Parenthetical Citations using the MLA Format
Parenthetical Citations in MLA What are parenthetical citations? Material borrowed from another source is documented within the text by a brief parenthetical reference that directs readers to the full citation in the list of Works Cited. Why use parenthetical citations? Rather than try to reword someone else’s words in your paper, which can be painstaking, difficult, and you usually end up plagiarizing anyway, try “borrowing” material and legitimately cite it in your paper.
Parenthetical Citations in MLA • In MLA style, referring to the works of others in your text is done in twoways. When you make reference to someone else's idea, either through paraphrasing or quoting them directly, you: • provide the author's name (or the title of the work) and the page(or paragraph) number of the work in a parenthetical citation,then... • provide full citation information for the work in your Works Cited list *This allows people to know which sources you used in writing your essay and then be able to look them up themselves, so that they can use them in their research.
How Do I Do Parenthetical Citations? MLA format follows the author-page method of citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear in your Works Cited list.
The author's name... may appear in one of two places: 1) in the sentence itself or 2) in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase The page number(s)… should always appear in the parentheses following the quotation, summary, or paraphrase, not in the text of your sentence.
Parenthetical Citations … Some Examples Indenting does not need to be done, but can be used to make a quote more noticeable. Particularly when the quote is longer than a few sentences. Example #1 - Author’s name in text, Page at end In John Malam’s book, The Bombing of Hiroshima, he quotes Robert Oppenheimer’s statements following the explosion: “We waited until the blast had passed, walked out of the shelter and then it was extremely solemn. We knew the world would not be the same” (15). Option to Example #1 - No title mentioned, information not quoted, author’s name and pages given at the end (This is very useful if you are not quoting, but summarizing or paraphrasing instead.) Robert Oppenheimer described the world after the blast as extremely solemn (Malam 15).
3 Ways to “Borrow” Information Quoting- easiest way, but use selectively and quote only the passages that deal directly with your subject in memorable language. If you decide to omit part of the passage, use ellipsis points (…) to indicate omitted words from the original source (Trimmer 22). Paraphrasing- restates the content of a short passage phrase by phrase, recasting the author’s words in your own (Trimmer 24). Summarizing-condenses the content of a lengthy passage, reformulate the main idea and outline main points (Trimmer 24).
Quoting (Author in text, page at end) John Malam, in his book The Bombing of Hiroshima, recounts statements of Albert Einstein, whose letter encouraged the U.S. to build the atomic bomb. He said: “I could burn my fingers that I wrote that first letter to Roosevelt” (27). OR (Author and page at end) Albert Einstein’s response after the bombing of Hiroshima is telling of the horrific aftermath and his guilt resulting from the event. In reflecting on a letter he had once written to President Roosevelt regarding uranium, he said, I could “burn my fingers” for ever writing it(Malam 27).
A Comparison of Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing the same information in the following 3 examples. Quoting (Author, Page at the end of the quote) President Truman was pleased that the testing of the atomic bomb had gone so well. In his opinion, “the atomic bomb could be used to bring the war in the Pacific to a quick end and, therefore, save American lives” (Malam 18).
Summarizing (Author, Page at the end of the summary) Though a tough political situation, President Truman thought it would be best to use the atomic bomb to bring the war in the Pacific to an end (Malam 18). Paraphrasing (Author, Page at the end of the paraphrase) President Truman was pleased that the testing of the atomic bomb had gone so well; he felt the use of the bomb could bring the war in the Pacific to an end, saving countless American lives (Malam 18).
DON’T FORGET… Plagiarism is a serious offense that strips individuals of their personal accomplishments. It is basically “stealing” from someone, so instead try “borrowing” and saying “thank you” by citing your sources using MLA. Good Luck with your research!