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MLA Citation Resources

Creating in-text Citations in MLA format

This section of the Guide provides basic information about creating in-text citations in MLA style. For more information, you can visit the MLA's website or the excellent Purdue OWL. If you have any questions about creating in-text citations, you can always ask a friendly librarian :). 

General Guidelines:

  • You must cite the sources where you found your information, whether you quote directly or paraphrase them.
  • If there are page numbers in the source, you must cite the page number(s) where you found your information in your in-text citation.
  • If your source has an author but no page numbers, it is often preferable to avoid using the author's name in your text, especially if it is a brief quotation or paraphrase, as you will also need to put the name in the parenthesis at the end of your citation. It is jarring to the reader to see the author's name twice in a sentence. 
  • If you are abbreviating a title for an article or web page with no named author, your shortened title must reflect your Works Cited entry; the first word(s) in the title must be identical in both your paper and the Works Cited. For example, "Iroquois Democracy and the U.S. Constitution" can be shortened to "Iroquois Democracy" but not "U.S. Constitution". 

Source with One Author: 

Authors not mentioned in text: (this is usually preferred when there are no page numbers in your source).

Despite the popular image of Aaron Burr as unprincipled, some scholars have argued that "Burr was in most ways more forward-thinking, by our standards, than his nemesis Hamilton", particularly regarding women's rights (Isenberg). 

Work Cited

Isenberg, Nancy. "Liberals Love Hamilton. But Aaron Burr was a Real Progressive Hero." Washington Post, 30 Mar. 2016, 

Source with Two Authors: 

The order of authors’ names in the citation always mirrors the order on the source itself.

Authors mentioned in text:

Pratchett and Gaiman's character claims that the world will end "next Saturday" (3). 

Authors not mentioned in text:

The world will end on a Saturday. “Next Saturday, in fact” (Pratchett and Gaiman 3).

 Work Cited

Pratchett, Terry, and Neil Gaiman. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. Harper, 2006. 

Source with Three or More Authors:

Authors mentioned in text:

According to Gilman et al., the term "hysteria" is attributed to Hippocrates (22).

Authors not mentioned in text:

The use of the term “hysteria” is attributed to Hippocrates (Gilman et al. 22).

Work Cited

Gilman, Sander, et al. Hysteria beyond Freud. U of California P, 1993. 

Government or Corporate Author:

When an organization or governmental body has an especially long name, you might want to avoid using the parenthetical citations and incorporate the source name into the text itself:

Author mentioned in text (this is an effective way to cite government bodies/corporate authors with long names in sources with page numbers):

According to the Inter-parliamentary Union, an estimated 30 percent of street children have disabilities (1).

Using abbreviated names for organizations:

Alternatively, if you wish to cite a government or corporate author in the parentheses rather than the text and the agency is regularly known by an acronym (e.g., US EPA, UNHCR, etc.) if you identify the acronym in parentheses when you introduce it in the text, you may use the acronym in all subsequent references:

According the the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities offers greater protection for people with disabilities than any of its predecessors (9). The adoption of the Convention should "significantly improve the protection of persons with disabilities" (IPU 24).

Work Cited

Inter-Parliamentary Union. From Exclusion to Equality: Realizing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. United Nations,

         2007. doi: 10.18356/46bfff7d-en. 

Work with no named author:

You can and should abbreviate long titles as this helps make the work more readable. You must make sure that the abbreviations begin with the first word of the Works Cited entry:

Turkish Vans have waterproof coats and are called “water cats” (“Turkish Van”).

Work Cited

"Turkish Van Cat." Britannica School. Encyclopædia Britannica  22 May. 2012,


Different articles with the same title and no named author:

Use the title of the source, or abbreviated version of it, to make a distinction between the two documents:

The Turkish Van has no health problems associated with the breed (“Turkish Van”, PetMD) and has a long coat with soft fur (“Turkish Van”, Britannica).

Works Cited

"Turkish Van Cat." Britannica School. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2012,


“Turkish Van Cat.” PetMD, 2015,

Multiple Sources with the Same Author:

Include brief titles (approximately 2-3 words) or shortened versions of longer titles to distinguish them from one another. Put the titles and shortened titles in quotation marks for articles or in italics for books.

Author mentioned in text:

Krugman has described the austerity measures as “cruel nonsense” (“Europe’s Austerity”) and has gone so far as to compare them to “medieval medicine, where you bled patients to treat their ailments, and when the bleeding made them sicker, you bled them even more” (“Bleeding Europe”).

Author not mentioned in text:

If the author is not mentioned in the sentence, include his or her last name followed by a comma, and then the title of the work (or shortened version) in quotes (and page numbers, if applicable).

Some economists believe the austerity measures imposed on Greece and Spain are not only painful, but are doomed to fail. They have been described as “cruel nonsense” (Krugman, “Europe’s Austerity”) and compared to the medieval medical practice of bleeding the patient to cure him, making him more ill by doing so (Krugman, “Bleeding Europe”).

Works Cited

Krugman, Paul. “Bleeding Europe.” The Conscience of a Liberal. New York Times Company, 12 Dec. 2012, 

---. “Europe’s Austerity Madness.” The New York Times, 27 Sep. 2012,

Quoting Indirect Sources (quotations from a source/person who is not the author of your source): 

Note: this does not apply to people interviewed in news sources, but only to written sources quoted in your source and that you did not look at yourself, so are not citing the original work.

Biographer Ron Chernow describes Washington as having “unerring judgment, sterling character, rectitude, steadfast patriotism, unflagging sense of duty and civic-mindedness” (qtd. in Cayton).

Work Cited

Cayton, Andrew. “Learning To Be Washington.” Review of Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. New York Times, 30 Sep.


Citing E-Books from Readers/Apps with no Page Numbers: 

Many apps have their own section numbering conventions that do not correspond to other versions of the text. Do not use these section numbers for in-text citations. Instead, you can use chapter numbers or section numbers if the book is divided into parts that are explicit and fixed. These are usually found in the table of contents


Scientists have discovered that there are distinct brain activities associated with sleepwalking and what are known as sleep terrors (Duhigg ch. 9).

Work Cited

Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit. OverDrive ed., Random House, 2012.

Time Based Media (Audio, Video): 

For time based media, cite the relevant time or the range of times in hours, minutes, and seconds as displayed on your media player. Separate each with a colon: HH:MM:SS.

Pendleton notes that the chronically homeless, who comprise approximately 15 percent of the homeless population, account for around 50-60 percent of the expenditures communities dedicate to homeless services (00:02:47-52).

Work Cited

Pendleton, Lloyd. "The Housing First Approach to Homelessness." TED, Nov. 2016,  

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