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MLA Citation Help

Writing In-Text Citations

"The goals of the in-text citation are brevity and clarity, guiding the reader as unobtrusively as possible to the correspdoning entry in the works-cited list."

MLA Handbook, Eighth Edition

Refer to the examples below to review ways of creating an in-text citation.

Material Type

In-Text Citation Example

Author's name in text

According to Naomi Baron, reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (194). One might suggest that reading is never complete without writing.

Author's name in reference

Reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (Baron 194).

Two authors' names in reference

The dataset includes information on the entire population of children who have dropped out of North Carolina’s public schools (Stearns and Glennie 37).

Quotation found in indirect or "secondhand" source

Samuel Johnson admitted that Edmund Burke was an "extraordinary man" (qtd. in Boswell 2: 450).

Punctuation in the In-Text Citation

No punctuation is used in a basic parenthetical citation with MLA 8th Edition, rather it consists only of a number or of an author's last name with a number. There are instances in which a complex citation may require punctuation for clarity.

See the following examples:

Citations of multiples sources in a single parenthesis
are separated by semicolons

(Baron 194; Jacobs 55)

Citations of different locations in a single source
are separated by commas

(Baron 194, 200, 197-98)

Multiple works by same author will be joined by and if there are two titles
(shorten titles if necessary)

(Glück, "Ersatz Thought" and "For")

If the number in a citation is not a page or line number,
it is proceeded by an identifying label and separated by a comma

(Chan, par. 41)

(Rowley, ch. 2)

See page 126 of the MLA Handbook for more information regarding punctuation in in-text citations.

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