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Citing Sources in MLA Style: In-text Citations

How to cite sources using MLA style

In-text Citations (also called Parenthetical Citations)

Whenever you use someone else's ideas in your own work, whether it be a direct quote or paraphrase, you must cite that source in your text. Your in-text citation should include the author's last name and the page number where the quote or information can be found. These brief parenthetical references should guide your reader to the source in your works cited list.

One author

This point has already been argued (Tannen 178).

If you use the author's last name in the sentence, just include the page number.

Tannen has argued this point (178).

Two authors

Use all last names

The authors claim that surface reading looks at what is “evident, perceptible, apprehensible in texts” (Best and Marcus 9).

Best and Marcus argue that one should read a text for what it says on its surface, rather than looking for some hidden meaning (9).

Three or more authors

Use the first author's last name and "et al.":

The authors claim that one cause of obesity in the United States is government-funded farm subsidies (Franck et al. 327).

According to Franck et al, “Current agricultural policies in the U.S. are contributing to the poor health of Americans” (327).

For sources without authors use a short form of the title that starts the citation entry on the Works Cited page.

We see so many global warming hotspots in North America likely because this region has "more readily accessible climatic data and more comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change . . ." ("Impact of Global Warming" 6).

For sources without page numbers include in the text or in a parenthesis enough information for the reader to find the corresponding entry in the works-cited list- usually the author's last name.

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

According to Garelli, there are "three phases of the separation response: protest, despair, and detachment."