Citing Texts in MLA Format: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Cite a Piece of Text in MLA Format

MLA format is widely used when citing sources in the humanities and liberal arts. Learn how to properly cite a piece of text using MLA format, including author name, page number, and in-text citation.

What Are MLA In Text Citations ?

Citing sources correctly in research papers is essential to get the best results. And a big part of that is ensuring that all cited content is properly formatted in the style of your choice.If you are using MLA format, then you need to understand how to do an in-text citation.

But the challenge is that many people struggle to cite their sources correctly.Need a research paper done, contact BestEssayUsa for all your citation and essay homework help needs.

How to Do MLA In Text Citations?

When you are citing a piece of text in MLA format, it is important to include an in-text citation. This will give credit to the original author for their work, as well as help readers to understand where the information is coming from.

To do an in-text citation, you will need to include the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses directly after the cited sentence. If you are citing a direct quote, you should also include the page number like this: (Author’s Last Name, p. #). For example, if the author’s last name is Smith and the quote is on page 15, you would write “(Smith, p. 15)” following the quote.

If you are citing information without a direct quote, you can simply include the author’s last name in the parentheses. For example, if the author’s last name is Smith, you would write “(Smith)” following the sentence.

How to Write In Text Citations MLA

In text citations are an important part of any paper written in MLA format. This method of citing allows writers to refer direct to the work of another author without having to interrupt the flow of the text. Writing in-text citations in MLA format follows a specific set of guidelines.

To start, you will need to include the author’s last name and the page number of the text you are citing. For example, if you are citing a quote from John Smith’s book, “The Art of Writing,” you would write (Smith 8).

If you are citing multiple works by the same author, you would need to include the work’s title in order to differentiate between the pieces. This would look like (Smith, The Art of Writing 8).

If the author being cited has a last name with multiple syllables, you would only use the first one. For instance, if you were citing from an article by George Washington Smith, you would cite it as (Smith 8).

When citing works by multiple authors, you would separate the names with a comma and an ampersand (e.g. Smith & Jones 8).

When citing a work with three or more authors, you would add the phrase “et al.”, which means “and others”. This would look like (Smith et al. 8).

MLA Format In Text Citations

In text citations in MLA format are designed to show the reader where ideas, information, and quotes included in a paper come from. These citations should be included within the body of the text and provide information about the source material, such as the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number, which allows readers to locate the source in the Works Cited page.

For a single source citation, the standard format is to include the author’s last name and the page number, like this: (Author’s Last Name, Page Number). For example, if a researcher was citing a sentence from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, it would look like this: (Twain, 16).

If the source has multiple authors, it should be cited using the first author’s last name followed by “et al.” and the page number. For example, (Doe et al., 23).

If the source does not have an author, the title of the text should be used instead in place of the author’s name. If the title is longer than four words, the full title should be enclosed in quotation marks, like this: (“Title of the Text,” Page Number).

If more than one source is being cited within the same sentence, the citations should be separated by a semicolon, like this: (Doe, 23; Twain, 16). If the sources being cited have the same author, the citations should be distinguished by the year of publication, like this: (Doe, 2019; Doe, 2020).

If multiple sources are cited within the same sentence and they have the same author and year of publication, the citations should be distinguished by a letter, like this: (Doe, 2019a; Doe, 2019b).

Examples of In Text Citations MLA

In-text citations are important when referencing a piece of text in MLA format. When you are citing a direct quote, or a paraphrase of the text, you must include proper citations to give credit to the author. To properly cite a text, you must consider the author’s name, the page number, and the year of publishing.

MLA in-text citations should be as concise as possible and should appear at the end of the sentence, inside the closing parenthesis. Here are some examples of how to properly cite a piece of text within an MLA format:

When quoting directly from the text, you must include the author’s last name and the page number from where the quote was taken:

‘Truth is the recognition of reality’ (Foucault 65).

When paraphrasing the text, you must include the author’s last name and the year of publishing:

Foucault argues that truth is the recognition of reality (1965).

When citing multiple authors, list all of their last names separated by commas and a ‘and’ before the last name:

According to Foucault, Sartre, and Butler, truth is the recognition of reality (65).

When citing an anonymous source, use the title of the text in place of the author’s name:

It is argued that ‘truth is the recognition of reality’ (The Philosophy of Truth 65).

When the author’s name appears in the sentence, you may omit their name from the in-text citation:

Foucault argued that ‘truth is the recognition of reality’ (65).

In general, MLA in-text citations are relatively straightforward. As long as you include the author’s last name, or the title of the text, and the page number from which the quote or paraphrase was taken, you should be able to properly cite a piece of text in MLA format.

How to Format MLA In Text Citations for Websites

When citing sources from the internet, the Modern Language Association (MLA) format recognizes that many sources are not easily identifiable with regular contributors such as authors or editors. To cite a website properly, you should include the website name or URL, the title of the page or article, the name of the website publisher, the date of publication, and the date you accessed the website.

In-text citations for websites should include the author’s last name or the title of the page if the author is unknown. Other webpages can be cited by the website name. The date you accessed the website is not necessary for an in-text citation because the website can change over time; the date of publication will remain the same.

For example, if citing an article from a website, the in-text citation would look like this: (Vonnegut). If citing an article from a website with an unknown author, the in-text citation would look like this: (“Literary Terms”). If citing a website, the in-text citation would look like this: (“The New Yorker”).

How to Make In Text Citations MLA Perfectly?

When citing a direct quote in MLA format, the in-text citation should be added immediately after the quotation. To create an in-text citation, the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses should appear immediately following the quote.

If the author’s last name is not included in the quote, the parenthetical citation should include the first few words of the source material. Such as, “(Delany, 19)” or “(Delany, “When I” 19)”. It is important that each in-text citation is followed with the same source appearing in the Works Cited page.


For some sources such as websites, the author may be an organization rather than an individual. To credit the source in an in-text citation, use the name of the organization rather than the author’s name. If there is no known author, you can use the title of the document or an abbreviated version of the title.


The correct punctuation for an in-text citation should always come after the parenthetical citation, not before. Punctuation should vary depending on what type of quote is being cited, as well as its location in the sentence. If the quote is at the end of the sentence, the period should follow the parenthetical citation. For example, “This is a direct quote (Delany, 19).”

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