Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2020     Views: 8590

In-text citations (also known as parenthetical citations) give brief details that reference the original source within the text of a document.  According to the MLA Handbook 8th ed. "in-text citations composed of the element that comes first in the entry in the works-cited list (usually the author's name) and a page number (54)."

Source with one author

Include the author's last name and page number (if available). 

For example:

(Goulimari 125)

Goulimari argues that ... (203).

Corresponding Works Cited entry:

Goulimari, Pelagia. Literary Criticism and Theory: From Plato to Postcolonialism. Routledge, 2014.

Sources with two authors

List the authors' last names in the sentence and put the page number in parentheses at the end. Alternatively, list the authors' last names and the page number in parentheses at the end. For example:

Russell and Winterbottom state in their introduction that .... (11).

The authors state that ... (Russell and Winterbottom 11).

Corresponding Works Cited entry:

Russell, D. A., and Michael Winterbottom. Classical Literary Criticism. Oxford UP, 2008.

Sources with three or more authors

For works with three or more authors, include the last name of the first author followed by et al (see the MLA Handbook p. 116 for more information).

For example:

Marscot et al. discuss the ... (29).

The authors disagree with a hypothesis proposed by .... (Marscot et al. 14).

Corresponding Works Cited entry:

Marscot, Michel et al. Applied Social Sciences. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

More Information

For further help please contact the Wolak Learning Center at 603.645.9606 (Campus Students) and Online Writing Center at 866.721.1662 (Online Students) for assistance with in-text citations.

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please refer to the MLA Handbook or speak to your professor about the appropriate way to cite sources in MLA style.


Modern Language Association of America. (2016). MLA Handbook. New York: Modern Language Association of America.

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