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MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): In-Text Citation

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Works Quoted in Another Source

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About in-text citations, no known author, quoting directly, paraphrasing, no page numbers, repeated use of sources, in-text citation for more than one source, long quotations, quoting and paraphrasing: what's the difference, signal phrases, avoiding plagiarism when using sources.

T here are two ways to integrate others' research into your assignment: you can paraphrase or you can quote.

Paraphrasing  is used to show that you understand what the author wrote. You must restate the meaning of the passage, expressing the ideas in your own words and voice, and not just change a few words here and there. Make sure to also include an in-text citation.

Quoting  is copying the wording from someone else's work, keeping it exactly as it was originally written. When quoting, place quotation marks (" ") around the selected passage to show where the quote begins and where it ends. Make sure to include an in-text citation.

If you refer to the author's name in a sentence you do not have to include the name again as part of your in-text citation. Instead include the page number (if there is one) at the end of the quotation or paraphrased section. 

Hunt explains that mother-infant attachment has been a leading topic of developmental research since John Bowlby found that "children raised in institutions were deficient in emotional and personality development" (358).

In MLA, in-text citations are inserted in the body of your research paper to briefly document the source of your information. Brief in-text citations point the reader to more complete information in the Works Cited list at the end of the paper.

When a source has no known author, use the first one, two, or three words from the title instead of the author's last name. Don't count initial articles like "A", "An" or "The". You should provide enough words to make it clear which work you're referring to from your Works Cited list.

If the title in the Works Cited list is in italics, italicize the words from the title in the in-text citation.

( Cell Biology  12)

If the title in the Works Cited list is in quotation marks, put quotation marks around the words from the title in the in-text citation.

("Nursing" 12)

When you quote directly from a source, enclose the quoted section in quotation marks. Add an in-text citation at the end of the quote with the author name and page number, like this:

"Here's a direct quote" (Smith 8).

"Here's a direct quote" ("Trouble" 22).

  Note: The period goes outside the brackets, at the end of your in-text citation.

Mother-infant attachment has been a leading topic of developmental research since John Bowlby found that "children raised in institutions were deficient in emotional and personality development" (Hunt 358).

When you write information or ideas from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion, like this:

​This is a paraphrase (Smith 8).

This is a paraphrase ("Trouble" 22).

Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt 65).

  Note: If the paraphrased information/idea summarizes several pages, include all of the page numbers.

Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt 50, 55, 65-71).

When you quote from electronic sources that do not provide page numbers (like webpages), cite the author name only. If there is no author, cite the first word or words from the title only. 

"Three phases of the separation response: protest, despair, and detachment" (Garelli).

"Nutrition is a critical part of health and development" ("Nutrition").

Sources that are paraphrased or quoted in other sources are called indirect sources. MLA recommends you take information from the original source whenever possible. 

If you must cite information from an indirect source, mention the author of the original source in the body of your text and place the name of the author of the source you actually consulted in your in-text citation. Begin your in-text citation with 'qtd. in.' 

Kumashiro notes that lesbian and bisexual women of colour are often excluded from both queer communities and communities of colour (qtd. in Dua 188).

(You are reading an article by Dua that cites information from Kumashiro (the original source))

  Note: In your Works Cited list, you only include a citation for the source you consulted, NOT the original source.

In the above example, your Works Cited list would include a citation for Dua's article, and NOT Kumashiro's.

If you're using information from a single source more than once in a row (with no other sources referred to in between), you can use a simplified in-text citation. The first time you use information from the source, use a full in-text citation. The second time, you only need to give the page number.

Cell biology is an area of science that focuses on the structure and function of cells (Smith 15). It revolves around the idea that the cell is a "fundamental unit of life" (17). Many important scientists have contributed to the evolution of cell biology. Mattias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, for example, were scientists who formulated cell theory in 1838 (20). 

 Note: If using this simplified in-text citation creates ambiguity regarding the source being referred to, use the full in-text citation format.

If you would like to cite more than one source within the same in-text citation, simply record the in-text citations as normal and separate them with a semi-colon.

(Smith 42; Bennett 71). 

( It Takes Two ; Brock 43).

 Note: The sources within the in-text citation do not need to be in alphabetical order for MLA style.

What Is a Long Quotation?

If your quotation is longer than four lines, it is a considered a long quotation. This can also be referred to as a block quotation.

Rules for Long Quotations

There are 4 rules that apply to long quotations that are different from regular quotations:

  • Place a colon at the end of the line that you write to introduce your long quotation.
  • Indent the long quotation 0.5 inches from the rest of the text, so it looks like a block of text.
  • Do not put quotation marks around the quotation.
  • Place the period at the end of the quotation  before  your in-text citation instead of  after , as with regular quotations.

Example of a Long Quotation

Vivian Gornick describes the process of maturing as a reader as a reckoning with human limitations:

Suddenly, literature, politics, and analysis came together, and I began to think more inclusively about the emotional

imprisonment of mind and spirit to which all human beings are heir. In the course of analytic time, it became apparent

that—with or without the burden of social justice—the effort required to attain any semblance of inner freedom was

extraordinary. Great literature, I then realized, is a record not of the achievement, but of the effort. 

With this insight as my guiding light, I began to interpret the lives and work of women and men alike who had

spent their years making literature. (x-xi)  

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Citations - MLA: In-Text Citations - Quotations & Paraphrasing

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  • About In-text Citations

Paraphrasing

  • In-Text Citation for One, Two, or More Authors/Editors

Unknown Author

Repeated use of sources, long quotations.

  • In-Text Citation for More Than One Source

Citing a Source that you Found in Another Source (Secondary Source)

Order of authors, physician credentials, about in-text citations.

In MLA, in-text citations are inserted in the body of your research paper to briefly document the source of your information. Brief in-text citations point the reader to the full citation on the works cited list at the end of the paper.

Create in-text citations for the following:

  • Direct quotes

If you're using information from a single source more than once in succession (i.e., no other sources referred to in between), you can use a simplified in-text citation.

Cell biology is an area of science that focuses on the structure and function of cells (Smith 15). It revolves around the idea that the cell is a "fundamental unit of life" (17). Many important scientists have contributed to the evolution of cell biology. Mattias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, for example, were scientists who formulated cell theory in 1838 (20). 

 Note: If using this simplified in-text citation creates ambiguity regarding the source being referred to, use the full in-text citation format.

What Is a Long Quotation?

If your quotation extends to more than four lines as you're typing your essay, it is a long quotation.

Rules for Long Quotations

There are 4 rules that apply to long quotations that are different from regular quotations:

  • The line before your long quotation, when you're introducing the quote, usually ends with a colon.
  • The long quotation is indented half an inch from the rest of the text, so it looks like a block of text.
  • There are no quotation marks around the quotation.
  • The period at the end of the quotation comes  before  your in-text citation as opposed to  after , as it does with regular quotations.

Example of a Long Quotation

At the end of  Lord of the Flies  the boys are struck with the realization of their behaviour:

The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too . (Golding 186)

Direct Quote  - Add an in-text citation at the end of the quote with the author name and page number:

Mother-infant attachment has been a leading topic of developmental research since John Bowlby found that "children raised in institutions were deficient in emotional and personality development" (Hunt 358).

Authors Name in the Sentence & with a Direct Quote -  If you refer to the author's name in a sentence you do not have to include the name in the in-text citation, instead include the page number (if there is one) at the end of the quotation or paraphrased section. For example:

Hunt explains that mother-infant attachment has been a leading topic of developmental research since John Bowlby found that "children raised in institutions were deficient in emotional and personality development" (358).

No Page Numbers & with a Direct Quote -  When you quote from electronic sources that do not provide page numbers (like Web pages), cite the author name only.

"Three phases of the separation response: protest, despair, and detachment" (Garelli).

  Note: The period goes outside the brackets, at the end of your in-text citation.

In-Text Citation For One, Two, or More Authors/Editors

Author Known: 

  • "Here's a direct quote" (Smith 8).

In-Text Citation For More Than One Source

If you would like to cite more than one source within the same in-text citation, simply record the in-text citations as normal and separate them with a semi-colon.

(Smith 42; Bennett 71). 

( It Takes Two ; Brock 43).

 Note: The sources within the in-text citation do not need to be in alphabetical order for MLA style.

When creating an in-text citation or full citation, the authors should be listed in the original order displayed on the item (book, article, ...). 

Do not include academic credentials (e.g., MD, MPH, PhD,. DDS) when citing doctors in the in-text or full citation. 

The writer may refer to the physician by Dr. (name), when writing a paraphrase or inserting a direct quotation, although, it is not required.

Using the medical credential in the sentence:

Dr. Higgins, said the reason behind the complication was "direct quote here" (257). 

Dr. Price realized that nutrition was tied to health outcomes and encountered this observation in various regions of the world during his travels (390). 

Omitting the medical credential from the sentence:

He sad the reason behind the complication was "direct quote here" (Higgins 257). 

Price observed that nutrition was tied to health outcomes and encountered this in various regions of the world during his travels (390). 

When you write information or ideas from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion.

Paraphrasing from One Page

Include a full in-text citation with the author name and page number (if there is one). For example:

Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt 65).

Hunt discussed mother-infant attachment becoming a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (65).

Paraphrasing from Multiple Pages

If the paraphrased information/idea is from several pages, include them. For example:

Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt 50, 55, 65-71).

Author Unknown:

  • If the author's name is not given, then use the first word or words of the title. Follow the same formatting that was used in the works cited list, such as quotation marks. This is a paraphrase ("Trouble" 22).
  • Where you'd normally put the author's last name, instead use the first one, two, or three words from the title. Don't count initial articles like "A", "An" or "The". You should provide enough words to make it clear which work you're referring to from your Works Cited list.
  • If the title in the Works Cited list is in italics, italicize the words from the title in the in-text citation.
  • If the title in the Works Cited list is in quotation marks, put quotation marks around the words from the title in the in-text citation.

( Cell Biology  12)

("Nursing" 12)

Sometimes an author of a book, article or website will mention another person’s work by using a quotation or paraphrased idea from that source. ( This may be called a secondary source.) 

For example, the Kirkey article you are reading includes a quotation by Smith that you would like to include in your essay.

  • The basic rule: in your Works Cited and in-text citation you will still cite  Kirkey NOT Smith.
  • A dd the words “qtd. in” to your in-text citation.  

Examples of in-text citations :

According to a study by Smith (qtd. in Kirkey) 42% of doctors would refuse to perform legal euthanasia.

Smith (qtd. in Kirkey) states that “even if euthanasia was legal, 42% of doctors would be against this method of assisted dying” (A.10).

Example of Works Cited list citation:

Kirkey, Susan. "Euthanasia."  The Montreal Gazette , 9 Feb. 2013, p. A.10.  Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies.

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Mla quick citation guide.

  • In-text Citation
  • Citing Generative AI
  • Citing Web Pages and Social Media
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  • Other formats
  • MLA Style Quiz

Using In-text Citation

Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your reference list.

MLA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the page number from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken, for example: (Smith 163). If the source does not use page numbers, do not include a number in the parenthetical citation: (Smith).

For more information on in-text citation, see the MLA Style Center .

Example paragraph with in-text citation

A few researchers in the linguistics field have developed training programs designed to improve native speakers' ability to understand accented speech (Derwing et al. 246; Thomas 15). Their training techniques are based on the research described above indicating that comprehension improves with exposure to non-native speech. Derwing and others conducted their training with students preparing to be social workers, but note that other professionals who work with non-native speakers could benefit from a similar program (258).

Works Cited List

Derwing, Tracey M., et al. "Teaching Native Speakers to Listen to Foreign-accented Speech." Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, vol. 23, no. 4, 2002, pp. 245-259.

Thomas, Holly K.  Training Strategies for Improving Listeners' Comprehension of Foreign-accented Speech. University of Colorado, Boulder, 2004.

Citing Web Pages In Text

Cite web pages in text as you would any other source, using the author if known. If the author is not known, use the title as the in-text citation.

Your in-text citation should lead your reader to the corresponding entry in the reference list. Below are examples of using in-text citation with web pages.

Entire website with author: In-text citation Parents play an important role in helping children learn techniques for coping with bullying (Kraizer).

Works cited entry Kraizer, Sherryll. Safe Child. Coalition for Children, 2011, www.safechild.org.

Web page with no author: In-text citation The term Nittany Lion was coined by Penn State football player Joe Mason in 1904 ("All Things Nittany").

Works cited entry "All Things Nittany." About Penn State. Penn State University, 2006, www.psu.edu/ur/about/nittanymascot.html.

General Guidelines

In MLA style the author's name can be included either in the narrative text of your paper, or in parentheses following the reference to the source.

Author's name part of narrative:

Gass and Varonis found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic (163).

Author's name in parentheses:

One study found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic (Gass and Varonis 163).

Group as author: (American Psychological Association 123)

Multiple works: (separate each work with semi-colons)

Research shows that listening to a particular accent improves comprehension of accented speech in general (Gass and Varonis 143; Thomas 24).

Direct quote:

One study found that “the listener's familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (Gass and Varonis 85).

Gass and Varonis found that “the listener’s familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (85).

Note: For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, display quotations as an indented block of text (one inch from left margin) and omit quotation marks. Place your parenthetical citation at the end of the block of text, after the final punctuation mark.

In addition to awareness-raising, practicing listening to accented speech has been shown to improve listening comprehension. This article recommends developing listening training programs for library faculty and staff, based on research from the linguistics and language teaching fields. Even brief exposure to accented speech can help listeners improve their comprehension, thereby improving the level of service to international patrons. (O'Malley 19)

Works by Multiple Authors

When citing works by multiple authors, always spell out the word "and." When a source has three or more authors, only the first one shown in the source is normally given followed by et al.

One author: (Field 399)

Works Cited entry: Field, John. "Intelligibility and the Listener: The Role of Lexical Stress." TESOL Quarterly , vol. 39, no. 3, 2005, pp. 399-423.

Two authors: (Gass and Varonis 67)

Works Cited entry: Gass, Susan, and Evangeline M. Varonis. "The Effect of Familiarity on the Comprehensibility of Nonnative Speech." Language Learning , vol. 34, no. 1, 1984, pp. 65-89.

Three or more authors: (Munro et al. 70)

Works Cited entry: Munro, Murray J., et al. "Salient Accents, Covert Attitudes: Consciousness-raising for Pre-service Second Language Teachers." Prospect , vol. 21, no. 1, 2006, pp. 67-79.

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MLA Citation Style 7th Edition: Quotes & Paraphrasing

  • Quotes & Paraphrasing
  • Works Cited Guidelines
  • A. One Author
  • B. Two or Three Authors
  • C. More than Three Authors
  • D. Anthology or Compilation
  • E. Work in an Anthology
  • F. Corporate Author
  • G. No Author
  • I. Article in a Reference Book
  • J. Edition other than the First
  • K. Introduction, Foreword, Preface, or Afterword
  • L. Translation
  • M. Government Publication
  • A. Basic Journal Article
  • B. Journal Article from an Online Periodical
  • C. Journal Article from Database
  • D. Magazine Article
  • E. Magazine Article from Database
  • F. Newspaper Article
  • A. Basic Web Page
  • B. Document from a Web site
  • C. No Author
  • A. Video or DVD
  • B. Sound Recording
  • C. Musical Composition
  • D. YouTube Video
  • A. Work of Art
  • B. Online Image
  • C. Indirect Sources
  • D. Scripture
  • MLA 8th edition This link opens in a new window

Quotes & Paraphrasing: Parenthetical (In Text) Citations

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the MLA 7th Edition manual.

How to Cite a Direct Quote (92-105)

When you incorporate a direct quotation into a sentence, you must cite the source. Fit quotations within your sentences, making sure the sentences are grammatically correct:

e.g. Gibaldi indicates, “Quotations are effective in research papers when used selectively” (109). Remember that “[q]uotations are effective in research papers when used selectively” (Gibaldi 109).

If the quotation will run to more than 4 lines in your paper, you must use a block format in which the quotation is indented 1 inch from the left margin, double spaced with no quotation marks.

How to Cite after Paraphrasing

Even if you put information in your own words by summarizing or paraphrasing, you must cite the original author or researcher as well as the page or paragraph number(s). For example, a paraphrase of Gibaldi’s earlier quotation might be identified as follows:

Within the research paper, quotations will have more impact when used judiciously (Gibaldi 109).

For more tips on paraphrasing check out The Owl at Purdue .

How to Cite Information When You Have Not Seen the Original Source (226)

Sometimes an author writes about research that someone else has done, but you are unable to track down the original research report. In this case, because you did not read the original report, you will include only the source you did consult in the Works Cited list. The abbreviation “qtd.” in the parenthetical reference indicates you have not read the original research.

How to Cite Information If No Page Numbers Are Available (220-222)

If a resource contains no page numbers, as can be the case with electronic sources, then you cannot include a page number in the parentheses. However, if the source indicates paragraph numbers, use the abbreviation “par.” or “pars.” and the relevant numbers in the parentheses.

One website describes these specific dragons (King). A solution was suggested in 1996 (Pangee, pars. 12-18).

How to Cite Two or More Works by the Same Author or Authors (225)

When citing one of two or more works by the same author(s), put a comma after the author’s last name and add the title of the work (if brief) or a shortened version of the title and the relevant page number.

How to Cite if the Author's Name is Unavailable (223-224)

Use the title of the article or book or Web source, including the appropriate capitalization and quotation marks/italics format.

e.g. (“Asthma Rates Increasing” 29).

How to Cite Poetry (95-96)

When citing 2-3 lines of poetry, you would insert a " / " (without the quotes) between the lines.

When citing more than three lines of poetry, you would start the quotation on a new line and indent each of the lines one inch from the left margin.

How to Cite Plays (96-97)

When referencing the lines of only one character, follow the guidelines for poetry and prose.

When quoting a conversation between two or more characters in a play, start the quote on a new line, indented one inch from the left margin.

Write the name of the first speaker in capital letters, followed by a period and the speaker's line(s). Do the same for the next speaker or speakers as necessary.

If the quote you are using for one of the speakers continues onto another line, it is indented an additional quarter inch.

DESDEMONA. Shall I deny you? No. Farewell, my lord. (3.3.83-85)

How to Cite when you are Altering a Direct Quote

When you need to leave out part of a quotation to make it fit grammatically or because it contains irrelevant/unnecessary information, insert ellipses (97-101).

If you must add or slightly change words within a quotation for reasons of grammar or clarity, surround the change with square brackets (101).

Printable MLA Handouts

  • MLA Guidelines General guidelines for using the MLA style.
  • MLA Sample Paper Click here to view a sample paper and reference list in MLA style.
  • MLA Electronic Resources Tips for creating a reference list in MLA style from electronic resources.
  • MLA In-Text Citation Tips for creating in-text citations in MLA style.
  • MLA Print Resources Tips for citing print resources in MLA style.
  • MLA Frequently Asked Questions A few FAQs on MLA style.
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MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Quoting vs. Paraphrasing

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Quoting vs Paraphrasing: What's the Difference?

There are two ways to integrate sources into your assignment: quoting directly or paraphrasing.

Quoting is copying a selection from someone else's work, phrasing it exactly as it was originally written. When quoting place quotation marks (" ") around the selected passage to show where the quote begins and where it ends. Make sure to include an in-text citation.

Paraphrasing is used to show that you understand what the author wrote. You must reword the passage, expressing the ideas in your own words, and not just change a few words here and there. Make sure to also include an in-text citation.

Quoting Examples

  • Long Quotations

Modifying Quotations

Quoting - Example:

There are two basic formats that can be used when quoting a source:

Parenthetical Style:

Narrative Style:

Note: If there are no page numbers, as in a website, cite the author name only.

What is a Long or Block Quotation?

A long or block quotation is a quotation which is 4 lines or more.

Rules for Long Quotations

There are 4 rules that apply to long quotations that are different from regular quotations:

  • The line before your long quotation, when you're introducing the quote, usually ends with a colon.
  • The long quotation is indented half an inch from the rest of the text, so it looks like a block of text.
  • There are no quotation marks around the quotation.
  • The period at the end of the quotation comes before your in-text citation as opposed to after, as it does with regular quotations.

Example of a Long Quotation

At the end of Lord of the Flies the boys are struck with the realization of their behaviour:

The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. (Golding 186)

  • Sometimes you may want to make some modifications to the quote to fit your writing. Here are some MLA rules when changing quotes:

Changing Quotations

Omitting parts of a quotation

  • If you would like to exclude some words from a quotation, replace the words you are not including with an ellipsis - ...

Adding words to a quote

If you are adding words that are not part of the original quote, enclose the additional words in square brackets - [XYZ]

Paraphrasing

Correct vs. Incorrect Paraphrasing

Long Paraphrases

Paraphrasing - Examples:

When you write information from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion as follows:

If you refer to the author's name in a sentence you do not have to include the name again as part of your in-text citation, instead include the page number if there is one:

Original Source

Homeless individuals commonly come from families who are riddled with problems and marital disharmony, and are alienated from their parents. They have often been physically and even sexually abused, have relocated frequently, and many of them may be asked to leave home or are actually thrown out, or alternatively are placed in group homes or in foster care. They often have no one to care for them and no one knows them intimately.

Source from:

Rokach, Ami. "The Causes of Loneliness in Homeless Youth." The Journal of Psychology, 139, 2005, pp. 469-480. Academic Search Premier.

Example: Incorrect Paraphrasing

Example: Correct Paraphrasing

If you paraphrase a source more than once in a single paragraph and no other sources are mentioned in between, provide an in-text citation for the source at the end of each paraphrase. In the examples, the second in-text citation only includes the page number since it is clear that the same source is still being paraphrased.

If your paraphrase continues to another paragraph and/or you include paraphrases from other sources within the same paragraph, repeat the in-text citations for each.

In-Text Citation Tips

  • Repeated Use of Sources
  • Sources with Same Author and Publication Year
  • Citing More Than One Source
  • AI-Generated Text

If you are using information from a single source more than once in succession (i.e., no other sources referred to in between), you can use a simplified in-text citation.

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When you are citing two different sources that share the same author, for the Works Cited List list the first title only, and for any subsequent titles by the same author list three dashes (---) in place of the author name.

For in-text citations, include a shortened version of the source title following the author name.

Example: In-text citations (Haynes, Noah's Curse 84) (Haynes, The Last Segregated Hour 57)

If you would like to cite more than one source within the same in-text citation, simply record the in-text citations as normal and separate them with a semi-colon (;).

In-text Citations & AI-generated Text

AI-generated content may not be considered as an acceptable source for your course work. Be sure to evaluate the content carefully and check with your instructor if you are permitted to use it as a source. See Citation Examples: Artificial Intelligence for more information. For in-text, include the shortened text of the prompt surrounded by quotation marks such as: ("Shortened text of prompt").

Direct Quote Example

Paraphrasing Example

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In-text citation

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The MLA 9th style uses author-date in-text citations, used when quoting or paraphrasing people’s work. 

Two types of in-text citations

1. author prominent format .

Use this format if you want to emphasise the author. Their name becomes part of your sentence.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," wrote Charles Dickens of the eighteenth century (5).

2. Information prominent format

Use this format if you want to emphasise the information. It cites the author’s name, typically at the end of a sentence.

as demonstrated in the opening line, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" (Dickens 5).

Examples of in-text citations

Less than three lines of text.

If a prose quotation is no more than four lines and does not require special emphasis, put it in quotation marks and incorporate it into the text. Include the page number(s) in brackets.

"It was the best of times it was the worst of times" wrote Charles Dickens of the eighteenth century (5).

  • See Plays and Poetry sections below for how to cite these in-text.

More than three lines of text

If a quotation is longer than three lines, set it off from your text by beginning a new line, indenting half an inch from the left margin. Quotation marks around the text are not required. Introduce the quotation with a colon. Place the parenthetical reference after the last line. For example, the above discusses John Corner in his book, The Art of Record: A Critical Introduction to Documentary , which refers to Brian Winston's revaluation of the documentary tradition in the writings of John Grierson.

Winston's reassessment of Grierson finds the play-off between creativity and realness unconvincing: Grierson's taxonomic triumph was to make his particular species of non-fiction film, the non-fiction genre while at the same time allowing the films to use the significant fictionalising technique of dramatisation. (Winston 103)

This is a usefully provocative point, though agreement with it will largely rest on certain, contestable ideas about 'fictionalisation' and 'dramatisation'. The issue is dealt with directly in Chapter Two, as part of considering the debate around drama-documentary forms, and it occurs in relation to specific works throughout this book.

Two authors

In prose, the first time the two authors are mentioned, use both first and second names. In a parenthetical citation use 'and', not '&' to connect the two surnames.

Others, like Cheryl Brown and Laura Czerniewicz argue that the idea of a generation of ‘digital natives’ is flawed (359). The Brown and Czerniewicz article focuses on…

(Brown and Czerniewicz 359)

Three or more authors

When citing a source with three or more authors in prose you only refer to the first coauthor and can follow the additional authors by “and others“ or “and colleagues.” A parenthetical citation requires the first author's surname, followed by et al.

Laura Czerniewicz and colleagues argue…

(Czerniewicz et al. 53)

Different authors, same surname

If you use works from more than one author with the same last name, eliminate any ambiguity by including the author's first initial as well (or if the initial is also the same, the full first name).

(N. Palmer 45)

(N. Palmer 45; M. Palmer 102)

Citing more than one author

If you are citing more than one source at the same point, place them in the same parentheses, separated by a semi-colon.

(Jackson 41; Smith 150)

Same author, two or more works

If you cite multiple works by the same author, include a shortened title in each in-text citation to establish which work you are referring to. To avoid overly lengthy in-text citations, shorten the title to a simple noun phrase, or a few words.

The first example references Said's book, so the title is italicised. The second example references Said's journal article, so it is in quotation marks.

For more tips on how to abbreviate titles of sources, see 6.10 of the MLA Handbook .

..."the Orient was a scholar's word, signifying what modern Europe had recently made of the still peculiar East" (Said, Orientalism 92).

..."there is something basically unworkable or at least drastically changed about the traditional frameworks in which we study literature" (Said, "Globalizing Literary Study" 64).

Anonymous or no author

For works that are anonymously authored, or have no author, include a shortened version of the title in the in-text citation (do not list the author as "anonymous", nor as "anon.").

It has been argued that the hat symbolised freedom (Wandering Merchant 157).

Corporate author

Abbreviate terms that are commonly abbreviated (e.g. Department becomes Dept.), so as to not disrupt the flow of your text with overly long in-text citations.

If the corporate author is identified in the works-cited list by the names of administrative units separated by commas, give all the names in the parenthetical citation.

The Australian Research Council found that there are limited policies and procedures in place to manage foreign interference (4).

(Monash University 176)

Citing an author within another source

An indirect source is a source that is cited in another source. To quote this second-hand source, use “qtd. in” (quoted in), and then include the information of the source you actually consulted. Similarly, for the reference list use the source that you actually consulted (i.e. the indirect source). Keep in mind that it is good academic practice to seek out and use the original source, rather than the second-hand one, however this is not always possible.

For the below example, the student is using Petrarch's quote which is found in Hui. The page number refers to the source actually consulted (Hui), and the reference list would only list Hui, as shown below:

Hui, Andrew. The Poetics of Ruins in Renaissance Literature. Fordham UP, 2016.

For more information, see section 6.77 of the MLA Handbook .

Petrarch laments that Cicero’s manuscripts are “in such fragmentary and mutilated condition that it would perhaps have been better for them to have perished” (qtd. in Hui 4).

Author in a translation

If you think your audience would require a translation for your quoted material, then provide one. Give the source of the translation, as well as the source of the quote.

If you did the translation yourself, then insert my trans. where you would usually put the translation source, as shown in the example above.

If you're quoting in a language that does not use the Latin alphabet (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, etc.), then consistently use the original writing system for your quotes or romanisation. Note that proper nouns are usually romanised.

For more information, see 6.75 Translations of Quotations in the MLA Style Guide .

Mme d'Aulnoy's heroine is "la chatte blanche" ("the white cat"; my trans.; 56)

Poetry - Short quotations

Quotations from poetry from part of a line up to three lines in length, which do not need particular emphasis, may be added, placed in quotation marks, within your text as part of a sentence. Use a slash with a space on either side ( / ) to indicate a new line of poetry.

If the poem you are referencing has line numbers, then omit page numbers all-together and cite by line number instead. Do not use the abbreviation l. or ll. , but instead in your first citation, use the word line, or lines as shown in the example below. After the first citation, it can be assumed that the numbers refer to lines, so you can include the numbers alone.

More's distress that she had not written about the problems of the slave trade earlier are expressed in the poem: "Whene'er to Afric's shores I turn my eyes, / Horrors of deepest, deadliest guilt arise" (line 5).

Poetry - Block quotations

When quoting a block of poetry, introduce it in the same manner as a prose block quotation, i.e. begin the quote on a new line and indent each line as below. There is no need to add quotation marks. A reference to the page or line number should be included in parenthesis at the end of the last line. If the original text is creatively spaced or indented, then try to replicate the original as best you can.

Judith Wright 's poetry explores the Australian environment:

And have we eaten in the heart of the yellow wheat the sullen unforgetting seed of fire? And now, set free by the climate of man's hate, that seed sets time ablaze (14)

If you quote the lines of more than one actor or if the piece you are quoting is long, the quotation should not be integrated into your text. The rules in MLA for presenting this text are:

  • Leave a line between your text and the quotation
  • Begin each part of the dialogue with the character's name, indented half an inch from the margin, in upper case and with a full-stop, e.g. BODYGUARDS.
  • Start dialogue after full-stop or match spacing shown in original source
  • Indent all dialogue an additional amount, as shown below
  • End each piece of dialogue with a full-stop
  • End the last line of the quotation with a full-stop and then add the section and line numbers in parentheses.

For more information, see section 6.40 of the MLA 9th Handbook .

TARTUFFE. Yes, my brother, I am a sinner, a guilty man. An unhappy sinner full of iniquity. (III. vi.)

In-text citation general checklist

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Using MLA in-text citations

General information about parenthetical citations

How do I cite sources in my paper?

The following instructions are basically the same for print sources and electronic sources. When you quote or paraphrase a specific portion of a text in a source, give enough information—most typically the author’s last name and the page number —to identify the exact location of the borrowed material. If you are using two sources from the same author, then you’ll need to reference both the title of the piece along with the author’s name either in the sentence itself or in the parenthetical citation. Use a comma between the last name and the title of the source if both appear in the parenthetical citation.

The parenthetical information should not repeat information given in your text (e.g., if you mention the author’s name in your text, you do not include it in the citation). For more information and example citations, see: Citing books, articles, and other sources parenthetically in your paper.

How should I format my quotations and citation information?

For direct references, paraphrases, and quotations that are shorter than four lines, include the citation information in parentheses at the end of the sentence directly following any quotation marks and right before the sentence’s ending punctuation.

Use the block quotation format for quotations more than four lines long: indent one half inch from the left margin, double space the quotation, and do not use quotation marks. Place the parenthetical citation after the period (or other mark of punctuation) that closes the block quotation.

When it comes to referencing numbers in parenthetical citations, do not include the word “page” or “pages” or the abbreviations “p.” or “pp.”—just the page numbers themselves. If an electronic source uses paragraph or section numbers instead of page numbers, use the appropriate abbreviation (e.g., “par.”; do not count paragraphs if they are not numbered in the electronic source; if an electronic source does not include page or paragraph numbers, don’t include any numbers in your citation).

When referring to plays, poems, or modern prose works that call attention to other divisions, in the parenthetical citation first include the page number, then provide any other identifying information—abbreviating terms like “chapter” and “section”—and then include the appropriate number. For more information, see: Abbreviating references to your sources

Citing books, articles, and other sources parenthetically in your paper

In conjunction with the explanations about structuring and formatting in–text citations detailed here , this page provides example citations for how a range of different source types are correctly referenced according to MLA’s citation guidelines.

– Author’s name in text

Magny develops this argument (67-69).

– Author’s name in reference

This argument has been developed elsewhere (Magny 67-69).

– Quotation found in indirect or “secondhand” source

The philosopher Alain states that “admiration is not pleasure but a kind of attention. . .” (qtd. in Magny 66).

– Material found in indirect source

Alain’s words seem to dissociate admiration from pleasure (in Magny 66).

– Two authors’ names in reference

The most notorious foreign lobby in Washington is the “Sugar Mafia” (Howe and Trott 134).

– Reference to volume and page in multivolume work

As a painter Andrea was “faultless” (Freedberg 1: 98).

– Reference to whole volume

In his second volume, Freedberg gives an account of Andrea’s whole painting career.

– Two works by same author on list of works cited

Frye connects Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange to romance tradition ( Secular Scripture 110). And while this connection may be surprising given A Clockwork Orange ‘s themes and content, Frye’s unique perspective on the nature of genres sheds light on this unusual combination (“Rhetorical Criticism: Theory of Genres”).

– Two locations in same source

Dabundo deals with this problem (22, 31).

– Two sources cited

This controversy has been addressed more than once (Dabundo 27; Magny 69).

– Personal interview; name given in text

Parsons addresses the need for physical education teachers to understand the relationship between physical activity and fitness.

– Corporate author

Many different types of organizations in the United States are involved in mediation and dispute resolution (Natl. Inst. for Dispute Resolution).

– Quotation from a play with page numbers

In A Raisin in the Sun , Walter doesn’t hide his disdain for his sister’s attitude towards his mother’s money: “the line between asking and just accepting when the time comes is big and wide—ain’t it!” he levels at Beneatha (Hansberry 37; act 1, scene 1).

– Quotation from a play with division and line numbers

This is made clear by the Duke’s recommendation that the best response to grief is to move on ( Othello 1.3.208–209).

– Quotation from a poem

Amy Quan Barry asks piercingly, “What is it to know the absolute value / of negative grace . . .?”

– Quotation from a multi–page poem with line numbers

It is at this point that Eliot first introduces the women in the room “talking of Michelangelo” (line 14).

– Electronic source that uses paragraph numbers

The semiconductor workplace is highly toxic (Ross par. 35).

– Electronic source that uses chapter and section numbers

“Once we start using a tool extensively, it also starts using us” (Rawlins ch. 1, sec. 1).

Formatting quotations according to the MLA guidelines

Parenthetical citations appear at the end of the sentence in which the direct reference, summary, paraphrase, or quote appears.

For quotations that are shorter than four lines, include the citation after the final quotation marks and before the sentence’s concluding punctuation.

Use the block quotation format for quotations more than four lines long:

  • In most cases, use a colon to introduce the quotation.
  • Indent the quotation one half inch from the left margin.
  • Double space the quotation.
  • Do not use quotation marks.

Place the parenthetical citation (author and page number) after the period (or other mark of punctuation) that closes the block quotation.

mla paraphrasing in text citation

Modern Language Association Documentation

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MLA Table of Contents

Orientation to MLA

Creating an MLA works cited page

Using MLA in–text citations

Abbreviating references to your sources

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MLA Style Guide: 8th Edition: Paraphrase/Summary

  • Works Cited examples
  • Direct Quote
  • Block Quote

Paraphrase/Summary

  • Indirect Quote
  • Multiple Authors
  • In-Text Exceptions
  • Personal Communications
  • MLA Handbook/Other Resources
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IN-TEXT CITATIONS FOR A...

Paraphrasing is when you, as the researcher, put into your own words a passage or idea from another work. A paraphrased passage is generally shorter and more condensed than the original. Summarizing is very similar to paraphrasing, in that it also involves putting someone else’s ideas into your own words in order to condense the material (and to show that you understand the source material). A summary includes only the main points and/or ideas in a longer passage or entire work.   

Paraphrasing is often used because it is easier to integrate into the text of a paper. Remember though, you must still cite your source using author name and page number:

Author Incorporated into Text

Kafka describes the insecurities of his youth, analyzing his social shortcomings in school and his rocky relationship with his father (44-46).

Author After Paraphrase

The insecurities of youth are described, as the author analyzes his social shortcomings in school and his rocky relationship with his father (Kafka 44-46).

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MLA Style (9th Edition) Citation Guide: Introduction to MLA Style

  • Introduction to MLA Style
  • Journal Articles
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  • Government & Legal Documents
  • Biblical Sources
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Who should use MLA Style?

MLA style is used to cite sources within English, international languages, theater, cultural studies, and other humanities. 

What is MLA Style?

MLA style was created by the Modern Language Association of America. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers.

In MLA style, you must cite sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:

  • In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation .
  • In the Works Cited list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.
  • Sample Student Papers (MLA Handbook Plus)
  • MLA Style Sample Paper (Purdue OWL)
  • Formatting Your MLA Paper (including paper template)

MLA Core Elements

When deciding how to cite your source, start by consulting the list of core elements. These are the general pieces of information that MLA suggests including in each Works Cited entry. In your citation, the elements should be listed in the following order:

  • Title of source.
  • Title of container,
  • Other contributors,
  • Publication date,

Each element should be followed by the punctuation mark shown here. Earlier editions of the handbook included the place of publication and required different punctuation (such as journal editions in parentheses and colons after issue numbers). In the current version, punctuation is simpler (only commas and periods separate the elements), and information about the source is kept to the basics.

Note: According to p. 42 of the MLA Handbook, publisher information may be omitted for:

  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)
  • works published by an author or editor
  • web sites whose title is the same as the name of the publisher
  • a web site not involved in producing the work it makes (e.g. user-generated content sites like YouTube)

Commonly Used Terms

Access Date:  The date you first look at a source. The access date is added to the end of citations for all websites except library databases.

Citation: Details about one cited source.

Citing: The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.

In-Text Citation: A brief note at the point where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Works Cited List.

Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.

Plagiarism: Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.

Quoting: The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.

Works Cited List: Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.

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  • The Basics of In-Text Citation | APA & MLA Examples

The Basics of In-Text Citation | APA & MLA Examples

Published on March 14, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 23, 2022.

An in-text citation is a short acknowledgement you include whenever you quote or take information from a source in academic writing. It points the reader to the source so they can see where you got your information.

In-text citations most commonly take the form of short parenthetical statements indicating the author and publication year of the source, as well as the page number if relevant.

We also offer a free citation generator and in-depth guides to the main citation styles.

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Table of contents

What are in-text citations for, when do you need an in-text citation, types of in-text citation, frequently asked questions about in-text citations.

The point of an in-text citation is to show your reader where your information comes from. Including citations:

  • Avoids plagiarism by acknowledging the original author’s contribution
  • Allows readers to verify your claims and do follow-up research
  • Shows you are engaging with the literature of your field

Academic writing is seen as an ongoing conversation among scholars, both within and between fields of study. Showing exactly how your own research draws on and interacts with existing sources is essential to keeping this conversation going.

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The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:

  • Missing commas and periods
  • Incorrect usage of “et al.”
  • Ampersands (&) in narrative citations
  • Missing reference entries

mla paraphrasing in text citation

An in-text citation should be included whenever you quote or paraphrase a source in your text.

Quoting means including the original author’s words directly in your text, usually introduced by a signal phrase . Quotes should always be cited (and indicated with quotation marks), and you should include a page number indicating where in the source the quote can be found.

Paraphrasing means putting information from a source into your own words. In-text citations are just as important here as with quotes, to avoid the impression you’re taking credit for someone else’s ideas. Include page numbers where possible, to show where the information can be found.

However, to avoid over-citation, bear in mind that some information is considered common knowledge and doesn’t need to be cited. For example, you don’t need a citation to prove that Paris is the capital city of France, and including one would be distracting.

Different types of in-text citation are used in different citation styles . They always direct the reader to a reference list giving more complete information on each source.

Author-date citations (used in APA , Harvard , and Chicago author-date ) include the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number when available. Author-page citations (used in MLA ) are the same except that the year is not included.

Both types are divided into parenthetical and narrative citations. In a parenthetical citation , the author’s name appears in parentheses along with the rest of the information. In a narrative citation , the author’s name appears as part of your sentence, not in parentheses.

Note: Footnote citations like those used in Chicago notes and bibliography are sometimes also referred to as in-text citations, but the citation itself appears in a note separate from the text.

An in-text citation is an acknowledgement you include in your text whenever you quote or paraphrase a source. It usually gives the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number of the relevant text. In-text citations allow the reader to look up the full source information in your reference list and see your sources for themselves.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

Check if your university or course guidelines specify which citation style to use. If the choice is left up to you, consider which style is most commonly used in your field.

  • APA Style is the most popular citation style, widely used in the social and behavioral sciences.
  • MLA style is the second most popular, used mainly in the humanities.
  • Chicago notes and bibliography style is also popular in the humanities, especially history.
  • Chicago author-date style tends to be used in the sciences.

Other more specialized styles exist for certain fields, such as Bluebook and OSCOLA for law.

The most important thing is to choose one style and use it consistently throughout your text.

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Caulfield, J. (2022, August 23). The Basics of In-Text Citation | APA & MLA Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 15, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/citing-sources/in-text-citation-styles/

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / MLA In-text Citations

MLA In-Text Citations

An in-text citation is a reference to a source that is found within the text of a paper ( Handbook 227). This tells a reader that an idea, quote, or paraphrase originated from a source. MLA in-text citations usually include the last name of the author and the location of cited information.

This guide focuses on how to create MLA in-text citations, such as citations in prose and parenthetical citations in the current MLA style, which is in its 9th edition. This style was created by the Modern Language Association . This guide reviews MLA guidelines but is not related directly to the association.

Table of Contents

Here’s a quick rundown of the contents of this guide on how to use in-text citations.

Fundamentals

  • Why in-text citations are important
  • Prose vs parenthetical in-text citation differences
  • Parenthetical citation reference chart

In-text citation examples

  • In-text citation with two authors
  • In-text citation with 3+ authors
  • In-text citation with no authors
  • In-text citation with corporate authors
  • In-text citation with edited books and anthologies
  • In-text citation with no page numbers and online sources
  • Citing the same sources multiple times
  • Citing 2+ sources in the same in-text citation
  • Citing multiple works by the same author in the same in-text citation
  • Abbreviating titles
  • Citing religious works and scriptures
  • Citing long or block quotes

Why are in-text citations important?

In-text citations

  • Give full credit to sources that are quoted and paraphrased in a work/paper.
  • Help the writer avoid plagiarism.
  • Are a signal that the information came from another source.
  • Tell the reader where the information came from.

In-text citation vs. in-prose vs. parenthetical

An in-text citation is a general citation of where presented information came from. In MLA, an in-text citation can be displayed in two different ways:

  • In the prose
  • As a parenthetical citation

While the two ways are similar, there are slight differences. However, for both ways, you’ll need to know how to format page numbers in MLA .

Citation in prose

An MLA citation in prose is when the author’s name is used in the text of the sentence. At the end of the sentence, in parentheses, is the page number where the information was found.

Here is an example

When it comes to technology, King states that we “need to be comfortable enough with technology tools and services that we can help point our patrons in the right direction, even if we aren’t intimately familiar with how the device works” (11).

This MLA citation in prose includes King’s name in the sentence itself, and this specific line of text was taken from page 11 of the journal it was found in.

Parenthetical citation

An MLA parenthetical citation is created when the author’s name is NOT in the sentence. Instead, the author’s name is in parentheses after the sentence, along with the page number.

Here is an MLA parenthetical citation example

When it comes to technology, we “need to be comfortable enough with technology tools and services that we can help point our patrons in the right direction, even if we aren’t intimately familiar with how the device works” (King 11).

In the above example, King’s name is not included in the sentence itself, so his name is in parentheses after the sentence, with 11 for the page number. The 11 indicates that the quote is found on page 11 in the journal.

Full reference

For every source that is cited using an in-text citation, there is a corresponding full reference. This allows readers to track down the original source.

At the end of the assignment, on the MLA works cited page , is the full reference. The full reference includes the full name of the author, the title of the article, the title of the journal, the volume and issue number, the date the journal was published, and the URL where the article was found.

Here is the full reference for King’s quote

King, David Lee. “Why Stay on Top of Technology Trends?” Library Technology Reports , vol. 54, no. 2, Feb.-Mar. 2018, ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=//search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/docview/2008817033?accountid=35635.

Readers can locate the article online via the information included above.

Citation overview

mla-in-text-citations-reference-overview

The next section of this guide focuses on how to structure an MLA in-text citation and reference in parentheses in various situations.

A narrative APA in-text citation and APA parenthetical citation are somewhat similar but have some minor differences. Check out our helpful guides, and others, on EasyBib.com!

Wondering how to handle these types of references in other styles? Check out our page on APA format , or choose from more styles .

Parenthetical Citation Reference Chart

Sources with two authors.

There are many books, journal articles, magazine articles, reports, and other source types written or created by two authors.

When a source has two authors, place both authors’ last names in the body of your work ( Handbook 232). The last names do not need to be listed in alphabetical order. Instead, follow the same order as shown on the source.

In an MLA in-text citation, separate the two last names with the word “and.” After both authors’ names, add a space and the page number where the original quote or information is found on.

Here is an example of an MLA citation in prose for a book with two authors

Gaiman and Pratchett further elaborate by sharing their creepy reminder that “just because it’s a mild night doesn’t mean that dark forces aren’t abroad. They’re abroad all of the time. They’re everywhere” (15).

Here is an example of an MLA parenthetical citation for a book with two authors

Don’t forget that “just because it’s a mild night doesn’t mean that dark forces aren’t abroad. They’re abroad all of the time. They’re everywhere” (Gaiman and Pratchett 15).

If you’re still confused, check out EasyBib.com’s MLA in-text citation generator, which allows you to create MLA in-text citations and other types of references in just a few clicks!

If it’s an APA book citation you’re looking to create, we have a helpful guide on EasyBib.com. While you’re at it, check out our APA journal guide!

Sources With Three or More Authors

There are a number of sources written or created by three or more authors. Many research studies and reports, scholarly journal articles, and government publications are developed by three or more individuals.

If you included the last names of all individuals in your MLA in-text citations or in parentheses, it would be too distracting to the reader. It may also cause the reader to lose sight of the overall message of the paper or assignment. Instead of including all last names, only include the last name of the first individual shown on the source. Follow the first author’s last name with the Latin phrase, “et al.” This Latin phrase translates to “and others.” Add the page number after et al.

Here’s an example of an MLA parenthetical citation for multiple authors

“School library programs in Croatia and Hong Kong are mainly focused on two major educational tasks. One task is enhancing students’ general literacy and developing reading habits, whereas the other task is developing students’ information literacy and research abilities” (Tam et al. 299).

The example above only includes the first listed author’s last name. All other authors are credited when “et al.” is used. If the reader wants to see the other authors’ full names, the reader can refer to the final references at the end of the assignment or to the full source.

The abbreviation et al. is used with references in parentheses, as well as in full references. To include the authors’ names in prose, you can either write each name out individually or, you can type out the meaning of et al., which is “and others.”

Here is an acceptable MLA citation in prose example for sources with more than three authors

School library programming in Croatia and Hong Kong is somewhat similar to programming in the United States. Tam, Choi, Tkalcevic, Dukic, and Zheng share that “school library programs in Croatia and Hong Kong are mainly focused on two major educational tasks. One task is enhancing students’ general literacy and developing reading habits, whereas the other task is developing students’ information literacy and research abilities” (299).

If your instructor’s examples of how to do MLA in-text citations for three or more authors looks different than the example here, your instructor may be using an older edition of this style. To discover more about previous editions, learn more here .

Need some inspiration for your research project? Trying to figure out the perfect topic? Check out our Dr. Seuss , Marilyn Monroe , and Malcolm X topic guides!

Sources Without an Author

It may seem unlikely, but there are times when an author’s name isn’t included on a source. Many digital images, films and videos, encyclopedia articles, dictionary entries, web pages, and more do not have author names listed.

If the source you’re attempting to cite does not have an author’s name listed, the MLA in-text citation or parenthetical citation should display the title. If the title is rather long, it is acceptable to shorten it in the body of your assignment. If you choose to shorten the title, make sure the first word in the full citation is also the first word used in the citation in prose or parenthetical citation. This is done to allow the reader to easily locate the full citation that corresponds with the reference in the text.

If, in the Works Cited list, the full reference has the title within quotation marks, include those quotation marks in the in-text citation or reference in parentheses. If the title is written in italics in the full reference, use italics for the title in the in-text citation or reference in parentheses as well.

Parenthetical Citations MLA Examples

The example below is from a poem found online, titled “the last time.” the poem’s author is unknown..

“From the moment you hold your baby in your arms you will never be the same. You might long for the person you were before, when you had freedom and time and nothing in particular to worry about” (“The Last Time”).

The example below is from the movie, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain .

“Perhaps it would have been different if there hadn’t been a war, but this was 1917, and people were exhausted by loss. Those that were allowed to stay manned the pits, mining the coal that would fuel the ships. Twenty-four hours a day they labored” ( Englishman ).

Notice the shortened title in the above reference. This allows the reader to spend more time focusing on the content of your project, rather than the sources.

If you’re looking for an MLA in-text citation website to help you with your references, check out EasyBib Plus on EasyBib.com! EasyBib Plus can help you determine how to do in-text citations MLA and many other types of references!

Corporate Authors

Numerous government publications, research reports, and brochures state the name of the organization as the author responsible for publishing it.

When the author is a corporate entity or organization, this information is included in the MLA citation in prose or parenthetical citation.

“One project became the first to evaluate how e-prescribing standards work in certain long-term care settings and assessed the impact of e-prescribing on the workflow among prescribers, nurses, the pharmacies, and payers” (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2).

If the full name of the organization or governmental agency is long in length, it is acceptable to abbreviate some words, as long as they are considered common abbreviations. These abbreviations should only be in the references with parentheses. They should not be used in citations in prose.

Here is a list of words that can be abbreviated in parentheses:

  • Department = Dept.
  • Government = Govt.
  • Corporation = Corp.
  • Incorporated = Inc.
  • Company = Co.
  • United States = US

Example of a shortened corporate author name in an MLA parenthetical citation

“Based on our analysis of available data provided by selected states’ departments of corrections, the most common crimes committed by inmates with serious mental illness varied from state to state” (US Govt. Accountability Office 14).

Here is how the same corporate author name would look in an MLA citation in prose

The United States Government Accountability Office states, “Based on our analysis of available data provided by selected states’ departments of corrections, the most common crimes committed by inmates with serious mental illness varied from state to state” (14).

Remember, citations in prose should not have abbreviations; other types of references can.

Looking for more information on abbreviations? Check out our page on MLA format.

Edited Books and Anthologies

Edited books and anthologies often include chapters or sections, each written by an individual author or a small group of authors. These compilations are placed together by an editor or a group of editors. There are tons of edited books and anthologies available today, ranging from ones showcasing Black history facts and literature to those focusing on notable individuals such as scientists like Albert Eintein and politicians such as Winston Churchill .

If you’re using information from an edited book or an anthology, include the chapter author’s name in your MLA citation in prose or reference in parentheses. Do not use the name(s) of the editor(s). Remember, the purpose of these references is to provide the reader with some insight as to where the information originated. If, after reading your project, the reader would like more information on the sources used, the reader can use the information provided in the full reference, at the very end of the assignment. With that in mind, since the full reference begins with the author of the individual chapter or section, that same information is what should be included in any citations in prose or references in parentheses.

Here is an example of an MLA citation in prose for a book with an editor

Weinstein further states that “one implication of this widespread adaptation of anthropological methods to historical research was the eclipse of the longstanding concern with “change over time,” and the emergence of a preference for synchronic, rather than diachronic, themes” (195).

Full reference at the end of the assignment

Weinstein, Barbara. “History Without a Cause? Grand Narratives, World History, and the Postcolonial Dilemma.” Postcolonial Studies: An Anthology , edited by Pramod K. Nayar, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015, p. 196. Wiley , www.wiley.com/en-us/Postcolonial+Studies%3A+An+Anthology-p-9781118780985.

Once you’re through with writing and citing, run your paper through our innovative plagiarism checker ! It’s the editor of your dreams and provides suggestions for improvement.

Sources Without Page Numbers and Online Sources

When a source has no page numbers, which is often the case with long web page articles, e-books, and numerous other source types, do not include any page number information in the body of the project. Do not estimate or invent your own page numbering system for the source. If there aren’t any page numbers, omit this information from the MLA in-text citation. There may, however, be paragraph numbers included in some sources. If there are distinct and clear paragraph numbers directly on the source, replace the page number with this information. Make it clear to the reader that the source is organized by paragraphs by using “par.” before the paragraph number, or use “pars.” if the information is from more than one paragraph.

Here is an example of how to create an MLA parenthetical citation for a website

“She ran through the field with the wind blowing in her hair and a song through the breeze” (Jackson par. 5).

Here’s an example of an MLA citation in prose for a website

In Brenner’s meeting notes, he further shared his motivation to actively seek out and secure self help resources when he announced, “When we looked at statistical evidence, the most commonly checked out section of the library was self-help. This proves that patrons consistently seek out help for personal issues and wish to solve them with the help of the community’s resources” (pars. 2-3).

Here’s another MLA in-text citation example for a website

Holson writes about a new mindful app, which provides listeners with the soothing sound of not only Bob Ross’ voice, but also the “soothing swish of his painter’s brush on canvas.”

In above example, the information normally found in the parentheses is omitted since there aren’t any page, parentheses, or chapter numbers on the website article.

Looking for APA citation website examples? We have what you need on EasyBib.com!

Need an in-text or parenthetical citation MLA website? Check out EasyBib Plus on EasyBib.com! Also, check out MLA Citation Website , which explains how to create references for websites.

Citing the Same Source Multiple Times

It may seem redundant to constantly include an author’s name in the body of a research project or paper. If you use an author’s work in one section of your project, and the next piece of information included is by the same individual(s), then it is not necessary to share in-text, whether in prose or in parentheses, that both items are from the same author. It is acceptable to include the last name of the author in the first use, and in the second usage, only a page number needs to be included.

Here is an example of how to cite the same source multiple times

“One of the major tests is the Project for Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills. This measurement was developed over four years as a joint partnership between the Association of Research Libraries and Kent State University” (Tong and Moran 290). This exam is just one of many available to measure students’ information literacy skills. It is fee-based, so it is not free, but the results can provide stakeholders, professors, curriculum developers, and even librarians and library service team members with an understanding of students’ abilities and misconceptions. It is not surprising to read the results, which stated that “upper-level undergraduate students generally lack information literacy skills as evidenced by the results on this specific iteration of the Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills test” (295).

The reader can assume that the information in the second quote is from the same article as the first quote. If, in between the two quotes, a different source is included, Tong and Moran’s names would need to be added again in the last quote.

Here is the full reference at the end of the project:

Tong, Min, and Carrie Moran. “Are Transfer Students Lagging Behind in Information Literacy?” Reference Services Review , vol. 45, no. 2, 2017, pp. 286-297. ProQuest , ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=//search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/docview/1917280148?accountid=35635.

Citing Two or More Sources in the Same In-text Citation

According to section 6.30 of the Handbook , parenthetical citations containing multiple sources in a single parenthesis should be separated by semicolons.

(Granger 5; Tsun 77) (Ruiz 212; Diego 149)

Citing Multiple Works by the Same Author in One In-text Citation

Just as you might want to cite two different sources at the same time, it can also be useful to cite different works by the same author all at once.

Section 6.30 of the Handbook specifies that “citations of different locations in a single source are separated by commas” (251).

(Maeda 59, 174-76, 24) (Kauffman 7, 234, 299)

Furthermore, if you are citing multiple works by the same author, the titles should be joined by and if there are only two. Otherwise, use commas and and .

(Murakami, Wild Sheep Chase and Norwegian Wood ) (Murakami, Wild Sheep Chase , Norwegian Wood , and “With the Beatles”)

Abbreviating Titles

When listing the titles, be aware that long titles in parenthetical citations can distract the reader and cause confusion. It will be necessary to shorten the titles appropriately for in-text citations. According to the Handbook , “shorten the title if it is longer than a noun phrase” (237). The abbreviated title should begin with the word by which the title is alphabetized.

Best practice is to give the first word the reference is listed by so the source is easily found in the works cited. Omit articles that start a title: a, an, the. When possible, use the first noun (and any adjectives before it). For more on titles and their abbreviations, head to section 6.10 of the Handbook .

  • Full title :  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 
  • Abbreviated: Curious
  • Full title:  The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks 
  • Abbreviated:  Disreputable History

Religious Works and Scriptures

There are instances when religious works are italicized in the text of a project, and times when it is not necessary to italicize the title.

If you’re referring to the general religious text, such as the Bible, Torah, or Qur’an, it is not necessary to italicize the name of the scripture in the body of the project. If you’re referring to a specific edition of a religious text, then it is necessary to italicize it, both in text and in the full reference.

Here are some commonly used editions:

  • King James Bible
  • The Orthodox Jewish Bible
  • American Standard Bible
  • The Steinsaltz Talmud
  • The Babylonian Talmud
  • New International Bible

When including a reference, do not use page numbers from the scripture. Instead, use the designated chapter numbers and verse numbers.

MLA example of an in-text citation for a religious scripture

While, unacceptable in today’s society, the Bible is riddled with individuals who have two, three, and sometimes four or more spouses. One example in the King James Bible , states that an individual “had two wives, the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children” (1 Sam. 1.2)

The only religious scripture that is allowed to be in the text of a project, but not in the Works Cited list, is the Qur’an. There is only one version of the Qur’an. It is acceptable to include the name of the Qur’an in the text, along with the specific chapter and verse numbers.

If you’re attempting to create a reference for a religious work, but it’s not considered a “classic” religious book, such as a biography about Mother Teresa , or a book about Muhammed Ali’s conversion, then a reference in the text and also on the final page of the project is necessary.

If you’re creating an APA bibliography , you do not need to create a full reference for classic religious works on an APA reference page .

For another MLA in-text citation website and for more on the Bible and other source types, click here .

Long or Block Quotes

Quotes longer than four lines are called, “block quotes.” Block quotes are sometimes necessary when you’re adding a lengthy piece of information into your project. If you’d like to add a large portion of Martin Luther King ’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a lengthy amount of text from a Mark Twain book, or multiple lines from Abraham Lincoln ’s Gettysburg Address, a block quote is needed.

MLA block quotes are formatted differently than shorter quotes in the body of a project. Why? The unique formatting signals to the reader that they’re about to read a lengthy quote.

Block quotes are called block quotes because they form their own block of text. They are set apart from the body of a project with different spacing and margins.

Begin the block quote on a new line. The body of the full project should run along the one inch margin, but the block quote should be set in an inch and a half. The entire quote should be along the inch and a half margin.

If there aren’t any quotation marks in the text itself, do not include any in the block quote. This is very different than standard reference rules. In most cases, quotation marks are added around quoted material. For block quotes, since the reader can see that the quoted material sits in its own block, it is not necessary to place quotation marks around it.

Here is an MLA citation in prose example of a block quote

Despite Bruchac’s consistent difficult situations at home, basketball kept his mind busy and focused:

When I got off the late bus that afternoon, my grandparents weren’t home. The store was locked and there was a note from Grama on the house door. Doc Magovern had come to the house because Grampa was “having trouble with his blood.” Now they were off to the hospital and I “wasn’t to worry.” This had happened before. Grampa had pernicious anemia and sometimes was very sick. So, naturally, it worried the pants off me. I actually thought about taking my bike down the dreaded 9N the three miles to the Saratoga Hospital. Instead, I did as I knew they wanted. I opened the store and waited for customers. None came, though, and my eye was caught by the basketball stowed away as usual behind the door. I had to do something to take my mind off what was happening to Grampa. I took out the ball and went around the side. (13)

Notice the use of the colon prior to the start of the block quote. Do not use a colon if the block quote is part of the sentence above it.

Here is an example of the same block quote, without the use of the colon:

Despite Bruchac’s consistent difficult situations at home, it was clear that basketball kept his mind busy and focused when he states

When I get off the late bus that afternoon, my grandparents weren’t home…

If two or more paragraphs are included in your block quote, start each paragraph on a new line.

Looking for additional helpful websites? Need another MLA in-text citation website? Check out the style in the news . We also have other handy articles, guides, and posts to help you with your research needs. Here’s one on how to write an MLA annotated bibliography .

Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.

Overview of MLA in-text citation structures

If you’re looking for information on styling an APA citation , EasyBib.com has the guides you need!

MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

Published October 31, 2011. Updated July 5, 2021.

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

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Sample Paper
  • Works Cited
  • MLA 8 Updates
  • MLA 9 Updates
  • View MLA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
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  • View all MLA Examples

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In MLA style, if multiple sources have the same author , the titles should be joined by and if there are only two. Otherwise, use commas and and .

  • In-text citation: (Austen Emma and Mansfield Park )
  • Structure: (Last name 1st Source’s title and 2nd Source’s title )
  • In-text citation: (Leung et al. 58)

If the author is a corporate entity or organization, included the name of the corporate entity or organization in the in-text citation.

  • In-text citation: (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2)

Yes, there’s an option to download source citations as a Word Doc or a Google Doc. You may also copy citations from the EasyBib Citation Generator and paste them into your paper.

Yes! Whether you’d like to learn how to construct citations on your own, our Autocite tool isn’t able to gather the metadata you need, or anything in between, manual citations are always an option. Click here for directions on using creating manual citations.

An in-text citation is a shortened version of the source being referred to in the paper. As the name implies, it appears in the text of the paper. A works cited list entry, on the other hand, details the complete information of the source being cited and is listed within the works cited list at the end of the paper after the main text. The in-text citation is designed to direct the reader to the full works cited list entry. An example of an in-text citation and the corresponding works cited list entry for a journal article with one author is listed below:

In-text citation template and example:

Only the author surname (or the title of the work if there is no author) is used in in-text citations to direct the reader to the corresponding reference list entry. For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author for the first occurrence. In subsequent citations, use only the surname. In parenthetical citations, always use only the surname of the author. If you are directly quoting the source, the page number should also be included in the in-text citation.

Citation in prose:

First mention: Christopher Collins ….

Subsequent occurrences: Collins ….

Parenthetical:

….(Collins)

….(Collins 5)

Works cited list entry template and example:

The title of the article is in plain text and title case and is placed inside quotation marks. The title of the journal is set in italics.

Surname, F. “Title of the Article.” Journal Title , vol. #, no. #, Publication Date, page range.

Collins, Christopher. “On Posthuman Materiality: Art-Making as Rhizomatic Rehearsal.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 39, no. 2, 2019, pp. 153–59.

Note that because the author’s surname (Collins) was included in the in-text citation, the reader would then be able to easily locate the works cited list entry since the entry begins with the author’s surname.

An in-text citation is a short citation that is placed next to the text being cited. The basic element needed for an in-text citation is the author’s name . The publication year is not required in in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when text is quoted from the source being cited. In-text citations are mentioned in the text in two ways: as a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation.

Citations in prose are incorporated into the text and act as a part of the sentence. Usually, citations in prose use the author’s full name when cited the first time in the text. Thereafter, only the surname is used. Avoid including the middle initial even if it is present in the works-cited-list entry.

Parenthetical

Parenthetical citations add only the author’s surname at the end of the sentence in parentheses.

Examples of in-text citations

Here are a few tips to create in-text citations for sources with various numbers and types of authors:

Use both the first name and surname of the author if you are mentioning the author for the first time in the prose. In subsequent occurrences, use only the author’s surname. Always use only the surname of the author in parenthetical citations.

First mention: Sheele John asserts …. (7).

Subsequent occurrences: John argues …. (7).

…. (John 7).

Two authors

Use the first name and surname of both authors if you are mentioning the work for the first time in the prose. In subsequent occurrences, use only the surnames of the two authors. Always use only the authors’ surnames in parenthetical citations. Use “and” to separate the two authors in parenthetical citations.

First mention: Katie Longman and Clara Sullivan ….

Subsequent occurrences: Longman and Sullivan ….

…. ( Longman and Sullivan).

Three or more authors

For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues.” For parenthetical citations, use only the surname of the first author followed by “et al.”

Lincy Mathew and colleagues…. or Lincy Mathew and others ….

…. (Mathew et al.).

Corporate author

For citations in prose, treat the corporate author like you would treat the author’s name. For parenthetical citations, shorten the organization name to the shortest noun phrase. For example, shorten the Modern Language Association of America to Modern Language Association.

The Literary Society of Malaysia….

…. (Literary Society).

If there is no author for the source, use the source’s title in place of the author’s name for both citations in prose and parenthetical citations.

When you add such in-text citations, italicize the text of the title. If the source title is longer than a noun phrase, use a shortened version of the title. For example, shorten the title Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to Fantastic Beasts .

Knowing Body of Work explains …. (102).

….( Knowing Body 102).

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mla paraphrasing in text citation

Tips on Paraphrasing

  • Have you simply changed a few words to synonyms? Try again. Being handy with a thesaurus is not enough to make the sentence yours.
  • Have you included exact sequences of words from the original? If so, make sure to put quotation marks around those phrases, or re-write until the entire paraphrase is your words.
  • Have you retained the meaning of the original? Changing the author's meaning is not plagiarism, but academic honesty requires you to represent other's work accurately in your writing.

DeCandido, Graceanne A. "Bibliographic Good vs. Evil in Buffy the Vampire Slayer ." American Libraries Sept. 1999: 44-47.

Back

In-Text Citations: An Overview

In-text citations are brief, unobtrusive references that direct readers to the works-cited-list entries for the sources you consulted and, where relevant, to the location in the source being cited.

An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that di­rects your reader to the entry in the works-cited list. Thus, it begins with what ever comes first in the entry: the author’s name or the title (or descrip­tion) of the work. The citation can appear in your prose or in parentheses.

Citation in prose  Naomi Baron broke new ground on the subject. Parenthetical citation At least one researcher has broken new ground on the subject (Baron). Work cited Baron, Naomi S. “Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media.” PMLA , vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193–200. 

When relevant, an in-text citation also has a second component: if a specific part of a work is quoted or paraphrased and the work includes a page number, line number, time stamp, or other way to point readers to the place in the work where the information can be found, that location marker must be included in parentheses.

Parenthetical citation According to Naomi Baron, reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (194).

The author or title can also appear alongside the page number or other loca­tion marker in parentheses.

Parenthetical citation Reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (Baron 194).

All in-text references should be concise. Avoid, for instance, providing the author’s name or title of a work in both your prose and parentheses.

Citation (incorrect) According to Naomi Baron, reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (Baron 194). Citation (correct) According to Naomi Baron, reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (194).

For more on what to include in an in-text citation and how to style it, see sections 6.3–6.30 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook ).

55 Comments

Brandi unruh 10 april 2021 at 11:04 am.

Hello! I am a high school English teacher trying to answer a question that came up during our research unit. I can’t seem to find a definitive answer online. When using a shortened title in an in-text citation, does an ellipsis need to be included? For example, if the title was “The Problem of Poverty in America: A Historical and Cultural Analysis”, would the in-text citation be (“The Problem of Poverty in America...”) or (“The Problem of Poverty in America”)? Thank you for your time and expertise!

Your e-mail address will not be published

Laura Kiernan 12 April 2021 AT 11:04 AM

No, an ellipsis would not be used in an in-text citation. We provide extensive guidance on shortening titles in 6.10 of the new ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

angel 10 May 2021 AT 02:05 PM

hii How to write an in text citation of an entry from encyclopedia which has an editor but no separate authors for each entry ?

William Feeler 11 May 2021 AT 01:05 PM

I see no mention of paragraph numbers for unpaginated prose or sections/lines for drama. are these practices gone?

Laura Kiernan 18 May 2021 AT 01:05 PM

This post provides a general overview of our approach to in-text citations. The complete guidelines appear in sections 6.1–6.30 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Vonceil Park 11 May 2021 AT 01:05 PM

Dear MLA Staff, A professor at my College demands students to provide paragraph number in the in-text citation for online articles that have no page number nor paragraph number. Do we just count the paragraph number and put them in the parenthesis, for example: (para. 3)?

Laura Kiernan 18 May 2021 AT 12:05 PM

Thank you for your question. Your approach to modifying our style in accordance with your professor's instructions works, but we would suggest confirming that styling with your professor.

Arathi Babu 17 May 2021 AT 08:05 AM

How to write an in text citation of an unsigned entry from a reference work?

Laura Kiernan 08 June 2021 AT 11:06 AM

If the entry was in a print work, the in-text citation would include the entry’s title or a shortened version of the entry’s title and the page number of the quotation. If the entry was in a reference work without page numbers, the in-text citation should just contain the title or shortened title of the entry.

Sethu 17 May 2021 AT 02:05 PM

For example: Can I give an in-text citation like the following: Shakespeare, in his work Hamlet, quotes: "To be or not to be" (7).

For citing commonly studied verse works, see 6.22 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Trinity Klein 21 May 2021 AT 11:05 AM

Can you please help with proper in-text citation placement for an embedded quotation? Does the citation come immediately after the quotation or at the very end of the sentence? For example, is this correct: He asks her to take him home “in the voice of a child afraid of the dark” which comes as a shock to Scout because he has so long held a bold and rebellious reputation (372). Or should the (372) come immediately after ...dark"...? Thank you!

For more information about the placement of a parenthetical citations, see 6.43 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Karima 30 May 2021 AT 05:05 PM

Dear MLA staff, 1) In case i am quoting from multiple sources by the same author, am i required to introduce again the source i am quoting from in the beginning of my sentence? (Quotes are used in multiple paragraphs)

For guidance on citing multiple sources by the same author, see 6.8 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Yves 23 June 2021 AT 06:06 PM

Hello, is there a specific rule about how to format a range of page numbers in the parenthetical citation? For example, could (Eden 44-45) be written as (Eden 44-5), or is only one example correct?

Laura Kiernan 24 September 2021 AT 02:09 PM

For information about styling number ranges, see section 2.139 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Faliravo 11 August 2021 AT 05:08 AM

Good morning MLA team, My professor insists that I include the year of publication for in-text citations. Is it going to be okay if I insert the year between the author and the page number?

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Laura Kiernan 24 September 2021 AT 01:09 PM

Your approach to modifying our style in accordance with your professor’s instructions works, but we would suggest confirming that styling with your professor.

Pauline 14 September 2021 AT 11:09 PM

How do I cite an entire work. For example, if I want to say Toni Morrison's the "Bluest Eye" has been used as a textbook for many English literature classes, I suppose I shouldn't put any page number in the parenthetical citation. But I can't find any MLA references on this.

See section 4.14 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

myron glassenberg 04 February 2022 AT 01:02 PM

if source is the whole book, how do I cite in text and in works cited pages. e.g. freud (no page number) Freud , ( 1892) The Pleasure Principle.

Rita Rozzi 20 September 2023 AT 07:09 PM

There is no section 4.14 in the ninth edition. Do you have any updated information? Thank you.

Laura Kiernan 21 September 2023 AT 03:09 PM

Section 4.14, which is titled "Passing Mentions," can be found in chapter 4 of the ninth edition of the handbook.

Lauren McFall 13 October 2021 AT 02:10 PM

Students often refer to the same source consecutively across more than one sentence. I'm having a hard time finding information about the preferred approach according to the MLA. As a parallel, APA makes a specific recommendation - "cite the source in the first sentence in which it is relevant and do not repeat the citation in subsequent sentences as long as the source remains clear and unchanged" https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/appropriate-citation

Laura Kiernan 20 October 2021 AT 04:10 PM

See 6.45 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Ruth Schafer 01 December 2022 AT 07:12 PM

6.45 out of the MLA Handbook's ninth edition does not provide an example of how to cite a multi-sentence paraphrase when using an unpaginated source. Can you give an example of how to cite a multi-sentence paraphrase where the source does not have published page numbering?

Should I introduce the source in my prose and then again at the end of the multi-sentence paraphrase in parentheses when I have finished citing the paraphrase? Example: John Smith from Smith Architecture explains that crawl space foundations are...blah blah blah. These foundations are most commonly used in midwestern constructions where the frost line is...blah, blah, blah. Keep writing the paraphrase and then at the end of the final sentence instead of a page citation write the author's last name (Smith). This way if you switch to a different source, at least the reader knows that you have finished with the Smith source and have moved on to your own commentary or another source's information. Usually, I'd use a page citation at the end of the paraphrase, but when dealing with a source that does not have page numbering, I'm unsure what to do.

Lizzie 18 October 2021 AT 10:10 PM

If I only use textual evidence from the novel I'm examining, do I need to include the authors name with each in text citation? There are no other works cited, so it seems redundant/clutter-y to me

Kayden 29 October 2021 AT 05:10 PM

If I'm trying to cite multiple paragraphs from the same source would it be correct to say (par. 3 and 13) or should it be (par. 3, 13) and is it different if they are next to each other too like (par. 6-7) or (par. 6 and 7).

Laura Kiernan 04 November 2021 AT 11:11 AM

See sections 6.18–6.20 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Rachel 17 November 2021 AT 01:11 PM

When citing from an online source without pagination, if you include the author's name in the introduction to the quote, do you need to include anything in parentheses like the article title?

Laura Kiernan 22 November 2021 AT 12:11 PM

See section 6.26 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

July 25 November 2021 AT 05:11 PM

When quoting an online source (e.g. a website), do I have to indicate the fact that it's an online source in the in-text-citations as in (Name [online]) or is the author's name enough?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

Laura Kiernan 29 November 2021 AT 10:11 AM

According to MLA style, an in-text citation for an online work should not note that the work is online.

Pinkie 19 March 2022 AT 08:03 PM

If I'm writing a response paper, and I need to summarize the whole article to introduce it, then should I use in-text citation?

Laura Kiernan 25 March 2022 AT 01:03 PM

For guidance on paraphrasing, see sections 4.5–4.8 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Kay 09 April 2022 AT 06:04 PM

Hi, am I supposed to include the DOI when one is available in the citation? If I cite the print version of a journal article that has a DOI, still include the DOI in the citation? Thank you!

Laura Kiernan 11 April 2022 AT 11:04 AM

Thank you for your questions. For guidance on including a DOI in your works-cited-list entry, see sections 5.84 and 5.93 in the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Mike 16 April 2022 AT 05:04 PM

Website in-text Citation...

When I'm writing an in-text citation for a website, I'm seeing all manner of different things to include. Do I need to add the author name and year of publishing for the article?\ Do I just need the website name? I'm not really understanding what I need to add or obtain for such a citation within the text I'm writing.

I'm writing a book on my life, and I'm quoting a particular webpage to show one particular angle of an argument I'm making, and, of course, it's not common knowledge, so I want to make sure that I follow all the rules for this kind of thing, so I don't get in trouble with the author(s) of the sources I have quoted from...

Laura Kiernan 18 April 2022 AT 02:04 PM

Thank you for your questions about MLA style. For guidance on in-text citations for web pages, see section 6.26 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Cynthia 21 May 2022 AT 10:05 PM

When you're doing an In-text citations do you put the quotations over the chapter title and then quotations over what you get from the text or do you italicize the title?

Laura Kiernan 25 May 2022 AT 03:05 PM

Thank you for your question. For guidance on how to style chapter titles, see 2.109 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Napatsi 15 August 2022 AT 07:08 PM

I'm trying to find how to put in the in-text citation for a UN declaration article but can only find the "Resolutions of International Governing Bodies" on page 446 of the 9th edition but not how to out it in without an author.

Kim 27 September 2022 AT 12:09 PM

I'm quoting a passage from an unpublished manuscript, and it is not the only work I'm citing by the author, but the only one without a year. So using "Smith 1995, 82" is not possible. What would an in-text citation for this case look like?

Jen 17 November 2022 AT 08:11 PM

How do I cite a news cast for in-text citation like ABC News?

Samantha 04 December 2022 AT 05:12 PM

Hi, For MLA format, should a quote where you need to de-capitalize the first letter be written as "you want" or "(y)ou want". Thanks!

Laura Kiernan 07 December 2022 AT 01:12 PM

Thank you for your question. For guidance on how to indicate that you have lowercased the first letter of a quotation, see 6.56 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Maria Albeti 07 February 2023 AT 01:02 PM

Stewart, David W. Focus groups. In: Frey, B.B. (ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation, vol. 2, pp. 687–692. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications 2018 In this case, how is the correct form to write, because the article is IN the the book?

Eros Karadzhov 15 February 2023 AT 02:02 PM

If we have a sentence that is a statement, but at the end we quote a question, which punctuation mark do we keep, the question mark or the period; maybe both? Example: (1) The author ends his poem with the following question on purpose: "Or does it explode?" (Hughes 11). (2) The author ends his poem with the following question on purpose: "Or does it explode" (Hughes 11)?

Which would be correct, or maybe both are wrong?

Thank you in advance!

Laura Kiernan 16 February 2023 AT 03:02 PM

Thank you for your question. For guidance on quotations ending in a question mark, see section 6.53 of the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Anonymous 08 March 2023 AT 05:03 PM

What about online articles with no known author or multiple authors? What should the in-text citation look like?

Maria 25 March 2023 AT 04:03 PM

Please settle a dispute with my colleagues. I encourage composition students to avoid listing the title of journal articles within the essay unless it is especially relevant because it clutters their arguments. I came to this conclusion from my interpretation of this statement from MLA: "All in-text references should be concise. Avoid, for instance, providing the author’s name or title of a work in both your prose and parentheses." Could someone please provide an answer or further clarification?

Erika Suffern 30 March 2023 AT 04:03 PM

You are right to identify a principle of concision in our guidelines. That said, it is not wrong to mention a title in prose, but it should be done, as you note, when relevant–not as a de rigeur practice or for “filler.” As Eric Hayot notes in The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities (Columbia UP, 2014), “giving the title” in prose “suggests fuller forthcoming treatment” (159). Another reason for including the title in prose might be to call attention to something about it. Many writers who do mention a title in prose fear having an incomplete citation and are tempted also to include the title in a parenthetical reference, which is unnecessary.

Jay 29 April 2023 AT 12:04 AM

How do I in-text cite a direct quote from the introduction of an ebook with no page numbers? Would I write (Author "Introduction") or just write (Author)?

Kiara 11 February 2024 AT 03:02 PM

Hello! I am a university student who is currently creating works cited entries and in-text citations for a reflection essay. How do I properly cite professor and peer comments?

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The complete guide to mla & citations, what you’ll find in this guide.

This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources.

Looking for APA? Check out the Citation Machine’s guide on APA format . We also have resources for Chicago citation style as well.

How to be a responsible researcher or scholar

Putting together a research project involves searching for information, disseminating and analyzing information, collecting information, and repurposing information. Being a responsible researcher requires keeping track of the sources that were used to help develop your research project, sharing the information you borrowed in an ethical way, and giving credit to the authors of the sources you used. Doing all of these things prevents plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using others’ information without giving credit or acknowledging them. There are many examples of plagiarism. Completely copying another individual’s work without providing credit to the original author is a very blatant example of plagiarism. Plagiarism also occurs when another individual’s idea or concept is passed off as your own. Changing or modifying quotes, text, or any work of another individual is also plagiarism. Believe it or not, you can even plagiarize yourself! Reusing a project or paper from another class or time and saying that it’s new is plagiarism. One way to prevent plagiarism is to add citations in your project where appropriate.

What is a Citation?

A citation shows the reader of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote to your project. Citations are also included in the body when you’re paraphrasing another individual’s information. These citations in the body of a research paper are called in-text citations. They are found directly next to the information that was borrowed and are very brief to avoid causing distraction while reading a project. These brief citations include the last name of the author and a page number. Scroll down for an in-depth explanation and examples of MLA in-text citations.

In-text citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, though they usually don't include the title and other components. Look on the last page of a research project to find complete citations.

Complete citations are found on what MLA calls a works-cited list, which is sometimes called an MLA bibliography. All sources that were used to develop a research project are found on the works-cited list. Complete citations are also created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text. Complete citations include the author’s name, the title, publisher, year published, page numbers, URLs, and a few other pieces of information.

Looking to create your citations in just a few clicks? Need an MLA format website or book citation? Visit Citation Machine.net! Our Citation Machine MLA generator, which is an MLA citation website, will create all of your citations in just a few clicks. Click here to see more styles .

Why Does it Matter?

Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It shows that you’re a responsible researcher and that you located appropriate and reputable sources that support your thesis or claim. In addition, if your work ends up being posted online or in print, there is a chance that others will use your research project in their own work!

Scroll down to find directions on how to create citations.

How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher

What is mla format.

The Modern Language Association is an organization that was created to develop guidelines on everything language and literature related. They have guidelines on proper grammar usage and research paper layouts. In addition, they have English and foreign language committees, numerous books and journal publications, and an annual conference. They are not connected with this guide, but the information here reflects the association’s rules for formatting papers and citations.

What are citations?

The Modern Language Association is responsible for creating standards and guidelines on how to properly cite sources to prevent plagiarism. Their style is most often used when writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities fields. “Liberal arts” is a broad term used to describe a range of subjects including the humanities, formal sciences such as mathematics and statistics, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and social sciences such as geography, economics, history, and others. The humanities focuses specifically on subjects related to languages, art, philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature, and ethics.

Believe it or not, there are thousands of other types of citation styles. While this citation style is most often used for the liberal arts and humanities fields, many other subjects, professors, and schools prefer citations and papers to be styled in MLA format.

What’s the difference between a bibliography and a works-cited list?

Great question. The two terms cause a lot of confusion and are consistently misused not only by students but educators as well! Let’s start with what the two words mean.

A bibliography displays the sources the writer used to gain background knowledge on the topic and also research it in-depth. Before starting a research project, you might read up on the topic in websites, books, and other sources. You might even dive a bit deeper to find more information elsewhere. All of these sources you used to help you learn about the topic would go in an MLA format bibliography. You might even include other sources that relate to the topic.

A works-cited list displays all of the sources that were mentioned in the writing of the actual paper or project. If a quote was taken from a source and placed into a research paper, then the full citation goes on the works-cited list.

Both the works-cited list and bibliography go at the end of a paper. Most teachers do not expect students to hand in both a bibliography AND a works-cited list. Teachers generally expect to see a works-cited list, but sometimes erroneously call it a bibliography. If you’re not sure what your teacher expects, a page in MLA bibliography format, a works-cited list, or both, ask for guidance.

Why do we use this MLA style?

These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations were developed for numerous reasons. When scholars and researchers in literature, language, and numerous other fields all cite their sources in the same manner, it makes it easier for readers to look at a citation and understand the different components of a source. By looking at an MLA citation, we can see who the author is, the title of the source, when it was published, and other identifiable pieces of information.

Imagine how difficult it would be to understand the various components of a source if we didn’t all follow the same guidelines! Not only would it make it difficult to understand the source that was used, but it would also make it difficult for readers to locate it themselves. This streamlined process aides us in understanding a researcher’s sources.

How is the new version different than previous versions?

This citation style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition.

The new version expands upon standards previously set in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook, including the core elements. The structure of citations remains the same, but some formatting guidance and terminology have changed.

  • DOI numbers are now formatted as https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx
  • Seasons in publishing daters are lowercased: spring 2020
  • The term “optional elements” is now “supplemental elements”
  • “Narrative in-text citations” are called “citations in prose”

In addition, new information was added on the following:

  • Hundreds of works-cited-list entries
  • MLA formatting for papers
  • Punctuation, spelling, and other mechanics of prose
  • Chapter on inclusive language
  • Notes (bibliographic and content)

For more information on MLA 9, click here .

A Deeper Look at Citations

What do they look like.

There are two types of citations. The first is a full, or complete, citation. These are found at the end of research projects. These citations are usually listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last names and include all of the information necessary for readers to be able to locate the source themselves.

Full citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a DOI, URL, or page range).

There are times when additional information is added into the full citation.

Not sure how to transfer the information from your source into your citation? Confused about the term, “containers”? See below for information and complete explanations of each citation component.

The second type of citation, called an “in-text citation,” is included in the main part, or body, of a project when a researcher uses a quote or paraphrases information from another source. See the next section to find out how to create in-text citations.

What are in-text citations?

As stated above, in-text citations are included in the main part of a project when using a quote or paraphrasing a piece of information from another source. We include these types of citations in the body of a project for readers to quickly gain an idea as to where we found the information.

These in-text citations are found directly next to the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular MLA citation. The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project, on the works-cited list.

Here’s what a typical in-text citation looks like:

In the book The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements…. Too much fire and you have a bad temper...too little wood and you bent too quickly...too much water and you flowed in too many directions” (Tan 31).

This specific in text citation, (Tan 31), is called an MLA parenthetical citation because the author’s name is in parentheses. It’s included so the reader sees that we are quoting something from page 31 in Tan’s book. The complete, regular citation isn’t included in the main part of the project because it would be too distracting for the reader. We want the reader to focus on our work and research, not get caught up on our sources.

Here’s another way to cite in the text:

In Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “Each person is made of five elements... Too much fire and you have a bad temper... too little wood and you bent too quickly... too much water and you flowed in too many directions" (31).

If the reader would like to see the source’s full information, and possibly locate the source themselves, they can refer to the last part of the project to find the regular citation.

The regular citation, at the end of the project looks like this:

%%Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Penguin, 1989, p. 31.

Notice that the first word in the full citation (Tan) matches the “Tan” used in the body of the project. It’s important to have the first word of the full citation match the term used in the text. Why? It allows readers to easily find the full citation on the works-cited list.

If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a line number (use line or lines), paragraph number (use the abbreviation par. or pars.), sections (sec. or secs.), or chapters (ch. or chs.). Only use these other terms if they are actually labeled on the source. If it specifically says on the source, “Section 1,” for example, then it is acceptable to use “sec. 1” in the in-text citation.

If there are no numbers to help readers locate the exact point in the source, only include the author’s last name.

To determine how to create in-text citations for more than one author, no authors, or corporate authors, refer to the “Authors” section below.

More about quotations and how to cite a quote:

  • Use quotes from outside sources to help illustrate and expand on your own points. The majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas.
  • Include the quote exactly as you found it. It is okay to use only certain words or phrases from the quote, but keep the words (spelling and capitalization) and punctuation the same.
  • It is acceptable to break up a direct quote with your own writing.

Example from a movie:

Dorothy stated, "Toto," then looked up and took in her surroundings, "I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore" ( Wizard of Oz ).
  • The entire paper should be double-spaced, including quotes.
  • If the quote is longer than four lines, it is necessary to make a block quote. Block quotes show the reader that they are about to read a lengthy amount of text from another source.
  • Start the quote on the next line, half an inch from the left margin.
  • Do not use any indents at the beginning of the block quote.
  • Only use quotation marks if there are quotation marks present in the source.
  • If there is more than one paragraph in the block quote, indent the beginning of the paragraphs after the first one an additional half an inch from the left margin.
  • Add your in-text citation after the final period of the block quote. Do not add an additional period after the parenthetical citation.

While his parents sat there in surprise, Colton went onto say:

“Cause I could see you,” Colon said matter-of-factly. “I went up and out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying; and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.” (Burpo xxi)

How to create a paraphrase:

As stated above, the majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas. It’s acceptable to include quotes, but they shouldn’t crowd your paper. If you’re finding that you’re using too many quotes in your paper, consider adding paraphrases. When you reiterate a piece of information from an outside source in your own words, you create a paraphrase.

Here’s an example:

Readers discover in the very first sentence of Peter Pan that he doesn’t grow up (Barrie 1).

What paraphrases are:

  • Recycled information in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.
  • They’re still references! Include an in-text citation next to the paraphrased information.

What paraphrases are not:

  • A copy and pasted sentence with a few words substituted for synonyms.

Confused about whether footnotes and endnotes should be used?

Footnotes and endnotes are completely acceptable to use in this style. Use a footnote or endnote if:

  • Adding additional information will help the reader understand the content. This is called a content note .
  • You need to cite numerous sources in one small section of your writing. Instead of clogging up a small paragraph with in-text citations (which could cause confusion for the reader), include a footnote or endnote. This is called a bibliographic note .

Keep in mind that whether you choose to include in-text citations or footnotes/endnotes, you need to also include a full reference on the MLA format works-cited list.

Content note example:

Even Maurice Sendak’s work (the mastermind behind Where the Wild Things Are and numerous other popular children’s picture books) can be found on the banned books list. It seems as though nobody is granted immunity. 1

  • In the Night Kitchen ’s main character is nude on numerous pages. Problematic for most is not the nudity of the behind, but the frontal nudity.

Work Cited:

%%Sendak, Maurice. In The Night Kitchen. Harper Collins, 1996.

Bibliographic note example:

Dahl had a difficult childhood. Both his father and sister passed away when he was a toddler. He was then sent away by his mother to boarding school (de Castella). 1

  • Numerous books, such as Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG, all feature characters with absent or difficult parents.

MLA Works Cited:

Include 4 full citations for: de Castella’s article, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG .

Don’t forget to create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project.

If you need help with in-text and parenthetical citations, CitationMachine.net can help. Our MLA citation generator is simple and easy to use!

Common Knowledge: What Is It and How Will It Affect My Writing?

Footnotes, endnotes, references, proper structuring. We know it’s a lot. Thankfully, you don’t have to include a reference for EVERY piece of information you add to your paper. You can forget about including a reference when you share a piece of common knowledge.

Common knowledge is information that most people know. For example, these are a few facts that are considered common knowledge:

  • The Statue of Liberty is located in New York City
  • Tokyo is the capital of Japan
  • Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare
  • English is the language most people speak in England
  • An elephant is an animal

We could go on and on. When you include common knowledge in your paper, omit a reference. One less thing to worry about, right?

Before you start adding tons of common knowledge occurrences to your paper to ease the burden of creating references, we need to stop you right there. Remember, the goal of a research paper is to develop new information or knowledge. You’re expected to seek out information from outside sources and analyze and distribute the information from those sources to form new ideas. Using only common knowledge facts in your writing involves absolutely zero research. It’s okay to include some common knowledge facts here and there, but do not make it the core of your paper.

If you’re unsure if the fact you’re including is common knowledge or not, it doesn’t hurt to include a reference. There is no such thing as being overly responsible when it comes to writing and citing.

Wikipedia - Yay or Nay?

If you’re wondering whether it’s okay to use Wikipedia in your project, the answer is, it depends.

If Wikipedia is your go-to source for quick information on a topic, you’re not alone. Chances are, it’s one of the first websites to appear on your results page. It’s used by tons of people, it’s easily accessible, and it contains millions of concise articles. So, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the problem?”

The issue with Wikipedia is that it’s a user-generated site, meaning information is constantly added and modified by registered users. Who these users are and their expertise is somewhat of a mystery. The truth is anyone can register on the site and make changes to articles.

Knowing this makes some cringe, especially educators and librarians, since the validity of the information is questionable. However, some people argue that because Wikipedia is a user-generated site, the community of registered users serve as “watchdogs,” ensuring that information is valid. In addition, references are included at the bottom of each article and serve as proof of credibility. Furthermore, Wikipedia lets readers know when there’s a problem with an article. Warnings such as “this article needs clarification,” or “this article needs references to prove its validity” are shared with the reader, thus promoting transparency.

If you choose to reference a Wikipedia article in your research project, and your teacher or professor says it’s okay, then you must reference it in your project. You would treat it just as you would with any other web source.

However, you may want to instead consider locating the original source of the information. This should be fairly easy to do thanks to the references at the bottom of each article.

Specific Components of a Citation

This section explains each individual component of the citation, with examples for each section for full citations and in-text citations.

Name of the author

The author’s name is usually the first item listed in the MLA citation. Author names start with the last name, then a comma is added, and then the author’s first name (and middle name if applicable) is at the end. A period closes this information.

Here are two examples of how an author’s name can be listed in a full citation:

Twain, Mark.

Poe, Edgar Allan.

For in-text:

(Author’s Last name page number) or Author’s Last name... (page).

Wondering how to format the author’s name when there are two authors working jointly on a source? When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source. Place their names in this format:

Author 1’s Last Name, First name, and Author 2’s First Name Last Name.

Here are two examples of how to cite two authors:

Clifton, Mark, and Frank Riley.

Paxton, Roberta J., and Michael Jacob Fox.

(Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name page number) or Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name... (page).

There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This often happens with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.

To cite a source with three or more authors, place the information in this format:

Author 1’s Last name, First name, et al.

As you can see, only include the first author’s name. The other authors are accounted for by using “et al.” In Latin, et al. is translated to “and others.” If using the Citation Machine citation generator, this abbreviation is automatically added for you.

Here’s an example of a citation for three or more authors:

%%Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed., Nolo, 2009.

(Author 1’s Last name et al. page number)

Is there no author listed on your source? If so, exclude the author’s information from the citation and begin the citation with the title of the source.

For in-text: Use the title of the source in parentheses. Place the title in italics if the source stands alone. Books and films stand alone. If it’s part of a larger whole, such as a chapter in an edited book or an article on a website, place the title in quotation marks without italics.

( Back to the Future )

(“Citing And Writing”)

Other in-text structures:

Authors with the same last name in your paper? MLA essay format requires the use of first initials in-text in this scenario.

Ex: (J. Silver 45)

Are you citing more than one source by the same author? For example, two books by Ernest Hemingway? Include the title in-text.

Example: (Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls 12).

Are you citing a film or song? Include a timestamp in the format of hours:minutes:seconds. ( Back to the Future 00:23:86)

Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? If this is the case, in an MLA format paper, you are allowed to start the citation with the author’s handle, username, or screen name.

Here is an example of how to cite a tweet:

%%@CarlaHayden. “I’m so honored to talk about digital access at @UMBCHumanities. We want to share the @libraryofcongress collection.” Twitter , 13 Apr. 2017, 6:04 p.m., twitter.com/LibnOfCongress/status/852643691802091521.

While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors. Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. If your project focuses on someone other than the author, it is acceptable to place that person’s name first in the citation. If you’re using the MLA works cited generator at Citation Machine.net, you can choose the individual’s role from a drop-down box.

For example, let’s say that in your research project, you focus on Leonardo DiCaprio’s performances as an actor. You’re quoting a line from the movie Titanic in your project, and you’re creating a complete citation for it in the works-cited list.

It is acceptable to show the reader that you’re focusing on Leonardo DiCaprio’s work by citing it like this in the MLA works-cited list:

%%DiCaprio, Leonardo, performer. Titanic . Directed by James Cameron. Paramount, 1997.

Notice that when citing an individual other than the author, place the individual’s role after their name. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer.

This is often done with edited books, too. Place the editor’s name first (in reverse order), add a comma, and then add the word editor.

If you’re still confused about how to place the authors together in a citation, the tools at CitationMachine.net can help! Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks!

Titles and containers

The titles are written as they are found on the source and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital.

Here’s an example of a properly written title:

Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks.

Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks? It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics. If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it is from in italics.

When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics.

However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to format titles and their containers.

To cite Pink Floyd’s entire album, The Wall , cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. The Wall. Columbia, 1979.

To cite one of the songs on Pink Floyd’s album in MLA formatting, cite it as:

%%Pink Floyd. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part I).” The Wall, Columbia, 1979, track 3.

To cite a fairy tale book in its entirety, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories. Little Brown, 2016.

To cite a specific story or chapter in the book, cite it as:

%%Colfer, Chris. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Land of Stories, Little Brown, 2016, pp. 58-65.

More about containers

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone, or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. Wondering how? When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. The second container? It’s the database that the scholarly journal is found in. It is important to account for all containers, so readers are able to locate the exact source themselves.

When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix .

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation.

Use the following format to cite your source with multiple containers :

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

If the source has more than two containers, add on another full section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves.

Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found in a database. This source has two containers: the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other.

%%Zanetti, Francois. “Curing with Machine: Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” Technology and Culture, vol. 54, no. 3, July 2013, pp. 503-530. Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/article/520280.

If you’re still confused about containers, the Citation Machine MLA cite generator can help! MLA citing is easier when using the tools at CitationMachine.net.

Other contributors

Many sources have people besides the author who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word “by,” and then their name in standard order.

If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual. If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased.

Here’s an example of a citation for a children’s book with the name of the illustrator included:

%%Rubin, Adam. Dragons Love Tacos. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, 2012.

The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation.

If the source that you’re citing states that it is a specific version or edition, this information is placed in the “versions” section of the citation.

When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral. Also, abbreviate the word “edition” to “ed.”

Here is an example of a citation with a specific edition:

%%Koger, Gregory. “Filibustering and Parties in the Modern State.” Congress Reconsidered, edited by Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer, 10th ed., CQ Press, 2013, pp. 221-236. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=b7gkLlSEeqwC&lpg=PP1&dq=10th%20edition&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=10th%20edition&f=false.

Many sources have numbers associated with them. If you see a number different than the date, page numbers, or editions, include this information in the “numbers” section of the citation. For MLA citing, this includes volume and/or issue numbers (use the abbreviations vol. and no.), episode numbers, track numbers, or any other numbers that will help readers identify the specific source that you used. Do not include ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) in the citation.

It is important to include the name of the publisher (the organization that created or published the source), so that readers can locate the exact source themselves.

Include publishers for all sources except periodicals. Also, for websites, exclude this information when the name of the publisher matches the name of the website. Furthermore, the name of the publisher is often excluded from the citation for second containers, since the publisher of the second container is not necessarily responsible for the creation or production of the source’s content.

Publication dates

Publication dates are extremely important to include in citations. They allow the reader to understand when sources were published. They are also used when readers are attempting to locate the source themselves.

Dates can be written in MLA in one of two ways. Researchers can write dates as:

Day Mo. Year

Mo. Day, Year

Whichever format you decide to use, use the same format for all of your citations. If using the Citation Machine citation generator, the date will be formatted in the same way for each citation.

While it isn’t necessary to include the full date for all source citations, use the amount of information that makes the most sense to help your readers understand and locate the source themselves.

Wondering what to do when your source has more than one date? Use the date that is most applicable to your research.

The location generally refers to the place where the readers can find the source. This includes page ranges, URLs, DOI numbers, track numbers, disc numbers, or even cities and towns.

You can usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx .

For page numbers, when citing a source found on only one page, use p.

Example: p. 6.

When citing a source that has a page range, use pp. and then add the page numbers.

Example: pp. 24-38.

Since the location is the final piece of the citation, place a period at the end. When it comes to URLs, many students wonder if the links in citations should be live or not. If the paper is being shared electronically with a teacher and other readers, it may be helpful to include live links. If you’re not sure whether to include live links or not, ask your teacher or professor for guidance.

Looking for an online tool to do the work for you? Citation Machine citing tools could help! Our site is simple (and fun!) to use.

Need some more help? There is further good information here .

Common Citation Examples

ALL sources use this format:

%%Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). *Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

*If the source does not have a second container, omit this last part of the citation.

Remember, the Citation Machine MLA formatter can help you save time and energy when creating your citations. Check out our MLA Citation Machine pages to learn more.

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How to Format a Paper

When it comes to formatting your paper or essay for academic purposes, there are specific MLA paper format guidelines to follow.

  • Use paper that is 8½-by-11 inch in size. This is the standard size for copier and printer paper.
  • Use high quality paper.
  • Your research paper or essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the paper.
  • While most word processors automatically format your paper to have one-inch margins, you can check or modify the margins of your paper by going to the “Page setup” section of your word processor.

Which font is acceptable to use?

  • Use an easily readable font, specifically one that allows readers to see the difference between regular and italicized letters.
  • Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica are recommended options.
  • Use 12-point size font.

Should I double-space the paper, including citations?

  • Double-space the entire paper.
  • There should be a double space between each piece of information in the heading.
  • Place a double space between the heading and the title.
  • Place a double space between the title and the beginning of the essay.
  • The works-cited list should be double-spaced as well. All citations are double-spaced.

Justification & Punctuation

  • Text should be left-justified, meaning that the text is aligned, or flush, against the left margin.
  • Indents signal to the reader that a new concept or idea is about to begin.
  • Use the “tab” button on your keyboard to create an indent.
  • Add one space after all punctuation marks.

Heading & Title

  • Include a proper heading and title
  • The heading should include the following, on separate lines, starting one inch from the top and left margins:
  • Your full name
  • Your teacher or professor’s name
  • The course number
  • Dates in the heading and the body of your essay should be consistent. Use the same format, either Day Month Year or Month Day, Year throughout the entire paper
  • Examples: 27 July 2017 or July 27, 2017
  • The title should be underneath the heading, centered in the middle of the page, without bold, underlined, italicized, or all capital letters.

Page numbers

  • Number all pages, including the very first page and the works-cited list.
  • Place page numbers in the top right corner, half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin.
  • Include your last name to the left of the page number. Example: Jacobson 4

Here’s an example to provide you with a visual:

The image shows an example of the first page of an MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described above under the heading How to Format a Paper.

If you need help with sentence structure or grammar, check out our paper checker. The paper checker will help to check every noun , verb , and adjective . If there are words that are misspelled or out of place, the paper checker will suggest edits and provide recommendations.

  • If a citation flows onto the second line, indent it in half an inch from the left margin (called a “hanging indent”).
  • For more information on the works-cited list, refer to “How to Make a Works Cited Page,” which is found below.

How to Create a Title Page

According to the Modern Language Association’s official guidelines for formatting a research paper, it is unnecessary to create or include an individual title page, or MLA cover page, at the beginning of a research project. Instead, follow the directions above, under “Heading & Title,” to create a proper heading. This heading is featured at the top of the first page of the research paper or research assignment.

If your instructor or professor does in fact require or ask for an MLA title page, follow the directions that you are given. They should provide you with the information needed to create a separate, individual title page. If they do not provide you with instructions, and you are left to create it at your own discretion, use the header information above to help you develop your research paper title page. You may want to include other information, such as the name of your school or university.

How to Make a Works Cited Page

The MLA Works Cited page is generally found at the end of a research paper or project. It contains a list of all the citations of sources used for the research project. Follow these directions to format the works-cited list to match the Modern Language Association’s guidelines.

  • The “Works Cited” page has its own page at the end of a research project.
  • Include the same running head as the rest of the project (Your last name and then the page number). The “Works Cited” page has the final page number for the project.
  • Name the page “Works Cited,” unless your list only includes one citation. In that case, title it in MLA “Work Cited.”
  • The title of the page (either “Works Cited” or “Work Cited”) is placed one inch from the top of the page, centered in the middle of the document.
  • Double space the entire document, even between the title of the page and the first citation.
  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the citation (usually the last name of the author or the first word in the title if the citation does not include the author’s name. Ignore “A,” “An,” and “The” if the title begins with these words.)
  • If there are multiple citations by the same author, place them in chronological order by the date published.
  • Also, instead of writing the author’s name twice in both citations, use three hyphens.

%%Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 2009.

%%---. Gather Together in My Name. Random House, 1974.

  • All citations begin flush against the left margin. If the citation is long and rolls onto a second or third line, indent the lines below the first line half an inch from the left margin. This is called a “hanging indent.” The purpose of a hanging indent is to make the citations easier to read. If you’re using our MLA citation machine, we’ll format each of your references with a hanging indent for you.

%%Wai-Chung, Ho. “Political Influences on Curriculum Content and Musical Meaning: Hong Kong Secondary Music Education, 1949-1997.” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, vol. 22, no. 1, 1 Oct. 2000, pp. 5-25. Periodicals Index Online, search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/pio/docview/1297849364/citation/6B70D633F50C4EA0PQ/78?accountid=35635.

  • MLA “Works Cited” pages can be longer than one page. Use as many pages as necessary. If you have only one source to cite, do not place the one citation below the text of your paper. In MLA, a “Work Cited” page is still created for that individual citation.

Here’s a sample paper to give you an idea of what an MLA paper could look like. Included at the end is an MLA “Works Cited” page example.

The image shows the first page of an example MLA paper that is formatted using guidelines described under the heading How to Format a Paper.

Looking to add a relevant image, figure, table, or musical score to your paper? Here’s the easy way to do it, while following guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association:

  • Place the image, figure, table, or music close to where it’s mentioned in the text.
  • Provide source information and any additional notes directly below the image, figure, table, or music.

For tables:

  • Label the table as “Table” followed by an arabic numeral such as “1.” Table 1 is the table closest to the beginning of the paper. The next table mentioned in the text would be Table 2, and so on.
  • Create a title for the table and place it below the label. Capitalize all important words.
  • The label (Table 1) and the title should be flush against the left margin.
  • Double-space everything.

Example of formatting a table in MLA format.

  • A figure can be a map, photograph, painting, pie chart, or any other type of image.
  • Create a label and place it below the figure. The figure first mentioned in the text of the project is either “Figure 1” or “Fig 1.” Though figures are usually abbreviated to “Fig.” Choose one style and use it consistently. The next mentioned figure is “Figure 2” or “Fig. 2.”, and so on.
  • Place a caption next to the label. If all of the source information is included in the caption, there isn’t a need to replicate that information in the works-cited list.

Example of formatting a figure in MLA format.

MLA Final Checklist

Think you’re through? We know this guide covered a LOT of information, so before you hand in that assignment, here’s a checklist to help you determine if you have everything you need:

_ Are both in-text and full citations included in the project? Remember, for every piece of outside information included in the text, there should be a corresponding in-text citation next to it. Include the full citation at the end, on the “Works Cited” page.

_ Are all citations, both in-text and full, properly formatted in MLA style? If you’re unsure, try out our citation generator!

_ Is your paper double-spaced in its entirety with one inch margins?

_ Do you have a running header on each page? (Your last name followed by the page number)

_ Did you use a font that is easy to read?

_ Are all citations on the MLA format works-cited list in alphabetical order?

Our plagiarism checker scans for any accidental instances of plagiarism. It scans for grammar and spelling errors, too. If you have an adverb , preposition , or conjunction that needs a slight adjustment, we may be able to suggest an edit.

Common Ways Students Accidentally Plagiarize

We spoke a bit about plagiarism at the beginning of this guide. Since you’re a responsible researcher, we’re sure you didn’t purposely plagiarize any portions of your paper. Did you know students and scholars sometimes accidentally plagiarize? Unfortunately, it happens more often than you probably realize. Luckily, there are ways to prevent accidental plagiarism and even some online tools to help!

Here are some common ways students accidentally plagiarize in their research papers and assignments:

1. Poor Paraphrasing

In the “How to create a paraphrase” section towards the top of this page, we share that paraphrases are “recycled information, in the paper writer’s own words and writing style.” If you attempt to paraphrase a few lines of text and it ends up looking and sounding too close to the original author’s words, it’s a poor paraphrase and considered plagiarism.

2. Incorrect Citations

If you cite something incorrectly, even if it’s done accidentally, it’s plagiarism. Any incorrect information in a reference, such as the wrong author name or the incorrect title, results in plagiarism.

3. Forgetting to include quotation marks

When you include a quote in your paper, you must place quotation marks around it. Failing to do so results in plagiarism.

If you’re worried about accidental plagiarism, try our Citation Machine Plus essay tool. It scans for grammar, but it also checks for any instances of accidental plagiarism. It’s simple and user-friendly, making it a great choice for stress-free paper editing and publishing.

Updated June 15, 2021

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Wendy Ikemoto. Michele Kirschenbaum has been an awesome school librarian since 2006 and is an expert in citing sources. Wendy Ikemoto has a master’s degree in library and information science and has been working for Citation Machine since 2012.

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MLA Formatting Quotations

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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

When you directly quote the works of others in your paper, you will format quotations differently depending on their length. Below are some basic guidelines for incorporating quotations into your paper. Please note that all pages in MLA should be double-spaced .

Short quotations

To indicate short quotations (four typed lines or fewer of prose or three lines of verse) in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the author and specific page number (in the case of verse, provide line numbers) in the in-text citation, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation.

Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage, but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.

For example, when quoting short passages of prose, use the following examples:

When using short (fewer than three lines of verse) quotations from poetry, mark breaks in verse with a slash, ( / ), at the end of each line of verse (a space should precede and follow the slash). If a stanza break occurs during the quotation, use a double slash ( // ).

Long quotations

For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2   inch  from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come  after the closing punctuation mark . When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)

For example, when citing more than four lines of prose, use the following examples :

Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration: They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte 78)

When citing long sections of poetry (four lines of verse or more), keep formatting as close to the original as possible.

In his poem "My Papa's Waltz," Theodore Roethke explores his childhood with his father:

The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We Romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. (qtd. in Shrodes, Finestone, Shugrue 202)

When citing two or more paragraphs, use block quotation format, even if the passage from the paragraphs is less than four lines. If you cite more than one paragraph, the first line of the second paragraph should be indented an extra 1/4 inch to denote a new paragraph:

In "American Origins of the Writing-across-the-Curriculum Movement," David Russell argues,

Writing has been an issue in American secondary and higher education since papers and examinations came into wide use in the 1870s, eventually driving out formal recitation and oral examination. . . .

From its birth in the late nineteenth century, progressive education has wrestled with the conflict within industrial society between pressure to increase specialization of knowledge and of professional work (upholding disciplinary standards) and pressure to integrate more fully an ever-widening number of citizens into intellectually meaningful activity within mass society (promoting social equity). . . . (3)

Adding or omitting words in quotations

If you add a word or words in a quotation, you should put brackets around the words to indicate that they are not part of the original text:

If you omit a word or words from a quotation, you should indicate the deleted word or words by using ellipses, which are three periods ( . . . ) preceded and followed by a space. For example:

Please note that brackets are not needed around ellipses unless they would add clarity.

When omitting words from poetry quotations, use a standard three-period ellipses; however, when omitting one or more full lines of poetry, space several periods to about the length of a complete line in the poem:

EGL 101-012 Phil Prale - Spring 2024

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  • MLA Citation Style

What is a citation?

A citation is an acknowledgement that you have used someone else's research or ideas in the creation of your own research paper or essay.

In addition to giving credit to authors for using their work, citations allow readers of your work to track down sources that might be of interest to them.

Formatting a works cited page

  • Create a hanging indent in Word
  • Create a hanging indent in Google Docs

Online Guides for MLA

  • MLA Formatting and Style Guide From the Purdue Writing Lab
  • In-Text Citations and Examples Whether you are quoting directly or paraphrasing, you make a brief in-text citation at the point in your writing where you use another person's work. In MLA style, this generally includes mention of the author and the page number(s) where you found the information.
  • Sample Works Cited Page The works cited page goes at the end of your research paper and includes full citations for all of the sources you consulted.

What needs to be cited?

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  • URL: https://researchguides.oakton.edu/EGL101PraleSpring2024

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MLA Style Guide

mla paraphrasing in text citation

Can You Recognize Plagiarism?

Test your understanding of plagiriam with these online quizzes.

  • Plagiarism Quiz Indiana University
  • Plagiarism Tutorial University of Maine
  • The Cite is Right Rutgers University

MLA Citation Style

What is MLA?

  • MLA stands for Modern Language Association
  • A style of documenting the sources you paraphrase, quote, and use in your research paper or project.
  • Used in writing courses and the humanties , especially language and literature.
  • Determines the exact format of your citations by specifying publication information to include and the order of this information as well as capitalization and punctuation. 
  • Sources used appear at the end of the paper in an alphabetical list called the Works Cited page. 

Learn more at Modern Language Association

Why Should I Cite?

According the Arizona State University LibGuide on Citation and Plagiarism, there are four main reasons to cite:

  • To  acknowledge the author (s) of the work you are using in your paper.
  • To demonstrate that the  sources for your paper are of good quality  and that the paper is well-researched.
  • To  allow readers to follow up  on ideas mentioned briefly in your paper by finding the sources of the ideas and reading further.
  • To  give readers a context  for your work and to provide links to others who have researched about the topic so readers can explore what else has been said about it.

The main reason not to plagiarize is because doing so is unfairly attributing ideas of someone else to yourself, whether or not you intend to.

If you’re unsure whether or not to cite something, ask your professor or a librarian for help. Remember, it’s better to overcite than undercite!

Learn more about plagiarism and avoiding plagiarism at the CSU Writing Center website.

Where can I get help?

  • Talk to your professor.
  • Schedule an appointment at the Writing Center .
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MLA Online Tutorials and Quizzes

  • How to Cite MLA Short tutorials and interactive quiz that allows you to practice creating citations. Created by the University of Texas San Antonio.
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  • Last Updated: Feb 12, 2024 11:47 AM
  • URL: https://researchguides.csuohio.edu/ENG348

IMAGES

  1. 10 Easy Steps: Ultimate Guide to Paraphrase an Article MLA

    mla paraphrasing in text citation

  2. MLA In-Text Citation, Quotations, and Paraphrases

    mla paraphrasing in text citation

  3. How to Paraphrase MLA Style

    mla paraphrasing in text citation

  4. PPT

    mla paraphrasing in text citation

  5. How to Paraphrase in APA and MLA: Full Guide to Scoring High

    mla paraphrasing in text citation

  6. How to Paraphrase MLA Style

    mla paraphrasing in text citation

VIDEO

  1. Citation 💗

  2. In-text citation using MLA format

  3. MLA In-Text Citation Introduction and Articles by Entities

  4. MLA: In-Text Citations 2/3

  5. Which in-text citation is formatted correctly in MLA style?

  6. MLA Citation Works Cited and In-Text

COMMENTS

  1. Paraphrasing in MLA

    Search Paraphrasing is a valuable skill. It allows you to seamlessly integrate another person's ideas into your work, and it is the preferred way to integrate most research information into a paper. In addition to writing a good paraphrase, you must also include a citation with the paraphrase.

  2. Paraphrasing

    Purdue OWL Research and Citation Using Research Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing Paraphrase: Write It in Your Own Words Paraphrase: Write It in Your Own Words Paraphrasing is one way to use a text in your own writing without directly quoting source material.

  3. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

    MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number (s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page.

  4. MLA In-text Citations

    Learn how to cite sources in MLA style with examples, tips and rules. Find out how to cite sources with no author, no page numbers, different sources, or indirectly. Use the free Scribbr Citation Generator to create accurate MLA citations.

  5. LibGuides: MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): In-Text Citation

    Paraphrasing When you write information or ideas from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion, like this: This is a paraphrase (Smith 8). This is a paraphrase ("Trouble" 22). Note: The period goes outside the brackets, at the end of your in-text citation. Example:

  6. MLA: In-Text Citations

    On This Page About In-text Citations Quoting Paraphrasing In-Text Citation for One, Two, or More Authors/Editors Unknown Author Repeated Use of Sources Long Quotations In-Text Citation for More Than One Source Citing a Source that you Found in Another Source (Secondary Source) Order of Authors Physician Credentials About In-Text Citations

  7. Library Guides: MLA Quick Citation Guide: In-text Citation

    Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your reference list. MLA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the page number from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken, for example: (Smith ...

  8. In-Text Citations

    An in-text citation is required whenever the writer quotes, paraphrases, or summarizes from the source. A narrative in-text citation consists of the author's last name within the text as part of the sentence followed by a page number within a parenthesis. Citation: Boggs, Colleen Glenney. "Public Reading and the Civil War Draft Lottery."

  9. MLA Citation Style 7th Edition: Quotes & Paraphrasing

    MLA Citation Style 7th Edition: Quotes & Paraphrasing Home Plagiarism General Guidelines Audiovisual Media Ask Us! MLA 8th edition Quotes & Paraphrasing: Parenthetical (In Text) Citations Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the MLA 7th Edition manual. How to Cite a Direct Quote (92-105)

  10. MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Quoting vs. Paraphrasing

    When quoting place quotation marks (" ") around the selected passage to show where the quote begins and where it ends. Make sure to include an in-text citation. Paraphrasing is used to show that you understand what the author wrote. You must reword the passage, expressing the ideas in your own words, and not just change a few words here and there.

  11. Free MLA Citation Generator

    Get started Features you'll love Autocite Search for your source by title, URL, DOI, ISBN, and more to retrieve the relevant information automatically. MLA 8th & 9th edition Scribbr's Citation Generator supports both MLA 8 and MLA 9 (as well as APA and Harvard ). No matter what edition you're using, we've got you covered! Export to Bib (La)TeX

  12. In-text citation

    In-text citation. The MLA 9th style uses author-date in-text citations, used when quoting or paraphrasing people's work. Two types of in-text citations 1. Author prominent format . Use this format if you want to emphasise the author. Their name becomes part of your sentence.

  13. Using MLA in-text citations

    Formatting quotations according to the MLA guidelines. Parenthetical citations appear at the end of the sentence in which the direct reference, summary, paraphrase, or quote appears. For quotations that are shorter than four lines, include the citation after the final quotation marks and before the sentence's concluding punctuation.

  14. LibGuides: MLA Style Guide: 8th Edition: Paraphrase/Summary

    Paraphrasing is when you, as the researcher, put into your own words a passage or idea from another work. A paraphrased passage is generally shorter and more condensed than the original.

  15. Paraphrasing in MLA

    1. Create a works cited page Both a works cited page and a bibliography list sources that were used in the making of your paper. The main difference is that a works cited page only includes sources that were referenced in your work (via an in-text citation).

  16. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, ... It should properly attribute any ideas, paraphrases, or direct quotations to your source, and should direct readers to the entry in the Works Cited list.

  17. MLA Style (9th Edition) Citation Guide: Introduction to MLA Style

    An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Works Cited List. Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words. Plagiarism: Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another. Quoting: The copying of words of text originally published ...

  18. The Basics of In-Text Citation

    Revised on August 23, 2022. An in-text citation is a short acknowledgement you include whenever you quote or take information from a source in academic writing. It points the reader to the source so they can see where you got your information. In-text citations most commonly take the form of short parenthetical statements indicating the author ...

  19. MLA In-Text Citations

    An in-text citation is a reference to a source that is found within the text of a paper ( 227). This tells a reader that an idea, quote, or paraphrase originated from a source. MLA in-text citations usually include the last name of the author and the location of cited information. This guide focuses on how to create MLA in-text citations, such ...

  20. Paraphrasing (MLA)

    Paraphrasing (MLA) Tips on Paraphrasing Paraphrasing can be tricky. You need to make sure that you don't copy the original author's style or wording. Even if you have a citation, such borrowing would be considered plagiarism. Paraphrases should sound like you, using vocabulary and sentence structures that your reader would recognize as your work.

  21. Practicing In-Text Citations

    Practicing In-Text Citations. This worksheet tests students' knowledge of MLA in-text citations by asking them to correct flawed examples. Get the answer key here. Developed by Liana Silva of César E. Chávez High School in Houston, Texas, these materials are openly available for classroom use. Thank you for this aid! I love it.

  22. In-Text Citations: An Overview

    In-Text Citations: An Overview. by Modern Language Association. In-text citations are brief, unobtrusive references that direct readers to the works-cited-list entries for the sources you consulted and, where relevant, to the location in the source being cited. An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that di­rects ...

  23. PDF Citing and Formatting FAQ (Continued) SCCC Library MLA Citation and

    In-Text Citation Examples . Citation Examples for Works Cited Page . Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism It is important to credit the information sources you use that provide new ideas to you for your research. Whether you directly quote (word-for-word) something from an information source (even online sources) or paraphrase

  24. Citation Machine®: MLA Format & MLA Citation Generator

    The Complete Guide to MLA & Citations What you'll find in this guide This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources. Looking for APA?

  25. MLA Formatting Quotations

    Cite your source automatically in MLA Cite Using citation machines responsibly Powered by Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage, but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.

  26. LibGuides: EGL 101-012 Phil Prale

    In-Text Citations and Examples Whether you are quoting directly or paraphrasing, you make a brief in-text citation at the point in your writing where you use another person's work. In MLA style, this generally includes mention of the author and the page number(s) where you found the information.

  27. Cite Your Sources in MLA Style

    MLA stands for the Modern Language Association. It is the citation style most commonly used by literature and language scholars, but is also often used in other humanities subjects. There is a specific formatting style required by MLA, as well as two parts to how you must cite sources, which are: In-text citations in the body of your paper.

  28. MLA Citation

    A style of documenting the sources you paraphrase, quote, and use in your research paper or project. Used in writing courses and the humanties, especially language and literature. Determines the exact format of your citations by specifying publication information to include and the order of this information as well as capitalization and ...

  29. Why learn APA Style if you already know MLA style?

    For help on learning to paraphrase, including how to cite a long paraphrase, check out our page on paraphrasing. Page numbers not in every in-text citation. In-text citations of paraphrased material in APA Style consist of the author and year, whereas in MLA style they consist of the author and page number.