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MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics
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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 (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
Guidelines for referring to the works of others in your text using MLA style are covered throughout the MLA Handbook and in chapter 7 of the MLA Style Manual . Both books provide extensive examples, so it's a good idea to consult them if you want to become even more familiar with MLA guidelines or if you have a particular reference question.
Basic in-text citation rules
In MLA Style, referring to the works of others in your text is done using parenthetical citations . This method involves providing relevant source information in parentheses whenever a sentence uses a quotation or paraphrase. Usually, the simplest way to do this is to put all of the source information in parentheses at the end of the sentence (i.e., just before the period). However, as the examples below will illustrate, there are situations where it makes sense to put the parenthetical elsewhere in the sentence, or even to leave information out.
- The source information required in a parenthetical citation depends (1) upon the source medium (e.g. print, web, DVD) and (2) upon the source’s entry on the Works Cited page.
- Any source information that you provide in-text must correspond to the source information on the Works Cited page. More specifically, whatever signal word or phrase you provide to your readers in the text must be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry on the Works Cited page.
In-text citations: Author-page style
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. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. For example:
Both citations in the examples above, (263) and (Wordsworth 263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:
Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads . Oxford UP, 1967.
In-text citations for print sources with known author
For print sources like books, magazines, scholarly journal articles, and newspapers, provide a signal word or phrase (usually the author’s last name) and a page number. If you provide the signal word/phrase in the sentence, you do not need to include it in the parenthetical citation.
These examples must correspond to an entry that begins with Burke, which will be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of an entry on the Works Cited page:
Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method . University of California Press, 1966.
In-text citations for print sources by a corporate author
When a source has a corporate author, it is acceptable to use the name of the corporation followed by the page number for the in-text citation. You should also use abbreviations (e.g., nat'l for national) where appropriate, so as to avoid interrupting the flow of reading with overly long parenthetical citations.
In-text citations for sources with non-standard labeling systems
If a source uses a labeling or numbering system other than page numbers, such as a script or poetry, precede the citation with said label. When citing a poem, for instance, the parenthetical would begin with the word “line”, and then the line number or range. For example, the examination of William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” would be cited as such:
The speaker makes an ardent call for the exploration of the connection between the violence of nature and the divinity of creation. “In what distant deeps or skies. / Burnt the fire of thine eyes," they ask in reference to the tiger as they attempt to reconcile their intimidation with their relationship to creationism (lines 5-6).
Longer labels, such as chapters (ch.) and scenes (sc.), should be abbreviated.
In-text citations for print sources with no known author
When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name, following these guidelines.
Place the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (e.g. plays, books, television shows, entire Web sites) and provide a page number if it is available.
Titles longer than a standard noun phrase should be shortened into a noun phrase by excluding articles. For example, To the Lighthouse would be shortened to Lighthouse .
If the title cannot be easily shortened into a noun phrase, the title should be cut after the first clause, phrase, or punctuation:
In this example, since the reader does not know the author of the article, an abbreviated title appears in the parenthetical citation, and the full title of the article appears first at the left-hand margin of its respective entry on the Works Cited page. Thus, the writer includes the title in quotation marks as the signal phrase in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader directly to the source on the Works Cited page. The Works Cited entry appears as follows:
"The Impact of Global Warming in North America." Global Warming: Early Signs . 1999. www.climatehotmap.org/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2009.
If the title of the work begins with a quotation mark, such as a title that refers to another work, that quote or quoted title can be used as the shortened title. The single quotation marks must be included in the parenthetical, rather than the double quotation.
Parenthetical citations and Works Cited pages, used in conjunction, allow readers to know which sources you consulted in writing your essay, so that they can either verify your interpretation of the sources or use them in their own scholarly work.
Author-page citation for classic and literary works with multiple editions
Page numbers are always required, but additional citation information can help literary scholars, who may have a different edition of a classic work, like Marx and Engels's The Communist Manifesto . In such cases, give the page number of your edition (making sure the edition is listed in your Works Cited page, of course) followed by a semicolon, and then the appropriate abbreviations for volume (vol.), book (bk.), part (pt.), chapter (ch.), section (sec.), or paragraph (par.). For example:
Author-page citation for works in an anthology, periodical, or collection
When you cite a work that appears inside a larger source (for instance, an article in a periodical or an essay in a collection), cite the author of the internal source (i.e., the article or essay). For example, to cite Albert Einstein's article "A Brief Outline of the Theory of Relativity," which was published in Nature in 1921, you might write something like this:
See also our page on documenting periodicals in the Works Cited .
Citing authors with same last names
Sometimes more information is necessary to identify the source from which a quotation is taken. For instance, if two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors' first initials (or even the authors' full name if different authors share initials) in your citation. For example:
Citing a work by multiple authors
For a source with two authors, list the authors’ last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:
Corresponding Works Cited entry:
Best, David, and Sharon Marcus. “Surface Reading: An Introduction.” Representations , vol. 108, no. 1, Fall 2009, pp. 1-21. JSTOR, doi:10.1525/rep.2009.108.1.1
For a source with three or more authors, list only the first author’s last name, and replace the additional names with et al.
Franck, Caroline, et al. “Agricultural Subsidies and the American Obesity Epidemic.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine , vol. 45, no. 3, Sept. 2013, pp. 327-333.
Citing multiple works by the same author
If you cite more than one work by an author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it from the others. Put short titles of books in italics and short titles of articles in quotation marks.
Citing two articles by the same author :
Citing two books by the same author :
Additionally, if the author's name is not mentioned in the sentence, format your citation with the author's name followed by a comma, followed by a shortened title of the work, and, when appropriate, the page number(s):
Citing multivolume works
If you cite from different volumes of a multivolume work, always include the volume number followed by a colon. Put a space after the colon, then provide the page number(s). (If you only cite from one volume, provide only the page number in parentheses.)
Citing the Bible
In your first parenthetical citation, you want to make clear which Bible you're using (and underline or italicize the title), as each version varies in its translation, followed by book (do not italicize or underline), chapter, and verse. For example:
If future references employ the same edition of the Bible you’re using, list only the book, chapter, and verse in the parenthetical citation:
John of Patmos echoes this passage when describing his vision (Rev. 4.6-8).
Citing indirect sources
Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited within another source. For such indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source you actually consulted. For example:
Note that, in most cases, a responsible researcher will attempt to find the original source, rather than citing an indirect source.
Citing transcripts, plays, or screenplays
Sources that take the form of a dialogue involving two or more participants have special guidelines for their quotation and citation. Each line of dialogue should begin with the speaker's name written in all capitals and indented half an inch. A period follows the name (e.g., JAMES.) . After the period, write the dialogue. Each successive line after the first should receive an additional indentation. When another person begins speaking, start a new line with that person's name indented only half an inch. Repeat this pattern each time the speaker changes. You can include stage directions in the quote if they appear in the original source.
Conclude with a parenthetical that explains where to find the excerpt in the source. Usually, the author and title of the source can be given in a signal phrase before quoting the excerpt, so the concluding parenthetical will often just contain location information like page numbers or act/scene indicators.
Here is an example from O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.
WILLIE. (Pleadingly) Give me a drink, Rocky. Harry said it was all right. God, I need a drink.
ROCKY. Den grab it. It's right under your nose.
WILLIE. (Avidly) Thanks. (He takes the bottle with both twitching hands and tilts it to his lips and gulps down the whiskey in big swallows.) (1.1)
Citing non-print or sources from the Internet
With more and more scholarly work published on the Internet, you may have to cite sources you found in digital environments. While many sources on the Internet should not be used for scholarly work (reference the OWL's Evaluating Sources of Information resource), some Web sources are perfectly acceptable for research. When creating in-text citations for electronic, film, or Internet sources, remember that your citation must reference the source on your Works Cited page.
Sometimes writers are confused with how to craft parenthetical citations for electronic sources because of the absence of page numbers. However, these sorts of entries often do not require a page number in the parenthetical citation. For electronic and Internet sources, follow the following guidelines:
- Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the citation (e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
- Do not provide paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browser’s print preview function.
- Unless you must list the Web site name in the signal phrase in order to get the reader to the appropriate entry, do not include URLs in-text. Only provide partial URLs such as when the name of the site includes, for example, a domain name, like CNN.com or Forbes.com, as opposed to writing out http://www.cnn.com or http://www.forbes.com.
Miscellaneous non-print sources
Two types of non-print sources you may encounter are films and lectures/presentations:
In the two examples above “Herzog” (a film’s director) and “Yates” (a presentor) lead the reader to the first item in each citation’s respective entry on the Works Cited page:
Herzog, Werner, dir. Fitzcarraldo . Perf. Klaus Kinski. Filmverlag der Autoren, 1982.
Yates, Jane. "Invention in Rhetoric and Composition." Gaps Addressed: Future Work in Rhetoric and Composition, CCCC, Palmer House Hilton, 2002. Address.
Electronic sources may include web pages and online news or magazine articles:
In the first example (an online magazine article), the writer has chosen not to include the author name in-text; however, two entries from the same author appear in the Works Cited. Thus, the writer includes both the author’s last name and the article title in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader to the appropriate entry on the Works Cited page (see below).
In the second example (a web page), a parenthetical citation is not necessary because the page does not list an author, and the title of the article, “MLA Formatting and Style Guide,” is used as a signal phrase within the sentence. If the title of the article was not named in the sentence, an abbreviated version would appear in a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence. Both corresponding Works Cited entries are as follows:
Taylor, Rumsey. "Fitzcarraldo." Slant , 13 Jun. 2003, www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/fitzcarraldo/. Accessed 29 Sep. 2009.
"MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL , 2 Aug. 2016, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. Accessed 2 April 2018.
To cite multiple sources in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon:
Time-based media sources
When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference. For example: (00:02:15-00:02:35).
When a citation is not needed
Common sense and ethics should determine your need for documenting sources. You do not need to give sources for familiar proverbs, well-known quotations, or common knowledge (For example, it is expected that U.S. citizens know that George Washington was the first President.). Remember that citing sources is a rhetorical task, and, as such, can vary based on your audience. If you’re writing for an expert audience of a scholarly journal, for example, you may need to deal with expectations of what constitutes “common knowledge” that differ from common norms.
The MLA Handbook describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the handbook does not describe, making the best way to proceed can be unclear.
In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of MLA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard MLA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite.
You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source. For example, Norquest College provides guidelines for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers —an author category that does not appear in the MLA Handbook . In cases like this, however, it's a good idea to ask your instructor or supervisor whether using third-party citation guidelines might present problems.
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- A complete guide to MLA in-text citations
MLA In-text Citations | A Complete Guide (9th Edition)
Published on July 9, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on May 19, 2022.
An MLA in-text citation provides the author’s last name and a page number in parentheses.
If a source has two authors, name both. If a source has more than two authors, name only the first author, followed by “ et al. ”
If the part you’re citing spans multiple pages, include the full page range. If you want to cite multiple non-consecutive pages at the same time, separate the page numbers with commas.
Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr
Table of contents, where to include an mla in-text citation, citing sources with no author, citing sources with no page numbers, citing different sources with the same author name, citing sources indirectly, frequently asked questions about mla in-text citations.
Place the parenthetical citation directly after the relevant quote or paraphrase , and before the period or other punctuation mark (except with block quotes , where the citation comes after the period).
If you have already named the author in the sentence, add only the page number in parentheses. When mentioning a source with three or more authors outside of parentheses, use “and others” or “and colleagues” in place of “et al.”
- MLA is the second most popular citation style (Smith and Morrison 17–19) .
- According to Smith and Morrison , MLA is the second most popular citation style (17–19) .
- APA is by far “the most used citation style in the US” (Moore et al. 74) , but it is less dominant in the UK (Smith 16) .
- Moore and colleagues state that APA is more popular in the US than elsewhere (74) .
If a sentence is supported by more than one source, you can combine the citations in a single set of parentheses. Separate the two sources with a semicolon .
Livestock farming is one of the biggest global contributors to climate change (Garcia 64; Davies 14) .
Consecutive citations of the same source
If you cite the same source repeatedly within a paragraph, you can include the full citation the first time you cite it, then just the page number for subsequent citations.
MLA is the second most popular citation style (Smith and Morrison 17–19) . It is more popular than Chicago style, but less popular than APA (21) .
You can do this as long as it remains clear what source you’re citing. If you cite something else in between or start a new paragraph, reintroduce the full citation again to avoid ambiguity.
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For sources with no named author , the in-text citation must match the first element of the Works Cited entry. This may be the name of an organization, or the title of the source.
If the source title or organization name is longer than four words, shorten it to the first word or phrase in the in-text citation, excluding any articles ( a, an, and the ). The shortened title or organization name should begin with the word the source is alphabetized by in the Works Cited.
Follow the general MLA rules for formatting titles : If the source is a self-contained work (e.g. a whole website or an entire book ), put the title in italics; if the source is contained within a larger whole (e.g. a page on a website or a chapter of a book), put the title in quotation marks.
If a source does not have page numbers but is divided into numbered parts (e.g. chapters, sections, scenes, Bible books and verses, Articles of the Constitution , or timestamps), use these numbers to locate the relevant passage.
If the source does not use any numbering system, include only the author’s name in the in-text citation. Don’t include paragraph numbers unless they are explicitly numbered in the source.
Note that if there are no numbered divisions and you have already named the author in your sentence, then no parenthetical citation is necessary.
If your Works Cited page includes more than one entry under the same last name, you need to distinguish between these sources in your in-text citations.
Multiple sources by the same author
If you cite more than one work by the same author, add a shortened title to signal which source you are referring to.
In this example, the first source is a whole book, so the title appears in italics; the second is an article published in a journal, so the title appears in quotation marks.
Different authors with the same last name
To distinguish between different authors with the same last name, use the authors’ initials (or, if the initials are the same, full first names) in your in-text citations:
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Sometimes you might want to cite something that you found quoted in a secondary source . If possible, always seek out the original source and cite it directly.
If you can’t access the original source, make sure to name both the original author and the author of the source that you accessed . Use the abbreviation “qtd. in” (short for “quoted in”) to indicate where you found the quotation.
In these cases, only the source you accessed directly is included in the Works Cited list.
You must include an MLA in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book , movie , website , or article ).
Some source types, such as books and journal articles , may contain footnotes (or endnotes) with additional information. The following rules apply when citing information from a note in an MLA in-text citation :
- To cite information from a single numbered note, write “n” after the page number, and then write the note number, e.g. (Smith 105n2)
- To cite information from multiple numbered notes, write “nn” and include a range, e.g. (Smith 77nn1–2)
- To cite information from an unnumbered note, write “un” after the page number, with a space in between, e.g. (Jones 250 un)
If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.
If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .
If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).
If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:
- Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
- The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.
This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .
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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 ).
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!
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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)?
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / MLA page numbers
MLA page numbers
When you write a research essay in MLA format, page numbers will be included in the running head of your paper, the in-text citations, and on your Works Cited page. All three of those types of page numbers can also be seen in this MLA sample paper . Here is everything you need to know about using page numbers in MLA format, including guidelines and examples.
Page numbers in running head
When you write an essay in MLA, numbers marking the pages should appear in a running head at the top of your paper.
Formatting a running head
A running head should appear ½ inch from the top and 1 inch from the right side of each page of your essay. A running head in MLA should follow the last name page number format, listing your last name followed by the number of the page.
Your Last Name page #
- In MLA, number the pages using Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). Do not use a comma or “p.” in the running head.
- If you are including a title/cover page for your paper (refer to your instructor’s guidelines), do not put the running head on your cover page. The running head will begin on the first page of your essay.
- You must include the running head on the Works Cited page.
- You must include the running head on the Works Consulted page (if applicable – always ask your instructor before including a Works Consulted page).
Page numbers in in-text citations
Besides the running head of your paper, you will also need to include page numbers in the in-text citations of your paper.
Formatting page numbers
Use page numbers in your in-text citations whenever possible to make finding the sources of your information easier for the reader. In-text citations follow the last name page number format, enclosed in parentheses.
(Author Last Name page #)
- Omit the first repeating digit in page numbers (eg: 263-67, not 263-267 or 263-7).
- Do not use “p.” or “pp.” in the in-text citations.
- All sources included in an in-text citation must have a full citation on the Works Cited page at the end of the research paper.
- If you are citing a source without page numbers, MLA suggests referring to paragraph numbers if applicable, but never assign page numbers or make up your own page number system.
Page numbers in the Works Cited page
Every source you cite within the body of your paper must have a full citation on a Works Cited page at the end of your paper.
In your Works Cited page, include an MLA citation page number whenever possible for each source. This is especially important for situations like citing a journal article in MLA , or other sources that are part of a larger work, so that your audience can easily locate the particular source you are citing. Page numbers on a Works Cited page should look like this:
- As with in-text citations, omit the first digit in repeating page numbers (eg: 263-67, not 263-267 or 263-7).
- Use the abbreviation p. to cite a single page and pp. to cite multiple pages.
Published October 16, 2020. Updated July 11, 2021.
Written by Grace Turney , freelance writer and artist. Grace is a former librarian and has a Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology.
MLA Formatting Guide
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