Skip to Main Content

MLA Guide 9th ed.

In-text Citations

What are In-text Citations?

If you quote, paraphrase or summarize a source in your paper, it needs to be cited in the text. An in-text citation contains just enough information to help the reader find the source on the Works Cited page. A typical in-text citation will include what comes first on the Works Cited page such as author or title, followed by exact page number of the information used.

Typical In-text Citation with 1 Author and Page Number(s)

Rule: Place the author’s last name and page number in parenthesis. If the in-text citation lands at the end of a sentence, place the period outside the parenthesis.

Example 1: (Hennessy 81).

Example 2: (Hennessy 81-82).

No Page Numbers

Rule: If a source has no page numbers, omit the page number. Keep in mind, most internet sources do not include pages.

Example 1: (“Everyday Victims”)

Example 2: (Jones)

No Author / Anonymous Author

Rule: If the source has no author, your in-text citation will use the title of the source that starts your works cited entry. The title may appear in the sentence itself or, abbreviated, before the page number in parenthesis. Follow the same format as the Works Cited entry; i.e. if the title is in quotes or italics in the Works Cited entry, then it should match – quotes or italics – in the in-text entry. Exclude any initial article in the title such as a, an, the. Titles can be abbreviated as long as it’s clear which title on the Works Cited page you’re referring to.

Example 1: (“Noon” 508)

Example 2: (Faulkner’s Novels 25)

2 Authors

Rule: If the entry on the Works Cited page begins with the names of two authors, include both last names in the in-text citation, connected by and.

Example: (Dorris and Erdrich 23)

3+ Authors

Rule: If the source has three or more authors, include the first author’s last name followed by et al.

Example: (Burdick et al. 42)

Author Mentioned in the Sentence

Rule: If author is mentioned in the sentence, include only the page number(s) in parenthesis. Do not repeat the author’s name.

Example: Hennessy tells how Auden’s writing was popular with contemporary readers and critics (81).