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Citing Sources -- MLA 9th Edition

In-text citations

Within the text of the paper, you acknowledge the use of another author's material by using parenthetical references.

These references should give enough information to enable the reader to find the full citation in the Works Cited list at the end of the paper.  The full citation for each parenthetical reference must be documented in the Works Cited list.

Author’s name in the text:
If you name the author you are citing in your sentence, you do not need to include his/her name in a parenthetical.  You do, however need to include the page number that discusses the idea you are citing in a parenthetical:

Bronstein contends the global debt crisis is having a strong impact on women and children in developing nations (74).

  • Some works, such as plays, are not identified by page numbers.  When this is the case, use whatever notation is appropriate to the work -- in the cse of a play, the act, scene, stanza, and line number(s).
  • When citing a film or other media work that does not have page numbers, cite the work as a whole.

Author’s name in the reference:
If you do not name the author you are citing in your sentence, you need to include his/her name in a parenthetical along with the page number that discusses the idea you are citing:
The global debt crisis is having a strong impact on women and children in developing nations (Bronstein 74).

  • The bullet points describing the conditions that can be applied to the page numbers in the Authors name in the text example apply here too.
  • Cite names of corporate authors in the same way you would a personal name.
  • Do not use editor or translator abbreviations in the parenthetical reference.  In other words, though Bronstein may be the editor of the book, you do not write "Bronstein, ed. 74."
  • If you have two authors with the same last name, cite them with their first initial -- A. Bronstein and H. Bronstein, for example.
  • When two authors have the same last name and the same first initial, write their full first and last names -- Arthur Bronstein and Anne Bronstein.
  • If a work has up to three authors, you can name all three in the parenthetical -- for example, (Bernoff, Thurman, and van Eyck 74-79).
  • If a work has more than three authors, list the first author's last name followed by the words "et al".  For example, (Pezzini et al. 136-140).
  • When citing a multi-volume work, list the volume number between the author's name and the page numbers: (Wellek 2: 1-10).  If you wish to cite the entire second volume, include "vol. 2" after the author's name: (Wellek, vol. 2).

Author's name in text (no page number):
Fukuyama's Our Posthuman Future includes many examples of this trend.

  • When citing the work as a whole, no page number is needed.  If, as in the example above, you are citing the work as a whole and you list the author in the text of the sentence, you may omit the parenthetical entirely.

No author:
When citing a work with no author listed, use an abbreviated version of the title in quotation marks to substitute for the name of the author:

International espionage was as prevalent as ever in the 1990s ("Decade" 26).

Electronic source, no page number:
For electronic sources that have no page number, give the paragraph number (par. 4):

Others argue that the uprising in Iran is not an expression of popular unrest but a result of feuds between different sections of the Iranian government (
Crooke, par. 1).

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