The MLA Handbook is widely used in academic writing. And in this post, we\u2019re going to look at how to write author names in MLA referencing. This will include both using names in the main text of your essay and in the Works Cited list, plus a few important variations.\nAuthor Names in the Text in MLA\nThe first time you name someone in your work, MLA style suggests using their full name exactly as it appears in the work you\u2019re discussing. After that, as long as its clear who you\u2019re referring to, you can just use the surname:\nThe most famous modern pessimist was Arthur Schopenhauer. Born in Danzig on February 22, 1788, Schopenhauer was noted for his\u2026\nBut there are two key exceptions! One is for individuals so famous that they\u2019re identifiable by a surname alone. For instance, if you wanted to mention William Shakespeare in your writing, you could simply say 'Shakespeare' since most readers will instantly know who you mean.\n\nThe other key exception is parenthetical citations. In this case, you only need to give the author\u2019s surname in brackets, along with a page number:\nThis thought experiment was dubbed \u2018Twin Earth\u2019 (Putnam 701).\nAnd if a source has three or more authors, you should only give the first author\u2019s name, followed by \u2018et al.\u2019 (a Latin phrase meaning \u2018and others\u2019):\nHarold Garfinkel et al. document this process in detail (133\u201338).\nThe process is documented in detail (Garfinkel et al. 133\u201338).\nThis helps to keep the main text in your essay clear and concise.\nAuthor Names in the Works Cited List\nWhen compiling your Works Cited list, you will need to include the names of the author(s) for every source you\u2019ve cited in your work.\n\nThe main thing to remember when doing this is to give the names of the first author for each source surname first. This is so you can list sources alphabetically by author surname. For instance:\nGarfinkel, Harold, et al. \u2018The Work of a Discovering Science Construed with Materials from the Optically Discovered Pulsar.\u2019 Philosophy of the Social Sciences, vol. 11, no. 2, June 1981, pp. 131\u201358.\nPutnam, Hilary. \u2018Meaning and Reference\u2019. The Journal of Philosophy, vol. 70, no. 19, Nov. 1973, pp. 699\u2013711.\nAs shown above, you should use \u2018et al.\u2019 for sources with three or more authors here, too. This ensures that the name you give in the Works Cited list matches the one you have used in the citations.\nPseudonyms in MLA\nIf an author is best known for writing under a pseudonym (i.e. a pen name), you should use the pseudonym when discussing them. If a pseudonym is formatted like a regular name, you can use it in the same way (i.e. give it in full on the first use, then just use the surname subsequently):\nLewis Carroll is most famous for writing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. However, Carroll also wrote a range of literary...\nBut non-traditional pseudonyms (e.g. Film Crit Hulk) should be given in the same form as shown in the source. For instance:\nIn his blog, Film Crit Hulk explains...\nIn addition, in the Works Cited list, you can give the author\u2019s real name. You can see examples of entries for two pseudonymous works below:\nCarroll, Lewis (Charles Dodgson). Alice in Wonderland. Wordsworth Editions, 2018.\nFilm Crit Hulk. \u2018What We Talk About When We Talk About Female Filmmaking\u2019. HULK BLOG!, 16 Mar. 2018, https:\/\/filmcrithulk.blog\/2018\/03\/16\/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-female-filmmaking\/.\nFinally, if an author has published work under a pseudonym and their own name, or two versions of their name, include a \u2018see also\u2019 note:\nBachman, Richard (see also King, Stephen). The Long Walk. Signet Books, 1979.\nKing, Stephen (see also Bachman, Richard). The Dead Zone. Viking Press, 1979.\nThe key is to make sure your pseudonyms are clear! This applies both in the main text of your essay and in the Works Cited list, as shown above.\nTitles and Suffixes\nMLA style suggests leaving out titles and suffixes in names (e.g. you\u2019d write \u2018Samuel Johnson\u2019 rather than \u2018Dr Samuel Johnson\u2019). This applies both for the main text of your work and entries in the Works Cited list.\n\nThe one exception to this guideline is when a suffix is required to identify the person you mean. So, for example, if you were writing about country music dynasties, you would keep the \u2018Jr\u2019 in Hank Williams Jr and the \u2018III\u2019 in Hank Williams III to differentiate them from the original Hank Williams.\nExpert MLA Proofreading\nHopefully, this has explained how to write author names in MLA referencing. But if you\u2019d like any help with a document, our MLA experts are ready to proofread your work. Try our free trial service today to find out more.