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MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics
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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
Guidelines for referring to the works of others in your text using MLA style are covered throughout the MLA Handbook and in chapter 7 of the MLA Style Manual . Both books provide extensive examples, so it's a good idea to consult them if you want to become even more familiar with MLA guidelines or if you have a particular reference question.
Basic in-text citation rules
In MLA Style, referring to the works of others in your text is done using parenthetical citations . This method involves providing relevant source information in parentheses whenever a sentence uses a quotation or paraphrase. Usually, the simplest way to do this is to put all of the source information in parentheses at the end of the sentence (i.e., just before the period). However, as the examples below will illustrate, there are situations where it makes sense to put the parenthetical elsewhere in the sentence, or even to leave information out.
- The source information required in a parenthetical citation depends (1) upon the source medium (e.g. print, web, DVD) and (2) upon the source’s entry on the Works Cited page.
- Any source information that you provide in-text must correspond to the source information on the Works Cited page. More specifically, whatever signal word or phrase you provide to your readers in the text must be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of the corresponding entry on the Works Cited page.
In-text citations: Author-page style
MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. For example:
Both citations in the examples above, (263) and (Wordsworth 263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:
Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads . Oxford UP, 1967.
In-text citations for print sources with known author
For print sources like books, magazines, scholarly journal articles, and newspapers, provide a signal word or phrase (usually the author’s last name) and a page number. If you provide the signal word/phrase in the sentence, you do not need to include it in the parenthetical citation.
These examples must correspond to an entry that begins with Burke, which will be the first thing that appears on the left-hand margin of an entry on the Works Cited page:
Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method . University of California Press, 1966.
In-text citations for print sources by a corporate author
When a source has a corporate author, it is acceptable to use the name of the corporation followed by the page number for the in-text citation. You should also use abbreviations (e.g., nat'l for national) where appropriate, so as to avoid interrupting the flow of reading with overly long parenthetical citations.
In-text citations for sources with non-standard labeling systems
If a source uses a labeling or numbering system other than page numbers, such as a script or poetry, precede the citation with said label. When citing a poem, for instance, the parenthetical would begin with the word “line”, and then the line number or range. For example, the examination of William Blake’s poem “The Tyger” would be cited as such:
The speaker makes an ardent call for the exploration of the connection between the violence of nature and the divinity of creation. “In what distant deeps or skies. / Burnt the fire of thine eyes," they ask in reference to the tiger as they attempt to reconcile their intimidation with their relationship to creationism (lines 5-6).
Longer labels, such as chapters (ch.) and scenes (sc.), should be abbreviated.
In-text citations for print sources with no known author
When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name, following these guidelines.
Place the title in quotation marks if it's a short work (such as an article) or italicize it if it's a longer work (e.g. plays, books, television shows, entire Web sites) and provide a page number if it is available.
Titles longer than a standard noun phrase should be shortened into a noun phrase by excluding articles. For example, To the Lighthouse would be shortened to Lighthouse .
If the title cannot be easily shortened into a noun phrase, the title should be cut after the first clause, phrase, or punctuation:
In this example, since the reader does not know the author of the article, an abbreviated title appears in the parenthetical citation, and the full title of the article appears first at the left-hand margin of its respective entry on the Works Cited page. Thus, the writer includes the title in quotation marks as the signal phrase in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader directly to the source on the Works Cited page. The Works Cited entry appears as follows:
"The Impact of Global Warming in North America." Global Warming: Early Signs . 1999. www.climatehotmap.org/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2009.
If the title of the work begins with a quotation mark, such as a title that refers to another work, that quote or quoted title can be used as the shortened title. The single quotation marks must be included in the parenthetical, rather than the double quotation.
Parenthetical citations and Works Cited pages, used in conjunction, allow readers to know which sources you consulted in writing your essay, so that they can either verify your interpretation of the sources or use them in their own scholarly work.
Author-page citation for classic and literary works with multiple editions
Page numbers are always required, but additional citation information can help literary scholars, who may have a different edition of a classic work, like Marx and Engels's The Communist Manifesto . In such cases, give the page number of your edition (making sure the edition is listed in your Works Cited page, of course) followed by a semicolon, and then the appropriate abbreviations for volume (vol.), book (bk.), part (pt.), chapter (ch.), section (sec.), or paragraph (par.). For example:
Author-page citation for works in an anthology, periodical, or collection
When you cite a work that appears inside a larger source (for instance, an article in a periodical or an essay in a collection), cite the author of the internal source (i.e., the article or essay). For example, to cite Albert Einstein's article "A Brief Outline of the Theory of Relativity," which was published in Nature in 1921, you might write something like this:
See also our page on documenting periodicals in the Works Cited .
Citing authors with same last names
Sometimes more information is necessary to identify the source from which a quotation is taken. For instance, if two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors' first initials (or even the authors' full name if different authors share initials) in your citation. For example:
Citing a work by multiple authors
For a source with two authors, list the authors’ last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:
Corresponding Works Cited entry:
Best, David, and Sharon Marcus. “Surface Reading: An Introduction.” Representations , vol. 108, no. 1, Fall 2009, pp. 1-21. JSTOR, doi:10.1525/rep.2009.108.1.1
For a source with three or more authors, list only the first author’s last name, and replace the additional names with et al.
Franck, Caroline, et al. “Agricultural Subsidies and the American Obesity Epidemic.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine , vol. 45, no. 3, Sept. 2013, pp. 327-333.
Citing multiple works by the same author
If you cite more than one work by an author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it from the others. Put short titles of books in italics and short titles of articles in quotation marks.
Citing two articles by the same author :
Citing two books by the same author :
Additionally, if the author's name is not mentioned in the sentence, format your citation with the author's name followed by a comma, followed by a shortened title of the work, and, when appropriate, the page number(s):
Citing multivolume works
If you cite from different volumes of a multivolume work, always include the volume number followed by a colon. Put a space after the colon, then provide the page number(s). (If you only cite from one volume, provide only the page number in parentheses.)
Citing the Bible
In your first parenthetical citation, you want to make clear which Bible you're using (and underline or italicize the title), as each version varies in its translation, followed by book (do not italicize or underline), chapter, and verse. For example:
If future references employ the same edition of the Bible you’re using, list only the book, chapter, and verse in the parenthetical citation:
John of Patmos echoes this passage when describing his vision (Rev. 4.6-8).
Citing indirect sources
Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited within another source. For such indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source you actually consulted. For example:
Note that, in most cases, a responsible researcher will attempt to find the original source, rather than citing an indirect source.
Citing transcripts, plays, or screenplays
Sources that take the form of a dialogue involving two or more participants have special guidelines for their quotation and citation. Each line of dialogue should begin with the speaker's name written in all capitals and indented half an inch. A period follows the name (e.g., JAMES.) . After the period, write the dialogue. Each successive line after the first should receive an additional indentation. When another person begins speaking, start a new line with that person's name indented only half an inch. Repeat this pattern each time the speaker changes. You can include stage directions in the quote if they appear in the original source.
Conclude with a parenthetical that explains where to find the excerpt in the source. Usually, the author and title of the source can be given in a signal phrase before quoting the excerpt, so the concluding parenthetical will often just contain location information like page numbers or act/scene indicators.
Here is an example from O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.
WILLIE. (Pleadingly) Give me a drink, Rocky. Harry said it was all right. God, I need a drink.
ROCKY. Den grab it. It's right under your nose.
WILLIE. (Avidly) Thanks. (He takes the bottle with both twitching hands and tilts it to his lips and gulps down the whiskey in big swallows.) (1.1)
Citing non-print or sources from the Internet
With more and more scholarly work published on the Internet, you may have to cite sources you found in digital environments. While many sources on the Internet should not be used for scholarly work (reference the OWL's Evaluating Sources of Information resource), some Web sources are perfectly acceptable for research. When creating in-text citations for electronic, film, or Internet sources, remember that your citation must reference the source on your Works Cited page.
Sometimes writers are confused with how to craft parenthetical citations for electronic sources because of the absence of page numbers. However, these sorts of entries often do not require a page number in the parenthetical citation. For electronic and Internet sources, follow the following guidelines:
- Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the citation (e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
- Do not provide paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browser’s print preview function.
- Unless you must list the Web site name in the signal phrase in order to get the reader to the appropriate entry, do not include URLs in-text. Only provide partial URLs such as when the name of the site includes, for example, a domain name, like CNN.com or Forbes.com, as opposed to writing out http://www.cnn.com or http://www.forbes.com.
Miscellaneous non-print sources
Two types of non-print sources you may encounter are films and lectures/presentations:
In the two examples above “Herzog” (a film’s director) and “Yates” (a presentor) lead the reader to the first item in each citation’s respective entry on the Works Cited page:
Herzog, Werner, dir. Fitzcarraldo . Perf. Klaus Kinski. Filmverlag der Autoren, 1982.
Yates, Jane. "Invention in Rhetoric and Composition." Gaps Addressed: Future Work in Rhetoric and Composition, CCCC, Palmer House Hilton, 2002. Address.
Electronic sources may include web pages and online news or magazine articles:
In the first example (an online magazine article), the writer has chosen not to include the author name in-text; however, two entries from the same author appear in the Works Cited. Thus, the writer includes both the author’s last name and the article title in the parenthetical citation in order to lead the reader to the appropriate entry on the Works Cited page (see below).
In the second example (a web page), a parenthetical citation is not necessary because the page does not list an author, and the title of the article, “MLA Formatting and Style Guide,” is used as a signal phrase within the sentence. If the title of the article was not named in the sentence, an abbreviated version would appear in a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence. Both corresponding Works Cited entries are as follows:
Taylor, Rumsey. "Fitzcarraldo." Slant , 13 Jun. 2003, www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/fitzcarraldo/. Accessed 29 Sep. 2009.
"MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL , 2 Aug. 2016, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. Accessed 2 April 2018.
To cite multiple sources in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon:
Time-based media sources
When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference. For example: (00:02:15-00:02:35).
When a citation is not needed
Common sense and ethics should determine your need for documenting sources. You do not need to give sources for familiar proverbs, well-known quotations, or common knowledge (For example, it is expected that U.S. citizens know that George Washington was the first President.). Remember that citing sources is a rhetorical task, and, as such, can vary based on your audience. If you’re writing for an expert audience of a scholarly journal, for example, you may need to deal with expectations of what constitutes “common knowledge” that differ from common norms.
The MLA Handbook describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the handbook does not describe, making the best way to proceed can be unclear.
In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of MLA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard MLA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite.
You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source. For example, Norquest College provides guidelines for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers —an author category that does not appear in the MLA Handbook . In cases like this, however, it's a good idea to ask your instructor or supervisor whether using third-party citation guidelines might present problems.
Frequently asked questions
How do i cite a source with multiple authors in mla.
If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.
Frequently asked questions: MLA Style
In MLA style , footnotes or endnotes can be used to provide additional information that would interrupt the flow of your text.
This can be further examples or developments of ideas you only briefly discuss in the text. You can also use notes to provide additional sources or explain your citation practice.
You don’t have to use any notes at all; only use them to provide relevant information that complements your arguments or helps the reader to understand them.
No, you should use parenthetical MLA in-text citations to cite sources. Footnotes or endnotes can be used to add extra information that doesn’t fit into your main text, but they’re not needed for citations.
If you need to cite a lot of sources at the same point in the text, though, placing these citations in a note can be a good way to avoid cluttering your text.
According to MLA format guidelines, the Works Cited page(s) should look like this:
- Running head containing your surname and the page number.
- The title, Works Cited, centered and in plain text.
- List of sources alphabetized by the author’s surname.
- 1-inch margins.
- Hanging indent applied to all entries.
The MLA Works Cited lists every source that you cited in your paper. Each entry contains the author , title , and publication details of the source.
No, in an MLA annotated bibliography , you can write short phrases instead of full sentences to keep your annotations concise. You can still choose to use full sentences instead, though.
Use full sentences in your annotations if your instructor requires you to, and always use full sentences in the main text of your paper .
If you’re working on a group project and therefore need to list multiple authors for your paper , MLA recommends against including a normal header . Instead, create a separate title page .
On the title page, list each author on a separate line, followed by the other usual information from the header: Instructor, course name and number, and submission date. Then write the title halfway down the page, centered, and start the text of the paper itself on the next page.
Usually, no title page is needed in an MLA paper . A header is generally included at the top of the first page instead. The exceptions are when:
- Your instructor requires one, or
- Your paper is a group project
In those cases, you should use a title page instead of a header, listing the same information but on a separate page.
When an online source (e.g. web page , blog post) doesn’t list a publication date , you should instead list an access date .
Unlike a publication date, this appears at the end of your MLA Works Cited entry, after the URL, e.g. “A Complete Guide to MLA Style.” Scribbr , www.scribbr.com/category/mla/. Accessed 28 Mar. 2021 .
For offline sources with no publication date shown, don’t use an access date—just leave out the date.
The level of detail you provide in a publication date in your Works Cited list depends on the type of source and the information available. Generally, follow the lead of the source—if it gives the full date, give the full date; if it gives just the year, so should you.
Books usually list the year, whereas web pages tend to give a full date. For journal articles , give the year, month and year, or season and year, depending on what information is available. Check our citation examples if you’re unsure about a particular source type.
In an MLA Works Cited list , the names of months with five or more letters are abbreviated to the first three letters, followed by a period. For example, abbreviate Feb., Mar., Apr., but not June, July.
In the main text, month names should never be abbreviated.
In your MLA Works Cited list , dates are always written in day-month-year order, with the month abbreviated if it’s five or more letters long, e.g. 5 Mar. 2018.
In the main text, you’re free to use either day-month-year or month-day-year order, as long as you use one or the other consistently. Don’t abbreviate months in the main text, and use numerals for dates, e.g. 5 March 2018 or March 5, 2018.
In most standard dictionaries , no author is given for either the overall dictionary or the individual entries, so no author should be listed in your MLA citations.
Instead, start your Works Cited entry and your MLA in-text citation with the title of the entry you’re citing (i.e. the word that’s being defined), in quotation marks.
If you cite a specialist dictionary that does list an author and/or overall editor, these should be listed in the same way as they would for other citations of books or book chapters .
Some source types, such as books and journal articles , may contain footnotes (or endnotes) with additional information. The following rules apply when citing information from a note in an MLA in-text citation :
- To cite information from a single numbered note, write “n” after the page number, and then write the note number, e.g. (Smith 105n2)
- To cite information from multiple numbered notes, write “nn” and include a range, e.g. (Smith 77nn1–2)
- To cite information from an unnumbered note, write “un” after the page number, with a space in between, e.g. (Jones 250 un)
If you cite multiple Shakespeare plays throughout your paper, the MLA in-text citation begins with an abbreviated version of the title (as shown here ), e.g. ( Oth. 1.2.4). Each play should have its own Works Cited entry (even if they all come from the same collection).
If you cite only one Shakespeare play in your paper, you should include a Works Cited entry for that play, and your in-text citations should start with the author’s name , e.g. (Shakespeare 1.1.4).
No, do not use page numbers in your MLA in-text citations of Shakespeare plays . Instead, specify the act, scene, and line numbers of the quoted material, separated by periods, e.g. (Shakespeare 3.2.20–25).
This makes it easier for the reader to find the relevant passage in any edition of the text.
When an article (e.g. in a newspaper ) appears on non-consecutive pages (e.g. starting on page 1 and continuing on page 6), you should use “pp.” in your Works Cited entry, since it’s on multiple pages, but MLA recommends just listing the first page followed by a plus sign, e.g. pp. 1+.
In an MLA style Works Cited entry for a newspaper , you can cite a local newspaper in the same way as you would a national one, except that you may have to add the name of the city in square brackets to clarify what newspaper you mean, e.g. The Gazette [Montreal].
Do not add the city name in brackets if it’s already part of the newspaper’s name, e.g. Dallas Observer .
MLA doesn’t require you to list an author for a TV show . If your citation doesn’t focus on a particular contributor, just start your Works Cited entry with the title of the episode or series, and use this (shortened if necessary) in your MLA in-text citation .
If you focus on a particular contributor (e.g. the writer or director, a particular actor), you can list them in the author position , along with a label identifying their role.
It’s standard to list the podcast’s host in the author position , accompanied by the label “host,” in an MLA Works Cited entry. It’s sometimes more appropriate to use the label “narrator,” when the podcast just tells a story without any guests.
If your citation of the podcast focuses more on the contribution of someone else (e.g. a guest, the producer), they can be listed in the author position instead, with an appropriate label.
MLA recommends citing the original source wherever possible, rather than the source in which it is quoted or reproduced.
If this isn’t possible, cite the secondary source and use “qtd. in” (quoted in) in your MLA in-text citation . For example: (qtd. in Smith 233)
If a source is reproduced in full within another source (e.g. an image within a PowerPoint or a poem in an article ), give details of the original source first, then include details of the secondary source as a container. For example:
When you want to cite a PowerPoint or lecture notes from a lecture you viewed in person in MLA , check whether they can also be accessed online ; if so, this is the best version to cite, as it allows the reader to access the source.
If the material is not available online, use the details of where and when the presentation took place.
In an MLA song citation , you need to give some sort of container to indicate how you accessed the song. If this is a physical or downloaded album, the Works Cited entry should list the album name, distributor, year, and format.
However, if you listened to the song on a streaming service, you can just list the site as a container, including a URL. In this case, including the album details is optional; you may add this information if it is relevant to your discussion or if it will help the reader access the song.
When citing a song in MLA style , the author is usually the main artist or group that released the song.
However, if your discussion focuses on the contributions of a specific performer, e.g. a guitarist or singer, you may list them as author, even if they are not the main artist. If you’re discussing the lyrics or composition, you may cite the songwriter or composer rather than a performer.
When a source has no title , this part of your MLA reference is replaced with a description of the source, in plain text (no italics or quotation marks, sentence-case capitalization).
Whenever you refer to an image created by someone else in your text, you should include a citation leading the reader to the image you’re discussing.
If you include the image directly in your text as a figure , the details of the source appear in the figure’s caption. If you don’t, just include an MLA in-text citation wherever you mention the image, and an entry in the Works Cited list giving full details.
In MLA Style , you should cite a specific chapter or work within a book in two situations:
- When each of the book’s chapters is written by a different author.
- When the book is a collection of self-contained works (such as poems , plays , or short stories ), even if they are all written by the same author.
If you cite multiple chapters or works from the same book, include a separate Works Cited entry for each chapter.
If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .
If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).
If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:
- Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
- The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
You must include an MLA in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book , movie , website , or article ).
MLA Style is the second most used citation style (after APA ). It is mainly used by students and researchers in humanities fields such as literature, languages, and philosophy.
If information about your source is not available, you can either leave it out of the MLA citation or replace it with something else, depending on the type of information.
- No author : Start with the source title.
- No title : Provide a description of the source.
- No date : Provide an access date for online sources; omit for other sources.
A standard MLA Works Cited entry is structured as follows:
Only include information that is available for and relevant to your source.
Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.
This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .
The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style , but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals , newspapers , websites , or any other publication. Use italics for the title of the source where the article was published. For example:
Use the same formatting in the Works Cited entry and when referring to the article in the text itself.
In MLA style , book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example:
The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.
The title of a part of a book—such as a chapter, or a short story or poem in a collection—is not italicized, but instead placed in quotation marks.
In MLA style citations , format a DOI as a link, including “https://doi.org/” at the start and then the unique numerical code of the article.
DOIs are used mainly when citing journal articles in MLA .
The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition , published in 2021.
This quick guide to MLA style explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.
The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator .
Search by book title, page URL, or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.
MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman , since it’s easy to read and installed on every computer. Other standard fonts such as Arial or Georgia are also acceptable. If in doubt, check with your supervisor which font you should be using.
To create a correctly formatted block quote in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:
- Hit Enter at the beginning and end of the quote.
- Highlight the quote and select the Layout menu.
- On the Indent tab, change the left indent to 0.5″.
Do not put quotation marks around the quote, and make sure to include an MLA in-text citation after the period at the end.
To format a block quote in MLA:
- Introduce the quote with a colon and set it on a new line.
- Indent the whole quote 0.5 inches from the left margin.
- Place the MLA in-text citation after the period at the end of the block quote.
Then continue your text on a new line (not indented).
In MLA style , if you quote more than four lines from a source, use MLA block quote formatting .
If you are quoting poetry , use block quote formatting for any quote longer than three lines.
An MLA in-text citation should always include the author’s last name, either in the introductory text or in parentheses after a quote .
If line numbers or page numbers are included in the original source, add these to the citation.
If you are discussing multiple poems by the same author, make sure to also mention the title of the poem (shortened if necessary). The title goes in quotation marks .
In the list of Works Cited , start with the poet’s name and the poem’s title in quotation marks. The rest of the citation depends on where the poem was published.
If you read the poem in a book or anthology, follow the format of an MLA book chapter citation . If you accessed the poem online, follow the format of an MLA website citation .
Only use line numbers in an MLA in-text citation if the lines are numbered in the original source. If so, write “lines” in the first citation of the poem , and only the numbers in subsequent citations.
If there are no line numbers in the source, you can use page numbers instead. If the poem appears on only one page of a book (or on a website ), don’t include a number in the citation.
To quote poetry in MLA style , introduce the quote and use quotation marks as you would for any other source quotation .
If the quote includes line breaks, mark these using a forward slash with a space on either side. Use two slashes to indicate a stanza break.
If the quote is longer than three lines, set them off from the main text as an MLA block quote . Reproduce the line breaks, punctuation, and formatting of the original.
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You can find all the citation styles and locales used in the Scribbr Citation Generator in our publicly accessible repository on Github .
MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: In-text Examples
- Works Cited entries: What to Include
- Title of source
- Title of container
- Publication date
- Supplemental Elements
- Book with Personal Author(s)
- Book with Organization as Author
- Book with Editor(s)
- Parts of Books
- Government Publication
- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Multivolume Works
- Newspaper Article
- Other Formats
- Websites, Social Media, and Email
- About In-text Citations
- In-text Examples
- How to Paraphrase and Quote
- Citing Poetry
- Formatting Your MLA Paper
- Formatting Your Works Cited List
- MLA Annotated Bibliography
- MLA 9th Edition Quick Guide
- Submit Your Paper for MLA Style Review
Author Page Number System
MLA Handbook, 8th Edition uses the author page number style for in-text citations in this format: (AuthorLastName 43).
Example: (Hemingway 13)
When there is no author, the author is unknown, or the author is not the first element listed in the corresponding Works Cited citation, use the first element listed in the citation in the in-text citation instead. In most causes this will be the title. After this include the page reference. If the title is long, use a shortened version of the title.
Example: ("A New Deal" 121) or ( The Open Box 23)
Chart of In-Text Examples
Give the author's name and the page number or page range in parentheses. If the author's name is stated in the sentence, always place the page number in parentheses at the next natural pause in the text, usually at the end of the sentence.
Alexander notes that race was a critical topic in the 1968 presidential race (22-29).
Give both names separated by the word and when including the names in the text of a sentence or in parentheses.
Wilson and Schlosser state the results...(47).
(Wilson and Schlosser 47).
Three or more authors
When mentioning the authors in the text, give all of the authors' names or list the first author and write "and others". For the parenthetical citation and Works Cited citation, give the first author's name followed by et al.
James and others claim that social customs prevalent in the southern United States have...(157-65).
Social customs in the southern United States have become...(James et al. 157-65).
Multiple works by the same author
Include the author's name, then a comma, then a shortened version of the title, followed by the page reference.
(Dickens, David Copperfield 347).
Multiple citations by the same author in one sentence
When you have two citations for the same author in one sentence, usually quotes from two different pages, you can combine them in one citation at the end of the sentence like this: (Ibsen 1700, 1704).
Authors with the same surname
When authors of two separate works in your Works Cited list have the same surname, include the first initial of the author you are referencing in the in-text citation.
(H. Smith 34).
Multiple works by different authors in the same citation
Include the last name and page reference for the first author, then a semi-colon, followed by the last name and page reference for the next author.
(Smith 93; Fayett 131-32).
Organizations as authors/Corporate author
List the corporate author followed by the page reference. Abbreviate words like Department.
(American Library Association 17).
Organizations as authors/Corporate author that is also the Publisher
When the author is an organization or corporation that is also the publisher, the Works Cited citation will begin with the title, instead of the author. Corresponding in-text citations should use an abbreviated version of the title and the page reference.
( Publication 3).
If the author is a government or government body, include the administrative layers listed in the Works Cited entry separated by commas. Use abbreviations for common words like Department (as "Dept.").
(United States, Congress, House, Committee on the Judiciary 7).
Works without authors
If the Works Cited entry begins with a title because there is no author, use the title followed by the page reference in the in-text citation. Use an abbreviated version for long titles. To abbreviate a title, use as few words as possible, dropping articles and prepositions, but keeping the first word of the title as alphabetized in your Works Cited. The abbreviated title should be a noun phrase, so likely the first noun in the title along with any adjectives that come before it. Titles of an article, chapter, or web page should be placed in double quotation marks. Titles of a periodical, book, entire website, report, or brochure should be italicized.
ARTICLE title ("New Deal" 121).
BOOK title ( Open Box 18).
LONG book title ( Handbook of Geriatric Therapy 26).
Works with Anonymous listed as author
Only list Anonymous as the author when Anonymous is given as the author's name. Follow that with the page reference. When the author's name is just unknown, skip the author element and move to the next element. Do not use the term Anonymous for works without authors listed.
Works without pagination
When citing a website or webpage (without page numbers), include the author's name only in the in-text citation.
(United States, Congress, House, Committee on the Judiciary)
If you are referring to an entire work, you may identify the work in your text using the author or title name from your Works Cited list rather than a parenthetical citation.
To Kill a Mockingbird was published over fifty years ago and is still read by many students today.
Multivolume works (one volume consulted)
If your Works Cited entry indicates only one volume of a multivolume set, include the page reference in the parenthetical citation. The volume is already specified in the Works Cited entry.
Norat, Gisela. "Isabel Allende: Chilean and American Novelist." Notable Latino Writers, vol. 1, Salem Press, 2006, pp. 27-34.
Multivolume works (more than one volume consulted)
If your Works Cited entry indicates more than one volume of a multivolume set, include both the volume and the page reference in the parenthetical citation to distinguish which volume is being referenced.
( Notable , 1: 27).
Notable Latino Writers, vol. 1, Salem Press, 2006, 3 vols.
Media with a timestamp and no page numbers
If your source has no page numbers but has a timestamp, such as a video or audio source, give the timestamp range instead of the page number ranges.
(Busari 00:02:30 - 00:03:15).
Busari, Stephanie. "How Fake News Does Real Harm." TED , Feb. 2017, www.ted.com/talks/stephanie_busari_how_fake_news_does_real_harm?language=en.
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- URL: https://irsc.libguides.com/mla
MLA Style Guide: 8th Edition: Multiple Authors
- Works Cited examples
- Direct Quote
- Block Quote
- Indirect Quote
- In-Text Exceptions
- Personal Communications
- MLA Handbook/Other Resources
IN-TEXT CITATIONS FOR A...
See examples below to learn about how multiple authors for one work are handled in MLA parenthetical citations.
Include author's last name and the page number (no comma before the page number) in parentheses:
Include last name of both authors connected by the word ‘and’, followed by the page number (no comma before the page number) in parentheses.
(Johnson and Tuite 110)
Three or more Authors
Include the first author’s last name followed by ‘et al.’ and the page number (no comma before the page number) in parentheses.
(Richard et al. 25)
- << Previous: Indirect Quote
- Next: No Author >>
- Last Updated: Jan 5, 2023 1:44 PM
- URL: https://research.wou.edu/mla
MLA Citation Style, 9th Edition
- MLA Style, 9th Edition
- In-text citations
- Books - Multiple Authors
- Books - with editors, translators, etc.
- Book - Essay, Short Story, Poem, etc
- Books - later editions
- Articles - Multiple Authors
- Articles - from scholarly journals
- Articles - from newspapers
- Articles - from magazines
- YouTube Video
- Television Shows
- Images from the Web
- Works Cited: Websites
- Works Cited: Social Media / Informal Communication
- Don't See an Example for Your Source?!
- Report an Error / Question
When a work has two authors, include them in the order they appear on the work, and invert the first author's name but write out the second author's name normally.
Works Cited Format (2 authors, scholarly journal):
In-Text Citation Examples:
Author within the text, direct quote:
Authors not in the text, direct quote:
Three or More Authors
Invert the first author's name add a comma and "et al."
Works Cited Format (3 or more authors, scholarly journal):
In-text Citation Examples:
Authors within the text, direct quote:
- << Previous: Works Cited: Articles in Periodicals
- Next: Articles - from scholarly journals >>
- Last Updated: Jul 28, 2022 7:44 AM
- URL: https://libguides.uwf.edu/mla9
All you need to know about citations
How to do in-text citations with multiple authors in MLA
The format of MLA's in-text citations varies depending on the number of authors. In the following sections you will learn how to format in-text citations in MLA style, with one author, two authors, and multiple authors.
One Author in-text citation in MLA
To format an in-text citation of a source with one author, include the author’s last name, and the page number or page range in parentheses. For example:
- (Wollstonecraft 26)
If the author’s name is already stated in the sentence, give only the page number or page range in parenthesis at the end of the sentence, or at the next natural pause. For example:
- As Wollstonecraft stated, “I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.” (26).
Two authors in-text citation in MLA
To format an in-text citation of a source with two authors, include the authors' last names separated by the word and , and the page number or page range in parentheses. For example:
- (King and Straub 93-101)
If the authors' names are already stated in the sentence, give only the page number or page range in parenthesis at the end of the sentence, or at the next natural pause. For example:
- Stephen King and Peter Straub shared the same opinion (93-101).
Three or more in-text citation in MLA
To format an in-text citation of a source with three or more authors, include the first author's last name followed by et al., and the page number or page range in parentheses. For example:
- (Sumantran et al. 106-114)
- Sumantran et al. carried out a research about the future of the car (106-114).
This citation style guide is based on the MLA Handbook (9 th edition).
More useful guides
- MLA Style Guide, 8th Edition: In-text Examples
- MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics
- How do I cite a source with multiple authors in MLA style (in-text)?
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- Harvard: how to cite a YouTube video
- Harvard: how to cite an annual report
- MLA: how to cite a Reddit post
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Penn State University Libraries
Mla quick citation guide.
- In-text Citation
- Citing Web Pages and Social Media
- Citing Articles
- Citing Books
- Other formats
- MLA Style Quiz
Using In-text Citation
Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your reference list.
MLA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the page number from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken, for example: (Smith 163). If the source does not use page numbers, do not include a number in the parenthetical citation: (Smith).
For more information on in-text citation, see the MLA Style Center .
Example paragraph with in-text citation
A few researchers in the linguistics field have developed training programs designed to improve native speakers' ability to understand accented speech (Derwing et al. 246; Thomas 15). Their training techniques are based on the research described above indicating that comprehension improves with exposure to non-native speech. Derwing and others conducted their training with students preparing to be social workers, but note that other professionals who work with non-native speakers could benefit from a similar program (258).
Derwing, Tracey M., et al. "Teaching Native Speakers to Listen to Foreign-accented Speech." Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, vol. 23, no. 4, 2002, pp. 245-259.
Thomas, Holly K. Training Strategies for Improving Listeners' Comprehension of Foreign-accented Speech. University of Colorado, Boulder, 2004.
Citing Web Pages In Text
Cite web pages in text as you would any other source, using the author if known. If the author is not known, use the title as the in-text citation.
Your in-text citation should lead your reader to the corresponding entry in the reference list. Below are examples of using in-text citation with web pages.
Entire website with author: In-text citation Parents play an important role in helping children learn techniques for coping with bullying (Kraizer).
Reference entry Kraizer, Sherryll. Safe Child. Coalition for Children, 2011, www.safechild.org.
Web page with no author: In-text citation The term Nittany Lion was coined by Penn State football player Joe Mason in 1904 ("All Things Nittany").
Reference entry "All Things Nittany." About Penn State. Penn State University, 2006, www.psu.edu/ur/about/nittanymascot.html.
In MLA style the author's name can be included either in the narrative text of your paper, or in parentheses following the reference to the source.
Author's name part of narrative:
Gass and Varonis found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic (163).
Author's name in parentheses:
One study found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic (Gass and Varonis 163).
Group as author: (American Psychological Association 123)
Multiple works: (separate each work with semi-colons)
Research shows that listening to a particular accent improves comprehension of accented speech in general (Gass and Varonis 143; Thomas 24).
One study found that “the listener's familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (Gass and Varonis 85).
Gass and Varonis found that “the listener’s familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (85).
Note: For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, display quotations as an indented block of text (one inch from left margin) and omit quotation marks. Place your parenthetical citation at the end of the block of text, after the final punctuation mark.
In addition to awareness-raising, practicing listening to accented speech has been shown to improve listening comprehension. This article recommends developing listening training programs for library faculty and staff, based on research from the linguistics and language teaching fields. Even brief exposure to accented speech can help listeners improve their comprehension, thereby improving the level of service to international patrons. (O'Malley 19)
Works by Multiple Authors
When citing works by multiple authors, always spell out the word "and." When a source has three or more authors, only the first one shown in the source is normally given followed by et al.
One author: (Field 399)
Works Cited entry: Field, John. "Intelligibility and the Listener: The Role of Lexical Stress." TESOL Quarterly , vol. 39, no. 3, 2005, pp. 399-423.
Two authors: (Gass and Varonis 67)
Works Cited entry: Gass, Susan, and Evangeline M. Varonis. "The Effect of Familiarity on the Comprehensibility of Nonnative Speech." Language Learning , vol. 34, no. 1, 1984, pp. 65-89.
Three or more authors: (Munro et al. 70)
Works Cited entry: Munro, Murray J., et al. "Salient Accents, Covert Attitudes: Consciousness-raising for Pre-service Second Language Teachers." Prospect , vol. 21, no. 1, 2006, pp. 67-79.
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For a source with two authors, list the authors' last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation: Best and Marcus
MLA Style: Multiple Authors & Citations. ○ MLA format citations follow an author-page number method WITHOUT a comma separating the two.
If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first
When mentioning the authors in the text, give all of the authors' names or list the first author and write "and others". For the parenthetical
Multiple Authors · One Author. Include author's last name and the page number (no comma before the page number) in parentheses: · Two Authors.
When a work has two authors, include them in the order they appear on the work, and invert the first author's name but write out the second
When a work has two authors, include them in the order they appear on the work, and invert the first author's name but write out the second
To format an in-text citation of a source with two authors, include the authors' last names separated by the word and, and the page number or page range in
MLA Online Workshop · In-text citations made easy: APA 7th edition format · How to Reference Multiple Authors in APA Style · MLA Works Cited:
MLA Citation Book with 2 authors, 8th Edition · APA reference printed book with three authors · Why Citing and Referencing Is Important · MLA In
MLA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the page number from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken, for example: (Smith