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In-Text Citations in MLA Style

Include the author's name and the page number in parentheses when using MLA in-text citation style. If the author's name is used in the text, then include only page numbers in parentheses.

Information included in parentheses should be simple and directly connected to an entry for that author in the works cited list.

If the work has more than three authors, only the first author's name followed by et al. should be given.

Rule to Remember

MLA is the documentation system used in the humanities and fine arts.

Citing an Entire Source

When citing an entire source, include the author of that source in text rather than in parentheses:

Eugen Herrigel's Zen in the Art of Archery is a manifestation of the author's personal penetration into the theory and practice of Zen Buddhism.

Citing Part of a Work

Part of a work can be either paraphrased or quoted. In either case, the author and page numbers have to be included. If it is an online journal that uses paragraph numbers, include the abbreviation par. or pars. in front of the paragraph number.

Baym's anthology contains William Bradford's work "Of Plymouth Plantation" (164-204).

Long quotations

If a quotation is more than four lines long, it needs to be indented one inch and written without enclosing quotation marks. Indented quotations are double-spaced, just as the rest of the paper.
In Ancient Mysteries the authors narrated the famous riddle of the Sphinx:

Close to the Great Pyramid, on the edge of the Giza plateau in northern Egypt, sits the world's most enigmatic sculpture -- the Sphinx. Worn by the ravages of time and scarred by the hand of man, this colossal figure of a human-headed lion, 240 feet long and 66 feet high, is the largest surviving statue from the ancient world. (James and Thorpe 213)

Corporate Author

When citing a corporate or group author, include the author's name and page numbers in parentheses. If the name is too long, it can be shortened.

"Building a UNESCO National Education Support Strategy" presents a strategy matrix for national education priorities for the years 2008-2013 (UNESCO 37).

Indirect Sources

If what you quote is a quotation itself, include it with the abbreviation qtd. in:

According to John Allegro, in archeology "almost every season brings fresh discoveries that demand a reassessment of outmoded theories and presumptions" (qtd. in James and Thorpe 527).

Citing Two or More Works by the Same Author or Authors

If two or more works are cited by the same author or authors, in addition to the author's name and the page numbers, include the shortened version of the title. If the author's name is mentioned in the sentence, then only the title and page numbers should be included in parentheses.

Dietel and Dietel define pointers as "variables that contain as their values addresses of other variables" (C How to Program 294).

Anonymous Author

Use the shortened title instead of the author's name.

Multiple Parenthetical References

If more than one work is cited in the text, the entries need to be separated by semicolons within the parentheses.

(James and Thorpe 527; Herrigel 29-31)

Online Sources

Use the author's name and paragraph number in parentheses if it's a source with paragraphs numbered. Otherwise, include only the author's name.

CNN's most recent travel feature emphasized the beauty of California's lake country (Wolf).


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