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MLA: In-Text Citations

Learn how to create a paper and source citations in MLA style.

What are in-text citations?

Whenever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize information from another source in your paper, you add an in-text citation at the end of the sentence to refer the reader to the citation for that source in your Works Cited list.

Components

In-text citations for MLA use the first part of the Works Cited citation and the page number. Usually, this is the Author's last name, the name of the corporate author, or the title of the source in the case when there is no author. When the title of the source is used for the in-text citation, put it in quotation marks. 

(Last Name #)

(Corporate Author #)

("Title of Source" #)

Two authors: List both of their last name connected with and. 

(Last Name and Last Name #)

Three or more authors: List the first author's last name followed by et al. 

(Last Name et al. #)

Referring to a range of pages: Use #-#.

(Last Name #-#)

No page numbers: Refer to specific paragraphs instead: par. #. 

(Last Name, par. #)

Referring to a range of paragraphs: Use pars. #-#.

(Last Name, pars. #-#)

No author (article or book title appears first in Works Cited List citation): Shorten the article or book title to four words or fewer and put it in quotation marks.

("Shortened Title" #)

 

You may also choose to incorporate the author's name into your sentence and place only the page number at the end of your sentence in parentheses.

[Author's Last Name] found that ... (#). 

Examples

Book 

Works Cited Citation

Brown, Peter C., et al. Make It Stick. Harvard University Press, 2014. EBSCOhost, proxy.umpqua.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=771951&site=eds-live&scope=site.

In-Text Citation for a Direct Quote 

"The time periods between sessions of practice let memories consolidate" (Brown et al. 63). 

According to Brown et al., "The time periods between sessions of practice let memories consolidate" (63). 

In-Text Citation When Summarizing or Paraphrasing 

Sleep between retrieval practice is essential (Brown et al. 63). 

According to Brown et al., sleep between retrieval practice is essential (63).

 

Article 

Works Cited Citation

LaSalle, Gretchen. “When the Answer to Vaccines Is ‘No.’” Journal of Family Practice, vol. 67, no. 6, June 2018, p. 348-364. EBSCOhost, proxy.umpqua.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=129940420&site=eds-live&scope=site.

In-Text Citation for a Direct Quote

"Developing a good rapport and trusting relationship, as well as using motivational interviewing approaches, can help communicate the importance of vaccines, while leaving patients with the sense that you have heard them and respect their intentions" (LaSalle 349). 

LaSalle suggests that "Developing a good rapport and trusting relationship, as well as using motivational interviewing approaches, can help communicate the importance of vaccines, while leaving patients with the sense that you have heard them and respect their intentions" (349). 

In-Text Citation When Summarizing or Paraphrasing

When discussing vaccines with patients who initially refuse them, remember that they are trying to make the best choices for themselves and their family and that your time educating them consistently will usually pay off (LaSalle 348). 

LaSalle suggests that when discussing vaccines with patients who initially refuse them, remember that they are trying to make the best choices for themselves and their family and that your time educating them consistently will usually pay off (348). 

 

Web Page 

Works Cited Citation

Hille, Karl. "Hubble Spies Glittering Star Cluster in Nearby Galaxy." NASA, 19 Oct. 2018, www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2018/hubble-spies-glittering-star-cluster-in-nearby-galaxy. Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.

In-Text Citation for a Direct Quote

"Today we know that globular clusters are some of the oldest known objects in the universe and that they are relics of the first epochs of galaxy formation" (Hille, par. 2).

According to Hille, "Today we know that globular clusters are some of the oldest known objects in the universe and that they are relics of the first epochs of galaxy formation" (par. 2).

In-Text Citation When Summarizing or Paraphrasing

The Large Magellanic Cloud is useful for scientists studying star formation (Hille, par. 1). 

According to Hille, the Large Magellanic Cloud is useful for scientists studying star formation (par. 1). 

How to Cite a Direct Quotation (pp. 75-91)

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the MLA Handbook, 8th ed.

When you incorporate a direct quotation into a sentence, you must cite the source and ensure the quote is recorded exactly (p. 75). Fit quotations within your sentences, making sure the sentences are grammatically correct:

Examples:
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, use a block format in which the quotation is indented 1/2 an inch from the left margin, with no quotation marks (pp. 76-77).

How to Alter a Direct Quotation (pp. 80-86)

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the MLA Handbook, 8th ed. Examples are from the MLA Handbook, 8th ed.

If you need to leave out part of a quotation to make it fit grammatically or because it contains irrelevant/unnecessary information, insert ellipses (. . .) to mark the omission (pp. 80-81).

Example:
In surveying responses to plagues in the Middle Ages, Barbara W. Tuchman writes, "Medical thinking . . . stressed air as the communicator of disease, ignoring sanitation or visible carriers" (101-02).

 If you must add or slightly change words within a quotation for reasons of grammar or clarity, explain the change in parentheses after the quotation or indicate the change by using square brackets within the quotation (p. 86).

Examples:
Shaw admitted, "Nothing can extinguish my interest in Shakespear" (sic).
Milton's Satan speaks of his "study [pursuit] of revenge."

How to Paraphrase (pp. 57-58)

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the MLA Handbook, 8th ed.

When you put information into your own words by summarizing or paraphrasing, you must still cite the original author or researcher as well as the page or paragraph number(s) (p. 57).

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

How to Cite Poetry (pp. 77-79)

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the MLA Handbook, 8th ed.

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

Example:
Reflecting on the "incident" in Baltimore, Cullen concludes, "Of all the things that happened there / That's all that
I remember" (11-12).

When citing more than three lines of poetry, begin the quotation on a new line and indent each of the lines 1/2 an inch from the left margin.

Example:
In "High Noon," by Andy Wainwright, the speaker concludes:

today my entire generation
is a poet
it travels in packs
& word is spreading
 
I am alone (7-11)

If the poem is published in an edition with numbered lines, you may use those instead of page numbers to indicate the original location of your quote.

How to Cite Plays (pp. 80)

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the MLA Handbook, 8th ed.

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 1/2 an 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(s) as necessary.

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

Example:
OTHELLO. I will deny thee nothing!

Whereon I do beseech thee grant me this,

To leave me but a little to myself.

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

When citing prose plays, use the page number first, followed by a semicolon and then other identifying information (e.g. Miller 9; Act 1). When citing verse plays with line numbers provided, use those instead of page numbers, separating division numbers with a period (see example above).

How to Cite Information When You Have Not Seen the Original Source (Indirect Sources) (p. 124)

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the MLA Handbook, 8th ed.

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

Example:
Fong’s 1987 study found that older students’ memory can be as good as that of young people, but this depends on how memory is tested (qtd. in Bertram 124). [Do not include Fong (1987) in Works Cited; do include Bertram.]

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