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MLA 9th Edition

The basics

Two pieces of information are needed for the in-text (or parenthetical) citation in MLA Style: 

  1. author's name(s)
  2. page number(s) where you got the information.

Example: (Baron 194)

If your source does not have page numbers (e.g. websites or other electronic material), simply list the author's name in your citation.

Example: (Baron)

Direct quotes

When you quote directly from any source (website, book, article, etc.), place quotation marks around the text and place the author's last name and the page number in parentheses at the end of your sentence. The period goes after the citation. For example, a sentence like this might appear in your paper:

Reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (Baron 194).

Or, you could also use the author name and page number in a sentence, like this:

According to Naomi Baron, reading is "just half of literacy. The other half is writing" (194).

Single author with page number(s)

Place the author’s last name and page number in parenthesis. If the in-text citation lands at the end of a sentence, place the period outside the parenthesis.

Example: Single page (Hennessy 81).

Example: Multiple pages (Hennessy 81-82).

Two authors

If the source being cited has two authors, include both of the authors' last names in the in-text citation, connected by the word "and"

Example: (Dorris and Erdrich 23).

Three or more authors

If the source has three or more authors, include the first author’s last name followed by et al. (abbreviation for Latin phrase meaning "and others").

Example: (Burdick et al. 42).

No author

If the source has no author, your in-text citation will use the title of the source that starts your works cited entry. The title may appear in the sentence itself or, abbreviated, before the page number in parenthesis. Follow the same format as the Works Cited entry; i.e. if the title is in quotes or italics in the Works Cited entry, then it should match – quotes or italics – in the in-text entry. Exclude any initial article in the title such as a, an, the. Titles can be abbreviated as long as it’s clear which title on the Works Cited page you’re referring to.

Example: (“Noon” 508).

Example: (Faulkner’s Novels 25).

Note: Most credible sources have an author. However, in a some cases - mainly webpages - there may be no author listed.

No page number(s)

If the source has no page number, you can simply leave it out.

Example: (Jones).


Another option it to cite another specific part of the text. Some examples include: 

In prose

In parenthetical citations

chapter 2

(ch. 2)

section 7

(sec. 7)

paragraph 3

(para. 3)

scene 4

(sc. 4)

line 110

(line 110)

Note: Most web sources do not include page numbers (unless you're accessing an article using an online journal or database). PDFs almost always have page numbers.

Block quotations

For quotes that are longer than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, use a block quotation. 

On a new line, indent the quote 1/2 inch from the margin and maintain double spacing. You do not need to include quotation marks around the quote, since your indentation shows your reader this is a longer quote.

If you are quoting verse (poetry, etc.) use the line breaks found in the original text.



In The Great Gatsby, Nick often describes the feeling of being watched by the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg: 

But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic--their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose. (Fitzgerald 23)


Note: When using block quotations, the in-text citation comes after the period.


Image in a Book or E-Book with page number: 

Adoration of the Mystic Lamb is the central panel of an altarpiece painted by Hubert and Jan van Eyck for the Cathedral of Saint Bavo, in Ghent (Connolly, fig. 1, p. 102).


Image in a Book or E-Book without page number:

One political cartoonist working during the 1919 Paris peace talks depicted Bolshevism as an aggressive, predatory hawk, and the peace treaty as an unknowing dove (MacMillan, fig. 6).


When the author's name is included in the sentence, you omit it from the in-text citation.

In describing the influences of Byzantine and Levantine silks on Anglo-Saxon art, C. R. Dodwell includes an image from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting two beasts eating their own tales (fig. 45, p. 169).