MLA Style uses quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing to cite a source in text. Both parenthetical and signal phrases are accepted forms for citing the author.
After a quote, add parentheses containing the authors name and a page number (if any):
Example: “The bullfrog is capable of performing enormous leaps, and it can jump several feet to seize an approaching dragonfly, butterfly, or moth” (Wrigley 115).
An alternative means to cite the source is a signal phrase:
Example: As Gordon Wrigley writes, “The bullfrog is capable of performing enormous leaps, and it can jump several feet to seize an approaching dragonfly, butterfly, or moth” (115).
Here are two different ways to cite the same source with one author using a signal phrase and a complete in-text citation, followed by the Works Cited entry.
Signal Phrase: According to Naomi Baron, reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (194). One might even suggest that reading is never complete without writing.
In-Text Citation: Reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (Baron 194). One might even suggest that reading is never complete without writing.
Works Cited Entry: Baron, Naomi S. “Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media.” PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193–200.
Here are two examples of how to to cite the same source without an author using a signal phrase or a complete in-text citation.
Signal Phrase: Reading at Risk notes that despite an apparent decline in reading during the same period, "the number of people doing creative writing - of any genre, not exclusively literary works - increased substantially between 1982 and 2002" (3).
In-Text Citation: Despite an apparent decline in reading during he same period, "the number of people doing creative writing - of any genre, not exclusively literary works - increased substantially between 1982 and 2002" (Reading 3).
Here are two examples of how to to cite the same source from a webpage without an author using a signal phrase or a complete in-text citation, followed by the Works Cited entry.
Signal Phrase: According to the article “Bhakti Poets,” female bhakti poets “faced overwhelming challenges through their rejection of societal norms and values.”
In-Text Citation: The female bhakti poets “faced overwhelming challenges through their rejection of societal norms and values” (“Bhakti Poets”).
Works Cited Entry: “Bhakti Poets: Introduction.” Women in World History, Center for History and New Media, chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/modules/lesson1/lesson1.php?s=0. Accessed 20 Sept. 2020.
|Type of Citation||In-Text Citation|
Parentheses with author last name and page number
Example: (Smith 34).
Both author's last names, separated with the word "and" along with the page number
Example: (Smith and Bart 34).
|Three or more authors||
Name the first author listed and follow it with "et al." (this is Latin for "and others")
Example: (Smith et al. 34).
|Two of more works by same author||
Reference the works in signal phrase and author in parentheses
Example: "Title of work" and "Title of Second work" (Smith).
|Organization or Government||
Put the name in parentheses, and shorten known or long names
Example: (CDC 34).
Reference the source with shortened title in quotations
Example: ("This is America" 34).
Sometimes, you'll encounter a source in your research that may quote or reference someone else's work that is useful to you. In that case, you will have to follow an alternative citation format because the work you are cited was actually cited by the author, first. Up to this point, you have learned how to cite a "Direct Source" and below you will learn how to cite an "Indirect Source."
Definition of an Indirect source: A source cited within another source.
Primary source: The source in which the quote was originally from.
Indirect source: The source that cited a quote from another work.
Primary source: Marcel Proust | Indirect source: Wolf
As Marcel Proust reminisced: "There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those . . . we spent with a favourite book (qtd. in Wolf 6).
Works Cited Page
In the works cited page you would include the citation of the indirect source and not the primary source, unless you are able to find the primary source of the quote. If you find the primary source, you can include that in your Works Cited.
Source: MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.