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MLA Style Guide, 7th Edition: In-text Examples

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 Examples

One author

You may cite a single author’s name in the text.

            Briton admonished supporters of capital punishment (47-53).


Or, you can use a parenthetical reference with the author’s name and page number.

            Supporters of capital punishment specialize in the abolition of truth (Briton 47-53).


Two or three authors

Use ‘and’ (not ‘&’) between the last two author names.

              (Smith and Houston  43).


Give the last name of each author separated by commas, as in

               (Romano, Dokoupil, and Olander  vii).


Or, include the authors’ names in the text and reference only the page number in the parenthetical citation, as in

Romano, Dokoupil, and Olander presented their position . . . (vii).


Four or more authors

If the work has more than three authors, follow the form in the works cited reference. Give all of the authors’ last names in the text or list the first author’s name followed by et al.

According to James, Cameron, Smith, Hawthorne, and Cushing, social customs in the southern United States . . . . (157-165). 




James et al. claim that social customs prevalent in the southern United States have . . . 157-165).




Social customs in the southern United States have become . . . (James et al. 157-165).


Multiple works by the same author

In the parenthetical citation, put a comma after the author’s name, then a shortened version of the title and the page reference.

Works Cited:

Brown, Robert. Poetry at Rest. Anytown: Pub P, 2001. Print.

---.. Poetry in Motion. Anytown: Pub P, 2001. Print.



The fluidity of poetry can be compared to the . . . (Brown, Poetry in Motion 47).

Brown compares the fluidity of poetry to the movement . . .  (Poetry in Motion 47).



Multiple works by different authors in one citation

Include the authors names and page references separated by a semicolon.

                 (Smith 93; Fayett 131-32)


Authors with same surname

If the works cited list contains two or more authors with the same surname, include the author’s first initials in the parenthetical reference.

                 (T. Blake and R. Blake)


Organizations as authors

When the author is a corporation or organization, either name the corporate author in the signal phrase or include a shortened version in the parenthetical citation. If the organization name is long, reference the name in the text.

According to a study sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. workforce is not prepared for more intense global competition for high-skilled jobs (13).


The U.S. workforce is not prepared for the intense global competition that will be required for high-skilled workers in future years (NSF 13).   

Use an abbreviated name or acronym only if it well known to your readers.


Multivolume works

If your works cited entry indicates more than one volume of a multivolume set, you will need to include both the volume and page of the information you are citing.

Works Cited:

Wellek, Rene. A History of Modern Criticism, 1750-1950. 8 vols. New Haven: Yale UP, 1955-92. Print.



(Wellek 2: 1-10)

Wellek proposes that the history . . . (3: 110-13).

In volume 5, Wellek describes . . . (265-71).    

If your works cited entry indicates only one volume of a multivolume set, include the page reference in the text of your document.

                Works Cited:

Olsen, Kristin. All Things Austen: An Encyclopedia of Austen's World. Vol. 1. Westport: Greenwood, 2005. Print.


In-text: Olsen describes the shawl as a "a decorative quasi-classical drapery" (170).


If you are citing an entire volume in the text of the document, a parenthetical citation is not needed as “In volume 3, Smith discusses . . .”


Entire works

If you are referring to an entire work, you may identify the work in your text using the author or title name from your works cited list, rather than a parenthetical citation.

Works Cited:

Voice of the Shuttle. Ed. Alan Liu. Dept. of Eng., U of California, Santa Barbara, n.d. Web. 8 Aug. 2007.  


In-text: Voice of the Shuttle has links to many helpful resources.  


Works Cited:

Kurosawa, Akira, dir. Rashomon. Perf. Toshiro Mifune. Daiei, 1950. Film In-text:  


In-text: Kurosawa’s Rashomon was one of the first Japanese films to attract a Western audience.