How To Use MLA Citation Style In Text
MLA Style for Academic Work
The Modern Language Association of America (MLA) style is only one citation method.
The guiding principles of the MLA Handbook (8th ed.) include:
- Common features (e.g., author, title) found in most sources in a citation
- More than one correct way to create a citation for a source
- Providing useful citations for readers by giving enough information to locate the source
Whenever you use a quotation, summarize, or paraphrase someone else’s ideas or research, you must cite the sources. Your in-text citations and Works Cited list should correlate. In-text citations include two parts:
- Usually the surname of the author(s), but sometimes a title, whichever is the first element in your Works Cited list,
- The page number (if available or other location indicator) appears in parenthesis (parenthetical citation) after the author’s name if the name is not included in your sentence.
Example: (Laurence 167)
Citing Short Quotations, (four typed lines or fewer in your text)
- When you incorporate a direct quotation into a sentence, you must surround it with quotation marks and cite its source.
Citing Long Quotations (more than four typed lines in your text)
Keep your quotations a brief as possible, but if the quotation extends beyond four lines of type in your text, use the following format:
- Use a block format in which all lines of the quotation are indented a half-inch from the left margin,
- Do not use quotation marks around the long quotation,
- Generally, the quotation should be introduced with a complete sentence followed by a colon
- Include a parenthetical citation after the closing punctuation (usually a period).
Citing Paraphrases or Summaries
Cite the author in your work every time you use someone else’s information.
Citing Indirect Sources
- If one of your sources quotes, paraphrased or mentions another source and you wish to use this information in your work, you must cite the original source as well as the source in which you found it.
- In your parenthetical citation, write qtd. in (quoted in) before the citation for the source you accessed.
- Whenever possible try to find the original source.