CWI Writing Center: MLA In-text Citations
In-text citations provide the reader with source information to give the original author credit and identify where the information came from. The correct use of in-text citations also helps to AVOID PLAGIARISM. Please refer to the MLA Handbook (8th edition) or the MLA website at style.mla.org for more details on specifics and variations of in-text citations.
- Parenthetical citations have parentheses ( ) with the author’s last name(s) and page number with no commas.
- The period of the sentence comes after the parenthetical citation, except in a block quote.
- Use words such as (“According to”, “Research suggests”, or “Smith stated”).
- Indicate that the words coming next will be from a source.
- May introduce the author of the source.
Note: In college-level writing, it is best to use a signal phrase to introduce sources. Please see our Quote Sandwich handout for more information.
Possible Changes to Format:
Example of an Author Mentioned in the Signal Phrase:
Example of an Author Mentioned in the Parenthetical Reference:
Note: In general, the first word of the in-text citation should match the first word of the Works Cited entry.
Example of a Block Quote, a Direct Quote More Than 4 Typed Lines in Length:
For more information, Contact the Writing Center.
MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. For example:
Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).
Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).
Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).
Both citations in the examples above, (263) and (Wordsworth 263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page at the end of the paper, where, alphabetically, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:
Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads. London: Oxford U.P., 1967. Print.