Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

MLA 8th ed. Style Guide

What are In-Text Citations?

In-text citations are used to cite information used from a resource within the body of the research paper.  These references point the reader to the resources in the works cited page.   

MLA 8th edition uses a shortened form of citation that consists of the author's last name and the page number that information was found on; these components are placed within parentheses.  Punctuation marks such as commas, periods, question marks, and semi-colons are usually placed after the in-text citations.  

There are two types of in-text citations: parenthetical and narrative.   The typical parenthetical in-text citation usually contains the author's last name and a page number at the end of the sentence/paragraph.  In a narrative citation, the author of the source is listed in the body of the paper and the page number of the source is listed in parentheses at the end. 

Examples of in-text citations, both parenthetical and narrative, can be found on the In-Text Citations example page.

Direct and Indirect quotes

Direct quote

A direct quote is a quote that is copied directly from the resource.  It should be copied word for word and put in quotation marks. Most direct quotes can be put in the general text of the paper; if the quote is more than four (4) lines long,  then it needs to be set off separately as a block quote.  More explanations on direct quotes can be found in part two, section 1.3 of the MLA style guide. 

However, if you are omitting a word, phrase, or sentence from a passage, an ellipsis (three spaced periods) should be in place of the word, phrase, or sentence.  Be sure that the quote does not mislead the reader from the original source's sentence structure.  

Indirect quote

Indirect quotes are quotes that are taken from a source and paraphrased in the text of the paper. These quotes are usually a summary of the information being used from the original source.  These quotes are not placed within quotation marks but still have the in-text citations, whether parenthetical or narrative, after the information.