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MLA Citation Style Guide (8th Edition): Parenthetical (In-Text) References

Parenthetical References in MLA Style

The examples provided below aim to illustrate only basic principles of formatting in-text (parenthetical) references  using MLA citation style.  Please refer to the MLA Handbook, 8th edition, section 3, for more details.

 Parenthetical (in-text) citation enable the reader to easily find the complete title of the source in the "Work Cited" list at the end of the research paper. 

Elements of parenthetical citation in MLA citation style:

  • Author
  • Page
  • Title (if there is no author)

Book (one author): (Harbord 16)

Book (two or three authors): (Booth, Colomb, and Williams 60)

Book (four or more authors): (Plag et al. 203)

Corporate author: (Natl. Research Council 15) OR as part of text,

                           According to the study by the National Research Council, the population of China ....(15).

Article in a scholarly journal (online only, no page numbers): (Berlaut)

Article in a journal (print): (Piper 125)

Article in an online database: (Jenson 112)

Encyclopedia entry:  print with no author ("Japan")

                              print with the author    (Allen)

                              online with no author ("Picasso, Pablo")

Website: with an author (Peterson)

              with an unknown author (Margaret Sanger Papers Project)