MLA In-Text Citations

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An in-text citations leads your reader to the full citation of your source in the Works Cited. It shows that you are borrowing an idea from someone else within the paper. Use an in-text citation when your paraphrase, summarize, or quote.

Basic Example

The typical in-text citation is composed of the author’s name (since it is the first part of a Works Cited entry) and a page number. If you use the author’s name in the sentence then you only need the page number included in the parenthesis, like in the second example.

Reading is “just half the literacy. The other half is writing” (Baron 194).

According to Naomi Baron, reading is “just half of literacy. The other half is writing” (194).

More Examples

Sometimes you do not have an author’s name, or you have multiple authors, and online sources do not usually have page numbers. Below are example to handle these situations.

More Than One Author

If the entry in the Works Cited beings with the names of two authors include both names in the citation.

(Dorris and Erdich 23)

If the source has three or more authors, the entry in the in-text citation follows that of the Works Cited. Begin with the first author’s last name followed by et al.

(Burdick et al. 42)

Corporation as an Author

If a business, corporation, organization, is responsible for publishing a work (they perhaps had a team of people working on it) then use the organization name as the author. This will often happen when using online sources because websites are normally produced by a corporation.  If you can use an acronym or abbreviation for the corporation name.

(US Dept. of Labor 47)

No Author

If there is no author then the Works Cited will start with the title of the source. In the in-text citation use this title; if it is lengthy, shorten the title as much as makes sense.

(“Pleasures of Reading”)