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MLA In-Text Citations How-to. General Guidelines . In MLA style, referring to the works of others in your text is done by using what is known as parenthetical citation . This method involves placing relevant source information in parentheses after a quote or a paraphrase

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general guidelines
General Guidelines
  • In MLA style, referring to the works of others in your text is done by using what is known as parenthetical citation. This method involves placing relevant source information in parentheses after a quote or a paraphrase
  • What you write depends (1.) upon the source medium (e.g. Print, Web) and (2.) upon the source’s entry on the Works Cited (bibliography) page.
  • Any source information that you provide in-text must be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry in the Works Cited List.
in text citations for print sources with known author
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.
  • Human beings have been described by Kenneth Burke as "symbol-using animals" (3).
  • Human beings have been described as "symbol-using animals" (Burke 3).
citing authors with same last names
Citing authors with same last names

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:

Although some medical ethicists claim that cloning will lead to designer children (R. Miller 12), others note that the advantages for medical research outweigh this consideration (A. Miller 46).

citing non print or sources from the internet
Citing non-print or sources from the Internet
  • Include 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).
  • No pages numbers needed
  • Only provide “.com” if part of the name
  • One online film critic stated that Fitzcarraldo is "...a beautiful and terrifying critique of obsession and colonialism" (Garcia, “Herzog: a Life”).
  • Garcia, Elizabeth. "Herzog: a Life." Online Film Critics Corner. The Film
  • School of New Hampshire, 2 May 2002. Web. 8 Jan. 2009.
multiple citations
Multiple citations

To cite multiple sources in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon:

. . . as has been discussed elsewhere (Burke 3; Dewey 21).

when a citation is not needed
When a citation is not needed
  • You do not need to give sources for:
  • familiar proverbs
  • well-known quotations
  • common knowledge.
  • Remember, this is based on audience. If you're writing for an expert audience of a scholarly journal, for example, they'll have different expectations of what constitutes common knowledge.