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MLA Style Guide, 7th Edition: About In-text Citations

This is a guide for MLA Style. It is based on the Modern Language Association of America's MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition.

In-Text Citations

Use a brief parenthetical reference in your paper whenever you are incorporating the words, thoughts, or ideas of someone else in your paper.

Keep parenthetical references as brief as possible. Give only enough information to identify a source.

Each in-text or parenthetical citation should clearly correspond to a citation in the list of 'Works Cited' at the end of the paper.

Identify the location of the information that you are citing as specifically as possible (usually page number).

How to Cite References in Your Text

In-text references provide a means for you to give credit when using other's words, facts, or ideas. MLA documentation uses parenthetical notations to identify the source (author's surname) and the specific location (page reference) from which you borrow material.  

Place the parenthetical reference where a natural pause would occur, as near as possible to the material documented.

You can provide the author's last name and page number at the end of the sentence enclosed in parenthesis, or the author's last name can appear as part of the sentence with the page number at the end of the sentence enclosed with parenthesis. Do not repeat the author's name.


The most recent report on the use of experiments shows a correlation between results and participants (Brown 152-54).


Brown's recent report on the use of experiments shows a correlation between results and participants (152).

In this Guide

In-Text Examples (MLA)