Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: Oct 28, 2015     Views: 1627

In-text citations give brief details of the source of an idea or piece of information within the text of a document. In MLA style, the source information required in a parenthetical citation depends upon the source medium (print, web etc.) and the source's entry on the Works Cited page.

Any source information you provide in-text must match the source info on the Works Cited page. Specifically whatever you put first in the citation, must be the the same in-text. MLA in-text citations follow the Author-Page style, meaning the author's last name and the page number(s) of the quotation or paraphrase must appear in the text. Page numbers always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. 

For example: (Smith 15). 

You can also include the author's name in the sentence and put the page number in parentheses at the end. 

For a source with three or fewer authors, list the authors' last names and the page number in the text or parenthetical citation:

Hamilton, Lorice, and Todd argue that tougher gun control is not needed in the United States (76).

The authors state "Tighter gun control in the United States erodes Second Amendment rights" (Hamilton, Lorice and Todd 76).

For a source with more than three authors, use the first author's last name followed by et al. or all the last names and then the page number:

Soltau et al. counter Hamilton, Lorice and Todd's argument by noting the current spike in gun violence in the United States (4).

Another author counters Hamilton, Lorice and Todd's argument by noting the current spike in gun violence in the United States (Soltau et al. 4).

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate way to cite in-text in MLA style for your class assignments and projects.

More Information

For more information about citing in-text in MLA Style, please visit our MLA guide or check out the resources listed below. You may also want to contact the Learning Center (UC Students) or Online Writing Center (COCE Students) for additional information.

Video Tutorials: MLA (2009 Ed.) Research Paper Basics (Full Playlist)

Video tutorials on MLA style are available via the Atomic Learning database. Please note: you will be asked to log in using your SNHU email username and password. 

Web Resources:

These web resources may be helpful if you need assistance doing in-text citations in MLA Style. However, be sure to evaluate any sources you use--the Shapiro Library cannot vouch for the accuracy of information provided on external websites.

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