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Using the MLA (9th) Edition

A guide to properly using the MLA citation style

In-text Citations

IMPORTANT NOTE: In MLA, each citation in your text must have a complete bibliographic entry in your Works Cited page, so, if readers want to go to the original source, they can!

In-text Citations

In-Text Citations

The author's last name and the page number(s) from                which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

e.g. At the end of the day Wilbur made "in excess of half a             million dollars" (K. Marx 43).

If you use the name of the author to set up your quote or paraphrase, you mention the author's name in the sentence and then put the page number only in the parenthesis at the end of the sentence.

MLA now uses the term "citation in prose" - a type of citation that is also known as a "narrative citation". Citations in prose use the author's name in the text while the page number is cited parenthetically at the end of the sentence.


e.g According to Karl Marx, Wilbur made "in excess of half a million dollars" (43).

For citations in prose, include the author's first name. For parenthetical citations, include the author's first initial.

Citation in prose example:

 Mary Rogers proved that human life would not be               sustainable on Mars based on her peer-reviewed                 evidence (220).


Parenthetical citation example:

"Based on this evidence, we know that human life would not be sustainable on Mars." (M. Rogers 508).

If you need to cite more than one source in your in-text citation, you should use a semicolon to separate the sources.

e.g. (R. Jones; T. Williams 23)


If there are two authors (same source), separate their last names with the word "and." The authors' names should be listed in the order they appear in the published work.

e.g. "Marx used class in two different ways" (F. Calvert and H. Sennett 11).

If your source has three or more authors, you should include the first author's name followed by et. al.

e.g. Marx used "class" in "two different ways" (R. Calvert et al. 11)

If more than one work by an author is cited, include shortened titles for the works to distinguish them from each other.

e.g. If the author's name is mentioned: Obama has argued that the invasion was a bad idea ("Too Soon" 42), though he has acknowledged elsewhere that it led to much good ("A Stronger Country" 13)



e.g. If the author's name is not mentioned in the sentence:

Photography, because it is both science and art, seems to be "a bridge discipline" (Barthes, "Of Loss and Cameras" 45).

No Page Numbers

If a work, such as a website, does not include page numbers, then omit this portion of the in-text citation.

e.g. Marx used "class" in "two different ways" (R. Calvert).



Some sources employ location indicators other than page numbers.

e.g. Marx used "class" in "two different ways" (R. Calvert, par. 4).


For modern verse works, such as poems, include line numbers in your in-text citations

e.g. And Poe wrote, "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary," (The Raven, line 1)



When citing scripture, give the abbreviated name of the book and chapter and verse numbers.

e.g. And he wrote, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (New Jerusalem, Ezek., 18: 4-20)


Anonymous or Unknown Author

Use an abbreviated version of the work's title if the author is unknown.

e.g. An anonymous source claimed that the Iraq invasion was a bad idea from the beginning ("Bush Cannot Win" 104).


Citing Indirect Sources

e.g. One claimed that runners who "drank regularly usually stopped running after a few months" (qtd. in Salazar 212).

MLA (9th edition) now insists that source titles MUST be included in in-text citations. This can be done in three (3) ways:

1. Rich writes in Eco-tography that, "Digital photography is          more eco-friendly than traditional photography" (119).

2. Rich writes, "Digital photography is more eco-friendly than traditional photography" (Burman, Eco-tography 119).

3. Rich posits that, "Digital photography is more eco-friendly than traditional photography" (Burman, Eco-tography 119).