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MLA Style Guide

In-Text Parenthetical Citations

Give credit in the text to exact quotations as well as paraphrases of information and ideas.

Common examples of in-text citations:

1. Statements followed by cite in parentheses.

  • (Paraphrase) There has been a great disagreement between physicists and musicians about music (Taylor 37). 
  • (Exact Quote) "Music has come a long way since […] But it will never supplant the sounds of traditional instruments" (Taylor 37).

2. Include the author(s) in the statement with the page number in parentheses. The 8th edition also requires that you include a time for time-based media, like music or video.

  • According to Taylor, physicists and musicians now have a more amicable relationship (39).
  • Buffy's promise that "there's not going to be any incidents like that at my school" is obviously not one on which she can follow through ("Buffy" 00:03:16-17). [Example from the 8th Ed. Handbook, pg. 57]

3. Include the author(s) and the year in statements.

  • In a 1991 article, Taylor blamed physicists for the … (36).

4. If you are citing one of two or more works by the same author, identify the work with a shortened version of its title in parentheses along with the page number.

  • Northrop Frye has called King Lear a "comedy of the grotesque" (Anatomy 237).

Works with No Known Author or Multiple Works by the Same Author

If a work has no known author or if you are citing more than one work by the same author, the in-text citation should include a shortened version of the title and page number:

For example, if you were citing the following:

"The Impact of Global Warming in North America." GLOBAL WARMING: Early Signs. 1999. Web. 23 Mar. 2009.

Your in-text citation would look like this:

We see so many global warming hotspots in North America likely because this region has "more readily accessible climatic data and more comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change . . ." ("Impact" 6).

If you are citing more than one work by the same author, the in-text citation should include a shortened version of the title and page number:

For example if you had in-text citations to both Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Joy in the Morning one would be (Smith, Tree 72) and the other would be (Smith, Joy 10).

Note that in the shortened title, you will remove a, an and the from the beginning of the title, and include only a few important words from the title itself; there is no need to include the entire title. The 8th edition suggests shortening the title to the first noun phrase. The goal is simply to let your reader know to which source on your Works Cited page you are referring.

Put the title in quotation marks if referring to a short work (such as an article); omit the quotation marks and italicize instead if using a longer/complete work (such as a book).

Thanks to Purdue OWL for the examples in this section.

Websites and In-Text Citations

If you're citing a website with no known author, what does the in-text citation look like?

Use a shortened version of the website title and use that in place of the author name.

If you wanted to cite this source:

Guglielmo Marconi: The "Father of Radio." The Guglielmo Marconi Foundation, U.S.A.

The in-text citation would look like this:

(Guglielmo Marconi 45)