Figuring Out How to Use MLA In-Text Citation
The Modern Language Association style, more commonly known as MLA style is often used to give credit to sources in an academic setting, particularly in the liberal arts and humanities. One of the most important features of this style is the use of MLA In-Text Citation.
If an idea from another author is used when writing an essay, whether it is directly or indirectly, it is important to give credit to the author in order to avoid plagiarism. Without giving proper credit through a Rules of MLA in-text citation it can so can lead to severe consequences. For example, in an academic environment it can result in severe disciplinary action or even expulsion.
How to use MLA In-Text Citation
Basic MLA in-text citation refers to someone else’s work uses parenthetical citation, which places the source information in parenthesis. These MLA in-text citations depend on the source information used and its entry in the Works Cited Page. It is important to have a corresponding entry on the Works Cited page so a reader can easily access the source used.
Basic Rules of MLA In-Text Citation
• Using the author’s name in a signal phrase: This reduces the amount of information placed in the parenthetical citation since only the page is needed. Example: Eric Smith discussed this fact and how it relates to this issue (25).
• Author’s name in the parenthetical citation: If the author is not mentioned, it should be placed in the citation as well as a page number. Example: This fact relates to this event (Smith 25).
• If the author is not known: Simply putting the complete title of a short form of the title in the parenthetical citation is acceptable. Note that book titles should be italicized while articles are in quotation marks. Example: This fact relates to this event (“Title”).
• Unknown page number: Without a page number, simply insert the author. This often occurs in website sources, even if printed out. Paragraphs or sections can be cited, using par. and sec. respectively. Example: This fact relates to this event (Smith, par. 8).
• Source only one page: You can omit the page number if there is only page, but this is optional. Example: This fact relates to this event (Smith).
Exceptions to the Rules of MLA In-Text Citation
These exceptions to the rules of MLA in-text citation are used during less common situations and apply for both in print and online sources.
• Two to Three Authors: Either name the authors during the signal phrase, or include them in the parenthetical citation separated by commons while the last has an “an” preceding it. Example: (Johnson, Smith, and Roberts)
• More than Three Authors: et al. can be used after the first authors name. This should match the format of the works cited page. Example: (Smith et al. 31)
• Repeated last names: If more than one source has the same last name, include the first initial in the parenthetical citation or the first name in the signal phrase. Example: (J. Smith 20)
• Multiple works by same author: If the titles cannot be put in the signal phrase, a short title is and the author’s name placed into the parenthesis, separated by a comma. Example: (Looking at the Facts, Smith)
• Multiple works in a single citation: Place the citations alphabetically in the parenthesis, while separating them with a semicolon. Example: (Johnson 23; Smith 43)
• Repeating citations from same source: If you repeat a source without using other sources in between, it is unnecessary to include the authors name repeatedly. It is acceptable to just use a page number in proceeding sources. Example: (Smith 10)… (30)
More information on of MLA In-Text Citation can be found from the newest edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research papers.