Skip to Main Content

MLA Citations: MLA In-Text Citations

Information on citing sources in Modern Language Association format.

Creating In-Text Citations

To avoid plagiarism, you must cite your sources when using them in your papers. Each citation must appear in two places - a brief mention in the body of your paper (the in-text citation) and a full citation in the list of references at the end (the Works Cited citations).

In-text citations are brief, and generally include only the surname of the author and page number.

1 Author: In order to be successful, a woman writer "must have money and a room of her own" (Woolf 4).
2 Authors: Statistics show that the proportion of women who work "nearly doubled from 1950 to 2005" (Rudman and Glick 179).
3+ Authors: Silent women, it is argued, "see blind obedience to authorities as being of utmost importance for keeping out of trouble and insuring their own survival" (Belenky et al. 28).
No Author: Woolf and her husband "established Hogarth Press, their own publishing house operated out of their home" ("Virginia Woolf").
No Page Number: The Bloomsbury Group, of which Virginia Woolf was a member, "openly rejected the old Victorian ideals from their childhoods" (Brooks).


There are also many ways to integrate the quote and brief citation information into the body of your paper:

Parenthetical Citation (Citation parts are all placed at the end of the quote): In some respects, the "retrieval of the human, and of human kinship across the ages, is seen as the novelist’s duty towards the past" (Ellis 173).
Narrative Citation (Citation parts, such as the author's name, are integrated with the sentence): Virginia Woolf argues that "Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman" (49).
Paraphrase (The content is summarized, rather than quoted): If Shakespeare had an equally talented sister, she would likely have drowned herself for lack of social support in Renaissance times (Woolf 48).

Notes on Formatting In-Text Citations

  • In-text citations should be integrated into the research paper, not left as stand-alone sentences.
  • Include the author's last name and page number with every quote, generally in parentheses after the quote.


  • 1 author: Cite the surname.
  • 2 authors: Use "and" to separate their surnames.
  • 3+ authors: Cite the first surname plus the words "and colleagues." Leave the rest of the authors out of the in-text citation.
  • No author: Use a shortened form of the title. Shorten the title to the first few words if it's long. Use italics or quotes depending on how the title appears in the Works Cited page.

Page Number:

  • Do not separate the page number from the author with a comma or any other markings.
  • If your quote spans 2+ pages, include the page range. (4-5)
  • No page number: Leave it out of the in-text citation. Use lines, paragraph numbers, or chapters only if they explicitly appear in the work: (par. 3).
  • Video or audio recording: Use hours, minutes, and seconds: (00:43:24-28).

A few more general notes:

  • Quotation: Words are copied exactly as written in the original text with quotation marks to separate them.
  • Paraphrase: A summary of an author's idea in your own words. Quotation marks are not necessary, but an in-text citation is still required.
  • Block quotation: If a quotation is more than 4 lines long, do not use quotation marks. Instead, indent the entire quote 0.5" from the left margin and include the in-text citation in parentheses at the end. Use these sparingly.