Help
myBYUH

MLA Reference: In-Text Citations


MLA In-Text Citations

FORMATS

  1. The Standard Citation
  2. Using the Author's Name In-Text and only the Page Number in Parenthesis
  3. Citing More Than One Work By the Same Author
  4. No Author: Using Titles in In-Text Citations
  5. No Page Numbers
  6. Special Page Numbers such as Scriptures, A Play, or a Multivolume Work
  7. Citing the U.S. Constitution or U.S. Code
  8. Quoting a Quote in a Work
  9. Citing More Than One Work in the Same Citation
  10. Block Quotes
  11. How to Cite a String of Quotes from the Same Source
  12. Introduction

    Whenever you include a quote, paraphrase, or summary from an outside source in your text, you will need to give that source credit. Failing to do so is plagarism, and is a serious offense at BYU-Hawaii, as at many other institutions. There are two ways to cite a source within the text. One way is to use an introductory phrase, such as: "According to Dr. Hook," or "John Locke states." The other is to conclude the quote or paraphrase with a parenthetical citation, which generally includes the author's last name followed by a page number, such as: (Hook 5) or (Locke 6). For summaries that span more than one sentence, it is conventional to use both methods, marking the beginning of the summary with an introductory phrase and concluding it with a parenthetical citation.

    A rule of thumb that is good to keep in mind is that the information that will go into a parenthetical citation is usually whatever item of information is listed as the first part of the citation entry on the Works Cited page. If the entry begins with an author's name, then the author's last name will be in the parentheses. If it begins with the title of a work, then that title (or a shortened version) will go into the parentheses.

    The idea behind in-text citations is to allow the reader to easily associate borrowed words with an entry on the Works Cited page. If the parenthetical citation for a quote is (Locke 6), then there should be an entry on the Works Cited page that begins with Locke, John. Or if the citation reads, (Quack, Oink, Moo 7), then there should be an entry on the Works Cited page that begins with, Quack, Oink, Moo: The Authoritative Guide to Farm Animals, Their Sounds, and Their Meanings.

    This section will give a series of examples and explanations for the many different ways to cite a source in-text.

    The Standard Order

    When blending a quote into your text, the parenthetical citation will go after the last quotation mark but before the concluding punctuation mark, like so:

    "Quote" (Author #). 
    "Quote" (Author #),
    "Quote" (Author #)!

    The exception is when the concluding punctuation mark is essential to the meaning of the cited text. This most often happens when quoting questions. In this case, place the question mark before the closing quotation mark, the paranthetical citation after the quotation mark, and a period after the citation.

    "Any questions?" (Author #). 

    EXAMPLES

    The Standard Citation

    The standard form for an MLA citation is the Author's last name and the page number you found the quote on.

    (Last Name #)
    (Last Name and Last Name #)
    (Last Name, Last Name, and Last Name #)
    (Last Name et al. #)

    Direct Quote:

    "Slowly, like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, and
    approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound, Lennie laid the mouse in his hand"
    (Steinbeck 9).

    Paraphrase:

    Corregidor was laced with tunnels that protected the wounded and served as air raid shelters; they were
    stocked with enough provisions for 10,000 people to endure a six-month siege (Wagner et al. 500).

    Using the Author's Name In-Text and only the Page Number in Parenthesis

    According to Last Name, ". . ." (pg#)

    In his article, "Patriot Games," Peter Beinart defines patriotism as "love and devotion to country" (28).
    The day following the fall of the Berlin Wall, Robert J. McCartney of The Washington Post wrote, "In an
    extraordinary sight near the Brandenburg Gate along the city's dividing line, scores of young West and East 
    Germans climbed to the top of the wall to greet each other and celebrate. Some used small hammers and chisels to chip away at the wall. Fireworks exploded over the Kurfuerstendamm, West Berlin's main boulevard, in an 
    impromptu street festival that lasted into the early hours of the morning" (A1).

    Citing More Than One Work By the Same Author

    If you cite more than one work by the same author in your text, then you will also need to include the title of the book either in the sentence or within the parentheses.

    (Last Name, Title pg#)
    According to Last Name, ". . ." (Title pg#)
    According to Last Name in Title, ". . ." (pg#).

    	"At night I'd cry angrily, telling myself that I was a fool. I vowed many times to give up any hope
    of romance with Simon—as if it were possible to will myself not to be in love" (Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses 69).
    	In the chapter "Two Kinds," Tan describes the lofty expectations of Jing-Mei Woo's mother: "At first 
    my mother thought I could be a Chinese Shirley Temple. We'd watch Shirley's old movies on TV as though they 
    were training films. My mother would poke my arm and say, 'Ni kan'—You watch" (The Joy Luck Club 132).
    	Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club begins with the story of Jing-Mei Woo, who is expected to take her 
    mother's place at the Joy Luck Club after her mother has passed away from an aneurysm (19).

    No Author: Using Titles in In-text Citations

    One common case that researchers may have trouble with is citing a web page without an author and without a page number. If you include the title of the web page within the text, then no paranthetical citation is required.

    ". . ." (Title pg#).
    The main argument of the article "Title" is ". . ." (pg#).

    The origin of the word from the Oxford English Dictionary is, "Something produced or brought from 
    abroad" ("Foreigner" 52).
    One of the Oxford English Dictionary's definitions of "Foreigner" is, "Something produced or brought from 
    abroad" (52).

    No Page Numbers

    One common case that researchers may have trouble with is citing a web page without an author and without a page number. If you include the title of the web page within the text, then no parenthetical citation is required.

    ". . ." (Last Name)
    According to Last Name, ". . ." [No Citation Required]

    "The 122nd Championships came to the most magnificent of conclusions in near-darkness on Centre Court as 
    Spain's Rafael Nadal brought the five-time champion Roger Federer crashing to earth in the longest, and quite possibly the finest, men's final in the history of The All England Club" (Atkin).
    In his review of the 2008 Wimbledon Championships, Robert Atkin wrote, "The 122nd Championships came to the 
    most magnificent of conclusions in near-darkness on Centre Court as Spain's Rafael Nadal brought the five-time champion Roger Federer crashing to earth in the longest, and quite possibly the finest, men's final in the 
    history of The All England Club." 

    Special Page Numbers such as a Play, Scriptures, or a Multivolume Work

    In-text citations are meant to help readers find cited passages as quickly as possible from their respective sources. For certain sources, it does not make sense to list them by page numbers. For example, it is more appropriate to cite passages from plays by act, scene, and line. Some essays are likewise numbered by line and paragraph. Scriptural works are commonly cited by book chapter and verse. Here are some general MLA guidelines for citing these sources in-text. Like with other citations, any information stated in-text or that can logically be implied contextually does not need to be included in the parentheses.

    Play: (Last Name, "Title" pg#; act.scene.lines)

    Multivolume Work: ". . ." (Last Name Volume:pg #)

    Work divided by volumes and chapters: (Last Name pg #; vol. #, ch. #)

    Work divided by books and chapters: (Last Name pg#; bk. #, ch. #)

    Work divided by chapters and sections: (Last Name pg#; ch. #, sec. #)

    Scripture: (Bible Type, Abbrev. Name of Book. Chapter.Verse)

    "Et tu, Brute?— Then fall, Caesar!" (Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar" 122; 3.1.76)
    "'We shall never agree about him,' cried Emma; 'but that is nothing extraordinary'" (Austin 140; vol. 1, 
    ch. 18).
    "In this Light then, or rather in this Darkness, I would have the Reader to consider these initial Essays. And after this Warning, if he shall be of Opinion, that he can find enough of Serious in other Parts of this 
    History, he may pass over these, in which we profess to be laboriously dull, and begin the following Books, at the second Chapter" (Fielding 191; bk. V, ch.II).
    "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it 
    shall be given him" (King James Bible, James 1:5).

    Citing the U.S. Constitution or U.S. Code

    (US Const., art. #, sec. #)
    (title number USC section number, year)

    The power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian 
    tribes" (US Const., art. 1, sec. 8) has been a focal point in the discussion of the federal relationship 
    between states and the national government.
    "Notwithstanding section 541 of this title, an individual debtor may exempt from property of the estate the 
    property listed in either paragraph (2) or, in the alternative, paragraph (3) of this subsection" (11 USC 522,
    1978).

    Quoting A Quote in a Work

    Use the single quotation marks (the apostrophe (') key on the keyboard) to enclose the inner-quote. Use double quotation marks to enclose the main quote. On a side note, when using only part of a quote put in an ellipsis (. . .) where the missing part would be. When putting in the ellipsis, make sure to put spaces in between each dot. Before citing the main source of the quote within the parentheses, type "qtd. in".

    "Graham Wilson explains, ' . . . the impact of globalization on each country is not necessarily the same, just as a strom passing over a forest has a different impact on different trees'" (qtd. in Gerston 143).

    Citing More Than One Work in the Same Citation

    Separate works with semi-colons (;)

    (Last Name pg. #; Last Name pg. #; Last Name pg. #)

    Recent studies measuring the running speed of the American Chortle have shown its speed to be about average 
    (Ramsey 55; Liau 113; Speer 23) 

    Block Quotes

    Blockquotes are any quote that takes up a full four lines or more. General formatting rules can be found on the General Formatting page. Blockquotes do not have quotation marks enclosing them, and any quotes within the blockquote will use double quotation marks instead of singles. The paranthetical citation of a blockquote, unlike with integrated quotes, actually goes after the final punctuation mark.

    It is also widely assumed that self-esteem functions as a trait, that is, it is stable across time within
    individuals. Self-esteem is an extremely popular construct within psychology, and has been related to
    virtually every other psychological concept or domain, including personality (e.g., shyness), behavioral
    (e.g., task performance), cognitive (e.g., attributional bias), and clinical concepts (e.g., anxiety and
    depression). While some researchers have been particularly concerned with understanding the nuances of the
    self-esteem construct, others have focussed on the adaptive and self-protective functions of self-esteem.
    (MacArthur and MacArthur)

    How to Cite a String of Quotes from the Same Source

    For summaries that span more than one sentence, it is conventional to both mark the beginning of the summary with an introductory phrase and conclude it with a parenthetical citation. This lets the reader know where the borrowed information begins and ends. If all of the information is on the same page or on adjacent pages, then a single citation at the end of the string is sufficient. If the quotes are on different pages, then list the page number(s) in parentheses after each quote. This can also apply to lines in a poem or song, or to verses of scripture.

    According to [Author's Name], ". . ." and ". . ." However, he later adds ". . ." (pg. #).
    According to [Author's Name], ". . ." (pg. #) and ". . ." (pg. #) However, he later adds ". . ." (pg. #)

    Will Hutton states that peasants in Imperial China were "genuinely more prosperous and peaceful" than their
    European counterparts, "But throughout the nineteenth century [the Chinese political and social system] became more and more dysfunctional; and by the early twentieth century the Chinese system was obviously the
    principal obstacle to economic and political modernization" (39).
    Exodus 15:3 identifies the Lord of the Old Testament as "a man of war," but the Lord of the New Testament,
    Jesus Christ, is prophesied to be "the Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6).