What Are In-Text Citations?
MLA tells us that, in-text citations are brief references within the body of your paper 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.
The citation can appear within your prose (your written text) or in parentheses.
You need to cite all direct quotations, paraphrased information, and summarized ideas.
What To Include in an In-Text Citation
- An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that directs your reader to the entry in the works-cited list. Therefore, it begins with what ever comes first in the entry: the author’s name or the title (or description) of the work.
- Most often, an MLA in-text citation begins with the author's last name followed by the page number: (Jones 14).
- If there is no author, use the "Title" of the source: ("Global Warming" 129).
- If page numbers are available, they MUST be listed. This often means examining the pdf version of database articles to locate page numbers.
- For most citations, the parenthetical reference is placed BEFORE the punctuation: Magnesium can be effective in treating PMS (Haggerty 42).
- Direct quotes longer than 4 lines are indented an extra 1/2 inch, the quotation marks are removed, and the parenthetical comes AFTER punctuation.
- If author name or title is used within the text, do NOT list it again within parenthesis. Haggerty notes magnesium is effective at relieving some symptoms of PMS (42).