MLA In-text Citation

MLA In-text Citation: In-text Citation or Parenthetical Citation is an important part of Essay in MLA Format. When you complete the Essay on Research Paper, you are required to prepare the Works Cited Page. On this page, you need to provide the details of source of the text you wrote in your Essay. Because it is a rule in MLA Format to give source of quotations or phrases you use at the end of Essay in List of Work Cited. The purpose of MLA In-text Citation is to reveal the fact to the reader (your professor or instructor), about the text & words that are used by you in the Essay.

At the time of preparing an Essay or Assignment Work in MLA Format, you have to use some books, novels and data from other media as source or reference. However, the MLA Format Rules also allow you to use the necessary sources to make the Essay impressive. But you must show MLA In-text Citation at the end of your Essay on a New Page with the title Works Cited. You should also mention the Last Name of the Author as well as the Page Number of Reference. When you refer overall contents (date/information) of a work, it is preferable to include the Author in text of your Essay rather than as reference in In-text Citation.

MLA In-text Citation: Examples

Here we present a few examples of MLA In-text Citation with different situations, these (examples) will be helpful to you in preparation of MLA In-text Citation on the Works Cited Page of your Essay in MLA Format. The MLA In-text Citation should be presented as follows.

When the Name of Author is not mentioned in the Sentence_

  • Most new research builds on past work done by others (Gibaldi 142).

When the Name of Author is already mentioned in the Sentence_

  • Gibaldi notes that most new research builds on past work done by others (142).

In above two examples, we have seen that you need to mention Author’s Last Name with Page Reference Number if the Name is not in the sentence written in your Essay. While in other case, you need to mentioned only Page Reference Number as Author’s Name is already mentioned the sentence.

When you wish to include more than one works in In-text Citation of one reference_

  • (Sly and Mason 105-6; Wilson 456)

The works are to be separated with Semi-colon, moreover multiple pages reference should be given range in the brackets as above.

MLA In-text Citation for Quotations

When the quote is less than five lines, integrate the quote into the body of your paper with proper use of quotation marks.

  • Laughter is a gift and “the most significant characteristic of the human mind” (deBono 55).

When the quote is more than five lines, do check that the quote fits within the body of your paper. Then indent quotation of 2.5 centimeters from Left Margin and apply Double Space.

Especially if you are pressed for time, it is so easy to fall into the trap of passing off another’s work as your own. You need to remember that:

Plagiarism is theft. Plagiarism is copying. Plagiarism is the failure to acknowledge borrowed material. Plagiarism is illegal, immoral and punishable (usually by failure, in some colleges by expulsion and in the business world by legal action). It is not plagiarism to present other people’s ideas in your essay; it is plagiarism to present other people’s ideas as your own. (Coggins 32)

Print Materials Examples for MLA In-text Citation

When you use any text, quote, sentence from a book or any other print materials, you have to include the works in MLA In-text Citation on Works Cited Page. There are four important details that you should include i.e. Author’s Name, Title of the book, Publisher’s details and Medium type. The General Reference Format will appear as follows:

Author last name, first name. Title of Book. City: Publisher, year. Medium.

MLA In-text Citation for No Author or Unknown Author

When there is No Author or Unknown Author of a Book, use the whole Title of the Works/Book and Italicize it, so that it can be recognized easily in In-text Citation.

  • In Text: (Encyclopedia of Virginia 212)
  • Works Cited: Encyclopedia of Virginia. New York: Somerset, 1993. Print.

MLA In-text Citation for One Author

When there is One Author, the MLA In-text Citation will be as under:

  • In Text: (Barnet 97)
  • Works Cited: Barnet, Sylvan. The Practical Guide to Writing. Toronto: Longman, 2003. Print.

MLA In-text Citation for Two or Three Authors

When there are Two or Three Authors, mention the Names of All Authors in the same order as given on Title Page. The Name of First Author should be reversed as Last Name should be written first and First & Middle Name later. While Names of Second & Third Authors are to be written as First, Middle, Last Name. The rest of details will remain same.

  • In Text: (Booth, Colomb, and Williams 190)
  • Works Cited: Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 2nd ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003. Print.

MLA In-text Citation for Four or More Authors

When there are Four or More Authors of a Single Work, you should mention Name of First Author only and then use the phrase et al (means and others). You have to use the same format in In-text Citation and Works Cited entry.

  • In Text: (Barclay et al. 144-145)
  • Works Cited: Barclay, Michael, et al. Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance, 1985-95. Toronto: ECW, 2001. Print.

MLA In-text Citation for Edited, Translated, Compiled Book

In this in-text Citation, there are two elements which are as under.

  1. Edited, Translated, Compiled Book
  2. Article or Chapter in an Edited Book

Edited, Translated, Compiled Book :

When there is an Edited, Translated, Compiled Book, you need to mention Names of Editors, Translators, Compilers which are given on Title Page. The abbreviations will be ed. for one Editor, eds. for more than one Editors, trans. for Translators and comps. for Compilers.

  • In Text: (Greenspan and Rosenberg 77)
  • Works Cited: Greenspan, Edward, and Marc Rosenberg, eds. Martin’s Annual Criminal Code: Student Edition 2010. Aurora: Canada Law Book, 2009. Print.

Article or Chapter in an Edited Book :

When there is Article or Chapter in an Edited Book, you should mention Name of Editor(s) after the Title of Book. Use the abbreviation ed. even if there are more than one Editors. Also provide Page Number of Article or Chapter after the Year of Publication.

  • In Text: (Naremore 266)
  • Works Cited: Naremore, James. “Hitchcock at the Margins of Noir.” Alfred Hitchcock: Centenary Essays. Ed. Richard Allen and S. Ishii-Gonzales. London: BFI, 1999. 263-77. Print.

MLA In-text Citation for Government Document

In this in-text Citation, there are also two elements which are as under.

  1. Individual Author
  2. Group as Author

Government Document with Individual Author :

When there is Government Document, you need to mention Name of Author (if there is Individual Author), Title of Document and other details. The government department may be the publisher and the place of publication may be the city of the department’s head office.

  • In Text: (Fitzgerald 33)
  • Works Cited: Fitzgerald, Robin. Fear of Crime and the Neighbourhood Context in Canadian Cities. Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2008. Print.

Government Document having Group as Author

When there is Government Document having Group as Author (government agency, associations, corporations etc.), you should mention the full name of Group Author in text rather than including it in Works Cited. Because the reader is interrupted when you give a lengthy parenthetical reference in Work Citation. Furthermore, while mentioning a Government Document without Individual Author, first of all list name of government, followed by name of the agency.

  • In Text: Canada was the first nation to ratify the treaty (Canada. Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade 17).

According to a document released by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada was the first nation to ratify the treaty (17).

  • Works Cited: Dofasco. Annual Report 1999. Hamilton: Dofasco, 2000. Print.

Canada. Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Freedom From Fear: Canada’s Foreign Policy for Human Security. Ottawa: DFAIT, 2002. Print.

MLA In-text Citation for Pamphlets:

The Pamphlets are treated as books. So you need to mention the Author’s Name only if there is an Individual Author. Otherwise provide the Title of Pamphlet in Citation.

When there are Two or More Books by Same Author, you should include the full version or shortened version of Title in the In-text Citation to differentiate the works. When the Name of Author is written in text, you can omit it in parenthetical reference. Remember that the Author’s Name should be mentioned in the first entry only and in additional entries, it will be replaced by three hyphens and a period (—.). Moreover, Works listed under the same name are alphabetized by title.

  • In Text: (Barnet, Practical Guide 87)

(Barnet, Short Guide to Writing 17)

  • Works Cited: Barnet, Sylvan. The Practical Guide to Writing. Toronto: Longman, 2003. Print.

—. A Short Guide to Writing about Art. 4th ed. New York: Harper Collins College, 1993. Print.

MLA In-text Citation for Periodicals (Journals, Magazines, Newspapers)

The general format of works citation for Periodicals will be as follows_

Author’s name. “Article Title.” Journal Name volume.issue (year): page-range. Medium.

MLA In-text Citation for Electronic Sources Examples

  • Website – One Page or Section

When you are referring one page or section of a website, the format will be as under_

Last name, First name. “Document title if available.” Title of the overall Website, Version or edition if available. Publisher or N.p. to designate no publisher, publication date or n.d. to indicate that no date was given. Web. Date of access.

  • In Text: (“Works of Joyce Wieland”)


  • Works Cited: “Works of Joyce Wieland.” Celebrating Women’s Achievements: Women Artists in Canada. National Library of Canada, 2000. Web. 29 Mar. 2009.

Wong, Jessica. “Celebrating the Kid Inside.” CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 30 July 2004. Web. 20 Aug. 2008.

If you need to include the URL, add it with <website url> after the above sentence.

MLA In-text Citation for Electronic Book from a Library Subscription Service

In Text: (Troost and Greenfield 113)

Works Cited: Troost, Linda, and Sayre N. Greenfield, eds. Jane Austen in Hollywood. 2nd ed. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001. NetLibrary. Web. 18 May 2009.

MLA In-text Citation for Online Image

Works Cited: Artist or Creator. “Description or Title of the Image.” Date the image was created. Online Image. Database Name or Title of the Site. Date of Download. <url>.

Other Common Resources

There are several common resources you may have used for Essay in MLA Format.

Personal Email

  • In Text: (Robinson)
  • Works Cited: Robinson, Martha. “Vacation Plans.” Message to Daniel J. Cahill. 22 Mar. 2008. E-mail.

Harner, James L. Message to the author. 12 Feb. 2009. E-mail.

Personal Interview

You need to mention Interviewee’s Name, type of Interview (i.e. personal, telephonic etc.) and the date of interview.

  • In Text: (John)
  • Works Cited: Cruise, John. Personal Interview. 15 March 2015.

All the information and examples of MLA In-text Citation, Works Cited List are taken from MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, 2009. It is advisable to log on to official website at in order to know more about MLA In-text Citation.

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