How do I use MLA in-text citations?

CWI Writing Center: MLA In-text Citations

In-text citations provide the reader with source information to give the original author credit and identify where the information came from. The correct use of in-text citations also helps to AVOID PLAGIARISM. Please refer to the MLA Handbook (8th edition) or the MLA website at style.mla.org for more details on specifics and variations of in-text citations.

Basic Format:

  • Parenthetical citations have parentheses ( ) with the author’s last name(s) and page number with no commas.
  • The period of the sentence comes after the parenthetical citation, except in a block quote.

Signal Phrases:

  • Use words such as (“According to”, “Research suggests”, or “Smith stated”).
  • Indicate that the words coming next will be from a source.
  • May introduce the author of the source.

Note: In college-level writing, it is best to use a signal phrase to introduce sources. Please see our Quote Sandwich handout for more information.

Possible Changes to Format:

Possible Changes to Format

Example of an Author Mentioned in the Signal Phrase:

Example of an Author Mentioned in the Signal Phrase

Example of an Author Mentioned in the Parenthetical Reference:

Example of an Author Mentioned in the Parenthetical Reference

Note: In general, the first word of the in-text citation should match the first word of the Works Cited entry.

Preview of a Works Cited Entry

Example of a Block Quote, a Direct Quote More Than 4 Typed Lines in Length:

Example of A Block Quote

Basic Citation Styles

For more information, Contact the Writing Center.