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MLA In-Text Citations: Everything You Need to Know

What is in-text citation MLA and how to even approach MLA in-text citations are good questions. But you’ve come to the right place to find answers. We just so happen to know everything there is about quotations, academic writing, and all that stuff. Here you’ll learn how to reference using this rather well-known style. You’ll also have several examples to go with the theory. Isn’t it lovely? Don’t answer, we know. On top of that, we also include all possible instances that you will face when referencing. So reading through this guide will ease your process and help you to avoid plagiarism. If you want all those advantages, keep reading!

In-Text Citations MLA: What, How, and Why

What: In-text citations MLA are rather popular when it comes to social or soft sciences, education included. It is also a style that uses parenthetical quotations.

How: When citing using this style, you'll need to remember several things. But we'll start with the basics. The majority of such parenthetical references include an author's surname and your page numbers from which you retrieved information. Other cases and their examples we will discuss in later sections.

Why: This is perhaps the most crucial question. We cite material because otherwise, you're using someone else's words or thoughts. Because you didn't write them, not giving credit will be considered plagiarism. Your first academic rule: don't plagiarize.

MLA In-Text Citation Examples

This little guide of ours will also include MLA in-text citation examples. We couldn’t leave you without examples, could we? But, please, consider, our sections will be divided depending on the type of reference and place of usage. So you can find your case precisely and follow its rules. In the majority of cases, the sources will differ, taking into account the number of authors. Some might also miss page numbers or even be videos. But we cover all of them!

How to Do In-Text Citations MLA with One Author

First, we will learn how to do in-text citations MLA when you only have one author to include in the reference. It is the simplest option of them all.

You need to include:

  1. Author’s surname (without their first name)
  2. Page number

So, our basic structure will look something like this:

(Surname Page number).

Your MLA parenthetical citation will thus have this fancy look:

MLA in text citation with one author example

How to Do MLA In-Text Citations with Two Authors

MLA in-text citation two authors will be somewhat similar to our previous one. With one little ‘and’ added, literally.

Whether you’re paraphrasing or using a direct quote, in-text will look like this:

(Surname and Surname Page number)


MLA in text citation with two authors example

It goes without saying that page and surname will change depending on your author. Also, if you have noticed, this style doesn’t like punctuation. So leave your parenthesis without commas.

MLA In-Text Citation: Multiple Authors

In-text citation multiple authors MLA is also quite simple. You should take your previous knowledge and add et al. This works if you have 3+ scholars.

But here's our basic structure to shorten long references:

(Surname et al. Page number).


MLA in text citation with multiple authors example

Here, there is a full stop. Don't miss it! Still, no commas in parentheses, though. So that's a slight relief.

How to Do In-Text Citations MLA with No Author

MLA in-text citation with no author is also possible. Don’t be scared when you have no author to cite, as we know how to fix it.

If your author is unknown, you can refer to the following structure:


That’s all!

If you’re referencing an article, put your title in quotation marks. If you have more lengthy material, italics will be preferred.

MLA in text citation with no author example

You can also shorten your title if it is too lengthy. But make sure you include your original title on our works cited page.

How to Do MLA In-Text Citations with No Page Number

MLA in-text citation with no page number is yet another challenge that you might face. But with our guide, there's no issue! Here's a quick brief before the example:

  • You might see the absence of numbers when using electronic or online sources.
  • In this case, check what the first thing you put for this Works Cited entry is. And use this for your reference!

Let's imagine that you see the website name first:

MLA in text citation with no page number example

P.S. Don't use your website's full name. Avoid all the http and www. No page or paragraph number is needed!

How to Cite Multiple Sources in the Same In-text Citation

MLA format in-text citation when you have several people from different places stating the same thing is easy! Remember that you need to put surnames and page numbers? Right, good. Now repeat your process but add a semicolon like so:

(Surname Page number; Surname Page number).

MLA in text citation with multiple sources example

This will help you to cite information and authors’ words from several resources at the same time.

In Text MLA citation: Two or More Works by the Same Author

How to do MLA in-text citations if you have one author and several works? This can happen too. And even this complication is easy to serve. Just mention shortened titles of the books, articles or newspaper articles in MLA citations. This way, you will distinguish different works and research from one another.


MLA in text citation with two or more works by the same author example

Note, articles are put in quotation marks. Books are usually placed in italics.

Citing Authors with Same Last Names

What is the best way to distinguish MLA citations in the text if you have several authors with the same last names? Include their initials! Thus, putting the first letter of their name will separate your first author from your second one.

MLA in text citation with authors with same last names example

So you see… pretty easy, just like we promised!

MLA In-Text Citations: Indirect Sources

MLA in-text citations may sometimes have indirect sources. It means that you want to quote an author who already paraphrased and cited other people. In this case, you need to mention an indirect source. But there’s a catch:

(qtd. in Surname Page number).

Yes, we add “quoted in” to highlight that the author used a quote.

MLA in text citation indirect sources example

Your original source is still mentioned, though.

In-Text Citation MLA: Example of Paraphrasing

Using in-text MLA citations also often involves paraphrasing. Our main rule of paraphrase is to include the main thought without copying the author’s words. It is also not enough to replace each word with a synonym.


MLA in text citation example of paraphrasing

You still have their main idea, so you can use the same page number as before.

How to cite Electronic Sources: In-Text Citations MLA

We partially mentioned how you need to format MLA in-text citations of online articles. But we’ll add a few more details.

  • Websites don't usually have page numbers or paragraph numbers usually.
  • The same goes for online magazines.


MLA in text citation of electronic sources example

But you can also mention your title in your sentence:

MLA in text citation of electronic sources with title example

In-Text MLA Book Citation

Our last complication is MLA book citation. In the majority of cases, your reference will not differ from the most simple option: (Adams 67).

But here, you can also add the numbers of chapters, volumes, or sections. Usually, there’s no need. But it might ease the process for those searching for your information in lengthy books.

Thus, your sentence will look like this:

MLA in text book citation example

When MLA In-Text Citation is Not Needed

MLA in-text citation format is not always needed, believe it or not. When mentioning information directly, of course, go ahead and reference it. Your quotes will also need the same treatment. But all those references are not needed if you use:

  • Common knowledge:
    when MLA in text citation is not needed example: “Ice is cold. Hamilton was the first Treasury Secretary.”
  • Proverbs or well-known phrases:
    when MLA in text citation is not needed example: “Fresh as a cucumber. As fit as a fiddle.”
  • Well-known quotations:
    when MLA in text citation is not needed example: “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Just make sure that your case falls into these given categories. Better be safe and avoid plagiarism.

MLA In-Text Citation: Final Thoughts

Are you tired of MLA citations in the text? Good news then! We’re done. What a hero you’re for finishing this article. But here’s a little reminder:

  • When referring to outside information, cite your sources.
  • Make it clear for your reader that you are using evidence from other authors.
Other than that, you’re ready. But if you still feel slightly unsure, we welcome you to visit our essay writing service. It has everything you might need, from short deadlines and professional writers to varied types of works and formats. Besides, this style can also be used for your work!
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Frequently Asked Questions about MLA In-Text Citation

1. How to cite a youtube video in an MLA style?

Sometimes you might need in-text citation YouTube video MLA. But follow the same principle as we did for electronic sources.

Include your shortened title found in the block under your video. Thus, if you want to cite “Closer Look into What our Ocean Hides”:

Marine biologists do not always know what they will discover (“Closer Look”).

Keep in mind that your title is put in quotation marks.

2. How to cite a poem in an MLA style?

MLA in-text citation poems will also include the name of the author. There is usually no need to include its title, only if you want to clarify the source for the reader.


“Sun is bright, / although there is the night” (Adams, lines 5-6).

As you can see, we include lines and put slash in between them. You can also cite a page if seen fit. But 4+ lines will be considered a block quote put as a separate paragraph.

3. How to cite a movie in an MLA style?

MLA in-text citation movie will include the title and the estimated point of your movie. If this line or information you are citing is lengthy, we put a time range:

(Sword 01:05:48-01:08:05).

Thus, our line was said somewhere in between those time stamps. To refer to any movie, you can also mention its title in italics. That is, if you have no quotes from it.

Emma Flores knows all about formatting standards. She shares with StudyCrumb readers tips on creating academic papers that will meet high-quality standards.

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