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MLA Style Guide

About In-Text Citations

MLA citation is a two part process, including both in-text citations and a works cited page

The in-text citations are brief references within your paper that direct readers to the corresponding entry on your works cited page. All summaries, paraphrases, and quotations of sources must be followed by an in-text citation in your paper. 

There are two types of in-text citations

  1. Citations in prose
  2. Parenthetical citations

The in-text citation begins with the information that is listed first in the works cited entry, usually the author's last name (if the work has no author, then the citation would list the title instead).

If a specific part of a work is being paraphrased or quoted, and the source has page numbers, then the in-text citation includes the page number (or other place marker) after the author's name.

Sample In-Text Citations: Citation in Prose

One author: 

Having read Naomi Baron's argument that writing is the "other half" of literacy (194), one might even suggest that reading is never complete without writing.

Two authors: 

Others, like Jay Lemery and Paul Auerbach, note that doctors have not yet adequately explained the effects climate change will have on human health (4-5).

Three or more authors: 

Raymond Nickerson and colleagues argue that the truth value of statements is one factor that affects how people are persuaded by them (135).

Corporate author: 

According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, the "speed of warming is more than ten times that at the end of an ice age, the fastest known natural sustained change on a global scale" (9).

Two or more works by the same author: 

Morrison writes, "Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it's gone, but the place--the picture of it--stays" (Beloved 35).

As Morrison writes in Beloved, "Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it's gone, but the place--the picture of it--stays" (35).

A work listed by title (without an identified author): 

Reading at Risk notes that despite an apparent decline in reading during the same period, "the number of people doing creative writing--of any genre, not exclusively literary works--increased substantially between 1982 and 2002" (3).

Work without numbered pages or divisions: 

As Parker-Pope notes, "Small changes in your eating habits can lower your risk for many of the diseases associated with aging."

 

These examples are from the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook.

Sample In-Text Citations: Parenthetical citations

One author: 

Reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (Baron 194). One might even suggest that reading is never complete without writing.

Two authors: 

Others note that doctors have not yet adequately explained the effects climate change will have on human health (Lemery and Auerbach 4-5).

Three or more authors: 

The authors argue that the truth value of statements is one factor that affects how people are persuaded by them (Nickerson et al.135).

Corporate author: 

According to one study of climate change, the "speed of warming is more than ten times that at the end of an ice age, the fastest known natural sustained change on a global scale" (National Academy 9).

Two or more works by the same author: 

The character Sethe notes, "Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it's gone, but the place--the picture of it--stays" (Morrison, Beloved 35).

A work listed by title (without an identified author): 

Despite an apparent decline in reading during the same period, "the number of people doing creative writing--of any genre, not exclusively literary works--increased substantially between 1982 and 2002" (Reading 3).

Work without numbered pages or divisions: 

"Small changes in your eating habits can lower your risk for many of the diseases associated with aging" (Parker-Pope), so it's never too early to evaluate your diet.

Time-base media (video or audio recordings): 

Buffy's promise that "there's not going to be any incidents like at my old school" is obviously not one that she can keep ("Buffy" 00:03:16-17).

 

These examples are from the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook.