In-text citations in MLA (8th ed.)

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General rules

In-text citations in MLA (8th ed.) have the same format for all types of sources: they include the first element of the bibliographic reference to the source (usually the author's last name) and the cited page written parenthetically:

(Last Name of the author page)

(Shakespeare 61)

Depending on the number of authors, the in-text citation may be modified:

2 authors:

(Last Name of the 1st author and Last Name of the 2nd author page)

(Ojakangas and Matsch 110)

3 or more authors:

(Last Name of the 1st author et al. page)

(Roberts et al. 28)

NB: the page number is given in numeric form only, without the preceding abbreviation 'p.' / 'pp.'

If the last name of the author of the cited source is stated in the text of the paper, it should not be repeated in the in-text citation. If this is the case, leave only the page number in the parentheses:

Becker claims that ... (57).

Special cases

Sometimes, the base citation format is insufficient for distinguishing several sources. In this case, additional data should be included in the citation, namely the initials or full names of the authors, the title of the work, etc. Below, some of such cases are shown with examples.

Multiple works by the same author

If a bibliography contains multiple works by the same author, an in-text citation should allow understanding which of such works it refers to. For this sake, add the work's abbreviated title after a comma:

(Last Name of the author, Abbreviated Title page)

(Adams, Dirk Gently Omnibus 33)

(Adams, Salmon of Doubt 81)

The title of the work may be italicised, put in quotation marks, or remain plain, depending on how it is given in the list of references. Also, see the rules of abbreviating titles below in this article.

Authors with the same last name

If a bibliography contains multiple works written by different authors with the same last name, add the authors' initials in the text (if the initials are the same, give the authors' full names):

(D. Adams 92)

(J. Adams 69)

Sources without a credited author

For a source without a credited author, put the abbreviated title of the source at the beginning of the in-text citation:

(Abbreviated Title page)

The title may be italicised, put in quotation marks, or remain plain, depending on how it is given in the list of references.

Rules of abbreviating titles

In accordance with the MLA Handbook published by the Modern Language Association, the in-text citations should be concise and should provide only the minimum necessary data to identify a source. Therefore, the titles of works included in such citations are to be given in abbreviated form:

– Include only the first noun phrase of the title (preferably a noun with the preceding adjectives).

In a bibliography:

Remy, Nicolas, et al. Applied Geostatistics with SGeMS. Cambridge UP, 2009.

In text:

(Remy, Applied Geostatistics 60)

– If the title does not begin with a noun phrase, give the first word of the title instead.

In a bibliography:

Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. Edited by Juliet Dusinberre, Arden Shakespeare, 2006.

In text:

(Shakespeare, As 29)

Generating in-text citations online

The online bibliographic service Grafiati allows generating both bibliographic references and in-text citations. This feature works automatically and is available to all categories of users. If you do not need to see the in-text citations or wish hiding them temporarily, you can do this with the help of the bibliography menu.

Other citation styles: