This guide is based on the MLA Handbook, 9th edition. It will assist you by providing examples for:
Not all of your questions will be answered here, as we have focused on commonly used sources and formatting.
For more detailed information and other examples:
Why we cite
When we write a paper, we gather background information and build arguments drawing on the work, knowledge, ideas, expressions, and reportings of others.
This information is found in many places -- journal articles, books, YouTube videos, blogs, maybe even in an email. Whatever the source, we are required to acknowledge who or what that source is when we refer to the work in our own.
We may refer to another person's work for many reasons. These include:
When we cite
Citations create necessary links, directing your reader to the source you're crediting. We make an in-text citation that links to our works cited list at the end of our document, which then links to the original source.
For this reason, when we talk about citations, we're talking about two different instances, once in the body of our text -- in-text citations -- and once at the end of our text -- the works cited list.
In-text citations "are brief, unobtrusive references that direct readers to the works-cited-list entries for the sources you consulted and, where relevant =, to the location in the source being cited" (MLA Handbook 227). They should always appear right after the content you are summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting. They only include a minimal amount of information, but create a link to a more fulsome citation at the end of your document.
"An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that directs your reader to the entry in the works-cited list. Thus, it begins with whatever comes first in the entry: the author's name or the title (or description) of the work" (MLA Handbook 227). MLA in-text citations also typically includes some location information such as a page number. line number, time stamp, or paragraph number.
The format is as follows:
Paraphrasing & Quoting
Paraphrasing, or summarizing, and quoting takes two forms in your text. Either you indicate in your sentence that an author has said something (narrative), or you write something, and then attribute that to the author in brackets at the end of the idea (parenthetical).
Narrative in-text citation: Raimi outlines the risks and benefits of fracking through an economic analysis and energy security benefits (145).
Parenthetical in-text citation: Several benefits and risks can be identified in the implementation of fracking for oil extraction. Considerations include regulation, water pollution, tremors etc. (Raimi 145).
More than one author
|# of Authors||Narrative Example||Parenthetical Example|
|1||Bradley..... (17).||(Bradley 17)|
|2||Janmaat and Rahimova...... (238).||(Janmaat and Rahimova 238)|
|3 or more||Beth Mei and colleagues argue....(189).||(Mei et al. 189)|
Shorten the name to the shortest
According to a study by the American
(American Historical 9)
Some general rules to consider when creating your works cited list: