7Books

Books, Culture and Society

How to Cite Sources Inside the Text in MLA Style

When citing sources in an MLA Style thesis or dissertation, you'll need to follow two different formats. In-text citations are references to sources that you make within the main text of your paper.

How to Cite Sources Inside the Text in MLA Style

Brian Scott is a professional freelance writer with over a decade of experience. He recommends using an MLA formatting software to correctly format and write papers in MLA Style, available at http://www.masterfreelancer.com/mla-writing-style-software.php

When citing sources in an MLA Style thesis or dissertation, you’ll need to follow two different formats. In-text citations are references to sources that you make within the main text of your paper. “Works Cited” is a separate page at the end of your paper where you list every reference source you used in the paper.

In a formal paper, it’s important to cite every source you use. You need to let your readers know that you’ve performed the proper research to support the position you’ve taken in the paper. Readers who want more information than what you’ve provided in your paper can use the cited sources. It’s important to credit the researchers who provided the information in your paper.

With this article, we’ll focus on MLA rules for citing sources inside the text.

I. BASIC RULES

With MLA, an in-text citation is sometimes called a parenthetical citation. Essentially, any time you paraphrase another person’s or source’s ideas, or any time you use a direct quotation in your paper, you need to cite that source.

By citing the source within the text, you give your readers a chance to find the source material themselves, should they want more information about a particular quote or idea.

II. IN-TEXT CITATIONS

When creating an in-text citation, you want to give your readers an easy method for finding the source material. You only need enough information in the in-text citation to give the reader an easy method of finding the source in the Works Cited list at the end of your paper. Because the Works Cited list will be in alphabetical order, listed by the author’s last name first, you only need to list the author’s last name for your in-text citation. That should be enough information for your readers to find the source on the Works Cited page.

Here are some examples for in-text citations, based on particular sources and circumstances.

A) One source, author known.

List the author of the source and the page number or numbers that you used in your reference. Place the source material inside parentheses immediately after the material you need to source. Do not separate the author’s name and the page number with any punctuation.

* Some economists have indicated that technological advancements spur economic growth (Johnson 16).

B) One source, author unknown.

In addition to the page number, list a shortened title for the source, if you don’t know the author’s name. If the title is for a long work, list it in italics. If the title is for a short work, list it inside quotation marks. Again, use parentheses for the in-text citation.

* Some economists have indicated that technological advancements spur economic growth (“2007 Economic Growth Report” 16).

C) Two or more sources, authors known.

Follow the same rules as you used with one source, but you’ll need to separate each source with a semicolon.

* Some economists have indicated that technological advancements spur economic growth (Johnson 16; Jones 37-38; Smith 2).

D) Multiple works, same author.

If you have more than one source from the same author, just add a shortened title for the particular source you’re using to the author’s name in the in-text citation. Separate the author’s name and the title with a comma.

* Some economists have indicated that technological advancements spur economic growth (Johnson, “2007 Economic Growth Report” 16).

E) Multiple authors, same last name.

You might end up with sources from two different authors who share the same last name. In that case, you may use the author’s first initial, first and middle initials, first name and middle initial, or first and middle names. Use as much of the first and middle names as required so it’s easy for your readers to find the source in the Works Cited list.

* Some economists have indicated that technological advancements spur economic growth (B. Johnson 16).

F) Indirect source.

If you have a quote taken from an indirect source, include the phrase “qtd. in” with the in-text citation. List the actual source where you found the quote in the in-text citation and in the Works Cited list.

* Jones has mentioned that “technological advancements spur economic growth” (qtd. in Johnson 16).

G) Other option.

If it makes more sense in your writing to list the author in the actual text, you can simply list the page number inside the parentheses for the in-text citation.

* The economist Johnson has indicated that technological advancements spur economic growth (16).

Although MLA Style allows you to use the author’s name in the text of the sentence you’re citing, you are not allowed to use the page number or numbers in the sentence. The page number should always appear in parentheses.

Related Articles


How to Cite Sources Inside the Text in Chicago Manual of Style
Any time you write a formal paper, such as a thesis or dissertation, it's important that you properly cite any sources that you use. Any time you use an idea that was introduced in another place -- whether it's a book, a Web site, or another scholarly paper -- you must give credit to the original author, by citing the source.

How to Cite Sources in MLA Style
The Works Cited page in MLA Style is important to your thesis or dissertation because it gives readers a list of sources you used to reach your conclusions. A well-researched paper will have high-quality sources.

How to Cite Non-Traditional Sources in MLA Style
In some respects, writing a dissertation or thesis in MLA Style was easier two or three decades ago, at least when it came to compiling the Works Cited list. You might not have used a computer for writing or the Internet for locating more sources, but at least you didn't have to cite many non-traditional sources in a Works Cited page.

APA Style and MLA Style : The Differences Between Paper Format Styles
When writing a dissertation or thesis, your instructor probably will require you to follow one of two popular style formats for your paper, APA Style or MLA Style. Although both formats are similar, they do have subtle differences that you'll need to know. Generally, you select the style to follow based on the subject matter of the paper you're writing.

How Do I Write in MLA Style?
Following MLA Style shouldn't detract from the overall work of your paper, however. It takes some work to achieve the proper MLA format, but it's important to not allow the paper format to prevent you from focusing on writing the paper. These tips will give you some additional help to follow MLA Style with your paper.

Looking For More Information?

Make sure to explore other articles in the Writing category or contact us to suggest a website or a service to review.

Available In AustraliaService Availability: Most of the services mentioned by this website are available in Australia. These include Victoria (Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, Bendigo, Shepparton-Mooroopna, Melton), NSW (Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Orange, Central Coast, Wagga Wagga), Queensland (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Thuringowa, Toowoomba), South Australia (Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Whyalla), Western Australia (Perth, Albany, Port Hedland, Broom, Karratha, Mandurah, Geraldton, Bunbury), Northern Territory (Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine), Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) and Tasmania (Hobart, Launceston).

Tell us what you think!

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.