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.
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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The Basics of MLA In-text Citations | Scribbr 🎓
In-text citations are often included if you're writing an academic paper, but it can get very confusing. In this video, you'll learn what to include in an MLA in-text citation, where to place it in a sentence, and how to deal with missing information. Subscribbr ► https://www.youtube.com/scribbrus?sub_confirmation=1 Intro - 00:00 1. Basic components of an MLA in-text citation - 0:37 2. Two ways to integrate an in-text citation - 0:44 3. Citing multiple authors - 1:33 4. Missing information
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- Video: MLA in-text Citations
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Citing sources in mla.
- Read about MLA Style Basics
- Watch the two videos on Works-Cited Entries and In-Text Citations
- Study the Nine Core Elements for Works Cited entries
- Complete all of the MLA Citation Style Drag and Drop Practice examples
- Citation: In the body of your project, provide an in-text ciitation for each source used.
- Documentation: At the project's end, provide a list of all the works you cited in the project. (149)
Howard, Rebecca Moore. Writing Matters: A Handbook for Writing and Researc h. 2nd ed. NY: McGraw-Hill, 2014.
According to Purdue OWL: MLA Formatting and Style Guide :
MLA has turned to a style of documentation that is based on a general method that may be applied to every possible source, to many different types of writing. But since texts have become increasingly mobile, and the same document may be found in several different sources, following a set of fixed rules is no longer sufficient.
The current system is based on a few principles, rather than an extensive list of specific rules. While the handbook still gives examples of how to cite sources, it is organized according to the process of documentation, rather than by the sources themselves. This process teaches writers a flexible method that is universally applicable. Once you are familiar with the method, you can use it to document any type of source, for any type of paper, in any field.
Here is an overview of the process:
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,
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MLA citation style is a documentation standard developed by the Modern Language Association, and used by researchers in humanities disciplines. MLA is one citation style among others