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Citation Guides: Modern Language Association (MLA) Referencing Style: In-text Citation


This guide provides some examples on how to document sources in MLA citation style. It is based on the 7th edition of the “MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers” published by Modern Language Association in 2009. 

To view how sources are cited in MLA style, you may click any of the tabs to know more.


Example of In-text Citation

If the author’s name appears in the sentence itself, write the page number of your source in the parenthetical citation.

Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (263).

 If the author’s name does not appear in the sentence itself, state the author’s surname (i.e. last name) and page number of your source within brackets.

Romantic poetry is characterized by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Wordsworth 263).

For a source with 3 or 2 authors, state the authors surname (i.e. last names) in the text or in the parenthetical citation.

Smith, Yang and Moore argued that tougher gun control is not needed in the United States (76).


The authors contented that “Tighter gun control in the U.S. erodes Second Amendment rights (Smith, Yang, and Moore 76).

If a source has more than 3 authors, provide the first author’s surname (i.e. last name) followed by “et al”.

Jones et al. countered Smith, Yang and Moore’s argument by noting that the current 
spike in gun violence in America compels law makers to review gun laws (4).


Others have argued that the current spike in gun violence in America has compelled
law makers to review gun laws (Jones et al. 4).

Use a shortened title of source and page number within bracketed citation. Enclose the title within double quotation marks.

Many global warming hotspots exist in North America because this region has “comprehensive programs to monitor the environment” (“Impact of Global Warming” 6)


In “Impact of Global Warming”, it was noted that many global warming hotspots exist in North America because this region has “comprehensive programs to monitor the environment” (6).

Put a comma after the author’s last name and add the shortened title and the page number.  If you state the author’s name in the text, give only the shortened title and page number within parentheses.

Shakespeare’s King Lear has been called a “comedy of the grotesque” (Frye, Anatomy 237).

For Northrop Frye, one’s death is not a unique experience, for “every moment we have lived through we have also died out of into another order” (Double Vision 85).

Provide both authors first initials (or the authors’ full name if the different authors share the same initials.

Although some medical ethicists calm that cloning will lead to designer children (R. Miller 12), others note that the advantages for medical research outweigh this consideration (A. Miller 46)

An indirect source is a source cited in another source. For such indirect quotations use “qtd. in” before the indirect source you cite in your parenthical reference.

Samuel Johnson admitted that Edmund Burke was an “extraordinary man” (qtd. in Boswell 2:450).

Reference list
Boswell, James. The Life of Johnson. Ed. George Birkbeck Hill and L. F. Powell. 6 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1034-50. Print.


  1. “MLA Formatting and Style Guide.” The OWL at Purdue.  
  2. Camosun College. “MLA Citation Style (7th Edition). Camosun College,  Web 25 August 2013.


If you have problems with citations, or require more information, contact the following library staff:

1. Help Desk Tel: 74918622 ext. 7050/7051

2. Reference Division Tel: 74918622 ext.7054/7055/7056

3. Service Counter Tel: 74918622 ext. 7073


Web Library Guide No. 23

Document No. WL/023

Issue 1

7 October 2016

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