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MLA Style Guide Ninth Edition

In-Text Citations

In-text citations are brief, unobtrusive references that direct readers to the works-cited-list entries for the sources you consulted and, where relevant, to the location in the source being cited. An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that directs your reader to the entry in the works-cited list. Thus, it begins with whatever comes first in an entry: the author's name or the title (or description) of the work. The citation can appear in your prose or in parentheses.

Citation in prose

Naomi baron broke new ground on the subject.

Parenthetical citation

At least one researcher has broken new ground on the subject (Baron).

Work cited

Baron, Naomi S. "Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media." PMLA, vol. 138, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 193-200.

 

Author

If the works-cited-list entry begins with an author's name and you are citing the author in your prose, give the full name at first mention and the surname alone thereafter.

If the entry in the works-cited list begins with the names of two authors, include both names in your citation. If you are mentioning the authors for the first time in your prose, include both first names and surnames. In a parenthetical citation connect the two name with and.

(Doris and Erdirch, 23)

If the source has three or more authors, the entry in the works-cited list begins with the first author's name followed by et al.

(Burdick et al. 42)

Citation in prose

Others, like Jay Lemery and Paul Auerbach, note that doctors have not yet adequately explained the effects of climate change will have on human health (4-5). Lemery and Auerbach's book focuses on the human, not the environmental, risks.

Parenthetical citation (surnames only)

Others note that doctors have not yet adequately explained the effects climate change will have on human health (Lemery and Auerbach 4-5).

Work cited

Lemery, Jay, and Paul Auerbach. Enviromedics: The impact of Climate Change on Human Health. Rowman and Littlefield, 2017.

 

Corporate authors

For concision, when a corporate author (i.e., an organization) is named in a parenthetical citation, shorten the name to the shortest noun phrase. For example, the American Historical Association consists entirely of a noun phrase (a noun, association, preceded by two modifiers) and would not be shortened. By contrast, the Modern Language Association of America can be shortened to its initial noun phrase, Modern Language Association. If possible give the first noun and any preceding adjectives, while excluding any initial article: a, an, the.

Citation in prose

According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, the "speed of warming is more than ten times that at the end of an ice age, the fastest known natural sustained change on a global scale"(9).

Parenthetical citation

According to one study of climate change., the "speed of warming is more than ten times that at the end of an ice age, the fastest known natural sustained change on a global scale" (National Academy 9).

Work cited

National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society. Climate Change: Evidence and Causes: Update 2020. National Academy Press, 2020,
          https://doi.org/10.17226/25733.PDF download.

 

Page numbers and other divisions of works

When you cite pages from a paginated work, use the same style of numerals as in the source—whether roman (traditionally used in the front matter or books), arabic, or a specialized style, like alphanumberic (e.g., A1).  Use arabic numerals in all your other references to divisions of works (volumes, sections, books, chapters, acts, scenes, etc.), even if the numbers appear otherwise in the source. Do not precede a page number with p. or pp., as you do in the list of works cited.

(Drabble xi-xii)

(Werner 622)

Richards A11)

 

Quotation

A parenthetical citation that follows a quotation is directly placed after the closing quotation mark. The author's name may appear in the text itself or, abbreviated, before the page number in the parenthesis.

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

If a quotation starts at the bottom of one page and continues onto the next page, include the page span in your parenthetical citation.

Citation

The narrator smugly asserts that liars have the fullest understanding of the world around them. "For just a moment I saw the truth in her eyes, and the truth was that she hated me for what she thought i was, the agent of an oppressive regime" (Nguyen 9-10).

Work cited

Nguyen, Viet Thanh. The Sympathizer. Grove Press, 2015.

 

Title

When an entry in the works-cited list begins with the title of a work, the title may appear in prose or in parentheses.

Citation in prose

Reading at Risk notes that despite an apparent decline in reading during the same period, " the number of people doing creative writing—of any genre, not exclusively literary works—increased substantially between 1982 and 2002" (Reading 3).

Parenthetical citation

Despite an apparent decline in reading during the same period, "the number of people doing creative writing—of any genre, not exclusively literary works—increased substantially between 1952 and 2002" (Reading 3).

Work cited

Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. National Endowment for the Arts, June 2004.

 

Volume numbers for multivolume nonperiodical works

If you borrow from only one volume of a multivolume work that does not have a unique title, the number of the volume is specified in the entry in the works-cited list and does not need to be included in the in-text citation.

Citation

"In a few short months," Rampersad explains, "Hughes had become virtually the house poet of the most important journal in black America" (48).

Works cited

Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes. 2nd ed., vol. 1, Oxford UP, 2002.

If you borrow from more than one volume, include a volume number and a page number in the in-text citation, separating the two with a colon and a space. It is not necessary to use the words volume and page or their abbreviations. The functions of the numbers in such a citation are understood.

Citation

"The contributions to criticism of semantics, sociology, psychoanalysis, and anthropology are largely new, " writes Wellek, acknowledging that the problems addressed by criticism in the modern era have historical specificity, too (1: 5). Ultimately, he asserts, "An evolutionary history of criticism must fail. I have come to this resigned conclusion" (5: xxii).

Work cited

Wellek, René. A History of Modern Criticism, 1750-1950. Yale UP, 1955-92. 8 vols.

 

Time stamps for video and audio recordings

For works in time-based media, such as audio and video recordings, cite the relevant time or time span if it is displayed. Give the numbers of the hours, minutes, and seconds as displayed in your media player, separating the numbers with colons, with no space on either side.

Citation

Buffy's promise that "there's not going to be any incidents like at my old school" is obviously not one that she can keep ("Buffy" 00:03:16-17).

Work cited

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Unaired Pilot 1996." YouTube, uploaded by Brian Stowe, 28 Jan. 2012, www.youtube.com?watch?v=WR3J-v7QXXw.

 

 

 

Punctuation in the parenthetical citation

No punctuation is used between the author's name or the title (or description) and a page number.

(Baron 194)

Citations of multiple sources in a single paragraph 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)

 

Additional information related to in-text citations can be found in section 6 (pp. 227-252) of The MLA Handbook. Also check Purdue's OWL page

https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_in_text_citations_the_basics.html