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.

Library

MLA Guide: Formatting Your Sources

In-Text Citations

What's the purpose of an in-text citation?

An in-text citation is a signal for the reader. It tells the reader that the quotation or idea comes from another source, and directs the reader to the specific source in your Works Cited page. Since the word inside your in-text citation (usually the author's last name) will always be the first word of your Works Cited entry, it helps a reader find the article or book very easily in your Works Cited page. For example, reading (Smith 74) in a text helps a reader find the idea you are citing easily on page 74 of Smith's book.


You will need to use in-text citations when you do the following in your paper:

-Quote directly from a text or a person

-Paraphrase (summarize or restate in your own words) someone's ideas


What should your in-text citation look like?

The Purdue OWL gives three great examples of an in-text citation, which differ based on whether or not the author's name is listed within the sentence itself:

Example 1: Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).

Example 2: Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).

Example 3. In his view, Romantic poetry extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (Wordsworth 263).


Check out Purdue OWL In-Text Basics for other variations on in-text citation.

Works Cited Page

Works Cited Basics

-Your Works Cited page should be a separate page at the end of your paper

-The page should be titled "Works Cited" (without the quotation marks) and this should be centered at the top of the page

-Your sources are listed alphabetically by the author's last name, or first word of the entry

-If your citation runs onto a second line, you'll need what's called a hanging indent. Watch the videos below for step-by-step instructions on creating a hanging indent. Basically, it means that all lines after the first must be indented by 1/2 an inch for each entry

-Rule of thumb - if you had an in-text citation for the source, it must be in your Works Cited page. Similarly, if a source appears in your Works Cited page, it must have been cited within your paper.

Detailed Information on How to Cite Your Sources

Citing books

Citing articles

Citing websites

Citing Interviews, Speeches, Images, Movies, TV Episodes, or Sound Recordings

Example of What a Works Cited Page Looks Like

Finding Citations Easily

If you found your material (book, article, etc.) using one of the LRC's databases, the citation is already right at your fingertips!

When you are at this screen, click, on the yellow square that says "Cite" on the right hand side. The second picture shows you the MLA citation you can find once you scroll through all the possible citation formats to "MLA."

Video - In-Text Citations

Video - Works Cited Page