MLA In-Text Citations


Below is an abbreviated list of sources and how to put them in the body of your paper.


The following four kinds of citations are the ones most commonly used. If you are writing a lengthy and complex essay with a wide variety of sources, you should invest in a college writers’ handbook.


1. A source with one author: If the author is not mentioned in a signal phrase, at the end of the sentence, the parenthesis will include the author’s last name only and the page number.


An automotive researcher says “everyone would buy a hybrid care if the price were right” (Smith 2).


If the author is mentioned in the signal phrase, the parenthesis will contain only the page number even if it’s only one page in length.

Automotive researcher Samuel J. Smith states he believes “everyone would buy a hybrid car if the price were right” (2).


Notice that the quotation marks appear before the parenthesis, and the period comes after.


2. A source with two authors: Once again, if the authors’ names do not appear in a signal phrase, the parenthesis will include the two authors’ last names joined by and plus the page number.


(Smith and Williams 8)


3. A source with no author: When you are using a source which has no author, include in the parenthesis the first element of its Works Cited entry (usually the title) and page number.


There are nerds and dorks, but the greatest of all computer lovers is the cybergeek (“Cyberspace Circus” 10).


4. A source cited within a source: When you are citing information by one author, but you found it in a work of another author, indicate this by saying it is qtd. in the source where you found it—not the original source (“(qtd. in Smith 14)”).


Gianvito Martino says: “For the first time we have been able to obtain a functional restoration of tissue homeostasis in absence of any pharmacological device” (qtd. in Long 2).



MLA In-Text Citations from the Internet

Site with one author: 
"LifeMap is a guide to help you figure out your career and educational goals" (Jones).

Site with two or three authors: 
The LRC has many electronic resources (Smith, Adams and Williams).

Site with more than three authors: 
"Online courses provide a way for students to use their time wisely" (Kilby et al.).

Site with no author; use first two words of title: 
Valencia has a vital workforce development program ("More Companies").

Site with a corporate author: 
"Valencia is a better place to start" (Valencia Community College).

Site which numbers paragraphs: 
Academic Search Premier is an extremely versatile database (Byrnes, pars. 5-6).

Site for an article in pdf format which includes accurate page numbers:
"An understanding of international politics is essential in today's world" (Crawford 55).


Information obtained from an electronic source which becomes part of a research paper, essay, speech, etc. must be documented. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Sixth Edition, 2003 addresses a number of different types of electronic sources. This handout addresses only those electronic resources which students at Merritt College are most likely to use for research purposes.

Include as much information as necessary to identify the source and allow the reader to locate it. For documents from the Internet, the minimum you should cite on the Works Cited page is the title, the date you accessed the site and the URL.

In the text of the paper, parenthetical references for electronic sources are cited just like those for print sources. MLA Style states, "For any type of source, you must include information in your text that directs readers to the correct entry in the work-cited list. Web documents generally do not have fixed page numbers or any kind of section numbering. If your source lacks numbering, you have to omit numbers from your parenthetical references. If your source includes fixed page numbers or section numbering (such as numbering of paragraphs), cite the relevant numbers. Give the appropriate abbreviation before the numbers. Pars is the abbreviation for paragraphs." Most examples given here do not include page numbers; if pagination were included it would be placed on the Works Cited page between the date of publication and the date of access.




MLA Works Cited Page


The in-text citations direct the reader to entries on the Works Cited page. This page or pages is an alphabetical list of all the sources you’ve cited in your paper. The reader can look up these sources to check your quotes for truthfulness or for further knowledge of your topic.


1.    Begin the Works Cited page after the text of your essay using the same margins, fonts spacing (double) and page numbering of the essay.

2.    Center the heading Works Cited; don’t underline, italicize or enclose it in quotation marks. 

3.    Enter the required information in alphabetical order following the guidelines for Works Cited entries. Begin the first line of each entry flush with the left margin, and indent the next lines five spaces.


Lee, Alvin, and Hope A. Lee. “Man and the Voyager.” The Peaceable Kingdom. New York: Harcourt, Inc, 1965.

     Notice the use of double spacing and indentation.


4.    Always abbreviate the months of the year except May, June, and July, and follow the basic rules for capitalization and punctuation.


Below is an abbreviated version of MLA Works Cited entries. A more complete list is available in your Class Docs section of your class page on Jon’s English Site.


Print Sources


1. A book with one author: List the author’s last name first, followed by a comma, and the first name and initial. List the title. Underline or italicize according to instructor preference. As always, capitalize first letter of the first word and the first letter of the last word. List the complete publication information, including the city of publication followed by a colon, a space and a shortened version of the publisher’s name. After the publisher’s name, add a comma and the year of publication.


     White, Bailey, Sleeping at the Starlite Motel. New York: Vintage, 1995.


If you’re using an online book, the Works Cited entry looks much like this one. You just need to add the editor, if any, and end the entry with the date of access and the URL in angle brackets.


     White, Bailey, Sleeping at the Starlite Motel. New York: Vintage, 1995. 26 Mar. 2008. <http://www.baileywhite./inforev/riss/html>.


2. A book by two or more authors: Add the additional author as follows:


     Zumdahl, Steven S. and Susan A. Zumdahl. Chemistry, 7th ed. Boston: Houghton, 2007.


3. An article from a monthly or bimonthly magazine: Include the same basic information, but in addition, add the page numbers. The “+” sign means that the article appears on more than just the one page.


     Einhorn, Bruce. “Stem-Cell Refugees.” Business Week 12 Feb. 2007: 40+.


4. A personal interview: The entry for an interview you want to use in your essay contains the name of the person or persons you’ve interviewed and the date:


     Bartlett, John. Personal interview. 26 May 2008.



Electronic Sources


Some assignments call for you to get all of your information from online sources. When citing these Web sources, include the same basic information as other sources (author, title) but also include both the date when the source was published and the date you accessed the source.


1. A website: Start at the left margin with the author’s last name, then first name (if known) and a period. Following the period comes the title of the site. Underline it. Next comes the date of publication and the date you accessed the site. Finally, include the exact URL in angle brackets. (If the author is unknown, begin with the title.)


     “Lack of Sleep America’s Top Health Problem Doctors Say.” 17 Mar 1997. 17 Nov. 2001 <>.


2. An online book by two authors: The first author is listed first, with his or her last name first; however, the second and additional authors are listed in the reverse order: first name, then last name.


     Dement, William C., and Christopher Vaugh. The Promise of Sleep. New York: Dell, 1999 <http//www.dementvaugh/>.


3. Article in an online periodical (with an author): The most commonly-used sources are electronic sources found on websites: essays, articles, paragraphs, quotes, and graphics. The following is an article in an online magazine.


     Burgess, Dick. “Man and Machines.” Slate 20 Nov. 2007. 15 Mar. 2008




Its Works Cited entry begins with the author’s name, followed by the title of the article, then the title of the periodical. The first date is the date of publication. The second date is the date on which it was accessed online. Always include as much information as you have available.


4. Article in an online source (without an author):


     “Curbing the Obesity Epidemic,” Editorial. The Lancet 13 May 2006. 22 Feb 2007




Sometimes the article you’re quoting has no published author and no date of publication, so you begin with the information you have, the title. If you have no title, no date and no author for an article, rethink using that article as a source.