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MLA Citations: In-Text Citations

What is an In-Text Citation?

In-text citations are used within the body of your paper to briefly document the source of your information.  Your reader can use them to locate the full citation in the Works Cited list at the end of your paper. 

A typical in-text citation includes the last name of the author(s) followed by the page number enclosed in parentheses.  For example:

"Here is a direct quote" (Smith 12).

Remember:

  1. An in-text citation should be present whenever you quote OR paraphrase a source.  
  2. All in-text citations must correspond to a citation on your Works Cited list. 

Basic Format

Both options are correct:

One recent scholar asserts that reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (Baron 194).

 

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

 

TIP:  The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase.  It should NOT appear in both places. The page number should always appear in the parentheses.

Both options are correct:

Jay Lemery and Paul Auerbach note that doctors have not yet adequately explained the effects climate change will have on human health (4-5).

 

Others note that doctors have not yet adequately explained the effects climate change will have on human health (Lemery and Auerbach 4-5).

 

TIP:  When citing a source with two authors, include both last names.  Always write out the word "and", do not use an ampersand (&).

Both options are correct:

According to Jecker et al., "vaccines should be distributed globally, with priority to frontline and essential workers worldwide" (316).

 

Scholars have argued that "vaccines should be distributed globally, with priority to frontline and essential workers worldwide" (Jecker et al. 316).

 

TIP:  When citing a source with three or more authors, list only the first author's last name, and replace the additional names with et al.

More Examples

Both options are correct:

According to a study by the World Health Organization, pneumonia is a "major cause of death in children under five years of age, and the leading infectious cause of death in children under five years" (29).

 

A recent study showed that pneumonia is a "major cause of death in children under five years of age, and the leading infectious cause of death in children under five years" (World Health Organization 29).

 

TIP: The Corporate Author name included in your in-text citation should match the name at the beginning of the full citation in the Works Cited list.

Both options are correct:

As Tara Parker-Pope notes, "small changes in your eating habits can lower your risk for many of the diseases associated with aging."

 

A frequently shared news story claims that "small changes in your eating habits can lower your risk for many of the diseases associated with aging" (Parker-Pope). 

 

TIP:  When a source has no page numbers, no parenthetical citation is needed if your text mentions the author's name (or whatever comes first in the Works Cited list entry).