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MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): In-Text Citation

This research guide is based on the MLA Handbook (9th edition)

In-Text Citation

In MLA, in-text citations are inserted in the body of your research paper to briefly document the source of your information. Brief in-text citations point the reader to more complete information in the Works Cited list at the end of the paper.

  • In-text citations include the last name of the author followed by a page number enclosed in parentheses. "Here's a direct quote" (Smith 8).
  • If the author's name is not given, then use the first word or words of the title. Follow the same formatting that was used in the Works Cited list, such as quotation marks. This is a paraphrase ("Trouble" 22).

 Note: The period goes outside the brackets, at the end of your in-text citation.


Signal Phrases

Readers should be able to move from your own words to the words you quote without feeling an abrupt shift. Signal phrases provide clear signals to prepare the readers for the quotation. If you refer to the author's name in a sentence you do not have to include the name again as part of your in-text citation, instead include the page number (if there is one) at the end of the quotation or paraphrased section. For example:

Hunt explains that mother-infant attachment has been a leading topic of developmental research since John Bowlby found that "children raised in institutions were deficient in emotional and personality development" (358).