MLA Format In-text Citation

MLA Format
In-text Citations or Parenthetical Referencing Guide
from OWL at Purdue and the TDSB Student Research Guide, 2003
In-text citations (parenthetical references) are used to indicate the sources of the quotations,
paraphrased ideas, and facts you use in your essay or report. For each in-text citation, there
should be a full and complete reference in the Works Cited or Works Consulted List.
The signal word (author’s surname or title of the work) used in the parenthetical reference
MUST be the FIRST THING listed in the corresponding entry in the Works Cited/Consulted List.
Use capital letters for: all proper nouns, including author surnames and initials; all words in a
title over 3 letters in length; all parts of hyphenated words in a title; the first word after a colon
or dash in a title.
Title Formats:
Italicize titles of complete, longer works, such as novels, books, edited collections, movies,
websites, television series etc.
Put quotation marks around the titles of shorter parts of a whole work, such as short stories,
song titles, poems, articles, web pages, episodes of television series, short films etc.
Short Quotations:
Short quotations under 4 lines in length are enclosed in quotation marks and incorporated into
the body of your text. The author’s name may be introduced in a “signal phrase” such as
“According to Jones, ….” If a signal phrase is not used, the author’s surname must be included
in the in-text citation.
Long Quotations:
Long quotations of 4 lines and over are not enclosed in quotation marks. They are placed in a
free-standing block, indented 1 inch from both the left and the right margin, and DOUBLEspaced. The parenthetical citation comes AFTER the closing punctuation mark of the
If you are quoting poetry, verse, or Shakespeare, keep the original line breaks.
To add to a quotation:
Enclose the added words/phrases in square brackets.
To omit parts of a quotation:
Insert an ellipsis ( … ) in place of the omitted words.
MLA FORMAT In-text Citation Examples
Short direct quotation:
Romantic poetry is characterized by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful
feelings” (Wordsworth 263).
Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous
overflow of powerful feelings" (263).
Short direct quotation with no known author:
According to the OWL, for a source with no known author, ”use a short-form
title of the work instead of an author name” (Purdue OWL).
To quote from multiple works by the same author, use a form of the title in the citation:
He says that Britain “has been one of the dark places of the earth” (Conrad, Heart 6)
Long direct quotation:
Ralph and the other boys finally realize the horror of their actions:
The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up for the first
time on the island; great shuddering spasms of grief began to wrench his whole
body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the
island; and infected by that emotion, the other boys began to shake and sob too.
(Golding 186)
For further information:
Consult the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University:
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