MLA Parenthetical Citations

 

What are MLA Parenthetical Citations?

Parenthetical citations are references within an essay that take the reader to the Works Cited page at the end of the paper where bibliographic information is supplied for sources used to write the essay. Parenthetical citations let the reader know where another's words, facts, or ideas were borrowed and give the author of the borrowed material credit.

 

You must provide parenthetical references for all direct quotations, paraphrases, and summaries in your paper. According to MLA guidelines, you must provide both the name(s) of the author(s) as well as the page number(s) of the source from which the information is borrowed. (In the case of an Internet source, no page number is given.) If you introduce the borrowed material in your text with the names of the author(s), then you need only put the page number in parentheses at the end of the borrowed material.

 

One Author: Citing a Complete Work

With Author in Text (This is the preferred way of paraphrasing a complete work.)

 

In Animal Farm, George Orwell proves that human nature and diversity prevent people from being equal and happy, or at least equally happy.

 

Without Author in Text

 

Animal Farm proves that human nature and diversity prevent people from being equal and happy, or at least equally happy (Orwell).

 

NOTE: Do not offer page numbers when citing complete works, articles in alphabetized encyclopedias, single-paged articles, and unpaginated sources.

 

One Author: Citing Part of a Work

With Author in Text

 

Voltaire's character Candide is startled upon learning that this man did not own "an enormous and splendid property," but rather a mere twenty acres that he cultivates with his children (76).

 

Without Author in Text

 

Candide is startled upon learning that this man did not own "an enormous and splendid property," but rather a mere twenty acres that he cultivates with his children (Voltaire 76).

 

Two or Three Authors

 

Wimsett and Brooks note the power of Tolstoy’s "walloping caricatures of metropolitan fashionable culture" (464).

 

More Than Three Authors

 

Give the first author's last name as it appears in the Works Cited section followed by et al. (meaning "and others").

 

It took the combined forces of the Americans, Europeans, and Japanese to break the rebel siege of Peking in 1900 (Lopes, et. al. 362).

 

Anonymous Work

 

Statistics indicate that drinking water can make up 20 percent of a person's total exposure to lead ("Information" 572).

 

Corporate Author

 

The thesis of the Land Records Management Program’s report is that economic success depends on our ability to improve large-scale training as quickly as possible (14).

 

Hints

The first time you refer to a source, it's generally considered a good idea to introduce the borrowed material with the full name(s) of the author(s). You may include credentials to stress the source's authority.

 

When paraphrasing and summarizing, make certain readers can tell where your ideas stop and the borrowed material begins. You can avoid problems by introducing paraphrases or summaries with the name(s) of the author(s).

 

Do not use "p." or "pp." to indicate page numbers.

 

Do not use any punctuation to separate the name from the page number inside a parenthetical reference.

 

Note that the period follows the parenthetical reference.

 

Quotations of more than four typed lines are handled differently than shorter quotes. Instead of quotation marks, long quotations are set off from the text, and the entire quote, which is still double-spaced, indented 10 spaces from the left hand margin. In this case, the parenthetical reference goes outside of the final period.