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Citation Manuals

Citation Manual Update

April 2021

The Ninth Edition of the MLA Handbook has just been published and content updates are ongoing.  In the meantime, please refer to the MLA Style Center for updates on the new edition as well as verify MLA style usage. 

In-text Citations

In MLA style references to other works are done in parenthetical citations, meaning all the relevant information is written between parentheses at the end of a quote or paraphrase.

  • Quotation example with author's name in the sentence

Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).

  • Quotation example without author's name in the sentence:

Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).

  • Paraphrase example: 

Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).


Below are a few examples of other common issues addressed in citations. For a complete explanation with examples of how to cite all forms of sources see the Purdue Online Writing Lab

  • In-text citation for works with no known author:

We see so many global warming hotspots in North America likely because this region has "more readily accessible climatic data and more comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change . . ." ("Impact of Global Warming").

  • Citing authors with the same last name:

Although some medical ethicists claim that cloning will lead to designer children (R. Miller 12), others note that the advantages for medical research outweigh this consideration (A. Miller 46).

  • Citing a source with two authors:

The authors claim that surface reading looks at what is “evident, perceptible, apprehensible in texts” (Best and Marcus 9).

  • Citing a source with multiple authors:

The authors claim that one cause of obesity in the United States is government-funded farm subsidies (Franck et al. 327).


  • Short Quotations:

According to some, dreams express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184), though others disagree.

  • Long Quotations (indented): 

They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte 78)

Endnotes or Footnotes

According to the Perdue Online Writing Lab, MLA discourages extensive use of explanatory or digressive notes. MLA style does, however, allow you to use endnotes or footnotes for bibliographic notes, which refer to other publications your readers may consult. 

  • Footnote/endnote as suggested further reading:

1. Several other studies point to this same conclusion. See Johnson and Hull 45-79, Kather 23-31, Krieg 50-57.

  • Explanatory footnote/endnote:

2. In a 1998 interview, she reiterated this point even more strongly: "I am an artist, not a politician!" (Weller 124).

Sample MLA Paper

For a complete example of an MLA paper click the link to visit the Purdue Online Writing Lab sample MLA Paper.


Credit for descriptions and examples: Purdue OWL