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  • In-Text Citations in MLA Format

    Using Exact Quotes:

    When you quote directly from a source, enclose the quoted section in quotation marks. Add an in-text citation at the end of the quote with the author name and page number:

    What if you are using an internet source?

    When you quote from electronic sources that do not provide page numbers (like Web pages), cite the author name only.

    "Three phases of the separation response: protest, despair, and detachment" (Garelli).

    In-text citations are the little parentheses that you use in your paper in order to tell the reader who you are citing. 

    So for example:  Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263). 

    Or, you could phrase it as : Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" ( Wordsworth 263).

    In this example you can see two things: who the author is (Wordsworth) and the page number.  These two simple things, combine with the Works Cited page, tell the reader exactly where to find the original quote.  

    Let's look at another example:  "Standardized tests ineffectively measure student intelligence" (Brown 42). 

    In this example we see that the author's last name is in the parenthesis.  That is because the quote doesn't clearly indicate who the writer is.  If you don't set up the sentence to indicate who the writer is, you should include that information in the parenthesis. 

    Let's look at one last example:  "Proponents of milk say calcium and other vitamins and minerals in milk make it an important part of a healthful diet for people of all ages. They argue that milk’s benefits include weight loss, strengthening bones, improved cardiovascular and oral health, cancer prevention, and relief of PMS"  ("Is Milk Heatlthy for Humans" par. 2).

    In this example the reader knows two things: one, there isn't an author because instead of citing the author the writer cites the article title ("Is Milk Healthy For Humans").  And, we also know that the writer is using an online source because instead of citing the page number, the writer is using the paragraph number (par. 2).  When you are using an online source, always make sure your in-text citations use the paragraph number, because online sources print out differently. 

    Using Signal Phrases

    Keep things interesting for your readers by switching up the language and placement of your signal phrases.


    • In the words of professors Greer and Dewey, “…”
    • As sociology scholar Janice Kinsey has noted, “…”
    • Creative Commons, an organization that helps internet users understand and create copyright for materials, reports that “…”
    • “…,” writes Deidre Tyrell, “…” “…,” attorney Sanderson claims. Kyles and Sanderson offer up a compelling point: “…”

    Paraphrasing in MLA format

    When you write information or ideas from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion.

    Paraphrasing from one page: Include a full in-text citation with the author name and page number (if there is one). For example: Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt 65).

    Paraphrasing from Multiple Pages: If the paraphrased information/idea is from several pages, include them. For example: Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt 50, 55, 65-71).