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ENGL 1020 & Literature Classes

In-Text Citation

In-Text Citation - MLA

Telling the Reader Where to Find the Information

When you use someone else's thoughts, words, or information, you need to alert the reader.  Not only does this give credit to the source, but it also gives the reader a way to find the original.  In-text citation points the reader to the appropriate source in your list of works cited.


You need to include the author's last name, or the title or shortened version of the title if there is not an author.  In addition, you will need to include the page number or numbers unless you are referring to an entire work.  If you have more than one work by the same author, you will also need to indicate which work you are referencing.


There are numerous variations of in-text citation that are acceptable.  They all boil down to giving the information needed to locate the reference in the least obtrusive manner. 

  • All information in parenthetical notation: (Name #)
    • the author's last name, or names if there is more than one author, or the brief title or shortened title if there is no author
    • space
    • page number or number range; do not include p. or pp.
    • If you need to include the title of the work (more than one work by an author in your works cited) place a comma and space after the author's name, the title of the work (in italics or parentheses as indicated in your reference) a space and the page number or numbers.
  • You can also place the author's name(s) and/or name of the work withing the text of the sentence/paragraph.  In this case, you would place the remaining information in parentheses, excluding the information that was included in the text.  Examples:
    • Amy Lippo told us in "Citing Sources in Your Paper" that you can include in-text citation within the text of the writing.
    • According to Smith, learning to write well is a skill that will be useful for a lifetime (15).


The following resources can be used to see more examples of in-text citation.  They also provide more detailed instruction for a variety of different circumstances when additional information is needed to indicate the source.