

Before you know it, your entire book will be written, and you’ll be preparing your finished manuscript for self-publishing .

Now that you have all the essentials on how to write a book chapter, it’s time to implement them!

Start sharing your stories and making the impact you’ve always wanted to make in the world through the power of your book. 

What other chapter techniques or strategies work for you?

how to write a book chapter in an essay

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7 Steps of Writing an Excellent Academic Book Chapter

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Writing is an inextricable part of an academic’s career; maintaining lab reports, writing personal statements, drafting cover letters, research proposals, the dissertation—this list goes on. However, while these are considered as essentials during any research program, writing an academic book is a milestone every writer aims to achieve. It could either be your urge of authoring a book or you may have received an invite from a publisher to write a book chapter . In both cases, most researchers find it difficult to write an academic book chapter.

The questions that may arise when you plan on writing a book chapter are:

  • Where do I start from?
  • How do I even do this?
  • What should be the length of book chapters?
  • How should I link one chapter to the following chapter?

These questions are quite common when starting with your first book chapter. In this article, we’ll discuss the steps on how to write an excellent academic book chapter.

Table of Contents

What is an Academic Book Chapter?

An academic book chapter is defined as a section, or division, of a book. These are usually separated with a chapter number or title. A chapter divides the overall book topic into topic-specific sections. Furthermore, each chapter in a book is related to the overall theme of the book.

A book chapter allows the author to divide their work in parts for readers to understand and remember it easily. Additionally, chapters help create structure in your writing for a better flow of ideas.

How Long Should a Book Chapter be?

Typically, a non-fiction book chapter should be small and must only include information related to one major idea. However, since a non-fiction /academic book is around 50,000 to 70,000 words, and each book would comprise 10-20 chapters, each book chapter’s word limit should range between 3500 and 7000 words.

While there aren’t any standard rules to follow with respect to the length of a book chapter, it may vary depending on the genre of your writing. However, it is better to refer your publisher’s guidelines and write your chapters accordingly.

Difference between a Book Chapter and Thesis Chapter

What makes a book excellent are the book chapters that it comprises. Thus, the key to writing an excellent book is mastering the art of writing a book chapter . You’d think you could write a book easily because you’ve already written your dissertation. However, writing a book chapter is not the same as writing your thesis.

The image below shares 5 major differences between a book chapter and a thesis chapter:

book chapter

How to Write a Book Chapter?

As writing a book chapter is the first milestone in your writing journey, it can be overwhelming and difficult to garner your thoughts and put them down on a sheet at once. It takes time and effort to gain momentum for accomplishing this mammoth task. However, proper planning followed by dedicated effort will make you realize that you were worrying over something trivial.

So let us make the process of writing a book chapter easier with these 7 steps.

Step 1: Collate Relevant Information

How would you even start writing a chapter if you do not have the necessary information or data? The first step even before you start writing is to review and collate all the relevant data that is necessary to formulate an informative chapter.

Since a chapter focuses on one major idea it should not include any gaps that perplexes the reader. Creating mind-maps help in linking different sources of information and compiling them to formulate a completely new chapter. As a result, you can structure your ideas to help with your analysis and see it visually. This process improves your understanding of the book’s theme.  More importantly, sort the ideas into a logical order of how you should present them in your chapter. This makes it easier to write the chapter without convoluting it.

Step 2: Design the Chapter Structure

After spending hours in brainstorming ideas and understanding the fundamentals that the chapter should cover, you must create a structured outline. Furthermore, following a standard format helps you stay on track and structure your chapter fluently.

Ideally, a well-structured chapter includes the following elements:

  • A title or heading
  • An interesting introduction
  • Main body informative paragraphs
  • A summary of the chapter
  • Smooth transition to the next chapter

Even so, you may not restrict yourself to following only one structure; rather, add more or less to each of your chapters depending on your genre, writing style, and requirement of the chapter to maintain the book’s overall theme. Keep only relevant content in your chapter. Avoid content that causes the reader to go off on a tangent.

Step 3: Write an Appealing Chapter Title/Heading

How often have you put a book back on the book store’s shelf right after reading its title? Didn’t even bother to read the synopsis, did you? Likewise, you may have written the most impactful chapter, but what sense would it make if its title is not interesting enough. An impactful chapter title captures the reader’s attention. It’s basically the “first sight” rule!

Your chapter’s title/heading must trigger curiosity in the reader and make them want to read and learn more. Although this is the first element of a chapter, most writers find it easier to create a title/heading after completing the chapter.

Step 4: Build an Engaging Introduction

Now that you have captured the reader’s attention with your title/heading, it has obviously increased the readers’ expectations from the content. To keep them interested in your chapter, write an introduction that keeps them hooked on. You may use a narrative approach or build a fictional plot to grab the attention of the reader. However, ensure that you do not deviate from the main context of your chapter. Finally, writing an effective introduction will help you in presenting an overview of your chapter.

Some of the tricks to follow when writing an exceptional introduction are:

  • Share an anecdote
  • Create a dialogue or conversation
  • Include quotations
  • Create a fictional plot

Step 5: Elaborate on Main Points of the Chapter

Impactful title? Checked!

Interesting introduction? Checked!

Now is the time to dive in to the details imparting section of the chapter. Expand your opening statement and begin to explain your points in detail. More importantly, leave no space for speculation in the reader’s mind.

This section should answer the following questions of the reader:

  • Why has the reader chosen to read your book?
  • What do they need to know?
  • Are their questions and doubts being resolved with the content of your chapter?

Ensure that you build each point coherently and follow a cohesive flow. Furthermore, provide statistical data, evidence-based information, experimental data, graphical presentations, etc. You could formulate these points into 4-5 paragraphs based on the details of your chapter. To ensure you structure these details coherently across the right number of paragraphs, calculate the number of paragraphs in your text here .

Step 6: Summarize the Chapter

As impactful was the entry, so should be the exit, right? The summary is the part where you are almost done. This section is a key takeaway for your readers. So, revisit your chapter’s main content and summarize it. Since your chapter has given a lot of information, you’d want the reader to remember the gist of it as they reach the end of your chapter. Hence, writing a concise summary that constitutes the crux of your chapter is imperative.

Step 7: Add a Call-to-Action & Transition to Next Chapter

This section comes at the extreme end of the book chapter, when you ask the reader to implement the learnings from the chapter. It is a way of applying their newly acquired knowledge. In this section, you can also add a transition from your chapter to the succeeding chapter.

So would you still have jitters while writing your book chapter? Are there any other strategies or steps that you follow to write one? Let us know in the comments section below on how these steps helped you in writing a book chapter .

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Thank you I have got a full lecture for sure

Thank for the encouraging words

You have demystified the act of writing a book chapter. Thank you for your efforts.

Very informative

It has really helpful for beginners like me.

Very impactful and informative. Thank you 😊

Very informative and helpful to beginners like us. Thank you.

Thanks for this very informative article

You have made writing a book chapter seem very simple. I appreciate all of your hard work.

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How to write a book chapter

I was asked by Dr. Joanna Brown for guidance on how to write a book chapter. I wouldn’t say I’m the ideal person for this task, but since I have published many of these for several edited collections , I think I can offer some advice.

I’ve got a few single-authored chapters on the go for three books at the moment (one on bottled water in the context of a human right to water, one on ethnography as a research method in comparative policy analysis, and one in press on national policy styles ), and thus I wanted to share my experience writing these.

My relationship with writing chapters for someone else’s edited volume is simultaneously love-and-hate, as people who read my blog regularly may remember .

@raulpacheco any advice for writing an academic book chapter? I'm struggling with some imposter syndrome. — Dr. Joanna (@joannawbrownphd) July 3, 2018

The value that different institutions place on book chapters varies widely. My own institution prefers journal articles, but as I’ve said before, I have participated in edited collections because I believe in the project, and also because these are usually collective projects I’m interested in undertaking. I’ve published book chapters in both Spanish and English, and I’ve also edited books as well, so I’m fond of the model. You should, nonetheless, consider the pros and cons of writing a book chapter.

AcWri highlighting and scribbling while on airplanes

First of all, book chapters are different from journal articles as many of these aren’t peer reviewed and therefore aren’t subject to as many changes and corrections as you could expect from articles. I will fully admit having published peer-reviewed book chapters that these are as much of a nightmare as journal article manuscripts. I have one particularly awful experience (which isn’t over yet!) in mind.

But the most important element that an author needs to keep thinking about when writing a book chapter, in my view, is how your chapter contributes to the overall Throughline of the book (I’ve mentioned The Throughline previously – or as Scandinavian authors call it, The Red Thread ). I’ve also emphasized the importance of demonstrating cohesiveness and coherence throughout an edited collection, as the editors of Untapped did in their edited volume on the sociology of beer .

With Untapped, Chapman and coauthors explore the question of "what is sociological about beer?" — Dr Raul Pacheco-Vega (@raulpacheco) April 14, 2018

This sample chapter on how to write books actually provides a great example of how to write a book chapter . Normally, I would create an outline of the paper ( this blog post of mine will tell you two methods to create outlines ), then follow a sequential process to create the full paper ( my post on 8 sequential steps may be helpful here ).

More than anything, I do try really hard to use headings to guide the global argument of the chapter. The outline/sequence looks something like this:

  • Introduction. – outline of questions or topics to tackle throughout the chapter, and description of how the chapter will deal with them.
  • Topic 1 – answer to question 1.
  • Topic 2 – answer to question 2.
  • Topic N – answer to question N.
  • Discussion/synthesis. – how it all integrates and relates to the overall book.
  • Conclusions, limitations and future work.
  • References.

As I write my chapter, I make sure to link its content with other chapters in the edited volume . This may be a bit tricky because of how editors have timed contributions. Sometimes they don’t have all the chapters readily available to be shared across authors. But I’ve found that normally they do, and so they’re willing to share across all authors.

This guideline to writing chapters may also be helpful. It’s also quite important that you follow both the press and the editors’ guide (style, punctuation, citation formatting, etc.). But more than anything, I strongly believe that the best approach to writing a book chapter is to think of it as a way to present a series of thoughts in a cohesive manner that doesn’t necessarily equal a journal article. Yes, there may be empirical claims presented, and yes, there should probably some theoretical advancement in there, but again, it’s NOT a journal article.

Hope this post helps those of you writing a book chapter. If you want to read some of mine, you can download some of them here or here (Academia.Edu) or here (ResearchGate).

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Tagged with AcWri , book chapters , writing .


By Raul Pacheco-Vega – July 11, 2018

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Can I reuse my own published papers in writing book chapters?

Reuse per se, perhaps not, republish maybe, with caveats, but you can use some text, yes.

In the book chapters, do we have to give results or only survey of others works will do ?

That depends on you and what the book editor expects!

Thank you, Sir. That was helpful.

As a research scholar I want to write a book chapter instead of writing a review paper. Can I do that? Do I need any special permission to write a book chapter?

This reminds me of the quote… “Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” Thanks for posting this.

No special permission!

This is very useful. Thanks Raul.

will the book chapters will have references in the same manner as in manuscripts of journal

In book chapters, we have to do new research like (journal article ) or illustrate our ideas with already published work?

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How to Write a Book Title in an Essay (MLA, APA etc.)

Formatting your essay correctly ensures that you get full recognition for the hard work you put into it. Wondering what to do? There are two scenarios that lead you to the question of "how to write a book title in an essay":

  • You have not been required to use a particular style guide, in which case consistency remains important.
  • You have been instructed to use a particular style guide. You now simply need to ensure that you are familiar with its rules.

Regardless of which of these scenarios holds true for you, this guide is here to help.

How to Write a Book Title in an Essay

Many style manuals call on writers use title case and italics to format a book title. Title case rules vary slightly from one style guide to the next, but generally capitalize all important words — nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adverbs. Conjunctions and prepositions are not capitalized unless they are very long (generally more than four letters) or they appear at the beginning or end of a book title.

Writers who are not required to work with a specific style manual can't go wrong if they stick to this style. Some examples would be:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals That Protect us From Violence by Gavin de Becker
  • The Cat With a Feathery Tail and Other Stories by Enid Blyton

If, on the other hand, you're required to use a style guide, it will likely be one of these:

  • MLA, commonly used in disciplines relating to literature and social sciences.
  • APA, commonly used in psychology and other sciences.
  • Chicago, often used in the publishing industry.
  • Harvard style, commonly used in philosophy and social sciences.

These are certainly not the only "big players" in the style guide world, but they're ones it's good to be familiar with. There is overlap between these styles, but there are also major differences — so knowing one definitely does not mean you know the others, too.

Guidelines for Writing a Book Title in an Essay

Looking for a short and sharp answer, so you can get on with the rest of your essay? This is it.

This quick guide will help you reference the book title of your choosing in the body of your essay, but what about your Works Cited pages? Each style guide offers different rules, and we'll use the same book as an example to illustrate the differences.

  • MLA uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Year. Example: Card, Orson Scott. Ender's Game. Tor Books, 1985. (You only have to detail the city of publication if the book was published before 1900, the publisher has offices in many localities, or the publisher is not known in the US.)
  • APA uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. (Year of Publication). Title of book. Example: Card, Orson Scott. (1985). Ender's game.
  • Chicago style uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Name. Book Title: Subtitle . Place of publication: Publisher, Year. Example: Card, Orson Scott. Ender's Game . Tor Books, 1985.
  • Harvard uses the following format: Author Last Name, First Initial. (Publication Year). Title . ed. City: Publisher. Example: Card, O. (1985). Ender's Game. Tor Books.

If, after researching, you cannot find relevant information about publication years, publishers, or the city in which a book was published, you may omit it. For a full guide, it is always best to have a physical copy of the latest edition of the style manual you are using. You can, however, get by without this if you need to.

Should you still not know what to do, it will be helpful for you to know that you can "generate" citations for a particular style manual with the help of online tools like Cite Me . These are not always accurate, so if you decide to use one, always check the citation manually.

Why Is Proper Formatting Important?

All of the well-known style manuals ultimately serve the very same set of purposes, although they were each developed for a particular niche. The goals of these style manuals are both explicit and implicit:

  • Following a style guide ensures consistency throughout a document, in this case an essay.
  • Consistency ensures that reader's understand precisely what the writer is talking about, without exerting any effort on figuring that out. Clarity is especially important in academic writing.
  • By using a style guide within a certain discipline, you show that you understand the rules within that discipline. This adds credibility to your voice as a writer. You have done your homework, have ideally bought the style manual, and are part of the "in group".
  • Sticking to a certain style guide makes it easier for relevant parties to check your references, which they can then use to perform further research.

Students are increasingly asked to refer to style guides at all levels, including in high school. In this case, formatting your essay correctly, in accordance with the right style manual, serves two additional purposes:

  • You'll lose points if you don't do it right, offering you an additional reason to do your research.
  • Getting used to these formats prepares you for further education. If you are in high school, it prepares you for college-level writing. If you are an undergraduate student, it prepares you for academic work at the graduate and post-graduate levels.

Can you start an essay with a book title?

Yes, you can start an essay with a book title. This is a valid stylistic choice, but you will always want to consider your introduction carefully.

How do you write a book title in handwriting?

Students sometimes ask whether it is acceptable to underline book titles instead of italicizing them. This practice indeed stems from a time in which most students wrote their essays by hand. Although it has largely fallen out of practice now, you can still underline a book title if you are handwriting your essay.

How do you write a book title and chapter in an essay?

You should mention the chapter title first: "Rat" from Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Consult the relevant style manual to ensure you get the formatting right.

Can you shorten a book title in an essay?

Yes, you can. Reference the full title the first time you mention it (for example: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things ). The next time you mention the book, you may simply refer to Furiously Happy .

Related posts:

  • How to Write the Date in MLA Format
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  • Someone Walked Over My Grave - Meaning and Origin
  • 14 Tips to Help you Write An Essay Fast
  • Go Pound Sand - Meaning, Usage and Origin
  • How to Write a DBQ (APUSH) Essay?

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How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

How to Write Book Titles in Your Essays

3-minute read

  • 26th May 2023

When writing an essay, you’re likely to mention other authors’ works, such as books, papers, and articles. Formatting the titles of these works usually involves using quotation marks or italics.

So how do you write a book title in an essay? Most style guides have a standard for this – be sure to check that first. If you’re unsure, though, check out our guide below.

Italics or Quotation Marks?

As a general rule, you should set titles of longer works in italics , and titles of shorter works go in quotation marks . Longer works include books, journals, TV shows, albums, plays, etc. Here’s an example of a book mention:

Shorter works include poems, articles, chapters of books, episodes of TV shows, songs, etc. If it’s a piece that’s part of a biggHow to Write Book Titles in Your Essayser work, the piece considered a short work:

Exceptions to the Rule

The rule for writing book titles in italics applies specifically to running text . If the book title is standing on its own, as in a heading, there’s no need to italicize it.

Additionally, if the book is part of a larger series and you’re mentioning both the title of the series and that of the individual book, you can consider the book a shorter work. You would set the title of the series in italics and place the book title in quotation marks:

Punctuation in Book Titles

Do you need to apply italics to the punctuation in a book title? The short answer is yes – but only if the punctuation is part of the title:

If the punctuation isn’t part of the title (i.e., the punctuation is part of the sentence containing the title), you shouldn’t include in the italics:

Find this useful?

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Summary: Writing Book Titles in Essays

We hope you’ll now feel confident when you’re writing and formatting book titles in your essays. Generally, you should set the title in italics when it’s in running text. Remember, though, to check your style guide. While the standards we’ve covered are the most common, some style guides have different requirements.

And once you finish writing your paper, make sure you send it our way! We’ll make sure any titles are formatted correctly as well as checking your work for grammar, spelling, punctuation, referencing, and more. Submit a free sample to try our service today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write the title of a book in a sentence.

Set the title of the book in italics unless the book is part of a larger work (e.g., a book that’s part of a series):

When do you use quotation marks for titles?

Place titles of shorter works or pieces that are contained in a larger work in quotation marks:

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How to Write a Book Chapter

  • First Online: 02 February 2019

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how to write a book chapter in an essay

  • Thomas R. Pfeiffer 8 &
  • Daniel Guenther 9  

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The aim of this chapter is to guide clinicians and researchers through the process of composing a book chapter. Helpful tips on what to consider prior to writing, how to start the writing process, and how to complete and finalize the chapter are provided. Writing a chapter is a team effort. This text helps to define the role of the “team members,” gives examples of different approaches on how to work in and with the team, and provides guidelines to generate a long-lasting product. Scientific written text, consistent terminology, and well-chosen meaningful figures are highlighted as key points of a successful book chapter. Finally, a printed version of a book will reward authors for the sometimes intense, but always interesting, work of chapter preparation.

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Lewerich B, Götze D. What to do when you are asked to write a chapter. In: Troidl H, McKneally MF, Mulder DS, Wechsler AS, McPeek B, Spitzer WO, editors. Surgical research. New York: Springer; 1998.

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Kendirci M. How to write a medical book chapter? Turk J Urol. 2013;39(Suppl 1):37–40. .

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Woodrow L. Publishing research: book chapters and books. In: Writing about quantitative research in applied linguistics. London: Palgrave Macmillan; 2014.

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Skipper T. Writing an effective book chapter. A guide for authors working with the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition; 2011.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Trauma Surgery and Sports Medicine, Cologne Merheim Medical Center, Witten/Herdecke University, Cologne, Germany

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Pfeiffer, T.R., Guenther, D. (2019). How to Write a Book Chapter. In: Musahl, V., et al. Basic Methods Handbook for Clinical Orthopaedic Research. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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How to Write a Book Name in an Essay

Last Updated: February 14, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Noah Taxis and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Noah Taxis is an English Teacher based in San Francisco, California. He has taught as a credentialed teacher for over four years: first at Mountain View High School as a 9th- and 11th-grade English Teacher, then at UISA (Ukiah Independent Study Academy) as a Middle School Independent Study Teacher. He is now a high school English teacher at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco. He received an MA in Secondary Education and Teaching from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. He also received an MA in Comparative and World Literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a BA in International Literary & Visual Studies and English from Tufts University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 62,947 times.

When you’re writing an essay that includes a book title, it can be confusing to write the title correctly. However, it’s really easy once you know the rules. How you write the title will vary a little bit depending on the style your instructor assigns and if you are typing or handwriting the essay. Luckily, it's easy to follow the rules for writing a book name in an essay.

Writing Help

how to write a book chapter in an essay

Typing an Essay in MLA or Chicago Style Format

Step 1 Capitalize the first letter of all nouns, verbs, and adjectives in the book name.

  • For example, you would write To Kill a Mockingbird , The Lord of the Rings , or Wuthering Heights .

Step 2 Avoid capitalizing articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions.

  • If you have the book name in front of you, you can just copy it down as it is printed.
  • Articles include a, an, and the.
  • Prepositions include at, in, on, of, about, since, from, for, until, during, over, above, under, underneath, below, beneath, near, by, next to, between, among, and opposite.
  • Coordinating conjunctions include the FANBOYS, which are for, and, not, but, or, yet, and

Step 3 Include punctuation in the italics if it’s part of the title.

  • For example, you would write the name of William Faulkner’s novel Absalom, Absalom! with both the comma and the exclamation point in italics.

Step 4 Highlight the book name.

  • If the highlight bar goes away, try again, making sure that you don’t click anywhere on the page after you highlight the book name.

Step 5 Click the italicize icon to format the title.

  • Alternatively, you can press the italicize icon before you type the title.
  • If you’re using Microsoft Word to type your essay, the italicize key may appear if you hover over the highlighted book name.

Step 6 Left click your mouse on another area of the document.

  • If the next word after your title appears italicized when you resume typing, simply highlight it and click the italicize icon to remove the formatting.

Step 7 Use quotation marks instead of italics if the book is part of an anthology.

  • For example, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is sometimes published in one volume. In this case, you could write the name of the first novel as "The Fellowship of the Ring" when citing it in an essay.

Typing an Essay in APA Format

Step 1 Capitalize the first word and all words longer than 4 letters.

  • Capitalize the first letter of the words, not the entire word.
  • If the word is a two-part hyphenated word in the title, you should capitalize both words. For example, you would write Blue River: The Trial of a Mayor-Elect .
  • If there is a dash or colon in the title, you should capitalize the word after the punctuation, regardless of how long the word is. As above, you would write Blue River: The Trial of a Mayor-Elect .

Step 2 Include any punctuation in the italics if it’s part of the book name.

  • For example, you would write Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? with the question mark italicized.

Step 3 Highlight the title.

  • If the book name is not highlighted, left click and drag your cursor again, making sure that you don’t click again anywhere on the page.

Step 4 Click the italicize icon to change the format of the title.

  • If you are using Microsoft Word, the italics icon may appear when you hover over the highlighted book title. It’s okay to click this key.

Step 5 Move your cursor off of the title.

Handwriting an Essay

Step 1 Capitalize the words according to the style format you are using.

  • For MLA and Chicago style essays, capitalize the first word of the book name and every word other than articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions. For example, write The Lord of the Rings .
  • If you’re using APA style, capitalize the first word and all words longer than 4 letters. [9] X Research source This means you would write Public Policy in Local Government .

Step 2 Underline the complete title.

  • If you’re writing on lined paper, it may help to follow along the line of the paper. However, make sure your line is dark enough so that your instructor will see that you properly underlined the book name.

Step 3 Underline punctuation if it’s part of the title.

  • For example, you would write Judy Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by underlining the punctuation marks as well as the words.

Expert Interview

how to write a book chapter in an essay

Thanks for reading our article! If you’d like to learn more about academic writing, check out our in-depth interview with Noah Taxis .

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How to Cite a Chapter in a Book APA

Creating citations for entire books in APA is one thing, but what happens when you need to cite a specific chapter within that book? This EasyBib citation guide will go over the correct way to create an APA chapter citation for chapters from both printed books and digital books, as well as how you can use this information to cite things like sections, paragraphs, pages, and more. The information provided here references the 7th edition of the American Psychological Association’s Publication Manual (this guide is not affiliated with the association).

Looking for lessons about something other than citing a book chapter? At EasyBib, you will find citation tools and an extensive collection of reference guides to help you finish that essay or research paper.

Guide Overview

  • Two parts to citations for chapters

What you need

How to cite a chapter in a printed or online book with all contents written by the same author(s), how to cite a chapter in an edited book, how to cite a chapter in an edited book in another language (not translated), how to cite a chapter in an edited and translated book, two parts to citations for chapters .

Any source used in your paper should have the corresponding citations:

  • In-text citation
  • Full citation in the reference page

In-text citations

The in-text citation is included within the text of your paper. There are two types:

  • Parenthetical citations
  • Narrative citations

Parenthetical citations are placed at the end of a quote or paraphrase. These citations include a few details on the source (usually the author’s name or source title and the year published) within parentheses.

“When two cultures come together, the words of their languages compete for survival” (Crystal, 2013).

Narrative citations are when part of the source’s information is included within the sentence, so only the year needs to be indicated in parentheses.

Crystal wrote that “when two cultures come together, the words of their languages compete for survival” (2013).

Next, let’s take a look at how to create full citations or references for a specific chapter.

The general structure of a full reference for a chapter includes this information:

  • Author’s name or the name of the group author
  • Year published
  • Title of the chapter
  • Editor(s) names
  • Title of the book
  • Publisher name
  • Edition and/or volume number (if applicable)
  • Pages of chapter (pp. #-#)
  • DOI or URL (if applicable)

Let’s look at how these elements fit into different types of source citations.

If you’re using information from a chapter of a book where one author or a group of authors equally share credit for all contents of the book, then you just cite the book — there’s no need to cite the chapter!

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year Published). Title of book in sentence case. Publisher name. DOI or URL

Ray, R.B. (1985). A certain tendency of the Hollywood cinema, 1930-1980. Princeton University Press.

In-text citation:

Parenthetical citation: (Ray, 1985)

Narrative citation: Ray (1985)

Note that parenthetical in-text citations for direct quotes from the book should also include page numbers:

Parenthetical citation for direct quote: (Lee & Brown, 2000, pg. 44)

For a narrative citation, you can format your citation the same way you would an in-text citation, as long as you include the page number in the sentence. If you do not include the page number in the sentence, place it at the end, like this:

Narrative citation for direct quote:

Mia Lee and Paulo Brown (2000) assert that “future generations will thank us for the care we have taken here” (p. 44).

If the chapter you are trying to cite has been published within an edited book, then it’s necessary to provide both the author(s) of the chapter and the editor of the book, as well as the appropriate titles.

Chapter Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year Published). Title of chapter in sentence case. In Editor First Initial, Editor Second Initial, Editor Last Name (Ed.), Title of book in sentence case (Edition, Volume, Page No.) . Publisher Name. URL or DOI

Brooks, V.W. (1962). Preface. In R.S. Milton & L.G. Seymour (Eds.), American literature survey (3rd ed., pp. xvii-xx). Penguin Books.

Notice how both the chapter title (“Preface”) and the specific page numbers (“pp. xvii-xx”) are provided inside of the reference. For this reason, this information does not need to be included in the in-text citation unless a direct quote is being made. If a direct quote is being made, use the format in the section above (“How to cite a chapter in a printed or online book with all contents written by the same author”) to include page numbers.

Parenthetical citation: (Brooks, 1962)

Narrative citation: Brooks (1962)

Looking to cite something other than a book chapter? EasyBib is your source for comprehensive, easy-to-follow citation and reference guides that can help you finish your essay, paper, or project.

Write the name of the chapter in its original language, then write the translated name next to it in brackets. Much like citing a book that is in a different language that does not use the Roman alphabet, it is necessary to transliterate the chapter name with the Roman alphabet. The book name does not need to have a translation following it. Because the chapter name and page numbers are included in the reference, the page numbers do not need to be included in an in-text citation unless a direct quote is being made. If a direct quote is being made, use the format in the section above (“How to cite a chapter in a printed or online book with all contents written by the same author”) to include page numbers.

Chapter Author Last Name, F. M. (Year). Chapter name [Translated chapter name]. In Editor’s F. M. Last Name (Ed.), Title of book  (chapter page range pp. #-#). Publisher. DOI/URL

Morales, M. (2005). Usando technologia nueva [Using new technology]. In J. Reyes (Ed.),  El grande libro de enseñando (pp. 135-150). Libros Importantes.

Parenthetical citation: (Morales, 2005)

Narrative citation: Morales (2005)

If you’re using a chapter from an edited and translated book, be sure to include the names of both the translator and editor. If someone is both the translator and editor, you can include their name twice. Also, for works that have been republished from another language, include the original year published at the end of the citation. Again, because the chapter name and page numbers are included in the reference, the page numbers do not need to be included in an in-text citation unless a direct quote is being made. If a direct quote is being made, use the format in the section above (“How to cite a chapter in a printed or online book with all contents written by the same author”) to include page numbers.

Chapter Author Last Name, F. M. (Year). Chapter name (Translator F. M. Last Name, Trans.). In Editor F. M. Last Name (Ed.), Title of book  (chapter pages range pp. #-#). Publisher. (Original work published Year)

Han, T. (2014). The night the tiger was caught (1922-1923) (J. S. Noble, Trans.). In X. Chen (Ed.), The Columbia anthology of modern Chinese drama (pp. #-#). Columbia University Press.

Parenthetical citation: (Han, 2014)

Narrative citation: Han (2014)

Here is a video that explains how to cite a chapter in APA style:

American Psychological Association. (2020a). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

American Psychological Association. (2020b). Style-grammar-guidelines.

Crystal, D. (2013). The story of English in 100 words. St. Martin’s Press.

Published October 31, 2011. Updated April 9, 2020.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

APA Formatting Guide

APA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Multiple Authors
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Parenthetical Citations
  • Reference Page
  • Sample Paper
  • APA 7 Updates
  • View APA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all APA Examples

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To cite a book chapter in APA style, you need to have basic information including the author(s), publication year, chapter title, editor(s), and publisher. The templates for in-text citations and reference list entries of a book chapter with one author and one editor along with examples are given below.

Citing a chapter in an edited book in APA style

In-text citation templates and examples:

Author Surname (Publication Year)

Broadhead (2010)


(Author Surname, Publication Year)

(Broadhead, 2010)

Reference list entry template and example:

Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Chapter title: Subtitle. In F. Editor Surname (Ed.), Book title (pp. #–#). Publisher.

Broadhead, P. (2010). Building friendships through playful learning in the early years. In J. Moyles (Ed.), The excellence of play (pp. 216–228). McGraw-Hill.

Both the chapter title and the book title are set in sentence case; however, the book title is set in italics. The word “In” is used before the editor’s name. Note that the style for setting the editor’s name is the initial of the first name followed by the surname. Use “(Ed.)” after the editor’s name. Enclose page information after the book title in parenthesis.

To cite a book chapter with an editor and/or a translator in APA style, you need to have basic information including the authors, publication year, chapter title, editors and/or translators, book title, publisher, and page numbers. The templates for in-text citation and reference list entry of a book chapter with an editor and/or a translator along with examples are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

Author Surname (Original Publication Year/Republished Year)

Badiou (2003/2013)

(Author Surname, Original Publication Year/Republished Year)

(Badiou, 2003/2013)

Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Chapter title: Subtitle. (F. TranslatorSurname, Trans.). In F. EditorSurname (Ed.), Book title (pp. #–#). Publisher. (Original work published year).

Badiou, A. (2013). The writing of the generic. (B. Bosteels, Trans.). In N. Power & A. Toscano (Eds.), On Beckett (pp. 1–36). Clinamen. (Original work published 2003).

The chapter title is in sentence case. The translator’s name is set in parenthesis along with the word “Trans.” Follow the first initial with the surname for the translator. The word “In” is used before the editor’s name. Note that the style for setting the editor’s name is the initial of the first name followed by the surname. Use “(Ed.)” after the editor’s name. The book title is set in italics. Include page numbers in parentheses after the book title with “pp.” before the page range. Include the publication year of the original work in parenthesis.

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Chicago/Turabian Citation

  • Citing a Book

Basic Chapter Citation

Example chapter of a book, example chapter of an ebook, example foreword/preface of a book.

  • Citing an Article
  • Citing a Webpage
  • Additional Resources

Writing Center

Visit the Writing Center for help with brainstorming, organization, revising, citations, and other writing assistance! 

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Author First M. Last Name, "Chapter or Essay Title," in  Book Title , ed. First M. Last Name (Place of Publication: Publisher, date), page cited.

Short version: Author Last Name, "Chapter or Essay Title (shortened if necessary)," page cited.


Author Last Name, First M.   "Chapter or Essay Title."  In  Book Title ,   edited by First M. Last Name,  page range.   Place of Publication: Publisher, date.

Eric Charry, "Music and Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa," in  The History of Islam in Africa , eds. Nehwmia Levtzion and Randall L. Pouwels  (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2000), 550.

Short version: Charry, "Music and Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa," 550.

Charry, Eric.   "Music and Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa."  In  The History of Islam in Africa ,   edited by Nehwmia Levtzion and Randall L. Pouwels,   545-573.   Athens, OH: Ohio  University Press, 2000.

Alan Liu, "Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?," in  Debates in the Digital Humanities , ed. Matthew K. Gold (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013), accessed January 23, 2014, 

Short version: Liu, "Where is Cultural Criticism."

Liu, Alan.  "Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?."   In  Debates in the Digital Humanities ,   edited by Matthew K. Gold.   Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.   A ccessed January 23, 2014. 

Strobe Talbott, foreword to   Beyond Tianamen: The Politics of U.S.-China Relations 1989-2000 , by Robert L. Suettinger (Washington, D. C.: Brookings Institute Press, 2003), x.

Short version: Talbott, foreword, x.

Talbott, Strobe.   Foreword to   Beyond Tianamen: The Politics of U.S.-China Relations 1989-2000 ,   by Robert L. Suettinger,  ix-x.   Washington, D. C.: Brookings Institute  Press, 2003.

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Writing A Book Title In Your Essay – The Right Way


Table of contents

  • 1 APA Style: How to Write Book Titles in Essays
  • 2 APA Style Essay: Writing The Name of The Author
  • 3 MLA Style Essay: Citing a Book Title
  • 4 Chicago Style Essay: Writing the Book Title
  • 5 Writing Various Types of Titles
  • 6 Should We Underline or Italicize Book Titles?

When you are writing an academic essay , the book title and author’s name should be written in italics. However, if the book title is part of a larger work (such as a journal article), it should be underlined instead. So, you’re wondering how to write a book title in an essay?

Writing an essay with a book title can be tricky, particularly because each style guide has its own formatting rules for including titles in the main text. Whether you are using MLA, APA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles, you will need to consider how to properly format the book title. For more complicated literature-based assignments, seeking assistance from an admission essay writing service may be wise, as they specialize in writing essays that incorporate academic sources.

In this article, we will explore how to write both titles in an essay properly so that you avoid any mistakes!

APA Style: How to Write Book Titles in Essays

When writing an essay, you must follow the style guide provided by your professor. Some teachers may require you to use APA style and others MLA style. There are some rules on how to quote a book title in an essay. You should use italics and quotation marks when writing book titles in essays. For example: “ The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. “

When writing a book title in APA Style , you should be aware of these rules:

Write the book title in italics and place it after the author’s name, which is presented in reverse order (last name first).

Use quotation marks around the headline of a chapter or article.

Capitalize proper names that are not common nouns (names of people, places, organizations), but do not capitalize words such as “and,” “or,” “to,” or “and/or.”

Do not capitalize prepositions that appear at the beginning of titles if they are followed by an article (e.g., “A,” “An”), but do capitalize prepositions at the beginning of titles if they are not followed by articles (“Of”).

The first word of the headline should be capitalized, as well as any other words after a colon or hyphen. For example, “The Elements of Style: Grammar for Everyone”  or “Theories of Personality: Critical Perspectives.”

Capitalize proper names and words derived from them (e.g., the names of people, places, organizations), except proper nouns used generically (e.g., ‘a bed’).

APA Style Essay: Writing The Name of The Author

You should always use the full name and surname of the author in your APA essay because this will give proper credit to the writer. If you do not mention the author’s full name, people may not know who wrote what and will think you copied it from somewhere else. This will cause lots of problems for you and your reputation as well.

Make sure that all authors’ names appear in the same format in each entry. For example, if one person’s surname is Smith and another’s is Jones, both have first names starting with “J.” It may seem like they are being cited as different people when they’re actually written differently from each other on separate pages in your paper.

To write an APA essay without any issues, there are certain rules that you need to follow while writing an author’s name in APA essay:

  • Use only one author’s name in your paper unless there are multiple authors
  • If there are multiple authors, then use both their last names followed by the initials of their first names
  • Only use initials of first names when there are three or more authors; otherwise, use full names with their last names
Example: Johnson, M.C., Carlson, M., Smith, J. N., & Hanover, L. E.

MLA Style Essay: Citing a Book Title

Now let’s discuss how to mention a book in an essay. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, published by the Modern Language Association (2014), contains detailed rules about how to cite a book title in an essay.

The following guidelines will instruct you on how to refer to a book in an essay in MLA style :

  • List your sources at the end of your paper, before the works cited page or bibliography.
  • Use italics for titles of books, magazines, and newspapers, but not for articles within those publications, which should be placed in quotation marks.
  • Include all relevant book information under two categories: “title” and “author.” In the former category, include the work’s title and its subtitle if there is one; do this even if neither appears on your title page (see below). In the latter category, include only primary authors who have written or edited an entire book; if there are multiple contributors, you should cite them separately under each.

The general format for citing the title of the book in an essay is as follows:

Author’s last name, first initial (Date). Title of Book with Subtitle if there is one. Publisher Name/Location of Publisher; Year Published

Chicago Style Essay: Writing the Book Title

One of the most important things to remember when writing in Chicago style is how to write the title of a book in an essay. To write a good book title in an essay, you should follow these steps:

  • Write it at the beginning of your sentence.
  • Capitalize it just like any other noun or proper noun.
  • Put a comma after the title unless it’s an introductory clause or phrase. For example: “The Firm,” by John Grisham (not “by”) and “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D Salinger (not “and”).
  • In addition to the book’s name, punctuation marks should also be italicized.
For example: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children’s Edition

Writing Various Types of Titles

Now that we covered how to write a book title and author in an essay, it’s time to look at some different types of titles. When you write a book title in an essay, several things must be considered. Whether it’s a book, series, chapter title, editor’s name, or author’s name, how you write it depends on where it appears in your paper.

Here are some key rules for writing headings for novels:

  •  Use capital letters to write the title of the novel. For example,  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett .
  • Use italics and capital letters to write the name of the author and his/her other works mentioned in a book title—for example,  Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) .

You should use quotation marks when writing headings of short title poems, articles, and stories.

However, before deciding which format to use, it is important to understand the main idea you want to express in your essay. Additionally, you could use essay papers for sale to help you accomplish your goal of writing an essay effectively.


Should We Underline or Italicize Book Titles?

It depends on which style guide you use. The Modern Language Association and Chicago Manual of Style both suggest using italics, while the American Psychological Association suggests using quotation marks with a few exceptions.

The way you write the title of a book in an essay is different depending on the instructions you were given. For example, if you’re writing an essay in APA style, use quotation marks around the book’s name. If you’re writing for MLA or Chicago style , however, italicize the book’s name instead. If you’re writing a handwritten essay instead of using a computer, capitalize and underline the book’s name.

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how to write a book chapter in an essay

Essay 3: A How-To Guide

What makes an effective researched argument.

Goal: The goal of any literary research paper is to add an original interpretation to a scholarly conversation about a literary text. Take a look at how rhetorical and literary theorist Kenneth Burke describes all acts of researched writing:

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress. [1] [2]

In a researched argument, you should:

  • Establish the scholarly conversation that you are entering.
  • Engage in debate with other scholars by analyzing the literary text
  • Form an original interpretation about the literary text through close reading


  • Develops an interpretive or intellectual problem—either drawn from research into how other scholars have interpreted the poem or short story or drawn from a detail in the story itself that bears some tension, irony, ambiguity, or disjunction that connects to a larger scholarly conversation.
  • Adds new evidence
  • Adds a new interpretation
  • Disagrees with a previous interpretation

Sample Introductions

The Introduction should accomplish four steps:

  • Establish an Interpretive Problem: Observe the juxtaposing elements in the story that have caused an interpretive gap or tension and establish the significance of these elements.
  • Describe a Major Interpretive Debate: Describe, in a couple of sentences, how various scholars have approached this text, genre, or work from this poet/time period. What problems have emerged in writing about this exhibit? What conversation are you joining?
  • Thesis Statement: After reviewing the previous scholarship, state your claim. What are you arguing in this paper?
  • Road Map: How are you going to support your argument? What’s the layout for this paper?

Take a look at the sample introductions from Laura Wilder and Joanna Wolfe’s  Digging into Literature.  [3]   Where/How does this introduction accomplish each of these four steps?

Schwab, Melinda. “A Watch for Emily.” Studies in Short Fiction 28.2 (1991): 215-17.

The critical attention given to the subject of time in Faulkner most certainly fills as many pages as the longest novel of Yoknapatawpha County. A goodly number of those pages of criticism deal with the well-known short story, “A Rose for Emily.” Several scholars, most notably Paul McGlynn, have worked to untangle the confusing chronology of this work (461-62). Others have given a variety of symbolic and psychological reasons for Emily Grierson’s inability (or refusal) to acknowledge the passage of time. Yet in all of this careful literary analysis, no one has discussed one troubling and therefore highly significant detail. When we first meet Miss Emily, she carries in a pocket somewhere within her clothing an “invisible watch ticking at the end of [a] gold chain” (Faulkner 121). What would a woman like Emily Grierson, who seems to us fixed in the past and oblivious to any passing of time, need with a watch? An awareness of the significance of this watch, however, is crucial for a clear understanding of Miss Emily herself. The watch’s placement in her pocket, its unusually loud ticking, and the chain to which it is attached illustrate both her attempts to control the passage of years and the consequences of such an ultimately futile effort (215).

Fick, Thomas, and Eva Gold. “’He Liked Men’: Homer, Homosexuality, and the Culture of Manhood in Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily.’” Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction 8.1 (2007): 99-107.

Over the last few years critics have discussed homosexuality in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” one of Faulkner’s most frequently anthologized works and a mainstay of literature classes at all levels. Hal Blythe, for example, asserts outright that Homer Barron is gay, while in a more nuanced reading James Wallace argues that the narrator merely wishes to suggest that Barron is homosexual in order to implicate the reader in a culture of gossip (Blythe 49-50; Wallace 105-07). Both readings rest on this comment by the narrator: “Then we said, ‘She will persuade him yet,’ because Homer himself had remarked—he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men at the Elks’ Club—that he was not a marrying man” (Faulkner 126)…While we agree that the narrator’s comment suggests something important about Homer’s sexual orientation, in contrast with Blythe we believe that it says Homer is combatively heterosexual.

  • Engages in conversation with literary scholars throughout the essay, showing how their interpretation affirms, contrasts, contradicts and resolves the interpretive problem posed by literary scholars.
  • Uses contextual and argumentative sources to support and challenge their analysis of the text.
  • Uses close reading strategies to deeply analyze the literary text.
  • Resolves the interpretive problem through a deep analysis of the text.


  • Discuss the significance of their analysis to the research being done on that area of literary study.
  • Identify one question or problem that still remains for the field of scholarship on the subject.

Sample Researched Argument

The White Gaze in “On Being Brought from Africa to America”

Paragraph 1

Phillis Wheatley was born in West Africa, captured at a young age, and sold into slavery. Despite the violent history that she lives through, her poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America” opens by expressing gratitude towards a system only referred to in the poem as “mercy.” Due to this discrepancy between the violent history she lives through and the evangelical understanding of that history expressed in the poem, critics have long questioned whether her poetry is a true expression of herself. No one tells the story of Wheatley’s legacy better than Henry Louis Gates, Jr. who, in his article “Phillis Wheatley on Trial,” describes how the Black Nationalist movement zeroed in on “On Being Brought from Africa to America” because there was no outcry in the poem—no objection to being brought to America. The poem was absent of the longing to return back to Africa that the Black Nationalist movement invested in (Gates 87). These critics also decried her poetic style, which imitated White, Enlightenment poets like Alexander Pope (Baraka, Barnum, and Thurman, as cited in Gates 87). Despite this backlash to Wheatley’s poetry, the authenticity of her work remains hotly debated today. Debates over her poetry were revived in the 80’s/90’s when scholars like William J. Scheik, Sondra O’Neale, James Levernier, and Mark Edelman Boren began to document how the biblical allusions and metaphors of her poetry, when read closely, were more subversive than appeared on first glance. This is how Wheatley has continued to be read today, with scholars questioning to what extent her subversions were explicit enough to change the cultural landscape of eighteenth-century America.

Paragraph 2

This paper will argue that the binary readings of Wheatley presented—one in which she is an “Uncle Tom figure” (Gross, as cited in Gates 87) and another in which she is a subversive, revolutionary poet (Levernier)—are both self-consciously represented by Wheatley in the poem. The poem is an example of early discussions of Black identity formation, one in which she is locked into two modes of being: gratitude and resistance. We will start by looking at the most contentious aspects of the poem—the gratitude for Christianity. Looking at the rhetorical construction of the speaker/reader relationship, we will uncover how the poem imagines her White, Christian reader and, in turn, how that White, Christian reader imagines her subjectivity. Following, we will then look at the allusions to the Transatlantic Slave Trade to affirm that these allusions demonstrate the subversiveness of her poetry. Subversive both in demonstrating the White reader’s understanding of her diasporic identity and in showcasing the fluidity of that identity in its early formation.

Paragraph 3

Arguments against reading Wheatley in a subversive light hinge on the evangelical Christian sentiments that open the first lines, particularly the idea that Africa consists of a “pagan land.” As Henry Louis Gates discusses, for Black nationalist thinkers, her description of her African origins as a “pagan” place was a rejection of her Black identity, an attempt to assimilate to her white readership. However, these opening lines are particularly interesting because of the pronoun usage in the opening lines. The opening line says, “’Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,” (Wheatley 1). While on the surface the line looks like a benign Christian gratitude for salvation, the pronoun usage in these early lines suggests an alienation that Wheatley feels between herself and her African origins. She has been “brought,” perhaps we might imagine “removed” from her land. The disjunction between “me” and “my pagan land,” suggests a fundamental bifurcation of the self that begins the poem. In many accounts of Wheatley’s Black identity, she is conceived to be assimilationist because her poem suggests, “ludicrous [departure] from the huge black voices that splintered southern nights with their hollers, chants, arwhoolies, and ballits,” (Baraka, as cited in Gates 87). But, I want to suggest that the bifurcation of the self that begins the poem, which initially may look like an assimilationist rejection of Africa—is actually a meditation on how the transatlantic slave trade has shaped her identity—an early example of Du Bois’s “double consciousness” of African-American identities.

Paragraph 4

As many scholars have noted, the poem seems to subversively contend with her relationship with evangelical Christianity, which we may note was a condition of her education. The reference to “mercy” in the first line is particularly troubling—as we know that it was not mercy, but the transatlantic slave trade that brought her to the U.S. How are we to read this reference to mercy? Are we to read it as a moment of cognitive dissonance between Wheatley’s understanding of her history and herself? Are we to read it as an imitation of forms of poetry that she was reading as part of her education? I suggest that we read it as ironic. In both of the interpretations mentioned above, there is a fundamental tension between the reader’s awareness and, supposedly, Wheatley’s awareness. In fact, the title page of the original publication announces that she was a “servant to John Wheatley”—the 18th century reader would have been well-aware of the implications of this position of servitude, would have been aware of the conditions of life that brought Africans to the U.S. Rather than looking at this line for absence of reference to the transatlantic slave trade, I think we should attend to the passivity of the line—the lack of agency she expresses in this opening of the poem. The passive construction of the sentence gives agency to mercy rather than any singular person for the double-consciousness that she is expressing in the rest of the line. It is because of this passivity that she is able to call the land “pagan,” the italicization of which suggests irony. In fact, Mark Edelman Boren suggests that stress is being put on the term pagan in order to undercut the conventional association between the idea of Africa as a pagan landscape and the Africa that Wheatley comes from (45). In this opening line, Wheatley seems to be undercutting the conventional notions that the reader might have of African poets—undercutting the idea that they are grateful for the violence being inflicted on them.

Paragraph 5

This passive construction continues to influence Wheatley’s perception of herself in the next line of the poem: “Taught my benighted soul to understand” (2). Based on the claims I’ve made in the previous paragraphs, we can trust that Wheatley has already unmoored the reader’s associations between both: the evangelical conception that the transatlantic slave trade was founded on benevolence and the association between Africa and paganism. The poem continues to make her identity the focus of the poem. In this line, she is now thinking about her “benighted soul.” While we may look at the denotative definition of this line and think that it suggests that her soul was lacking of the opportunity to be saved before she was enslaved, we might also continue to look at the passive construction of this definition. Wheatley uses the term benighted because, while suggesting that she lacked the opportunity to be saved, it also suggests that the lack of opportunity was bestowed on her by another force or person. There is an external influence shaping Wheatley’s identity in the poem—perhaps, that of the reader. As James Levernier notes, despite, or because of, the reader’s awareness of the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade, the poem would not have been published if Wheatley expressed explicit protest of the conditions of her enslavement (174). At the same time, this passive construction as well as the irony in these opening lines suggests that Wheatley is self-consciously aware of the suppression of her ideas brought about by the presence of the reader. As she constructs the image of herself as a poet, she has to remove herself from her African origins, has to invest in the gratitude conditioned by evangelical Christianity, has to alienate herself from the consciousness of her enslaved condition.

Paragraph 6

In other words, our reading of the first two lines of the poem suggests that this poem is actually about her identity as a Black poet. In W.E.B. DuBois’s “Strivings of the Negro People,”, he describes “double-consciousness” as “this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” In the first two lines of the poem, we see the measurements of White evangelical Christianity—with its expectation that an African poet is grateful for her servitude—being ironically unsettled by Wheatley. If we look at the pattern of pronouns being used throughout the poem, we can see a self-consciousness in the first half of her octave, with a consistent attention on “me…my land…my benighted soul…I…” (1, 2, 4). Then, in the second half of the poem, as Wheatley shifts from a discussion of Christianity to a more overt discussion of the perceptions of Africans, her pronouns shift as well: “Our…Their…Christians…” (5-7). While the first half of the poem may look assimilationist, the second half of the poem showcases a conscious alignment with an African race. She is, as DuBois writes “an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body.”

Paragraph 7

In the opening lines of the poem, Wheatley seems to be contesting the White reader’s idea that the Black poet, Black person, is ultimately grateful for their condition. In the second half of the poem, her task is to define the Black identity. As she tries to do so, she realizes that she is limited by the terms given to her by the White Christian establishment. In the final lines of the poem, she writes, “Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,/May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train” (7-8). It is here that we get our first references to the transatlantic slave trade, if we choose to read them that way. The final line describes the condition of reformed Black Christians as “refin’d” an oddly classed word to use if we perceive that line as depicting the conversion of Christians (8). However, the word would also have been used as a reference to the process of ‘refining sugar,’ a process by which manufacturers remove impurities and color from the unprocessed cane. Given its most popular usage in the eighteenth century, I suspect that the eighteenth century reader would have associated the word “refined” with sugar manufacturing (“Refine, V.”). Levernier also notes that these words had already taken on the association with these industries in Quaker circles—that is, circles that sought to abolish slavery it the Americas (182). Upon further looking at the language of the last two lines, we may also see the simile “black as Cain” as contributing to our imagination that she is referring to sugar (7). While she is making a biblical allusion to the more violent of Cain and Abel, the homophone also makes the allusion to sugar cane, which is black in nature. By looking carefully at the language she is using, we can see that her description of the religious system of conversion is also an allusion to the process of refining sugar. As White Christians take indigenous people and convert them to Christianity, so too do enslaved Africans farm black cane and refine it into white sugar. In these final lines of the poem, Wheatley seems to acknowledge that the language of Christianity can’t escape the slave trade. As a poet and author, neither can she.

Paragraph 8

As Wheatley tries to define and articulate a Black identity, she finds herself limited by the language of the transatlantic slave trade. In other words, we can read her poem as an articulation of the ways Black identity becomes founded on the violence of the transatlantic slave trade. While the reference to the sugar refinement process is her most referenced subversive metaphor, she also refers to her Black-ness as a “die” and the race itself as “sable.” In other words, when Wheatley constructs race, she does it under the metaphors of the valuable industrial trades: either a dye used for clothing or a valuable fur. We can read these metaphors in two complementary respects. First, the metaphors are skin-based, suggesting that this early social construction of race is partially based on skin color. Second, the metaphors are both references to a violent process enacted on an object that is then likened to violence being perpetuated on the bodies of African slaves—either through the burning of skin as a result of the dying process or the skinning of an animal. As Gates notes, Seymour Gross has said that Wheatley was a “perfect Uncle Tom Figure” (87). However, this ironic use of dialogue suggests otherwise. This suggests that, while criticizing the White reader’s perception of Black writers, she also must criticize the transatlantic slave trade, for limiting her ability to articulate Black identity in the first place.

Paragraph 9

In other words, we may re-read Wheatley’s poem as an early articulation of Black diasporic identities. In Michelle Wright’s Becoming Black: Creating Identity in the African Diaspora , she discusses the difficulties of expressing diasporic identities in Western literature. “On one end stands the…hypercollective, essentialist identity, which provides comfort of absolutist assertions in exchange for the total annihilation of self…” she writes. “On the other end stands the hyperindividual identity…which grants a hyperindividualized self in exchange for the annihilation of ‘Blackness’ as a collective term” (2). Wheatley’s poem seems to be straddling these two identity positions—one in which her individuality as a poet, something she is praised for in the opening advertisement of her 1773 volume of poetry, is founded on a rejection of her African heritage and one in which she can be Black, but must be perceived as part of a “diabolic” or “sable” race. Looking back at my own analysis of this poem, it seems Wheatley is limited by these dual conceptions of her identity. However, I think the poem ultimately represents an act of liberation: by self-consciously examining the limitations placed on her by the transatlantic slave trade and Christianity’s role in perpetuating the ideologies of slavery, she is able to express a fundamental tenet of Black oppression—the inability to exist outside of socially constructed categories of being.

Works Cited

Boren, Mark Edelman. “A Fiery Furnace and a Sugar Train: Metaphors That Challenge the

Legacy of Phillis Wheatley’s ‘On Being Brought from Africa to America.’” CEA Critic ,

vol. 67, no. 1, 2004, pp. 38–56.

Du Bois, W. E. B. “Strivings of the Negro People.” The Atlantic, Aug. 1987, . Accessed 12 Aug. 2023.

Gates Jr., Henry Louis. “Phillis Wheatley on Trial.” The New Yorker, 20 Jan. 2003, pp. 82-87.

Levernier, James A. “Style as Protest in the Poetry of Phillis Wheatley.” Style , vol. 27, no. 2,

1993, pp. 172–93. JSTOR, Accessed 12 Aug. 2023.

“Refine, V.” Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford UP, March 2024,

Wheatley, Phillis. “On Being Brought from Africa to America.” Penguin Book of Migration 

Literature , edited by Dohra Ahmad, Penguin, 2019.

—. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral . London, A. Bell, 1773.

Wright, Michelle. Becoming Black: Creating Identity in the African Diaspora . Duke UP, 2004.

  • Burke, Kenneth. The Philosophy of Literary Form: Studies in Symbolic Action . Louisiana State UP, 1941. ↵
  • Wilder, Laura, and Joanna Wolfe. Digging into Literature. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016, 222-226. ↵

Writing About Literature Copyright © by Sarah Guayante is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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When you are gathering book sources, be sure to make note of the following bibliographic items: the author name(s), other contributors such as translators or editors, the book’s title, editions of the book, the publication date, the publisher, and the pagination.

The 8 th  edition of the MLA handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.

Please note these changes in the new edition:

  • Commas are used instead of periods between Publisher, Publication Date, and Pagination.
  • Medium is no longer necessary.
  • Containers are now a part of the MLA process. Commas should be used after container titles.
  • DOIs should be used instead of URLS when available.
  • Use the term “Accessed” instead of listing the date or the abbreviation, “n.d."

Below is the general format for any citation:

Author. Title. Title of container (do not list container for standalone books, e.g. novels), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI). 2 nd  container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Basic Book Format

The author’s name or a book with a single author's name appears in last name, first name format. The basic form for a book citation is:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.

* Note: the City of Publication should only be used if the book was published before 1900, if the publisher has offices in more than one country, or if the publisher is unknown in North America.

Book with One Author

Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science . Penguin, 1987.

Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House . MacMurray, 1999.

Book with More Than One Author

When a book has two authors, order the authors in the same way they are presented in the book. Start by listing the first name that appears on the book in last name, first name format; subsequent author names appear in normal order (first name last name format).

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring . Allyn and Bacon, 2000.

If there are three or more authors, list only the first author followed by the phrase et al. (Latin for "and others") in place of the subsequent authors' names. (Note that there is a period after “al” in “et al.” Also note that there is never a period after the “et” in “et al.”).

Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition . Utah State UP, 2004.

Two or More Books by the Same Author

List works alphabetically by title. (Remember to ignore articles like A, An, and The.) Provide the author’s name in last name, first name format for the first entry only. For each subsequent entry by the same author, use three hyphens and a period.

Palmer, William J. Dickens and New Historicism . St. Martin's, 1997.

---. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History . Southern Illinois UP, 1993.

Book by a Corporate Author or Organization

A corporate author may include a commission, a committee, a government agency, or a group that does not identify individual members on the title page.

List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry.

American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children . Random House, 1998.

When the author and publisher are the same, skip the author, and list the title first. Then, list the corporate author only as the publisher.

Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.

Book with No Author

List by title of the book. Incorporate these entries alphabetically just as you would with works that include an author name. For example, the following entry might appear between entries of works written by Dean, Shaun and Forsythe, Jonathan.

Encyclopedia of Indiana . Somerset, 1993.

Remember that for an in-text (parenthetical) citation of a book with no author, you should provide the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. You may also use a shortened version of the title of the book accompanied by the page number. For more information see the In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author section of In-text Citations: The Basics .

A Translated Book

If you want to emphasize the work rather than the translator, cite as you would any other book. Add “translated by” and follow with the name(s) of the translator(s).

Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason . Translated by Richard Howard, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

If you want to focus on the translation, list the translator as the author. In place of the author’s name, the translator’s name appears. His or her name is followed by the label, “translator.” If the author of the book does not appear in the title of the book, include the name, with a “By” after the title of the book and before the publisher. Note that this type of citation is less common and should only be used for papers or writing in which translation plays a central role.

Howard, Richard, translator. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason . By Michel Foucault, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

Republished Book

Books may be republished due to popularity without becoming a new edition. New editions are typically revisions of the original work. For books that originally appeared at an earlier date and that have been republished at a later one, insert the original publication date before the publication information.

For books that are new editions (i.e. different from the first or other editions of the book), see An Edition of a Book below.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble . 1990. Routledge, 1999.

Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine . 1984. Perennial-Harper, 1993.

An Edition of a Book

There are two types of editions in book publishing: a book that has been published more than once in different editions and a book that is prepared by someone other than the author (typically an editor).

A Subsequent Edition

Cite the book as you normally would, but add the number of the edition after the title.

Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students . 3rd ed., Pearson, 2004.

A Work Prepared by an Editor

Cite the book as you normally would, but add the editor after the title with the label "edited by."

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre,  edited by Margaret Smith, Oxford UP, 1998.

Note that the format for citing sources with important contributors with editor-like roles follows the same basic template:

...adapted by John Doe...

Finally, in the event that the source features a contributor that cannot be described with a past-tense verb and the word "by" (e.g., "edited by"), you may instead use a noun followed by a comma, like so:

...guest editor, Jane Smith...

Anthology or Collection (e.g. Collection of Essays)

To cite the entire anthology or collection, list by editor(s) followed by a comma and "editor" or, for multiple editors, "editors." This sort of entry is somewhat rare. If you are citing a particular piece within an anthology or collection (more common), see A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection below.

Hill, Charles A., and Marguerite Helmers, editors. Defining Visual Rhetorics . Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

Peterson, Nancy J., editor. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches . Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.

A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection

Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:

Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection , edited by Editor's Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.

Some examples:

Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One , edited by Ben Rafoth, Heinemann, 2000, pp. 24-34.

Swanson, Gunnar. "Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art: Design and Knowledge in the University and The 'Real World.'" The Education of a Graphic Designer , edited by Steven Heller, Allworth Press, 1998, pp. 13-24.

Note on Cross-referencing Several Items from One Anthology: If you cite more than one essay from the same edited collection, MLA indicates you may cross-reference within your works cited list in order to avoid writing out the publishing information for each separate essay. You should consider this option if you have several references from a single text. To do so, include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor's name as below:

Rose, Shirley K, and Irwin Weiser, editors. The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher . Heinemann, 1999.

Then, for each individual essay from the collection, list the author's name in last name, first name format, the title of the essay, the editor's last name, and the page range:

L'Eplattenier, Barbara. "Finding Ourselves in the Past: An Argument for Historical Work on WPAs." Rose and Weiser, pp. 131-40.

Peeples, Tim. "'Seeing' the WPA With/Through Postmodern Mapping." Rose and Weiser, pp. 153-67.

Please note: When cross-referencing items in the works cited list, alphabetical order should be maintained for the entire list.

Poem or Short Story Examples :

Burns, Robert. "Red, Red Rose." 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Philip Smith, Dover, 1995, p. 26.

Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories , edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.

If the specific literary work is part of the author's own collection (all of the works have the same author), then there will be no editor to reference:

Whitman, Walt. "I Sing the Body Electric." Selected Poems, Dover, 1991, pp. 12-19.

Carter, Angela. "The Tiger's Bride." Burning Your Boats: The Collected Stories, Penguin, 1995, pp. 154-69.

Article in a Reference Book (e.g. Encyclopedias, Dictionaries)

For entries in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works, cite the entry name as you would any other work in a collection but do not include the publisher information. Also, if the reference book is organized alphabetically, as most are, do not list the volume or the page number of the article or item.

"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary.  3rd ed. 1997. 

A Multivolume Work

When citing only one volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number after the work's title, or after the work's editor or translator.

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria . Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980.

When citing more than one volume of a multivolume work, cite the total number of volumes in the work. Also, be sure in your in-text citation to provide both the volume number and page number(s) ( see "Citing Multivolume Works" on our in-text citations resource .)

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria . Translated by H. E. Butler, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. 4 vols.

If the volume you are using has its own title, cite the book without referring to the other volumes as if it were an independent publication.

Churchill, Winston S. The Age of Revolution . Dodd, 1957.

An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword

When citing an introduction, a preface, a foreword, or an afterword, write the name of the author(s) of the piece you are citing. Then give the name of the part being cited, which should not be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks; in italics, provide the name of the work and the name of the author of the introduction/preface/foreword/afterword. Finish the citation with the details of publication and page range.

Farrell, Thomas B. Introduction. Norms of Rhetorical Culture , by Farrell, Yale UP, 1993, pp. 1-13.

If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work , then write the full name of the principal work's author after the word "By." For example, if you were to cite Hugh Dalziel Duncan’s introduction of Kenneth Burke’s book Permanence and Change, you would write the entry as follows:

Duncan, Hugh Dalziel. Introduction. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose, by Kenneth Burke, 1935, 3rd ed., U of California P, 1984, pp. xiii-xliv.

Book Published Before 1900

Original copies of books published before 1900 are usually defined by their place of publication rather than the publisher. Unless you are using a newer edition, cite the city of publication where you would normally cite the publisher.

Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions . Boston, 1863.

Italicize “The Bible” and follow it with the version you are using. Remember that your in-text (parenthetical citation) should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). (See Citing the Bible at In-Text Citations: The Basics .)

The Bible. Authorized King James Version , Oxford UP, 1998.

The Bible. The New Oxford Annotated Version , 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2001.

The New Jerusalem Bible. Edited by Susan Jones, Doubleday, 1985.

A Government Publication

Cite the author of the publication if the author is identified. Otherwise, start with the name of the national government, followed by the agency (including any subdivisions or agencies) that serves as the organizational author. For congressional documents, be sure to include the number of the Congress and the session when the hearing was held or resolution passed as well as the report number. US government documents are typically published by the Government Printing Office.

United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearing on the Geopolitics of Oil . Government Printing Office, 2007. 110th Congress, 1st session, Senate Report 111-8.

United States, Government Accountability Office. Climate Change: EPA and DOE Should Do More to Encourage Progress Under Two Voluntary Programs . Government Printing Office, 2006.

Cite the title and publication information for the pamphlet just as you would a book without an author. Pamphlets and promotional materials commonly feature corporate authors (commissions, committees, or other groups that does not provide individual group member names). If the pamphlet you are citing has no author, cite as directed below. If your pamphlet has an author or a corporate author, put the name of the author (last name, first name format) or corporate author in the place where the author name typically appears at the beginning of the entry. (See also Books by a Corporate Author or Organization above.)

Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System . American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006.

Your Rights Under California Welfare Programs . California Department of Social Services, 2007.

Dissertations and Master's Theses

Dissertations and master's theses may be used as sources whether published or not. Unlike previous editions, MLA 8 specifies no difference in style for published/unpublished works.

The main elements of a dissertation citation are the same as those for a book: author name(s), title (italicized) , and publication date. Conclude with an indication of the document type (e.g., "PhD dissertation"). The degree-granting institution may be included before the document type (though this is not required). If the dissertation was accessed through an online repository, include it as the second container after all the other elements.

Bishop, Karen Lynn. Documenting Institutional Identity: Strategic Writing in the IUPUI Comprehensive Campaign . 2002. Purdue University, PhD dissertation.

Bile, Jeffrey. Ecology, Feminism, and a Revised Critical Rhetoric: Toward a Dialectical Partnership . 2005. Ohio University, PhD dissertation.

Mitchell, Mark. The Impact of Product Quality Reducing Events on the Value of Brand-Name Capital: Evidence from Airline Crashes and the 1982 Tylenol Poisonings.  1987. PhD dissertation.  ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry if the author and publisher are not the same.

Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.

Self Publishing Resources

How To Write Book Titles The Proper Way: A Complete Guide For Writers

  • February 10, 2022

Book titles within essays or papers can be tricky. There are specific rules that are given for how to include a book title in a way that sets it apart from the content of your writing given by the Modern Language Association. However, as with many other things in life, there are exceptions to the rules. This article will guide you through the rules of the writing style guides so that you can include a book’s title in your paper or essay correctly.

How to write book titles:

Style guides and book titles.

When it comes to book titles within text, there are a few different style guides that have rules you can follow, depending on your writing type. The three types that you will encounter most often are; MLA style, Chicago manual of style, and APA. A writing instructor will usually tell you what style guide you are expected to use for a particular essay or paper.

MLA Style Guide

The MLA handbook states that you should always italicize book titles when styling book titles within your text. The exception to this rule are religious texts. You would not italicize the Holy Bible or the sacred books or titles of other religions. Note the following example.

Pam had stayed most of the summer indoors, re-reading her favorite book series. She was already up to  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone , and she didn’t regret not being more active or going outside.

In the above example, the book title is italicized. Fiction titles and nonfiction titles alike must be in italics when within the text.

Series Titles in MLA

In the above example, a book from a series was used. But what if the text had not specified which book from the series Pam was reading? Would it still need to be in italics? The answer is: in this case, yes. In other cases, sometimes.

It’s really not as confusing as it seems. When you are talking about a book series but don’t want or need to include the complete series titles for the purposes of your work, you only have to put words in italics that also appear in the book titles. So, because  Harry Potter  is part of the title of all of the books in the series, you would italicize his name every time you mention the book.

However, if you were talking about Katniss Everdeen, you would not have to do this, as the book series she is featured in doesn’t use her name in the titles of  The Hunger Games  series. The same would be true of books like the Nancy Drew books.

Quotation Marks

There are instances in which titles should be placed inside of quotation marks within a paper or essay. This is done when you cite the titles of poems , a chapter title, short stories, articles, or blogs.

How To Write Book Titles

So, for example, if you were to write a paper that featured a poem from a book, you would put the book title in italics and the poems cited in quotation marks.

An example of an enduring love poem is “Annabel Lee” from  The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. 

Chapter Title

Another time that quotation marks should be used is when using the title of a chapter. If you are citing a specific chapter of a book, you would enclose the title of the chapter in quotation marks, and the title of the book should be in italics.

The desperation and sadness of a man on death row can be seen in the “Wild Wind Blowing” chapter of Norman Mailer’s  The Executioner’s Song. 

Short Stories

Short stories are another case. Much like the title of a chapter or poem, in which the title is placed in quotation marks, while the title of the book or collection it is found in is italics. The same can be said for sections, stories, or chapters cited within a literary journal.

Stepping away from his norm of horror and gore, Stephen King writes of trust, love, and regret in his story “The Last Rung on the Ladder,” which can be found in his short story collection  Night Shift. 

Punctuation Marks

If you are citing a story or title that includes question marks, you need to make sure to italicize the question mark when citing. Keep all punctuation, such as a question mark, comma, ellipses, colon, or exclamation mark, as it is in the original individual books.

If you want a funny and irreverent read, you’ve got to try  Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.  Chelsea Handler has done a phenomenal job of being vulgar, relatable, and explaining life from her viewpoint in this hilarious and memorable book.

The Digital Age: Are Book Titles Underlined Anymore?

MLA style used to dictate that a book title should either be in italics or underlined. However, that is no longer the case. As computers started to take over as the major tool used in writing, it became unpopular to underline book titles. Therefore, this rule was dropped from the style guides.

However, it should be mentioned that when handwriting an essay or research paper, many instructors prefer that you underline book titles, as it’s relatively difficult to handwrite italics. If you are in a writing course or a class that is heavy on handwritten work, be sure to ask your instructor or teacher which method they prefer for citing a book title.

How To Write Book Titles

How to Come Up with Book Title Ideas

Now that quotation marks, italics, and style guides have been discussed, let’s move on to how you can come up with your own book title. If you’d like a title for your book that sounds interesting and will get a reader’s attention, you may find this article helpful.

Coming up with a good title for your book is a challenging yet essential marketing decision . The right title can make your target audience choose your new book off of the shelf instead of another writer’s work. Your book cover and your book title are quite possibly the most important marketing decisions you will make.

How to Choose a Good Book Title

Certain criteria should be met if you want to have a good book title , and there are specific steps involved in getting there. You may have assumed up until now that titles of books were just spur of the moment decisions made by authors or publishers, but a lot of work goes into writing good titles.

Grab the Reader’s Attention

As a general rule, you want your reader to remember your title and to sound interesting, even without the reader having seen the cover. There are several ways to do this. You can be a little dark with your title, be controversial, provoke the reader, or even be funny.

There are many examples of such works that use memorable and attention-seeking titles. The following are some different titles that are effective and would most likely provoke a reader to grab them from a shelf for closer inspection.

  • Burn After Writing (Sharon Jones)
  • Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Mindy Kaling)
  • Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea (Chelsea Handler)
  • The Devil Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger)
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul (various authors)
  • God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (Kurt Vonnegut)

Shorter Titles

If your full title for your book is long, you may end up boring a reader or creating a situation where a reader tries to remember the title of your book, but it’s too long and ends up getting it confused with another book. Although you should always do your best to make sure that there aren’t books by other authors that share a title or have a title similar to your book (more on that in a minute), you don’t want a person to get confused and get the wrong book instead.

Research Your Title Ideas

It’s a good idea to take the titles you have considered for your book and make a list. Then, do your homework. You can use tools like Google Adwords to test out your title to see if there are others like it, or you can simply use any search engine and plug your title ideas into the search bar and see what similar or exact titles of the same words pop up.

Readers are generally busy people. They don’t have the time or the energy to ensure that writers get a title right. They’ll look for the book they are interested in, and if it proves to be too difficult, or if there are other books written that have the same title, they’ll move on to something else.

A writer really has to make sure that they have a title that isn’t going to be ignored, is interesting, isn’t too long, and isn’t too similar to other works.

The same goes for titles of short works within a larger body of work. Short works, like poems or stories, need to have unique titles as well when included in a larger body of work, such as a collection. If stories are similar in nature, be sure to title them differently so that readers will be able to tell them apart, as well.

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Q. How do I refer to a book by title in-text in APA format?

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Answered By: Gabe Gossett Last Updated: Jun 22, 2023     Views: 628295

The basic format for an in-text citation is: Title of the Book (Author Last Name, year).

One author: Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak, 1963) is a depiction of a child coping with his anger towards his mom.

Two authors (cite both names every time): Brabant and Mooney (1986) have used the comic strip to examine evidence of sex role stereotyping. OR The comic strip has been used to examine evidence of sex role stereotyping (Brabant & Mooney, 1986).

Three or more authors (cite the first author plus et al.): Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy (Clare et al., 2016) depicts a young man's experience at the Shadowhunter Academy, a place where being a former vampire is looked down upon.OR Clare et al. (2016) have crafted a unique story about a young man's journey to find himself.

No author: Cite the first few words of the reference entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title of an article or chapter, and italicize the title of a periodical, book, brochure, or report. Examples: From the book Study Guide (2000) ... or ("Reading," 1999).

Note: Titles of periodicals, books, brochures, or reports should be in italics and use normal title capitalization rules.

If you are citing multiple sources by multiple authors in-text, you can list all of them by the author's last name and year of publication within the same set of parentheses, separated by semicolons.

Example: (Adams, 1999; Jones & James, 2000; Miller, 1999)

For more information on how to cite books in-text and as a reference entry, see the APA Publication Manual (7th edition) Section 10.2 on pages 321-325 .

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Comments (13)

  • This was very useful for me! I was having a really hard time finding information on how to mention an article title AND the author in text in APA so this was very helpful!!! by Ryan Waddell on Jun 27, 2019
  • If I just mention that I used a book to teach a topic do I have to include it in the reference list? by Franw on Oct 17, 2019
  • @Franw, if it is a source that informs your paper in any way, or if your reader would have reason to look it up, then you should include a full reference list entry for the book. by Gabe [Research & Writing Studio] on Oct 18, 2019
  • Maybe I'm misunderstanding the question, but I think the OP is asking how to refer to a book title, not how to cite one. I believe APA uses quotation marks around book titles and MLA uses italics. by AB on Dec 12, 2019
  • @AB: The first sentence has been tweaked to clarify title of book usage, reflecting the examples given. For APA style you should use italics for book titles. It would be quotation marks. by Gabe [Research & Writing Studio] on Dec 12, 2019
  • Hi, can any one help me with in-text-citation of this, how can i cite it in the text Panel, I. L. (2002). Digital transformation: A framework for ICT literacy. Educational Testing Service, 1-53. by Milad on Aug 20, 2021
  • @Milad: In that case it would be (Panel, 2002). If you are quoting, or otherwise choosing to include page numbers, put a comma after the year, then p. and the page number(s). by Gabe Gossett on Aug 20, 2021
  • Hey, I'm a little bit curious, what if I'm mentioning a book and paraphrasing it but still want to give credit. Would I put the information into parenthesis instead? Like: Paraphrased info. ("Title in Italics" Author, year) by Kai on Sep 14, 2023
  • @Kai: Apologies for not seeing your question sooner! (Our academic year has not started yet). If I am understanding your question correctly, what I suggest is referring to the book title in the narrative of your writing, rather than in the in-text citation. I do not see an examples of using a book title in an in-text citation except for rare circumstances including citing a classic religious text or using the title when there is no author information because it is the start of your reference list entry. Basically, APA's in-text convention is supposed to make it easy for your reader to locate the source being cited in the reference list. So the first part of the in-text citation, usually authors, comes first to locate it alphabetically. Putting the book title first when you have an author name can throw that off. by Gabe Gossett on Sep 21, 2023
  • Perhaps this is along the lines of the response to Kai - Can you reference a book title as a common point of social understanding to demonstrate a common concept? Is official citing required if you use widely known titles such as "Where's Waldo" and "Who Moved My Cheese?" to make a point of illustration? by Chez Renee on Sep 30, 2023
  • @Chez: Aside from some classical religious texts, if it is a published book, I'd try to make sure that it is appropriately cited for APA style. That said, I think I understand where it gets tricky with things like Where's Waldo, since that is a series of books and stating "Where's Waldo" is a cultural reference many people would understand, though you can't reasonably cite the entire series. I don't believe that APA gives guidance for this particular issue. If it is being referred to in order to back up a claim, it would help to cite a particular book. If not, then it might work to use a statement such as, "Hanford's Where's Waldo series . . ." by Gabe Gossett on Oct 02, 2023
  • How to cite a dissertation thesis in apa form? by Elizabeth on Feb 05, 2024
  • @Elizabeth: For citing a dissertation or thesis you can check out our page answering that here by Gabe Gossett on Feb 05, 2024

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How to Write an Essay – Best Method Explained

B efore we dive into this article, we highly recommend you check out if you are looking to get your essay written by highly qualified writers with over 30 years of experience. 

Are you passionate about a topic and eager to share it? Write an essay! Do you disagree with a common viewpoint and want to persuade others to see it your way? Write an essay! Are you required to submit a piece of writing to get into your dream college? Write an essay! 

Writing essays is a powerful way to express your thoughts, challenge prevailing opinions, and fulfill academic requirements. Whether you're driven by passion or necessity, crafting a well-thought-out essay can make a significant impact. 

The term "essay" broadly describes any written piece where the author presents their viewpoint on a topic. This can be academic, editorial, or even humorous in nature. Despite the vast number of approaches and topics available, successful essay writing generally adheres to a consistent framework. 

Good essays are structured effectively to guide the reader through the author's arguments and insights. Whether you're exploring complex theories or sharing personal experiences, a clear, logical structure is key to making your essay compelling and coherent. 

In the following sections, we'll dive into that framework and explain how you can apply it to your essays, regardless of their type. But first, let's begin with a basic overview of essay writing. 

How to Write an Essay 

If you are having trouble writing an essay, you can hire an essay writer from but if you want to learn how to write an essay on your own, we will lay down the exact steps in this guide.  

Steps to write an essay: 

  • Generate Ideas and Choose a Type of Essay : Start by brainstorming potential topics and deciding on the type of essay you want to write, whether it's persuasive, descriptive, expository, or another style. 
  • Outline Your Essay : Plan your essay by outlining each paragraph. This helps organize your thoughts and ensures a logical flow of information. 
  • Write a Rough Draft : Begin with a rough draft, focusing on getting your ideas down on paper. Don't worry about perfect word choice or grammar at this stage. 
  • Edit and Revise : After completing your rough draft, go back and refine it. Pay attention to details like word choice, sentence structure, and overall coherence. 
  • Proofread : Finally, review your essay for any typos, errors, or other issues that might detract from your message. 

We'll explore each of these steps in more detail below, but first, let's focus on a crucial element of any effective essay: choosing the right topic. 

Crafting Your Essay's Thesis Statement 

Before you start writing your essay, there are three critical aspects to consider: 

  • Thesis  
  • Type  
  • Audience  

Among these, the thesis is the most crucial. It represents the core argument or main point of your essay. For instance, Bertrand Russell's thesis in "In Praise of Idleness" argues that society overly prioritizes work, neglecting the value of leisure. 

Your thesis statement should encapsulate this central idea. It's what you want your readers to remember most when they finish reading. If you're struggling to define your thesis, ask yourself: "What's the one thing I want my readers to remember?" 

It's best to state your thesis early, ideally in the first few sentences, and to reiterate it throughout your essay, particularly in the conclusion. This repetition ensures that your central idea is clear and resonant. 

The rest of your essay should support this thesis. You can use various forms of evidence to bolster your argument, including empirical data, testimonials, logical reasoning, or persuasive language. The key is to consistently build upon your initial thesis without veering off into unrelated topics. 

The Essay-Writing Process 

Writing encompasses a range of formats, from essays and research papers to novels, poems, screenplays, and blog articles. No matter the format, following an efficient writing process is essential. Even if you begin with a stream-of-consciousness style for your rough draft, a structured system is crucial for revision and refinement. 

Here’s a five-step writing process recommended for essay writing:  

  • Brainstorming : Start by gathering your thoughts. Based on your prompt or thesis, generate as many ideas as you can. This is your chance to think freely and note down everything that comes to mind, knowing you can later discard what doesn’t fit. 
  • Preparing : In this stage, you filter and organize your ideas. Select those that best support your thesis and arrange them logically. This phase also involves outlining your essay’s structure and gathering resources for evidence. If your essay requires citations, now is the time to collect these, following the appropriate style guide (MLA, APA, or Chicago) depending on your academic or publication requirements. 
  • Drafting : Now, you write your first draft. Don’t aim for perfection. The goal is to get your ideas down on paper. Focusing too much on perfecting each word can detract from the overall flow of your essay. 
  • Revising : This involves multiple drafts. Here, refine your essay by enhancing word choice, clarity, and overall flow. Avoid common pitfalls like passive voice and run-on sentences. Tools like Grammarly can be particularly helpful in this stage, offering suggestions for sentence structure and clarity to ensure your writing is concise and readable. 
  • Proofreading : After revising, the final step is proofreading. This is your chance to catch any misspellings, grammatical errors, or formatting issues. Using a tool like Grammarly’s AI-powered writing assistant can be beneficial for catching these common mistakes, providing instant feedback to refine your essay further. 

This structured approach helps maintain focus throughout the writing process, ensuring that each part of your essay contributes effectively to the whole. 

Essay Structure: An Overview 

The structure of an essay typically adheres to a simple format of introduction, body, and conclusion. However, the content within these sections is what truly makes an essay effective. 

Introduction : The introduction sets the stage for your essay. It follows general writing guidelines but places extra emphasis on presenting the thesis statement prominently, ideally within the first few sentences. By the end of your introductory paragraph, the reader should clearly understand the topic of your essay. Following conventional best practices for writing an introduction will ensure a strong start. 

Body Paragraphs : The body forms the bulk of your essay. Here, each paragraph supports your thesis with evidence. How you organize these paragraphs is crucial. In cases where arguments build on each other, a logical progression ensures clarity and enhances the reader's understanding. It's important to remember that the reader may not be as familiar with the subject as you are, so the structure should aid their comprehension. 

When writing an argumentative essay, the organization of points can vary. You might start with your own argument, presenting evidence before introducing opposing views, or you might begin by addressing the opposition's views and then refute them. The arrangement depends on the strategy you choose: 

  • Aristotelian (Classical) : Focuses on establishing the validity of your position. 
  • Rogerian : Acknowledges the opposing perspectives before presenting a middle ground. 
  • Toulmin : Breaks down arguments into their fundamental parts, including counter-arguments and supporting evidence. 

For simpler essays, a straightforward approach can be effective: 

  • Your Point : Clearly state your argument. 
  • Counterpoint : Introduce opposing viewpoints. 
  • Evidence : Provide evidence that supports your point and/or refutes the counterpoint. 

This basic framework ensures that your essay is not only structured and coherent but also persuasive and comprehensive. 

Conclusion: Wrapping Up Your Essay 

The conclusion of an essay serves to effectively summarize and reinforce your thesis, making it digestible and memorable for the reader. It's the final opportunity to solidify your arguments and leave a lasting impression. 

A good conclusion will: 

  • Restate the Thesis : Reiterate your main argument to remind the reader of its importance and relevance. 
  • Summarize Key Points : Briefly recap the major arguments or evidence presented in the body paragraphs to reinforce the thesis. 
  • Offer Closure : Provide a final statement that signals the essay is coming to an end, often linking back to the broader implications of your argument. 

While it's tempting to introduce new ideas or fresh perspectives in the conclusion, it's important to avoid presenting new evidence or arguments that weren't previously discussed. Instead, you can: 

  • Provide Context : Expand on the implications of your thesis in a broader context, suggesting areas for further exploration or the potential impact of your findings. 
  • Reflect on the Journey : Acknowledge any changes in perspective or insights gained through the process of writing the essay. 

The conclusion should leave the reader with a clear understanding of your central thesis and the confidence that the essay has fully explored and supported that thesis. By effectively wrapping up your essay, you ensure that your ideas resonate with the reader long after they finish reading. 

The Five-Paragraph Essay: A Simple Structure 

The five-paragraph essay is a straightforward and efficient structure ideal for short, time-constrained writing tasks. This format is especially useful during exams or when a quick response is required. Here’s how it breaks down: 

  • Introduction Paragraph : This is where you introduce the topic and present your thesis statement. The introduction sets the stage for the discussion and aims to grab the reader's interest. 
  • Three Body Paragraphs : Each paragraph should focus on a single main idea that supports your thesis, elaborated with examples, facts, or arguments. This is the core section where you develop your thesis and make your case to the reader. 
  • Conclusion Paragraph : The conclusion summarizes the main points and restates the thesis in light of the evidence presented. It should bring a sense of closure and completeness to the essay, reinforcing your initial argument and perhaps suggesting broader implications or future considerations. 

While the five-paragraph essay structure may not accommodate more complex or nuanced topics, its simplicity and clarity make it highly effective for straightforward subjects and settings where clarity and brevity are essential. This structure ensures that your essay is organized and coherent, making it easier for the reader to follow and understand your points quickly. 

Understanding Your Essay's Audience 

Knowing who will read your essay is crucial—it influences everything from the tone to the complexity of your language. Your audience can range from a teacher or admissions counselor to your peers or a broader internet audience. Each group has different expectations and preferences that should guide how you write. 

Formality : The level of formality required often depends on your readers. Academic and professional settings typically demand a formal tone, precise word choice, and a structured approach. In contrast, a blog post or a piece for your peers might allow for a more relaxed style. 

Language and Style : Consider the familiarity of your audience with the subject matter. This understanding will determine how much background information you need to provide and how complex your vocabulary should be. For example, technical jargon might be appropriate for a specialist audience but confusing for general readers. 

Use of Language Devices : Devices like emojis can enhance a casual piece by adding personality and aiding emotional expression. However, they are generally inappropriate in formal essays where they can seem unprofessional and out of place. 

Tailoring your essay to your audience not only makes your writing more effective but also ensures that it is received and understood as intended. Whether you’re drafting a formal research paper or a casual blog post, considering your audience’s expectations will lead to clearer, more effective communication. 

Exploring the Six Common Types of Essays 

Essays can vary significantly in style and purpose, often dictated by the assignment or the writer's intent. Understanding the different types of essays can enhance your ability to choose the most effective approach for your writing. Here are six common types of essays that you might encounter: 

Argumentative Essay 

Argumentative essays are foundational in academic settings, primarily aiming to assert and defend a position. These essays require you to present a strong case for your viewpoint, making them a staple in many school assignments, especially in college. 

Admissions Essay 

Used in college applications, admissions essays ask you to explain why you are interested in a particular school. This type of essay is your opportunity to communicate your passion, goals, and suitability for a college program. 

Persuasive Essay 

Similar to argumentative essays, persuasive essays aim to convince the reader of a specific viewpoint. However, the key difference lies in the intent; persuasive essays not only present an argument but also seek to persuade the reader to adopt this perspective, often through emotional appeal and logical reasoning. 

Compare-and-Contrast Essay 

This format is ideal for discussing two opposing viewpoints or different aspects of a topic, giving equal attention to each. Compare-and-contrast essays are excellent for exploring the similarities and differences between two subjects, providing a balanced view without bias toward one side. 

Personal Essay 

Personal essays are narrative in nature, often relaying anecdotes or personal experiences. Writers like David Sedaris excel in this form, offering stories that resonate on a personal level. While these essays may have a thesis, it is often more interpretive, reflecting personal growth or insights. 

Expository Essay 

Expository essays are informative, explaining a topic in detail to enhance the reader's understanding. Unlike argumentative or persuasive essays, they maintain an objective tone, presenting facts without personal bias. 

Each type of essay serves a different purpose and requires a specific approach. Whether you're arguing a point, sharing a personal story, or providing an objective explanation, understanding these distinctions can help you craft more effective, tailored content. 

Enhancing Your Essay Writing Skills 

Mastering the fundamentals .

To excel in essay writing, especially in academic settings, mastering the fundamentals is crucial. Understanding essay structure and the writing process is essential, but your ability to apply these concepts is what will truly make your essays stand out. Focus on developing your thesis logically and coherently, using an appropriate language style, and ensuring that your references and citations are reliable. For advanced tips that build on these basics, consider exploring more detailed guides on improving your essay skills. 

Getting Feedback 

One of the best ways to improve your writing is to seek feedback. Having someone else review your work can provide new insights and catch errors that you might have missed. This is because working on the same piece can lead to tunnel vision. If possible, exchange essays with a friend for mutual editing, utilize writing centers, or join online writing communities. If these options aren't available, taking a break and revisiting your work with fresh eyes can also be very beneficial. 

The Importance of Grammar and Form 

How you present your ideas can be as important as the ideas themselves. Even a strong, clear thesis can be undermined by poor grammar, confusing structure, or unclear writing. For essays that need to make a strong impact, consider tools like Grammarly Premium, which offers sentence restructuring for clarity, grammar corrections, and readability enhancements. These tools are also invaluable for non-native English speakers looking to refine their language skills. 

Focusing on these elements will not only improve the clarity and persuasiveness of your essays but also enhance your overall writing skills, making your arguments more compelling and your points clearer to your reader. 

How to Write an Essay – Best Method Explained

How to Use chapter in a Sentence

  • Please read the first two chapters of your textbook for our next class.
  • Becoming a parent opened up a whole new chapter in my life.
  • Chapter three deals with the country's economy.

Some of these examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chapter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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    Keep this short and to the point. Here's how to write a summary of a book chapter: #1 - Skim the chapter and take notes of any major points or key takeaways. #2 - Jot down each point or key takeaway. #3 - Summarize each point in your own words. #4 - Whittle it down to 1 or 2 sentences for each point.

  2. 7 Steps of Writing an Excellent Academic Book Chapter

    Step 1: Collate Relevant Information. Step 2: Design the Chapter Structure. Step 3: Write an Appealing Chapter Title/Heading. Step 4: Build an Engaging Introduction. Step 5: Elaborate on Main Points of the Chapter. Step 6: Summarize the Chapter. Step 7: Add a Call-to-Action & Transition to Next Chapter.

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    The outline/sequence looks something like this: Introduction. - outline of questions or topics to tackle throughout the chapter, and description of how the chapter will deal with them. Topic 1 - answer to question 1. Topic 2 - answer to question 2. Discussion/synthesis. - how it all integrates and relates to the overall book.

  4. How to Write a Book Title in an Essay (MLA, APA etc.)

    Heart of Darkness ). Place the name of a single chapter in quote marks, instead ("The Great Towns" from Condition of the Working Class in England by Friedrich Engels). APA. Italicize the book title. Capitalize the first letter, the first letter of a subtitle, and proper nouns.

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    Three main steps to writing a good chapter: Follow your Mindmap & Outline. Stay on one point while writing until reaching a finished thought, then move to the next. Complete a thorough self-edit. Follow these three main steps, and you will be well on your way to creating a good chapter.

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    Exceptions to the Rule. The rule for writing book titles in italics applies specifically to running text. If the book title is standing on its own, as in a heading, there's no need to italicize it. Additionally, if the book is part of a larger series and you're mentioning both the title of the series and that of the individual book, you can ...

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    At this point two approaches are feasible: 1. "The chain letter approach": One author writes a first draft of the chapter. This draft is forwarded to the next author, who adds content, revises the draft, and forwards the draft to another author. The order of authors can be adapted to experience and seniority.

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    For example, you would write the name of William Faulkner's novel Absalom, Absalom! with both the comma and the exclamation point in italics. 4. Highlight the book name. Hover your cursor at the beginning of the book name and left click your mouse. Hold the key down and drag your cursor over the title of the book.

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    A properly written introduction will: 1. Introduce your subject matter. 2. Preview your main argument and the point of view from which you make that argument. 3. Outline your structure, like the prose equivalent of a table of contents. 4. Tee up key information and arguments you will present in the rest of the book.

  13. How to Cite a Book

    To cite a book chapter, first give the author and title (in quotation marks) of the chapter cited, then information about the book as a whole and the page range of the specific chapter. The in-text citation lists the author of the chapter and the page number of the relevant passage. Author last name, First name.

  14. How to Cite a Chapter in a Book APA

    If a direct quote is being made, use the format in the section above ("How to cite a chapter in a printed or online book with all contents written by the same author") to include page numbers. Structure: Chapter Author Last Name, F. M. (Year). Chapter name [Translated chapter name]. In Editor's F. M.

  15. Citing a Chapter or Essay in a Book

    Book an appointment with a Writing Center consultant. Basic Chapter Citation. Footnote/Endnote. Author First M. Last Name, "Chapter or Essay Title," in Book Title, ed. First M. Last Name (Place of Publication: Publisher, date), page cited. Short version: Author Last Name, "Chapter or Essay Title (shortened if necessary)," page cited.

  16. How to Write a Book Title in Essay [Examples]

    Write it at the beginning of your sentence. Capitalize it just like any other noun or proper noun. Put a comma after the title unless it's an introductory clause or phrase. For example: "The Firm," by John Grisham (not "by") and "The Catcher in the Rye," by J.D Salinger (not "and"). In addition to the book's name ...

  17. Chapter in an Edited Book/Ebook References

    Use the same formats for both print and ebook edited book chapters. For ebook chapters, the format, platform, or device (e.g., Kindle) is not included in the reference. Do not create references for chapters of authored books. Instead, write a reference for the whole authored book and cite the chapter in the text if desired. Parenthetical ...

  18. Essay 3: A How-To Guide

    Argument. Engages in conversation with literary scholars throughout the essay, showing how their interpretation affirms, contrasts, contradicts and resolves the interpretive problem posed by literary scholars.; Uses contextual and argumentative sources to support and challenge their analysis of the text. Uses close reading strategies to deeply analyze the literary text.

  19. MLA Titles

    Use quotation marks around the title if it is part of a larger work (e.g. a chapter of a book, an article in a journal, or a page on a website). All major words in a title are capitalized. The same format is used in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. Place in quotation marks. Italicize.

  20. MLA Works Cited Page: Books

    Cite a book automatically in MLA. The 8 th edition of the MLA handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any ...

  21. How To Write Book Titles The Proper Way: A Complete Guide For Writers

    The answer is: in this case, yes. In other cases, sometimes. It's really not as confusing as it seems. When you are talking about a book series but don't want or need to include the complete series titles for the purposes of your work, you only have to put words in italics that also appear in the book titles. So, because Harry Potter is ...

  22. Q. How do I refer to a book by title in-text in APA format?

    Jun 22, 2023 627940. The basic format for an in-text citation is: Title of the Book (Author Last Name, year). Examples. One author: Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak, 1963) is a depiction of a child coping with his anger towards his mom. Two authors (cite both names every time): Brabant and Mooney (1986) have used the comic strip to examine ...

  23. Invisible Man Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

    A summary of Chapter 1 in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Invisible Man and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.

  24. How to Write an Essay

    Brainstorming: Start by gathering your thoughts. Based on your prompt or thesis, generate as many ideas as you can. This is your chance to think freely and note down everything that comes to mind ...

  25. How to Cite a Book in MLA

    Citing a book chapter. Use this format if the book's chapters are written by different authors, or if the book is a collection of self-contained works (such as stories, essays, poems or plays).A similar format can be used to cite images from books or dictionary entries.If you cite several chapters from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each one.

  26. Examples of 'Chapter' in a Sentence

    in a Sentence. chapter. noun. Definition of chapter. Synonyms for chapter. Please read the first two chapters of your textbook for our next class. Becoming a parent opened up a whole new chapter in my life. Chapter three deals with the country's economy. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul is ready for the next chapter.

  27. How to Cite a Book in APA Style

    In the reference list, start with the author's last name and initials, followed by the year. The book title is written in sentence case (only capitalize the first word and any proper nouns ). Include any other contributors (e.g. editors and translators) and the edition if specified (e.g. "2nd ed."). APA format. Last name, Initials.