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MLA Style Guide for Citations (9th edition): In-Text Citations

What are in-text citations?

When you quote an author, or paraphrase an author's idea, you have to give them credit in the body of your paper. You do this by adding parenthesis with the author's name and the page number on which the information is found. These parentheses are called either "in-text citations" or "parenthetical documentation."

Like citations in your works cited page, there are guidelines for adding in-text citations as well. See below to learn more.


MLA style uses the author’s name and page numbers in in-text citations.

Here is an example:

Viking trading routes and networks supplied chieftains with additional income and brought goods that increased their status among other chieftains (Winroth 127).

This information is paraphrased from the work written by Winroth, and it can be found on page 127.

Here is an example using a quotation:

Viking trading routes and networks were “important not only for providing additional income for chieftains, but also for bringing prestigious goods to the chieftains of Scandinavia, who used these items, themselves or in the gift economy, to bolster their status among other chieftains” (Winroth 127).

Sometimes you might mention the author before the quotation or paraphrase. In that case you only need the page number in parentheses.

For example:

Winroth explains that Viking trading networks supplied chieftains with income, as well as goods that increased their status (127).

More than one author (Harrison and Johnson 87)
Three or more authors (Harrison et al. 15)
No author (use a shortened version of the title)

(“Best Colleges” 3) – Quotes for shorter works, like articles

(American Government 312) – Italics for longer works, like books
Website with no “pages” Include the first part of your citation, mostly likely the author or title. You do not need to include a section or paragraph number.
More than one work by a particular author

Include part of the title.

(Harrison, “Best Colleges” 3)



No page numbers? No problem!

You will find that many digital information sources do not include page numbers. If you have looked for a page number and cannot find one to include in your in-text citations, you do not need to include one. You may list the author's name only.

You do have the option of including some type of indication of the place you found the information, if you feel it would be helpful to your readers. MLA recommends that you only do this if the document has defined sections, chapters, or a numbering system. For example, you may find a long document on a webpage that has sections listed as 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, and so on. In that case you could write an in-text citation that looks like this (Winroth, sect. 1.2).

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