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Citation & Documentation

MLA In-Text Citations

In-text citations are short, unobtrusive references that point the reader to the location and corresponding entry on the Works Cited list. 

They should begin with whatever is listed first for that entry  - the author's last name/name of organization author, or the name of the work. 

If you mention the author's name in the signal phrase, you can put the name of the work inside the citation. 

If use the name of work, you may create a shortened title, especially if the title is long.

If the source is paginated (has more that one page), simply add the page number after the initial half.  This concept should also be applied, when necessary, to things like poems, bible verses, or plays, but with lines and verses instead. 

(line 4), (Hamlet 1.535-37), (New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 1.5) or (Rev. 4.6-8.)

Remember, the most important thing is that your reader knows where exactly that piece of information, quote, or idea is from. With your in-text citations, any reader should know which source gave you that information and where it is. 

Direct Quotes & Paraphrasing

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).


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. 

Reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (Baron 194). One might even suggest that reading is never complete without writing.

Baron, Naomi S. “Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media.” PMLA, vol. 128, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 193–200. 


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). 

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). 


According to the article “Bhakti Poets,” female bhakti poets “faced overwhelming challenges through their rejection of societal norms and values.”

The female bhakti poets “faced overwhelming challenges through their rejection of societal norms and values” (“Bhakti Poets”).

“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.

Basic Citation Styles

Type of Citation In-Text Citation
One author Signal or parentheses with author and page number
Two authors Name both in signal or parentheses
Three or more authors Name first author followed by et al.
Two of more works by same author Reference the works in signal phrase and author in parentheses 
Organization or Government Name in Signal or parentheses, shorten known or long names
Author Unknown Reference the source with shortened title in quote

Indirect Quotes

Indirect source Format

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.

Example:

Primary source: Marcel Proust

Indirect source: Wolf

In-text Citation:

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.


Sources: MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
                MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.