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MVNU Writing Guide: MLA Citation Guide

In-Text Citation (MLA)

After a direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary you need to include an in-text citation.

  • If your source has a listed author/authors (Example)
    • 1 author: (Smith 12)
    • 2 authors: (Smith and Jones 12)
    • 3+ authors: (Smith et al. 12)
  • If your source does not have a listed author
    • Corporation/Institution: (U.S. Department of Transportation 258)
    • Book/Article/Website: (Beowolf 153)

If you include some of the required citation information in your introduction ("Smith and Jones conducted a study...") then you do NOT need to include that information in the parenthetical citation. In this case, the citation would just be (12). See the MLA sample paper for more examples of parenthetical citation.

If you are citing an entire book or article (through summarization), then you do not need to include a page number in your citation.

Citing Journals in MLA

A "Works Cited" page is included at the end of every MLA paper. Citations follow this general format:

  • Books: Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.
    • 1 Author: Last, First.
      • Nasar, Sylvia. A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash. Simon and Schuster, 2001.
    • 2 Authors: Last 1, First 1, and First 2 Last 2.
      • Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
    • 3+ Authors: Last 1, First 1, et al.
      • Bear, Donald, et. al. Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction. 6th ed., Pearson Education, 2015.


  • Journals: Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal, Volume, Issue, Year, pages.
    • 0 Authors: Start citation with the title
    • 1 Author: Last 1, First 1.
      • Poniewozik, James. "TV Makes a Too-Close Call." Time, 20 Nov. 2000, pp. 70-71.
    • 2 Authors: Last 1, First 1, and First 2 Last 2.
    • 3+ Authors: Last 1, First 1, et al.