The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, recommends a system of brief in-text citations that refer to a list of works cited (with full publication information) at the end of the paper.
GUIDE TO MLA STYLE
- 1. Author Named in Text
- 2. Author Not Named in Text
- 3. More Than One Author
- 4. Author of Two or More Works Cited
- 5. Corporate Author or Government Agency
- 6. Unknown Author
- 7. An Entire Work
- 8. A Multivolume Work
- 9. A Literary Work
- 10. An Indirect Source
- 11. More Than One Source
- 1. Book with One Author
- 2. Book with Two or Three Authors
- 3. Book with More Than Three Authors
- 4. Two or More Books by the Same Author
- 5. Book by a Corporate Author
- 6. Book with Editor or Editors
- 7. Book with Author and Editor
- 8. Translated Work
- 9. Book without Listed Author
- 10. Book Edition, If Not the First
- 11. Republished Book
- 12. Multivolume Series
- 13. Selection in an Anthology or Edited Book
- 14. Article in a Reference Work
- 15. Foreword, Introduction, Preface, or Afterword
22. Unsigned Article
27. Online Databases
38. Live Performance
39. Work of Art
42. Legal Source
Parenthetical in-text citations should not distract the reader, but they must be complete enough to allow the reader to easily locate the corresponding entry in the list of works cited. The best place for a citation is just before the final punctuation of the sentence. If that is not appropriate, put the citation before a comma or other internal punctuation or, if nothing else is possible, before a natural pause in the sentence. The following examples illustrate the MLA style of in-text citation.
1. Author named in text. In parentheses, provide the page number of the source. (With block quotations, enclose the page number in parentheses one space after the last punctuation mark.) If you are citing a source that uses paragraph numbers rather than page numbers, such as an electronic journal, precede the numbers with the abbreviation “par.” or “pars.”
According to Tompkins, critics who admire Cooper find themselves in a bind: They must attempt to diminish the embarrassing (and major) features of the novels, or they must alter their standards for evaluating works of literature (98).
If the list of works cited contains two authors with the same last name, include the first initial or first name of each one in the in-text citations.
2. Author not named in text. In parentheses, give both the author’s last name and the page number, separated by one space. (With block quotations, place the parenthetical citation one space after the last punctuation mark.) If you are citing paragraph numbers from an electronic source rather than page numbers, place a comma after the author’s name and use the abbreviation “par.” or “pars.”
The Last of the Mohicans presents a dilemma for literary critics; even when they are sympathetic, they "have been hard put to explain why they should continue to be fascinated by a novel which, by their own accounts, is replete with sensationalism and cliche" (Tompkins 95).
3. More than one author. If the source has no more than three authors, name them all in the text or the parenthetical citation. If the source has; more than three authors, list them all or use only the first author’s name followed by “et al.” (the abbreviation for the Latin “and others”).
McCrum, Cran, and MacNeil call the development of the English language "the story of three invasions and a cultural revolution" (51).
4. Author of two or more works cited. If the list of works cited includes more than one work by the same author, the source must be identified by both the author’s name and a short version of the title. (The full title for this example is Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction 1790-1860.)
Certain nineteenth-century American novels, despite critical consensus that they are short on literary merit, played an important role by "providing society with a means of thinking about itself (Tompkins, Sensational 200).
5. Corporate author or government agency. The corporate or agency name should match the entry in the list of works cited. For example, if the works cited entry begins with ” United States . Department of Commerce,” the in-text citation should be ” U.S.
Department of Commerce” rather than “Commerce Department.”
Chicago Women in Publishing recommends that workers' titles "be described in a way that indicates the job could be filled by a member of either sex" (10).
6. Unknown author. If the source is not signed (a brief article in a newspaper or magazine, for example), use its full title or a shortened version in the citation. A short title should begin with the same word as the full title so that the work can be located in the list of works cited; for example the title in the example below could be shortened to
“Can Your Mind Heal?” but not to “Mind/Body”
Both physicians and entrepreneurs have recently become interested in how the mind can affect physical health ("Can Your Mind Heal Your Body?" 107).
Tompkins's eloquent argument is this: American literature gives its readers nothing less than a means of comprehending their history and constructing their social consciences.
Like the paintings of Braque, Dali, and Picasso, the compositions of Stravinsky and Schoenberg come fr 0 m the intellect, not the emotions (Hauser 4: 230).
For novels, first give the page number and, after a semicolon, add the chapter or part number.
Fifty years ago, Richard Wright wrote, "Who knows when some slight shock, disturbing the delicate balance between social order and thirsty aspiration, shall send the skyscrapers in our cities tumbling?" ( Native Son 25; bk. 1).
For poems, cite only the line number (or numbers); a page number is unnecessary. Use a dash to indicate inclusive lines.
In earlier parts of "In Just-" e. e. cummings's darker references to "the little/lame balloonman" (4-5) and to "the queer/old balloonman" (11-12) have prepared us for the perhaps not-so-innocent "goat-footed/balloonMan" of the poem's conclusion (20-21).
For prose plays, give the page number and then, following a semicolon, the number of the act and the scene (43; 1, 3 use Arabic numerals unless your instructor specifies a preference for Roman numerals). For verse plays, omit the page number but include the line number (or numbers) and separate the act, scene, and line number with periods.
The 1970s musical Hair turned Hamlet's musings--"What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason!" (2.2.320)-- into a song.
10. An indirect source. To show that a quotation in your paper was also a quotation in your source (rather than written by the source’s author), use the abbreviation “qtd. in” (“quoted in”). In the list of works cited, include only the source you consulted (which would be Trimbur in the following example).
Kenneth Bruffee observed, "While students often forget much of the subject matter shortly after class is over, they do not easily forget the values implicit in the conventions by which it was taught" (qtd. in Trimbur 95).
Critics have long had difficulty justifying serious consideration of the works of James Fenimore Cooper (Reynolds 102; Tompkins 98) .
MLA Information Notes
You may use a few brief numbered notes in addition to the parenthetical citations if you need to comment on a source or to include information that is necessary but would interrupt the flow of the text. Use an Arabic numeral raised above the line after the final punctuation of a sentence, and number the notes consecutively throughout the paper. Place the notes themselves, with the centered title Notes, on a separate page before the list of works cited (or, if your instructor so specifies, as footnotes at the bottom of the pages on which the corresponding raised numbers to appear in the text). Indent the first line of each note half an inch (or five spaces if you are using a typewriter) and begin it with a raised number without punctuation. If the note is longer than one line, the second and subsequent lines begin at the left margin. Double-space within and between the notes. (Footnotes are single-spaced with double spaces between notes and begin four lines—two double spaces – 4below the text.)
Critics have long had difficulty justifying serious consideration of the works of James Fenimore Cooper.1
Reportedly, however, scholarly studies of Cooper are planned by several university presses.
Beginning on a separate page at the end of your paper, list in alphabetical order all the sources you cite and give full publishing information for them. Title the list Works Cited and center this heading an inch from the top of the paper. Double-space both within and between entries, and indent the second and subsequent lines of each entry half an inch (or five spaces on a typewriter).
Books. Book entries have three parts, and each one ends with a period. The first part is the author’s name; the second is the title and subtitle (which are italicized or underlined); and the third part is the publishing information (place of publication, publisher, and year). You will find all this information on the book’s title page and copyright page.
Use a short version of the publisher’s name (Harcourt for Harcourt Brace & Co., and Beacon for Beacon Press, Inc., for example). If an abbreviation for the publisher’s name is familiar to your audience, use it (such as GPO for Government Printing Office, and ALA for American Library Association). Use the abbreviation UP for University Press. For other abbreviations acceptable in the documentation, see Abbreviations.
Boorstin, Daniel J. The Discoverers. New York: Random, 1983.
2. Book with two or three authors. List authors’ names in the order they appear on the title page. Invert the first author’s name (to alphabetize); enter the coauthors’ names in regular order (first name, last name) and separate them with commas. (Write out and
before the name of the last author rather than using an ampersand.)
Gilbert, Sandra, and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979.
3. Book with more than three authors. Give all the authors’ (or editors’) names (with only the first one inverted) or include only the name of the first author followed by the abbreviation “et al.” (for the Latin phrase meaning “and others”).
Malson, Micheline R., et al., eds. Black Women in America: Social Science Perspectives. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1990.
4. Two or more books by the same author. List the author’s name in the first reference only. For succeeding references, instead of the author’s name, enter three hyphens (—) followed by a period and one space, and then enter the title of the work. Alphabetize works by the same author by the first significant word in the title (omit the articles a, an, and the).
Brophy, Brigid. Beardsley and His World. New York: Harmony, 1976.Black & White: A Portrait of Aubrey Beardsley. New York: Stein and Day, 1969.
CompuServe Incorporated. CompuServe Information Service: User's Guide. Columbus, OH : CompuServe, 1985.
Van Thai, Herbert, ed. The Mammoth Book of Great Detective Stories. London: Robinson, 1985.
James, Henry. Selected Fiction. Ed. Leon Edel. New York: Dutton, 1953.
Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Trans. Gregory Rabassa. New York: Harper, 1970.
Waterstone's Guide to Books. London: Waterstone, 1981.
Kiniry, Malcolm, and Mike Rose. Critical Strategies for Academic Thinking and Writing. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford, 1993.
Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. 1929. New York: Vintage-Random, 1946.
12. Multivolume series. List the total number of volumes after the title of the work. Use Arabic numerals. If you used only one volume of the series in your research, identify that volume at the end of the entry.
Sewall, Richard B. The Life of Emily Dickinson. 2 vols. New York: Farrar, 1974. Vol. 1.
13. Selection in an anthology or edited book. Give the author and title of the selection and then the title of the collection or anthology in which it appears and the editor or editors of the volume (preceded by “Ed.” for “Edited by”). Include the page numbers of the selection.
Gordimer, Nadine. "The Bridegroom." African Short Stories. Ed. Chinua Achebe and C. L. Innes. London: Heinemann, 1985. 155-63.
14. Article in a reference work. If the article is signed, begin with the author’s name; if it is unsigned, begin with its title, followed by the title of the work. If the articles in the reference work are listed alphabetically, omit the volume number (if any) and page numbers.
Levison, Sanford. "Supreme Court." The Reader's Guide to American History. Ed. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty. Boston: Houghton, 1991.
15. Foreword, introduction, preface, or afterword. If you quote or use information from one of these elements, cite the name of the author of that element, followed by the name of the element (do not underline it or put it in quotation marks). The names of the author, editor, and translator (if any) follow the title. The page numbers of the element
go after the publication information.
Weir, Charles I., Jr. Introduction. Madame Bovary. By Gustave Flaubert. Trans. Eleanor Marx Aveling. New York: Holt, 1948. vii-xii.
16. Dissertation. For an unpublished dissertation, enclose the title in quotation marks. Follow with the name of the degree-granting institution and the date. For a published dissertation, underline the title and add publishing information (place of publication, publisher’s name, and year) at the end of the entry.
Marks, Barry Alan. "The Idea of Propaganda in America." Diss. U of Minnesota, 1957.