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MLA Style

MLA citations appear in two places in a research paper in the body of the paper as in-text citations and at the end of the paper as references to books, articles, or any other type of source you have used in your paper.

Citing in the text

An in-text citation is a brief description, which includes the last name of the author and the page of the source on which the information appears. It shows that you are using someone else's ideas or words in your paper. There are two ways to present citations in the text. You can either introduce the last name of the author and the page in the flow of the sentence, or include both of them in parentheses at the end of the sentence. An in-text citation should link your audience to a detailed works cited entry at the end of your paper.

Click on a collapsible panel to see examples based on the special characteristics of the source you are citing, and find out how you should form your in-text citations.

When you cite a work by a single author, give the author's last name followed by a page reference. Intervening punctuation is not required.
When you cite a work written by two authors, give the authors' last names connected by "and" followed by a page reference.
When the work you cite has three or more authors, give the first author's last name followed by et al. without any intervening punctuation.
If you decide to give the corporate author's name in parenthesis, shorten terms that can be abbreviated.
When you cite a work by its title, provide the title of the work in a parenthetical reference. Abbreviate the title if it is longer than a noun phrase. If possible, give the first noun and any preceding adjectives. Omit any initial article (e.g. a, an, the).
When you cite a source whose author is an online user, you can refer to him with the online username.
When you cite something from a secondary source and not the original one, place the phrase qtd. in ("quoted in") before the indirect source you cite in your parenthetical citation. The abbreviation should appear in a parenthetical reference followed by the author of the indirect source and a page reference.
When you cite two or more works by the same author(s), provide a shortened version of the title of the work and the relevant page reference.

When you cite two or more works in a single parenthetical reference, give each work as you would normally do in a reference. Separate the works with semicolons.

When you have a work with several volumes and you want to cite only a part from one volume, do not provide the volume number in the in-text citation. You have to provide the volume number only if you are borrowing from more than one volume. Separate the two numbers with a colon and a space. The words volume and page are not required.